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King Abdullah Meets with King Salman in Morocco

King Abdullah II of Jordan, has met with King Salman of Saudi Arabia during a stopover in Tangiers. King Abdullah is continuing on to Scotland where he will be a guest of honour at the Edinburgh Military Tattoo. They spent time discussing bilateral agreements and the current situation in the Middle East before King Abdullah was guest of honour at a banquet given by King Salman. Though younger than King Salman at 54, King Abdullah has been in power in Jordan since the death of his father, King Hussein in 1999. The 80-year-old King Salman has been ruling Saudi Arabia since the death of his half-brother in 2015, one of the actions during his short reign has been the intervention in the Yemeni Civil War. The current situation there may well have been discussed by the pair.

From current problems in the Middle East, King Abdullah will go back 100 years when he is guest of honour at the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo. As well commemorating a century since the conflict in Europe, there was also a war in the Middle East between the Hashemite Empire and the Ottoman Empire, assisted by the French and British. The most infamous part of the British involvement was the landings at Gallipoli, however, one of the members of the group from the British High Command which liaised with the Arab leaders was a certain Captain T E Lawrence – Lawrence of Arabia.

With the assistance of both the British Army and Royal Navy, the Arab leaders were able to take back lands from the Ottoman Empire, including two of the Holy Cities of Islam; Mecca and Medina. These are currently within Saudi Arabia. The conflict ran from 1916 to 1918, and interestingly Damascus was one of the last places to be liberated. There is still a debate between the Arab Northern Army supported by the British and the Australian Light Horsemen as to who got there first.

It will be interesting to see how this conflict is represented on the sloping parade ground at Edinburgh Castle, including the involvement of a contingent from Jordan.

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