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PICTURESQUE FIGURE

Ibn Saud's Rise From Obscurity

Ton Saud. or to give him his full title, Abdul Aziz ibn Abdul Rahman ibn Faisal ibn Saud. Lord of Arabia, King of the Hedjaz. and Sultan of

Nejd. is one of the most, picturesque figures in the Near East. First an exile and then a conqueror, !ir has been called the "Napoleon of Arabia."' and the -Cromwell of the Desert." A tali, aearded Bedouin, lie is a religious leader as well as a warrior. The Wahi bis. his tribe, are a strict Mohammedan sect, and are zealots even among the desert puritans. In his capital it is against the law to sing, to laugh aloud, to smoke, or to wear av.y but the plainest garments. He set up a "Coun cil of Good Modes" to enforce all these I rules. However. Ibn Sauds Puritanism has net been carried out in liis matrimonial relations, and he is probably the most married and divorced man in the world. His religion allows him to have four wives, and for many years he has always had that number. When one displeases him, he divorces her uith that extreme simplicity of ceremony permitted by the Koran, and then im mediately fills the gap in the house hold. It is said that he has had some thing like 100 wives. However. Arabia has much to thank Ibn Saud for, as he has introduced many modern innovations apart from modernising the army so necessary for him to retain control of his kingdom. Twenty years ago, Arabia was in the same economic and social condition as in Abraham's day. Shepherds tended their flocks, camel caravans crossed the desert, and Bedouins scoured the coun tryside. Tbn Saud has <-Viangpd all that. Now many Arabs Ui-r motor rarx a-d i rnjoy many modern convenience?. Ibn ! Ssud hinirrlf travels m on*- of (hF most ! exDensivp of English cars. I His father lost" the family dominions, and Ibn Baud, then aged 20. persuaded him to abdicate in his favor the small power left to him. With a Email band

of followers, Ibn Saud rode across the desert and seized Riad. This was the beginning of tae foundation of his kingdom, m 1913 he drove the Turks from the ancient city of Kasa. Later he o\-erthrew Arab kings and chiefs who stood in his path of empire, and in 1926 was proclaimed King of the Hedjaz in the Holy City of Mecca. To ward the end of the Great War he be gan to draw a subsidy from Great Bri tain of £5.000 a month to keep the peace ir. his unsettled regions. This ?nibsidy was withdrawn in 1924 because of his political intrigues. i His territory extends from tlv Red 'Sfla. to Iraq, and induces the ho!v ritirs or Mecca and Medina, and covers the greater part of a million square miles or nearly half the extent of the Continent of Europe apart from BOESia, 1

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