Chapter 11
Arabia Felix

T HE fight was over. Ibn Sa'ud had reached the peak of his career. The Arabia over which he was to rule for nearly three more decades was united as never before: within the utmost limits practicable in the international circumstances of the time, and exceeding anything which any of his ancestors had effectively controlled. Within these limits he would not be challenged again; and the realm which he had carved out for himself with his sword and his faith would descend intact to his successor. The vital factor at the moment was his reputation for justice and resolution, which was seldom put to the test, and always vindicated when the rare need arose. For the first time in human memory Arabia had a single ruler whom all could, and did, respect.

At the age of forty-five he was in the prime of life, with a lifetime of achievement already behind him; but victory had refreshed him like a giant to run again. And again, as before, he would have to run alone: in the presence of more numerous and more critical spectators, and under very different conditions. By birth and breeding an aristocrat to the core with a firm belief in the divine right of kings and in their duty to rule, he was by temperament a democrat familiar enough with the processes of common consultation, which were an integral element of Arab life. And it was perhaps his personality which reconciled the two strains in his character in an easy assumption of leadership: the proper function of which he himself was often wont to interpret with a quotation from the Quran: 'Take counsel among yourselves, and if they agree with you, well and good; but if otherwise, then put your trust in God, and do that which you deem best.'

This method had served him well enough hitherto in situations demanding the exercise of that instinctive skill which is the prerogative of the expert. But his new status as an international figure was to confront him with problems of an unfamiliar type, for the tackling of which his past experience provided no guide,

-292-

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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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