End of Ottoman Influence in Qatar – Part 3


Establishing Qatar’s Autonomy
• TREATY OF 1913
• TREATY OF 1916

British-Ottoman conflict over Qatar’s borders
 Ottomans seek to rebuild Zubara and establish
administrative posts there and in Khor Al-Udayd
 Arab Effendi in Zubara; Abdulkarim Effendi in Khor Udayd
 Rebuilding houses and mosques in Zubara
 Seek to profit from the pearl trade
 1891, British object to this and a diplomatic crisis begins
 British stance
 Limit Qatar’s size, since it’s an Ottoman domain
 Refusal to recognize Ottoman control of Zubara and Khor Udayd
 These areas under Al-Khalifa and Sheikh of Abu-Dhabi
 Fear that Zubara will be used to take over Bahrain
 Ottoman stance
 Territorial basis for Qatari sovereignty, which includes Zubara
and Khor Al-Udayd

Previous Conflicts Over Zubara
 Crisis in the mid-1870s
 Nasir bin Mubarak
 British forbid Bahraini ruler from interfering in Zubara
 Zubara’s function as a piedmont against Bahrain
 Nasir bin Mubarak, the main contender against Isa Al-Khalifa,
Bahrain’s ruler.
 Jassim joins the contender and they attack Al-Khalifa loyalists in
 Bedu tribes there gave loyalty to Sheikh Jassim or left for Bahrain
 Al-Khalifa of Bahrain were protected by the British
 Conflict over Zubara between Sheikh Jassim and Ruler of Bahrain
was a “proxy war” between British and Ottomans

Zubara Conflict of 1895
 Fall-out between Isa Al-Khalifa and Sheikh Sultan bin
Mohammed of the Al bin Ali tribe in Bahrain
 Sheikh Sultan grandson of late Isa bin Tariff
 Al bin Ali of Bahrain number some 1,500 people
 Circa April 1895, Al bin Ali move to Zubara
 Sheikh Jassim welcomes them
 Isa Al-Khalifa threatened and appeals to British for assistance
 Fear of planned attack on Bahrain, recall precedents
 British demand return of the Al bin Ali to Bahrain
 International crisis between British and Ottomans develops
 Ottoman governor of Hasa arrives to rebuild and arm Zubara
 Ottomans support Jassim, Al bin Ali, and Nasir bin Mubarak

Zubara Conflict of 1895
 Captain JH Pelly comes with a gunboat to issue an
ultimatum to Sultan bin Mohammed, July
 British seize Al bin Ali dhows and take them to Bahrain, a total of 17
 Sheikh Jassim criticizes British Political Resident Wilson
 Ottomans regard the move as a violation of
violation of peace at sea and international conventions (July-August)
 Bring their own gun boat
 Demand return of ships to Qataris
 Ottoman seize 9 Bahraini dhows
 Increase their officials and soldiers
 Sheikh Jassim starts to arm Al bin Ali
 Sheikh of Bahrain loses his nerve
 Fears imminent invasion of Bahrain
 Ottomans claim Bahrain for Qatar in their talks with British

Zubara Conflict of 1895
 British gunboat, Sphinx, bombards Zubara 6 Sep. 1895
 Destroys all dhows and military installations
 People of Zubara surrender and Ottomans flee
 British blame Sheikh Jassim
 Sheikh Jassim
 Felt betrayed by the Ottomans
 Refused to pay 30,000 rupee fine imposed by British
 The British burned all dhows they had seized
 Al bin Ali went back to Bahrain
 Ottomans only deliver diplomatic protest
 Importance of the conflict
 Ottoman-British presence creates border negotiations
 British policy of making Zubara into a neutral zone
 End of Ottoman influence in Qatar

End of the Ottoman-British Conflict
over Qatar
 British concerns of Germany’s involvement
in the Gulf
 Building of Berlin-Baghdad Railway in early 1900s
 Coup d’etat in Kuwait gave British opportunity
to secure this sheikhdom and sign treaty of
protection in late 1890s
 Ottoman Empire faced with crisis in Arabia
and the Balkans
 Young Turk Revolt 1908
 Balkan Wars 1912-1913
 Abdulaziz al-Saud conquers Najd and
al-Hasa from the Ottomans

Treaty of 1913 and the death of Sheikh Jassim
 British – Ottoman Treaty (Anglo-Turkish Convention)
of 1913
 Ottoman state conceded sovereignty over Qatar provided
that Qatar is ruled by its own people, the al-Thani.
 Ottomans renounced all rights on intervention in Qatar
 British promised not to support Bahraini sheikh in
subjugating / conquering Qatar .
 The treaty was never formally ratified (remained on paper)
 Importance of the treaty
 Officially ended era of Bahraini rule
 Precedence for Qatar’s borders and autonomy
 Sheikh Jassim died in 1913 and succeeded by Sheikh
Abdullah bin Jassim Al-Thani

Ottoman Departure from Qatar
 Significance of treaty 1913 :
 British supremacy in the Gulf
 Extenuated by British victory in World War I and takeover of Gulf, Egypt, and
Levant (with France)
 Beginning of age of undisputed British hegemony over Qatar
 An Affirmation by two European Powers (British and Ottomans) of Qatar
as a sovereign independent state government by the al-Thani
 British pursue a policy of expelling Ottomans from Gulf with
beginning of World War I. Last Ottomans left Gulf in 1915.

World War I
 European Great Power Struggle
 Rise of a united Germany in 1871
 Great Britain, France, Russia vs. Ottomans, Austria-Hungary, Germany
 Alliances and militarization as a key to security
 Struggle over the provinces of the Ottoman Empire (“sick man of Europe”)
 The Balkans are key
 28 June 1914, Serbs assassinate the Archduke Franz Ferdinand (Heir of Austria-Hungary)
in Sarajevo (Bosnia)
 Bosnia contested between Austrians and Serbs

World War I
 European Great Power Struggle
 Rise of a united Germany in 1871
 Great Britain, France, Russia vs. Ottomans, Austria-Hungary, Germany
 Alliances and militarization as a key to security
 Struggle over the provinces of the Ottoman Empire (“sick man of Europe”)
 The Balkans are key
 28 June 1914, Serbs assassinate the Archduke Franz Ferdinand (Heir of Austria-Hungary) in
Sarajevo (Bosnia)
 Bosnia contested between Austrians and Serbs
 Arab nationalism
 Bourgeoisie in the Levant and Egypt
 Nationalism since days of Muhammad bin Ali
 1912, Pan-Arab Congress in Paris

World War I
 The powers fighting the war
 Entente (Allies) – Great Britain, France, Russia
 Central Powers – Germany, Austria-Hungary, Italy (later switches), and the
Ottoman Empire
 The Ottoman Empire mobilizes Arabs to fight
 Conflicts between Turkish governors and Arab notables
 Conflicts over supplies/resources
 Famine in the Levant
 The Allies mobilize their colonial subjects
 Maghreb Arabs and Egyptians against Levant Arabs
 Ottomans declare the war a Jihad
 British Indian Ocean region threatened Great Britain’s concerns
 World War I against the Central Powers left Great Britain in an insecure

Britain’s new treaties with Gulf powers
 1915 – Al-Qatif Treaty with Bin Saud (Saudis)
 Due to Saud’s expansionism and fear that Ottomans would exploit it.
 Saud not to interfere with Qatar and certainly not with Al-Thani rule
 1916 – secret agreement with Hashemites in Mecca and Medina (Hijaz) ,
Sharif Hussein and Faysal
 Instigate a revolt against the Ottoman Empire
 Becomes a fueling force for Arab nationalism
 Struggle for the creation of an Arab state
 Clears the path for Abdul-Aziz al Saud to create Saudi Arabia
 Vs. Rashids and Hashemites
Colonel T.E. Lawrence
“Lawrence of Arabia”
Emir Faysal alHashemi
Emir Hussein alHashemi
Arab insurrection against the

Ottoman Empire instigated by the British Qatar during World War I
 Between 1915 and 1916, de-facto an independent sheikhdom
 Market for weapons (since first decade of 20th c.)
 Coming in from Oman
 Going out to Persia and Iraq/Levant
 Threatens Great Britain
 Saudi threat
 Sheikh Abdullah bin Jassim maintains friendly diplomacy towards Saudis
 Pays them a tribute
 Economic decline
 Pearl trade in decline as a result of Japanese cultured pearling and
other factors

Motives for the Treaty of 1916
 Motivated by British fear of
 The Ottoman Empire/Central Powers
 The Saudis
 Flourish of weapons trade in Qatar
 Spread of piracy in its surrounding waters
 Continuing slave trade

Al-Thani concerns and the British stance
 Sheikh Abdullah’s concerns
 Aggression by al-Saud
 Brother Sheikh Khalifa bin Jassim Al-Thani conspiracy with bin Saud to
overthrow Abdallah.
 Disloyal tribes or with multiple loyalties
 e.g. al-Murrah
 British stance
 British feared getting involved in Qatar conflict with bin Saud so as not to
drive him into alliance with Ottomans during WWI.
 Al-Saud did not participate in British-instigated revolt against the Ottomans.
 British also supported Sheikh Abdullah.

Treaty of 1916
 Treaty with Qatar, 1916
 Negotiating and signing took place
 Sheikh Abdullah did not want the following, and thus British agreed to keep them from taking effect:
 British agent (commissioner) in Qatar
 Right of access to British merchants and citizens in Qatar
 Set up of post and telegraph office
 Treaty had the following elements:
 Qatari Ruler agreed to
 Working to end slave trade
 Work to end piracy
 Work to preserve peace on the seas
 Not entering into any agreements with any foreign powers, or relinquishing Qatari territory without Britain’s agreement.
 British agreed to
 Protect Qatar from attack on sea
 Protect Qatar from attack on land

Treaty of 1916
 Treaty with Qatar, 1916 – Significance
 Placed Qatar on the same footing as all other Trucial states, who signed
their own treaties of protection in the 1890s.
 Qatar was the last to sign a treaty of protection with the British
 Qatar ruler’s authority was limited to internal affairs, but nevertheless
formalized and strengthened
 British gave al-Thani the rights to distribute arms, and thus sole authority over
weapons and warfare. He immediately ordered weapons form Muscat.
 Abdallah bin Jassim recognized the independent ruler of Q and granted title
CIE (Companion of the Most Eminent Order of the Indian Empire)

 Legacy of Ottoman-British rivalry over Qatar and the Gulf
 State building by Jassim bin Mohammad Al-Thani
 Recognition of autonomy of Qatar as a peninsula sheikhdom.
 Recognition of Al-Thani rule
 End of Bahraini rule
 Recognition of Qatar as equal to other Gulf States.
 Problems
 British favor “safe zones” (no man’s lands)
 Zubara
 Security
 Dependency on the British
 Economic problems

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