Xhemal Aranitasi photo
25 January 1886|
Aranitas, Mallakastër District, Fier County, Albania, then Ottoman Empire
|Died||March 13, 1961
|Allegiance||Royal Albanian Army|
|Years of service||19|
|Unit||Royal Albanian Staff|
|Awards||Order of Skanderbeg|
Xhemal Aranitasi (aka Xhemal Araniti) - (1886 in Aranitas, Mallakastër District, Fier County, modern Albania, then Ottoman Empire – 1961 in Turkey) was a general and commander in chief of the Royal Albanian Army.
He was the son of Ibrahim Aranitasi, an army colonel of the Ottoman Empire and Esma Jahobegaj. He graduated from the Monastir Military High School (now in modern Republic of Macedonia), and then at the military academy in Istanbul, Turkey.
During the Balkan wars he fought in the Ottoman army, as the leader of a machine gun unit.
In 1920 he joined the Royal Albanian Army and four years later he was a battalion commander. In 1925, with the rank of lieutenant colonel, he became the general commander of the Royal Albanian Army. Although major decisions on the Army were taken by officers of foreign origin, such as Gustav von Myrdacz and Leon Ghilardi, Aranitasi was the only native Albanian nominally on the staff. In 1929 he was promoted to general. He served as aide-de-camp of Zog of Albania before this task was taken by Mehmet Konica.
In 1939, as minister of war, in the face of war with Italy, Xhemal Aranitasi forbade the press publication of popular mobilization and also prohibited the issuing of weapons to the civilian population. On April 6, 1939, on the eve of the invasion of Albania by the Italian Army, Aranitasi left the country and settled in Turkey, where he lived until the end of his life.