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Our Foreign News Letter

October 20, 1924
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The leader of the Wahabis, Sultan Ibn Saud of Arabia, has for some time been waging war against the ruler of the Hedjas, Hussein, and to all appearances the efforts of the Wahabis will be crowned with complete success.

Ibn Saud is carrying on the work of his forerunners who were the champions of Wahabism, a movement aiming at establishing greater purity in the Mohamedan religion, based on the principles that Allah alone is worthy of worship, that Mohamed, Jesus and Moses were merely men like all others, that it is sinful to use wine or tobacco, that all cities, except Mecca, are wicked, for all evil and corruption comes from them. But it is significant to note that Ibn Saud has introduced into Wahabism a new form of organization based on more or less communistic principles. This form of organization is the Ikhwan and it is from the Ikhwan that the leader of the Wahabis derives his great power and influences.

The Ikhwan is a religious Order founded on military-colonization bases. Whereas formerly the power of the Wahabi Sultans rested on the various tribes of Arabia, Ibn Saud has shifted the balance of power to the numerous brotherhoods of the Ikhwan which are held together by their religious faith solely. These brotherhoods he has settled as separate colonies in different parts of Arabia and his influence over them is unbounded owing to the appeal to their communal and religious belief. The Ikhwan can be compared to the Gdud Awoda, the Jewish workers-legion in Palestine, in so far as its emphasis on the principle of communal brotherhood is concerned.

The Ikhwan is thus seen as the all-powerful tool of Ibn Saud, who uses it for the propogation of the religious spiritual ideas of Wahabism as well as for maintaining the prestige of the Wahabi sect over the Mohamedan world.

Ibn Saud considers King Hussein of the Hedjas as his deadliest enemy, for Hussein has had the presumption to assume the position of Caliph over the Mohamedan world and has made Mecca, which the Wahabis consider the holiest city in Mohamedanism, his capital.

In 1910 King Hussein made an attack on the Wahabis and led his army as far as Nejd, the seat of Ibn Saud’s government. But his victory was short-lived, and it was soon after that Ibn Saud created the Ikhwan. So that whereas Hussein has a superior army led by trained Turkish officers, as well as a number of aeroplanes, Ibn Saud has a tremendous following in Arabia and an organization in back of him which is well-nigh invincible in any war which he may conduct against other rulers or nations of the East.

Undoubtedly Ibn Saud’s victory over Hussein, if it really comes to pass, will create a situation in the near East that will give rise to political complications for England and France.

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