Fanack Home / Qatar / Past to Present of Qatar / Ali bin Khalifa’s governorship

Ali bin Khalifa’s governorship

The Rahma-Wahhabi alliance did not last long. In 1812, Egyptian troops drove the Wahhabis from the Hijaz, and the Omani ruler Said bin Sultan al-Said took the opportunity to expel the Wahhabis from Qatar. Rahma bin Jabir consequently switched allegiance to Oman. The Khalifa family and the Wahhabis occupied Khor (Khawr) Hassan in response, forcing Rahma to settle on the Persian coast. From Bushehr on the Persian coast he continued to attack Bahraini ships. In 1826, old and blind and realizing his ultimate defeat, Rahma blew himself and his eight-year-old son up during a last desperate sea battle with his arch-enemies.

Both the Wahhabis and the Omanis proved unable to control Qatar. Instead, the peninsula became a battleground for political rivalry within the Bahraini Khalifa family. By tactically switching allegiance between feuding Al Khalifa members, Isa bin Turayf of the Qatari tribe of Al Bin Ali challenged Bahraini influence from his base in Doha. In 1847, Bin Turayf was killed in battle. The Al Bin Ali were driven from Doha by the ruler of Bahrain, Mohammed bin Khalifa. Mohammed then sent his brother Ali to Doha as governor, in an attempt to pacify the Qatar peninsula.

Ali’s first tenure was short-lived. He fled from Doha in 1850 when Saudi-Wahhabi forces once again invaded Qatar. After Ali’s forced departure, the tribes of Qatar struck an alliance with the conquering Saudis. This gave the Saudi leader Faysal bin Turki the opportunity to launch an invasion of Bahrain from Qatar. It was only the intervention of the British (whose navy had by then established a ‘Pax Britannica’ in the Gulf waters in order to secure British trade routes to India) that prevented an attack. A peace treaty between the belligerents was concluded and Ali returned to Doha. But the Saudi threat continued, and in 1861 an agreement was reached between Britain and the Khalifa family in which the former pledged to protect Bahrain and its ‘dependencies’ (i.e. Qatar) from attack by sea, in exchange for a Bahraini pledge to abstain from maritime warfare.

Further Reading

Recent discoveries indicate human presence in Qatar in pre-historic times, but for most of its history the arid climate ...
At the end of the 19th century, Qatar became an intermediary vantage point for the British fleet. The region gained sign...
From 1850, the history of Qatar is characterized by the slow but gradual rise to power of Mohammed bin Thani and his des...

© Copyright Notice
Click on link to view the associated photo/image:

We would like to ask you something …

Fanack is an independent media organisation, not funded by any state or any interest group, that distributes in the Middle East and the wider world unbiased analysis and background information, based on facts, about the Middle East and North Africa.

The website grew rapidly in breadth and depth and today forms a rich and valuable source of information on 21 countries, from Morocco to Oman and from Iran to Yemen, both in Arabic and English. We currently reach six million readers annually and growing fast.

In order to guarantee the impartiality of information on the Chronicle, articles are published without by-lines. This also allows correspondents to write more freely about sensitive or controversial issues in their country. All articles are fact-checked before publication to ensure that content is accurate, current and unbiased.

To run such a website is very expensive. With a small donation, you can make a huge impact. And it only takes a minute. Thank you.