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File 2182/1913 Pt 9 'Arabia Policy towards Bin Saud' [‎203v] (404/406)

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The record is made up of 1 item (203 folios). It was created in 27 Dec 1918-2 Jun 1919. It was written in English. The original is part of the British Library: India Office The department of the British Government to which the Government of India reported between 1858 and 1947. The successor to the Court of Directors. Records and Private Papers.

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I
——
6
of Doiiohty are sufficient to show that Surra was paid to tribes under Ibn Rashid’s
admitted jurisdiction—in fact to all tribes likely to be troublesome. On the other
hand, going further back, there is very little doubt that Khurma was under the
effective jurisdiction of the Sand dynasty in the days of its early greatness, and Ibn
Sand claims that the long-standing exemption from taxation, which the people o^s
Khurma have enjoyed, and still enjoy, was conferred upon them by Sand the First
(or possibly Sand the Great, i.e., Sand the Second, the real founder of the Wahhabi
Empire). It is fairly certain that neither the Sheriff nor the Turks have ever collected
a mite by way of taxation from the people of Khuima a fact which goes fai to pio\e
their claim to independence. If that is admitted the people of Khurma cannot well
be blamed if they choose to place themselves under the suzerainty of a power in which
they have confidence, and to which they are attached by religious, geographical, racial
and other ties, and to resist any claim to overlordship b} T a ruler who has made it
clear that he will not tolerate the exercise of their religions according to their own
lights.
The above remarks, I trust, will be sufficient to show that at any rate theie is a
good case for investigation and that no ex parte opinion can dispose of it satisfactorily.
The two reverses to his aims which I have reported have doubtless proved injurious
to the Sheriff’s prestige, but he has no one do blame for that but himself. I note that
the High Commissioner considers that the Sheriff regards Khurma as his territory
“ apparently with reason, ’ and that he does not doubt the sincerity of his assmances
that Shakir will not advance east of Khurma to attack Ibn Sand’s subjects. If these
remarks are intended to indicate that no action is being or has been taken to
prevent the development of the Sheriff’s operations and that His Majesty’s Govern
ment approve of thus letting events run their course, I can only say I regard the
situation with the most lively .apprehension. Until the worst comes to the urorst,
however, I cannot believe that His Majesty s Government, after then impartial
warning to both rulers to refrain from provocative action, will allow one of the
recipients of that warning to disregard it in the very matter in respect of which it
was issued. The issue of that warning has. as already reported, had a very favour
able effect on Ibn Sand, but he assumes, as I think he is entitled to do; that it will be
equally effective on the Sheriff.
Finally, a word as to the “ activities of Akhwan agents who are evidently at the
root of the trouble.” To the best of my belief the somewhat vague and often
reiterated accusation that Akhwan agents have of late been busy undermining the
influence of the Sheriff has never been substantiated. In any case it is scarcely
applicable to the case of Khurma, whose inhabitants, lock, stock, and barrel, have
always been Wahhabis and are all Akhwan and as such require no proselytising.
The abortive mission of the Sheriffian Qadhi on the other hand is clear enough
evidence that it is the Sheriff who is guilty of interfering with the religious liberty
of the people of Khurma. This is no mere vague accusation based on Wahhabi
reports, but is fully borne out by the evidence of the letters of the King’s son,
Abdulla, of which I have already forwarded translations. Incidentally I may
mention that present Wahhabi priest of Khurma and his father before him have
occupied the post without a break for 60 years, the father having been appointed by
Faisal.
APPENDIX II.
The alleged Treaty between Bin Saud and the Sherif.
The War Office have recently raised the question, at the instance of Colonel
Laurence, of the existence of a treaty between Biti Saud and King Husain,
assigning the Khurma region to the latter. The position appears to be that in the
year 1910 the Sherif, taking advantage of a revolt in Southern Xejcl, sent his son
Abdullah to invade Qasim. The invasion was not completely successful, but Bin
Saud was forced to accept the Sherif’s terms, which included the stipulation that the
great tribes lying between Kejd and the Hejaz should be outside Bin Sand’s sphere.
In 1915 Abdullah again led an expedition to enforce the terms of the 1910 treaty, but
peace w r as patched up and Abdullah retired.

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Part 9 primarily concerns the dispute between Bin Saud [‘Abd al-‘Azīz bin ‘Abd al-Raḥmān bin Fayṣal Āl Sa‘ūd] and King Hussein of Hejaz [Ḥusayn bin ‘Alī al-Hāshimī, King of Hejaz], and British policy towards both. The item includes the following:

  • a note by the India Office The department of the British Government to which the Government of India reported between 1858 and 1947. The successor to the Court of Directors. 's Political Department, entitled 'Arabia: The Nejd-Hejaz Feud', which laments the fact that relations between Bin Saud and King Hussein have to some extent been reflected in the views of the two administrations with which they have respectively been brought into contact (i.e. the sphere of Mesopotamia and the Government of India in Bin Saud's case, and the Cairo administration in King Hussein's case);
  • reports on the presence of Akhwan [Ikhwan] forces in Khurma and debate as to which ruler has the stronger claim to it;
  • attempts by the British to ascertain whether or not a treaty exists between King Hussein and Bin Saud;
  • a copy of a report by Harry St John Bridger Philby entitled 'Report on Najd Mission 1917-1918', which includes as appendices a précis of British relations with Bin Saud and a copy of the 1915 treaty between Bin Saud and the British government;
  • reports of alleged correspondence between Bin Saud and Fakhri Pasha, Commander of the Turkish [Ottoman] forces at Medina;
  • reports of the surrender of Medina by Ottoman forces;
  • discussion as to whether Britain should intervene further in the dispute between Bin Saud and King Hussein;
  • details of the proposals discussed at an inter-departmental conference on Middle Eastern affairs, which was held at Cairo in February 1919;
  • reports that King Hussein's son Abdulla [ʿAbdullāh bin al-Ḥusayn] and his forces have been attacked at Tarabah [Turabah] by Akhwan forces and driven out.

The principal correspondents are the following:

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1 item (203 folios)
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File 2182/1913 Pt 9 'Arabia Policy towards Bin Saud' [‎203v] (404/406), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/L/PS/10/390/1, in Qatar Digital Library <https://www.qdl.qa/archive/81055/vdc_100036528096.0x00000c> [accessed 19 July 2019]

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