Chapter 9
'Abdul-'Aziz II ibn Sa'ud

W ITH the death of Muhammad ibn Rashid, the little principality of Kuwait became for a time the pivot of desert politics as well as a focus of international rivalry and tension. The Turks had lost an ally of inestimable value in Central Arabia, and were probably well aware of the fact that they could not count very heavily on his successor at Haïl. ' Abdul-'Aziz ibn Mit'ab ibn Rashid could not be reckoned in the same class as the Sa'dun chiefs of the 'Iraq Muntafiq or Shaikh Mubarak al Sabah, though, with suitable support in the shape of money and arms, he would have a certain nuisance value. It it unlikely that Sa'dun Pasha himself ever entertained any ambition to rule in Central Arabia: he was probably quite content with his dominant position in lower ' Iraq, and regarded the desert merely as an arena for the normal raids and joustings of the period. It was different with Mubarak, who certainly had dreams of stepping into the shoes of the dead Muhammad. With the principal members of the Sa'ud family as his guests in exile, he had strong cards to play, though he could not foresee the way the game would go, almost from the start. The overbearing behaviour of the new Ibn Rashid towards his subjects tended to encourage his optimism; and it was not long before the British Government, alarmed at the Turco-German Drang nach Kuwait in the interests of the Berlin-Baghdad railway, set his fears at rest so far as Kuwait itself was concerned by undertaking to protect it against any foreign aggression. Mubarak's hands were thus free for adventures in the desert, and he had its key in his pocket, as it were. He could also count on the cooperation of the Muntafiq in excursions into Ibn Rashid's territories, whence emanated the normal Badawin raids against the marches of ' Iraq.

Actually it was Ibn Rashid who took the initiative in the matter. In the autumn of 1898 he paid a visit to the neighbourhood of Riyadh to see that all was well in the Wahhabi homeland, of which his uncle had been the effective ruler for a dozen

-237-

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Saudi Arabia
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page v
  • Contents vii
  • Illustrations viii
  • Foreword xi
  • Introduction 1
  • Chapter 1 - The Barony of Dar'iya 8
  • Chapter 2 - Muhammad ibn Sa'ud 33
  • Chapter 3 - 'Abdul-'Aziz I ibn Sa'ud 60
  • Chapter 4 - Sa'ud II ibn Sa'ud 101
  • Chapter 5 - 'Abdullah I ibn Sa'ud 128
  • Chapter 6 - Turki ibn Sa'ud 147
  • Chapter 7 - Faisal ibn Sa'ud 169
  • Chapter 8 - 'Abdullah II and Sa'ud III abna Sa'ud 218
  • Chapter 9 - 'Abdul-'Aziz II ibn Sa'ud 237
  • Chapter 10 - Expansion and Consolidation 265
  • Chapter 11 - Arabia Felix 292
  • Index 361
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