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Volume :7 Issue : 26 1981      Add To Cart                                                                    Download

THE HIJAZ-NAJD WAR (1924 – 1925)

Auther : : Dr. Fattouh Al-Khatrash

 

         The dispute between “Al-Saoud” in Riyadh and the “Ashraf” of Hijaz dates back to the time of Mohammed Ben Abdel-Wahab, the great religious reformist whose message spread all over the Arabian peninsula with Najd as its potential stronghold.  With the seizure of Hijaz in 1803, a series of confrontations erupted between the invading Saoudis and the Ashraf of Hijaz, which culminated in Sharif Hussein’s full control of the whole region in 1908.  Since then, the two warring parties sought outside assistance; Ibn-Saoud seeking Britain’s help and Sharif Hussein resorting to Turkey.  Ibn-Saoud’s successful campaign in Al-Ahsa in eastern Arabia, together with the conclusion of a treaty with Turkey in 1913, has enabled him to extend his influence over most of the Arabian Peninsula.

          With the outbreak of the First World War, Britain concluded several treaties with the rulers of the Gulf region for the primary objective of hindering any Turkish advance and safeguarding its interest in India.  Ibn-Saoud, however, remained on the alert and refrained from entering into treaty with Britain until time because opportune in July 1916.

          On the western flank of the peninsula Sharif Hussein became the undisputed ruler of Hijaz, with both his sons Faisal and Abdullah as rulers of Iraq and Transjordan respectively.  The British government while maintaining close relations with Ibn-Saoud, retained its relationship with Sharif Hussein at a low tone without abandoning its commitments towards him.  When the First World War finally came to an end, Ibn-Saoud centered his efforts upon extending his domain over Arabia by attempting to overcome his two staunchest opponents namely: Ibn-Rashid, the Emir of Hayel and Sharif Hussein in Hijaz.  He managed to subjugate Ibn-Rashid dynasty by gaining from the feud between its members and ceded the Emirates of Shammar to Najd in 1921.  Hence, he directed all his capabilities to bringing Hijaz under his yoke.  When the pilgrims from Najd, were denied access to the holy places in Hijaz, Ibn-Saoud wages his military campaign against Hijaz and on August 29th 1924 the city of Taif surrendered with hardly any resistance.  A series of events ensued, beginning with Sharif Hussein’s request for British assistance which was denied to him on the pretext of non-intervention in religious disputes.   This was followed by the spread of dissention in Hijaz and Hussein was compelled to abdicate in his son’s favour to avoid the outbreak of civil war in Hijaz.  The new successor King Ali after failing to secure British support and the turning down of his call for help from his brother Abdullah the ruler of Transjordan – found it inevitable to extend an offer of negotiated peace to Ibn-Saoud.  His reconciliatory efforts were, however, too late and Ibn-Saoud’s forces captured Mecca bloodlessly in October 13th.  The Islamic Conference held in Riyadh on the 29th of October 1924 brought about a worldwide Islamic recognition of Ibn-Saoud’s Jurisdiction over Mecca.

         The Hijazi army virtually disintegrated, the port of Jeddah was blockaded, Medina surrendered on December 9th and finally Yanbu fell twelve days later.  The British Counsul concluded with Ibn-Saoud a sixteen-point treaty granting King Ali “Safe Conduct” to leave the country and guaranteeing political amnesty to the inhabitants of Hijaz.  Thus, came the dramatic end of the Hashemite Dynasty in Hijaz with the forces of victorious Saoudis entering Jeddah, lead by Ibn-Saoud on horseback and on January 8th 1926, he was proclaimed King of Hijaz.

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