The Great War and Abdulaziz

The First Great War (many historians called it this name) began in 1914 AD, and its impact reached the Arabian Peninsula. King Abdulaziz (may Allah have mercy on him) was the shrewdest prince of the Arabian Peninsula. He had great insight and a clear opinion. He advised the Princes not to engage in the events.

He wrote to all of them, such as Sharif Hussein, Ibn Rasheed, and the Sheikh of Kuwait, inviting them to hold an Arab meeting to determine the attitude of the Arabs towards international turmoil and to have the same opinion to defend their rights if they were attacked. However, the princes did not care about the matter and each made a different alliance. Ibn Rasheed joined the Turks, while Sharif Hussein and the Sheikh of Kuwait joined the British.

Everyone was aware of how important it was if King Abdulaziz decided to join one of the parties, even though he was still unifying the country.  Therefore, he met with a delegate from the British, Lieutenant Shakespeare, who had previously met him in Uqair with the presence of the British political resident. He also hosted a delegation from the Turks led by Shukri Al-Alusi. Ibn Saud honored those delegations, and then they left in a classy manner. He chose for his country the matter that he considered appropriate, which is neutrality in the matter of the Turks, so he did not fight Al-Hussein, and he did not fight the Turks as the British wanted. The delegate of King Abdulaziz met with Sharif Abdullah bin Al-Hussein at the borders and he was delegated by his father to consider the new situations of interest to both parties, and the meeting ended without success.

King Abdulaziz remained neutral and was able to eliminate the remnants of the Turks. During these events, Sir Percy Cox reached him and they met on the island of Darin opposite Qatif, and the meeting resulted in the first treaty between Ibn Saud and Britain known as the Qatif Treaty. What attracts attention in that meeting is the offer made by Percy Cox that the hero Abdulaziz Al Saud should assume the Islamic caliphate, who in turn completely rejected it. If this indicates anything, it indicates the rejection of any control by force, the unwillingness to dominate the peoples, and the desire to preserve their rights and sovereignty over their lands.

There were many types of aggressions against King Abdulaziz and his soldiers that there is no room to mention, and he overlooked many of them so that he could unite everyone and agree on one opinion that calls for stability.

Among the most prominent events, for example, was Uqair Conference. That conference was held after the end of the First World War, in which disputes and the emergence of international relations with the neighborhood, were reconsidered. Among those disputes was the conflict between Ibn Saud and Sharif Hussein, the dispute of Ibn Saud, Iraq and Jordan, and the issue of the borders between Iraq and Najd and between Najd and Kuwait. The conference was attended by Sultan Abdulaziz, and that title was before the unification of the country in the name of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the change of his title to King. Sir Percy Cox also attended, and the Sultan was angry because the conference included the disobedient. Several meetings were held between them and they were able to reach an agreement on the borders and the Sultan (may Allah have mercy on him) waived some tribes that had a role in the instability of the region in and around Najd. He demanded that Qurayyat Al-Milh be affiliated with Al-Jawf, which means that it should be affiliated with Najd. Cox agreed, and the conference ended with those decisions.

King Abdulaziz was exposed to grave dangers that were overcome with patience and wisdom. This was due to his quest to improve the conditions of his people to the better and to move from one stage to another in wise and gradual ways, taking into account the political changes, circumstances and appropriate times. We can add to this the massacres that the Arabs were subjected to by deliberate persecution of the pashas of the Ottoman Empire led by Jamal Pasha and his followers starting from Sha’ban 1333 AH / June 1914 AD.