During three centuries that was concluded by purifying the Arabian Peninsula from the Turks by the founder, King Abdulaziz

The Saudis were an Arab example in rejecting the Ottoman colonization

The Ottomans remained insistent on occupying Hijaz, considering that their control over it was a legitimate marketing for them in the Islamic world, guaranteeing them their colonial projects in the region, despite their lack of the legal basis that justifies the policy of Turkish expansion. Hence, they believed that this represented the legitimate excuse to continue expanding to the east, west and south. That was the strategic goal that they have tried since their occupation of the Arab world in 1517 to preserve by imposing force and ferocity against any attempt to liberate from their oppression, tyranny and fascism.

In this context, the Ottomans considered Hijaz the center of religious weight and the source of political legitimacy for their expansionist project. Therefore, they resisted any attempt to separate the region from their colonization and made keeping it a priority over the rest of the Arabian Peninsula, most of which lived in a distant connection with the Ottoman Empire, ​except for what would give them a strategic or economic benefit as required by their interest and the stage they were going through. This explains the deterioration of many Arab regions, as those places on the agenda of the Ottoman Turks represented only places of economic, strategic and imperial attrition. They neglected any region that did not achieve any gains for them and made it wrestle with its natural and political conditions without any interest.

As soon as the Ottomans expected the imminence of a general war and the occurrence of an European colonial movement in the areas subject to their colonization in the Arab world, the Sublime Porte quickly dealt with the Arabs softly and tried to persuade them to join the Ottoman side during the First World War (1914-1918).

However, what the Ottoman Turks did not take into account was that the Arab memory at that time was stained with the blood of many Arabs who were destroyed by the Turkish project and were killed without guilt as victims of the policy of showing power through the rulers and mercenaries whom the Ottoman Empire sent from time to time to the Arab world. Therefore, most of the Arab countries turned against the Ottomans and were not deceived by the concept of the banner of Islam that the Ottomans showed at the time of their weakness and neglected at the time of their tyranny and strength.

The Ottomans did not expect that King Abdulaziz bin Abdulrahman Al Saud (may Allah have mercy on him) would succeed in expelling and defeating them in his areas of influence at the beginning of the national unification stage. This matter represented a great shock in Istanbul, which made the events follow in a way that the Turks did not expect, considering that they made the Arabs of the Arabian Peninsula a military reservoir for the global war that the Ottomans entered, in which the Arabs had no benefits other than their ambitions to be liberated from the brutal Ottoman colonization.

The attempts made by Jamal Pasha (the butcher) failed when he tried to win the Arabs in the side of his state, which was collapsing during the First World War. The Arabs of the Arabian Peninsula, like others, refused to join the Ottomans, who resorted to marketing the “Holy Jihad” and exploiting the Muslims’ collective unconsciousness in order to consolidate their colonization and domination.

The Ottomans treated the Arabs in the First World War as a military reservoir.

From this point of view, the Ottomans believed that their entry into the war and the declaration of holy jihad by the Sheikh of Islam would help their state recover a group of lands that had been liberated from them and would contribute to the return of Egypt and the rest of the regions to their colonization again. This confirms that the Turks, despite their direct colonization of the Arab region for centuries, did not comprehend the Arab behavioral structure that refused to submit to colonization, even if their state claimed the alleged caliphate and used the concept of creed.

The events of 1916 were a continuation of the Arab rejection of Turkish colonization, which the Saudis was the first to announce it since the era of the first Saudi state. The Saudis’ rejection of the Turkish occupation continued in the second Saudi state with the founder King Abdulaziz, who succeeded in liberating his land from this occupation. He cooperated with all the Saudi Arabs to liberate their lands, taking advantage of the surprise factor and the Ottomans’ preoccupation with fighting in other battles. However, the promotional dimension of the Ottomans in Hijaz prompted them to carry out attacks against him through a set of measures, especially in Medina, where the supplies of equipment, ammunition, and soldiers arrived.

The Ottomans also sought to change their governors in the Arab countries that were still under their rule at that time. They tried to make Medina a center of political weight for them against what they were worried about in Mecca and to achieve this they sent a governor from Istanbul, Sharif Haider, who tried to achieve the Turkish policy.

As soon as the Ottomans turned Medina into a military city where they mobilized their forces and weapons, they directed their weapons towards the Arabs and annihilated everyone in chilling scenes.

After the Ottomans turned Medina into a military city, they tried to take a set of measures through which they aspired to restore their control over all the areas of Hijaz, including Mecca, but all their attempts failed despite sending their fiercest and most brutal leader, Fakhri Pasha, until they were forced to surrender in 1919 AD.

  1. Amin Saeed, The Great Arab Revolution (Cairo: Issa Al-Babi Press).


  1. Imad Youssef, Hijaz in the Ottoman Era 1876-1918 AD (Baghdad: Al-Warraq Publishing, 2011).


  1. Abdul Rahim Abdul Rahman, Modern and Contemporary History of the Arabs, 5th Edition (Cairo: University Book Centre, 1990).


  1. Turkiah Jarallah, King Abdul Aziz’s Attitude towards the First World War (Master Thesis, Umm Al-Qura University, 2004).

He didn't pay attention to Fakhri's letters... He expressed his dissatisfaction with his crimes

The founder revealed the policy of the Ottomans, which, always, took advantage of the conflict of local powers during the First World War

The Ottoman Empire entered the war, allied with Germany against England and France, and as a result, the conflict and confrontation moved to the Arab region. This is because of the international competition over the region, and the feeling of the impending demise of the Ottoman Empire, increasing greed over its legacy.

The founder, King Abdulaziz bin Abdulrahman Al Saud, found himself in a critical decision-making position. International powers are expanding nearby, including the Ottoman Empire, and accordingly, any side he will take in the war, will, inevitably, affect the position of his borders and his state, which was in the stage of national unification of the Arabian Peninsula, especially since Britain is close to the Saudi borders with its control over some of the Arabian Gulf countries. Therefore, King Abdulaziz adhered to the policy of neutrality, and not to, directly, risk war with any of the warring parties.

The position taken by the founder is difficult for others to implement even if they wanted to remain neutral. This is especially since the warring parties were seeking to attract the political forces close to them with continuous pressure, but King Abdulaziz (may he rest in peace) was an exceptional man in an exceptional time. He was able to lead, and at the same time, he was able to complete the unification of the country, and protected its borders with a policy of preventing the interventions of the conflicting international parties during the First World War (1914-1918). In addition, he purified his land from the Ottoman Empire, one of the parties of the war. And, hence, he liberated the land while other nearby lands were colonized.

The Government of Union and Progress in the Ottoman Empire was seeking to tighten its grip on the Arab lands, to preserve its colonization, especially in the Arabian Peninsula, which represented its political propaganda, that is, the Two Holy Mosques, to support their position in the Islamic world, and to cut off the Red Sea Road in face of Britain. It was an important road leading to India, the jewel of the British crown. From here, the Ottoman Empire sent a Turkish military campaign to Sinai in order to reach the Suez Canal to occupy it and cut off the sea routes to England. On the other hand, they appointed one of the most important and fiercest military leaders “Fakhri Pasha” over Medina. And he is to become the one responsible for the extension of Ottoman influence in the Arabian Peninsula.

Letters, between Fakhri Pasha and King Abdulaziz, were sent in order to get King Abdulaziz enter in the ongoing war, but the founder maintained his neutrality and did not want to bring his country into the midst of the ongoing war. On the other hand, the founder does not trust the men of union and progress, nor does he trust their Ottoman Turkish state, of which the Arabs only remember them oppressing, and draining Arab capabilities. The founder was well aware, at the time, that the Ottomans, while trying to drag him into their losing war, were supporting his opponents in the Arabian Peninsula. They incited against him, to weaken him, on the one hand, and to push him to request their intervention, and on the other hand. Therefore, King Abdulaziz did not respond to the Ottoman correspondence, nor to its pressure through supporting his opponents.

King Abdulaziz was more strategically aware of ‎the political balance than the Turkish state, which has lasted for six centuries, inflicting oppression and colonialism.

When the noose was narrowed on Fakhri Pasha in Medina, he asked for help from King Abdulaziz, but the founder remained neutral due to his full awareness of the Ottoman policy, that is, to take advantage of the conflict of local forces. He asked for help after the blows they received from King Abdulaziz in Najd and Al-Ahsa. Besides, the founder was, also, preoccupied with several fronts during the unification stage, and was working on an international level and change that should affect the region. Otherwise, Fakhri Pasha, due to what he did in Medina, could not be accepted by the Saudis. So, if Fakhri were to stay longer, the Saudi force would have uprooted him, as it did with all those who tried to encroach on the borders of the homeland. King Abdulaziz was also upset and angry about the crimes of Fakhri Pasha in Medina.

According to historical sources, King Abdulaziz was familiar with the goals of Fakhri and his government, so he avoided responding to his messages because the founder’s next goal was to recover Hijaz as part of the unification of the Saudi land. That was not far from the end of the First World War in 1918. The Ottoman garrison in Medina surrendered and later abandoned it, hence, the Prophet’s city was restored to its Saudi homeland in the year (1925).

  1. Amin Al-Rihani, The History of Najd and its Appendices, 5th edition (Riyadh: Al-Fakheriya Publications, 1981).


  1. Turkiah Al-Jarallah, King Abdulaziz’s position on the First World War (Master’s Thesis, Umm Al-Qura University, 2004).


  1. Hafez Wahba, The Arabian Peninsula in the Twentieth Century (d.d.: Committee for Composing and Translating, 1935).


  1. Khayr al-Din al-Zirikli, The Peninsula in the Era of King Abdulaziz, 3rd Edition (Beirut: Dar Al-Ilm for Millions, 1985).


  1. Abdel Rahim Abdel Rahman, Modern and Contemporary History of the Arabs, 5th Edition (Cairo: Dar Al-Kitab Al-Jami, 1990).


  1. ʻAbd Allāh al-Ṣāliḥ ʻUthaymīn, History of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (Riyadh: Al-Obaikan Library, 1997).
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When he adhered to neutrality despite the bitterness of historical memory

The morals of King Abdulaziz during World War I contradicts the bad nature of the Ottomans and their malicious policy

In the year 1915, the First World War, with all its evil and pain, spread an atmosphere of anguish and bitterness. The Ottomans, who relied so much on their former reputation as an Empire, that spread its influence reached to central Europe began to recede and the emperor has been considered the sick man. It, also, did not succeed in staying in the neutral zone between the Axis Powers and the Allies, and their involvement in the war was more of like someone who killed himself. To explain, the regions, the Ottomans colonized, were stripped from them one after the other, as well as the countries, they abandoned, voluntarily, in failed deals for the sake of preserving their declining Ottoman Empire. Libya, Tunisia and Algeria were sold to France, Italy, and Palestine to the English. Still that was not but a mere price for the horrible crimes and their lack of deep understanding of the grumbling of the peoples, who were exhausted by their occupation, and foretelling their yearn to expel them.

The Saudis… and hope

In the middle of the Arabian Peninsula and at the beginning of 1916, King Abdulaziz bin Abdul rahman Al Saud had recaptured Najd and Al-Ahsa, and was on his way to unite the outskirts of the Arabian Peninsula and include them in his homeland. Those quick achievements made by the young king pushed the great and regional powers, surrounding the Arabian Peninsula, to pay attention to his influence and the size of his rapid and decisive achievement. Therefore, King Abdulaziz was able to gain recognition by the British and Ottomans of the influence of his emerging state.

The founder's pivotal policy overcame the expansion of international forces, and preserved the gains during the unification stage.

The situation in the Arabian Peninsula and the repercussions of the First World War

Overnight, Medina became the scene of the third of the Arab liberation battles against the Ottoman occupier in (1914) and beyond. After King Abdulaziz was able to unite Al Qassim and Al-Ahsa after expelling the Ottomans from them. Such great victory, motivated the Arabs to quickly get rid of the Ottoman occupier. Hence, this has turned Medina to a battlefield, in which the battle lasted for a long time against the Turkish Fakhri Pasha, yet ended with his expulsion together with his Turkish garrison from the Arabian Peninsula.

The King and the Uniting Strategy

King Abdul Aziz adhered to the kind of views, that he was raised upon and worked for. He aimed to unite above all else, and believed that the peoples are the ones that should rule, manage their own affairs, and solve their differences and problems without any foreign interference in their country. All the founder’s efforts, treaties, correspondences and alliances were laying the brick in the path of unifying the Saudi homeland on the Arabian Peninsula. Therefore, he did not surrender to the Ottomans’ attempts to drag him into their losing war and weak alliances, while, at the same time, they were trying to disrupt the Saudi national project by supporting his opponents and enemies from all sides.

The founder’s foretelling future events

King Abdulaziz spared his homeland the scourge of World War I (1914-1918), forming a position, through which he managed to protect his countrymen and unite their word. The founder sent several letters to the local governors and rulers in the Arabian Peninsula, inviting them to adhere to unity after the dangerous developments and repercussions, following the outbreak of world war. Yet, no one responded, and the responses were varied and contradictory, preferring self-interest and personal position of the conflicting forces over the public interest, as King Abdulaziz wanted to do.

Historian Khayr al-Din al-Zirikli describes this insightful initiative by King Abdulaziz, “The invitation did not succeed, but those who knew its value got notified. The British took the initiative to inform the King that they were his neighbors and that they wanted to reach an understanding with him. The Germans, through their Ottoman allies, sent similar messages. However, Abdulaziz retained his neutrality.”

Founder’s Policy Themes:

First: on the national level, King Abdulaziz began consolidating his authority over Najd and Al-Ahsa. Security was restored in both of them after they were subject to chaos and failure under the Ottoman administration in Al-Qassim and Al-Ahsa, hence, turning them into model of rapid stability that prompted other towns, tribes, and territories to correspond with him and join under his banner.

Second: on the Arabian Peninsula level, the king utilized his wisdom and a far-sighted view in dealing with his neighbors. But their actions, grave mistakes and fragile political positions enabled the young king, who believes in unity, to become the only alternative choice to recover all Saudi territories.

Third: on the international level, King Abdulaziz had an aptitude to foretell and analyze international changes, and politics, and knew how to move his country through the rugged paths of international conditions during the balances of World War I, especially because the war was global, that no one had any previous experience of such thing. Those great powers had routes of supply and influence that surrounded the Arabian Peninsula, and any collision with it means entering into a confrontation that they may not be able to stand.

The Ottomans tried to compensate for their losses in Europe, the Caucasus and Armenia by rushing towards the Arabian Peninsula, and keeping it under their occupation, while the island was trying to break free and rise from a slump that lasted for centuries under the pressure of Ottoman colonialism. And part of those Ottoman efforts was directed towards British influence, the enemy of the Germans. To explain, the Turks paid a heavy price for their alliance with the Germans, and for not realizing the consequences, as they chose the losing side in most of their wars, including the First World War.

The Ottomans tried to get King Abdulaziz to take their side in the First World War against the allies, and to support the Ottoman military effort, and to write to their governors and independent rulers, but that came too late, as the Turks had gone too far in the crimes they have committed  in the Arabian peninsula, and how much they have dealt with brutality and tyranny. Hence, they had to pay for their domination over the Arab nation, and what it suffered from the scourge of mercenaries and Turkish protectorates.

The international situation was difficult for politicians, yet, as for the founding king, his country  started to unite, even if the rest of the provinces are still chaotic, because of the Ottoman governors. Therefore, in his quest to restore his kingdom, he dealt with great prudence, patience and cunning. Here, his wisdom emerges, in dealing with each situation separately, so as not to squander the gains, nor rushing with anyone. And at the same time, despite the weakness of the Ottoman Empire, King Abdulaziz did not fight the Sultan, and did not stand in the side of the allies, but rather dealt with them as required by the interests of his country, and the people in the territories, he recovered. During the war period, the king remained neutral despite the bitterness that everyone experienced from the Ottoman occupier, but the king dealt with them throughout the period of World War I, with his morals not theirs.

  1. Amin Al-Rihani, The History of Najd and its Appendices, 5th edition (Riyadh: Al-Fakheriya Publications, 1981).


  1. Turkiah Al-Jarallah, King Abdulaziz’s position on the First World War (Master’s Thesis, Umm Al-Qura University, 2004).


  1. Hafiz Wahba, the Arab’s island in the 20th century, ( D.M: translation and composition committee, 1935).


  1. Khayr al-Din al-Zirikli, the Arabian peninsula during the reign of King Abdulaziz, P. 3( Beirut, Dar El Ilm Lilmalayin, 1985).