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Britain & Wahhabism

Published on Mar 25, 2013 by Press TV News

Britain & Wahhabism
No one can reject the role of the British Colonel, fashioned in Hollywood as the Lawrence of Arabia, in Arabs’ fight against the Ottoman Empire and the subsequent formation of Wahhabi Saudi Arabia.

However, that is not the whole story as far as Britain is concerned because Brits were there when the Wahhabi reading of Islam was first founded and before even the Saudi Arabia existed.

There are accounts, including the Memoirs Of Mr Hempher, The British Spy To The Middle East, that show British Foreign and Commonwealth Office created Wahhabism that takes an intolerant view of other interpretations of Islam and other religions.

Even if such accounts are not precise – as several commentators have objected — Britain did create Saudi Arabia in collaboration with the Wahhabi Al-Saud tribe and did use Wahhabis’ intolerance and its old policy of “divide and conquer” to wage an internal war in the Ottoman empire, which was the most serious obstacle to London’s control over the Middle East until the First World War (1914-1918).

Abdulaziz Bin Abdul Rahman Al Saud, who founded the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 1932, was a local ruler in the Arabian Peninsula when the Great War began.

Following the outbreak of war, the British who were fighting Ottomans established diplomatic ties with Abdulaziz and the two signed the Treaty of Darin as early as 1915, which made the lands of the Al-Saud family a British protectorate.

Published on Mar 25, 2013 by Press TVNews
Abdulaziz was a descendent of Muhammad Al Saud, who ruled the Najd area of the peninsula in the 18th century, who was a friend of founder of Wahhabism Muhammad Ibn Abdul Wahhab (1703-1792), and who chose Wahhabism for his tribe for the first time.

The British followed the treaty with a monthly tribute of £5,000 as well as huge supplies of arms and helped the would-be king conquer the central Arabian Peninsula, especially the cities of Hejaz, Mecca and Medina until 1927.

London replaced the Treaty of Darin with the Treaty of Jeddah on May 20, 1927 that recognized the Saudi-held territories’ independence, a move that helped Abdulaziz start kingdom of Saudi Arabia on September 23, 1932.

It was a win-win situation as Britain installed a regime ruled by one of its paid puppets to protect London’s interests and used the Al-Saud’s Wahhabi beliefs to shatter its arch-enemy, the Ottomans, while Abdulaziz realized Al-Saud’s long-sought rule over the peninsula.

Britain was indeed Abdul Aziz’s mentor from the very beginning and the later Saudi monarch did not hide these ties.

In his public speeches to the army of Wahhabi Brothers, he always thanked the British for their favors, reminding the Wahhabis that they would not have achieved victory without Britain.

The creation of Saudi Arabia was also a victory for Britain in line with its original designs envisaged in Wahhabi Islam, whose founder was excommunicated by scholars of all other Islamic sects in the 18th century.

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