WI: Russia and Austria Support Muhammad Ali’s Egypt

During the Oriental Crisis, Russia and Austria took sides against Muhammad Ali’s Egypt as it expanded into territories held by the Ottoman Empire. Even though Russia and Austria weren’t on good terms with the Ottomans, they weren’t fans of a rising Egypt.

However, what if Muhammad Ali decided to make an alliance with Russia and Austria into partitioning the Ottoman Empire? Could it be possible to get him to get Russia and Austria on board? What would Muhammad have to do to ensure this alliance?

And assuming the three powers agree to work with each other, how does this affect the history of the world? Could we see Muhammad Ali’s Egypt as the basis of a pan-Arab nation? Could Egypt become a major power and not be dominated by the British? Would it be able to fund its own project for the canal? Could Egypt be able to expand across Africa and other parts of the Middle East?

How much of the Ottoman Empire would be realistically partitioned? How will the various groups like Armenians, Greeks, Serbs, Assyrians, Kurds, Circassians, Bulgarians, Albanians, etc be affected? And how will Europe be affected by the changes?
 
During the Oriental Crisis, Russia and Austria took sides against Muhammad Ali’s Egypt as it expanded into territories held by the Ottoman Empire. Even though Russia and Austria weren’t on good terms with the Ottomans, they weren’t fans of a rising Egypt.

However, what if Muhammad Ali decided to make an alliance with Russia and Austria into partitioning the Ottoman Empire? Could it be possible to get him to get Russia and Austria on board? What would Muhammad have to do to ensure this alliance?

And assuming the three powers agree to work with each other, how does this affect the history of the world? Could we see Muhammad Ali’s Egypt as the basis of a pan-Arab nation? Could Egypt become a major power and not be dominated by the British? Would it be able to fund its own project for the canal? Could Egypt be able to expand across Africa and other parts of the Middle East?

How much of the Ottoman Empire would be realistically partitioned? How will the various groups like Armenians, Greeks, Serbs, Assyrians, Kurds, Circassians, Bulgarians, Albanians, etc be affected? And how will Europe be affected by the changes?
1. Mehmed Ali was not in position to make such alliance. One needs Nicholas I to be convinced to make such alliance. Austria sure as hell won't make an alliance as long as Metternich is there. I have an idea. The Greek revolution fails in 1825 and the Russians still declare war and are defeated by 1828 (they fail to cross the Danube and achieve none of their goal). Nicholas I won't like it and will want revenge. Here is where Egypt goes in. Sounds good?

2. It does affect it a lot. It will open new conflicts. British position in the Mediterranean is endangered, regardless of having a the Biggest Fleet. Imagine a Franco-Russian Fleet with Egyptian Support against the British. Not a given but theoretically it could happen. Mehmed Ali's dynasty would be hated by the Arabs for being despotic as soon as Arab-/Egyptian nationalism kicks in. One could expect a revolution is the population is highly literate and the country is has a decent industry.

Egypt would be a major Power in the Islamic World, Africa and Asia. They would not able to fund the Canal on its own. The French offered most of the investment capital in these times. Egypt could expand further.

3. All of it. Armenians would end up directly ruled by Russia. Greeks get their own state but bigger. Serbs get expand their own state and get formal independence. Assyrians and Kurds end up in Egyptian ruled area. Circassians are not enough within the border. Bulgaria gets its own King from Germany probably.
 
1. Mehmed Ali was not in position to make such alliance. One needs Nicholas I to be convinced to make such alliance. Austria sure as hell won't make an alliance as long as Metternich is there. I have an idea. The Greek revolution fails in 1825 and the Russians still declare war and are defeated by 1828 (they fail to cross the Danube and achieve none of their goal). Nicholas I won't like it and will want revenge. Here is where Egypt goes in. Sounds good?

2. It does affect it a lot. It will open new conflicts. British position in the Mediterranean is endangered, regardless of having a the Biggest Fleet. Imagine a Franco-Russian Fleet with Egyptian Support against the British. Not a given but theoretically it could happen. Mehmed Ali's dynasty would be hated by the Arabs for being despotic as soon as Arab-/Egyptian nationalism kicks in. One could expect a revolution is the population is highly literate and the country is has a decent industry.

Egypt would be a major Power in the Islamic World, Africa and Asia. They would not able to fund the Canal on its own. The French offered most of the investment capital in these times. Egypt could expand further.

3. All of it. Armenians would end up directly ruled by Russia. Greeks get their own state but bigger. Serbs get expand their own state and get formal independence. Assyrians and Kurds end up in Egyptian ruled area. Circassians are not enough within the border. Bulgaria gets its own King from Germany probably.
1. How come? Could enticing Russia and Austria with Ottoman lands get them to jump at the deal? Not to mention, Russian access to the Straights would delight Nicholas I. And Austria-Hungary could be a counter to Russia by annexing more land in the Balkans.

2. That or a potential Russian-Egyptian-French navy too. Granted if Russia gets involved France not feel as easy and may take another position. Hell, Europe can become multipolarized by this.

Wouldn't be surprised if enough Arabs get sick of the Ali dynasty and Arab nationalism kicks it. It'd be an amazing development.

I can imagine Egypt turning into the a superpower that'll dominate much of Africa and southwestern Asia. It'll basically be the Arab version of Russia. And I can envision such a state working to partition Iran with Russia as well and maybe expand into Baluchistan. And when oil is discover the Arabs will be set for life.

3. Just realized the expulsion of Circassians to the Ottoman Empire took place much later. Thanks for catching me on that. However, assuming much of the Ottoman Empire is carved up where will the Circassians be heading? Also, from which part of Germany will Bulgaria get their king? And how will Assyrians and Kurds get along? Will Russia rule Assyria?

Also, will the Ottomans be so partitioned that they'll basically be wiped off the map? What will happen to the Turks? Forced assimilation? Ethnic cleansing? Genocide?
 
1. How come? Could enticing Russia and Austria with Ottoman lands get them to jump at the deal? Not to mention, Russian access to the Straights would delight Nicholas I. And Austria-Hungary could be a counter to Russia by annexing more land in the Balkans.

2. That or a potential Russian-Egyptian-French navy too. Granted if Russia gets involved France not feel as easy and may take another position. Hell, Europe can become multipolarized by this.

Wouldn't be surprised if enough Arabs get sick of the Ali dynasty and Arab nationalism kicks it. It'd be an amazing development.

I can imagine Egypt turning into the a superpower that'll dominate much of Africa and southwestern Asia. It'll basically be the Arab version of Russia. And I can envision such a state working to partition Iran with Russia as well and maybe expand into Baluchistan. And when oil is discover the Arabs will be set for life.

3. Just realized the expulsion of Circassians to the Ottoman Empire took place much later. Thanks for catching me on that. However, assuming much of the Ottoman Empire is carved up where will the Circassians be heading? Also, from which part of Germany will Bulgaria get their king? And how will Assyrians and Kurds get along? Will Russia rule Assyria?

Also, will the Ottomans be so partitioned that they'll basically be wiped off the map? What will happen to the Turks? Forced assimilation? Ethnic cleansing? Genocide?
1. Nicholas I preferred someone who would listen to him and Russian desire which was the Ottoman Sultan after 1829. Egypt is a good ally to divide the Ottoman Empire but not to secure Russian interest. The problem with Austria is Metternich. He needs to die first before Austria will make any deals to divide.

2. This one was from British Perspective. Of course France would not be willing to let Russia do whatever the hell they want. But in London, they look at a potential triumvirate of states against Britain. Considering how (for the right or wrong) paranoid the British were of the Russians.

If the PoD is before 1830 and avoids the conquest of Algiers, one could expect a future Arab State expanding from Muscat to Rabat. From Ocean to Ocean. This is the closest a united Arab State can get.

3. Circassians will end up in Egyptian ruled lands, probably Iraq and Levant and a Rump Anatolia. Assyrians live more South around the Mountains and are not too numerous. Their homeland will end up a part of Egypt and a future issue for Russia.

I dunno. Saxony? Prussia?

Turks of Rumelia get largely exterminated. Some might stay in Bulgaria but that would be barely a tenth. Serbia and Greece exterminated its Muslim Minorities, even though it was very low in percentage (10-15%). It won't be any different than OTL other than it could be more in numbers of extermination. Turks in Anatolia will largely remain and end up there to those managed to flee. A very small percentage who remained and stayed will be assimilated whether they want it or not. Bosnians survive and so do the Albanians. Largely because they are the strongest Allies the Austrians have in the region (Bosnian and Albanian Ayans).

Extra: Moldova probably gets annexed by Russia while Wallachia becomes an Austrian vassal.
 
1. How come? Could enticing Russia and Austria with Ottoman lands get them to jump at the deal? Not to mention, Russian access to the Straights would delight Nicholas I. And Austria-Hungary could be a counter to Russia by annexing more land in the Balkans.

2. That or a potential Russian-Egyptian-French navy too. Granted if Russia gets involved France not feel as easy and may take another position. Hell, Europe can become multipolarized by this.

Wouldn't be surprised if enough Arabs get sick of the Ali dynasty and Arab nationalism kicks it. It'd be an amazing development.

I can imagine Egypt turning into the a superpower that'll dominate much of Africa and southwestern Asia. It'll basically be the Arab version of Russia. And I can envision such a state working to partition Iran with Russia as well and maybe expand into Baluchistan. And when oil is discover the Arabs will be set for life.

3. Just realized the expulsion of Circassians to the Ottoman Empire took place much later. Thanks for catching me on that. However, assuming much of the Ottoman Empire is carved up where will the Circassians be heading? Also, from which part of Germany will Bulgaria get their king? And how will Assyrians and Kurds get along? Will Russia rule Assyria?

Also, will the Ottomans be so partitioned that they'll basically be wiped off the map? What will happen to the Turks? Forced assimilation? Ethnic cleansing? Genocide?
I think before people call Ali’s Egypt a few potential superpower, they should look at its population, it only grew bigger than 10 million people in 1900. Even expanding it with Levant and Mesopotamia, the two other major population centers, it would still have below 20 million people in the early 20th century.
 
1. Nicholas I preferred someone who would listen to him and Russian desire which was the Ottoman Sultan after 1829. Egypt is a good ally to divide the Ottoman Empire but not to secure Russian interest. The problem with Austria is Metternich. He needs to die first before Austria will make any deals to divide.

2. This one was from British Perspective. Of course France would not be willing to let Russia do whatever the hell they want. But in London, they look at a potential triumvirate of states against Britain. Considering how (for the right or wrong) paranoid the British were of the Russians.

If the PoD is before 1830 and avoids the conquest of Algiers, one could expect a future Arab State expanding from Muscat to Rabat. From Ocean to Ocean. This is the closest a united Arab State can get.

3. Circassians will end up in Egyptian ruled lands, probably Iraq and Levant and a Rump Anatolia. Assyrians live more South around the Mountains and are not too numerous. Their homeland will end up a part of Egypt and a future issue for Russia.

I dunno. Saxony? Prussia?

Turks of Rumelia get largely exterminated. Some might stay in Bulgaria but that would be barely a tenth. Serbia and Greece exterminated its Muslim Minorities, even though it was very low in percentage (10-15%). It won't be any different than OTL other than it could be more in numbers of extermination. Turks in Anatolia will largely remain and end up there to those managed to flee. A very small percentage who remained and stayed will be assimilated whether they want it or not. Bosnians survive and so do the Albanians. Largely because they are the strongest Allies the Austrians have in the region (Bosnian and Albanian Ayans).

Extra: Moldova probably gets annexed by Russia while Wallachia becomes an Austrian vassal.
1. Muhammad Ali could entice Nicholas I with lands in the Ottoman Empire to get him on board. And access to the Mediterranean Sea would definitely get Nicholas willing to make an alliance with Egypt. Also why would Metternich not support Austrian expansion? Also could the partition still work

2. If France still conquers Algiers I could see a powerful Egyptian state still manage to fight for it somehow. Or take the interior areas of Algeria. I could also see such a Arab state occupy some non-Arab lands in northern and eastern sub-Saharan Africa and Arabize them too.

3. Could the Assyrians be close enough for Russia to control them? A lot of Armenians live right next to them anyway and Russia could definitely seize much of historical Armenia including Cilicia. Also assuming a rump Turkey remains (with the western part of Anatolia and the Greek Pontic regions seized away too) could that rump be subjected to partitions too?

I think before people call Ali’s Egypt a few potential superpower, they should look at its population, it only grew bigger than 10 million people in 1900. Even expanding it with Levant and Mesopotamia, the two other major population centers, it would still have below 20 million people in the early 20th century.
Good point. Then at least it’ll be a major power, not one to be messed with.
 
The trouble with getting Austria in on this deal is, as has been stated, Metternich. He'd built his entire foreign policy on preventing and defeating revolution, and wars created instability (and therefore, potentially, revolution) and therefore Metternich was very keen to have any and all issues resolved diplomatically. That being said, he wasn't stupid; if the Ottomans were going the way of Poland-Lithuania with or without him, he'd choose "with." The trouble, of course, is that a lot of Balkan territories within Austria's immediate grasp aren't especially valuable in the early 19th century. Wallachia, Serbia, and Bosnia-Herzegovina would likely be subsumed into the Habsburg realm, but the real prize of Thessaloniki would probably be denied to them. I think this would eventually be a net gain for the Austrian Empire and make for a comfier 19th century, but that would be difficult to pitch to an 1830s Vienna keen on extreme caution and allergic to adventure and reform. No matter what, the Ottomans would need to be partitioned a few times Deluge-style, assuming they're ever wiped off the map entirely (which I'm skeptical of).

Of course, this is all assuming the rest of Europe is okay with the Ottomans being swept off the map - and, historically, it wasn't. Only France opted to align with Ali Pasha, and Britain spearheaded a coalition to make them and Egypt back down. The Napoleonic Wars effectively ended with a lingering Russophobia across the continent, and while there was no fondness for the Ottomans, there was little to no international support for Russia conquering even more of the continent. This is something St. Petersburg would struggle with for most of the century.

In the end, Ali Pasha's strongest move may have been to try and keep playing the part of "loyal" vassal of the Porte, and keep strengthening his powerbase in Egypt. Specifically, if he could keep up his industrialization of Egypt's cotton industry, the Egyptian viyalet and the domain of Ali Pasha could become the economic engine of the empire. Remaining in the goldilocks zone of "too strong for the Porte to handle but too passive for the great powers to care" while continuing to westernize his army would be hard, but eventually he or an heir could wait for a diplomatic incident to monopolize Europe's attention elsewhere and then announce his independence (from an empire that's come to depend on him) as a fait accompli.

All of this obviously hinges on everything going perfectly for him, and the aforementioned diplomatic crisis Egypt is taking advantage of to not prevent European powers from supporting the new player in the Mediterranean - France and Russia, presumably, for the opportunity to curb British influence. Even then, Egypt likely spends most of the century as a middle power in the vein of Sardinia-Piedmont or the Netherlands. They're capable of making big plays, but largely depend on the indifference or support of great powers to get anything done. I don't see this Egypt as going toe to toe with the Europeans in Algeria or Morocco, but they'd likely pick up Tunisia and Iraq from further quarrels with the Ottomans. Interestingly, given Ali Pasha's penchant for huge slave raids into Sudan, he might actually get a leg up on Europe in the scramble for Africa.

It'd also be an interesting timeline for how Russia and Austria would change. Would the Balkans actually be relatively peaceful, with no independent Balkan states agitating for irredentism and Austria and Russia having a shared interest in peace and quiet rather than a rivalry? How far does Russia go into Anatolia, how do the Turks react to this, and does this help or hinder the Tzarist regime? How do Austria's internal politics change with various flavours of slavs making up an even large proportion of the population - does Austroslavism fare better?
 
Of course, this is all assuming the rest of Europe is okay with the Ottomans being swept off the map - and, historically, it wasn't. Only France opted to align with Ali Pasha, and Britain spearheaded a coalition to make them and Egypt back down. The Napoleonic Wars effectively ended with a lingering Russophobia across the continent, and while there was no fondness for the Ottomans, there was little to no international support for Russia conquering even more of the continent. This is something St. Petersburg would struggle with for most of the century.
Could we see a UK-Prussia-Ottoman alliance to oppose this?
 
Could we see a UK-Prussia-Ottoman alliance to oppose this?
Theoretically? It would look good on paper sticking an alliance of Austria-Russia-Egypt-France, but as stated before, Austria wasn't really on board with Russia becoming even huger and scarier, and France was only feeling bold from a few hawks in the right places of government.

If the Tzar somehow decided direct rule rather than a yes-man sultan was preferable and Metternich was abruptly replaced by Anti-Metternich and this alliance came to pass, I'm fairly certain Britain would be forced to deal with it. The support of British loans and the Royal Navy would not at all be enough to convince Prussia to take on all of its great power neighbours at once, and certainly not for a bunch of Turks on the other side of Europe. The Ottomans have already been exposed as anemic for their failure to handle their own vassal. Britain, therefore, has zero continental allies to persecute this war with. Shrugging its shoulders, London would stand down and explore other options to contain Russia while the Ottomans are torn apart.

Again, what has to change is some kind of catastrophic rupture in the diplomatic order of Europe, where the great powers either see advantage or nothing harmful in Russia biting off a chunk of the Ottomans. The key dominoes would be a much more adventurous Tzar, and at least one or two other great powers willing to break ranks from the "Contain Russia" team, at which point Austria would (however reluctantly) hop on the Balkan Train rather than get left behind.
 
Theoretically? It would look good on paper sticking an alliance of Austria-Russia-Egypt-France, but as stated before, Austria wasn't really on board with Russia becoming even huger and scarier, and France was only feeling bold from a few hawks in the right places of government.

If the Tzar somehow decided direct rule rather than a yes-man sultan was preferable and Metternich was abruptly replaced by Anti-Metternich and this alliance came to pass, I'm fairly certain Britain would be forced to deal with it. The support of British loans and the Royal Navy would not at all be enough to convince Prussia to take on all of its great power neighbours at once, and certainly not for a bunch of Turks on the other side of Europe. The Ottomans have already been exposed as anemic for their failure to handle their own vassal. Britain, therefore, has zero continental allies to persecute this war with. Shrugging its shoulders, London would stand down and explore other options to contain Russia while the Ottomans are torn apart.

Again, what has to change is some kind of catastrophic rupture in the diplomatic order of Europe, where the great powers either see advantage or nothing harmful in Russia biting off a chunk of the Ottomans. The key dominoes would be a much more adventurous Tzar, and at least one or two other great powers willing to break ranks from the "Contain Russia" team, at which point Austria would (however reluctantly) hop on the Balkan Train rather than get left behind.
There could also be a possibility that Austria pressures Metternich to go along with this, as they want to make sure Russia isn't too powerful by deciding to go along with this conquest.
 
There could also be a possibility that Austria pressures Metternich to go along with this, as they want to make sure Russia isn't too powerful by deciding to go along with this conquest.
Until he stepped down in 1848, Metternich was Austria. But yes, he and the rest of Austria's political establishment would swallow their fear of change and boat-rocking if Russia went ahead with an Ottoman land grab anyway - if Russia is going to become stronger, it'd be foolish to not at least become stronger alongside them.
 
Until he stepped down in 1848, Metternich was Austria. But yes, he and the rest of Austria's political establishment would swallow their fear of change and boat-rocking if Russia went ahead with an Ottoman land grab anyway - if Russia is going to become stronger, it'd be foolish to not at least become stronger alongside them.
I can see them taking the western half of the Ottoman Balkans whilst Russia takes the eastern half.
 
Until he stepped down in 1848, Metternich was Austria.
Crucially, you don't really need to convince Metternich to go at it. In 1830, you need to convince Franz II - while Metternich was a powerful and influential man, he ultimately didn't stand up to the Emperor. He'd treaten to resign, whine and complain, but he never actually went through with it. And Franz II was a stubborn old goat and ultimately inflexible when he came to a decision.

Now, Franz II was an arch-reactionary - he was the last Holy Roman Emperor, after all. While he was fading slowly by 1830, he'd live IOTL until 1835. All that's really needed is to convince Franz II to go along some crusading idea, maybe framing it as a demonstration of power so other powers don't get ideas with the looming ascenscion of Ferdinand I to the throne (Metternich repeatedly argued that Ferdinand be bypassed, even threatening to resign as late as 1832, but Franz II wasn't going to violate tradition just because Ferdinand had some issues). After all, there was a perception that the Austrian army was one of the best in Europe at the time (a mistaken belief, as the army was largely underfunded and decaying from its immediate post-Napoleonic heights).

As a bonus, that kind of public break might weaken Metternich or even make him resign. Reducing the interpersonal conflicts that dominated Ferdinand's regency might lead to the the 30s and 40s not being a lost decade for Austria.

Convincing the Russians is somewhat harder, but if Austria looks ready to jump in, they might, too. After all, while the two powers are allies, Russia wouldn't want Austria to grow too strong. As other posters have said, maybe a failure in the earlier Russo-Ottoman war and a stronger Ottoman State might convince Russia to abandon its hopes of a pliant Sultan.
 
Britain,France and the Ottoman Empire would have made sure that Russia couldn't influence Egypt or the middle east diplomatically or even militarily if that's what it took. It could have been in my opinion another Crimean War.
 
Western Half? There isn't much other than Bosnia and Albania, with the former desired by the Serbs
And Bulgarian Macedonia and Western Macedonia and Serbia

Crucially, you don't really need to convince Metternich to go at it. In 1830, you need to convince Franz II - while Metternich was a powerful and influential man, he ultimately didn't stand up to the Emperor. He'd treaten to resign, whine and complain, but he never actually went through with it. And Franz II was a stubborn old goat and ultimately inflexible when he came to a decision.

Now, Franz II was an arch-reactionary - he was the last Holy Roman Emperor, after all. While he was fading slowly by 1830, he'd live IOTL until 1835. All that's really needed is to convince Franz II to go along some crusading idea, maybe framing it as a demonstration of power so other powers don't get ideas with the looming ascenscion of Ferdinand I to the throne (Metternich repeatedly argued that Ferdinand be bypassed, even threatening to resign as late as 1832, but Franz II wasn't going to violate tradition just because Ferdinand had some issues). After all, there was a perception that the Austrian army was one of the best in Europe at the time (a mistaken belief, as the army was largely underfunded and decaying from its immediate post-Napoleonic heights).

As a bonus, that kind of public break might weaken Metternich or even make him resign. Reducing the interpersonal conflicts that dominated Ferdinand's regency might lead to the the 30s and 40s not being a lost decade for Austria.

Convincing the Russians is somewhat harder, but if Austria looks ready to jump in, they might, too. After all, while the two powers are allies, Russia wouldn't want Austria to grow too strong. As other posters have said, maybe a failure in the earlier Russo-Ottoman war and a stronger Ottoman State might convince Russia to abandon its hopes of a pliant Sultan.
Egypt could let Russia take all of Anatolia including Constantinople. Basically let Russia get access to the Mediterranean Sea and they’ll hop on in.

Britain,France and the Ottoman Empire would have made sure that Russia couldn't influence Egypt or the middle east diplomatically or even militarily if that's what it took. It could have been in my opinion another Crimean War.
France also allied with Egypt. So yeah Britain wouldn’t do much and the Ottomans would be done for.
 
And Bulgarian Macedonia and Western Macedonia and Serbia



Egypt could let Russia take all of Anatolia including Constantinople. Basically let Russia get access to the Mediterranean Sea and they’ll hop on in.



France also allied with Egypt. So yeah Britain wouldn’t do much and the Ottomans would be done for.
Serbia is practically independent by 1833. Nicholas I made sure of that. This is not 1813 or 1815 where the Serbs were not legitimate rulers of the area. In a theoretical war against the Ottomans the Serbs will expand and they will reach Macedonia faster than the Austrians will.
 
Serbia is practically independent by 1833. Nicholas I made sure of that. This is not 1813 or 1815 where the Serbs were not legitimate rulers of the area. In a theoretical war against the Ottomans the Serbs will expand and they will reach Macedonia faster than the Austrians will.
What about the Bulgarians? Also, not all of Serbia was ruled by the Ottomans
 
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