Reconstructing a Shattered Egyptian Army

War Minister Gen. Mohamed Fawzi's Memoirs, 1967-1971
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Published:June 15, 2014
By Youseff Aboul-Enein (Editor)

Central to CDR Youssef Aboul-Enein's career has been the mission to introduce America's military leaders to Arabic works of military significance. Just like American military leaders who had an obsession for all things Russian during the Cold War in order to understand the Soviets, the war on al-Qaida and the complex nuances of the Arab Spring demand a deeper comprehension of the Middle East from direct sources. The memoirs of General Mohamed Fawzi, Egyptian War Minister from 1967 to 1971, were first published in 1984, but his work has not ben translated and remains undiscovered by English speaking readers.

Many in the United States Armed Services have yet to be introduced to his ideas, perspectives, and the seeds by which the 1973 Yom-Kippur War were laid. In this new contribution to his series of essays written for Infantry Journal, Aboul-Enein has determined to bring to life the military thoughts of this Arab War Minister. This book is a joint Infantry-Naval Institute Press project that has condensed the entire collection of essays on Fawzi to a single volume, to provide future generations of America’s military leaders with access his ideas.

Fawzi is unique among Arab generals for his scathing critique of his own armed forces, and from his critical examination of what went wrong in 1967, he was able to slowly resurrect the Egyptian Armed Forces to a level that enabled Sadat to consider an offensive in 1973. This Egyptian general will provide insights into the level of Soviet cooperation and military aid provided Egypt after the 1967 Six-Day War, known simply in Arabic by one word, al-Naksah (the setback), not to be confused with the 1948 Arab-Israeli War known by one word, al-Nakbah (the catastrophe). While Fawzi lapses into conspiracy, indulges in wishful thinking, and employs the language of pan-Arabism on occasion, much like Soviet military theorists couched their ideas in Marxist-Leninist rhetoric, this will not stop serious American students of war from recognizing his brilliance about the lessons learned from the crushing defeat of Egyptian arms in the 1967 Six-Day War.

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Product Details
  • Subject: Military History
  • Hardback : 320 pages
  • Illustrations: 2 maps
  • Publisher: Naval Institute Press (June 15, 2014)
  • ISBN-10: 161251460X
  • ISBN-13: 9781612514604
  • Product Dimensions: 6 X 9 in
  • Shipping Weight: 20.29 oz
  • “Few states in modern times have seen their military beaten as badly as Egypt did in 1967—and have that military survive. Even fewer, perhaps no others, have then deliberately rebuilt that defeated force to a point at which a mere five years later it could again offer battle and, arguably produce victory. How the Egyptians accomplished this has been something of an incomplete and little-known story up to now. This is mainly due to a lack of translated articles and writings penned by senior Egyptian leaders. Youssef Aboul-Enein has, with this volume begun to fill in some of the major gaps in the account.”—Naval War College Review
  • “Commander Youssef Aboul-Enein, has done a commendable job translating General Mohamed Fawzi's memoirs (published in Arabic in 1984), first for the US Army's Infantry Magazine and later for this book... he (Aboul-Enein) provides important cultural insights into Fawzi's thinking and places the memoirs in the broader context of the 1967 Arab-Israel War and its aftermath.”—Parameters
  • “.... [S]tudents and scholars of twentieth-century Middle Eastern history and politics will find Reconstructing a Shattered Egyptian Army to be very instructive reading.” —Michigan War Studies
  • “…military analysts will benefit from this quick read because it offers a case study for identifying key analytic issues around the complex problem of force generation, particularly following military defeat. Reconstructing A Shattered Egyptian Army also provides strategic analysts with food for thought about military reform and the limitations of foreign military support.”—CIA's Studies in Intelligence

  • “Studying the strategic thinking of military leaders is a critical dimension of intelligence analysis and if done thoroughly provides an advantage in policy formulation and planning. General Mohamed Fawzi (1915‒2000) served as the Egyptian defense minister and led the rebuilding of the defeated Egyptian army after the Six-Day War of 1967. Until now his memoirs have never been made available in the English language, and his perspectives on the challenges of reconstituting the Egyptian armed forces provide deep insights into not only his thinking, but also the reasoning of the Egyptian General Staff, President Gamal Abdel Nasser, and their Soviet advisers.”—Vance Skarstedt, former dean of the College of Strategic Intelligence, National Intelligence University
  • “Engagement in international affairs requires knowledge and understanding of the Middle East, and this is gained only through reading and studying works of those nations. General Mohamed Fawzi’s memoirs are an example of one such crucial Arabic work of military significance, as they expose America’s military leaders to Egypt’s historical military strategies, enabling the U.S. to use this historical knowledge to more efficiently partake in current international affairs and the formulation of U.S. national security policy.”—Frederick Kempe, president and chief executive officer of the Atlantic Council
  • “The late President Harry S. Truman has been quoted as saying that ‘The only thing new in the world is the history you haven’t read.’ Those lasting words apply to Commander Youssef Aboul-Enein abridged and analyzed book about Egyptian War Minister Mohamed Fawzi’s writings on the architecture of Soviet military aid to Egypt during the inter-war period between the 1967 Six-Day War and the 1973 Yom-Kippur War. This is important history, and there are lessons to be learned and applied now and in the future.”—A. Denis Clift, President Emeritus, National Intelligence University
  • “There is nothing more vital in the business of national security than cultivating a deep understanding of the region and the culture of an area of strategic interest to the United States. I applaud Commander Aboul-Enein for his long-term effort to introduce America’s military planners to Arabic works of military significance. Nothing beats understanding a country from the points of view of its people. War Minister General Fawzi offers not only a fresh way to look at the Arab-Israeli conflict, but also provides insights into the architecture of what would evolve into the 1973 Yom-Kippur War.”—Joseph J. Collins, professor of National Security Strategy, National War College, and former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Stability Operations

Youssef H. Aboul-Enein is a U.S. Navy Medical Service Corps Commander, Middle East Foreign Area Officer, and is author of Militant Islamist Ideology: Understanding the Global Threat, Iraq in Turmoil: Historical Perspectives of Dr. Ali al-Wardi from the Ottoman Empire to King Feisal, and co-author of The Secret War for the Middle East: The Influence of Axis and Allied Intelligence Operations During World War II, all published by Naval Institute Press. He currently is Adjunct Islamic Studies Chair at the National Defense University’s Eisenhower School for National Security and Resource Strategy as well as Adjunct Faculty for Middle East Counter Terrorism Analysis at the National Intelligence University. His full-time duty since 2006 has been as Senior Counter-Terrorism Advisor, Warning Officer, and Instructor on Militant Islamist Ideology at the Defense Intelligence Agency’s Defense Combating Terrorism Center in Washington DC. CDR Aboul-Enein served as Country Director for North Africa and Egypt, Assistant Country Director for the Arabian Gulf, and Special Advisor on Islamist Militancy at the Office of the Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs from 2002 to 2006. At the Office of the Secretary of Defense, he helped prepare Defense Department officials engage in ministerial level talks with their counterparts from Morocco to the Persian Gulf.

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