The Arslan Rebels are major antagonists from Area 88 and it's adaptations.
The rebels are primarily Arslan natives who fight for the rulership of the Middle-eastern country of Arslan, formed after the former king's eldest son was denied to succeed the throne in favor of his youngest son. The group is backed up by other countries on the region, as well as various arms dealer groups and mafias, having shown to possess a vast arsenal of weapons, fighter jets and other advanced war machines.
The rebels are opposed by Area 88, a private military contractor which made their base within the Arslan desert, with most of the series focusing on the conflict between these two forces, neither of which gets an upper hand on the other for long. To end this horrific war of attrition, the rebel leader Prince Abudael Vashtaal, joins hand with Project 4's forces that would later turn out to be Abudael's worst decision. As the series goes on, the rebels attacks become progressively more aggressive, as they begin to hire mercenaries to attack Area 88 directly and even start to employ nuclear weapons. Project 4, coveting Arslan's natural resoureces and desiring Middle East hegemony, decided to involve in the civil war directly and stripped Abudael of his power by assassinating his staffs and installing puppet regime. Arslan rebel forces at this point are reduced to nothing more than puppet military for Project 4. Worse, Project 4 reduces Abudael to drug addict and broke his psyche. With Project 4's supply Arslan Rebels ultimately took over Arslan Capital and has Area 88 and Royal Arslan Forces on the run. In spite of this Area 88 and Royal Arslan Forces would continue harassing Project 4.
At the end of the manga, the three groups Arslan Royal Forces + Area 88 and rebels put their differences aside to fight together against the Project 4's forces, led by the main villain Satoru Kanzaki. With Project 4 driven off of Arslan and the leaders of both Area 88 and rebels having died, the civil war finally ends and an agreement is finally made to transition the country into a republic. Contrary to Saki Vashtaal's concern, who believed that the transition would tear the country asunder into various warring factions with their own interests, the transition of Arslan nation went smoothly and peacefully. Whether the nation of Arslan would remain that way... No one knows.
Arslan Kingdom's former monarch had two sons: Abudael Vashtaal the Elder and Zak Vashtaal the Younger. Abudael was a progressive and Zak was conservative. The monarch, fearing that resource-rich Arslan would be exploited by various external forces' meddlings should the kingdom open its gate to outside influences, opposed Abudael's progressivism and supported the younger son. Eventually Zak succeeded his father as the king of Arslan. Unhappy that being stripped of his birthright and his idea of progressivism denied, Abudael rebelled against his brother with the goal of transitioning Arslan to republic.
However, the real reason behind Abudael's rebellion was that his wife and queen, Solia Vashtaal, was diagnosed with a terminal illness (revealed to be blood cancer). Arslan's current medical science cannot cure her and Abudael believed only the advanced science from the West could cure her. To do so, Arslan has to open its isolationist policy and embrace the advanced medical science of the West. But as said above, anything outside is denied due to their potentially corrupting influence. To save his dying wife Solia Abudael with Western medical science believed he has to transition Arslan into republic and waged war against his own family.
This is the the true reason behind Arslan civil war, and Abudael told this to no one until the civil war reaches its final phase and in his dying breath Abudael reveals it to two people: Saki Vashtaal, the leader of Area 88 and Abudael's eldest son, and Shin Kazama who accompanied Saki at the time. Abudael eventually succumbs to his wound afterwards, Saki takes his father's body to Solia's 'tomb' (Solia was alive actually) and committed suicide.
- Abdael Vashtal (leader)
- Rishaal Vashtal
- Patrick Reed
- Wolfpack (manga only)
- "The Sniper" (anime only)
- Giuseppe Farina (manga only)
- Project 4
- How do the rebels manage to gain/make funds to continue the war remains mystery. Even Area 88 members are perplexed at the rebels' uncanny ability to fund the war. The manga never really explains it.
- Before Solia was diagnosed with blood cancer and went into cryostasis, she expressed how beautiful the capital of Arslan was and told Abudael her wish to have him protect the capital from potential internal and external threats: a promise that was sadly not kept.
- Solia was put into cryostasis when her sons, Saki and Rishal were still young.
- Abudael's son and his dear wife Solia becomes the new rulers of the newly established republic of Arslan he envisioned. Also with Solia finally having cured of her disease, making Abudael the ultimate winner of the civil war.