Gypsy (Ghajariya) Uprising (1943)

Had it not been for the withdrawal of some Arab tribes from the uprising, Sheikh Jasib bin Khazal was close to liberating Ahvaz

Arab Ahvazi did not fall from the sky, nor was it a single plant on the shores of the Arabian Gulf. Along with its Arab sisters on the other side, it represented an Arab extension known by geography and history for more than two thousand years. What is surprising when reviewing the history of Ahvaz is that it did not receive the recognition it deserves and political history did not pay attention thereto until only recently.

Getting to know about Ahvaz and its issues, we find that pure Arabs inhabited a region that became part of them as much as they became part of it. They discovered it and settled therein more than two thousand years ago, establishing a state with influence, authority and international relations for long periods. Had not they been subjected to two betrayals; the first was from the Ottoman Empire, which sold them to the Iranian Persians in the year (1847) following the Treaty of “Erzurum”, in which the Ottomans ceded Arabistan to the Persians, followed by a bloody revolution that lasted ten years until the year (1857), when the Iranian ruler announced his recognition of Arabistan as an independent state under the rule of sheikh “Jaber bin Mardaw”, so that Muhammarah and Arabistan would remain completely independent as of the year (1857), until the Iranian military occupation of it in the year (1925), and had it not been for the second betrayal of the British, the Arabs of Ahvaz would have remained until today an independent Arab state.

Portuguese historian and traveler Pedrotaskera, who visited Shatt al-Arab region in 1604, more than 400 years ago, says that the region east of the Shatt al-Arab is an Arab emirate, ruled by Sheikh Mubarak bin Abdul Latif, who was an independent ruler from the Iranian Persians and from the Turks. He even entered an international alliance with the Portuguese. Italian traveler Pietro della Vallai della also says that Ahvazi Sheikh Mansour was rejecting the intervention of the Iranian Shah Abbas I in his state. Such evidence from travelers over the past four centuries confirm the independence of the state of Arabistan from the occupying Iranian rule.

This revolution did not appear in Arab and international media and its precursors began after some Ahvazi tribes agreed with Sheikh Jasib bin Sheikh Khazal to carry out a comprehensive revolution that overthrew the Persian occupation and its colonial authority, expelling it from their Arab state, restoring the Arab Emirate of Ka’b and its previous independence and its days before the Persian occupation of Ahvaz in 1998. This confirms that the Ahvazis did not surrender to the occupier and their longing for freedom through their struggle, without fear of the death machine that the occupier’s authority imposed thereon in Tehran.

Sheikh Jasib began his revolution by entering with his people calling for liberation in the year (1943) and announced a comprehensive revolution with the support of the Arab tribes. However, he retreated in front of the huge invading Persian forces in terms of numbers and equipment, especially after some tribes broke their promises and did not support him, as the Iranian forces launched an armed military attack on the Ahvazi civilians, unarmed except for their bodies and a few white weapons and hunting rifles. The Iranian was not satisfied with that and used planes to bomb the civilians and abuse them, threatening everyone who engages in the revolution, not by killing him alone, but by killing his entire family and clan. It was a revolution against the occupation, but the occupier confronted them with the arrogance of military machines.

Iranians used planes to thwart Jasib's revolt, which faced the Persians with English hunting rifles.

This revolution was called the Ghajariya Uprising, after the name it was launched from. Among the participants in that uprising was leader Muhyiddin Al Nasser. At that time, he held a military position as head of the Arabistan Liberation Front.

However, that uprising has its results on the ground. Ahvazis exerted whatever precious they had in order to expel the Iranian occupier from their state. The Persians suffered heavy losses. Despite the primitive and few weapons of the revolutionaries, with old English hunting rifles, yet they were able to inflict losses on Persian authorities by killing a large number of Persian soldiers and officers, as well as downing a Persian warplane, which was one of the Iranian planes that were bombing the revolutionaries with internationally banned incendiary bombs.

Consequent to the difficulties that faced the Arab liberation revolution in Ahvaz, Ahvazis began to review the causes of failure and search for solutions, especially since their enemy possesses a destructive killing machine and does not consider account humanity or conscience when dealing with them. Perhaps the most important of these is the withdrawal of the Arab tribes from the revolution after they initially supported Sheikh Jasib. That withdrawal weakened the revolution and caused Ahvazi revolutionaries’ retreat before the Persian army. The reason for the withdrawal of those Arab tribes from the revolution is due to the direct Persian threat to destroy and crush them brutally, even erase them from existence. Thus, those clans preferred to keep the unjust situation in order to preserve the Ahvazi people and keep the land in the hands of the Ahvazis, limiting the expansion of land confiscation and settlement by the Persians, in addition to stop blood shedding. The clans saw that the revolution was not commensurate with the size of the Persian occupation forces and that their failure was inevitable.

  1. Samia Al-Jabri, Ahvaz Arabistan during Pahlavi Monarchy (Beirut: Jadawel for Publishing, Translation and Distribution, 2019).


  1. Ali Al-Helou, Ahvaz Revolutions and Organizations 1914-1966 AD (Najaf: Al-Ghari Modern Press, 1970).


  1. Ali Al-Helou, Ahvaz in Its Historical Roles (Baghdad: Dar Al-Basr, 1967).


  1. Musleh Muhammad, Persian Invasion of Ahvaz and the Arab Resistance After World War I (Anbar: College of Education, 2020).