Fawzi al-Qawuqji in 1936.
|Native name||فوزي القاوقجي|
January 19, 1890|
Beirut, Ottoman Empire
|Died||June 5, 1977(aged 87)|
|Service/branch||Arab Liberation Army|
|Years of service||?-1948|
Before 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. He was awarded an Iron Cross, second class, for his service as Ottoman Army lieutenant fighting alongside General Otto von Kreiss' Prussians, who had opposed the British in Palestine 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.
Qawuqji fought against the British in the Mandate of Palestine during the 1936-1939 Arab revolt in Palestine. He was associated with the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Haj Amin al-Husseini, and followed him in October, 1939, from Lebanon to Iraq, along with other members of the Mufti's entourage, such as Jamal Huseini, Amin Tamimi, Aref And er-Razek, and Sheikh Hasan Salama. In Iraq Husseini's group, including, al-Qawuqji, played critical roles in the pro-Axis coup.
Collins and LaPierre summarization of al-Qawuqji's pre-WWII career includes the following observations:
The high point of his military career had come during the Arab revolt against the British in Palestine in 1936. His frequently demonstrated prowess won him fame among the Arab population and the esteem of Haj Amin Husseini. His popular following, however, was not altogether to the Mufti's liking, and, equipped with arms and money, he was shunted off to Iraq to foment a rebellion there. Instead of promoting an uprising, the Mufti's aides later claimed, "he swallowed up the arms, the money and the rebellion."
World War II
He 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. After entering Vichy French-held Syria, Qawuqji made his way to Nazi Germany.
In Germany al-Qawuqji continued to oppose the Allies in cooperation with other Arabs who were allied with the Axis powers, including the two competing leaders of the pro-Nazi Arab factions, Grand Mufti Haj Amin al-Husseini and exiled Iraqi former Prime Minister Rashid Ali. In June 1941, Wehrmacht High Command Directive No. 32 and the "Instructions for Special Staff F" designated Special Staff F as the Wehrmacht's central agency for all issues that affected the Arab world. One of the efforts undertaken by the Wehrmacht High Command, Foreign Group, entailed special military training for volunteer Arab students at a base in Sunium, Greece. Al-Qawuqji was particularly influential on factions of these factions of Nazi military students.
General der Flieger Hellmuth Felmy, who was appointed central authority for all Arab affairs concerning the Wehrmacht under the terms of this "Directive No. 30", wrote about al-Qawuqju's 'active interest' and support of the military training of Arabs by the Nazis:
... the Arabs came to the conclusion that they were already regarded as full-fledged partners in the Axis. One of the major issues ... was the conflict engendered by the difference in the political loyalties of the volunteers. Some of the latter professed their faith in one Arab chieftain, while the others argued the merits of his opponent. Thus a number of the volunteers had already secretly contacted Fauzi Kaikyi, the Syrian army leader. After his escape by plane from the British, Fauzi had established himself in Berlin and begun to take an active interest in the Arabs at Sunium.
Al-Qawuqji was officially transferred to Sonderstab F after he was fully recovered from the wounds he received fighting against the British in Iraq. He, along with other members of the Grand Mufti's entourage, continued in both propaganda and military operations to support the Nazi German war effort. He remained in Germany 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. He then traveled to Egypt via France, and proclaimed that he was "at the disposition of the Arab people should they call on [him] to take up arms again."
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"
Arab Liberation Army
After the UN Partition vote, the Arab League appointed him to be field commander of the Arab Liberation Army to support the Palestinian Arabs in their fight against the Yishuv and to try to prevent the implemantation of the partition.
His forces entered in Palestine from 10 January to beginning of March without any intervention from the British. He arrived himself on March 4 with a hundred of Bosnian volunteers and installed his HQ at Jab'a on the road between Jenin and Nablus.
This inaction infuriated the High Commissionner Alan Cunninghan. but General MacMillan did not want to confront al-Qawudji's force, however, since he saw "no point in getting a lot of British soldiers killed in that kind of operation."
Inside Mandatory Palestine al-Qawuqji commanded a few thousands armed men who had infiltrated the area. They were grouped into several regiments concentrated in the Galilee and around Nablus. According to Collins and LaPierre, he anticipated a short campaign, and announced:
"I have come to Palestine to stay and fight until Palestine is a free and united Arab country or until I am killed and buried here," ... His aim, he declared, borrowing the slogan that was becoming the leitmotiv of the Arab leadership, was "to drive all the Jews into the sea."
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.
- al-Qawuqji, Fauzi (1972): Memoirs of al-Qawuqji, Fauzi in Journal of Palestine Studies
- Nafi, p. 226
- Time, I Have Returned
- Collins, Larry and Lapierre, Dominique (1972): O Jerusalem!, Simon and Schuster, ISBN 0-671-66241-4., pp. 158–160
- Lyman, p. 21
- Nazi Propaganda for the Arab World by Jeffrey Herf (Yale University Press, 2009) ISBN 978-0-300-14579-3. p, 37
- Collins & Lapierre, p 160
- Lyman, p. 87
- Felmy, et al, p. 11
- "German Exploitation of Arab Nationalist Movements in World War II" by Gen. Hellmuth Felmy and Gen, Walter Warlimont, Foreword by Generaloberst Franz Haider, Historical Division, Headquarters, United States Army, Europe, Foreign Military Studies Branch, 1952, p. 13, by Gen. Haider
- Felmy, et al, , p. 12–13
- Nazi Palestine: The Plans for the Extermination of the Jews in Palestine by Klaus-Michael Mallmann and Martin Cuppers, tran. by Krista Smith, (Enigma Books, published in association with the United States Holocaust Museum, NY; 2010), p. 75
- Collins & Lapierre, pp. 160, 161
- Benny Morris (2008). 1948: a history of the first Arab-Israeli war. Yale University Press. p. 61. Retrieved 13 July 2013. "" As early as mid-August 1947, Fawzi al-Qawuqji—soon to be named the head of the Arab League’s volunteer army in Palestine, the Arab Liberation Army (ALA)—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.”"
- Gelber (2006), pp.51-56.
- Collins & Lapierre, p. 206
- Collins & Lapierre, p. 207
- Lyman, Robert (2006). Iraq 1941: The Battles for Basra, Habbaniya, Fallujah and Baghdad. Campaign. Oxford, New York: Osprey Publishing. p. 96. ISBN 1-84176-991-6.
- Nafi, Basheer M. (1998), Arabism, Islamism and the Palestine question, 1908-1941: a political history, Garnet and Ithaca Press, ISBN 0-86372-235-0
- "I Have Returned.". Time Magazine. March 15, 1948. Retrieved October 31, 2009.
- "War for Jerusalem Road.". Time Magazine. April 19, 1948. Retrieved October 31, 2009.