Major General Ibrahim Khairi

By Edouard Aldahdah

Posted on May 8th, 2013 in Egypt

I have always been intrigued by some of the early sources of RAS foundation horses, and wanted to learn more about them. I am not only referring to the Princes (Mohammed Ali, Ahmad Kamal, Yusuf Kamal, Kemal el-Dine Husayn, etc) and Lady Anne Blunt, but also by the more minor sources. One of these is “H.E. Lewa Ibrahim Khairi Pasha”, the owner of the mare Badaouia (RAS), the dam of Kheir and grand-dam of Gassir.

Lets deconstruct that name for a second: “H.E.” is obviously “His Excellency”, a senior mark of respect for ministers and other high level officials. Lewa, as I once told Joe Ferriss and Jeanne Craver who reflected it in the revised entry for Badaouia (RAS) in Al Khamsa Arabians III, means “Major General”, and is a senior army rank. My father, General Salim Al-Dahdah, a retired two-star army general, is a Lewa, in Arabic. Pasha is the title of nobility we all know. This yields “His Excellency, Major General Ibrahim Khairi Pasha”.

Armed with this new understanding, I looked up his name in Arabic in Google, for starters. Here is what I found:

1) In one source: 19-year old Gamal Abd al-Nasser (Egypt second military ruler in the post-Kingdom era), after failing the oral examination test for entering Egypt’s military cadets’ college in 1936, appealed to Major General Ibrahim Khairi, then Under-Secretary (equivalent to deputy minister) of Defense, explained his situation, and was readmitted the next year.

2) In another source: that the father of Anwar al-Sadate (Egypt’s third miliatary ruler in the post-Kingdom era and Nasser’s successor), following the rejection — again — of his son’s application to the military college before of his low social status– begged before Major General Ibrahim Pasha Khairi, “head of the commission for accepting applications, horsemanship instructor for King Faruq, Under-Secretary of Defense, in addition to being married to a lady from the royal family, and  of the stars of high society”.  The rest of the anecdote, and the way General Ibrahim Khairi reportedly agreed to the request, is interesting, but I don’t have time to translate it now.

3) In a third source, the oldest living Egyptian army general, 97 years old, in an April 2013 interview, recounts his first encounter with General Ibrahim Khairi Pasha, head of the military college at the time.

4) This is an English source, a 2005 article from the Ahram newspaper: check it out yourself.

5) Here is another English source about the Nasser anecdote.

6) A list of the residents of the upper class  neighborhood of Koubbeh Gardens in 1936, including him.

and there is more..


One Response to “Major General Ibrahim Khairi”

  1. Thanks Edouard for this very informative piece. We sometimes forget to put the context into the history of Arabian horse ancestors. There were many factors outside of what is recorded in studbooks which better help us understand ancestors of our Arabians of today. This is especially true of the racing community which has too often been treated with skepticism, not taking into account the position of those who owned and raced Arabian horses, the strict influence of British control in the racing system for fairness sake and that the racing community provided a ready source of economy for the excess colts of Bedouin especially in the first 3 to 4 decades of the 20th century. I was impressed with the presentation at last year’s Al Khamsa convention by Caryn Rogosky and Marilyn Lang with respect to what more was learned about Captain Owen, his life in Egypt and his credentials. It further supports the reasons why he would be considered the breeder of record for Exochorda. While the racing community is not a breeding community per se, horses were bred from racing stock of Bedouin origin and we have both Malouma and Exochorda to represent such a legacy. While Exochorda is more well known to today’s Egyptian breeders and Al Khamsa breeders, the Tahawy bred Malouma was a significant producer of championship stock in America to the extent that she is now found very widely internationally in famous horses like Marwan Al Shaqab, Fadi Al Shaqab, Versace, Marhaaabah, Besson Carol and so on. It is exactly the kind of research as you present that helps us better understand the composition of our Arabian horse heritage. Thanks for your work.

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