Ali Ridha Pasha
Ali Ridha Pasha led the Ottoman
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 army in 1831 against the mamluk governor in Baghdad after Da’ud Pasha
Daud Pasha (mamluk)
Daud Pasha was the last Mamluk ruler of Iraq, from 1816 to 1831. Iraq at this period was nominally part of the Ottoman Empire but in practice largely autonomous...

 refused to relinquish his office. Ali Riza Pasha captured the city and mamluk
A Mamluk was a soldier of slave origin, who were predominantly Cumans/Kipchaks The "mamluk phenomenon", as David Ayalon dubbed the creation of the specific warrior...

leader Da’ud Pasha ending the mamluk rule in Baghdad
Mamluk rule in Iraq
The Mamluks who ruled Iraq in the 18th century were freed Georgian slaves converted to Islam, trained in a special school, and then assigned to military and administrative duties. They presided, with short intermissions, over more than a century in the history of Ottoman Iraq, from 1704 to 1831...

. Baghdad fell in September 1831 after a ten week long blockade of the city which caused mass famine.

While Ali Ridha Pasha was able to capture Baghdad
Baghdad is the capital of Iraq, as well as the coterminous Baghdad Governorate. The population of Baghdad in 2011 is approximately 7,216,040...

 and unseat Da’ud Pasha, he still had to deal with the mamluks who remained in Baghdad. In order to preserve his power and ameliorate the mamluks, he gave many of the mamluks positions in his government. In the few days following his conquest of Baghdad, Ali Ridha Pasha published a firman
A firman is a royal mandate or decree issued by a sovereign in certain historical Islamic states, including the Ottoman Empire, Mughal Empire, State of Hyderabad, and Iran under Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi. The word firman comes from the meaning "decree" or "order"...

, or decree, which made him the governing authority over the cities of: Baghdad, Aleppo, Diyarbakr, and Mosul. The firman eventually covered all cities in Iraq.

Ali Ridha Pasha then marched his army south to Basra
Basra is the capital of Basra Governorate, in southern Iraq near Kuwait and Iran. It had an estimated population of two million as of 2009...

 where he occupied the province ending mamluk rule in 1834. Ali Ridha Pasha’a conquest of Baghdad and Basra brought the provinces under direct rule from Istanbul and subjected them to Tanzimat
The Tanzimât , meaning reorganization of the Ottoman Empire, was a period of reformation that began in 1839 and ended with the First Constitutional Era in 1876. The Tanzimât reform era was characterized by various attempts to modernize the Ottoman Empire, to secure its territorial integrity against...

reforms. Ali Riza Pasha replaced mamluk governor Da’ud Pasha in Baghdad placing the province under direct control of the government in Istanbul. Under the recommendation of Ali Ridha Pasha, Da’ud was exiled to Brusah. After Da’ud departure from the city Ali Ridha was credited with he return of trade and end to crime. For a short time he was able to control the mafia that was able to control these regions and especially Karbala
Karbala is a city in Iraq, located about southwest of Baghdad. Karbala is the capital of Karbala Governorate, and has an estimated population of 572,300 people ....

 in the vacuum of a region without government. He promised appointments and estates to mamluk notables and continued past privileges of the East India Company
East India Company
The East India Company was an early English joint-stock company that was formed initially for pursuing trade with the East Indies, but that ended up trading mainly with the Indian subcontinent and China...


Ali Ridha Pasha was a member of a Shiite-influenced Bektashi order, and sympathized with the Shiites living in Iraq. When trying to appoint a governor in Karbala he came into conflict with the Shiite mafia living in Karbala who murdered or drove away governors they disliked. Karbala is an important shrine town in Iraq because Imam Husayn
Hussein , is an Arabic name which is the diminutive of Hassan, meaning "good", "handsome" or "beautiful"...

, the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad
Muhammad |ligature]] at U+FDF4 ;Arabic pronunciation varies regionally; the first vowel ranges from ~~; the second and the last vowel: ~~~. There are dialects which have no stress. In Egypt, it is pronounced not in religious contexts...

is buried there. Along with the religious significance of the city is the economic significance and power of being able to levy taxes on pilgrims and earn a significant profit for the local government. In the summer of 1835 Ottoman Ali Ridha Pasha attempted to attack the town of Karbala with an army of 3,000, but was to weak to continuously occupy the city and compromised with the mafia. Apart from trouble continuously controlling Karbala because of local resistance and the Karbala mafia, Ali Ridha Pasha also had to deal with the British who wanted to remain the imperial power of the Awadh government and the Iraqis’ communication link to the outside world.

Ali Ridha Pasha appointed ‘Abdu’L-Wahhab in charge of the city of Baghdad. In 1842 after eleven years of governing Ali Ridha Pasha was replaced by Muhammad Najib Pasha. Ali Ridha Pasha was transferred from Baghdad to Syria.

Ali Ridha Pasha’s personality is more of a mystery than his political and military achievements. His personality is recounted in a Judeo-Iraqi folksong as very courageous and is even likened to that of a lion, but he was most likely admired by Jews because he replaced Da’ud Pasha and redistributed land to people living in Karbala. A different account of Ali Ridha Pasha is given by a traveler named J.B. Fraser who visit Iraq in the mid 1800s. Fraser describes Ali Ridha Pasha as “a fat man about fifty years of age, clad in a fur beneesh, with a fez upon his head.” The description of Ali Ridha Pasha continues with Fraser explaining “His mind is not more attractive than the casket which enshrines it. He is weak of judgment, infirm of purpose, irresolute in action, gross in his appetites, selfish and avaricious.
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