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By Heather Lehr Wagner

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Extra info for Saudi Arabia (Creation of the Modern Middle East)

Sample text

For what the Rashidi army did not realize was that Abdul Aziz’s troops had used up nearly every last bit of ammunition during the battle. They could not have fought another day. But the Rashidi army had given up, and once more Abdul Aziz’s forces had triumphed. As news of his two victories traveled from settlement to settlement, Abdul Aziz soon found his territory expanding as more tribal leaders arrived to pledge their loyalty. Only a year and a half after he had first launched his attack on Riyadh, he was in control of a region that stretched a hundred miles to the north and a hundred miles to the south of the city that would become the capital of his new kingdom.

The al-Rashid turned to the powerful Ottoman army for assistance. Abdul Aziz wasted little time turning to his own ally. He sent a request for help and supplies to the representative of the British Empire in the Persian Gulf, a man named Percy Cox. Sir Percy Cox served in the British military and was assigned to various posts throughout the Middle East in the early twentieth century. When Abdul Aziz needed reinforcements and supplies in his campaign against the combined forces of the Rashidi and Ottoman armies, the British sent Cox.

For the Wahhabis, Muslims who did not share their views were no better than unbelievers—they were enemies of God. If preaching and sharing their experiences was not enough, then they would convert other Muslims to their faith by force. This sense of engaging in a holy war became the motivation for the Saud family to move out from their base into other parts of Arabia in the eighteenth century. By the beginning of the nineteenth century, the al-Saud, united and inspired by Wahhabi teaching, had taken control of Mecca and Medina and ruled a vast empire.

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