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Miscellaneous correspondence, reports, maps and other papers concerning the Middle East [‎75v] (151/220)

The record is made up of 1 file (110 folios). It was created in 27 Aug 1893-19 Dec 1918. It was written in English and French. 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 Documents collected in a private capacity. .


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It is unnecessary here to follow the varying fortunes of the struggle,
which ended as already indicated, though not before Saud had succeeded in
wresting the crown from Abdulla to enjoy it for a brief space—a circumstance
of capital importance in the politics of Najd, in that on this temporary occu
pation of the throne by their ancestor not less than on the fact that the line
of Saud is the senior surviving branch of the dynasty—Abdulla having died
childless—the descendants of Saud base a claim to be the rightful rulers of
Najd, a claim, which has been actually asserted by open but unsuccessful
rebellion against the present ruler on more than one occasion.
The pretenders have invariably been those members of the Saud branch,
who boast unbroken Ajman descent on the mother’s side,—a fact, w T hich
enables them to count on the loyal support of this vigorous and warlike tribe
in every venture upon which they embark against the present ruling branch,
whose title to rule rests on the merit of having recovered its ancestral dominions
from the foreign usurper rather than on seniority of descent, Abdul Rahman,
the father of the present ruler, being the fouth of Faisal’s sons.
The most serious attempt of the pretending line to recover the throne
occurred about the year 1910, when Ibn Saud, surrounded by enemies, dealt
with a delicate situation in masterly style. He was, needless to say, engaged
at the time in war with Ibn Rashid, who successfully invited the co-operation
of the Sharif of Mecca. The latter advanced into the hills round Quai and,
surprising a small Wahhabi force under Saud, brother of Ibn Saud, had him
a prisoner before the latter could come to the rescue. Ibn Rashid simultane
ously threatened the Qasim on the north and news soon arrived that the
southern districts had declared for the Araif* pretenders, who had thought
the moment opportune for a bold stroke.
At a disadvantage with the Sharif owing to the fact that the latter held
his favourite brother, Saad, a prisoner, Ibn Saud consented to the unfavourable
terms and, obtaining the release of his brother, marched off to meet Ibn
Rashid. Here again negotiations, resulting in a truce, relieved Ibn Saud of
all immediate danger and set him free for a brief campaign in the southern
districts, in the course of which he defeated the pretenders and wreaked a
terrible vengeance on the towns, which had helped them.
Again at the beginning of 1915, when Ibn Saud, accompanied bv Captain
Shakespear and acting as our ally, met Ibn Rashid at the battle of Jarrab, it
was, according to his account, entirely or largely due to the treacherous deser
tion of the Ajman contingent at a moment, when their continued support would
m all probability have given him a decisive victory, that he had to be content
with a drawn battle, in which the honours undoubtedly rested with Ibn
Rashid, though he was unable to take any practical advantage of them.
This brings us to the final act in the Ajman tragedy, which was played
in 1916 in the Hasa, whither Ibn Saud led his forces to avenge himself on the
tribe for its perfidious desertion of him at Jarrab and other hostile acts. The
Ajman, finding themselves outnumbered, sued for an armistice, to which Ibn
Saud, generously enough, agreed on the condition that the contending parties
should meet on the morrow to consider arrangements for a permanent peace.
Ibn Sand’s brother, Saad, was absent when the armistice was agreed to and on
his return the same evening, found to his mortification that hostilities had
bem suspended. Furious at the lenience of his brother he propounded a
scheme for a sudden attack on the unsuspecting tribesmen and Ibn Saud in a
weak moment yielded to his vehement pressure.
The Ajman, surprised and outnumbered, fought like wild beasts at bav
and not only were Ibn Sand’s best troops worsted in the encounter but Saad
was counted among the dead and Ibn Saud himself was wounded while the
victorious tribesmen lost no time in seeking refuge within the borders of Kuwait
territory from the vengeance, which was sure to pursue them.
Hinc Mae lachrymae ! but there can be no doubt that the Ajman who had
.appeared up to the last act as the villains of the play, had right on their side
m the final denouement and that Saad, by his advocacy of a shameless act of
tieacfiery, richly deserved the fate which overtook him.
Nevertheless Ibn Saud can scarcely be expected to accept the last arbitra
ment of fortune as final nor has he any intention of doing so, if one may judge
from the way m which, on anything like a public occasion, he parades the
orphaned children of his favourite brother before the public gaze and delivers
himself of stirring homilies on the necessitv of avenging the wron<r done not
oniy to them and himself, but to the honour of his house,—ignoring, with
that feminine want of logic so characteristic of the Badawin Arab, the cardi-
but C hi n mse d lf ratl0n that ^ Wh ° le res P onsibilit y for the tragedy rests on nobody
, T ,^ e desce " dai ; ts Saud Ibn Fa isat are known by this nickname owing to the fac
that after the ^ attle of P audhat al Muhanna (1908), in which Abdul Aziz Ibn Rashid wa
defeated and k.lied by Ibn Saud, the exiled scions of that line were found among the boot
captured in the abandoned camp. The term Arifa or Arafa is commonly used to designat
livestock, especially camels, lost to and recaptured from an enemy.

About this item


The file contains correspondence, memoranda, maps, and other papers relating to Middle Eastern affairs and a few other miscellaneous matters. The majority of the file concerns discussions of and proposals for the post-war settlement of Near Eastern territories, including Turkey, Armenia, Georgia, Syria, Palestine, Iraq, and the Arabian Peninsula. The basis of these discussions was the Sykes-Picot agreement of 1916.

Other matters covered by the papers include events in Siam [Thailand] and Burmah [Myanmar] and the colonial rivalry in the region between France and Britain, the Baghdad Railway, and relations with Ibn Saud in Arabia, including a report on the 1917-18 mission to Najd by Harry St John Philby (folios 67-98).

Folios 99-110 are six maps with accompanying notes that show the various proposed territorial settlements and spheres of influence in the Near East and one showing Britain's global colonial possessions.

Memoranda and correspondence comes from officials at the Foreign Office and 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. . Other correspondents include French and Italian government officials.

Extent and format
1 file (110 folios)

The file is arranged in roughly chronological order, from the front to the back.

Physical characteristics

Foliation: the foliation sequence (used for referencing) commences at the front of the envelope with 1, and terminates at the inside back last page with 110, these numbers are written in pencil, are circled, and are located in the top right corner of the recto The front of a sheet of paper or leaf, often abbreviated to 'r'. side of each folio.

Pagination: the file also contains an original printed pagination sequence.

Written in
English and French in Latin script
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Miscellaneous correspondence, reports, maps and other papers concerning the Middle East [‎75v] (151/220), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, Mss Eur F112/276, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 29 November 2023]

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