Diriyah.. The Ottomans' war to overthrow an emerging empire!!

The confrontation of the Ottoman Sultanate with the first Saudi state was inevitable and expected, given the turbulent Ottoman behavior, suspicious of any Arab renaissance movement, especially with the rise of the new reformist state from the first Arab stronghold, the Arabian Peninsula, and from where the Ottomans did not expect its emergence.

Indeed, whoever understands the Ottoman mentality, which was excessive in its selfishness and brutality, would be surprised by its delay in sending huge forces after initially underestimating the Saudi power. That is what forced it later, while servile, to seek the help of its governor in Egypt, Muhammad Ali Pasha.

The Ottoman Sultanate, which stole the Abbasid Caliphate from its second headquarters in Cairo, did not accept that a Sunni reformist renaissance movement would be born in the Arabian Peninsula to compete with it, especially since the Salafi reform movement carried out by the Saudis was rapidly spreading among the tribes and in the neighboring regions or those under Ottoman influence.

Undoubtedly, this was a real threat coming for the first time at the hands of the people of the Arabian Peninsula who inherited this religion from their fathers (companions) without mixing with the religious ideas brought by the Turks from Central Asia, India and Persia.

Perhaps the harbingers of confrontation started following the expansion of the Saudi state outside the Najd region. At the beginning of its colonization and occupation of the Arab world, Astana viewed Najd as a neglected and remote region and it did not try to control it for economic reasons. The Ottoman Turks live on wars, colonialism, and plundering the wealth of the peoples and regions they occupy, and because Najd in that period was a barren region, it did not represent any strategic importance to the Ottomans.

The desert Bedouins from Diriyah carried the banner of the first Arab renaissance movement after the collapse of Andalusia. On their horses, they were able to control the provinces of Al-Ahsa and Shammar mountain on their way to establish their first state. Their influence reached Iraq in the north and the coast of Oman in the east, which prompted the Turks to make their decisive decision to confront, and even their hatred reached an attempt to eliminate the state.

The Ottoman Empire worked on two parallel lines in the face of the first Saudi state, beginning with distorting reformist call and the state and accusing it of religious charges in order to destroy it morally and prepare the Islamic world to eliminate it. Therefore, the Ottoman Sultanate turned southern Iraq into a center for attacking the Saudis.

The first Ottoman campaigns, led by Thuwaini bin Abdullah, head of the Al-Muntafiq tribes in southern Iraq, began with a surprise attack on Najd in the year 1201 AH / 1786 AD, and was supported by large forces from the Muntafiq tribes and their allies. This attack led to a Saudi military response. In the book “Fighter from the Desert,” the details of the dispute come when Imam Abdul Aziz bin Muhammad sent a letter to the Ottoman governor in Iraq, Suleiman Pasha the Great, accompanied by a copy of Sheikh Muhammad bin Abdul Wahhab’s book “Tawhid that is God’s right over the slaves”. He asked him to gather the scholars of Baghdad to consider the book and believe in what it says. However, the governor underestimated this initiative, and his response was negative, belittling the reformist call, and thus the clash became inevitable.

Because the Ottomans were very skilled at creating intrigues between the people of Arab regions and tribes, the governor of Baghdad, Suleiman Pasha, decided that the only solution to stop the coming Saudi state was to cause a dispute between the Iraqis and the Saudis. He urged Thuwaini bin Abdullah to fight back and invade the Saudi state. In this Ottoman invasion, Thuwaini headed to Al-Ahsa in an attempt to isolate Najd from any sea view, as well as from the Al-Ahsa Oasis, the great food supplier. However, the conquest carried the factors of its failure and defeat due to the problems between the allies who fought each other. Because the Ottoman forces retreated in front of the Diriyah Knights, this matter led the Saudi forces to pursue them until the middle of Iraq and even reached Al-Samawah.



The Ottomans did not believe the defeats that pursued their mercenaries and their agents, after they thought that the Saudis were mere Bedouin tribes looking for spoils. It was a superficial and naive thinking that did not deal with the Saudis as an aspiring state that seeks to assert its sovereignty over the Arabian Peninsula and its deep belief in its reformist call, ​which traces its origins back to the pure Salafi faith after  the spread of religious methods and ideas brought by the Ottomans.

The Ottomans did not stop at this miserable failed attempt, but other orders came from the Ottoman Porte to, Suleiman Pasha, to prepare an organized campaign of the regular soldiers and not from the tribes in southern Iraq, but it failed like the previous one. As a result of the successive failures of the campaigns of the Ottoman governor in Iraq, Astana reached a full conviction assigning the task of eliminating the Saudi state to the territory of Egypt under the leadership of Muhammad Ali Pasha.

It was the fate of the first Saudi state to face hostilities and deliberate distortion of its call to the point of refusing to allow its pilgrims coming from its provinces or even those passing through its lands to perform the Hajj, especially after the Ottoman governor of Mecca considered the Saudi state to be his enemy. Although the Saudis tried to build an intellectual relationship with the governor of Mecca by sending 30 scholars from the reformist call to debate the scholars of Mecca, the Ottoman governor ordered their imprisonment after the debate in which no agreement occurred between the two parties.

The relationship between Diriyah and the governor of Mecca remained tense between push and pull and changed with the change in the relationship between Mecca and Istanbul. If it improves, it gets worse with Diriyah, and if it gets worse with the Ottomans, it gets better with Diriyah. After the defeat of Ghalib bin Musaed, who conducted a major campaign to eliminate the Saudi state, this prompted the scholars of Mecca and Medina to seek help from the Ottoman Sultan and incite him against the first Saudi state.

Conflicts continued between Diriyah and the governor of Mecca until Najd launched a huge campaign after the joining of many tribes in the Hijaz under the banner of the Saudi state. At this point, Mecca and Medina were controlled, extending the influence of the new state to most of the Arabian Peninsula, all the way to southern Levant and Iraq. This was the spark that set off all the flames of Ottoman hatred, as they assigned their ruler in Egypt, Muhammad Ali Pasha, to control Diriyah and eliminate the Saudi state, no matter what the matter cost them.

The reason for this is that the first Saudi state was the only Arab state qualified to overthrow the Ottoman occupation of the Arab world, and it was the only one capable of being an alternative empire to the Ottomans, who sensed the imminent danger in the desert of the Arabian Peninsula by the early Diriyah Knights led by Imam Muhammad bin Saud and his sons after him.