Iraqis in Saudi Arabia and vice versa

Mashari Althaydi
Mashari Althaydi
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What’s right and normal is for Saudi Arabia’s relations with Iraq to be good and prosperous as the opposite of that is wrong and abnormal. Iraq has historical, social and economic ties with the people of the Arabian Peninsula, especially Najd and Ahsa.

While addressing the Iraqi delegation headed by Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi and in the presence of US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, King Salman said: “What links Saudi Arabia to Iraq is not just geography and common interests but ties of fraternity, blood, history and destiny.”

These are not compliments but facts that are based on the past and the present.

I’ll give few examples about Iraqis who served Saudi Arabia and about Saudis who served Iraq. King Abdulaziz’s royal court included prominent Iraqi figures who professionally and loyally served the Saudi state. An example is Doctor Abdullah Al-Damluji, who hails from Mosul. In 1929, Damluji represented Najd and Hejaz before the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia assumed this name.

Iraq has historical, social and economic ties with the people of the Arabian Peninsula, especially Najd and Ahsa.

Mashari Althaydi

When he returned to Iraq, the Iraqi government decided to assign some political posts to him but some were concerned that King Abdulaziz would be displeased as Damluji had served with him. However, Abu Turki, i.e. the king, was tolerant and understanding as usual and wished luck and all the best to Iraq.

Iraqi historian Najda Fathi commented on this incident saying: “This reflected tolerance and insight which characterized his majesty.”

Mohammed Saeed Al-Habboubi, one of Iraq’s most famous poets and who hails from Najaf, immigrated with his father and uncle to Hail in Saudi Arabia around 1864. He lived for three years with them in the famous Iraqi neighborhood of Mushahida in Hail. His works include poems longing for Najd.

As for Saudis who served Iraq, the most famous figure is Pasha Abdul Latif Al-Mandil whose father immigrated from Sudair in Najd. He was the representative of King Abdulaziz in Iraq during the early phase of renaissance.

During the Ottoman era, he became a member in the Basra council and his achievements include providing Basra with electricity and drinking water.

Mandil was appointed Minister of Commerce in the first Iraqi cabinet headed by Abd al-Rahman al-Gillani in 1920. He was then appointed Minister of Awqaf in the second cabinet headed by Abd al-Muhsin as-Sa'dun in November 1922. He was elected to the membership of the Constituent Assembly in 1924 to represent Basra and became member of the council of elders in 1929.

There are also other figures such as Hisham al-Rifai, Sleiman al-Dakhil and others.

This article is also available in Arabic.

Saudi journalist Mashari Althaydi presents Al Arabiya News Channel’s “views on the news” daily show “Maraya.” He has previously held the position of a managing senior editor for Saudi Arabia & Gulf region at pan-Arab newspaper Asharq al-Awsat. Althaydi has published several papers on political Islam and social history of Saudi Arabia. He appears as a guest on several radio and television programs to discuss the ideologies of extremist groups and terrorists. He tweets under @MAlthaydy.

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.
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