Had Iran remained Sunni...?

WeisSaul

Ad Honorem
Mar 2012
2,836
New Amsterdam
#21
Iran was splintered into small kingdoms, after collapse of Timurid empire. With no Safavids, those small kingdoms would have most likely been absorbed by the Ottomans. Alternately, they would have acknowledged Ottoman suzerainty, and remain independent. Since they couldn't rival the Ottomans, those two were the only options for them.
The Zagros mountains make me question this.
 
Jul 2012
3,233
Dhaka
#22
The Zagros mountains make me question this.
Zagros could hold off incursions from west. If it were absolutely necessary to take Iran, the Ottomans would have come from north, through Azerbaijan.

But forcible annexation wouldn't be needed, most likely. Had the small Iranian kingdoms been Sunni, as is the premise of the OP, they wouldn't bear hostility towards the Ottomans, and vice-versa, in the first place. Ottoman sultan was the Caliph, and that itself was enough for their allegiance. Even the Mughals, who were nearly as powerful as the Ottomans, and wealthier, had to acknowledge the supremacy of the Ottoman Caliph.
 
Sep 2013
1,110
Abu Dhabi
#23
Iran was splintered into small kingdoms, after collapse of Timurid empire. With no Safavids, those small kingdoms would have most likely been absorbed by the Ottomans. Alternately, they would have acknowledged Ottoman suzerainty, and remain independent. Since they couldn't rival the Ottomans, those two were the only options for them.
Turkish state of Ak Koyunlu was not a 'small kingdom' after Timurid collapse and Safavids didn't rise to power by chance.

At their zenith, Ak Koyunlu under Uzun Hasan were controlling a territory not smaller than contemporary Ottomans. Their realm incorporated Arran, Azerbaijan, Eastern Anatolia, Iraq, Iran, Southern Turkestan and Eastern Afghanistan and Baluchistan.

And they have already been hostile to Ottomans, despite being Turkish and Sunni. They were particularly unhappy and concerned with Ottomans growth at expense of smaller Turkish beyliks. Besides Ottoman growth was disrupting system of regional alliances. Ak Koyunlu were allies with Trapezund (Byzantine) throne.

I don't really understand this romantic view that if no Shiite Safavids inbetween there could be a Mughal Ottoman all round Sunni alliance or whatever. In those times (in all times) absolute rulers (dictators) pursued own agenda often limited to mercantile personal interests.

In general, alliances are made against rivals not out of religious sympathies. Just like Catholic France was in alliance with Ottomans or Sunni Ak Koyunlu with Catholic Venice or Orthodox Georgia.

Now I already mentioned, Safavids didn't rise to power by chance. Ismail the First was a grandson of Uzun Hasan Ak Koyunlu, therefore it was a dynastic substitution and not a new state as such.

Animosity between Ottomans and Safavids was therefore simply inherited from Ak Koyunlu. Only reason being regional rivalry and not sectarian division. Actually the contrary, sectarian division was a result of their rivalry.
 
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Jul 2012
1,942
Bahrain
#24
As far as Arab Shias having similar obedience to their leaders. Can you name a few? Because I honestly cannot think of any. When I think of Shia Imams I mostly think of Iranians (Except for the 12 original Imams of course). Can you name for me some Arab Imams who had as much of an influence on their people as Khomeini and Khamenei had?
I think our friend Tulun has mentioned the names I know....

It doesn't make a difference here whether Arab Shiites would follow an Iranian or Arab Emam, but rather the fact that they all resemble the same obediance....
 
Jul 2012
3,233
Dhaka
#25
Turkish state of Ak Koyunlu was not a 'small kingdom' after Timurid collapse and Safavids didn't rise to power by chance.

At their zenith, Ak Koyunlu under Uzun Hasan were controlling a territory not smaller than contemporary Ottomans. Their realm incorporated Arran, Azerbaijan, Eastern Anatolia, Iraq, Iran, Southern Turkestan and Eastern Afghanistan and Baluchistan.
Ak Koyunlu was more of a confederation, than an empire. While its territorial expanse was comparable to that of Ottomans, it still was no match militarily for the Ottomans. The Ottomans defeated them summarily in 1473, yet did not take their lands which signifies that the Ottomans were not interested in eastward expansions, at least at that point. The point is, they could have.

And they have already been hostile to Ottomans, despite being Turkish and Sunni. They were particularly unhappy and concerned with Ottomans growth at expense of smaller Turkish beyliks. Besides Ottoman growth was disrupting system of regional alliances. Ak Koyunlu were allies with Trapezund (Byzantine) throne.
Don't know how accurate that is but, according to wiki, the Ak Koyunlu were instigated against Ottomans by their rival - Venice. There was no hostility between them before that.

In 1463, the Venetian Senate, seeking allies in its war against the Ottomans, sent Lazzaro Querini as its first ambassador to Tabriz,[8] but he was unable to persuade Uzun Hassan to attack the Ottomans.[9] Hassan sent his own envoys to Venice in return.[8] In 1471, Querini returned to Venice with Hazzan's ambassador Murad.[8] The Venetian Senate voted to send another to Persia, choosing Caterino Zeno after two other men declined.[10] Zeno, whose wife was the niece of Uzun Hassan's wife, was able to persuade Hassan to attack the Turks. Hassan was successful at first, but there were no simultaneous attack by any of the western powers.[9]
Uzun-Hassan met the Ottomans in battle near Erzincan in 1471 and at Tercan in 1473. He was defeated by Mehmed II at Battle of Otlukbeli in the late summer of 1473.[11]
In 1473, Giosafat Barbaro was selected as another Venetian ambassador to Persia, due to his experience in the Crimean, Muscovy, and Tartary.[12] Although Barbaro got on well with Uzun Hassan, he was unable to persuade the ruler to attack the Ottomans again.[9]
Source: [ame=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uzun_Hassan]Uzun Hassan - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia[/ame]

I don't really understand this romantic view that if no Shiite Safavids inbetween there could be a Mughal Ottoman all round Sunni alliance or whatever. In those times (in all times) absolute rulers (dictators) pursued own agenda often limited to mercantile personal interests.

In general, alliances are made against rivals not out of religious sympathies. Just like Catholic France was in alliance with Ottomans or Sunni Ak Koyunlu with Catholic Venice or Orthodox Georgia.
There's the common enemy - the Portuguese. So, Ottoman-Mughal alliance wasn't that far-off a possibility.

Now I already mentioned, Safavids didn't rise to power by chance. Ismail the First was a grandson of Uzun Hasan Ak Koyunlu, therefore it was a dynastic substitution and not a new state as such.

Animosity between Ottomans and Safavids was therefore simply inherited from Ak Koyunlu. Only reason being regional rivalry and not sectarian division. Actually the contrary, sectarian division was a result of their rivalry.
In fact, rise of Safavids began with defeating the Ak Koyunlu. There's nothing to inherit. And, as pointed out earlier, there was no inherent rivalry between Ak Koyunlu and Ottomans in any case.
 
Sep 2013
1,110
Abu Dhabi
#26
...

Don't know how accurate that is but, according to wiki, the Ak Koyunlu were instigated against Ottomans by their rival - Venice. There was no hostility between them before that.
Logic please. Ak Koyunlu were neighbors of Ottomans, Ottoman expansion was a direct threat to Ak Koyunlu. They needn't to be instigated by anyone. Their alliance was a natural one, against common enemy.


There's the common enemy - the Portuguese. So, Ottoman-Mughal alliance wasn't that far-off a possibility.
Not if they became neighbors in the absence of Safavids. Neighborhood would bring tensions and at some point an Ottoman sultan led by greed for Mughal richies might have decided to invade Mughal, just like Nader Shah (who wasn't a true Shiite himself) did it later.


In fact, rise of Safavids began with defeating the Ak Koyunlu. There's nothing to inherit. And, as pointed out earlier, there was no inherent rivalry between Ak Koyunlu and Ottomans in any case.
Wrong. It was a 'civil war' using the modern language. Best similar example is War of Roses in medieval England.
 
Sep 2013
1,110
Abu Dhabi
#27
Now to rivalry with Ottomans.

Just imagine, both fractions initially depend on support (military) of original Turkish Oghuz element within their realms.

Then each expand, until they come 'face to face' with each other. There will be war.

But the core of their armies and support are same people ethnically, culturally. They come from same Oghuz tribes who settled in the area. None are 100% loyal to any of the rulers.

How to draw a line who's loyal and who's not? Who's 'my subject' and who's 'of my rival'?

Through religion.

Iran didn't become Shiite because Persians wanted to be different from Arabs - the common misconception in Arab world.

Iran became Shiite because Oghuz Turkish rulers of Iran needed to separate 'own' subjects from those of Ottomans.
 
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Jul 2012
1,942
Bahrain
#28
Now to rivalry with Ottomans.

Just imagine, both fractions initially depend on support (military) of original Turkish Oghuz element within their realms.

Then each expand, until they come 'face to face' with each other. There will be war.

But the core of their armies and support are same people ethnically, culturally. They come from same Oghuz tribes who settled in the area. None are 100% loyal to any of the rulers.

How to draw a line who's loyal and who's not? Who's 'my subject' and who's 'of my rival'?

Through religion.

Iran didn't become Shiite because Persians wanted to be different from Arabs - the common misconception in Arab world.

Iran became Shiite because Oghuz Turkish rulers of Iran needed to separate 'own' subjects from those of Ottomans.
What we saw from Safavids and later Nader Shah strongly suggests a lineancy toward a separate Iranic identity....Without getting into a discussion on Safavid origins, they ultimately stressed an Iranian identity, Nader Shah attempted to reconcile both sects under a single umbrella that is different than surrounding states....that drive was an active one despite years Arab/Turkic control....I think its highly likely that even if Sunni Islam remained in Iran, then we'd still see an independent Iranian state...
 
Sep 2013
1,110
Abu Dhabi
#29
What we saw from Safavids and later Nader Shah strongly suggests a lineancy toward a separate Iranic identity....Without getting into a discussion on Safavid origins, they ultimately stressed an Iranian identity, Nader Shah attempted to reconcile both sects under a single umbrella that is different than surrounding states....that drive was an active one despite years Arab/Turkic control....I think its highly likely that even if Sunni Islam remained in Iran, then we'd still see an independent Iranian state...
Well, first of all Iran is not Persia. Then, it's actually a natural process and same was (in a lesser degree of course) true and valid for Ottomans as well. Safavid realm was getting Iranized while Ottoman Balkanized.

This is an inevitable effect when ruling over a multinational society. If you want your empire to grow you cannot constantly rely only on 'own' or one ethnic element only. At some point because of your disproportional growth this original element becomes minority often downgraded just to titular representation.

(another point is that almost all empires collapsed precisely because of that but nevertheless that's how things work)

Even modern concept of "inclusive democracy" is an attempt to address the issue of common habitat of different fractions.

Roman Empire, one of first examples. Roman element was in constant decline until such day when Empire started to be ruled by Emperors of barbarian origin.

Habsburg Empire. At some point they had to elevate Hungarians and become Austria-Hungary.

Russian Empire. To prevent collapse they had to embrace communism and declare an aim of building a new joint Soviet nation.

There are many examples of this same effect.
 
Jul 2012
3,233
Dhaka
#30
Logic please. Ak Koyunlu were neighbors of Ottomans, Ottoman expansion was a direct threat to Ak Koyunlu. They needn't to be instigated by anyone. Their alliance was a natural one, against common enemy.
It is in fact highly illogical that the Ak Koyunlu would confront the Ottomans preemptively, which they actually did, without outside instigation.

First, Ak Koyunlu were poised to expand eastwards. And they finally got over their arch rivals - Kara Koyunlu in 1467, and then another Timurid ruler Abu Said in 1468. They would be occupied with consolidating those new territories than starting a war with the mighty Ottomans in 1470. Therefore, logic dictates that the Ak Koyunlu started the war at outside instigation.

Incidentally this logical conclusion is well attested historically that the Ak Koyunlu started war at the instigation of the Venetians.

From the Ottoman side, they were busy expanding westwards in an attempt to recreate the Roman empire. They at that point was not interested in expanding east, which btw was demonstrated by their not taking Ak Koyunlu territory even after annihilating their forces in 1473.

Not if they became neighbors in the absence of Safavids. Neighborhood would bring tensions and at some point an Ottoman sultan led by greed for Mughal richies might have decided to invade Mughal, just like Nader Shah (who wasn't a true Shiite himself) did it later.
Less likely. The Mughal army at their peak was nearly as strong as the Ottoman one, if not more at home ground. They would have achieved more by allying the Mughals than trying to conquer them.

Nadir Shah wouldn't even dream of taking on the Mughals say during Aurangzeb's reign. What he attacked was the ghost of the dying Mughal empire.
 

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