The Commander: Fawzi al-Qawiqji and the Fight for Arab Independence 1914-1948

The Commander: Fawzi al-Qawiqji and the Fight for Arab Independence 1914-1948

Saqi Books

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Revered by some as the Arab Garibaldi, maligned by others as an intriguer and opportunist, Fawzi al-Qawuqji manned the ramparts of Arab history for four decades. As a young officer in the Ottoman Army, he fought the British in the First World War, and won an Iron Cross. In the 1920s, he mastered the arts of insurgency and helped lead a massive uprising against the French authorities in Syria. A decade later, he re-appeared in Palestine, where he helped direct the Arab revolt of 1936. When an effort to overthrow the British rulers of Iraq failed, he moved to Germany, where he spent much of the Second World War battling his fellow exile, the Mufti of Jerusalem, who had accused him of being a British spy. In 1947, Qawuqji made a daring escape from Allied-occupied Berlin, and sought once again to shape his region’s history. In his most famous role, he would command the Arab Liberation Army in the Arab-Israeli war of 1948.

In this well-crafted, definitive biography, Laila Parsons tells Qawuqji’s dramatic story and sets it in the full context of his turbulent times. Following Israel’s decisive victory, Qawuqji was widely faulted as a poor commander with possibly dubious motives. Parsons shows us that the truth was more complex: Although he doubtless made some strategic mistakes, he never gave up fighting for Arab independence and unity, even as those ideals were undermined by powers inside and outside the Arab world.

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Laila Parsons is an associate professor of history and Islamic studies at McGill University. She is the author of The Druze Between Palestine and Israel, 1947-49. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Pub Date: 2017
Format: Hardback with bw illus.
Pages: 320 
Size: 6.00 x 9.00 inches


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