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Fawzi al-Qawuqji
Fawzi al-Qawuqji in 1936.
Native name فوزي القاوقجي
Born (1890-01-19)January 19, 1890
Died June 5, 1977(1977-06-05) (aged 87)
Place of birth Beirut, Ottoman Empire Ottoman Empire
  •  Ottoman Empire (? to 1918)
  • French Mandate of Syria (to 1927)
  • Arab Irregulars (1936-1948)
Service/branch Arab Liberation Army
Years of service ?-1948

Fawzi al-Qawuqji (Arabic language: فوزي القاوقجي‎; 1890–1977) was the field commander of the Arab Liberation Army (ALA) during the 1948 Palestine War.


Until World War II

Qawuqji was born in 1890 in Beirut, which was then part of the Ottoman Empire.[nb 1] An Arab nationalist, he served as an officer in the Ottoman Army during World War I. After Syria became a French Mandate, Qawuqji joined the French-Syrian Army and received formal training at the French École spéciale militaire de Saint-Cyr. During the rebellion of 1925–1927, he deserted the French Army to join the rebellion, leading the uprising in Hama in early October 1925. Qawuqji remained an outlaw thereafter.[3]

Qawuqji fought against the British in the Mandate of Palestine during the 1936-1939 Arab revolt in Palestine.

During World War II and later

Qawuqji was in the Kingdom of Iraq during the Rashid Ali coup of 1941 and, during the subsequent Anglo-Iraqi War, he again fought against the British. When the Rashid Ali regime collapsed, Qawuqji and his irregular forces were targeted for destruction by the Mercol flying column and were chased out of Iraq. While still in Iraq, a British plane strafed and almost killed him.[2] After entering Vichy French-held Syria, Qawuqji made his way to Nazi Germany.[3][4]

Qawuqji remained there for the remainder of World War II, and married a German woman (his third wife). In 1945 he was captured by Soviet forces, and held prisoner until February 1947.[2]

On August 1947, Fawzi al-Qawuqji threatened that, should the (U.N. partition) vote go the wrong way, “we will have to initiate total war. We will murder, wreck and ruin everything standing in our way, be it English, American or Jewish".[5]

Arab Liberation Army

In early March 1948, Qawuqji arrived in Palestine from Damascus at the head of several hundred Arab volunteers. He crossed the Allenby Bridge with his troops on March 6, 1948 and a day later he brought also some motorized troops into Palestine before the non-reacting British troops.

The ALA's first and only major operation was to launch an attack on the settlement of Mishmar HaEmak in April 1948. The Haganah and Palmach counter-attacked and the ALA were routed. In October 1948 the last of the ALA forces were driven out of the Galilee in Operation Hiram and Qawuqji escaped to Lebanon.

After the end of the war he moved to Syria and lived in Damascus.

Published works

See also


  1. According to Basheer Nafi, Qawuji was born in Tripoli, Libya, in 1887.[1] According to Time Magazine, Qawuji was born in Beirut, Lebanon, in 1895.[2]
  1. Nafi, p. 226
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Time, I Have Returned
  3. 3.0 3.1 Lyman, p. 21
  4. Lyman, p. 87
  5. Benny Morris (2008). 1948: a history of the first Arab-Israeli war. Yale University Press. pp. 61. Retrieved 13 July 2013. "" As early as mid-August 1947, Fawzi al-Qawuqji—...threatened that, should the vote go the wrong way, “we will have to initiate total war. We will murder, wreck and ruin everything standing in our way, be it English, American or Jewish.” It would be a “holy war,” the Arabs suggested, which might even evolve into “World War III.”" 


External links

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