The Umayyads in Asia: The Contact with Tibet and the Tang (700-742).

In the 600s, the Arabs had began their conquest under Islam. In the 640s, Persia had entirely been subsidized and in 651 the Arabs killed the Sassanian Emperor after ending his resistance fully at the battle of the Oxus.

In the same year, the Arabs sent an embassy to China.
The embassy in Chinese sources records that apparently the Arabs told the Chinese their stories about travels/events, like a story of an expedition which landed on an island where a tree bearing human babies was found. More importantly, the Arabs built a mosque in Chinas capital.
This was the first contact between the Caliphate and the Tang Dynasty. But with the Tibetans, the first contact was in 704 when a force made up of combined Tibetan and Transoxianan forces besieged the Arab rebel Musa ibn Abdallah in Tirmidh unsuccessfully.
The Arabs would fully enter the political dominance game with the two other empires in 715. Between that year and 705, the new Arab governor of Khurasan, Qutayba ibn Muslim al-Bāhili conquered Transoxiana, in which he was repeatedly harassed by the forces of Tashkent & Ferghana.
These two city-states were strategically important in Central Asia, with the Chinese and Tibetans vying for influence over them.

Anyhow, in 713, Qutayba had conquered and burned Tashkent, and in 714 launched a full scale invasion of Ferghana.
This was the first time since the rise of the two powers that the 3 were all stable, strong states. But in 715, with the Arabs conquering Ferghana, the Tibetan Empire entered a political alliance with them in which a puppet king aligned to both was appointed as it’s king.
This puppet king was Alutar a successor to Basak whom the Arabs defeated. Basak beforehand was an ally of the Tang, so he fled to Chinese territory followed by an Arab raiding party which invaded Kashgar in 715. This was the point when the 3 major Empires of Asia, converged.
However the political ring would soon once again fluctuate. In 716, Qutayba was killed and the Arabs were weakened for a short while, so the Chinese took the chance and invaded Ferghana again, shifting it’s political leaning to it.

The war between Tibet and China continued.
The alliance between the Arabs and Tibet continued in the reigns of successive governors. In 717 during the reign of Umar b. Abd al-Aziz, Islam for the first time entered Tibet when a Tibetan delegation arrived in Marw to the governor of Khurasan, al-Jarrah b. Abdullah al-Hakami.
al-Jarrah welcomed the Tibetan delegates and sent with them two scholars to teach Islam in Tibet. More importantly on the political side, around this time the Türgesh Khaganate entered the Tibetan-Arab alliance, and in 717 an attack on the Tang occurred where Aksu was besieged.
The commander of the Arab forces was Abdullah b. Mu’ammar al-Yashkuri. The siege agitated the Tang who sent a large force to attack the besiegers who were scattered, and al-Yashkuri and his men retreated to Tashkent relatively unscathed; And Tibet was defeated by China elsewhere.
This defeat ended the Tibetan-Arab alliance, and the Türgesh Khagan Su-lu allied with China, but both sides of it would suffer again. The Arabs faced in 720 a massive rebellion in Transoxiana in which the Türgesh would start their conflict with the Arabs under Su-lu.
The Transoxianan leaders placed themselves under the protection of Su-lu, and a new war started. The Arab-Türgesh war was bloody, lasting until 736 with a series of back & forths. Although the Türgesh managed to defeat the Arabs on occasions, the Arabs would emerge victorious.
The Arab governor Abdullah b. Asad al-Qasri, brother of Iraq’s governor, defended against the Türgesh until in 736 he met them in battle, where the Arabs slaughtered the Turkish forces and subsequently caused the disarray of the Türgesh Khaganate wholly, as Su-lu was killed.
As Tibet during this time had betrayed the Arabs and allied with the Türgesh, the Arab victory decisively put the Tibetan Empire out of the way, and thus the dominant forces in Asia would be reduced to 2, the Umayyad Caliphate and the Tang Empire of China. This is shown later on.
After Asad al-Qasri had built the basis for an Arab reconquest by defeating the Turks, and this cleared the field for his successor in governorship, Nasr ibn Sayyar al-Kinani.

Nasr was a distinguished warrior and nobleman, who had participated in the war against the Turks.
Nasr became governor in 738, and during the first years of his reign he would have to deal with the Arab rebel al-Harith b. Surayj al-Tamimi, who was active during the reign of Asad as well but bounced around the state of making peace with the governor and fighting him.
Much like with Qutayba and his reason for annexing Tashkent and Ferghana, Nasr’s conquest was motivated by the fact that Tashkent’s king, “al-Iskand” housed al-Harith in 740. This caused Nasr’s campaign against al-Iskand in that year which forced the king to exile the Arab rebel.
al-Iskand was also housing Sogdian warriors who rebelled against the Arabs in the 720s, and they were cleared by Nasr who in 741 held an agreement with the king to let them return to their homeland, thus emptying Tashkent. Also in 741, Nasr led a full scale invasion of Ferghana.
With Tashkent crushed & Ferghana conquered, Nasr in 742 sent an embassy to Chang’an, capital of the Tang.

This embassy was a high level affair, as the Arab envoy “Hö-Sa” was assigned general of the palace guards & returned home carrying gifts of silk robes and golden filigree.
Thus, the Arabs reached their political zenith in Asia, rivaled only by the Tang. This is distinguished by a letter from Tashkent to the Tang Emperor, Hsüan-tsung:

“Now that the Turks are subject to you, it is only the Arabs that are the cause of suffering among the nations.”
When Nasr b. Sayyar finished these conquests, he found himself more troubled with his fellow Arabs than any outsider force. As soon after this, the Arabs of Khurasan revolted against Nasr and the Umayyads under the banner of the Abbasids toppled him and the Umayyads together.
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