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Arab attachment to the British ArmyWith the rise of the House of Saud, the Arab world had another contender for power in the Persian Gulf. After several attempts of the Saud family to take over the area, the Saudi found itself in conflict with various tribal clans that go back to the days of the Ottoman Empire.

During the first rise of the House of Saud, under Muhammad Ibn Saud, attacked and captured the cities of Mecca and Medina, clearly in the Hashemite locus of control. Years later, with World War I at the beginning of World War I, because the British approached Hussein bin Ali, the Sharif of Mecca, to join them in their cause in attacking the Ottoman Empire in the hopes of distracting the Turks in their aid of the Germans during the war. However, once the British withdrew their support of Hussein bin Ali after the First World War, Ibn Saud immediately went after Hussein bin Ali’s land of the Hejaz.

During World War I, the Saudi’s did not participate in war either on the side of the Turks nor with the British, kept themselves busy by fighting and conquering lands held by the House of Rashid. This rivalry goes back to the 1890’s when the Rashidi tribe captured Riyadh and exiled Ibn Saud’s family. In retaliation, Ibn Saud not only drove the House of Rashid out of Riyadh, but out of the Arabian Peninsula altogether in 1921.

Rivalries were not only tribal, but also ideological When Gamal Abdel Nasser took power in Egypt, he announced that his government would remain neutral between the United States and the Soviet Union. However, after the United States and the United Kingdom withdrew their financial aid for Nasser’s Aswan Dam project, Nasser turned to the Soviets for financial help. With the Soviet backing, and increasing general popularity of Nasser, King Saud of Saudi Arabia, the king sided with his former Hashemite enemies the King of Jordan and Iraq. The important thing to note was that initially, King Saud initially sided with Nasser and Egypt, however, the rivalry with Egypt, ran deeper than that with Hashemites.