The covert alliance between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Zionist entity of Israel should be no surprise to any student of British imperialism. The problem is the study of British imperialism has very few students. A study by Dr. Askar H. al-Enazy, “The Creation of Saudi Arabia: Ibn Saud and British Imperial Policy, 1914-1927”, has provided primary sourced evidence on the origins of this relation between Ibn Saud and Zionist plans.
The defeat of the Ottoman Empire by British imperialism in World War One, left three distinct authorities in the Arabian peninsula:
- The Sharif of Hijaz: Hussain bin Ali of Hijaz (in the west)
- Ibn Rashid of Ha’il (in the north) and
- Emir Ibn Saud of Najd (in the east) and his religiously fanatical followers, the Wahhabis.
Ibn Saud had entered the war early in January 1915 on the side of the British, but was quickly defeated and his British handler, William Shakespear was killed by the Ottoman Empire’s ally Ibn Rashid. This defeat greatly hampered Ibn Saud’s utility to the Empire.
The British had also strongly led the Sharif of Hijaz to believe, via correspondence with Henry McMahon, the British High Commissioner in Egypt, that a unified Arab country from Gaza to the Persian Gulf will be established with the defeat of the Turks.
As soon as the war ended, the Sharif wanted to hold the British to their war time promises – or what he perceived to be their war
time promises. The British, on the other hand, wanted the Sharif to accept the Empire’s new reality which was:
A division of the Arab world between them and the French (Sykes-Picot agreement) and the implementation of the Balfour Declaration, which guaranteed ‘a national for the Jewish people’ in Palestine by colonisation with European Jews.
This new reality was contained in the British written, Anglo-Hijaz Treaty, which the Sharif was profoundly averse to signing. The Sharif let it be known that he will never sell out Palestine to the Empire’s Balfour Declaration. Thus the Sharif made it clear he will never give in to the establishment of Zionism in Palestine or accept the new random borders drawn across Arabia by British and French imperialists. The British then began referring to him as an ‘obstructionist’, a ‘nuisance’.
The British then informed the Sharif that they were prepared to take drastic measures to bring about his approval on this issue of Palestine and of the new reality, regardless of the service that he had rendered them during the War.
After the Cairo Conference in March 1921, T.E. Lawrence (of Arabia) was dispatched to meet the Sharif to bribe and bully him to accept Britain’s Zionist colonial project in Palestine. Initially, Lawrence and the Empire offered 80,000 rupees. The Sharif rejected it outright.
Lawrence of Arabia then offered him an annual payment of £100,000. The Sharif refused to compromise and sell Palestine to British Zionism.
When financial bribery failed to persuade the Sharif, Lawrence threatened him with an Ibn Saud takeover.
In between negotiating with the Sharif, Lawrence made the time to visit other leaders in the Arabian peninsula and informed them that they if they don’t tow the British line, the Empire will unleash Ibn Saud and his Wahhabis who, after all, are at Britain’s ‘beck and call’.
Churchill also informed the Sharif’s son, Abdullah, that he should persuade “his father to accept the Palestine mandate and sign a treaty to such effect,” if not “the British would unleash Ibn Saud against Hijaz.”
In the meantime, the British were planning to unleash Ibn Saud on the ruler of Ha’il, Ibn Rashid in the north, since Ibn Rashid had also rejected negotiations from the British Empire made to him via Ibn Saud, to be another one of its puppets.
With both the Sharif and Ibn Rashid rejecting the British powers, the British became concerned that an alliance maybe brewing between Ibn Rashid who controlled the northern part of the peninsula and the Sharif who controlled the western part.
Thus, Churchill agreed with an imperial officer, Sir Percy Cox that “Ibn Saud should be ‘given the opportunity to occupy Ha’il.’”
By the end of 1920, the British were showering Ibn Saud with “a monthly ‘grant’ of £10,000 in gold, on top of his monthly subsidy (al-Enazy, p.104).
He also received abundant arms supplies, totalling more than 10,000 rifles, in addition to the critical siege and four field guns” with British-Indian instructors. [Askar H. al-Enazy, “The Creation of Saudi Arabia: Ibn Saud and British Imperial Policy, 1914-1927” (2010), p.104] So in September 1921, the British unleashed Ibn Saud on Ha’il which officially surrendered in November 1921.
The British then bestowed a new title on Ibn Saud: He was no longer to be “Emir of Najd and Chief of its Tribes” but “Sultan of Najd and its Dependencies”.
A new round of talks between the Empire and Sharif’s son Abdulla’s, acting on behalf of his father in Transjordan resulted in a draft treaty accepting Zionism.
When it was delivered to the Sharif with an accompanying letter from his son requesting that he “accept reality”. The Sharif didn’t even bother to read the treaty and instead composed a draft treaty himself rejecting the new divisions of Arabia, the Balfour Declaration and the Palestinian issue and sent it to London to be ratified.
After a further three rounds of negotiations in Amman and London, it dawned on the Empire that Sharif Hussain will never relinquish Palestine to Great Britain’s Zionist project or accept the new divisions in Arab lands. Meanwhile, Ibn Saud’s forces continued to gain territory.
In Ta’if, Ibn Saud’s Wahhabis committed their customary massacres, slaughtering Muslim men, women and children as well as going into mosques and killing traditional Islamic scholars. They captured the holiest place in Islam, Mecca, in mid-October 1924 with their British weapons.
Finally, Ibn Saud had begun his siege of Jeddah in January 1925 and the city eventually surrendered in December 1925 bringing to an end over 1000 years of rule by the Prophet Muhammad’s .descendants
The British officially recognised Ibn Saud as the new King of Hijaz in 1926. Within weeks, other European powers followed suit, establishing Ibn Saud’s international status amongst Western powers. The new unified Wahhabi state was rebranded by the Empire in 1932 as the “Kingdom of Saudi Arabia” (KSA). In conclusion, the Sharif’s rejection of Zionist plans led the British to make Ibn Saudi and the Wahhabis their leading power in the region. The British Empire’s drive to impose Zionism in Palestine is thus embedded in the geographical DNA of contemporary Saudi Arabia. (Article By Nu’Man Abd Al Wahid)