Report: Businessman Smuggles letters of First Iraqi King out of Iraq
An Arab businessman pulled a fast one on the ever-vigilant Iraqi authorities, smuggling some of the personal papers of Iraq's first king, Faisal I, out of the country to ensure their preservation, the London-based Al-Sharq Awsat newspaper reported Sunday.
The Saudi-owned newspaper quoted the anonymous businessman's agent who said the papers had been smuggled out due to fears that poor Iraqi government administration would result in their disappearance.
The agent said the papers had been authenticated in London and were in good condition. The collection consists most notably of five letters written to King Faisal by Saudi Arabia's founder, King Abdul Aziz bin Saud, that date from 1922 and 1923.
According to the agent, the letters contain grievances by Abdul Aziz against nomads in Saudi Arabia still loyal to Faisal's Hashemite tribe which rivaled Abdul Aziz for power on the Arabian Peninsula.
Two other letters speak of efforts to clear the air between the Saudi king and Faisal's brother, King Abdullah I of Transjordan (Jordan's title until 1948).
The Saudi and Hashemite dynasties were locked in a bitter power struggle following the First World War. Abdul Aziz would vanquish Faisal and Abdullah's father, Sherif Hussein, from Mecca, the holiest site in Islam, in 1924 and their brother Ali from Jeddah in 1926.
The British made Faisal king of Iraq in 1921. Iraqi military deposed and killed Faisal's son, Faisal II, in 1958 -- BEIRUT (AFP)
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