A historic photograph of Abdulaziz

[Saudi Arabia]. Photograph of Abdulaziz, King of Nejd and Hejaz (later King of Saudi Arabia), at the Khabari Wadha meeting in January 1930.

[Khabari Wadha, 22 January 1930].

Original silver-gelatin photograph (90 x 143 mm). Ms. pencil caption to verso "AVM Brook-Popham and Ibn Saud".


A historically significant photograph of Abdulaziz bin Abdul Rahman Al Saud (1875-1953) at the Khabari Wadha meeting, where he discussed the surrender of rebel Ikhwan leaders with British officials. All original photographs of Abdulaziz are rare, especially those of him before the unification of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

The Khabari Wadha meeting signalled the end of the Ikhwan revolt, a rebellion against the authority of the Al Saud which started in 1927. It was held approximately 150 miles south of Kuwait, where Faisal al-Duwaish and other Ikhwan leaders had sought refuge after suffering a string of military defeats. Over several days, Abdulaziz and British officials (responsible for political affairs in Kuwait and the Gulf) debated what to do with the rebels, finally settling on handing them over to Abdulaziz "on the condition that their lives should be spared and that the property which they looted from the people of Kuwait and Iraq should be returned" (Wahba, Arabian Days, p. 143). Abdulaziz was greatly relieved at the result, as it fatally weakened the Ikhwan and removed the main obstacle to unifying his Kingdom. Sheikh Hafiz Wahba recalls him saying "From today we live a new life" (ibid., p. 145).

The photograph shows Abdulaziz seated centrally at the front, with Sir Hugh Biscoe (British Resident, Persian Gulf) to his right and Charles Burnett (Air Vice-Marshal, RAF) to his left. Stood behind him, among other officials, are the important figures of H. R. P. Dickson (British Consul, Kuwait) and Sheikh Hafiz Wahba (diplomat and advisor to Abdulaziz). The caption on the verso suggests Robert Brooke-Popham is also present, but we cannot locate him.

For fuller descriptions of the Khabari Wadha meeting see Dickson's "Kuwait and her Neighbours" (London, 1956, pp. 318 ff.) and Hafiz Wahba's "Arabian Days" (London, 1964). The latter book also includes the present photograph (plate facing p. 113), described as "A meeting in the desert between the late King Ibn Saud and the British political agents in the Persian Gulf with the author standing behind the King (January 1930)".

A good strong image, with only a little fading toward the edges of the photograph.


Reproduced in: V. Dickson, 40 Years in Kuwait, plate 5 (opposite p. 96).

Art.-Nr.: BN#57306 Schlagwörter: , , ,