Abdulaziz bin Saúd – Biography of Abdulaziz bin Saúd

Abdulaziz ben Abderrahman Al SaúdBorn in Riyadh, Arabia, on January 15, 1880, he was a Muslim tribal and religious leader, who formed the modern state of Saudi Arabia and began the exploitation of its oil.

The Sauds ruled much of Arabia from 1780 to 1880; but while bin Saud he was still an infant, his family, driven out by his rivals, the Rashids, becoming penniless exiles in Kuwait. In 1901, bin SaudThe then 21-year-old left Kuwait with 40 men on camels in a daring attempt to reclaim his family’s lands.

Arriving in their former family capital, Riyadh, the small group sneaked into the city at night (January 1902). Governor Rashidi slept in the castle, but went out every morning after sunrise. bin Saud it remained hidden until the governor emerged. Then, running with his men, he killed him and seized the castle. This feat woke up the old supporters of his dynasty. They joined a very magnetic leader and, in two years of raids and skirmishes, bin Saud reconquered half of central Arabia.

bin Rashid, however, asked the Turks for help, who sent troops; bin Saud he suffered a defeat at their hands on June 15, 1904. But he was not expelled from central Arabia and soon reconstituted his forces, spending the years 1907 to 1912 in unfortunate fighting. The Turks finally left, unable to supply more troops.

bin Saud decided, in the years leading up to World War I, to revive his dynasty’s support for Wahhabism, a puritan extremist Muslim revival. bin Saud he was in fact a devout Puritan Muslim: for him, the Qur’an was literally the word of God, and his life was regulated by it. However, he was also aware that religious fanaticism could serve his ambition, and he deliberately fostered it, founding a tribal organization of militant religion known as Ikhwan (Brothers). This fanatical brotherhood encouraged his followers to fight and slaughter their Arab rivals, and helped him bring many members of the nomadic tribes under more immediate control.

He was also able to persuade religious leaders to declare it a religious duty for all Wahhabis to abandon nomadism and build houses in the wells of the desert. Thus established, they could more easily be drafted into your army. But the scheme was unrealistic: nomads who sold their herds were often unable to farm and were reduced to misery. The removal of the more fanatical tribes, however, made them more eager to attack, and bin Saud he was quick to suggest that bin Rashid’s subjects be looted.

During the First World War, bin Saud signed a treaty with the British (December 1915), accepting protectorate status and agreeing to wage war against bin Rashid, who was being supported by the Turks. But despite British guns and a £ 5,000 a month subsidy from the British government (which continued until 1924), he did not get involved until 1920, arguing that the subsidy was insufficient. During 1920–22, however, he marched against bin Rashid and extinguished the Rashidi government, doubling his own territory but without significantly increasing his meager income.

bin Saud now he ruled central Arabia, except for the Hejaz region along the Red Sea. This was the territory of Sharif Husayn of Mecca, who had become king of the Hejaz during the war and declared himself Caliph (head of the Muslim community) in 1924. Sharif Nusayn Abd Allah’s son had become made governor of Transjordan in 1921, and another son, Faysal, king of Iraq. bin Saud, fearing to be surrounded by this rival dynasty, he decided to invade the Hejaz. He was then at the height of his powers; his strong personality and extraordinary charm had won the devotion of all his subjects. A skilled politician, he worked closely with the religious leaders, who always supported him. Relying on the Ikhwan to eliminate their Arab rivals, they sent them to attack their neighbors, then warned the British, whose imperial interests were involved, that the raid was against their orders. In 1924, the Ikhwan took Mecca and the Hejaz was added to their dominions.

At this point, there were no more rivals than bin Saud could conquer, since the remainder had treaties with Great Britain. But the Ikhwan had been taught that all non-Wahhabi Muslims were unfaithful. When bin Saud he prohibited further incursions, they accused him of treason, quoting his own words against him. In 1927 they invaded Iraq against their wishes. They were repulsed by British aircraft, but the authority of bin Saud over them had vanished, so on March 29, 1929, the Ikhwan, the fanatics whom he had trained himself, were crushed by the bin Saud in the battle of Sibilla.

The battle opened a new era; thereafter, the task of bin Saud it was the government, not the conquest. In 1932 he formally unified his dominions forming the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. An absolutist monarch, he had no regular civil service or professional administrators. All decisions were made by him or by whom he personally delegated for a particular task. There was little money, and he himself was not interested in finances.

In May 1933, the first agreement was signed with an American oil company. It was not until March 1938 that the company hit oil, and work practically ceased during WWII, so bin Saud he was almost penniless. Saudi Arabia did not participate in the war, but oil exploitation resumed towards the end of the war. By 1950, bin Saúd had received a total of about $ 200,000. Three years later, he was receiving about $ 2,500,000 a week. The effect was disastrous in the country and in bin Saud. He had no idea what to do with all that money, and he watched helplessly at the triumph of everything he hated. His austere religious views were offended. The isolated, painful, harsh, but idealistic life of Arabia was fading. Such vast sums of money lured half of the scammers in the Middle East to this puritan religious sanctuary. bin Saud he couldn’t face the financial adventurers. His last years were marked by serious physical and emotional deterioration. He died in Al-Ta’if in 1953.