Alliances and Interests

What's the difference?

Ottoman-Safavid wars or Ottoman-Persian wars. The following is a list of wars between the Ottoman Empire, on the one hand, and the states that appeared in Iran, on the other hand, namely the Safavid state, the Hotakian state, the Afsharid state, the Zand state and the Qajars in Persia, from the 16th to the 19th centuries.

Shah Ismail Safavi. The Safavids are the Safavian family. They are a dynasty of shahs that originated in Ardabil in Persia (Iran) and ruled it from 1501 until the Afghan Hotakian state took over Persia. Their power fell in 1722 and was restored again between 1729 and 1736. Their rule extended to all of modern Iran, Azerbaijan and Armenia, most of Iraq, Georgia, North Caucasus and Afghanistan, in addition to parts of Turkey, Pakistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Syria.

Those were wars, seizures and mutual struggle. So, what is the reason for an Austrian Safavid alliance – the Habsburgs – or other alliances?

Alliance or hostility?

The Ottoman Empire and its enemy, the Safavid state

In the year 1524, Shah Tahmasb, son of Shah Ismail, assumed power in the Safavid state. Tahmasb was an enemy of the Sunni Ottomans. He began his activity against the Ottoman Empire by wanting to ally with the European powers to confine the Ottomans between the two forces and eliminate their state. Tahmasp sent an ambassador to Sherlakan asking him to ally between the two.

The real beginning of the conflict at that time between the Ottomans and the Safavids was from Baghdad, when Zulfiqar Khan, the ruler of Baghdad, asked to enter under Ottoman protection, so the Shah sent him someone to kill him in 1529 AD. Safavid forces then entered Baghdad and, on the other side, Sharaf Khan, the ruler of Bitlis, betrayed the Ottomans and allied with the Safavids. At that point, Ottoman Empire declared war on the Safavids and Grand Vizier Ibrahim Pasha moved and entered Tabriz without much resistance, followed by Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent was leading the Ottoman armies to the same goal and entered Tabriz in 1534 before he headed to Baghdad and surrendered the Safavid forces in 1534. Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent had seized Azerbaijan and crossed the Iranian Zagros Mountains then to Baghdad, under what was known as the Mesopotamian Campaign, that is, Ajami Iraq, which is Azerbaijan, and the Arab Iraq.

With that campaign, Iraq became affiliate to Ottoman Empire. When the Ottomans withdrew from Tabriz and its vicinity and entered Baghdad, the Safavids regained the region, which caused the Ottoman Sultan’s determination to discipline the Safavids again, which was known as the second campaign against Iran. It was in 1548 and Tabriz was recovered thereunder. What made things even worse is that he added the Van and Ariwan castles thereto. However, the withdrawal of the Ottomans and their return caused the Iranians, after they took advantage of the state’s preoccupation in Europe, to return. That was when Suleiman undertook his third campaign, yet without obtaining a direct result. Tahmasb was afraid of confronting the Ottoman armies, so when Suleiman returned to his state, and upon his arrival in Amasya, Tahmasb’s messengers reached him for peace and the Sultan accepted to sign Amasya Treaty in 1555, according to which the eligibility of the Ottoman Empire was decided in each of Arwan, Tabriz and eastern Anatolia, and the handover took place. However, it did not stop at that point and conspiracies and planning continued, aiming to assimilate and terrorize the Arab race, rendering it a dependent race, just like the other races, so that submission would be the prevailing system and a method of governance.