was born in 1922, to a land owning family
(ayan), in the village of Shobratana, in the heart of the Nile delta, about 100 km from Cairo.
Shazly grew up in a reserved environment, based on merit and Islamic values.
He was greatly influenced by stories of courage and valor, about family members and ancestors.
His grandfather fought and died with
The Khedive Ismail Pasha, armed forces in Sudan, his uncle, a Pasha, a member of parliament, and an outspoken governor of Behera,
distinguished himself for his courage, against the king's
policies members of the family participated in Orabi revolution of 1919, which was crushed by
The King and The British.
The Royal Military Academy, and served in the prestigious
King's guard until 1948, where he served in his first war against Israeli occupation of Palestine.
His military credentials are impeccable. He founded the paratroopers in Egypt, in 1954, and was
The commander of the first paratrooper battalion, in
The Egyptian army.
In 1960, He headed
The first United Arab Forces in Congo, as part of
The United Nations Forces.
He was a Defense
Attaché in London 1961-1963, The Commander of Special
Forces [1967-1969]; The Commander of the Red Sea District
[1970-1971], and in May 16, 1971, He was appointed Chief of Staff of
The Egyptian Armed Forces, a position he held until December 12,1973.
Shazly first gained his reputation in 1941. British forces together with Egyptian forces, were facing the Germans in the western desert. When
The British/ Egyptian High Command issued the order to retreat, a young
Lieutenant Shazly, stayed behind to destroy equipment in the face of an advancing German army.
He distinguished himself again in 1967, when he headed
The Shazly Group; a task force made up of Special Forces; to guard the middle part of Sinai.
With communication cut between his forces and the Egyptian high command, and in the midst of the worst defeat in modern Egyptian history, he managed to avoid enemy fire and return to Egypt, with his troops and equipment with relatively few losses.
In 1973 , at the pinnacle of his military career, he differed with Sadat on the conduct of war operations; he was removed from military service by President Anwar Sadat and appointed
an Ambassador to England and later, Ambassador to Portugal.
In 1978, General Shazly, sharply criticized
The Camp David Agreement, and publicly opposed it. As a
result, he was dismissed from his position and was forced into
exile. There, he wrote this book, his account of the war.
The consequences of this publication cost Shazly dearly.
He was court marshaled in absentia, and received a three years prison sentence.
He was denied legal representation, stripped of his political rights and had his property sequestered.
All without a single witness, save a captain serving in
Two charges were brought against Shazly. The first was publishing a book without prior approval. A charge, Shazly admits to.
The second was divulging military secrets in his book. A charge Shazly vehemently denies, claiming the so-called
"secrets" were government secrets rather than military secrets. Shazly maintains the
government was trying to hide the facts.
In 1992, Shazly returned to Egypt after 14 years in exile, in Algeria; for criticizing the policies of President Anwar Sadat. He was arrested in the airport upon his return.
No trial ever took place, and Shazly was forced to serve his prison term, despite the rule of law, according to
The Egyptian Constitution, that sentences received in absentia, must be retried.
During his time in prison Shazly's legal team, succeeded in obtaining a ruling from
The Highest Civilian Court, which stated that the prior military conviction was illegal, and declared the military ruling
was unconstitutional. The court ordered Shazly's immediate release. None took place. Shazly served the remainder of his sentence.
The Crossing of The Suez, and Shazly's later book. The Arab Military
option, was never published in Egypt.
They were however; published in English, French and Arabic and sold in many countries.
The book has been reviewed by major publications including
The Economist, The New York Times, The Christian Science Monitor, and others. The book is currently in its second printing.
This is a military memoir: my record as Chief of Staff of The Egyptian Armed Forces, during
The Arab-Israeli War of October 1973. It is to the best of my knowledge, unique, being the only memoir of its kind by a contemporary Arab commander. I have written it with reluctance, with sorrow and with anger. When I say that my anger is directed primarily, at
The President of Egypt, Anwar El Sadat, it will be understood why I, after a lifetime as a soldier
serving my country and my people, was reluctant to take up
a pen, and felt sorry
that in the end it became an inescapable duty.
This memoir, I dedicate to the soldiers and officers of the Egyptian Armed Forces. It is their story; it tells at last, the truth about their triumph. I am proud of every single day I spent as Chief of Staff. I am proud that during my tenure, the first successful Arab offensive against Israel, was planned and executed.
I pay tribute to every officer and man, who took part in it, and in doing so, restored the pride of the Egyptian soldier. They are witnesses to the truth of what I write. Some parts of the story are known by thousands, some by hundreds, some aspects shared by only a handful. May God help and guide us, and give us the courage to say the truth, whatever may be the consequences.
For which he was
tried by a military tribunal in absentia, and without
legal representation. Upon his return from exile, he went
to prison and served half of his three year sentence.