[Photos]. - Middle Eastern Diplomacy. A trove of more than 600 photographs.

Kuwait City, Manama, Muscat, Beirut, Tunis, Khartoum, London, Seattle, Washington D.C., and other places, 1950s to early 2000s.

Ca. 620 original photographs (ca. 460 in black-and-white and ca. 160 in colour), 1 portrait reproduced from a painting, and 2 small portrait drawings. Various sizes (ca. 39 x 40 to 202 x 300 mm). Most photographs with handwritten Arabic captions in ballpoint on versos, some of which with official stamps, some with pasted mimeograph typescript captions in English. Stored in 11 display books.


A handsome trove of photographs, apparently assembled by a Middle Eastern political scientist or journalist, illustrating the evolving history of various countries of the Arabian Peninsula and their political leaders during the second half of 20th century, with an emphasis on the Sheikhs of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, and Bahrain.

Some volumes focus on one or two politicians, with their portrait photographs and their various official appearances while welcoming foreign dignitaries, attending summits, military parades, celebrations, and competitions or award ceremonies. A large section of the archive shows King Fahd bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud, including a photograph of him with his brother Turki Bin Abdul-Aziz (vol. 1), depicting him in London on the occasion of a lunch given by Margaret Thatcher, at a diplomatic meeting with Ronald Reagan, and at the "10th Arabian summit" in Tunis (vol. 6). Nayef bin Abdul-Aziz is seen meeting political leaders and ministers (among them Yasuhiro Nakasone and François Mitterrand, vol. 3), and the diplomat and Ambassador to the U.S. Prince Bandar bin Sultan Al Saud meeting Bill Clinton, then Gouverneur of Arkansas, and Vice President George Bush Sr. (Oval Office) for the AWACS plane contract (vol. 10). Another part is dedicated to the OPEC summits under Saudi oil minister Sheikh Ahmed Zaki Yamani, meeting Bruno Kreisky in Vienna, as well as at venues in Algiers, Kuwait, Yugoslavia, Caracas, Geneva, Oslo, and other places (vol. 4). King Abdullah Bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud is given a splendid state visit in Britain, where he is welcomed by Prince Charles and shares a carriage with Queen Elisabeth (vol. 5). Other photos show Prince Mashour bin Saud bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud, King Fahd's nephew, in London after being freed on bail for smuggling cocaine, and King Faisal during a stay in Khartoum (vol. 8). Another part of the collection shows Kuwaiti leader Jaber al-Ahmad al-Sabah receiving Yemeni representatives, as well as his successor Saad Al-Abdullah Al-Salim Al-Sabah and his predecessor Sabah III Al-Salim Al-Sabah (vols. 2, 5, 8). Furthermore, Bahrain's royal family is shown: Isa bin Salman Al Khalifa is depicted at a young age practising riding and falconry, and Sheikh Hamad Bin Isa Al Khlaifa (vols. 7, 10, 11) meeting Oman's royals, such as Sultan Qaboos bin Said, the Saudi minister Ghazi al-Gosaibi, and the Libyan ruler Muammar Gaddafi. Dubai's ruler Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum is depicted at the opening of "Asry dry dock", pouring holy water (vol. 11).

Two original photographs of well-known views of Mecca's Masjid al-Haram with the Kaaba from ca. 1885 and 1920 are added. The photographs are partly stamped and mostly annotated in Arabic (some in English and French), often with mounted labels on the versos for possible use by the press, some with small labels bearing Arabic captions. One photograph has a portion whited out for reproduction, a few photographs with studio imprint ("Zamani"), others with more detailed information, such as the name of the photographer ("Alain Nogue") or agency ("Sygma") on versos.

A wide-ranging, hitherto untapped archive which allows for various perspectives toward an analysis of international, global political diplomacy by Middle Eastern rulers and members of the Arab League, including numerous candid, personal images of the actors involved.