The Ottoman/Egyptian-Wahhabi War (Turkish: Osmanlı-Vehhabî Savaşları, Arabic: الحرب العثمانية-الوهابية, al-ḥarb al-ʿUthmānīyah-al-Wahhābiyyah) also known as Ottoman/Egyptian-Saudi War (1811–1818) was fought from early 1811 to 1818, between Ottoman Egypt under Muhammad Ali Pasha and the army of the Emirate of Diriyah, the First Saudi State, resulting in the destruction of the latter.
|Ottoman-Saudi War (1811–1818)|
Sites of major battles during the war.
|Commanders and leaders|
Sulayman ibn Abd Allah
Ghaliyya al-Wahhabiyya †
Mahmud II |
Tusun Pasha †
Muhammad Ali Pasha
Ibrahim Agha †
|Casualties and losses|
In 1802, 12,000 Wahhabis sacked Karbala in Iraq killing up to 5,000 people and plundering the Imam Husayn Shrine. By 1805, the Wahhabis controlled Mecca and Medina. The Wahhabis also attacked Ottoman trade caravans which interrupted the Ottoman finances. The Saudi amir denounced the Ottoman sultan and called into question the validity of his claim to be caliph and guardian of the sanctuaries of the Hejaz and the Ottoman Empire, suspicious of the ambitious Muhammad Ali, instructed him to fight the Wahhabis, as the defeat of either would be beneficial to them. Tensions between Muhammad Ali and his troops also prompted him to send them to Arabia and fight against the Wahhabi movement where many died.
Muhammad Ali was ordered to crush the Saudi state as early as December 1807 by Sultan Mustafa IV, however internal strife within Egypt prevented him from giving full attention to the Wahhabis. The Ottoman troops were not able to recapture the holy cities until 1811.
In 1815, one of the main rebels, Bakhroush bin Alass of Zahran tribe, was killed and beheaded by Muhammad Ali forces in Al Qunfudhah. In the spring of 1815, Ottoman forces inflicted large-sccale defeat upon the Saudis, forcing them to conclude a peace treaty. Under the terms of treaty, Saudis had to let go off Hijaz. Abdullah ibn Saud was forced to acknowledge himself as the vassal of the Ottoman Empire and obey the Turkish Sultan unquestionably. However, neither Muhammad Ali nor the Ottoman Sultan had confirmed the treaty.
Suspicious of Abdullah, the Wahhabi Emir, the Ottomans resumed the war in 1816, with the assistance of French military instructors. The Egyptian troops were led by Muhammad Ali's elder son, Ibrahim Pasha, and penetrated into the heart of Central Arabia, besieging the chief centres of Qasim and Najd. Waging a war of extermination between 1816-1818, the invading armies pillaged various towns and villages, forcing the inhabitants to flee and seek refuge in remote regions and oases. By 1817, the armies had overran Rass, Buraida and Unayza. Saudi armies put up a fierce resistance at Al-Rass where they withstood a siege of 3 months. Faced with the advance of Egyptian Ottomans, Abdullah, the Saudi Emir retreated to Diriya.
En route to Dariyya, the Ottoman armies executed everyone over ten years age in Dhurma. Ibrahim's forces would march towards Diriyya during the early months of 1818, easily routing Saudi resistances and arrive at the capital by April 1818. The Siege would last until September 1818, with the Ottoman forces waiting for Saudi supplies to run out. On 11 September 1818, Abdullah Ibn Saud would sue for peace, offering his surrender, in ex-change for sparing Diriyya. However, Al Diriyya would be razed to ground under orders of Ibrahim Pasha.
It was not until September 1818 that the Wahhabi state ended with the surrendering of its leaders and the head of the Wahhabi state, Abdullah bin Saud, who was sent to Istanbul to be executed. Thus, the Emirate of Diriyah formally ended with the surrendering of its leaders and the head of the Wahhabi state, Abdullah bin Saud, was taken captive and sent to Istanbul. In December, Emir Abdullah ibn Saud was executed with the public display of his corpse, upon the orders of the Ottoman Sultan.
The British empire welcomed Ibrahim Pasha's siege of Dariyya with the goal of promoting trade interests in the region. Captain George Forster Sadleir, an officer of the British Army in India was dispatched from Bombay to consult with Ibrahim Pasha in Dariyya.
Sadlier left a record on the aftermath of the former capital of the First Saudi state:
"The site of Deriah is in a deep ravine north-west of Munfooah, about ten miles distant. It is now in ruins, and the inhabitants who were spared, or escaped from the slaughter, have principally sought shelter here ... Munfooah ... was surrounded with a wall and ditch which the Pacha ordered to be razed .... Riad is not so well peopled .... The inhabitants were at that time in a more wretched state than at any prior period since the establishment of the power of the Wahabees. Their walls, the chief security for their property, had been razed ... The year's crop had been consumed by the Turkish force"
Most of the political leaders were treated well but the Ottomans were far harsher with the religious leaders that inspired the Salafi movement, executing Sulayman ibn Abd Allah and other religious notables, as they were thought to be uncompromising in their beliefs and therefore a much bigger threat than political leaders. The execution also reflects Ottoman resentment of Wahhabist views.
After the Destruction of Diriyya, Ibrahim Pasha rounded up the prominent survivors of the Saudi family and the scholarly Al ash-Sheikh whom, many were deported to Egypt. As per Ottoman estimates, over 250 members related to the Saudi family and 32 memebers related to the Al ash-Sheikh were exiled. Ottomans were far harsher with the religious leaders that inspired the Wahhabi movement, than with the members of the Saudi family. Prominent scholars such as the Qadi of Diriyya, Sulayman ibn Abd Allah (also the grandson of Muhammad ibn Abdul-Wahhaab) were tortured, forced to listen to guitar (knowing the Najdi prescription prohibiting music) and executed by a firing-squad. Other ulema such as Abd Allah ibn Muhammad Aal Al-Shaikh and his nephew Abd al Rahman ibn Hasan Aal Al-Shaikh would be exiled to Egypt. (the latter would return to Najd in 1825 , to revive and lead the Wahhabi movement). Some other Qadis and scholars were hunted down and executed. Abd al Aziz ibn Hamad al Mu'ammar managed to settle in Bahrain, where the ruler welcomed him. Few scholars managed to escape to the remote Southern corners of Arabia. The executions reflects Ottoman resentment of Wahhabi movement and also how seriously they viewed its threat. Altogether, the Najdis lost about two dozen scholars and men from the ulema families in the aftermath of the invasion. However, the suppression of Wahhabites in Central Arabia ultimately proved to be a failed campaign.
Later, Ibrahim Pasha and his troops went on to conquer Qatif and El-Hasa. Remnants of Saudi fortifications were demolished across Najd. Emir's relatives and important Wahhabi leaders were made captives and sent to Egypt. In December 1819, Ibrahim Pasha returned to Egypt after formally incorporating Hejaz into the Ottoman Empire. However, they were unable to totally subdue the opposition forces and Central Arabia became a region of permanent Wahhabi uprisings. In 1820s, Prince Turki ibn Abd Allah ibn Muhammed ibn Saud , gathering growing support from tribes and groups that opposed the Turkish occupation, would lay Siege to Riyadh in 1823. By August 1824, Saudi forces would capture Riyadh in a Second Siege, thus establishing the Second Saudi State with Riyadh as its capital.
This war had formed the basic hatred of the Wahhabi movement amongst the Ottomans, and it continued to influence modern Turkey where-in many Turkish Islamic preachers consider Wahhabism to be un-Islamic. The Saudis, who would form the nation a century later, considered it as the first struggle for independence from the oppressive Ottoman Empire, and continued to view Turkey with suspicion. The current state of relationship between Saudi Arabia and Turkey is still influenced by this hostile past. To the present day, both Saudi and Turkish nationalist writers accuse each other of engaging in systematic campaigns to rewrite history.
- Vasiliev, Alexei (October 2000). The History of Saudi Arabia. NYU Press. ISBN 9780814788097. Retrieved 21 February 2017.
- Ottoman and Egyptian losses combined. However, most of the forces deployed were Egyptian.
- Emine Ö. Evered (2012). Empire and Education under the Ottomans: Politics, Reform and Resistance from the Tanzimat to the Young Turks. Bloomsbury Publishing. p. 5. ISBN 9780857732606.
- Meredith Reid Sarkees, Frank Wayman (2010). Resort to War: 1816 - 2007. SAGE Publications. p. 198. ISBN 9780872894341.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
- Richard Engel (2016). And Then All Hell Broke Loose: Two Decades in the Middle East. Simon and Schuster. p. 40. ISBN 9781451635126.
The Ottomans pushed back with the 1811–18 Ottoman Wahhabi War, led by the Ottoman's viceroy in Egypt.
- Valerie Anishchenkova (2020). Modern Saudi Arabia. ABC-CLIO. p. 42. ISBN 9781440857058.
Although the Ottomans were able to defeat the First Saudi State in the Ottoman-Wahhabi War (1811–1818), the House of Al Saud was able in a short time to restore its rule in Central and Eastern Arabia.
- James Wynbrandt (2010). A Brief History of Saudi Arabia. Infobase Publishing. p. 352. ISBN 9780816078769.
- John Victor Tolan, Gilles Veinstein, Henry Laurens (2013). Europe and the Islamic World: A History. Princeton University Press. p. 454. ISBN 9780691147055.
Egyptian Saudi War (1811-1818) (also known as Ottoman-Saudi War)CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
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- Commins, David (2006). The Wahhabi Mission and Saudi Arabia. 6 Salem Road, London W2 4BU: I.B Tauris. pp. 37–39. ISBN 1-84511-080-3.CS1 maint: location (link)
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The British in India had welcomed Ibrahim Pasha's siege of Diriyah: if the 'predatory habits' of the Wahhabists could be extirpated from the Arabian peninsula, so much the better for British trade in the region. It was for this reason that Captain George Forster Sadleir, an officer of the British Army in India (HM 47th regiment), was sent from Bombay to consult Ibrahim Pasha in Diriyah.CS1 maint: location (link)
- Simons, Geoff (1998). Saudi Arabia: The Shape of a Client Feudalism. Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire RG21 6XS and London: MACMILLAN PRESS LTD. pp. 153–154. ISBN 978-1-349-26728-6.CS1 maint: location (link)
- Commins, David (2006). The Wahhabi Mission and Saudi Arabia. 6 Salem Road, London W2 4BU: I.B Tauris. pp. 37–38, 40, 42–43. ISBN 1-84511-080-3.CS1 maint: location (link)
- Simons, Geoff (1998). Saudi Arabia : The Shape of a Client Feudalism. Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire RG21 6XS and London: MACMILLAN PRESS LTD. p. 157. ISBN 978-1-349-26728-6.CS1 maint: location (link)
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