Abu Gazalh, Abdel-Halim
1990 TLS in Arabic by the conroversial Egyptian Defense Minister, he and Hosni Mubarak flanked Anwar Sadat when Sadat was assassinated in 1981
Autograph ID: 6782
Condition: Very good
Description: “(1930-2008) Egypt’s anti-communist Defense Minister 1981-89, once touted as a successor to President Hosni Mubarak. He became Armed Forces Chief of Staff in 1980, and took the Defense portfolio when his predecessor died. He was seated next to Anwar Sadat when Sadat was assassinated during an Oct. 6 1981 military review; on Sadat’s right was Mubarak, former Air Force chief, Abu Ghazala’s comrade-in-arms and Egypt’s President 1981-2011. In 1982, Abu Ghazala was promoted to Deputy PM and Field Marshal. While supporting Egypt’s 1979 peace with Israel, after Israel’s 1982 invasion of Lebanon, he sought a joint Arab strategy to offset Israeli military superiority. In 1984 Mubarak stopped his bid to create a nuclear arms industry. In Feb. 1986, he quelled a mutiny by 17,000 security police in Cairo. He nurtured a military manufacturing sector with $2B/year US aid, diversified into construction and food production to bolster Mubarak’s army support. The powerful minister secured a deal to co-produce US M1A1 Abrams tanks in Egypt. He was a key player in Operation Cyclone, Texas US Rep Charlie Wilson’s and CIA scheme to supply mujahideen with weaponry to fight the USSR in Afghanistan. Abu Ghazala saw Khomeini’s Iran as a threat and sold billions of $ in arms to Iraq, the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. A cadet combatant in the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, after backing Nasser’s 1952 coup and fighting in the 1956 Suez war, he spent 5 years in Russia gaining a military degree and briefly headed Egyptian military intelligence. During the 1967 6-Day War with Israel, at Egypt’s remote western border, he avoided the humiliation that destroyed many careers. As 2nd Army’s artillery commander in the 1973 Yom Kippur war, he used Soviet-supplied missiles and howitzers to underpin Egypt’s surprise attack. When Israel struck back 2 weeks later, his artillery thwarted Ariel Sharon’s advance on Ismailiya. Later, as Defense Ministers, Sharon and Abu Ghazala negotiated troop redeployments. In the 70s, he was military attaché in Washington, cultivating a network of contacts, incl. Wilson, immensely benefiting Egypt as Sadat swapped loyalties from the USSR to the US. His luck ran out in the late 80s when he was implicated in a smuggling controversy involving Egypt, Argentina, Iraq and 13 US firms. Dubbed “Condor II” or “Badr 2000”, the scheme envisaged building a long-range, radar-eluding rocket for probable use by Iraq against Iran. When the US wished to question him about illegal imports of military-use chemicals, Mubarak “promoted” him to chief aide in April 1989 and he retired in 1993. In 2005 he was seen as the Muslim Brotherhood candidate against Mubarak, which fizzled. Mubarak attended Abu Ghazala’s full military funeral.
TLS in Arabic on 13 x 9 ¼ green lettered stationary, with Defense Ministry emblem at top right, (Cairo), April ? 1980, to Major General (DeWitt C.) Smith. Abu Gazalh thanks him for his congratulations on his promotion nd new assignment as Armed Forces Chief of Staff, he is grateful and thankful, and hopes for continuing relations with the Army War College. With informal written translation.
DeWITT C. SMITH,JR. (1920 -1985) US Army officer, former deputy Army Chief of Staff, twice (and longest-serving) Army War College commandant 1974 -77, 1978-80. In 1942, he joined the Army, commissioned a 2nd lieutenant, served with the 4th Armored Div. in combat after Normandy to the end of the War. Wounded 3 times, he was awarded the Silver Star, 2 Bronze Stars, and 3 Purple Hearts. Discharged 1946, he returned to active duty in Korea and stayed in the military. He was an aide to Chief of Staff Maxwell Taylor, served in the “Old Guard” at Fort Myer, and was a battalion XO and commander in Germany. He served at the Pentagon before going to the Army War College. He led a combat brigade of the 1st Infantry in Vietnam. In 1970, under his leadership, Fort Carson, Colo. was made an initial test site for the modern volunteer Army concept. After his stints at the War College, he retired in 1980.”