Monday, November 06, 2006

King Farouk.

If you've read my last post, you'll see my point on how Egypt was much better off during the Rule of Fouad,Farouk, ect... "J" Left this as a comment regarding my Egypt PRE-COUPE' ERA Post!, it was a great comment summarizing King Farouks Rule.

"My parents always maintained that Farouk was extremely popular when he first became King. But lost it for four reasons. 1) His feuds with the Wafd party (He continually appointed minority governments). 2) Failure to stand up to the British when they surrounded the Abdin Palace with tanks and latter when they attacked the Ismailia barracks. 3) The continual corruption scandals 4) Defeat by Israel.
(Oh did I mention that he was fat?)
During Farouks reign there was freedom of the press (except when British censored it in WW2), free elections and generally no political prisoners (Except when the Wafd imprisoned the pro-axisgovt after the British overthrew the govt in February 1942).

Also, under the 15 Farouks rule the number of schools tripled.
Farouks big problem was details. He was not interested in them. When he appointed either minority parties or bureaucrats to form governments….he would leave the policies to them. He was notorious for telephoning individual ministers with ideas the middle of the night (often from a dinner party) and then leaving it to the minister to sort it out….with the added risk that the King might forget or ask about it six months later.

When forced to appoint a Wafd government (either by the British or popular opinion) he would sulk and spend the next couple of years ignoring them and partying.

The British were the biggest problem. They viewed Farouks 39-42 government as pro-nazi, which was an exaggerationÂ….the Prime Minister tried to cut a deal with the Germans/Italians because it looked like the British were about to loose the war. As it was he became too obvious….and the then British ambassador surrounded the palace with tanks. He forced Farouk to re-appoint the Wafd. (Who thus screwed their credibility).

After that people were divided between those who felt sympathetic: that the King had no choice but concede to British demands and those who felt that he shouldhonorablehonourable thing by defying the British and being deposed.

Throughout the 1940s & early 50s there were a series of corruption scandals which involved politicians of all parties, senior bureaucrats and some minor members of the Royaskeptical A sceptical public saw the political establishment as increasingly venial and corrupt.

He dismissed that Wafd as soon as he could (1944?) and appointed another government of bureaucrats. They managed to negotiate a brilliant deal over the Canal….and what f*cked it? Sudan.laborritish Labour government offered to withdraw all British troops but wanted Sudanese self determination. The MB & Wafd wouldn't swallow that and so under pressure, Farouk rejected the deal (True!!!!). Then the 48 war with Israel and we lost.

I think that's when the MB started assassinating people in earnest….the Prime Minister anyway. (They'd killed a few judges in the fortiesÂ…..oh sorry…they never assassinate people, any brother who does, did it without orders(?!) or had just left the brotherhood, right I believe that).

Now here something Ive often thought: the army lost the war. They blamed the government (i.e. King Farouk A guy not interested in details). Now, the govt was THEN made up civiliansÂ….not solders. In fact they would have left all the military decisions to the armyÂ….how then did the King get the blame?!?!?

Ultimately, yes. He was head of state and had appointed the govtÂ…..but the war was handled by the army and they lostÂ…..yet every school book blames Farouk. Hmmm.
4 years later the military coup (sorry revolution) happens.
Straight after the war Farouk appointed the Wafd and goes off on a sulk and a bender.
The Wafd decide to tackle the British (they're no longer friends), both in the canal and in Sudan. Also they start the war of attrition against Israel.

The Wafd sponsor the freedom battalions to attack both military & civilian targets. (The Brits called them terrorists). The aim was to make life difficult for the 80K troops they had there….and eventually they'd go home.

BUT Churchill was now in British PM (Labour was out) and anxious to prove that their dying empire wasnt dead yet. The attacks were carried out by the Liberation Battalions which were organized by Egyptian Intelligence from the Ismailia Police Barracks. On 25th January 1952 the British Army tanks & troops entered Egyptian territory to disarm the Egyptian Police. They expected no resistance. Instead the police refused to surrender. A pitched battle followed, in which 4 British soldiers and 42 Egyptian policemen were killed.

Only the Interior Minister Serageddin publicly called for popular resistance. Neither King nor the rest of the Wafdist government supported him. Both were intimidated by 80,000 strong British garrison in the Canal Zone.

The Egyptian Army, which was then only 50,000 strong, stayed in its barracks(!) and the police fought alone.

Anti-British riots swept the country and the Wafd fell. Farouk was unable to find anyone who could form a stable government.

Four governments were formed and fell between 25th January & 23rd July 1952. It was during this chaos, when public opinion of both King and Parliament were at their lowest that the Free Officers Movement launched their Military Coup.

The Free Officers did inform the American Ambassador (Who informed the British) just before it happened. (Apparently, they'd heard that the military police were going to arrest them so decided to act first, but told the Americans to try and play them against the Brits)

Te British Ambassador & the Military commander of the Canal Zone requested instructions from London. These arrived fairly late and were not to interfere.

The British did not like Farouk.
On the whole, Id agree Farouk was much better than what followed. Yes, he appointed govts. That didnt have parliamentary majorities……but he never interfered with elections nor ban political parties (MB and communists excepted) nor have political prisoners nor interfere with press freedom nor have censorship.

Perhaps if he had he might have lasted longer.

On the minus side: He was lazy, left too much to subordinates and (worstcrime) had an eating disorder.

Egypts Liberal Constitutional Monarchy 1921 to 1952 RIP.

We'd be under Faud II now."


tommy said...

I guess the old man was a living example of the way government non-interference can sometimes work wonders. If you aren't capable of making absolutely brilliant policy, then leave to the people to decide the course of things.

Solomon2 said...

His worst crime was that "he had an eating disorder"?

Modern Pharaoh said...

Solomon....its a joke bro! get it a joke as in haha!

Anonymous said...

Well,i guess everybody knows Egypt,i guess Egypt is the worst now and all our granparents say so and it's so evident in movies and everything,Egypt is goind down,viva la révolution!!!

Anonymous said...

Old Man ???? Do you have any idea how old was King Farouk the year of the Revolution ??? seems not! For your information he was 32.... and it so much easy to judge from outside and not knowing what was really going on at that time. maybe at his place and in the same position you would have done better ?!

Anonymous said...

Well, "those were the days my friend" as Mary Hopkins song of 1967 says (watch the year pls).
I'm quite confident now and absolutely believe that the turn-down of Egypt as a nation and country just started on the eve of July 23, 1952 with the coup d'etat of this group of ignorant maniac officers. This coup d'etat has turned every thing in Egypt upside down and costed us the loss of about 150 years (1805-1952) of develpment in Egypt's socity, economy etc. During this period, Egypt's was steadily and progressively developing in all aspects and all this not only came to halt but also plunged down most rapidly with a series of shameful military defeats and unprecended economic degradation not to talk about political corruption and civil socity destruction.
If King Farouk is to be blamed for something, then there is nothing worse than his easy and fast surrender to this group of millitant officers in July 1952.

Anonymous said...

I believe now strongly that if K.Farouk lived longer as a King ,Eygpt would have an honorable place among the nations and people of that beautiful country would have been given the chance for a better life instead of the dramatic bad current one .
What he did in no time they failed to achieve through years .Bless his soul and may he rest in peace .If i was living in that times i would have just loved him .

Anonymous said...

you know what modern pharaoh i absolutely agree with you. since the 23rd of july 1952 (one of the darkest days in Egyptian history) the revolution has been a total failure. with the exception of anwar sadat may God rest his soul, everything was 100% bullsh*t!!! i'm in no way saying that king farouk was an angel but he was a patriot who truly loved Egypt with all his heart. his mother, the royal staff &advisors, the Brits, and the political parties eventually led to his demise. after ww2 the deck was stacked against him and it appeared that the powers that be wanted to replace him, seeing that there were no alternatives the Brits may have just set him up for the ultimate downfall. it many ways it truly is sad!!! modern pharaoh i've got a question for you since you were born in Egypt-if farouk was overthrown because of the army's performance in 1948, then why is it that God damn doorman gamal el kalb abdelnasser wasn't held accountable for 1967? so much for the revolution of the vagabounds!!!!!!!!!!!

Azza said...

Excellent analysis Tarek. The 1952 coup was a big disaster that Egypt is still suffering its consequences uptill this day.

Sherif said...

I am really proud of you,there s nothing more wrong than forging the history,Allah bless the king s soul who was poisened by the criminal officers and dam this military regime who still rules Egypt till this day, he free officers were a bunch of criminals and thieves and they returned the country to a pre historic era

Aboobaker said...

I strongly believe that King made some mistakes but if he had continued ruling Egypt the condition of Egypt would have been much better as the people who came after him have miserably failed to do any thing for the country. King has worked for the education and was also working for the unity of Muslim countries
Aboobaker Ismail