The Fearful Skinny General.... Muhammed Abdel El-Ghani El-Gamasy

After the end of a meeting of the negotiations of the first disengagement (Kilo 101), which followed the Egyptian forces crossing through Suez Canal in October 1973 War, general Abdel El-Ghani El-Gamasy (Chairman of the Egyptian delegation and the Chief of Staff of the Egyptian army) went out from the tent without greeting any of the members of the Israeli delegation or saying even a single word as his habit during the negotiations, General "Ezer Weizman," (Chairman of the Israeli delegation and the President of Israel later) sped up behind him and said to him: "Mr. General, I have looked for a picture of you laughing, but I didn't find…., don't you laugh at all?!"..

The Egyptian commander looked at him silent, and then left him away … then Weizman wrote in his memoirs: "he struck me as a very wise man, he represents a different form from those exists in our files, and I told him so."..
The General Farmer
Simplicity of the farmer and greatness the victor general were two sides of the character of Marshal Gamasy…at the end of 1921 he was born to a rural poor family in a village called Alaptanon in El Menofia governorate, and because of the extreme poverty of his family he was the only one of its sons who received formal education before Egypt knows the free education system,…
The fate played a role in the life of Gamasy…after he completed high school, when the government of Mustafa El-Nahass Pasha tried to contain the burning patriotism feelings which was spreading through the Egyptians in this period, so it opened - for the first time - the doors of military academies for the sons of the middle and poor classes, which enabled el-Gamasy to join the military academy without completing the seventeenth with a number of his generation and social class who were chosen by the fate to change the history of Egypt; Gamal Abdel Nasser, Abdel Hakim Amer, Salah and Jamal Salim, Khalid Mohi el-din ... and some others who formed the movement which called lateraly "the free Officers"..

He graduated in 1939 then went to the Western Desert of Egypt; where the fiercest battles between the Allied armor led by Montgomery and the Axis, led by Rommel during World War II, ..... it was important experience and useful lesson which he had stored for more than thirty years till he had the opportunity to benefit from it during the Ramadan War.
After the end of the war, he continued his military path; he received a number of military training courses in many countries of the world, then he worked as an office in the army intelligence, then a lecturer in intelligence school where he specialized in the teaching of Israeli history as well, everything related to it reinforcement and its military strategy.
The defeat of June 1967 the beginning of a correction in the face of the Israeli war machine; and at this time, he was given the duties of supervising of the training of the Egyptian army with a number of other leaders known for their integrity and military experience in preparation for the revenge of the heinous defeat… Gamasy was one of the most military leaders familiar with the enemy, which enabled him to rise quickly, leading the Army training, then became the chairman of the operations staff, and after that the head of the military intelligence in 1972, till October war 1973 to fill the post of Chief of staff.

The Gamasy's Notebook
Gamassi didn't miss a single day; he began to prepare for the hour of decision to fight the Israeli enemy, analyzing and collecting all information, and when he was assigned with the other leaders to prepare a plan for the battle, he restored all his knowledge, and began to make notes about all the moves of the Israeli army, and the suggestions of timing of the war, and how to achieve surprise. And to guarantee the secrecy of these all this information and notes, he recorded them where no one could have imagined; in a studying notebook of his young daughter; and it has not seen or read by anyone except the Egyptian President Anwar el-Sadat and Syrian President Hafez al-Assad during their meeting to decide the war !
The veteran Egyptian leader has chosen the timing of the war very carefully: 2:00 p.m on the sixth of October 1973, the most appropriate timing of a possible war; due to the presence of Jewish holiday and consent for the month of Ramadan.

The General's Tears

Sadat has chosen El-Gamasy to take responsibility for negotiations with the Israelis in negotiations known as Kilo 101, and as a military commander, he couldn't disagree or refuse the order, however, he had decided not to start military salute to General "Yariv", the head the Israeli delegation, and not to shake his hand, and that is what really happened. The man appeared solid military negotiator till the most difficult moments experienced in his entire life, which led him- for the first time in his military career – to tear!
That was in January 1974 when Henry Kissinger told him the approval of president, Sadat on withdrawal of more than 1000 tanks, 70,000 Egyptian troops from the eastern bank of the Suez Canal!!! Gamasy strongly rejected, and quickly he phoned Sadat who confirmed the consent…. then returned back to the negotiating table resisting tears, and then couldn't control himself and turned his face to cover a incendiary tear, sorrow for the military victory and lives of thousands of men neglected by policy on the table of negotiations. It was a surprise to Henry Kissinger to see the tears of the general, who often have familiar of Israeli leaders who feared him more than any other military leaders Arabs.

Fearful Skinny General
Marshal Gamasy has been out of military life in 1978, but he retained with the same rigid traditions of commitment, discipline and silence away from the lights, and when the wave of writing about the October war spread throughout the world, information has been unfolding on the role of this man in war, and he has named by many titles," the Egyptian Desert Fox", "Professor of the armor", and "architect of the October War".
However, the strangest title was launched by the "Golda Meir", Prime Minister of Israel during the Yom Kippur War, when she called "The Fearful Skinny General".


Muhammed said...

If you read this article, your comments and opinions are really considerable and important for me...

Abdullah Ibrahim Abdullah said...

Salam, very fine article brother. May Allah bless those great officers of Egypt's army like Mohamed Abdel-Ghani Gamasy, Mohamed Abdel-Halim Abu Ghazala, Abdul-Munim Wasel, and Saadeddin Shazly.

Titus Chirila said...

As far as I know, the General had a brother who studied in Switzerland, who's name was Amin and who worked as an Egypt representative in New York for a couple of years (end of the '70s) Knowing all that I doubt his family was that poor as you describe. I'm writing this because I got here looking for information about his brother and his brother's two children

Mohamed said...

@Titus Chirila

The post was mainly written based on readings for the General's memoir as well as an interview that was published in an arabic electronic journal as I can recall. In anyway, what you said may not contradict what was mentioned since most of the egyptian students outside usually get scholarships. Also, being representative for Egypt does not mean necessarily he was brought up in a wealthy or rich family.


Google Analytics