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Asir (Saudi Arabia)

عسير, Emirate of Asir, Asiri Regional Movement

Last modified: 2023-07-22 by ian macdonald
Keywords: shahada | text: arabic (black) | asir | triband (green-white-black) | asiri regional movement |
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Asir was an emirate on the borders of present-day Saudi Arabia and Yemen with several flags in its history. Short history from Wikipedia:

At the rise of the First Saudi State in the 18th century, the towns of 'Asir were governed by local clans in a fashion similar to that of Nejd, while the large tribal confederations maintained a high degree of autonomy. 'Asir was brought under Saudi sovereignty in 1801 after some resistance, yet the region converted quickly to the Wahhabi cause espoused by the Al Saud clan and assigned PrinceAbdulwahab Al-Mathami as governor.

After Abdulwahab died, his cousin Prince Tami ibn Shuib ruled until he was captured by the Ottomans and was executed in Istanbul. When the First Saudi State was destroyed by the Egyptians in 1818, the 'Asiris continued to fight the Egyptian forces in their region tenaciously. However, when the Second Saudi State appeared in Nejd in 1824, 'Asir enjoyed an ambivalent relationship with it, with the 'Asiri leaders generally allying themselves with the Saudis without formally entering under their command. The modern state of Saudi Arabia, led by Abd Al-Aziz Ibn Saud, annexed 'Asir and its neighboring regions in the mid-1920s, deposing the local dynasties there, and later successfully fought off a rival claim for the region by the Zaydi Imam of neighboring Yemen in 1934.

Chrystian Kretowicz, 25 March 2009

Possible historical flag

[Possible historical flag] image located by BlinxCat, 5 June 2023

One flag whose existence I cannot prove is that of the flag of the Principality of Asir. Wikipedia and  report such flag but Vexilla Mundi also reports this flag but under the name of "Lower Asir".
BlinxCat, 5 June 2023

from middle XVIII century to 1801 Asir was in the hands of the Khayratid dynasty, governing Upper and Lower Asir, Abu Arish and the regions of the Tihama and Mikhlaf.
1801 Upper Asir was dominated by the Rufaydi dynasty. Khayratid dynasty remained in Lower Asir, Mikhlaf and Tihama (enclosed Abu Arish). This ended in circa 1823.
1823 After the defeat of the Wahabites, the dynasty of the Banu Mughayd, in alliance with the Ottomans, win the control of Upper and Lower Asir. Khayratids remained in Abu Arish, Mikhlaf al-Sulaymani and the Tihama.
1863 the Banu Mughayd conquered Abu Arish; alarm in the Ottoman government.
1872 Asir (enclosed Abu Arish) were annexed by the Ottoman empire and turned into a "Mutassarrifiyya" dependent on the vilayet of Yemen, with the capital at Abha, where a Turkish garrison was established.
1909 Idrissids revolted against Ottomans and dominated Asir with main seat in Sabya.
1910 Upper Assir (main seat Abha) dominated also by Idrissids 1910-1911 but lost to the Ottomans 1911-1916 (that were besieged in the city); region out of Abha was in fact mainly in hands of the Banu Mughayd (now called also Aidids) surely allied to Ottomans.
1915 Arabs from Hejaz (north of Asir) revolted against Ottomans.
1916 After the defeat of the Ottoman empire the Idrisids extended to Abha, Hodeida (south) and Qunfuda (in Hejaz, north), but the Banu Mughayd or Aidid from Upper Asir remained in control of many of the country.
1917 while Banu Mughayd (Aidids) controlled Upper Asir, the Idrissids of the rest of Asir and the Tihama obtained the Farasan islands in exchange for Qunfuda (transferred to sheriff of Hejaz).
1920 Wahabites invade Upper Asir and Abha is occupated. The British, protecting the Idrissid emir of Asir, prevented them from being annexed, but some months later the Idrissid emir recognized at end the Wahabite protectorate over Upper Asir. The Aidids fight against the Wahabites (Saudites).
1923 Defeat of the Aidids, Upper Asir is annexed to the Wahabite emirate (from 1922 already the Idrissid delegate in Abha was substituted by a Saudite delegate).
1925 Southern Tihama and Hodeida ceded to the Yemem imamate. Hejaz to Wahabites.
1926 Farasan Islands ceded to British but not occupied.
1927 Wahabite (Saudite) protectorate established over Asir north of Tihama.

I believe that the green flag is the flag of the Idrissid dynasty in Asir, Mikhlaf and Tihama, sometimes called SOUTH ASIR. The flag was adopted in 1909. Flaggenmitteilung #61 reported this flag but white with green inscriptions and green and white triangles. Lucien Phillipe in Flaggenmitteilung #65, and later A. Usachev in Flagmaster #44 corrected the flag to a green with white inscriptions. According Lucien Philippe the flag was changed in 1927 moving out the triangles.

The Aidid dynasty took its name from Al-Aid Iyid; al-Aid mean "The Jewish". After 1916 it established the effective control of their natural region of Upper Asir that only nominally remained under sovereignity from Asir. From 1920 Aidids fought against Wahabites. According to Philippe, the flag of the Aidids from Upper Asir was white with a blue half moon in canton, bearing also a koranic sentence in blue (similar to the one of the flag of the Idrissids and Wahabites in this time). Probably was in use at least from 1910. It is not know if this flag (or one similar) was already used by the Banu Mughayds in the XIX century.

Khayratids and then Abu Arish probably used a red flag with an inscription.

Jaume Olle, 5 June 2023

World Statesmen web site also reports the flag as that of Lower Asir: and presents a somewhat different timeline of Asiri history:

All three sources also present the flag of Upper Asir as described by Jaume.
Tomislav Todorovic, 8 June 2023

Asiri Regional Movement

[Asiri Regional Movement (Saudi Arabia)] image by Ivan Sache, 20 January 2013

James B.Minahan, in his "Encyclopedia of Stateless Nations: Ethnic and National Groups Around the World" – volume I, shows the contemporary flag of Asiri Regional Movement (he calls it an Asiri "national" flag) and describes it as: "a vertical tricolor of green, white, and black, charged with the shahada, the inscription in Arabic that reads 'There is no God but God, Mohammed is the prophet of God' and is written in black on the center stripe."
Chrystian Kretowicz, 25 Mar 2009

The image show a flag HORIZONTAL instead vertical. Anyone can stablish if the image is wrong or there’s a mistake in the description?
Jaume Ollé, 19 January 2013

The inconsistency comes from the source. Minahan shows the flag with horizontal stripes but describes it with vertical stripes.
It has already been pointed out several times that the accuracy of flag information in Minahan's book is very low. This is very unfortunate but quite understandable, since the paragraph dedicated to the flag covers only 4 lines out of the 5 pages of the "Asiris" entry. Nothing is said in the context of use of this flag and no source is given.
From a pure geometric point of view, I don't expect flags charged with the shahada to be vertically divided. The horizontal division provides much more space for the writing. All such flags I am aware of are horizontally divided.
Ivan Sache, 20 January 2013