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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

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The Messengers - A Yemeni DW AAR

**Writer notes**

The Messengers - A Yemeni AAR

This AAR has a dramatic start, but will be a mix of narrative, newbie-ish advice seeking, and gameplay. It's my first AAR and I'm a fairly new player, so I probably should do England or something. But I loved the idea of Yemen for my current skill level. It's poor and weak with awful sliders, but fairly isolated from the big scary guys with room to expand.

I've already completed the first 15 years of gameplay, but past that will be looking for help, especially economically! Damn Arabia, why you so poor?

Anyway, some basics.

Rules:
-No restarts, with the only exception of stupid n00b “what does this button do?” mistakes that wreck things in a non-fun way. There might be some of those.
-Normal everything, Lucky Nations off.

Objectives:
-Unite all Arab provinces under one banner, making a pan-Arab state. Turks and Berbers are in the same culture group, but I'm not sure if I want to go that route. Cross that bridge when I come to it.
-Convert all Arab provinces to Sunni and core them, making a unified Sunni Arab state.
-Once conquest time is over, capitalize on being in the center of everything to dominate trading.
-Westernize and build Universities to again make the Arab world the center of scholarship.
-Become Defender of the Faith and keep the Europeans out of Islamic lands.
-Since the nation should stay Arab, I can vassalize others, pillage their treasures and break up their countries, but I shouldn't acquire cores on non-Arab lands. If I decide to keep a non-Arab province, I have to Enact Settlement Policy on it as soon as possible to Arabize it! Which means I won't be doing it much, because that decision is a nightmare.
-Colonization is okay because that's just spreading Arab culture around the globe!


Enough talk, on to the AAR!


Chapter 1: The First Messenger

12 Safar 802 A.H

Heretics and barbarians, nothing more.

Sultan Isma'il Rasulid took a long, slow pull from the huqqa pipe beside his bed. Reclining back, he examined the parchment map in his hand with a mixture of irritation and disgust. He had been ruling Yemen for the last 23 years, and nothing had changed.

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Isma'il had dedicated his life not only to ruling Yemen, but also documenting the general history of the country and the region. Ever since the decline and fall of Abbasid authority, the Arab people had fallen with it into a fractured puzzle of tribal alliances and petty squabbles, endlessly feuding like children over the breaking pieces of their formerly glorious culture.

Meanwhile, word had even reached the far corner of Yemen that the stinking, milky-colored Europeans were starting to turn the tides. Surely the Turks were doing their part in taming the beasts, but al-Andalus had all but fallen. The Abbasid Golden Age of scholarship--Jabir ibn Hayyan's alchemy, Al-Kwarizmi's mathematics, Al-Haytham's optics, Al-Battani's astronomy, and the thousand-petaled achievements of Abdullah ibn Sina—had long since passed, and the dirty northern barbarians were ransacking Arab knowledge and beginning to slowly catch up.

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In their current state, the Arabs were likely to decline as the Western powers grew. The tribal bloodlines were too weak and unstable, while the monarchies and republics of Europe provided a fertile feeding ground for progress. The Arab tribal chiefs, like Babylon's Belshazzar, should be able to see the writing on the wall. But by all accounts they were clueless to the looming threat, growing more decadent and regressive by the hour.

Only Yemen had, in the fall of the Abbasids, maintained a semblance of dynastic order. 220 years ago Isma'il's distant ancestor, the Turkman Muhammad ibn Harun, had worked as a messenger for the Abbasid caliph and was sent to settle in south Arabia. The locals called him “Rasul”--Arabic for “messenger”--and he soon felt at home. His son Ali governed the holy places at Mecca, and his grandson Umar ibn Ali founded the Rasulid family rule over Yemen. Over the years they had become more Arab than Turkman, and were truly Arab anyway, being descendents of the great patriarch Qahtan in the dark years before Allah had liberated the Arabs from their lowly pagan state.

As the Caliphate crumbled into tribal chaos, the Rasulids had maintained their royal dignity alone.

Well, almost alone. . . there were some neighbors to consider. . . Isma'il regarded the map.

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To the northeast was the only other dignified kingdom of Arabia, Oman. Worldly traders, they would be a great hope, if not for their awful heretical interpretations and practices. The Ibadis (too often confused by the ignorant to be Shi'a) had been perverting the words of the Prophet since barely a hundred years after his death. They had the good sense to keep to themselves about it, unlike the aggressive Shi'a, but it still made him keep them at arm's length.

Those who believed that even Muslims could be destined for eternal hellfire (as opposed to the obviously sensible temporary cleansing hellfire in which true Muslims believed) were obviously too judgmental and unstable to be considered true brothers. Not to mention the number of reliable hadith that they, so pickily, chose to ignore and deny. It is one thing to be rigorous: another to be denialist.

Doctrinal issues aside, however, they were decent neighbors to the Yemeni people, but too strange to lead the Arabs back into a new Golden Age.

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To the south, across the Gate of Grief (Bab Al-Mandeb), the Adal Sultanate had also maintained the Sunni faith and a dynasty. Unfortunately, that was all they had maintained in their brief time, as the Somalis were pious but not learned, and their powers were unlikely to ever reach beyond the Horn of Africa due to their lack of interest in progress.

To the east was only a pile of tribal feuds, growing more retrograde and bitter each year, until the realms of the Ottoman Turks. The steppe hordes of Timur Khan raged in Persia, leaving towers of skulls and ransacking Persian knowledge recklessly. Najd, the Jalayrids, puny Haasa, and Hedjaz all scratched and scraped with each other over Arabia, looting its corpse for riches.

And then, to the west, were the Mamluks. Isma'il narrowed his eyes at the map, puffing angrily.

The very same sheikhs who, though they professed to be good Muslims, had kidnapped his grandfather al-Mujahid Ali while on his hajj to Mecca. The very same sheikhs who held him prisoner for a year, humiliating the house of Rasulid and inspiring their domestic enemies to grow bolder, and encouraging the traders that once flocked to Aden to instead sail on to Jeddah. The Mamluks held their large empire—the bustling al-Azhar of Cairo, the jewel of Alexandria, the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem—with a great show of force, but no dynastic dignity or scholarship. Their cruel armies were only a shadow of the true sultan—authority--which was needed to lead the Arabs to their inner greatness.

Isma'il put down the map and removed the pipe from his lips. This was what was needed, truly. If the Arab people were to resist the brewing rise of the West, someone would have to revive their spirits and unite them. But the map was only a mess of heresy, clannishness, and backwardness.

There really was nobody else.

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He was getting on in years, though he still had some strength left. His son, Saladin Ahmad, was a young man now who could rule, though he seemed more fit for the foreign service than for rulership at times. . .

Standing up, Isma'il walked to the window and looked out over the city of Aden. He hated that he knew the city, which had known peace for decades now, would be put to the hard and painful work of building glory. He knew Yemen's delicate economy, based on trading coffee and spices from its arid provinces, couldn't take the strain. But it had to be done. Isma'il had studied history, and knew that if noone else would unite the Arabs into a whole body, their limbs would be picked on by the hungry vultures from the West in due time.

Yet the Arabs remained uninformed, and so the Rasulids, the messengers of the Abbasids, were overdue to deliver their message of revival and awakening.

In the distance, the sun was setting, but the moon was rising. A muezzin called out from a minaret, summoning the people to their maghrib prayers.

Turning from the window, he headed for the qibla corner of his chamber, pointing towards the Mecca his dynasty once governed. He glanced at the pile of maps again, steadied his nerves, and went to pray.
 
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Dauth

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I played a Yemen game some time ago and actually got very lucky with it. A PU with the Jellybabies in 5.1 meant the Timmies were a non-entity in my games and I also had a good size army to roflstomp rebels. The Arabic culture group in EU3 includes the Turks and all of North Africa. If you're lucky the Ottomans will expand into Greece and culture flip them for you too. Should be interesting to watch, trading can be a life saver throughout the game but especially if you're up and running before westernising since then you can get stab back so much faster.
 

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Definitely conquer the Berbers if you're going for some sort of Arab union. Once the caliphates rolled in and changed everything, they were irrevocably altered. From a roleplay stance, I'd probably leave the Turks alone - at the very least, not conquering Turkish lands; at the best, making them an active partner in Muslim modernization.

Also, if you want to spread the Sunni faith further without expanding your empire, conquering a nation and releasing it as a vassal should give it your religion, allowing them to spread the faith.
 

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I played a Yemen game some time ago and actually got very lucky with it. A PU with the Jellybabies in 5.1 meant the Timmies were a non-entity in my games and I also had a good size army to roflstomp rebels. The Arabic culture group in EU3 includes the Turks and all of North Africa. If you're lucky the Ottomans will expand into Greece and culture flip them for you too. Should be interesting to watch, trading can be a life saver throughout the game but especially if you're up and running before westernising since then you can get stab back so much faster.

True, I want to get some trade up and running, but the problem so far in the first 15 years is that I'm just not competitive. Oman has some awesome trading sliders at startup, but Yemen is pretty backwards in that respect. Plus expansion is giving me infamy. I generally keep it in the 5-15 range, but between bad sliders and infamy, I barely make a dent in most CoTs, so it's not worth the money to even send merchants, since Yemen being Yemen, cash is in low supply!

Any advice on this (other than the slow march of sliders) would be welcome. Since my provinces currently trade through Hormuz, part of me was thinking of trying to annex Zanzibar, then embargo the Timurids to make my provinces hopefully trade through it. If I can then vassalize the heck out of East Africa, then those nations will probably trade through Zanzibar too, right?

But again, that's an eventual core on non-Arab clay. Maybe I could keep it for 49 years to get the money and colonists? Haha. I also don't think I could do Settlement Policy on Zanzibar, could I? Maybe I could justify it through Zanzibar being the center of Arab-lead trade in East Africa? Maybe? Dunno.

I mean, wasn't Zanzibar a Sultanate and a territory of Oman at some point? Maybe after Oman is annexed the Rasulids can push their sketchier historical claims. . . :)

The other thought was trying to make Socotra into a CoT to see if I could pull business from the Middle East, East Africa, and India. But I doubt Hormuz will hit 800 ducats anytime soon, and it honestly might be a big flop anyway since it's hard to predict what countries would actually go to Socotra. Just seems like a cool idea in theory, but probably wouldn't work that well mechanics-wise.

@Invisible, That's a fun idea. Conquer Persia and then release it as a Sunni vassal to deal with the rebels and conversion headaches! Your point about the Berbers stands. The only issue is that North Africa has a few non-Arab-culture-group provinces on the way to the Berbers. Maybe I could conquer these and try to Enact Settlement Policy on them to Arabize them? Not totally sure how that whole process works, but it creates extra rebels and it takes decades to work, so it sounds like "fun"!
 
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I think CoTs change culture quicker but can't find the event responsible. This means you could try to flip Zanzibar. Look up the architectual dev events and other slider events on the wiki and try to set yourself up for them to speed the process. Other than that not much more help I can give, try getting some lucky PUs by claiming even without war.
 

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Chapter 2: The Great Najdi War

Excerpts from the notes of the Rasulid court scribes and historians.

While Isma'il Sultan had long kept only a small deterrent force of 2,000 infantry in Sana'a for decades, in Safar 802 (October 1399 IST [Infidel Standard Time]) he decided to double our armed forces. Moreover, after decades of isolationist foreign policy, he quickly made royal marriage arrangements with Hedjaz and an alliance with Oman, though he seems to refer to these as “stepping stone policies”in private.

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None of these events were nearly as shocking, however, as the Sultan's sudden insistence on attacking our generally irrelevant neighbors to the north, Najd. The Sultan constructed a historical argument with foreign diplomats in which he reasoned that Najd's capital was rightfully Yemeni property, based on some confusing bloodline algebra and something about “dynastic authority.” Nobody else in the room really understood what he was on about, but his large stack of supporting documents: maps, family trees, and Allah knows what else, seemed convincing enough to those present.

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We thought it was a passing fever for our usually even-keeled sovereign (who has ruled for 24 years without major incident) but in Rajab 802 (March 1400 IST) Isma'il ordered all tribal Najdi sheikhs to move out of Yemeni territory, which happened to now include, well, Najd. Needless to say that sheikhs did not comply, and war broke out. The Somali kingdom of Adal pledged to defend Najd, leaving us with the possibility of a two-front war. Still, proudly expecting an easy Yemeni victory, Isma'il neglected to call the Omanis, our allies, for aid.

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While our armies plunged into Najdi territory, a transport fleet snuck into Mahra under cover of night and deposited a 1,000-strong force which began sieging Mahra. While the sultan quickly dispatched half the army to deal with the incursion, it nonetheless slowed down our invasion of the Najdi, er, I mean, Yemeni province of Najd.

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Our armies initially victorious, the Omanis soon smelled the taste of blood and decided to join with us to split the Najd nation into respective spheres. The Omanis likely do not take well to Sunni dominance over Yiwa and Beni Yas, the fellow Ibadi/Shi'ite provinces to their west, and set about liberating their brothers (and their taxes and resources).

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Tragically, while the Sultan lead his armies through Najdi territory in a valiant campaign, his only son and heir Saladin Ahmad was killed in a training accident in late Sha'baan 804 (April 1402 IST). A young man of 23 years, he was cut down in his prime while trying to give the Yemeni army the technological edge in the war by perfecting an experimental strategy: camel cavalry. Needless to say, after the cruelty of the Yemeni camel proved indifferent to the heirs of sultans, the program was canceled. ((Argh, not used to screenshotting yet, auto-clicked through the actual death of heir event.))

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Trying to cope with the loss of Saladin Ahmad while fighting on the front lines, it was nearly inevitable that our kindhearted Sultan would shortly thereafter descend into a bitter depression. He had to take a short recess in Shawwal 804 (May 1402 IST) while administrators picked up the slack. Thankfully for the war effort, the Omani intervention (and our naval blockade of the straits of Bab El Mandeb, which kept Adal's armies impotent) had basically made victory a foregone conclusion. Their peninsular territories overrun, the last Najdi armies were banished to the island of Bahrain.

Our navy encircled the island, entrapping the Najdi in their stronghold. The Sultan, perhaps in a spat of genius, bitterness, or lunacy, announced that the army should “let them eat fish” and keep them trapped on the island while transferring our land armies to subjugate Adal, who now found themselves alone in the war.

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While Adal's armies are laughably backward in their tactics and technologies, they held a strong defensive position on the beaches of Tajura. With the Sultan in hermitage and the heir dead, indecision reigned in Sana'a, and several months passed without any real movement. Imams vied against one another for power and influence while the Sultan retired with a shattered mind to the inner chambers of his palace.

Finally, a military council took over the war effort and—unlike the Sultan's headlong smash approach to warfare—used a bit of strategy for once. While a contingent of soldiers stayed in Mocha to make a show of “standing off” against the Adal armies in Tajura, a small contingent of soldiers launched a secret amphibious attack far behind enemy lines into the mountain province of Berber.

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Quickly overrunning the defenses and capturing high ground, the glorious Yemeni Marines fortified their mountain positions while, furious at the intrusion into their heartlands, the Adal army scrambled to retake the province. Outnumbered by the Somalis 2 to 1, the Yemenis desperately awaited reinforcements to arrive by sea. The Sultan, seeming energized and emerging from his depression, rejoined the war effort at the helm of the reinforcing regiments.

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Isma'il Sultan arrived to lead his countrymen in battle against the Somali hordes, and battle raged in the mountains. Their positions in the high ground aided the Yemenis, but victory only seemed assured when a sign of Allah's blessing arrived by messenger during the middle of the battle on 2 Ramadan 806 (June 24 1403 IST): Isma'il had, after what was allegedly a very tiring and persistent effort, fathered a son back in his harem at Sana'a! Not only did this clarify for the rest of us his sudden positive change in mood that had pulled him out of depression a few months earlier, it also bolstered his courage. Isma'il fasted for three days, only drinking water at night, to show his thanks to Allah, and the Somalis were routed on the third day. Isma'il split his victorious army: his contingent hunted down the Somali remnants until they were destroyed, while the other marched through the lands of Adal, claiming them for the House of Rasulid as birthday gifts to Yusuf, the heir of Yemen!

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Impressed with Isma'il's prowess in both the war room and the bed room, the lesser chiefs and imams of Yemen came together to bequeath him with a special gift (and, perhaps, to secure some favor when it came to dividing up the administration of the soon-to-be-new-Yemeni lands under our possession).

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Adal overrun, our armies turned back to finish off the Najdi elites, who still pitifully huddled in their island fortress, offering us a constant stream of toothless diplomatic threats and absurdly worthless peace treaties. The Ethiopians, who had lost many of their provinces to Adal in an earlier war, looked on in horror as the formidable armies of Yemen marched ominously on their doorstep. But the Sultan had no time to deal with these kuffar just yet, so he left them to contemplate their surely limited future.

The Najdi cowards were unwilling to send their armies out to fight a proper force, and attacking them across the straits would give their pitiful defenses too much of an advantage (though surely immaterial regarding winning or losing, our Sultan is kind and wishes to lose no extra Yemeni soldiers in the process of wiping out what he calls the “tribal garbage”).

And so a feint based on the successful operation in Adal was devised. While a small contingent of 1,000 troops remained in Qatar, giving the appearance of weakness, 2,000 reinforcements hid in transports in the depths of the Persian Gulf. Another 1,000 troops marched pointlessly into the Haasa lands. Seeing only 1,000 troops in Qatar and counting their numbers at twice that, the Najdi fools loaded their ships and rushed across the straits to reconquer Qatar.

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Sultan Isma'il lead the beach defenses himself, and managed to hold off 2-to-1 odds yet again long enough for the trap to be sprung once the mouse had taken the bait: the transport ships landed our troops, then blocked off the Najdi escape route back to Bahrain. The troops in Haasa turned around, and arrived back in Qatar in the midst of battle. Now the idiotic Najdi found themselves fighting against superior numbers, pinned down on the beach, with no escape route.

Needless to say, the Najdi army was quickly obliterated, and the Yemeni forces rowed in their enemies' captured vessels to the beaches of Bahrain unopposed. While the Bahrain garrison put up a desperate fight for survival, Isma'il retired to see his new son, then pen a letter to Adal giving his terms of forced vassalization, which they accepted quickly to avoid obliteration.

Once the last defenders of Bahrain fell or defected, the Najd leadership was not so lucky. At a military tribunal in their former capital, Isma'il convicted the tribal sheikh leaders of tyranny over their people, heresy against Islam for their needless division of the Ummah due to their failure to convert the heretics in their northern provinces, and lastly for capital murder of Saladin Ahmad (the Sultan, upon discovering that his son's camel trainer's great-grandfather was related to a Najdi sheikh, became rather paranoid and entertained conspiracy theories that, while perhaps not well-evidenced, were of little consequence either way considering the predetermined outcome of the trials).

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On 3 Jumaada Al-Thaany 808 (24 November 1405 IST), five and a half years of war ended with the fall of a seven scimitars. As he held baby Yusuf in his arms to watch, Isma'il ordered the execution of the tribal sheikhs by decapitation. When the sheikhs kneeled on the dusty ground, that dusty ground was still Najd. But when the last head fell to earth, its blood stained the sovereign territory of Yemen.
 
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Chapter 3: Isma'il's African Adventures

Excerpts from the diary of Sultan Isma'il Rasulid


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1 Jumaada Al-Thaany 810: In this long struggle, Allah has given and taken many things. He has given new lands and bounties, and has given me my brilliant young boy Yusuf. Yet he has also taken many Yemeni sons, including my own dearest Saladin. But the war is over now, and I need to rest my aging body and get back to governing.

Firstly, I've decided to sell off Qatar to the Omanis for a low price, and give Bahrain away as a gift to the Haasa. Officially it's in thanks for their assistance in helping us fight the war, but I also have no desire to spend the rest of my life taming the wild heretics in the Jazeera's north coast. Oman and Haasa will have to answer to Allah's will for their heresy one day, but for now we will let the kaffir care for the kaffir.

Alhamdulillah, the Qur'an gives us advice. I take solace in Sura 109, and use it as my guide.

بِسۡمِ اللّٰہِ الرَّحۡمٰنِ الرَّحِیۡمِ
Say, o unbelievers!
قُلۡ یٰۤاَیُّہَا الۡکٰفِرُوۡنَ
I do not worship that which you worship
لَاۤ اَعۡبُدُ مَا تَعۡبُدُوۡنَ
Nor do you worship the One whom I worship
وَ لَاۤ اَنۡتُمۡ عٰبِدُوۡنَ مَاۤ اَعۡبُدُۚ
And neither will I worship what you have worshiped
وَ لَاۤ اَنَا عَابِدٌ مَّا عَبَدۡتُّمۡ
Nor will you worship the One whom I have worshiped
وَ لَاۤ اَنۡتُمۡ عٰبِدُوۡنَ مَاۤ اَعۡبُدُؕ
لَکُمۡ دِیۡنُکُمۡ وَلِیَ دِیۡنِ
To you be your Way, and to me be mine.

Ameen. . . until Allah's judgment finds you.

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24 Thaw Al-Hijjah 809: While for now we must tolerate our Muslim brothers who fall for the Ibadi and Shi'ite heresies, the long-standing Orthodox community in Socotra, our rightful territory, is another matter entirely. The Christians have maintained too many links to the Abyssinians to the south, and their existence will only service to inspire the Western nations to “liberate” them from our righteous rule. I will not stand foreigners dividing our lands this way, and so while I recognize Christians as fellow People of the Book, it is time for their prophet to be upgraded.

I have long wanted to do this, but the lack of a defensible fortification to deal with “adjustment pains” staid my hand. Now that our wartime gains have allowed us enough money to construct a garrison, Socotra submission to Allah's will is only a matter of time.

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1 Muharram 811: With peace reigning in the land for over a year now, the Berbers have greeted us as Muslim brothers in a spirit of friendship. We gladly accepted their overtures, although their titling of us as “neighbors” is a bit puzzling. But it goes that within the true Ummah, Allah's blessings and providence exceed national boundaries and commonly-held conceptions of geography.

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3 Safar 811: After the excitement of war, I have grown a little stir-crazy of late in the palace, though Yusuf is a delight. I have decided to take half of our armies to explore the eastern coasts of Africa in more detail. Centuries ago a flourishing trade network existed here, lead by Arab leaders who created a profitable brotherhood between Muslims from India, Arabia, and Africa. These ties have declined, but the Swahilis still welcome us.

Our time in Swahili alerted us, however, to their recent wars with the pagan kafiroon of Mutapa. Worse than the Ibadi heretics, Christians, or even that idol-worshipping Hindus, these sad creatures are left to worship only rocks, rivers, and wild beasts. Unable to accept their aggression against our Swahili brothers (and their lucrative resources!) we will immediately launch an expedition into Mutapa to spread the authority of Islam to them by any means necessary.

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24 Safar 813: Our long explorations along the eastern coast, our liberation of Swahili land, and our marches into the mosquito-infested Mutapan heartlands have expanded our understanding of the southern regions, but have kept me away from Sana'a for too long it seems. When the cat is away, the mice will play, and it seems the local imams are helping themselves to Yemen's natural riches.

I can't yet return, but I've sent a letter back to Sana'a with a list of names of parties whom I think are responsible. It may shake the foundations of the government right now, but from time to time the tree of just governance must be watered with the blood of the wicked. . .

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13 Sha'baan 813: We have discovered much, but now we enter the lion's den: the vast uncharted interior of Mutapa. The men are tired, afraid, and plagued by tropical disease, but if we are to cut out these pagans at the root, we need to first find it. . .

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Undated entry: Little time. Massive pagan armies have been raised out of nowhere to counter us. They outnumber us greatly, but we hold high ground and are the better warriors. We slaughter all day, and the howls of their war dances and pagan rites keep us awake at night. May Allah guide our hands to victory.

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Undated entry: We are forced to retreat, though we have fought well. It seems we have killed ten of them for each of us, but the sea of heathen warriors breaks upon us like an overwhelming wave. My men are exhausted and rattled by the carnage. We leave behind 400 of our brave soldiers, many of whose bodies—Allah forgive us—we had no time to bury or burn properly. Let us hope the pagan wretches do not eat them, like the rumors say. We march south to new territory. The Mutapan hordes give chase. We hope to outrun them or lose them, but they know this land better than we.

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Undated entry: Evasion was no use, and so in a desperate move we marched into the Mutapan's surprisingly undefended capital: all their soldiers had been summoned to fight us in Barwe. The city itself is unfortified, but still gives us a more defensible position than open ground. Within two days our foes were upon us again, having seemingly almost replaced all of the soldiers that we had killed. Pagan warriors seemingly spring out of the jungle itself to replenish their ranks, while we struggle far from home in this wretched place, surrounded and clinging to our sanity.

We hear tell that rebels are rising within Mutapa as well. The pagans seek to consume us, but themselves as well. Madness.

For the first time I feel fear. Not for myself, but for Yusuf, only seven years old, who my grow up without my instruction. Given the corruption rampant in Yemen now, I am even more resolved to make sure that he will not be brought up by the scoundrels in Sana'a.

Allah, I only wish to get home to my boy.

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Undated entry: Our defenses held admirably, but we have again had to flee the city in a withdrawal back towards Swahili lands. We lost less than 300 men this time, slaughtering over half of the attacking army. In the end it was not the enemy that pushed us into retreat, but the deterioration of my men's mental health. With true Muslim compassion, the heavy task of dealing so much death (my lieutenant Ibn Harun has killed over 50 kaffir with his own hand so far) has taken a toll on their spirits. Tragically, several men have killed themselves, rather than continue living in this humid, insect-plagued jungle that constantly smells of blood and death.

We go to Uteve, which the rebels now hold (though we hear they are moving north to Barwe, so we hope to slip by undetected), and on through Sofal. So long as we make it to Sofal and Swahili lands, we will live, heal, and plan our next move. Allah save us.

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24 Al-Jumaada al-Thaany 815: After our narrow escape last year, these last months have resulted in a bitter stalemate. We take provinces, only to have the Mutapan hordes reclaim them. They cannot overwhelm our superior weapons, training, and spirit, but we cannot overwhelm their numbers. And so there has only been death and frustration for both sides.

Moreover, as Sultan, leading Yemen from the jungles of Africa is taking its toll. Upset by my recent changes to the government structure in order to address the tax corruption of regional officials, traitors within the nation refer to me as an “absentee Sultan” and have had the gall to launch into full rebellion. The backwater ignoramuses of Najran lead the charge, attacking government posts in the area, and their insolence inspired a handful of traitors in Jabal Shammar, nostalgic for the disorganized anarchy of Najdi rule, to spring up.

This obviously cannot stand. I have to return and assert my house's authority. I have sent the Mutapans a proposal: they will pay us for our losses and expenses in the war (around 50 ducats, I estimate) and we will let them continue their heathen practices in their god-forsaken territories. Until we have the means to come back in sufficient numbers to rid the world once and for all of their barbary.

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27 Thaaw al-Qidah 815 : With the traitors executed and Yemen under control, I've noticed that our men suffer from low morale due to our poor fortune as of late. No Yemeni enjoys putting down his fellow countrymen, necessary as it may be. As such, we will go to work finally bringing the legendary kings of Abyssina into line. There will surely be spoils for the soldiers (Abyssinian women are particularly renowned for their beauty. . . ) that will cheer their spirits and unite their patriotism as we go to war against the backwards Christians and their inferior armies.

True, many will say this war is senseless and perhaps unethical, but considering the hard road ahead the fighting spirit of the Yemeni people is more important than the shrill cries of critics.

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5 Rajab 816: As expected, after only two battles and our occupation of their lands, the Abyssinians have lost handily and are ready to come to terms. While they have offered us some of their provinces, we have no need of poor land full of heathen wretches. I have sent them our terms: a steady stream of vassalization income in return for our protection. We expect they have no choice but to help our reach expand. . .

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InvisibleSandwi

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Already, Yemen is beginning to tear into its weak, divided neighbors. It'll be quite a while before you can set up a good trade infrastructure if your sliders are to be believed, but once you do so, it should help with the backwardness. Just remember that Yemen apparently used to have sophisticated irrigation canals, but they fell into disrepair by the time of the first caliphate.
 

unmerged(750594)

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Yeah, I think Zanzibar is my only obvious hope for some trade in the next few decades. Problem is that it's currently at 49% stagnation already, so I feel like if I take it from Swahili it'll probably disappear within 5 years anyway.

The real jewel would be Alexandria. I think it just depends on how suicidal I'm feeling to try to take on the Mamluks this early. . .

I will say the best thing about doing this AAR so far has been the research. I barely knew anything about Yemen two weeks ago, but now I've found out it's actually a pretty damn interesting place.
 

MiniaAr

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Are you going to continue this? I enjoyed this AAR and this made me start my own game as Oman, also with the goal of uniting the Arabian Lands.
You should definitively snatch Zanzibar, as this will earn you valuable trade income, you won't be able to trade in non-owned COT until it cores anyway. And it should not suffer stagnation as it will incorporate your rich trade value provinces (spices and coffee), at least it did in my Oman game.
 

unmerged(750594)

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Sadly, the computer with the save file died! And I didn't have any backups. Maybe I'll revive it and start over when I get a chance.
 

sprites

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That's a long time after , maybe you should've waited till you're ready :D
 

Gnorf

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Wonderful AAR, you should definitely revive it.
 

unmerged(750594)

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I suppose I ought to. I guess I can just keep the first post, then delete the other two and start again?