themselves from countries under Christian domination that is their fighting creed.

Convents (zawia) of the Senussi are found throughout the length and breadth of North Africa, in Somaliland, Arabia, and in Mesopotamia. The most active centre is in the peninsula of Barka (the tableland of Cyrenaica), where the Senussi administer their own code of justice, cheek by jowl with the Turkish officials. At Tobruk-the finest harbour and most secure port in North Africa except Bizerta, although the Italians appear to favour Derna-they imported, unhindered, arms and munitions of war, which were landed by ships specially engaged in this contraband traffic; at Benghazi, too, they had a free hand, under the Ottoman régime. In short, the Senussi possessed, and still occupy, in the most fertile and valuable district of Tripoli, a pied-à-terre of vital importance to their integrity and of essential value to the economical development of the vilayet. Any European Power taking possession of Tripolitania must come therefore into conflict with the Senussi-a conflict of interest, if not of actual resistance.

Minor settlements are found in Morocco; in Algeria, which is honeycombed with Senussi intriguers; in Tunis, where they maintain a precarious foothold; throughout Tripoli; in all the oases to the south of these regions up to Tuat and Ghat; in the highlands of the Sahara, and in many parts of the Central Sudan States. In Egypt there are some insignificant settlements apart from the Zawîa at Siwa, which was founded in 1843; there are probably, including Siwa, about 4,000 adherents in the country: in the Fayum, at Dakla, and along the Mediterranean littoral. Though successive Khedives have shown them favour, the Senussi never have had any hold on the Nile Valley, except in Darfur. They have, however, opened up new direct routes: from Kufra

Owing to its remote geographical position and desert surroundings, Siwa, though falling within the sphere of Egypt's political action, enjoys a large measure of self-government, under recognised Sheikhs. The Berber population, which is intermixed with Negro and other racial elements from the Central Sudan States, maintains the ancient blood-feud between the Rharbyin and Sherkyin (Easterns and Westerns), the indigenous grouping of the tribes. These rival factions and the propaganda of the Senussîa compose a situation difficult to regu late, and, with the small police force at the disposal of the Egyptian Governor (Mamur), physically impossible to control. Thus, in October 1909 the Egyptian Government despatched a punitive expedition against Siwa. The expedition was under Colonel Azmi Bey (Mamur of Siwa, when I was there), and consisted of forty police soldiers, accompanied by two mountain guns and six artillery-men of the Egyptian army. Thirty-one persons were tried before the Siwa tribunal for being concerned in the murder of a Government agent (Mitwalli Effendi, the Mamur) and three policemen, who had taken proper action in connection with alleged dealings in slaves and arms by the local agent (wekil) of the Senussi. Osman Habbun-my bête noire-subsequently was hanged, together with his accomplices. Underlying that incident, however, was the significant and salient fact that Habbun had prevented Mitwalli from crossing the frontier into Tripoli, in his capacity as wekil of the Senussi.

to Jerabub, from Kufra to Siwa, from Farafra to Siwa, and from Kufra to Khargeh, the Egyptian oasis. Kufra comprises a group of at least five oases, with sand dunes intervening, and covers an extensive area of desert, in which vegetation exists almost everywhere.

It will thus be seen that, so far as Egypt is concerned, the storm-centre lies in the oasis which contains Jerabub and Siwa. The site of Jerabub was well chosen. Situated 160 miles southward of Tobruk, and less than 100 miles from Siwa, on the road to Benghazi (at least 300 miles distant) and to Jalo (about 200 miles away), it occupies a strategic position near the great caravan-route of North Africa. It is both sufficiently remote and conveniently accessible to safeguard and to serve the objects of its foundation as a sanctuary and a fortress. Walled in on three sides by high mountains, about eight miles distant, Jerabub is built on a nucleus of rock, somewhat higher than the surrounding hamáda (stony desert), on the southern slope and among the catacombs of the valley. It resembles all desert towns and villages in its character as a citadel, but differs from these by being built almost entirely of stone. A single road, and a very narrow one, leads past it, or through it, conducting to Siwa on the one hand, and to Benghazi on the other. A caravan, approaching or passing Jerabub, dare not leave this road, because, on either side, there lie biáma-desert-lands so impregnated with salt, that men and animals would be engulfed, should they stray (as once I strayed, but turned back in time) from the direct path and attempt to traverse such treacherous ground.

Jerabub is little more than a university town, in which the youthful Senussi receive their training, though it may serve also as an arsenal and fortress. Its importance as the Mecca of the Senussi confraternity is its chief significance for us. Under a fine cupola in the mosque, the remains of the founder of the sect, Sidi Mohamed ben Ali es-Senussi, are interred. The mausoleum bears the following epitaph :

This refuge is a flowered garden watered by Divine Grace, and has become renowned by the presence of a descendant of the Prophet. The glory of the countenance of the Mahdi enmeshes it as with a rampart of light. He inaugurated its foundation with these words: The sun of happiness projects its rays only through Ali Senussi.5

This great and good man, scholar and saint, was succeeded, in or about 1859, by his son Sidi Mohamed el-Senussi, surnamed 'the moon,' on account of his beauty and popularity. Although he, himself, did not claim the title, his followers called him the Mahdi, in accordance with the prophecy of his father. Born near M. Labatut: Bulletin, Soc. de Géog. d'Alger, I, 1911. VOL. LXXI-No. 424

4 H

Derna in 1844, he was carefully trained in the mysteries of his high office; and throughout his rule he evinced greater intolerance, more fanatical zeal, than his parent, who was bold only in words. He migrated to Kufra in 1895, accompanied by his councillors and a large following. In 1900 the confraternity moved to Gouro, and in 1903 the Sheikh el-Senussi died in Borku-Tibesti. His nephew and successor, Sidi Ahmed el-Sherif," is now about thirty-five years of age: the eldest son of Mohamed Sherif (the youngest son of the founder of the sect), who died at Jerabub in 1896. Of him little or nothing is known; but it is certain that he sent a mission to Constantinople, received from the Sultan a sword of honour and a jewelled order, and is now actively cooperating with the Turkish forces in Tripoli.

The special correspondent of The Times lately in Nigeria contributed last September an article on Islam in Africa,' from which the following quotation is taken :


A few years ago Italian ambitions in Tripoli might, perhaps, have been achieved without very much difficulty—whether morally justifiable or not-but their active expression now occurs at a time when two circumstances have entirely altered the situation. I refer to the recrudescence of political activity on the part of Turkey in Tripoli and its vast hinterland in the Central Sudan; and to the recognition by the Senussi of the spiritual authority of the Sultan, an event of the deepest significance. . . the spring of this year [i.e. 1911] Turkish troops moved southward and occupied, almost simultaneously, Bardai in Tibesti, and Ain-Galakka in Borku, the mountainous districts lying south of the Kufra oases, west of the Libyan desert, and immediately north of Wadai. And there they remain. [The Turks also installed, in 1910, a Resident at Kufra; and subsequently appointed, as Governor of Jerabub, Sidi Radha, first cousin of the Sheikh el-Senussi. The Cairo correspondent of The Times states that the Ottoman Government granted Sidi Radha the rank of Sania, and he was decorated with the third-class of the Osmanieh; whilst the Turkish flag, to the hoisting of which el-Senussi gave his consent, since confirmed, was brought from Constantinople by special envoy.] By its action the Turkish Government would seem to have definitely intimated to all concerned that Turkey does not propose to remain a purely negative factor in the affairs of the Central Sudan. The Turkish position in these regions has, of course, been immensely strengthened by the unrest which permeats the whole of the Islamic world of North Africa, of the Central, and perhaps to some extent the Eastern and Western, Sudan, by the occurrences in Marocco, the fighting in Wadai, and the occupation of 'Mauritania' by the French. To the fears which these incidents have generated, and, incidentally, to the anger at the decay in the transdesert caravan trade from the Nigerian region with the north which has so impoverished Fezzan, must undoubtedly be ascribed the steps taken by the Senussis to come to a political understanding with Constantinople. This understanding is to-day an accomplished fact, and has been sealed by the despatch of a Senussi mission to Constantinople. Its existence must make of the Ottoman flag a symbol and a rallying-point for the whole mass

6 M. Labatut (op. cit.) refers to the Senussi as Sidi Mohamed el-Abed. I believe he is mistaken in the name of the Grand Master.

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of disquieted Moslem elements in a vast region of North and Central Africa. Although Senussi-ism is essentially a religious and spiritual force, preaching avoidance of the European rather than active hostility against him, the aggression of a European Power upon that region of Africa, where its adepts are most numerous and most powerful, could not fail to light a torch which might well set all North Africa and many parts of the Sudan ablaze.

The length of this quotation may be excused on account of its important bearing on my subject and its corroboration of views expressed by me after coming into personal contact with the Senussi at Siwa, where I was turned back in an attempt to reach Jerabub. It emphasises the true reason why the pacific policy of the Senussi has been converted into hostility against the activities and aggression of Europe in Africa.

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The Senussi are fighting now under the Turkish flag for their very existence, for their faith, and for their country; and Italy must be well aware of the fact it may be, even, that she shirks the issue and turns abroad for adventure. Whether their power be great or not (and I admit it seems to have been exaggerated in the past), it is at least the most vital element in the Turkish resistance against the invasion of Tripoli, and constitutes the most potent factor in the pacification of Tripolitania. Further south the prospect is no brighter. The Central Sudan,' says Dr. Carl Kumm, 'is at present [1910] in a state of religious solution, and should a fanatical rising take place there after the tribes have been won for the Crescent faith, such a rising may have very serious consequences. The German Government in Adamawa is directly and indirectly advancing and supporting the spread of Mohammedanism. . . . The British Government in the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan is also involuntarily advancing Mohammedanism among the pagans in the Bahr-el-Ghazal Province. When Great Britain occupied that Province in 1899 the land was entirely pagan. To-day it is being permeated by the Crescent faith. The military in that province are recruited from the pagan tribes. As soon as the men enlist they have to swear their oath of allegiance to the Khedive of Egypt; they are circumcised and made Mohammedans.' (From Hausaland to Egypt, pp. 268-9.)

The Sultan's suzerainty over Egypt always has been loyally recognised by the Protectoral Power-in principle, if not in fact. In principle, the Sultan might call upon Egypt to send troops to his aid; but, in practice, this act of fealty would be embar

7 The principle of Egyptian autonomy was laid down in the Separate Act annexed to the Treaty of London of the 15th of July 1840. Art. VI. of this Act (the stipulations of which the Great Powers and the Porte bound themselves to observe) provides that the military and naval forces of Egypt shall always be considered as maintained for the service of the State '-i.e. Ottoman Empire.

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rassing, more particularly in present circumstances. Clearly, the Sultan's suzerainty is a diplomatic fiction, substantiated merely by the fact of his receiving the annual tribute, which, virtually speaking, is now an indemnity, and by the continuance of the Capitulations, which are limitations to his sovereignty. obligations of Egypt, under the Protectoral Power, are confined, therefore (i.) to maintaining the integrity and neutrality of Egypt Proper; and (ii.), since the Tutelary Power is responsible for the territorial integrity of Egypt, as well as being the executive Signatory of the Suez Canal Convention of 1888, to police the Canal in accordance with International Law. There is, however, another aspect of the situation, which profoundly affects our status in the Mediterranean: the occupation of Morocco by France and the occupation of Tripolitania by Italy involve the permanent occupation of Egypt by Great Britain. That is the logical and inevitable sequence of events: we can never evacuate Egypt. That, too, is the reason why we must take more than an academic interest in the settlement of Tripoli and of the Senussi question, which are inseparably associated.

The invasion of Tripoli by an Italian expeditionary force, and the occupation of its seaports, is merely the initial stage in a campaign which, necessarily, must be directed to the conquest of Cyrenaica-the stronghold of the Senussi-before any active steps can be taken to pacify the tribes of the hinterland, or innerlands. It took France thirty years to pacify and effectively control the turbulent tribes in the hinterland of Algeria; and the task which confronts Italy, in her present equivocal position, is no less formidable, owing to the desert character of the theatre of war, which is more inimical than hostile tribes. It is scarcely an exaggeration to say that the entire country is a desert, dotted here and there with oases; it is also a rainless region, up to within a few miles of the coastal zone. Except for the latter, too,

8 The analogy is strikingly suggestive. The Arabs and Kabyles, though hereditary enemies, joined in their opposition against the European intruder : for the nonce they were united by the bond of a common religion. A Holy War was preached; a Mahdi, Abd-el-Kader (whose son is now serving at the front with the Turkish troops in Tripoli), appeared; a host of marabouts and other fanatics fanned the flames of the conflagration. It took three campaigns (1854, 1856, 1857) to subdue the hardy mountaineers of the Jujura: Kabylia was conquered for the first time in history. The French conquest of Algeria may be divided into four periods: (i.) the occupation of the Mediterranean ports (18301833); (ii.) the conquest of the Arab country, except that to the west (between Oran and Algiers) ceded to Abd-el-Kader (1835-1837); (iii.) the submission of Abd-el-Kader and of the Kabyle tribes of the Sahara (1847-1870); and (iv.) the establishment of French posts in the Sahara and the expansion of political influence southwards (1870-1894). Had France first conquered Tunis, the submission of Algeria would have been achieved more rapidly; but she had no such choice. For Tunis' read Cyrenaica,' in the task before Italy.

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