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  You are in: Home > Middle East Studies > The Arab Nationalist Advisor  
 

The Arab Nationalist Advisor
Shaykh Yusuf Yassin of Sa‘udi Arabia

Joseph A. Kéchichian

Joseph A. Kéchichian is the author of ten published books, including Faysal: Saudi Arabia’s King for All Seasons (2008), as well as Succession in Saudi Arabia (2001), Power and Succession in Arab Monarchies, (2008), and Legal and Political Reforms in Saudi Arabia (2013), and most recently ‘Iffat al Thunayan: An Arabian Queen (2015).

 

Shaykh Yusuf Yassin (1892–1962) marked the contemporary history of the Kingdom of Sa‘udi Arabia in his capacity as a favorite advisor who was the founder monarch’s confidential secretary, relentless envoy and chief foreign policy consultant. Born in Latakiyyah, Syria, Yassin earned the confidence of King ‘Abdul ‘Aziz bin ‘Abdul Rahman Al Sa‘ud, and moved to Riyadh even before the Third Sa‘udi Kingdom was inaugurated in 1932. After obtaining citizenship he participated in critical decisions reached by the ruler as regional and international actors honed in on the wealth of the Arabian Peninsula. Over the course of several decades Yusuf Yassin met with and negotiated on behalf of three monarchs, ‘Abdul ‘Aziz and his two successors, Sa‘ud and Faysal, with Arab and global leaders. He was present at the creation of the country and suggested that al-Sa‘udiyyah be added to its very name—Al-Mamlakah al-‘Arabiyyah al-Sa‘udiyyah—which reflected his personality and political outlook as an Arab nationalist who cherished the founder.

Joseph Kéchichian has written the first political biography of the statesman, based on original documents [the Yassin Papers] as well as Western diplomatic correspondence. Kéchichian provides insights into the Nationalist Al Sa‘ud Advisor who left his mark on Sa‘udi Arabia. The volume provides essential background on a man who rose from humble origins in Syria to espouse Arabian values, and walks the reader through nearly five decades of Arab history, including the repercussions of the infamous 1916 Sykes–Picot Agreement, the creation of the League of Arab States, and various Arab crises. These events, experienced and engaged with by Shaykh Yusuf Yassin at the highest political and diplomatic levels, set the stage that empowered Sa‘udi Arabia, along with other Arab States, with the wherewithal to succeed for their respective peoples.


Preface
Acknowledgments
A Note on Transliteration

Introduction
‘Abdul ‘Aziz bin ‘Abul Rahman
Political Responsibilities
A Rich Legacy
A Short Biography
Methodological Approach

1. SYRIA UNDER OTTOMAN RULE
CONDITIONS IN THE LEVANT
Wars and the Great Famine
Perceptions of Ottoman Rule
THE ARAB REVOLT
Lawrence of Arabia
The Arabs and the Ottomans
SYRIA, LEBANON AND PALESTINE
The Arab Awakening
The French Mandate

2. FROM LATAKIYYAH TO RIYADH
EARLY LIFE IN SYRIA

Religious Training
Rashid Rida and the Dar al-Da‘wah
Witness to Occupation
MEETING ‘ABDUL ‘AZIZ BIN ‘ABDUL RAHMAN
A Journalist Lured by the Badu
The Ikhwan rebellion
Private Secretary and Amin al-Sirr
Acting Foreign Minister
Nationalism in the Levant
Family Roots
Family Allegiances
Conclusion

3. SA‘UDI ARABIA REBORN
THE ARABIAN PENINSULA BETWEEN 1918 AND 1932
Domestic and Foreign Policies before 1927
The Al Sa‘ud in Makkah
THE KING’S MEN
Arab Advisors
Ahmad Al Thunayan
‘Abdallah Sulayman
Hafiz Wahbah
Fu’ad Hamzah
Non-Arab Advisors
Harry St John Bridger Philby
Charles R. Crane
Karl Twitchell
A MONARCH’S VISION
A Ministry of Foreign Affairs
A Foreign Policy Blueprint

4. RIVALRIES AND ALLIANCES
ANGLO-AMERICAN RIVALRIES
The Al Sa‘ud and Britain after the Arab Revolt
British Traditions vs. American Initiative
A MEETING OF MINDS
Petroleum, ARAMCO, Income and Influence
‘Abdul ‘Aziz and Franklin D. Roosevelt
The Meeting in Egypt
The Question of Palestine
THE VALUE OF WESTERN ALLIANCES
An American Security Umbrella
Dhahran Airfield
Creating a Professional Military
Britain as a Back-Up Power
MAJOR POWER DILEMMAS
Palestine and how Philby “Sold” it to Weizmann
The Anglo-Sa‘udi Buraymi Disputes
YASSIN AS AN INDISPENSABLE COUNSELOR

5. CONCERNS, THREATS AND REGIONAL CONVULSIONS
CORE ARAB CONCERNS
Arab Unity and the League of Arab States
Israel, Palestine, and Arab Dilemmas
THREATENING ARAB REVOLUTIONS
The 1952 Nasir Coup in Egypt
Oil as a Weapon
Onassis, Tapline, and Nationalizations
REGIONAL CONVULSIONS
Cold War in Arabia
The 1956 Suez War
The Eisenhower Doctrine and Sa‘ud
The Sa‘ud-Nasir Relationships
Crises in Jordan and Lebanon
UAR, CENTO and Sa‘udi Arabia
From Eisenhower to Kennedy

6. TIES THAT SHARED VISIONS AND FORGED LEGACIES
A MEMORABLE ENCOUNTER
Yassin and a Young but Worldly Vice-Roy
The Journalist with Foresight
HOW TO DEFINE AN ARAB/MUSLIM VISION?
Border Disputes on the Arabian Peninsula
Relations with Britain and the Buraymi Crisis
Relations with America and Arab Nationalism
Dhahran Airfield Dilemma
Views of Arab Nationalism at the Height of the UAR
Damage Control with John F. Kennedy
Preserve the Monarchy at All Costs
Ideological Rivalries between Sa‘ud and Faysal
Yassin as the Honest Broker
A WORTHY FOREIGN POLICY
The Long Road Together Between 1924 and 1962
The Faysal-Yassin Friendship

CONCLUSION: A PREMATURE DEATH

APPENDICES
1. Interviews
2. Nationality Certificate
3. Identity card
4. Family Registration Card
5. Death Certificate
6. Memorandum of Conversation Between ‘Abdul ‘Aziz bin ‘Abdul Rahman Al Sa‘ud and President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 14 February 1945
7. Alawi State—French Delegation
8. Yassin Documents Sample Pages
Draft-letter addressed to President John F. Kennedy; Coded telegram from HRP Prince Faysal bin ‘Abdul ‘Aziz to Shaykh Yusuf Yassin


Bibliography
Index
About the Author

Reviews to follow

 

Publication Details

 
Hardback ISBN:
978-1-84519-804-6
 
 
Page Extent / Format:
320 pp. / 234 x 156 mm
 
Release Date:
November 2017
  Illustrated:   Yes
 
Hardback Price:
£35.00 / $50.00
 
 

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