The Sword of Allah - Khalid Bin Waleed (Ral)

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Chapter 31: The Unkind Cut

 Part III: The Invasion of Iraq


Page: 5

Umar confirmed the various corps commanders in the roles allotted to them by Abu Bakr. Amr bin Al Aas would command in Palestine, Yazeed in Damascus, Shurahbil in Jordan and Abu Ubaidah in Emessa-after it was taken. These roles included not only the military command of the various corps, but also political control over the provinces. Thus, for instance, Shurahbil was not only the corps commander for operations in Jordan but also the governor of the District of Jordan. And yet Abu Ubaidah remained the Commander-in-Chief of the army as a whole, although he would command the army only when the corps fought together against the Romans. For Khalid there was no role. By the order of Umar he would operate under Abu Ubaidah, and the latter confirmed him as the commander of the corps of Iraq which included the Mobile Guard. In military status Khalid was equal to the other corps commanders; but politically he was now a nobody.

There was inevitably a slowdown in the pace of operations. Abu Ubaidah was a great man and personally a fearless and skilful fighter. Over the next few years he would also become a good general as a result of Khalid's coaching. He would rely heavily on the advice of Khalid, whom he kept beside him as much as possible, but he never possessed the strategic vision or the tactical perception of Khalid. More often than not, he would hold councils of war or write to Madinah to seek the Caliph's decision regarding his next objective. Whereas Khalid would rush like a tornado from battle to battle, using surprise, audacity and violence to win his battles, Abu Ubaidah would move slowly and steadily. Yet, he too would win his battles.

With this new arrangement, with the mutual respect and affection between Abu Ubaidah and Khalid unimpaired, and with Khalid throwing the great weight of his genius behind the new Commander-in-Chief, the conquest of Syria continued.

1. Waqidi: p. 66.
2. Tabari: Vol. 2, p. 658.