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File 2182/1913 Pt 10 'N.W. Frontier: Proposed Russian zoological expedition' [‎293r] (177/664)

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The record is made up of 1 item (330 folios). It was created in 28 May 1919-13 Jan 1920. It was written in English and Arabic. 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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[This Document is the Property of His Britannic Majesty’s Government. 1
[ June 20.]
[31521] No. 1.
Sir E. Alienby to Earl Curzon.—(Received June 20.)
(No. 269.)
My Lord, Cairo, June 11, 1919.
WITH reference to my telegram No. 950 of the 10th June, I have the honour to
forward one copy of a note by Captain Garland, of the Arab Bureau, on the “ Khurma
I have, &c.
Enclosure In No. 1.
NoteJy Captain Garland, of the Arab Bureau, on the Khurma Dispute between
King Hussein and Ibn Saud.
Ibn Baud.
IN 1915 a treaty was arranged between Emir Ibn Saud and His Britannic Majesty’s
Government, in which the latter recognised Ibn Saud as the independent sovereign of
Nejd, El Hasa, Catif, and Jubail. It was a temporary agreement made chiefly for
reasons of military expediency after the expulsion of the Turks, and no . definite
boundaries of the territory were specified.
Although generally regarded as a new creation, the Ikhwan or Brotherhood move-
ment is really a fevival in an intensified form of Wahabism, the great puritanical revolt
against Orthodox Mohammedanism in the 18th century, which was ultimately
crushed by the Egyptian troops under Mohammed Ali in 1817, and which, since
then, has existed in a merely moribund state chiefly within the confines of Nejd.
The tenets of the Ikhwan creed are very similar to those of Wahabism, thouoh its
followers are without doubt more fanatical. To the non Moslem, however, it is the
brutal methods of effecting conversions and of punishing sinners, rather than the
principles of the creed itself, that appear objectionable. There is no doubt whatever
that the Bedouin are systematically terrorised into conversion, and that those who
refuse are done to death. In war, the Ikhwan are said to take no prisoners, but to cut
the throats of all who fall into their hands.
It has been stated repeatedly that Ibn Saud had no connection with the Ikhwan
movement in its early stages, and this is probably true, but it is now sufficient for our
present purposes to know, firstly, that the sect originated close by his own capital, and
was allowed to flourish there, and its leading missionaries are his own subjects ; secondly,
that it is merely a desperately fanatical edition of Wahabism, of which he is the
acknowledged leader ; and, thirdly, that Ibn Saud has recently put himself at the head
of the movement, and will certainly not fail to use it for furthering his own ends.
For the purposes of this review, therefore, it is unnecessary to differentiate between
Ibn Saud and the Ikhwan, or between the latter and the Wahabis.
Since the first appearance of the Ikhwan, about ten years ago, in the vicinity of the
Nejd capital, Biadh, it has made rapid progress. It is practically certain that the
whole of Nejd is Ikhwan, and its missionaries have penetrated to all the corners of
But its doctrines are detested by all orthodox Moslems, and the rulers of the Arab
States surrounding Nejd (especially King Hussein) live in constant dread of its spread to
their people. •

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The title provided at the beginning of this item does not relate in any way to the item's contents. Part 10 is in fact concerned with 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 begins with reports that Bin Saud's Akhwan [Ikhwan] forces have advanced to Tarabah (also spelled Turaba in the correspondence) [Turabah], in Hejaz, and includes details of His Majesty's Government's proposed response, which is to inform Bin Saud that if he does not withdraw his forces from Hejaz and Khurma then the rest of his subsidy will be discontinued and he will lose all advantages secured under the treaty of 1915. Included are the following:

  • copies of translations of correspondence between Bin Saud and King Hussein;
  • discussion as to whether the British should send aeroplanes to assist King Hussein;
  • minutes of inter-departmental meetings between representatives of 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. , the War Office, the Foreign Office, and the Treasury, on the subject of Bin Saud, held at the Foreign Office and chaired by the Foreign Secretary, Earl Curzon of Kedleston [George Nathaniel Curzon];
  • discussion as to how the British should respond in the event of Bin Saud's Wahabi [Wahhabi] forces taking Mecca and advancing on Jeddah, which it is anticipated may result in the evacuation of a large number of Arabs and British Indians;
  • discussion regarding a proposed meeting between Harry St John Bridger Philby and Bin Saud on the Gulf coast;
  • a report by Captain Herbert Garland [Director of the Arab Bureau, Cairo], entitled 'Note on the Khurma Dispute Between King Hussein and Ibn Saud';
  • a document entitled 'Translation of a Memorandum on the Wahabite [sic] Crisis', addressed to the High Commissioner, Egypt, by Emir Feisal [Fayṣal bin Ḥusayn bin ‘Alī al-Hāshimī], in which Feisal implores the British to take military action against the Wahabi movement;
  • copies of translations of letters addressed to Bin Rashid [Saʿūd bin ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz Āl Rashīd], from Bin Saud and King Hussein respectively, which provide the perspectives of both on recent events at Khurma and Tarabah;
  • a memorandum from the Foreign Office's Political Intelligence Department, entitled 'Memorandum on British Commitments to Bin Saud'.

The item's principal correspondents are the following:

This item also contains translated copies of correspondence between Hussein and the then High Commissioner at Cairo, Sir Arthur Henry McMahon [commonly referred to as the McMahon-Hussein correspondence], dating from July 1915 to January 1916.

Extent and format
1 item (330 folios)
Written in
English and Arabic in Latin and Arabic script
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File 2182/1913 Pt 10 'N.W. Frontier: Proposed Russian zoological expedition' [‎293r] (177/664), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/L/PS/10/390/2, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 26 January 2020]

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