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Volume :19 Issue : 75 1994      Add To Cart                                                                    Download

THE ABORTIVE TREATY OF MUTUAL DEFENSE BETWEEN SAUDI ARABIA AND BRITAIN (1948)

Auther : By: Prof. Ahmed Abdul Rahim Mustafa

 

From the beginning of his career Abdul Aziz Bin Saud proved to be a successful ruler who added to his military victories, a political shrewdness, all resulting in the creation of a vast Kingdom which encompassed most of the Arabian Peninsula. During the first World War he was cautious and never relied completely on one of the warring camps, preferring instead to rely on himself. In 1920, he annexed ‘Asir’ and in the following year he occupied the sheikhdom of Ha’il and annexed al-Jauf in the northern part of Arabia. Soon he clashed with the Hashemites of the Hejaz, defeated them and compelled them to fly from the Hejaz. But Britain who incited the Hashemites to revolt against the Ottoman Empire soon compensated them by making them rulers of Iraq and Transjordan, thus encircling the Saudi possessions from the north and the west.

In May 1927 Ibn Saud signed with Britain the treaty of Jeddah according to which Hejaz and Nejed and their dependencies were recognized to be completely independent. King Abdel Aziz, on his side, pledged to keep friendly relations with the Gulf protectorates.

Immediately after the World War II the international situation was affected by the cold war between the west and the Soviet Bloc. Britain was then sensitive to the threat to her interests in the Middle East and accordingly planned to initiate a system for the defense of the area by forming a system of alliances between the major Arab states after the Arab League which she had initiated because a theatre for rivalry between different Arab axes. For the Hashemite rulers of Iraq and Transjordan dreamt of a big coalition that could direct the politics of the Arab East. Ibn Saud naturally took a stand against the aggrandizement of his previous enemies and consequently strengthened his relations with Egypt and Syria. Yet Britain, who had her hand in every pie preferred to pack the Arab states in a system of mutual defense. To start with She approached Egypt, then the most important Arab state and the leader of the Arab League, expecting that the other Arab states would follow suit. AT the same time she approached Iraq and Transjordan moreover than Saudi Arabia which did not object to the new project.

But the opposition of the Egyptians and the Iraqis to the British plans had its effects on the projected British defense alliances, at a time when Britain had armed forces in different parts of the Arab lands, and was moreover a butt of hatred and suspicion as a result of the role she played in the conspiracy against Palestine. That is why the new British plans were aborted. Although Ibn Saud refused to endorse the new British plans, yet he professed his friendly relations with both Britain and the United States.

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