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Religious and military brotherhood that helped Ibn Sa'ud unite the Arabian Peninsula. First organized in 1912, its members were settled in colonies around oases in an effort to break down tribal loyalties and force the Bedouin to abandon their nomadic way of life. They also embraced the arch-traditionalist Islamic principles of Muhammad ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab. From 1919 they won many victories in Arabia and Iraq, with conquests including Mecca and Medina. By 1926 the Ikhwan were becoming uncontrollable, attacking Ibn Sa'ud for innovations such as telephones and automobiles. They staged a bloody revolt, which was not put down until 1930, and then only with British help. Members who had remained loyal were eventually absorbed into the National Guard of Saudi Arabia.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on Ikhwan, visit Britannica.com.
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