John Bagot GLUBB
The Course of Empire : The Arabs and Their
A classic essay with great pertinence for the USA today --
The Course of Empire : The Arabs
and Their Successors,
Hodder & Stoughton, 1965, Prentice-Hall, 1966.
[ PDF ]
Sir John Bagot Glubb
Born 16 April 1897 Preston, Lancashire
Died 17 March 1986 (aged 88) Mayfield, Sussex
Allegiance United Kingdom Jordan
Years of service 1915 – 1956
Rank Lieutenant General
Commands held Royal Engineers Arab Legion
Battles/wars World War I World War II:
-Anglo-Iraqi War -Syria-Lebanon campaign 1948 Arab-Israeli War
Awards Knight Commander of the Order of the
Bath, Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George,
Distinguished Service Order, Officer of the Order of the British
Lieutenant-General Sir John Bagot Glubb, KCB, CMG, DSO, OBE, MC
better known as Glubb Pasha (born 16 April 1897, Preston,
Lancashire – died 17 March 1986, Mayfield, Sussex), was a British
soldier, scholar and author, who led and trained Transjordan's
Arab Legion between 1939 and 1956 as its commanding general.
During the First World War, he served in France.
Educated at Cheltenham College, he was commissioned into the Royal
Engineers in 1915. He was seriously wounded on the Western front,
his jaw being shattered. In later years this would lead to the
Arab nickname of abu Hunaik, meaning "the one with the little
jaw." He was then transferred to Iraq in 1920, which was governed
by Britain according to the League of Nations Mandate. He became
an officer of the Arab Legion in 1930. The next year he formed the
Desert Patrol — a force consisting exclusively of Bedouin — to
curb the raiding problem that plagued the southern part of the
country. Within a few years he had persuaded the Bedouin to
abandon their habit of raiding neighbouring tribes.
In 1939, Glubb succeeded Frederick G. Peake as the commander of
the Arab Legion (Now known as Jordan Royal Army). During this
period, he transformed the legion into the best trained force in
the Arab world.
According to the Encyclopædia of the Orient:
Glubb served his home country all through his years in the Middle
East, making him immensely unpopular in the end. Arab nationalists
believed that he had been the force behind pressure that made King
Hussein I of Jordan join the Baghdad Pact. Glubb served different
high positions in the Arab Legion, the army of Transjordan. During
World War II he led attacks on Arab leaders in Iraq, as well as
the Vichy regime which was present in Lebanon and Syria. 
During the 1948 Arab–Israeli War the Arab Legion was considered
the strongest Arab army involved in the war. Glubb led the Arab
Legion across Jordan to occupy the West Bank. Despite some
negotiation and understanding between the Jewish Agency and King
Abdullah, severe fighting took place in Kfar Etzion, Jerusalem and
Latrun. According to Avi Shlaim,
Rumours that Abdullah was once again in contact with the Jewish
leaders further damaged his standing in the Arab world. His many
critics suggested that he was prepared to compromise the Arab
claim to the whole of Palestine as long as he could acquire part
of Palestine for himself. 'The internecine struggles of the
Arabs,' reported Glubb, 'are more in the minds of Arab politicians
than the struggle against the Jews. Azzam Pasha, the mufti and the
Syrian government would sooner see the Jews get the whole of
Palestine than that King Abdullah should benefit.' (p. 96)
Glubb remained in charge of the defence of the West Bank following
the armistice in March 1949, and as the commander of the Arab
Legion until 1 March 1956, when he was dismissed by King Hussein
who wanted to distance himself from the British and disprove the
contention of Arab nationalists that Glubb was the actual ruler of
Jordan. Differences between Glubb and Hussein had been apparent
since 1952, especially over defence arrangements, the promotion of
Arab officers and the funding of the Arab Legion. Despite his
decommission, which was forced upon him by public opinion, he
remained a close friend of the king. He spent the remainder of his
life writing books and articles, mostly on the Middle East and his
experiences with the Arabs.
Glubb was appointed OBE in 1925; CMG in 1946; and KCB in 1956.
In 1938, Glubb married Muriel Rosemary Forbes, the daughter of
physician James Graham Forbes. The couple had a son, Godfrey
(named after the Crusader King Godfrey of Bouillon) born in
Jerusalem in 1939, and adopted a Bedouin girl in 1944 and another
daughter and son, his daughter from Palestinian refugees and son
(named before Atalla) from Jordanian Bedouins] in 1947. One of his
sons died soon after birth, on the same day as Dunkirk (see his
Glubb's father was Major-General Sir Frederic Manley Glubb, of
Lancashire, who had been chief engineer in the British Second Army
in the First World War; his mother was Letitia Bagot from County
Roscommon. He was a brother of the racing driver Gwenda Hawkes.
Sir John died in 1986 at his home in Mayfield, East Sussex, and is
buried in the graveyard at St. Dunstan's Church in the village.
King Hussein gave the eulogy at the service of thanksgiving for
Glubb's life, held in Westminster Abbey on 17 April 1986. Lady
Glubb died in September 2005 and is interred with her husband.
Their son, Godfrey, converted to Islam as a young man and took the
name of Faris, becoming a prominent journalist and researcher into
the Palestinian cause. He was killed in an accident in Kuwait in
April 2004. Daughter Naomi died in July 2010.
The source for the following bibliography is Contemporary Authors
Online, Gale, 2005. Reproduced in Biography Resource Center.
Farmington Hills, Mich.: Thomson Gale. 2005, except *. (With Henry
Field) The Yezidis, Sulubba, and Other Tribes of Iraq and Adjacent
Regions, G. Banta, 1943. (ASIN: B000X92Z2O)
The Story of the Arab Legion, Hodder & Stoughton, 1948 (ASIN:
B0006D873I), Da Capo Press, 1976.
A Soldier with the Arabs, Hodder & Stoughton, 1957. (ASIN:
Britain and the Arabs: A Study of Fifty Years, 1908 to 1958,
Hodder & Stoughton, 1959. (ASIN: B0000CK92W)
War in the Desert: An R.A.F. Frontier Campaign, Hodder &
Stoughton, 1960, Norton, 1961.
The Great Arab Conquests, Hodder & Stoughton, 1963,
The Empire of the Arabs, Hodder & Stoughton, 1963,
The Course of Empire: The Arabs and Their Successors, Hodder &
Stoughton, 1965, Prentice-Hall, 1966.
The Lost Centuries: From the Muslim Empires to the Renaissance of
Europe, 1145-1453, Hodder & Stoughton, 1966, Prentice-Hall,
Syria, Lebanon and Jordan, Walker & Co., 1967.
The Middle East Crisis: A Personal Interpretation, Hodder &
A Short History of the Arab Peoples, Stein & Day, 1969.
The Life and Times of Muhammad, Stein & Day, 1970.
Peace in the Holy Land: An Historical Analysis of the Palestine
Problem, Hodder & Stoughton, 1971.
Soldiers of Fortune: The Story of the Mamlukes, Stein & Day,
The Way of Love: Lessons from a Long Life, Hodder & Stoughton,
Haroon Al Rasheed and the Great Abbasids, Hodder & Stoughton,
Into Battle: A Soldier's Diary of the Great War, Cassell, 1977.
The Fate of Empires and Search for Survival, Blackwood
Arabian Adventures: Ten Years of Joyful Service, Cassell (London),
The Changing Scenes of Life: An Autobiography, Quartet Books
Royle, Trevor (1992). Glubb Pasha. Little, Brown &co/Abacus.
pp. 497–498. ISBN 0-349-10344-5.
James Lunt, ‘Glubb, Sir John Bagot (1897–1986)’, rev., Oxford
Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004,
Karl E. Meyer and Shareen Blair Brysac, Kingmakers: the Invention
of the Modern Middle East, W.W. Norton, 2008, ISBN
Benny Morris, The Road to Jerusalem: Glubb Pasha, Palestine and
the Jews, ISBN 1-86064-812-6
Shlaim, A. (2001). Israel and the Arab Coalition in 1948. In E. L.
Rogan, A. Shlaim, C. Tripp, J. A. Clancy-Smith, I. Gershoni, R.
Owen, Y. Sayigh & J. E. Tucker (Eds.), The War for Palestine:
Rewriting the History of 1948 (pp. 79–103). Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press. ISBN 0-521-79476-5
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