May 15, 2012 on 7:49 pm | In Arabs, CFG, Economics, Financial, History, Islam, Israel, Middle East, Palestine | Comments Off on CFG ON YOUTUBE: PALESTINIAN “INTIFADA”


The second Palestinian uprising and the

Israeli invasion of Lebanon: a cfg perspective‏

Cambridge Forecast Group (CFG)

Go to:

Lawrence Feiner 05-12-12

Published on May 12, 2012 by zoiladejesus27

Cambridge Forecast Group (CFG)



May 12, 2012 on 11:48 pm | In Arabs, CFG, Globalization, History, Islam, Israel, Third World, World-System, Zionism | Comments Off on CFG NEW YOUTUBE POST: PALESTINIAN UPRISING IN CFG PERSPECTIVE


The second Palestinian uprising and the

Israeli invasion of Lebanon: a cfg perspective‏

Cambridge Forecast Group (CFG)

Go to:

Lawrence Feiner 05-12-12

Published on May 12, 2012 by zoiladejesus27

Cambridge Forecast Group (CFG)



March 12, 2011 on 8:49 pm | In Africa, Arabs, History, Islam, Middle East | Comments Off on LIBYA AS ITALIAN COLONY: GRAZIANI VERSUS OMAR MUKHTAR


Rodolfo Graziani

(August 11, 1882 – January 11, 1955)

Rodolfo Graziani, 1st Marquess of Neghelli (August 11, 1882 – January 11, 1955), was an officer in the Italian Royal Army (Regio Esercito) who led military expeditions in Africa before and during World War II.

Rise to prominence

Rodolfo Graziani was born in Filettino in the province of Frosinone. In 1903, he decided to pursue a military career. He served in World War I and became the youngest colonel in the Italian Royal Army.

In Libya

In the 1920s, Graziani commanded the Italian forces in Libya. He was responsible for pacifying the Senussi rebels. During this so-called “pacification“, he was responsible for the construction of several concentration camps and labor camps, where tens of thousands Libyan prisoners died, if not killed[1] directly by hanging, like Omar Mukhtar, or bullets, then indirectly by starvation or disease. His deeds earned him the nickname “the Butcher of Fezzan[2] among the Arabs, but was called by the Italians the Pacifier of Libya (Pacificatore della Libia).

From 1926 to 1930, Graziani was the Vice Governor of Italian Cyrenaica in Libya. In 1930, he became Governor of Cyrenaica and held this position until 1934 when it was determined that he was needed elsewhere. In 1935, Graziani was made the Governor of Italian Somaliland.

In Ethiopia

From 1935 to 1936 during the Second Italo-Abyssinian War, Graziani was the commander of the southern front. His army invaded Ethiopia from Italian Somaliland and he commanded Italian forces in the Battle of Genale Doria and the Battle of the Ogaden. However, Graziani’s efforts in the south were secondary to the main invasion launched from Eritrea by General Emilio De Bono and continued by Marshal of Italy Pietro Badoglio. It was Badoglio and not Graziani who entered Addis Ababa in triumph after his “March of the Iron Will“. But it was Graziani who said: “The Duce will have Ethiopia, with or without the Ethiopians.”

Addis Ababa fell to Badoglio on May 5, 1936. Graziani had wanted to reach Harar before Badoglio reached Addis Ababa, but failed to do so. Even so, on May 9, Graziani was awarded for his role as commander of the southern front with a promotion to the rank of Marshal of Italy. During his tour of an Ethiopian Orthodox church in Dire Dawa, Graziani fell into a pit covered by an ornate carpet, a trap that he believed had been set by the Ethiopian priests to injure or kill him. As a result he held Ethiopian clerics in deep suspicion.

After the war, Graziani was made Viceroy of Italian East Africa and Governor-General of Shewa/Addis Ababa. After an unsuccessful attempt to kill him by two Eritreans on 19 February 1937, Graziani ordered a bloody and indiscriminate reprisal upon the conquered country, later remembered by Ethiopians as Yekatit 12: thousands of civilian inhabitants of Addis Ababa were killed indiscriminately, another 1,469 were summarily executed by the end of the next month, and over one thousand Ethiopian notables were imprisoned then exiled from Ethiopia. He became known as “the Butcher of Ethiopia“.[3] Also in connection with the attempt on his life, Graziani authorized the massacre of the monks of the ancient monastery of Debre Libanos and the large number of pilgrims who had traveled there to celebrate the feast day of the founding saint of the monastery. Graziani’s suspicion of the Ethiopian Orthodox clergy (and the fact that the wife of one of the assassins had briefly taken sanctuary at the monastery) had convinced him of the complicity of the monks in the attempt on his life.

From 1939 to 1941, Graziani was the Commander-in-Chief of the Italian Royal Army’s General Staff.

In World War II

At the start of World War II, Graziani was still the Commander-in-Chief of the Italian Royal Army’s General Staff. After the death of Marshal Italo Balbo in a friendly fire incident on 28 June 1940, Graziani took his place as the Commander-in-Chief of Italian North Africa and as the Governor General of Libya.

Initially giving Graziani a deadline of 8 August, Italian dictator Benito Mussolini ordered Graziani to invade Egypt with the Tenth Army. Graziani expressed doubts about the ability of his largely un-mechanized force to defeat the British and put off the invasion for as long as he could. However, faced with demotion, Graziani ultimately followed orders and elements of the Tenth Army invaded Egypt on 9 September. The Italians made modest gains into Egypt and then prepared a series of fortified camps to defend their positions. In 1941, Graziani resigned his commission after the British counterattacked and the Tenth Army was completely defeated by them during Operation Compass.

On 25 March 1941, Graziani was replaced by General Italo Gariboldi.

Graziani was the only Italian marshal to remain loyal to Mussolini after Dino Grandi‘s Grand Council of Fascism coup. He was appointed Minister of Defence of the Italian Social Republic and oversaw the mixed Italo-German LXXXXVII “Liguria” Army (Armee Ligurien) commanded by General Alfredo Guzzoni.

At the end of the war, Graziani spent a few days in San Vittore prison in Milan before being transferred to Allied control. He was brought back to Africa in Anglo-American custody, staying there until February 1946. Allied forces then felt the danger of assassination or lynching had passed, and returned him to Procida prison in Italy.

In 1950, a military tribunal sentenced Graziani to a further 19 years’ jail for high treason, as punishment for his collaboration with the Nazis; but he was released after serving only a few months of the sentence. He was never prosecuted for specific war crimes. Unlike the Germans and Japanese, Italians were not subjected to prosecutions. In 1955 he died of natural causes.

Military career



1. Italian atrocities in world war two | Education | The Guardian:# Rory Carroll # The Guardian, # Monday June 25 2001

2. Hart, David M.: Muslim Tribesmen and the Colonial Encounter in Fiction and on Film: The Image of the Muslim Tribes in Film and Fiction. Het Spinhuis, 2001. Page 121. ISBN 90-5589-205-X

3. An account of this event, known in Ethiopia as “Yekatit 12”, is chapter 14 of Anthony Mockler’s Haile Selassie’s War (New York: Olive Branch, 2003).

Place of birth Filettino, Italy

Place of death Rome, Italy (aged 72)


Kingdom of Italy (1915–1943)

Italian Social Republic (1943–1945)

(Royal Italian Army) (1914–1943)
Esercito Nazionale Repubblicano (1943–1945)

Service/branch Regio Esercito

Years of service 1903–1945

Rank General

Vice Governor of Italian Cyrenaica
Governor of Italian Cyrenaica
Governor of Italian Somaliland
Marshal of Italy
Governor of Italian East Africa
Viceroy of Italian East Africa

Governor of Italian Libya
Minister of Defense (RSI)

Unit Italian Tenth Army


Second Italo-Abyssinian War
World War II

North African Campaign


The Senussi or Sanussi refers to a Muslim political-religious order in Libya and the Sudan region founded in Mecca in 1837 by the Grand Senussi, Sayyid Muhammad ibn Ali as-Senussi. Senussi was concerned with both the decline of Islamic thought and spirituality and the weakening of Muslim political integrity. He was influenced by the Salafi movement, to which he added teachings from various Sufi orders. From 1902 to 1913 the Senussi fought French expansion in the Sahara, and the Italian colonisation of Libya beginning in 1911. The Grand Senussi’s grandson became King Idris I of Libya in 1951. In 1969, King Idris I was overthrown by a military coup led by Colonel Muammar al-Gaddafi. A third of the population in Libya continue to be affiliated with the Senussi movement.

Beginnings 1787–1860

The Senussi order has been historically closed to Europeans and outsiders, leading reports of their beliefs and practices to vary immensely. Though it is possible to gain some insight from the lives of the Senussi sheikhs further details are difficult to obtain.

Sayyid Muhammad ibn Ali as-Senussi (1787–1860), the founder of the order, was born near Mostaganem, Algeria, and was named al-Senussi after a venerated Muslim teacher. He was a member of the Walad Sidi Abdalla tribe, and was a sharif tracing his descent from Fatimah, the daughter of Mohammed. He studied at a madrassa in Fez, then traveled in the Sahara preaching a purifying reform of the faith in Tunisia and Tripoli, gaining many adherents, and then moved to Cairo to study at Al-Azhar University. The pious scholar was forceful in his criticism of the Egyptian ulema for what he perceived as their timid compliance with the Ottoman authorities and their spiritual conservatism. He also argued that learned Muslims should not blindly follow the four classical schools of Islamic law but instead engage in ijtihad themselves. Not surprisingly, he was opposed by the ulema as unorthodox and they issued a fatwa against him. Senussi went to Mecca, where he joined Ahmad Ibn Idris al-Fasi, the head of the Khadirites, a religious fraternity of Moroccan origin. On the death of Al-Fasi, Senussi became head of one of the two branches into which the Khadirites divided, and in 1835 he founded his first monastery or zawia, at Abu Kobeis near Mecca. While in Arabia, Senussi’s connections with the Salafi movement caused him to be looked upon with suspicion by the ulema of Mecca and the Ottoman authorities. Finding the opposition in Mecca too powerful Senussi settled in Cyrenaica, Libya in 1843, where in the mountains near Sidi Rafaa’ (Al Bayda) he built the Zawia Baida (“White Monastery”). There he was supported by the local tribes and the Sultan of Wadai and his connections extended across the Maghreb.

The Grand Senussi did not tolerate fanaticism and forbade the use of stimulants as well as voluntary poverty. Lodge members were to eat and dress within the limits of Islamic law and, instead of depending on charity, were required to earn their living through work. No aids to contemplation, such as the processions, gyrations, and mutilations employed by Sufi dervishes, were permitted. He accepted neither the wholly intuitive ways described by Sufi mystics nor the rationality of the orthodox ulema; rather, he attempted to achieve a middle path. The Bedouin tribes had shown no interest in the ecstatic practices of the Sufis that were gaining adherents in the towns, but they were attracted in great numbers to the Senussis. The relative austerity of the Senussi message was particularly suited to the character of the Cyrenaican Bedouins, whose way of life had not changed much in the centuries since the Arabs had first accepted the Prophet Mohammad’s teachings.[1]

In 1855 Senussi moved farther from direct Ottoman surveillance to Al-Jaghbub, a small oasis some 30 miles northwest of Siwa. He died in 1860, leaving two sons, Mahommed Sherif (1844–95) and Mohammed al-Mahdi, who succeded him.

Developments since 1860

Sayyid Muhammad al-Mahdi bin Sayyid Muhammad as-Senussi (1845 – May 30, 1902) was fourteen when his father died, after which he was placed under the care of his father’s friends.

The successors to the Sultan of Wadai, Sultan Ali (1858–74) and the Sultan Yusef (1874–98) continued to support the Senussi. Under al-Mahdi the zawias of the order extended to Fez, Damascus, Constantinople and India. In the Hejaz members of the order were numerous. In most of these countries the Senussites wielded no more political power than other Muslim fraternities, but in the eastern Sahara and central Sudan things were different. Mohammed al-Mahdi had the authority of a sovereign in a vast but almost empty desert. The string of oases leading from Siwa to Kufra, and Borku were cultivated by the Senussites and trade with Tripoli and Benghazi was encouraged.

Although named Al Mahdi by his father, Mohammed never claimed to be the Mahdi (the Promised One), although he was regarded as such by some of his followers. When Muhammad Ahmad proclaimed himself al-Mahdi al-Muntazar or ‘the Expected Saviour’ in 1881 Mohammed al-Mahdi decided to have nothing to do with him. Although Muhammad Ahmed wrote twice asking him to become one of his four great khalifs, he received no reply. In 1890 Mahdists advancing from Darfur were stopped on the frontier of Wadai, the sultan Yusef proving firm in his adherence to the Senussi teachings.

Mohammed al-Mahdi’s growing fame made the Ottoman regime uneasy and drew unwelcome attention. In most of Tripoli and Benghazi his authority was greater than that of the Ottoman governors. In 1889 the sheik was visited at Al-Jaghbub by the pasha of Benghazi accompanied by Ottoman troops. This event showed the sheik the possibility of danger and led him to move his headquarters to Jof in the oases of Kufra in 1894, a place sufficiently remote to secure him from a sudden attack.

By this time a new danger to Senussi territories had arisen from the colonial French, who were advancing from the Congo towards the western and southern borders of Wadai. The Senussi kept them from advancing north of Chad.

In 1902, Mohammed al-Mahdi died and was succeeded by his nephew Ahmed Sharif es Senussi, but his adherents in the deserts bordering Egypt maintained for years that he was not dead. The new head of the Senussites maintained the friendly relations of his predecessors with Wadai, governing the order as regent for his young cousin, Mohammed Idris (King Idris I of Libya), who was named Emir of Cyrenaica by the British in 1917.

The Senussi, encouraged by the Germans and the Ottoman Empire, played a minor part in the First World War, fighting a guerrilla war against the British and Italians in Libya and Egypt from November 1915 until February 1917, led by Sayyid Ahmed and in the Sudan from March to December 1916, led by Ali Dinar, the Sultan of Darfur.[2][3] In 1916, the British sent an expeditionary force against them, led by Major General William Peyton.[4] According to Wavell and McGuirk, Western Force was first led by General Wallace and later by General Hodgson.[5][6]

Libya was taken from the Ottomans by Italy in the Italo-Turkish War of 1911. In 1922, Italian Fascist leader Benito Mussolini launched his infamous “Riconquista” of Libya — the Roman Empire having done the original conquering 2000 years before. The Senussi led the resistance and Italians closed Senussi lodges, arrested sheikhs, and confiscated mosque land. Libyans fought the Italians until 1943, with between 250,000 and 300,000 of them dying in the process.[7]

Chiefs of the Senussi Order

Sayyid Idris bin Sayyid Abdullah al-Senussi also claims the leadership of the Senussi.


1. Metz, Helen Chapin. “The Sanusi Order”. Libya: A Country Study. GPO for the Library of Congress. Retrieved 28 February 2011.

2. Field Marshal Earl Wavell, The Palestine Campaigns 3rd Edition thirteenth Printing; Series: A Short History of the British Army 4th Edition by Major E.W. Sheppard (London: Constable & Co., 1968) pp. 35–6

3. M.G.E. Bowman–Manifold, An Outline of the Egyptian and Palestine Campaigns, 1914 to 1918 2nd Edition (Chatham: The Institution of Royal Engineers, W. & J. Mackay & Co Ltd, 1923), p. 23.

4. William Eliot Peyton, Centre for First World War Studies, (accessed 19 January 2008)

5. Wavell pp. 37–8.

6. Russell McGuirk The Sanusi’s Little War: The Amazing Story of a Forgotten Conflict in the Western Desert, 1915–1917 (London: Arabian Publishing, 2007) pp. 263–4.

7. John L. Wright, Libya, a Modern History, Johns Hopkins University Press, p. 42.

  • Encyclopaedia Britannica 1911
  • E. E. Evans-Pritchard, The Sanusi of Cyrenaica (1949, repr. 1963)
  • N. A. Ziadeh, Sanusiyah (1958, repr. 1983).
  • Bianci, Steven, ”Libya: Current Issues and Historical Background New York: Nova Science Publishers, INc, 2003
  • This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (Eleventh ed.). Cambridge University Press.
  • L. Rinn, Marabouts et Khouan, a good historical account up to the year 1884
  • 0. Depont and X. Coppolani, Les Confrèries religieuses musulmanes (Algiers, 1897)
  • Si Mohammed el Hechaish, Chez les Senoussia et les Touareg, in “L’Expansion cot. française” for 1900 and the “Revue de Paris” for 1901. These are translations from the Arabic of an educated Mahommedan who visited the chief Senussite centres. An obituary notice of Senussi el Mahdi by the same writer appeared in the Arab journal El Iladira of Tunis, Sept. 2, 1902; a condensation of this article appears in the “Bull. du Corn. de l’Afriue française” for 5902; Les Senoussia, an anonymous contribution to the April supplement of the same volume, is a judicious summary of events, a short bibliography being added; Capt. Julien, in “Le Dar Ouadai” published in the same Bulletin (vol. for 1904), traces the connection between Wadai and the Senussi
  • L. G. Binger, in Le Peril de l’Islam in the 1906 volume of the Bulletin, discusses the position and prospects of the Senussite and other Islamic sects in North Africa. Von Grunau, in “Verhandlungen der Gesellschaft für Erdkunde” for 1899, gives an account of his visit to Siwa
  • M.G.E. Bowman–Manifold, An Outline of the Egyptian and Palestine Campaigns, 1914 to 1918 2nd Edition (Chatham: The Institution of Royal Engineers, W. & J. Mackay & Co Ltd, 1923)
  • Russell McGuirk The Sanusi’s Little War The Amazing Story of a Forgotten Conflict in the Western Desert, 1915–1917 (London, Arabian Publishing: 2007)
  • Field Marshal Earl Wavell, The Palestine Campaigns 3rd Edition thirteenth Printing; Series: A Short History of the British Army 4th Edition by Major E.W. Sheppard (London: Constable & Co., 1968)
  • Sir F. R. Wingate, in Mahdiism and the Egyptian Sudan (London, 1891), narrates the efforts made by the Mahdi Mahommed Ahmed to obtain the support of the Senussi
  • Sir W. Wallace, in his report to the Colonial Office on Northern Nigeria for 1906-1907, deals with Senussiism in that country.
  • H. Duveyrier, La Confrèrie musulmane de Sidi Mohammed ben Au es Senoussi (Paris, 1884), a book containing much exaggeration, and A. Silva White, From Sphinx to Oracle (London, 1898), which, while repeating the extreme views of Duveyrier, contains useful information.

Cyrenaica, Tripolitania, Libya

Titles Emir of Cyrenaica, Emir of Tripolitania, King of Libya

Founder Muhammad ibn Ali as-Senussi

Final sovereign Idris of Libya

Current head Crown Prince Muhammad as-Senussi
(Idris al-Senussi also claims the headship)

Deposition 1 September 1969

Omar Mukhtar (Arabic Umar Al-Mukhtār) (1862 – September 16, 1931), of the Mnifa,[1] was born in the small village of Janzour, near Tobruk in eastern Barqa (Cyrenaica) in Libya. Beginning in 1912, he organized and, for nearly twenty years, led native resistance to Italian colonization of Libya. The Italians captured and hanged him in 1931.

Early life

Omar Mukhtar was born in eastern Cyrenaica, Al Butnan District, in the village of East Janzur east of Tobruk. He was orphaned early and was adopted by Sharif El Gariani nephew of Hussein Ghariani, a political-religious leader in Cyrenaica. He received his early education at the local mosque and then studied for eight years at the Senussi university at Al-Jaghbub, which was also the headquarters of the Senussi Movement. In 1899 he was sent with other Senussi to assist Rabih az-Zubayr in the resistance in Chad against the French.

Italian invasion

In October 1911, during the Italo-Turkish War, an Italian naval contingent under the command of Admiral Luigi Faravelli reached the shores of Libya, then a territory subject to Ottoman Turkish control. The admiral demanded that the Libyans surrender their territory to the Italians or incur the immediate destruction of the city of Tripoli. The Libyans fled instead of surrendering, and the Italians bombarded the city for three days, then proclaimed the Tripolitanians to be “committed and strongly bound to Italy.” This marked the beginning of a series of battles between the Italian colonial forces and the Libyan armed opposition under Omar Mukhtar.

Guerrilla warfare

Libyan resistance movement and History of Libya as Italian colony

A teacher of the Qur’an by profession, Mukhtar was also skilled in the strategies and tactics of desert warfare. He knew local geography well and used that knowledge to advantage in battles against the Italians, who were unaccustomed to desert warfare. Mukhtar repeatedly led his small, highly alert groups in successful attacks against the Italians, after which they would fade back into the desert terrain. Mukhtar’s men skillfully attacked outposts, ambushed troops, and cut lines of supply and communication. The Italian army was left astonished and embarrassed by his guerrilla tactics.

In the mountainous region of Ghebel Akhdar (“Green Mountain”) in 1924, Italian Governor Ernesto Bombelli created a counter-guerrilla force that inflicted a severe setback to rebel forces in April, 1925. Mukhtar then quickly modified his own tactics and was able to count on continued help from Egypt. In March, 1927, despite occupation of Giarabub from February 1926 and increasingly stringent rule under Governor Attilio Teruzzi, Mukhtar surprised Italian troops at Raheiba. Between 1927 and 1928, Mukhtar fully reorganized the Senusite forces, who were being hunted constantly by the Italians. Even General Teruzzi recognized Omar’s qualities of “exceptional perseverance and strong will power.”

Pietro Badoglio, governor of Libya from January 1929, after extensive negotiations concluded a compromise with Mukhtar (described by the Italians as his complete submission) similar to previous Italo-Senusite accords. At the end of October, 1929, Mukhtar denounced the compromise and reëstablished a unity of action among Libyan forces, preparing himself for the ultimate confrontation with General Rodolfo Graziani, Italian military commander from March 1930.

A massive offensive in June against Mukhtar’s forces having failed, Graziani, in full accord with Badoglio, Emilio De Bono (minister of the colonies), and Benito Mussolini, initiated a plan to break Cyrenian resistance: the hundred-thousand population of Gebel would be moved to concentration camps on the coast and the Libyan-Egyptian border from the coast at Giarabub would be closed, preventing any foreign help to the fighters and depriving them of support from the native population. These measures, which Graziani initiated early in 1931, took their toll on the Senusite resistance. The rebels were deprived of help and reinforcements, spied upon, hit by Italian aircraft, and pursued on the ground by the Italian forces aided by local informers and collaborators. Mukhtar continued to struggle despite increased hardships and risks, but on September 11, 1931, he was ambushed near Zonta.

Mukhtar’s final adversary, Italian General Rodolfo Graziani, has given a description of the Senusite leader that is not lacking in respect: “Of medium height, stout, with white hair, beard and mustache. Omar was endowed with a quick and lively intelligence; was knowledgeable in religious matters, and revealed an energetic and impetuous character, unselfish and uncompromising; ultimately, he remained very religious and poor, even though he had been one of the most important Senusist figures.” Today Mukhtar is a famous man in Libya.

Capture and execution

Mukhtar’s struggle of nearly twenty years came to an end on September 11, 1931, when he was wounded in battle near Slonta, then captured by the Italian army.[2][3] The Italians treated the native leader hero as a prize catch. His resilience had an impact on his jailers, who later remarked upon his steadfastness. His interrogators stated that Mukhtar recited verses of peace from the Qur’an.

In three days, Mukhtar was tried, convicted, and, on September 14, 1931, sentenced to be hanged publicly (historians and scholars have questioned whether his trial was fair or impartial[4]). When asked if he wished to say any last words, Mukhtar replied with a Qur’anic phrase: “Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji’un.” (“To God we belong and to Him we shall return.”). On September 16, 1931, on the orders of the Italian court and with Italian hopes that Libyan resistance would die with him, Mukhtar was hanged before his followers in the concentration camp of Solluqon at the age of 70 years.[5]


Today, Mukhtar’s face appears shown on the Libyan ten-dinar


His final years were depicted in the movie Lion of the Desert (1981), starring Anthony Quinn, Oliver Reed, and Irene Papas. It was based on the struggles of Mukhtar against Rodolfo Graziani‘s forces.


1. Mnifa is “a generic name for many groups of ‘Clients of the Fee’ (Marabtin al-sadqan).” These are client tribes having no sacred associations and are known as Marabtin al-sadqan because they pay sadaqa, a fee paid to a free tribe for protection. Peters, Emrys L. (1998) “Divine goodness: the concept of Baraka as used by the Bedouin of Cyrenaica”, page 104, In Shah, A. M.; Baviskar, Baburao Shravan and Ramaswamy, E. A. (editors) (1998) Social Structure and Change: Religion and Kinship (Volume 5 of Social Structure and Change) Sage Publications, Thousand Oaks, California, ISBN 0-7619-9255-3; Sage Publications, New Delhi, India, ISBN 81-7036-713-1

2. Simons, geoffrey Leslie (1993) Libya: the struggle for survival St. Martin’s Press, New York, page 131, ISBN 0-312-08997-X

3. Map showing the disposition of forces in the capture of Mukhtar, in Arabic.

4. Secret Proceedings in the Italians Trial

5. Libya History [1]



March 9, 2011 on 9:48 pm | In Arabs, History, Iraq, Middle East, United Kingdom | Comments Off on CHURCHILL AND THE CAIRO CONFERENCE OF MARCH 1921


Cairo Conference of March 1921

The Cairo Conference was convened by Winston Churchill, then Britain’s colonial secretary.

With the mandates of Palestine and Iraq awarded to Britain at the San Remo Conference (1920), Churchill wished to consult with Middle East experts, and at his request, Gertrude Bell, Sir Percy Cox, T. E. Lawrence, Sir Kinahan Cornwallis, Sir Arnold T. Wilson, Iraqi minister of war Ja’far alAskari, Iraqi minister of finance Sasun Effendi (Sasson Heskayl), and others gathered in Cairo, Egypt, in March 1921. The two most significant decisions of the conference were to offer the throne of Iraq to Amir Faisal ibn Hussein (who became Faisal I) and the emirate of Transjordan (now Jordan) to his brother Abdullah I ibn Hussein. Furthermore, the British garrison in Iraq would be substantially reduced and replaced by air force squadrons, with a major base at Habbaniyya. The conference provided the political blueprint for British administration in both Iraq and Transjordan, and in offering these two regions to the Hashemite sons of Sharif Husayn ibn Ali of the Hijaz, Churchill believed that the spirit, if not the letter, of Britain’s wartime promises to the Arabs would be fulfilled.


Fromkin, David. A Peace to End All Peace. New York: H. Holt, 1989.

Klieman, Aaron S. Foundations of British Policy in the Arab World: The Cairo Conference of 1921. London: Johns Hopkins, 1970.

At the Cairo Conference of March 1921, the British set the parameters for Iraqi political life that were to continue until the 1958 revolution; they chose a Hashemite, Faisal ibn Husayn, son of Sherif Hussein ibn Ali former Sharif of Mecca as Iraq’s first King; they established an Iraqi army (but kept Assyrian Levies under direct British command); and they proposed a new treaty. To confirm Faisal as Iraq’s first monarch, a one-question plebiscite was carefully arranged that had a return of 96 percent in his favor. The British saw in Faisal a leader who possessed sufficient nationalist and Islamic credentials to have broad appeal, but who also was vulnerable enough to remain dependent on their support. Faisal traced his descent from the family of the Prophet Muhammad. His ancestors held political authority in the holy cities of Mecca and Medina since the tenth century. The British believed these credentials would satisfy traditional Arab standards of political legitimacy; moreover, the British thought Faisal would be accepted by the growing Iraqi nationalist movement because of his role in the 1916 Arab Revolt against the Turks, his achievements as a leader of the Arab emancipation movement, and his general leadership qualities. Faisal was instated as the Monarch of Iraq after the Naquib of Baghdad was disqualified as being too old (80 yrs) and Sayid Talib (a prominent Iraqi from the province of Basra) was deported on trumped up charges by the British. The voting was far from a reflection of the true feelings of the Iraqi people. Nevertheless, Faisal was considered the most effective choice for the throne by the British government.

The final major decision taken at the Cairo Conference related to the new Anglo-Iraqi Treaty of 1922. Faisal was under pressure from the nationalists and the anti-British mujtahids of Najaf and Karbala to limit both British influence in Iraq and the duration of the treaty. Recognizing that the monarchy depended on British support— and wishing to avoid a repetition of his experience in Syria — Faisal maintained a moderate approach in dealing with Britain. The treaty which had been originally set as a twenty year engagement but later reduced to 4 years, was ratified in June 1924, stated that the king would heed British advice on all matters affecting British interests and on fiscal policy as long as Iraq had a balance of payments deficit with Britain, and that British officials would be appointed to specified posts in eighteen departments to act as advisers and inspectors. A subsequent financial agreement, which significantly increased the financial burden on Iraq, required Iraq to pay half the cost of supporting British resident officials, among other expenses. British obligations under the new treaty included providing various kinds of aid, notably military assistance, and proposing Iraq for membership in the League of Nations at the earliest moment. In effect, the treaty ensured that Iraq would remain politically and economically dependent on Britain. While unable to prevent the treaty, Faisal clearly felt that the British had gone back on their promises to him.

On 1 October 1922 the Royal Air Force in Iraq was reorganized as RAF Iraq Command which was given control of all British forces in the kingdom.[1]

The British decision at the Cairo Conference to establish an indigenous Iraqi army was significant. In Iraq, as in most of the developing world, the military establishment has been the best organized institution in an otherwise weak political system. Thus, while Iraq’s body politic crumbled under immense political and economic pressure throughout the monarchic period, the military gained increasing power and influence; moreover, because the officers in the new army were by necessity Sunnis who had served under the Ottomans, while the lower ranks were predominantly filled by Shia tribal elements, Sunni dominance in the military was preserved.

Oil concession

Before the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, the British-controlled Turkish Petroleum Company (TPC) had held concessionary rights to the Mosul wilaya (province). Under the 1916 Sykes-Picot Agreement — an agreement in 1916 between Britain and France that delineated future control of the Middle East — the area would have fallen under French influence. In 1919, however, the French relinquished their claims to Mosul under the terms of the Long-Berenger Agreement. The 1919 agreement granted the French a 25 percent share in the TPC as compensation.

Beginning in 1923, British and Iraqi negotiators held acrimonious discussions over the new oil concession. The major obstacle was Iraq’s insistence on a 20 percent equity participation in the company; this figure had been included in the original TPC concession to the Turks and had been agreed upon at San Remo for the Iraqis. In the end, despite strong nationalist sentiments against the concession agreement, the Iraqi negotiators acquiesced to it. The League of Nations was soon to vote on the disposition of Mosul, and the Iraqis feared that, without British support, Iraq would lose the area to Turkey. In March 1925, an agreement was concluded that contained none of the Iraqi demands. The TPC, now renamed the Iraq Petroleum Company (IPC), was granted a full and complete concession for a period of seventy-five years.

Later years of the mandate

With the signing of the Anglo-Iraqi Treaty and the settling of the Mosul question, Iraqi politics took on a new dynamic. The emerging class of Sunni and Shia landowning tribal sheikhs vied for positions of power with wealthy and prestigious urban-based Sunni families and with Ottoman-trained army officers and bureaucrats. Because Iraq’s newly established political institutions were the creation of a foreign power, and because the concept of democratic government had no precedent in Iraqi history, the politicians in Baghdad lacked legitimacy and never developed deeply rooted constituencies. Thus, despite a constitution and an elected assembly, Iraqi politics was more a shifting alliance of important personalities and cliques than a democracy in the Western sense. The absence of broadly based political institutions inhibited the early nationalist movement’s ability to make deep inroads into Iraq’s diverse social structure.

The new Anglo-Iraqi Treaty was signed in June 1930. It provided for a “close alliance,” for “full and frank consultations between the two countries in all matters of foreign policy,” and for mutual assistance in case of war. Iraq granted the British the use of air bases near Basra and at Al Habbaniyah and the right to move troops across the country. The treaty, of twenty-five years’ duration, was to come into force upon Iraq’s admission to the League of Nations. This occurred on October 3, 1932.

British High Commissioners to the Kingdom of Iraq

Further reading

  • Barker, A. J. The First Iraq War, 1914-1918: Britain’s Mesopotamian Campaign (New York: Enigma Books, 2009). ISBN 978-1-929631-86-5
  • Eskander, Saad. “Southern Kurdistan under Britain’s Mesopotamian Mandate: From Separation to Incorporation, 1920–23,” Middle Eastern Studies 37, no. 2 (2001)
  • Fieldhouse, David K. Western Imperialism in the Middle East, 1914–1958 (2006)* Fisk, Robert. The Great War for Civilisation: The Conquest of the Middle East, (2nd ed. 2006),
  • Jacobsen, Mark. “‘Only by the Sword’: British Counterinsurgency in Iraq,” Small Wars and Insurgencies 2, no. 2 (1991): 323–63.
  • Simons, Geoff. Iraq: From Sumer to Saddam (2nd ed. 1994)
  • Sluglett, Peter. Britain in Iraq: Contriving King and Country, 1914–1932 (2nd ed. 2007)
  • Vinogradov, Amal. “The 1920 Revolt in Iraq Reconsidered: The Role of Tribes in National Politics,” International Journal of Middle East Studies 3, no. 2 (1972): 123–39


1. R. M. Douglas, “Did Britain Use Chemical Weapons in Mandatory Iraq?” Journal of Modern History Dec. 2009, Vol. 81, No. 4: 859-887. online concludes “no”–that no chemical weapons or gas was actually used.



March 9, 2011 on 7:26 pm | In Arabs, France, History, Research, United Kingdom | Comments Off on MOROCCO FRENCH INFLUENCE CHURCHILL: EL GLAOUI FAMILY


Morocco French Coups and Churchill

Thami El Glaoui (1879 – 23 January 1956)

El Haj T’hami el Mezouari el Glaoui (1879 – 23 January 1956), better known in English-speaking countries as T’hami El Glaoui or Lord of the Atlas, was a Berber Pasha of Marrakech from 1912 to 1956. His family name was El Mezouari, from a title given an ancestor by Sultan Moulay Ismail in 1700, while El Glaoui refers to his chieftainship of the Glaoua (Arabic) or Aglawou (Chleuh) tribe of Southern Morocco, based at the Kasbah of Telouet in the High Atlas and at Marrakech.

He became head of the Glaoua upon the death of his elder Brother Si el Madani, and as an ally of the French in Morocco conspired with them in the overthrow of the king, Sultan Mohammed V.

The Feudal Warlord

Until the second half of the 20th century, Moroccan society was in a state of feudalism very close to that which pertained in Europe during medieval times. At the top was the sultan, who held the two positions of king (temporal ruler) and imām (spiritual leader). His court, or central government (Makhzen), was headed by a Grand Vizier. The next tier of government was provided by a large number of pashas (from the Persian padshah, literally: viceroy) and caïds (the equivalent of European dukes, barons etc.) whose responsibilities were to collect taxes and keep order, to which ends they often kept private armies. Under them were the mass of ordinary commoners whose responsibilities were to pay taxes, obey their local master and provide him with troops when necessary.

T’hami was born in 1879 to the caïd of Telouet, Si Mohammed ben Hammou and his Ethiopian concubine Zora. When Si Mohammed died in 1888, his eldest son Si el Madani took over his father’s position with the teenaged T’hami as his assistant.[1]

In the autumn of 1893, Sultan Moulay Hassan and his army were crossing the High Atlas mountains after a tax-gathering expedition when they were caught in a blizzard. They were rescued by Si Madani and T’hami, and the grateful Sultan bestowed on Si Madani caïdats from Tafilalt to the Sous. In addition, he presented the Glaoua arsenal with a working 77-mm Krupp cannon, the only such weapon in Morocco outside the imperial army. The Glaoua army, used this weapon to subdue rival warlords.[1]

In 1902, Madani, T’hami and the Glaoua force joined the imperial army of Moulay Abdelaziz as it marched against the pretender Bou Hamara. The Sultan’s forces were routed by the pretender. Madani became a scapegoat, and spent months of humiliation at court before being allowed to return home. He thereupon began to actively work to depose Moulay Abdelaziz. This was achieved in 1907 with the enthronement of Moulay Hafid, who rewarded the Glaoua by appointing Si Madani as his Grand Vizier, and T’hami as Pasha of Marrakech.[1]

French Influence

The ruinous reigns of Moulay Abdelaziz and Moulay Hafid bankrupted Morocco and led first to riots, then to armed intervention by the French to protect their citizens and financial interests. As the situation worsened, a scapegoat once again had to be found, and again it was the Glaoua. Moulay Hafid accused Madani of keeping back tax money, and in 1911 stripped all Glaoua family members of their positions.[1]

In 1912 the Sultan was forced to sign the Treaty of Fez, which gave the French immense control over the Sultan, his pashas and caïds. Later that year, the pretender El Hiba entered Marrakech with his army and demanded of the new Pasha, Driss Mennou (who had replaced T’hami), that he hand over all foreign Christians as hostages. These had sought refuge with the former Pasha, T’hami, who had tried previously but failed to get them out of the district. T’hami handed over the hostages, except for a sergeant whom he hid and supplied with a line of communication with the approaching French army. The French scattered El Hiba‘s warriors, and Driss Mennou ordered his men to overpower El Hiba‘s guards and liberate the hostages. These then went to T’hami’s place to collect their belongings, and were found there by the French army in circumstances which suggested T’hami alone had saved them. T’hami was restored to his position as Pasha on the spot.[1] Seeing that the French were now the only effective power, T’hami aligned himself with them.

Lord of the Atlas

Madani died in 1918. The French immediately repaid T’hami’s support by appointing him the head of the family ahead of Madani’s sons. Only Si Hammou, Madani’s son-in-law, managed to remain in his position as caïd of the Glawa, based in Telouet (and therefore in charge of its arsenal). Not until Hammou died in 1934 did T’hami get full control of his legacy.[1]

From that time on, T’hami’s wealth and influence grew. His position as Pasha enabled him to acquire great wealth by means which were often dubious,[1] with interests in agriculture and mineral resources. His personal style and charm, as well as his prodigality with his wealth, made him many friends among the international fashionable set of the day. He visited the European capitals often, while his visitors at Marrakech included Winston Churchill, Colette, Maurice Ravel, Charlie Chaplin.[2]

The Pasha attended the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II as a private guest of Churchill but his lavish gifts of a jewelled crown and an ornate dagger were refused as it was not customary for gifts to be received from individuals not representing a government.[1]

According to his son Abdessadeq, one of the principal means by which he acquired great landholdings was that he was able to buy land at cheap prices during times of drought. During one such drought, he constructed an irrigated private golf course at Marrakech, at which Churchill often played. When the French protested about the waste of water, they were easily silenced by granting playing rights to the top officials.[2]

T’hami had two wives: Lalla Zineb, mother of his sons Hassan and Abdessadeq and widow of his brother Si Madani; and Lalla Fadna, by whom he had a son Mehdi and a daughter Khaddouj. Mehdi was killed fighting in the French forces at Cassino. T’hami also had a number of concubines, of whom he had children by three: Lalla Kamar (sons Brahim, Abdellah, Ahmed and Madani), Lalla Nadida (son Mohammed and daughter Fattouma) and Lalla Zoubida (daughter Saadia). The first two of these had originally entered T’hami’s harem as musicians imported from Turkey.[2]

The Nationalists

As part of the resistance against the French Occupation, a political party, the Istiqlal had started up with a nationalist (i.e. anti-colonialist) policy. T’hami and his son Brahim were supporters of the French, but several of T’hami’s other sons were nationalists.[2] This could be risky; he had one of them imprisoned in a dungeon.[1]

T’hami had grown up and lived most of his life as a feudal warlord, and so had many of the other pashas and caïds. Their opposition to the nationalists was based on conservatism:[2]

  • The only line of communication between the people and the Sultan was by means of the pashas and caïds; this was the route by which tax money found its way to the Makhzen. No-one – certainly not the nationalists, who were mostly commoners – should breach this protocol. The pashas and caïds believed that this social order was to the benefit of their subjects as well as themselves. This was perhaps true to this extent: any pasha or caïd expressing a nationalist sympathy was likely to be stripped of his position by the French and replaced by either a puppet or even a French official to the detriment of their subjects.
  • As well as challenging traditional political power, the nationalists were also held to be responsible for endangering the spiritual leadership. Traditional religious sensibilities amongst the pashas and caïds were outraged by media pictures of royal princesses in bathing suits at the beach or by the pool. The nationalists were held to blame for introducing the Sultan to such new-fangled anti-Islamic ideas.

Thami was not opposed to nationalism (in the sense of being against French colonialism) in itself, but was offended that it seemed to be associated with an upset of the established temporal and spiritual authority of the Sultan.


Two incidents led up to the rupture of relations between T’hami and Sultan Mohammed V.[2]

  • Mesfioua incident: On 18 November 1950 nationalists staged a demonstration at a tomb in the ruins of Aghmat. This was brutally suppressed by police acting on the orders of the local caïd of the Mesfioua tribe. The Sultan, on hearing of this, commanded the caïd to appear before him to explain himself. This order would normally have gone to the caïd’s superior, T’hami, but he was in Paris and it went instead to his deputy, his son Brahim. Brahim, instead of obeying, decided to consult his father, but omitted to obtain a definite response. The end result was that the Sultan’s order was not carried out, and the Sultan gained the impression that the Glaoui family had deliberately ignored it.
  • Laghzaoui incident: the French had set up a Council of the Throne supposedly to advise the Sultan, but in reality to impose policy upon him. At a meeting of the Council on 6 December 1950, Mohammed Laghzaoui, a nationalist, was expelled by the person who effectively controlled the Council, the French Resident. The other nationalist members left with him, and were immediately received in private audience with the Sultan. This confirmed to T’hami that the nationalists and the Sultan were breaching established protocols of communication.

The Rupture

At the annual Feast of Mouloud it was customary for the Sultan’s subjects to renew their vows of loyalty to him. This was done in private audiences with the pashas and caïds, and by a public demonstration by their assembled tribespeoples. T’hami’s audience took place on 23 December 1950. Prior to this, Moulay Larbi El Alaoui, a member of the Makhzen had reportedly primed the Sultan to expect trouble from T’hami.[1] The Sultan let it be known that he expected the audience to conform to the traditional pledges of loyalty with no political content. T’hami, however, started off by blaming the Mesfioua and Laghzaoui incidents on the nationalists. When the Sultan calmly responded that he considered the nationalists to be loyal Moroccans, T’hami exploded into a diatribe to which the Sultan could only sit speechless, judging it was better not to provoke a man who clearly had lost control of his passions.[2] After T’hami exhausted himself, the Sultan continued his silence so T’hami left the palace. The Sultan then conferred with his Grand Vizier and Moulay Larbi and gave orders that T’hami was barred from appearing before him until further notice. After the Grand Vizier left to recall T’hami to receive this order, the next two caïds were admitted for their audience. As it happened these were Brahim and Mohammed, T’hami’s sons, who were caïds in their own right. Brahim attempted to smooth things over by saying that T’hami had only spoken as a father might to his son. Suggesting that this was an acceptable way for a subject to speak to a king was in itself a breach of protocol which only made matters worse.[2] When T’hami arrived back at the palace, the Grand Vizier told him that both he and his family were no longer welcome. T’hami then sent his assembled tribespeoples and subordinate caïds home without waiting for the customary public demonstration of loyalty; this action was construed by the palace as open mutiny.[2]


T’hami regarded the Sultan’s order as a personal insult that must be wiped out at all costs.[2] In addition, the Makhzen was dominated by Fassis (those from the city of Fez), and there was a traditional mutual distrust between the Fassis and those from Marrakech. In T’hami’s memory was of the humiliation of himself and his brother Si Madani at the hands of a Fassi-dominated Makhzen during the reigns of Moulay Abdelaziz and Moulay Hafid.[2]

From that moment on he conspired with Abd El Hay Kittani and the French to replace Mohammed V with a new sultan, an elderly member of the royal family named Ben Arafa.

On 17 August 1953, Kittani and the Glaoui unilaterally declared Ben Arafa to be the country’s imām. On 25 August 1953, the French Resident had the Sultan and his family forcibly seized and deported to exile, and Ben Arafa was proclaimed the new sultan.[1]


T’hami had already participated in one dethronement of a sultan in 1907, which had been met with popular indifference. With this “ossified” memory in mind, he never expected another dethronement would lead to an insurrection. The great mistake made by T’hami and his associated pashas and caïds, according to his son Abdessadeq, was that unlike Mohammed V they simply failed to realise that by 1950 Moroccan society had evolved to the stage where feudal government was no longer acceptable to their subjects.[2]

A popular uprising began, directed mainly against the French but also against their Moroccan supporters. French citizens were massacred, the French forces responded with equal brutality, and French colonists began a campaign of terrorism against anyone (Moroccan or French) who expressed nationalist sympathies. T’hami was the target of a grenade attack, which did not however injure him. His chamberlain Haj Idder (formerly a slave of Si Madani) was injured in another such attack, and on recovery came to oppose the French.[2] Finally, an all-out war began in the Rif.

Rallying to the Sultan

T’hami at first forcefully supported the French, machine-gun in hand if necessary.[1] He was shaken, however, by the political “reforms” which the French began to demand to consolidate their hold on power, which would have had the same outcome as what he had feared from the nationalists: the eventual removal of the pashas and caïds.[2]

The French government, unnerved by way the country was rapidly becoming ungovernable, slowly began to think about how it might undo what had happened. T’hami detected this and equally slowly became as receptive to his nationalist son Abdessadeq as he had formerly been to his pro-French son Brahim. Ben Arafa abdicated on 1 August 1955. The French brought Mohammed V to France from exile, but also created a “Council of the Throne” as a caretaker government.

T’hami now no longer believed in anything the French said, and pointedly refused them support to suppress a student strike. By 17 October, T’hami had decided to notify the French and their Council that he supported the restoration of Mohammed V as Sultan. This notification was never sent, apparently because Brahim became aware of his intention and began his own negotiations with French interests. T’hami was shocked into a sudden suspicion that Brahim may have been planning to supersede him.[2]

To forestall this, Abdessadeq arranged a meeting between his father and leading nationalists, which took place over dinner on 25 October. At this meeting an announcement was drawn up in which T’hami recognized Mohammed V as rightful Sultan.[2] The next day, as soon as T’hami had addressed the Council of the Throne, the announcement was read out by Abdessadeq to a waiting crowd and simultaneously released to the media by nationalists in Cairo. The whole of Morocco was now united in the demand for the Sultan’s restoration, and the French had no choice but to capitulate.

T’hami flew to France and on 8 November 1955 knelt in submission before Mohammed V, who forgave him his past mistakes.


El Glaoui was one of the world’s richest men. He took a tithe of the almond, saffron and olive harvests in his vast domain, owned huge blocks of stock in French-run mines and factories, and received a rebate on machinery and automobiles imported into his realm. As a sideline, he reputedly took a cut of the earnings of 27,000 prostitutes operating in the Marrakech area. El Glaoui’s fortune was somewhere in the neighborhood of $50 million at the time.[3]


El Glaoui died of stomach cancer on 23 January 1956, not long after the return of the Sultan. His properties and wealth were later seized by the state.[4]

Abdessadeq El Glaoui, the son of Thami El Glaoui, and a past Moroccan ambassador to the USA, has written a book about his father and his relations with the French and the monarchy.[2][5]

Hassan El Glaoui, another son of T’hami, is one of the best-known Moroccan figurative painters, with works selling for hundreds of thousands of dirhams.

Mehdi El Glaoui, the grandson of Thami El Glaoui, is famous for his role as Sébastien in the television series Belle et Sébastien


1. a b c d e f g h i j k l Source: G. Maxwell, see References below

2. a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q Source: Abdessadeq El Glaoui, see References below.


4. article by Driss Ksikes (in French), Telquel Online (Moroccan Magazin), vol. 136, July 2004 “El Glaoui. Portrait d’un collabo”

5. Interview (in French) with Abdessadeq El Glaoui in Hebdo Press (2004) Maroc Hebdo


Morocco French Coups and Churchill

Thami El Glaoui (1879 – 23 January 1956)



February 18, 2011 on 9:30 pm | In Arabs, Art, Books, Literary, Middle East | Comments Off on THE POETRY OF ARAB REVOLT: NIZAR QABBANI


The Poetry of Arab Revolt

“Dive into the sea, or stay away”
– Nizar Qabbani

Nizar Tawfiq Qabbani (21 March 1923 – 30 April 1998)

Assassin’s Gate, George Packer’s book about his time in occupied Iraq has this epigraph:

Dive into the sea, or stay away.
– Nizar Qabbani

Andrew Bacevich found this noteworthy:

As the epigraph for his new book on the politics of America’s intervention in Iraq, George Packer has chosen a verse by the Arab nationalist poet Nizar Qabbani: “Dive into the sea, or stay away.” The poet’s charge aptly captures the thesis of “The Assassins’ Gate”: a great enterprise requires unequivocal commitment; to act halfheartedly is worse than not acting at all.

Nizar Qabbani

Nizar Qabbani
Born March 21, 1923(1923-03-21)
Damascus, Syria
Died April 30, 1998(1998-04-30) (aged 75)
London, England
Occupation diplomat, poet, writer, publisher
Nationality Syrian

Nizar Tawfiq Qabbani (21 March 1923 – 30 April 1998) was a Syrian diplomat, poet and publisher. His poetic style combines simplicity and elegance in exploring themes of love, eroticism, feminism, religion, and Arab nationalism. He is one of the most revered contemporary poets in the Arab world.


Early life

Qabbani as a youth.

Nizar Qabbani was born in the Syrian capital of Damascus to a middle class merchant family.[1] Qabbani was raised in Mi’thnah Al-Shahm, one of the neighborhoods of Old Damascus. Qabbani studied at the national Scientific College School in Damascus between 1930 and 1941.[2] The school was owned and run by his father’s friend, Ahmad Munif al-Aidi. He later studied law at the Damascus University, which was called Syrian University until 1958. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in law in 1945.[2]

While a student in college he wrote his first collection of poems entitled The Brunette Told Me. It was a collection of romantic verses that made several startling references to a woman’s body, sending shock waves throughout the conservative society in Damascus.[2] To make it more acceptable, Qabbani showed it to Munir al-Ajlani, the minister of education who was also a friend of his father and a leading nationalist leader in Syria. Ajlani liked the poems and endorsed them by writing the preface for Nizar’s first book.

Qabbani as a law student in Damascus, 1944.

Diplomatic career

After graduating from law school, Qabbani worked for the Syrian Foreign Ministry, serving as Consul or cultural attaché in several capital cities, including Beirut, Cairo, Istanbul, Madrid, and London. In 1959, when the United Arab Republic was formed, Qabbani was appointed Vice-Secretary of the UAR for its embassies in China. He wrote extensively during these years and his poems from China were some of his finest. He continued to work in the diplomatic field until he tendered his resignation in 1966. By that time, he had established a publishing house in Beirut, which carried his name.

Poetic influences

When Qabbani was 15, his sister, who was 25 at the time, committed suicide because she refused to marry a man she did not love.[3] During her funeral he decided to fight the social conditions he saw as causing her death. When asked whether he was a revolutionary, the poet answered: “Love in the Arab world is like a prisoner, and I want to set (it) free. I want to free the Arab soul, sense and body with my poetry. The relationships between men and women in our society are not healthy.” He is known as one of the most feminist and progressive intellectuals of his time.[3]

The city of Damascus remained a powerful muse in his poetry, most notably in the Jasmine Scent of Damascus.[3] The 1967 Arab defeat also influenced his poetry and his lament for the Arab cause.[3][4] The defeat marked a qualitative shift in Qabbani’s work – from erotic love poems to poems with overt political themes of rejectionism and resistance.[3] For instance, his poem Marginal Notes on the Book of Defeat, a stinging self-criticism of Arab inferiority, drew anger from both the right and left sides of the Arab political dialogue.

Personal life

Qabbani, his family, his parents and brothers.


Nizar Qabbani had one sister, Wisal; he also had three brothers: Mu’taz, Rashid, and Sabah. The latter, Sabah Qabbani, was the most famous after Nizar, becoming director of Syrian radio and TV in 1960 and Syria’s ambassador to the United States in the 1980s.

Nizar Qabbani’s father, Tawfiq Qabbani, was Syrian while his mother was of Turkish descent. His father had a chocolate factory; he also helped support fighters resisting the French mandate of Syria and was imprisoned many times for his views, greatly affecting the upbringing of Nizar into a revolutionary in his own right. Qabbani’s great uncle, Abu Khalil Qabbani, was one of the leading innovators in Arab dramatic literature.


Nizar Qabbani was married twice in his life. His first wife was his cousin Zahra Aqbiq; together they had a daughter, Hadba, and a son, Tawfiq. Tawfiq died due to a heart attack when he was 22 years old when he was in London. Qabbani eulogized his son in the famous poem To the Legendary Damascene, Prince Tawfiq Qabbani. Zahra Aqbiq died in 2007. His daughter [Hadba][1], born in 1947, was married twice, and lived in London until her death in April 2009.[5]

His second marriage was to an Iraqi woman named Balqis al-Rawi, a schoolteacher whom he met at a poetry recital in Baghdad; she was killed in a bomb attack by guerrillas on the [Iraqi embassy] in Beirut during the Lebanese civil war on 15 December 1981.[2][3] Her death had a severe psychological effect on Qabbani; he expressed his grief in his famous poem Balqis, blaming the entire Arab world for her death. Together they had a son, Omar, and a daughter, Zainab. After the death of Balqis, Qabbani did not marry again.

Late life and death

After the death of Balqis, Qabbani left Beirut. He was moving between Geneva and Paris, eventually settling in London, where he spent the last 15 years of his life.[3] Qabbani continued to write poems and raise controversies and arguments. Notable controversial poems from this period in his life include When Will They Announce the Death of Arabs? and Runners.

In 1997, Nizar Qabbani suffered from poor health and briefly recovered from his sickness in late 1997.[6] A few months later, at the age of 75, Nizar Qabbani died in London on April 30, 1998 of a heart attack.[1][4] In his will, which he wrote in his hospital bed in London, Nizar Qabbani wrote that he wished to be buried in Damascus, which he described in his will as “the womb that taught me poetry, taught me creativity and granted me the alphabet of Jasmine.”[7] Nizar Qabbani was buried in Damascus four days later in Bab Saghir.[7] Qabbani was mourned by Arabs all over the world, with news broadcasts highlighting his illustrious literary career.[7]



Qabbani began writing poetry when he was 16 years old; at his own expense, Qabbani published his first book of poems, entitled The Brunette Told Me, while he was a law student at the University of Damascus in 1944.

Over the course of a half-century, Qabbani wrote 34 other books of poetry, including:

  • Childhood of a Breast (1948)
  • Samba (1949)
  • You Are Mine (1950)
  • Poems (1956)
  • My Beloved (1961)
  • Drawing with Words (1966)
  • Diary of an Indifferent Woman (1968)
  • Savage Poems (1970)
  • Book of Love (1970)
  • 100 Love Letters (1970)
  • Poems Against The Law (1972)
  • I Love You, and the Rest is to Come (1978)
  • To Beirut the Feminine, With My Love (1978)
  • May You Be My Love For Another Year (1978)
  • I Testify That There Is No Woman But You (1979)
  • Secret Diaries of Baheyya the Egyptian (1979)
  • I Write the History of Woman Like So (1981)
  • The Lover’s Dictionary (1981)
  • A Poem For Balqis (1982)
  • Love Does Not Stop at Red Lights (1985)
  • Insane Poems (1985)
  • Poems Inciting Anger (1986)
  • Love shall Remain, Sir (1987)
  • Three Stone-throwing Children (1988)
  • Secret Papers of a Karmathian Lover (1988)
  • Biography of an Arab Executioner (1988)
  • I Married You,Liberty! (1988)
  • A Match in My Hand , And Your Petty Paper Nations (1989)
  • No Victor Other Than Love (1989)
  • Do You Hear the Cry of My Sadness? (1991)
  • Marginal Notes on the Book of Defeat (1991)
  • I’m One Man and You are a Tribe of Women (1992)
  • Fifty Years of Praising Women (1994)
  • Nizarian Variations of Arabic Maqam of Love (1995)

Other works

He also composed many works of prose, such as My Story with Poetry, What Poetry Is , and Words Know Anger ا, On Poetry, Sex, and Revolution, Poetry is a Green Lantern, Birds doesn’t Require a Visa, I Played Perfectly and Here are my Keys and The Woman in My Poetry and My Life, as well as one play named Republic of Madness Previously Lebanon and lyrics of many famous songs of celebrated Arab singers, including:

And his verses would remain popular after his death, and put to song by Arab pop-music stars such as Kazem al-Saher and Latifa.[7]

Other Languages

Many of Qabbani’s poems have also been translated into the English language, both individually and in collections of selected works.[2] Some of these collections include:

  • On Entering the Sea (1998)
  • Arabian Love Poems (1998) translated by Bassam Frangieh and Clementina R. Brown
  • Republic of Love (2002) translated by Nayef al-Kalali


1. a b “Qabbani, Nizar”. Encyclopedia Britannica Online. Retrieved 2007-06-23.

2. a b c d e “Biographical notes on Nizar Qabbani”. American University of Beirut. Retrieved 2007-06-23.

3. a b c d e f g “Nizar Qabbani”. Retrieved 2007-06-23.

4. a b “Nizar Qabbani, Major Arab Literary Figure, Dies”. 1998-04-30. Retrieved 2007-06-23. [dead link]


6. “Qabbani Recovered from Sickness, Gratitude Message to Syrians”. Arabic News. 1997-12-15. Retrieved 2007-06-23.

7. a b c d “Nizar Qabbani: Pioneer of Modern Arab Poetry”. Arabic News. 1998-05-04. Retrieved 2007-06-23.



February 7, 2011 on 10:14 pm | In Arabs, Development, Economics, Financial, Globalization, History, Middle East, Research | Comments Off on EGYPT ECONOMY-WATCHING: PROFESSOR ABDEL-KHALEK CAIRO



Professor of Economics

Present Position:

Professor of Economics, Faculty of Economics,

Cairo University

Citizenship: Egypt

Mailing Address: Elbourg Bldg., Namoozag 19, Apt 77B, Midan Elgazayer, New Maadi 11742, Cairo, Egypt.
Phone, Home: +202-25164658
Fax: +202-27545891
Cell phone: +2-0106510809

Ph.D. (Economics), McMaster University, Canada, 1974.
M.A. (Economics), University of British Columbia, Canada, 1970.
B.Sc. (Economics, distinction), Faculty of Economics and Political Science, Cairo University, 1964.


Professor, Dept. of Economics, Faculty of Economics and Political Science, Cairo University, 1985 to present.

Deputy Leader, World Bank Core Planning Team- Kuwait, 1979-1981.


State Prize for Achievement in Social Sciences (Economics), 2005.

Fulbright Visiting Research Scholarship, 2002/2003.

Fulbright Visiting Research Scholarship, 1988/1989.

Research Award in Economics, Cairo University 1985.


Globalization and financial crises. WTO discipline and the prospects of industrializaion in developing economies, with emphasis on Egypt and other Arab countries. Pro-poor macropolicies. MDG-based debt sustainability analysis. Democracy and Development.


A- Team Leader/Principal Investigator:

UNDP research project on Macroeconomics for Poverty Reduction- case of the Sudan, 2003-04

Research project on Industrialization in Egypt, Egypt 2020 Project, Third World Forum, Middle East Office, Cairo, 1999-2001.

Research project on Investment Incentives and Manufacturing Industry, Egyptian Ministry of Industry and Mineral Wealth, 1996-97.

Research project on Structural Adjustment and Industrialization in Egypt, sponsored by Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei (FEEM), 1994-1995.

Research project on Arab Futures at the Center for Arab Unity Studies, Cairo, 1984-1985 (Coordinator).

Research project on the Political Economy of Income Distribution in Egypt sponsored by Princeton University, Oct. 1977- April 1979 (with Robert Tignor).

B- Team Member:

IDRC-funded research project on Democracy and Development in the Arab World, 2006-07.

Research project network on Arab Alternative Futures, UNU and Third World Forum, 1986-87.

Research project on Stabilization and Adjustment Programmes and Policies (SAPP),sponsored by the UNU/World Institute for Development Economics Research (WIDER), Helsinki, 1985-6.

Research team on Petroleum and Natural Gas at the Development Research and Technological Planning Center (DRTPC) Cairo University, 1984-1986.

Research group at the Industrial Development Center for the Arab States (IDCAS) on a Basic Needs Strategy for Development in the Arab countries, Feb. 1978- Oct. 1978.

The Cairo University-MIT joint research project on Planning Techniques in Egypt, April 1977- Sept. 1979.

The Arab Long Range Planning Group, Institute of National Planning, Cairo, 1976-1977.

Research Group on the Use of Petromoney at the Institute of Arabic Studies and Research, Cairo, 1976.

Research team on Demographic Projection and Analysis, The American University in Cairo, 1975.

`Research team that conducted a study for the United Nations on industrialization in the Arab Countries, 1965-66.

Model Building Group, Institute of National Planning, Cairo, 1965-1968.


Consultant to UNDP-DESA for MDG-based Debt Sustainability Analysis.

Consultant to the UNDP as international expert to help in formulating the Sixth Five-Year Plan (2006-2010) for the Arab Republic of Syria, September-October, 2005.

Consultant to the UNDP on “Macroeconomics for Poverty Reduction: the case of Sudan”, 2003-2004.

Consultant to the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) for the Economic Report for Africa 2003; and member UNECA work Review Expert Panel, 2004.

Consultant to the European Union, Economic Policy Programme, on “Trade Relations of Palestine with the Arab Countries,” March-June 1997.

Consultant to The International Development Research Center (IDRC) on Impact Assessment of IDRC-Financed Research Projects in Egypt, April-July 1997; and the Evaluation of Electricity-Transmission Training Project, March-May 1996.

Consultant to the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), on developing appropriate performance criteria for state owned nterprises in Anglo-phone African countries, September 1994.

Consultant to The Population Council, Regional Office for West Asia and North Africa, January 1993- May 1994.

Consultant to the Energy Planning Agency, Government of Egypt, November 1992- March 1993.

Consultant to the UN Economic and Social Commission for West Asia (ESCWA) as a member of the Expert Group to examine and help finalize Programme 34: Regional Co-operation for Development in West Asia, October 1991- February 1992.

Consultant to Dar Al-Handassa Consultants (Shair and Partners), Cairo, 1989-1990.

Consultant to the UN Economic and Social Commission for West Asia (ESCWA) to prepare alternative estimates of the poverty line for Bahraini households, based on the 1983/84 Household Income and Expenditure Survey for Bahrain, February- July 1987.

Adviser to The Research Department of the National Bank of Egypt, 1981-84.

Consultant to The Ministry of Economy and Economic Co-operation, Government of Egypt, 1975-76.

Consultant to The Council of Arab Economic Unity, 1974-75.


The University of Southern California (USC), Fulbright Senior Scholar and Visiting Professor in the Department of Economics, 2002/2003. Taught Economic Development of the Middle East.

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), Fellow of the Center for Near Eastern Studies and Visiting Professor in the Department of Economics, 1995. Taught International Trade Theory.

Johns Hopkins University, School of Advanced International Studies(SAIS), Senior Fulbright Visiting Scholar, 1988/89.

The Diplomatic Institute, Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, The Economy of Egypt in a Regional and International Setting, 1985-87, 1990-92.

The American University in Cairo, 1976-77 and 1981-84. Taught Economic Theory, Economic Development, and the Economy of Egypt.

Cairo University, 1975- present. teachiung: Econometrics, International Economics, Money and Banking, the Political Economy of the Arab Countries, the Political Economy of Egypt and the Middle East, and Project Evaluation.

McMaster University, lecturer, 1970-74. Taught Introduction to Economics, and Economic Theory- macro and micro.

Cairo University, teaching assistant, 1964-68.


Member of the UNDP PRN Sub-Group Globalization, 2005.

Member of the Societé Egyptienne d’Economie Politique, de Statistique et de Legislation, 1975 to present.

Member of the Arab Society for Economic Research, 1988 to present.

Member of the Middle East Economic association, 2003 to present.

Member of the editorial Board of the Arab Economic journal, the Review of Middle East Economics and Finance.

Member of the Specialized National Councils (National Council on Production), 1998 to present.

Member of the Advisory Committee for the Academy of Scientific Research and Technology, Egypt, 1994-1995.

Member of the Selection Committee for The Middle East Research Competition (MERC), 2006- , and 1989-1991.

Member of the Advisory Committee for The Middle East Research Awards (MEAwards), 1992-1995 and 1983-85.

Secretary of the Societé Egyptienne d’Economie Politique, de Statistique et de Legislation (Cairo), 1975-1979.

Played an active role in initiating and organizing the Egyptian Economists’ Conference, now held annually since 1976.


Professor of Economics Cairo University



February 7, 2011 on 5:55 pm | In Arabs, Art, History, Literary, Middle East, Research | Comments Off on ECHEBBI POEMS BEHIND EGYPTIAN FERMENT: “TO THE TYRANTS OF THE WORLD”


Abou-Al-kacem El-chebbi

(pronounced Abo Al Qassim Al Shabbi‎, 24. February 1909 – 9 October 1934)

Among the chants and slogans of protesters on the streets of Egypt are the words of an early 20th century Tunisian poet.

The poem has become a rallying cry both in Egypt and in Tunisia.

And among the chants and slogans in those crowds are the words of an early 20th century Tunisian poet named Abdul Qasim al Shabi.

One of his most famous poems has become a rallying cry, both in Egypt and before, in Tunisia. The poem is called “To the Tyrants of the World”

“To the Tyrants of the World”

“Oppressive tyrants, lover of darkness, enemy of life, you have ridiculed the size of the weak people. Your palm is soaked with their blood.

You deformed the magic of existence, and planted the seeds of sorrow in the fields.

Wait, don’t be fooled by the spring, the clearness of the sky or the light of dawn, for on the horizon lies the horror of darkness, rumble of thunder, and blowing of winds.

Beware, for below the ash there is fire, and he who grows thorns reaps wounds. Look there, for I have harvested the heads of mankind and the flowers of hope, and I watered the heart of the earth with blood. I soaked it with tears until it was drunk. The river of blood will sweep you, and the fiery storm will devour you.”

The poem “To the Tyrants of the World,” written by the Tunisian poet Abdul Qasim al Shabi.

In recent weeks, it’s become the unofficial rallying cry for millions of Arabs in Egypt and in Tunisia. Adel Iskandar English translation.

For weeks now, we have watched the revolution unfold in front of our eyes in Tunisia and now Egypt with the chants by the people, in every footage of the mass protests (be it on Youtube or Aljazeera).

The people were also chanting an Arabic poem. It is titled “The Will of Life” by the famous and the tragic poem Abu al-Qasim al-Shabi, the poem was first used in the early colonial uprising against the French and now, almost more than 80 years later, his same words are the flame of revolution in Tunisia and now in Egypt.

Abou-Al-kacem El-chebbi (pronounced Abo Al Qassim Al Shabbi‎, 24. February 1909 – 9 October 1934) was a Tunisian poet. He is probably best known for writing the final two verses of the current National Anthem of Tunisia, Himat Al Hima (Defenders of the Homeland), that was written originally by the Egyptian poet Mustafa Sadik el-Rafii.

Echebbi was born in Tozeur, Tunisia, on 24 February 1909, the son of a judge. He obtained his attatoui diploma (the equivalent of the baccalauréat) in 1928. In 1930, he obtained a law diploma from the University of Ez-Zitouna. The same year, he married and subsequently had two sons, Mohamed Sadok, who became a colonel in the Tunisian army, and Jelal, who later became an engineer.

He was very interested in modern literature, in particular, translated romantic literature, as well as old Arab literature. His poetic talent manifested itself at an early age and this poetry covered numerous topics, from the description of nature to patriotism. His poems appeared in the most prestigious Tunisian and Middle-Eastern reviews.

His poem To the tyrants of the world became a popular slogan chant during the 2011 Tunisian and subsequently Egyptian demonstrations.[1]

Echebbi died on 9 October 1934 at the Habib-Thameur Hospital in Tunis, Tunisia following a long history of cardiac disorders. His portrait is on the current 30 DT note.


  • Ela Toghat Al Alaam (To the tyrants of the world),
  • Aghani Al-Hayat (canticles of the life),
  • Muzakkarat (Memories),
  • Raséil (A collection of letters),
  • Sadiki (A collection of seminars given to the Alumni Association of the college; caused quite a lot of controversy among conservative literary groups)



Abou-Al-kacem El-chebbi



February 7, 2011 on 5:32 pm | In Arabs, Development, Globalization, Middle East, Philosophy, Research | Comments Off on ARAB THOUGHT FORUM


The Arab Thought Forum (ATF)

The Arab Thought Forum (ATF) is committed to the belief that state structures must be developed to serve and be responsive to an active and critical public, which is conscious of its obligations and duties, as well as its rights and entitlements.



Director General
Abdel Rahman Abu Arafeh

Main Office : Jerusalem

Mailing address:
9 Beit Hanineh, Main Street
P.O.Box 19012
Tel. 972-2-
628 9126
Tel. 972-2-
626 4774
Fax. 972-2-
626 4338

Gaza Office

Contact :

Salah Alsaqa
Tel: 08-2820329
Fax: 08-2820328

The Arab Thought Forum (ATF)



November 23, 2010 on 12:55 am | In Arabs, Globalization, History, Islam, Israel, Palestine, USA, World-System, Zionism | Comments Off on ZIONISM & THE THREE GEARS OF GLOBALIZATION « Cambridge Forecast Group Blog




Next Page »

Powered by WordPress with Pool theme design by Borja Fernandez.
Entries and comments feeds. Valid XHTML and CSS. ^Top^