Senior Arab political analyst and writer Anees Naqqash recounts how the British Empire played a decisive role in the creation and regional rise of the modern state of Saudi Arabia, and how the Americans later provided protection in exchange for control over Saudi oil.
According to Naqqash, who is a prominent feature on Lebanese and Arab media, the Saudi royal family has for decades been used by the British and Americans due to their political and economic expediency.
Naqqash was speaking at an event promoting his new book ‘A look at the course of future transformations to the Gulf’.
Source: Al-Wafa’a Islamic Party (YouTube)
Date: 6 October, 2018
Regarding the issue of the Gulf and Gulf states, I believe that understanding the historical roots of any issue or phenomena is essential for understanding its formation and the reason it was formed, and its current and future motion, meaning the dynamics of its motion and development.
Unfortunately, our enemy knows about our affairs sometimes more than we know about ourselves. For this reason I mention the words of (Horatio Herbert) Kitchener, the British official in charge of the region, who launched a war on Sudan and perpetrated massacres, then became the ruler of the region from Egypt, then the head of British policies in the region.
Before WWI, (Kitchener) asks: has Wahhabism perished, or is it still under the ashes? They answered him: ‘no, it is still under the ashes, it did not perish’. ‘Where are they?’ They told him that they reside in a region close to Kuwait, on the coastline, meaning their state was very weak, after they were defeated in their latest battles.
These Wahhabis had come from Najd, and had gathered large and very fierce tribes and forces, which took the Arabian Peninsula, they marched onto Iraq and Syria, they wiped out Karbala and Najaf, and reached the outskirts of Baghdad and Damascus. The Turks at the time could not fend them off, even though the Turkish Empire was very large, and had a great army. Yet the army of Muhammad Ali of Egypt came and was able to push them back. These historical details which I share with you were for Kitchener at that time considered contemporary history, going back decades and not centuries. For this reason (Kitchener) needed them (the Wahhabis) for his future program, and he also needed Sharif Hussein, the ruler of Mecca and Medina, who was appointed by the Turks, as a noble Hashemite ruler of these (cities).
Why did he need them? Because he had knowledge of the Muslims as much as the Muslims had knowledge of themselves, if not more than the Muslims at times. The British army, which was present in the Middle East and which had marched onto (this region), its number was 1.3 million soldiers. One million soldiers were not English, 300,000 were English while one million were from India, the famous English colony. Of the one million Indian soldiers, 700,000 were Muslim, the rest being Hindus and Sikhs. The Muslims being more zealous to volunteer as soldiers of war, even on behalf of Britain. However, when war is to be against the Islamic Caliphate in Istanbul, the Muslim (soldier) has religious and jurisprudential obstacles. Kitchener, who knew his army will wage this war against the Turks, required a ‘fatwa’ that grants permission for these soldiers to fight with him.
So he went to Sharif Hussein and told him, you are an Arab and Hashemite, you are superior to the Turkish Caliph in Istanbul, and you should be the Caliph of the Muslims, and we the British (Empire) are prepared to support you. This Sharif Hussein who was (originally) appointed by the Turks – there were hundreds of other Hashemites besides him, he wasn’t the only Hashemite, they could have chosen one of his cousins or relatives, there were many. They chose him, all his children did their education in Istanbul, he was an employee, the head of a region of the Ottoman Empire. He accepted to cooperate with the English, so that the Caliphate can be in the hands of the Arabs, and to build a great Arab state after liberating themselves from the Turks.
So he issued the fatwa of jihad against the Turkish army. The fatwa was translated into English, Urdu, and all sorts of languages, so that the English (British) army could understand it. It was spread throughout the army, and they said ‘Allahu Akbar, we can now fight!’ And so Britain fought the Muslims using Muslims through this political game. Then they realised, especially the Queen’s envoy in India, that the project of a great Arab state and Islamic-Arab Caliphate, is more dangerous than Turkey. Meaning that we (the British) finally succeeded in moving Turkey away from the Middle East – so that we can open up a land passageway from Europe/Britain to India – we do not need someone to now establish a vast Arab state and Islamic Caliphate!
So they came to Abdul Aziz ibn Saud, and told him: ‘you will be Caliph’. (Hang on), they promised two, so will this person be the caliph or that one? That’s not important for the British, what’s important is that the Muslims fight each other. So (ibn Saud) said his famous statement: ‘I don’t believe in this caliphate to begin with, yet if you appoint me as a Sultan then I accept’. So they told him ‘you’re the Sultan’. ‘Now take control of the (Arab) Peninsula’. They armed and trained his (army). He expelled Sharif Hussein from Mecca and Medina. Sharif Hussein, who was suppose to rule the Arab world from his position in Mecca and Medina, was now on the run. He was expelled to Cyprus, and his children were scattered around. One escaped to Jordan, while the other, Faisal, was appointed as the king of Iraq.
The point of this story is to show that these kingdoms and ruling families were used, brought, armed, trained, and states were established for them, for the sake of certain objectives. This is not an accusation (against them), this is going off historical documentation.
I’m not accusing them because I disagree with them, no, this is historical fact. It was arranged that whoever remained of Sharif Hussein’s sons – we will give Abdullah (ibn Hussein) the ‘Emirate of Transjordan’, they created an entity called ‘Transjordan’, Abdul Aziz (ibn Saud) had taken control of what is called Saudi Arabia today – the (Arabian) Peninsula – Faisal (ibn Sharif Hussein) was made King of Iraq for a short period of time, then the Iraqi army revolted against him and you know what happened there.
When oil appeared in Saudi Arabia, an additional function (for the Saudi state) arose: 1) that this oil be subjected to the policies of America, in exchange for American protection for this royal family (Al Saud), and so British protection changed to American protection. So in their minds they know that they were not able to become kings over the region except with the support of English wealth, and they were not able to remain (in power) and extract oil from the ground only until the Americans came.