Persistence, determination and strength in King Abdulaziz's response to the Ottoman delegate:
When did it happen that Ibn Saud would accept a bribe or sell his country and its subjects to people who want to enslave it?
After King Abdulaziz bin Abdul Rahman Al Saud – may God have mercy on his soul – managed to recapture Riyadh in 1902; he subsequently embarked on his major operations to unify the land of the Arabian Peninsula, seeking God’s help first, and then his belief that the people of the Arabian Peninsula would have a state and government that would take into account God and fear him, and treat them with kindness and justice.
From this standpoint, King Abdulaziz began to unify the regions of Al-Arid, Al-Washam, and Sudair, and south of Riyadh before, then he focused on the Al-Qassim region, which has a strategic location in geopolitical terms, as It is a link between Najd and the north of the Arabian Peninsula and a crossroads of the trade routes that exit from it towards Iraq and the Levant, in addition to all of that, it is in the center between the borders of the Saudi state that was established by King Abdulaziz and the Ottomans with their ally Abdulaziz bin Rashid, who strived to stop the stage of unification undertaken by the founder King Abdulaziz (may God have mercy on his soul).
The Ottoman Empire felt the gravity of the matter as King Abdulaziz approached from Al-Qassim to it and its ally in the Arabian Peninsula, so it supported him to preserve his political existence, so it provided him with regular soldiers to confront the founding king. The battles of Al-Bukairiyah and Al-Shanana in which King Abdulaziz confronted the Ottomans and their ally face to face in 1904. Historical sources indicate that the Ottoman Empire provided Ibn Rashid with a large number of regular soldiers with their modern weapons of cannons, which were more than six cannons and large quantities of weapons, ammunition and supplies.
Number of soldiers was estimated at more than one thousand five hundred. At first, Ibn Rashid confiscated what he found from the camels of Aqilat al-Qassim, and hold them responsible for a large part of the food, supplies, and weapons, he obtained, which he transported from Iraq to Najd, and quickly set out to Al-Qassim with the Ottoman regular army; Their forces were estimated at about Ten thousand fighters to confront King Abdulaziz and stop him before recovering all of Al-Qassim.
Against those crowds, King Abdulaziz, while in Buraidah, called for the people of the desert and Al-Hadrah to meet him. The number of arrivals was several thousand warriors. He marched with them out from Buraydah and settled in Al Busr, then he traveled with them towards Al Bukayriyah, in an attempt to prevent his opponents from entering it and confronting him.
The Saudis fought fiercely, so Prince Saud Abn Hdhlwl mentions in his book “The history of the kings of the Al-Saud” that the deaths of the Ottoman soldiers were about one thousand and five hundred, many of them were officers. It was a glorious victory for the Saudis who captured a number of Ottoman soldiers and looted some cannons and returned to Al-Bukairiya at night.
King Abdulaziz set out in all the countries of Al-Qassim to secure them from the oppression of the enemies. The people of the towns refused to submit to the occupier and the forces of Ibn Rashid. Therefore, some towns’ palm trees, including Al-Khobraa, were cut down and the town was attacked with cannons. Therefore, King Abdulaziz decided to save the people, and sought to protect them from their oppression, so he sought to expel the invaders and track down the remnants of the defeated Ottoman army and Ibn Rashid.
The Ottomans and Ibn Rashid settled in Al-Shanana and camped therein. The forces of King Abdulaziz bin Saud settled in Al-Rass; the outcome of the Battle of Al-Bukairiya was positive, as it led to raising the morale of the Saudis, and that they were able to defeat the columns of the regular Turkish army and their ally who was crushed in the battle
King Abdulaziz competed with the Ottomans and Ibn Rashid over the towns in Qassim, including Ibn Aqeel Palace, which King Abdulaziz expected the defeated to go to. He arrived before them and ambushed them. When they approached, he went out to them and a fierce fighting took place, as a result of which, the Turks were defeated, and fled, and Ibn Rashid was defeated and left many spoils of ammunition, weapons, money and gold. The king’s forces spent ten days to collect all of it, and they carried the Ottoman gold chests to Unaizah.
One of the most important results of the Battle of Shanana was the disintegration of the Ottoman forces and their ally, due to the strategy followed by the founding king and his experience in choosing locations and his courage in fighting. After the battle, a dispute occurred between Ibn Rashid and the Ottoman officers. The Ottomans also knew that they were facing a strong figure in the Arabian Peninsula that could not be overcome, as they were facing the founding King Abdulaziz bin Abdul Rahman Al Saud, as they realized that he was the only one capable of ending their dreams of the Arabian Peninsula under their control, and they were convinced that he was the only one who would expel their garrisons from it.
Therefore, the Ottoman Empire made contacts with King Abdulaziz, and this led to holding negotiations, so the commander of the Ottoman forces, Hassan Shukri, sent to King Abdulaziz a letter accusing him of fomenting sedition in the Arab countries and offering him advice with a veiled threat, and he received a shocking response from King Abdulaziz, who exposed the Turkish their role in the events took place in the Arabian Peninsula.
The founder, King Abdulaziz, taught the Ottomans a lesson in negotiation using the logic of force after he struck terror in their hearts on the battlefield.
The Saudi historian Abdullah bin Muhammad Al-Bassam narrates in his famous masterpiece, the response of King Abdulaziz, as he responded to Hassan Shukri by saying: “As for your saying that the Commander of the Faithful was informed of this sedition in the Arab countries, and it was only easy for him to reform it,
Oh my God! Is not he aware of the shenanigans taking place? as he is the mastermind behind it and it is what he aims for. As for your saying that the Great Caliph sent you to see the dispute between me and Ibn Rashid, it is only because you want to betray my emirate. If the matter was as you claimed, you would have looked into the matter, to whom the country of Najd belongs. You could have intervened four years ago, and before we became suspicious of your bad actions, but now we do not accept advice from you and do not acknowledge your sovereignty, and it is better that you leave this place if you do not want to shed blood. If you marched to us, there is no doubt that we will treat you as our aggressors, if you are free and fair, then you are aware that the reason for my disobedience is my lack of trust in you, and what they and the pilgrims encounter in Al-Masjid al-Haram of pillage and plunder. So, any advice would you give me, Your Honorable prince, along with the bad intentions I witnessed in the country, the malicious intentions of the workers and the wish of the all Muslims, is to have someone prepared to protect their estate and lead them to greatness. In summary, all those workers whom we saw as traitors and hypocrites, so there is no obedience to you upon us, but we see you as the rest foreign countries “.
The response clearly showed the decisive stance taken by King Abdulaziz against the Turks, stating the reasons and grounds that made him not to trust them, and presented a comprehensive review of the situation of the Arab region that was under their rule and their tyrannical and arrogant oppression. King Abdulaziz dealt with intelligence and cleverness with that threat, and the Turks realized that their position was disrupted in Najd, so they sent Field Marshal, Ahmed Faydi Pasha to negotiate with King Abdulaziz in Unaizah, who did not reach an agreement that satisfies all parties, and did not complete his negotiations due to traveling to Yemen, and appointed Sedqi Pasha to carry out this task and solve the problems.
Sedqi Pasha took control of the Turkish army in Al-Shihiyah, and did not move a finger, so was neither a warrior nor a pacifist, but a spectator, then he began negotiating later and described King Abdulaziz, saying: “As for Ibn Saud, he is the diplomat of the desert, showing ingenuity in dealing with others.” Then Sedqi Pasha was summoned to Baghdad in (1906), and the area was handed over to Sami Pasha Al-Faruqi, who came to Al-Qassim from Medina with a military force of 500 soldiers, in an attempt to improve the situation of the Turks there. When he reached it, he requested a meeting with King Abdul Aziz to negotiate.
During that meeting, Hosni Pasha uttered words that were disapproved of by King Abdulaziz, and he became extremely angry with him and said: “I apologize for what appeared from you, I also apologize for the state that entrusts its affairs to the likes of you. The Arabs would not have been obedient, and were it not that you were a guest with us, we would not have let you go. Sami Pasha tried to extract a recognition from King Abdulaziz of the Turkish sovereignty over Qassim and to be affiliated with the Ottoman Empire. King Abdulaziz replied in response by saying: “When did Ibn Saud accept a bribe or sell his country and his subjects to people who want to enslave it?” Such strong stance from King Abdulaziz led to terrorizing the Turks and achieving strategic victory on the battlefield, militarily and morally over the enemies.
- Khalid Faraj, News and eyewitnesses in the history of Najd, investigation: Abdulrahman Alshaqeer (Riyadh, Obekan Bookstore, 2000).
- Khalifa Abdulrahman Al-Masoud, Al-Shanana and its historical role through the stages of Saudi rule (Riyadh, Narjis Printing Press, 2006).
- Saud Abn Hdhlwl, The history of the kings of the Al-Saud, 2nd ED (Riyadh: Medina Printing, 1982).
- Abdullah Uthaymeen, King Abdul Aziz famous battles to unify the country, (Riyadh, Obekan Bookstore, 1995).
- Abdullah Al-Bassam, Tuḥfat al-mushtāq fī akhbār Najd wa-al-Ḥijāz wa-al-‘Irāq, (Riyadh, King Abdulaziz Foundation (Darah(, 2004).
- Muhammad Bin Abdullah Al-Abd Al-Qader Al-Ansari, Tuḥfat al-mustafīd bi-tārīkh al-Aḥsā’ fī al-qadīm wa-al-jadīd, 2nd Edition (Riyadh: Almaarife, 1982).