Innlegg merkte med ‘Ibn Saud’

While searching through some of my research material from my MA thesis I came across these two documents from the National Archives in Kew:

1. A photo (probably) by the British Consul in Damascus, C. E. S. Palmer, of the Ruwallah «Bairak» (fighting troops) taken in 1923. The photo is an attachment to a report Palmer wrote to the Foreign Secretary the same year after visiting the Ruwallah tribe.

On the back of the photo he wrote in pencil:

Copy for Foreign Office only, please. The Flag marks about half-way along the line.
I fancy this is the only photo of the «Bairak» in [revere?] order ever obtained by a Britisher.

2. An extract of a handwritten letter from the Sultan of Nejd, Ibn Saud, to the British Agent in Jeddah, Hejaz, written in June 1925 during the war between Hejaz and Nejd, 1924-1925. The letter is dated June 16th and arrived in Jeddah June 30th. The letter was a part of a correspondence between Ibn Saud and Britain.

In the letter he informs Britain that he has ordered a halt to the attack on the disputed area of Akaba. He also complains about the intrigues of Sharif Hussein and his son Abdullah, the Emir of Transjordan, who uses Akaba as a base. He also informs that he is willing to renegotiate a frontier settlement between him, Transjordan and Iraq. The former negotiations, the Kuwait Conference, were canceled when Ibn Saud invaded Hejaz in the summer of 1924.

Masteravhandlinga i historie eg har streva med dei siste åra er no tilgjengeleg på BORA, Bergen Open Research Archive:

Grenser i det grenselause – Opprettinga av Transjordan sine ørkengrenser (pdf)

Avhandlinga fokuserar for det meste på grensene som vart etablert mellom eit nyoppretta emiratet Transjordan og det raskt ekspanderande Nejd under Ibn Saud, grunnleggaren av Saudi-Arabia. Perioden eg har tatt føre meg er i hovudsak 1921-1925 der hovudtrekka til grensene kjem i stand. Strida om grensene står i byrjinga mellom Transjordan og Nejd i Wadi Sirhan, ei handelsrute mellom Syria og Arabia, mellom Transjordan og Hijaz i Akaba-området, og mellom Hijaz og Nejd. I tillegg har eg ei raskare oppsummering fram til 1965 då problema 1925-grensene hadde ført med seg får ei løysing. Grenseavtalen av 1965 vart av Richard Schofield, ein historisk geograf, kalla «the most imaginative territorial settlement yet concluded within the Arabian peninsula/Gulf region.» Denne prosessen tok derimot over 40 år og er ein av dei meir ukjende/gløymde grensekonfliktene i Midtausten.

Formingsåra 1921-1925 tar føre seg eit slags samspel mellom Transjordan (kong Abdullah), Nejd (sultan Ibn Saud og wahhabirørsla), Hijaz (kong/sharif Hussein og kong Ali) og til slutt Storbritannia og dei forskjellige britiske departementa (WO, FO, IO og CO).


My Master thesis on the establishment of borders between Transjordan and the future Saudi Arabia is now available online. Just press the pdf link above. The thesis is written in Norwegian, but if you are interested there is a short (and very hastily written) summary in English inside. Most of the quotes are in English also.

The Thief and the Orphan

Posta: Tysdag, 31 mars, 2009 under Ymse
Stikkord:, , , , , , ,

A British observer, a Mr. C. C. Lewis, tells us two stories from Arabia in the early 1930s, a few years after Ibn Saud conquered the Holy Cities Mecca and Medina. The two stories are supposed to be examples of «punishments ferocious to European eyes»:

«Not long ago a wretched Hadhrami stole a piece of the black stone from the Ka’ba in Mecca, because he thought that it would be lucky, but he discovered that any luck coming his way would have to be in Paradise, as his head was chopped off.»

«A Hejâzi who murdered his father and mother and then appealed to the King [Ibn Saud] for clemency on the ground that he was an orphan, was executed at the same time.»

[Source: «Ibn Sa’ûd and the Future of Arabia», an article by C. C. Lewis, July 1933]

In a continuation of my post from yesterday, Travelling with loaded rifles, here is a new entry from Clayton’s diary. It is five days later, 15th of October 1925, and he is well settled in Ibn Saud’s camp that is situated right outside Mecca. Every evening he, his aide (George Antonius) and their personal bodyguard provided by Ibn Saud, takes a walk outside the camp to see the sunset. Here is Clayton’s description of the daily walk and their escort:

We usually start shortly before sunset, so as to get to some hill before the sun goes down. We then get a very delightful view, as the bare hills begin to take on a soft-purple light, and every night there is to the east over Mecca a great bank of cloud which reflects the setting sunlight and becomes a great welter of rosy flame. At the actual moment when the sun sets we always have to stop in order to allow our escort to say his prayers, which he does with great devotion and a lack of self-consciousness which Christians might well copy. He is a Sudanese slave, by the name Idris, who has been made specially responsible for our safety and who never leave us. He is always armed, sometimes with an Enfield rifle, sometimes with a curved sword in a heavily silver-mounted scabbard, sometimes with a heavy mace studded with nails, and occasionally with all three. He is a capital fellow. When I call «Ya Idris,» he always replies «Ay wallah» (Yes, by God). Then I tell him to do something or ask for something, to which he always replies by one of three ejaculations: «Inshallah» (God willing) or «Marhabba» (Everything is open to you) or «Ma yekhalif» (There is no objection).

– From An Arabian Diary by Gilbert Clayton

On the 10th of October 1925 Gilbert Clayton was travelling to Ibn Saud’s camp outside of the besieged city of Jeddah in present-day Saudi Arabia. The road to the camp at Bahra was not an easy ride and in his diary Clayton describes the road itself like this:

Hereafter, the road became very bad – indeed it was practically non-existent – and we ploughed laboriously through deep sand, over boulders and stones, and through low but tenacious bush.

Clayton travelled by car through what then was a war front between Ibn Saud and the Hashemite King Ali, the son of the more famous Sharif Hussein (This was the Nejd-Hejaz war of 1924-1925). Clayton’s mission was to negotiate two agreements with Ibn Saud concerning the southern frontiers of the British mandates of Transjordan and Iraq. This was, however, not his main worry during the bumpy car ride through the desert, that belonged to the loaded rifles in the front seat:

I was not sorry to get out of the car, as our escort had insisted on placing their loaded rifles beside the chauffeur, and I therefore found myself most of the time gazing into the muzzles of no less than five loaded rifles which might have been exploded by any of the numerous and hearty bumps which our car indulged in.

– From An Arabian Diary by Gilbert Clayton (edited and introduced by Robert O. Collins) [1969]