Last week Cairo Ex-governor General Ibrahim Baghdadi had passed away and some people believed that he took away with him the truth ; the truth of the enigmatic sudden death of King Farouk. My dear reader Ibrahim Baghdadi did not enter the Egyptian history because he was the Governor of Cairo but because he was accused of poisoning King Farouk in Italy.
Ibrahim Baghdadi is and was widely accused for decades of being the man who poisoned King Farouk’s meal at Ile De France restaurant in Rome on the 18th of March 1965 by the orders of Gamal Abdel Nasser and his fearful secret services. Of course the man till his death swore by God that he did not have a hand in Farouk’s death. He appeared on TV and made interviews annually to deny the charges that seemed to follow him till his grave. The man swore everyday in his life that he did not do it but unfortunately no one believed him because all the evidences revealed by time were against him.
Officer Ibrahim Baghdadi was from the first generation of the Egyptian intelligence along with Zachariah Mohi El-Din, Mohamed Nassim, Salah Nasr and Fathi El-Dib. He is said to have the alias “undertaker” in the agency as he used to kidnap Nasser’s political dissidents from Europe bringing them drugged in coffins to Egypt. “The GIE stopped that technique after some dissident had woke up in the coffin making noise in Rome international airport , I believe Ayman Nour and Saad El-Din Ibrahim are thankful they did not live the Nasserite Era in its worst times” .
In March 1965 he was in Rome at the same time Farouk was , his justification was strange and increased suspicion ; he was there on vacation where he used to work as a waiter in Ile De France restaurant , one of Farouk’s favourite restaurants !!
Ibrahim Baghdadi did not deny that he was in Rome despite from time to time he denied that he was working as a waiter. Needless to say when he remembered that he worked as a waiter ,he did not mentioned the reason why and he was was working in our UN delegation then *officially* ,he would go and work as a waiter in Rome !!!??
His weak justifications made him look guilty more especially that he was working in the same restaurant Farouk had his last supper at. You do not need too much brain to think that he poisoned his meal. The fact that when he returned back to Cairo and had become the governor of Monfia after 2 months of the incident stamped the crime on him. The promotion was like the reward.
According to him that rumour as he called was spread in Egypt after the six days war in 1968. Salah Nasr revealed in his infamous case investigation aka the scandal of the intelligence service that King Farouk was killed by highly poisoned and rare Aconitine in order to justify the disappearance of huge Aconitine quantities from GIE. “how much did they need in 1965 to poison Farouk and was it only Farouk that needed this quantity !!?? “
Aconitine just like the coffins was a signature of Nasser’s secret service to eliminate the enemies, after all poison is a perfect silent death. Aconitine is said to be the poison used to get rid from Abdel Hakim Amar ,whose so-called suicide is just another X-File in our Egyptian history . Aconitine is said to be have no taste in guava juice and thus all the victims of Nasser secret services were found to drink juice in their last meal according to the urban legend.Of course when you check the meal King Farouk ate in the last supper you won’t find guava juice but rather water, soda and coca cola according to what was announced. It is widely believed that it is untraceable in autopsy but this is untrue . Of course there is no specific antidote for it up till now. It causes cardiac arrest if it is absorbed by skin in large quantity or digested. Farouk suffered from cardiac arrest if we want to be accurate.
Revealed before its time
But it was not Salah Nasr who really revealed it. It was before 1967 war and before Nasr’s case. In fact it was right after the sudden death of Farouk in 1965 that the name of Baghdadi began to appear as the prime suspect in a strange way. May be because my grand father was a journalist then he heard it but even if he had connections then how this very important information was leaked or even why. If we are talking from security and political point of views not from sentimental or moral point of view , you will be amazed how this operation was leaked in details like this. Such operation should not be revealed in that way after very short time or even no time taking in consideration that we are speaking about 1960s not 2009 where is a huge communication technology. The leak of such operation means burning an active field officer who was Baghdadi then exposing his cover forever and this what he had happened actually.
Was a deliberate leak from the GIE to brag their latest achievement ?? Was a deliberate leak from the Nasser regime to warn the Saudi Royal family not to mess with him !!?? Well he did not need that as they were already aware on how he would go. For me how this information was leaked with the name of the field officer and the kind of poison used in that time is another Egyptian X-File !!
The last Witness Farouk could have imagined !!
The rumour was repeated and somehow was detailed when Etmad Khorshid tell all book “ A witness on Salah Nasr’ perversity” was published in 1988. The book which is considered from the most important sources about the infamous intelligence scandal and its trial did not miss this important mystery. Etmad says that Nasr was in her house on the 18th of March when he was so worried , he told her that he was waiting for important telephone call from abroad , she was amazed that he gave her telephone number to his co-workers and how they would call him for important issue in her house. She continues saying that after acting like trapped tiger ,he told her :
Farouk will die tonight
and he was right Farouk died that night. Etmad says that she knew that the assassination of Farouk was led by Nasr’s aide “I.B” aka Ibrahim Baghdadi under the supervision of the Italian intelligence agency “Servizio Informazioni Difesa” and its spy chief whom Etmad claims that he was Nasr’s friend !! It is worth to mention that Etmad only mentioned the initials of “I.B” for fear she would be sued but everybody knew whom she was referring to.
Etmad goes and says the Egyptian intelligence gave Farouk’s mistress one million dollar to poison him !! I must hint out that Farouk during that time was on relation with Irma Capece Minutolo publicly and she was in Monte Carlo then. You will wonder whom Etmad meant , well you have to wait for a while !! It is interesting enough to see that in Etmad’s version Baghdadi was more like a supervisor , he was not a waiter and did not put the poison himself, it was the king’s mistress as she called her who took one million dollar !!
This What was mentioned in Etmad’s famous book that topped the best selling books in Egypt in late 1980s and still causes controversy . Historians , experts and journalists do not take every word in this book seriously for several reasons starting from the fact that many people consider Etmad as a cheap woman not a victim plus some believe that her book is full of exaggerations . I saw Etmad in an interview and I believe she is a poor educated woman who found herself inside a world she did not belong too nor she did fully understand. I do not believe or disbelieve her account of events because this woman only saw one dimension of the history.
How I did kill him !!!
Then came Mahmoud Fawzy’s book “How I killed King Farouk !!” Despite the fact that journalist Mahmoud Fawzy interviewed Baghdadi in the book , the conclusion you get from it that Baghdadi actually killed Farouk. Strangely despite Baghdadi was angry from Fawzy , he always appeared with him in TV Shows to repeat the same defence and Fawzy repeated the same accusation. With my all respect to Mahmoud Fawzy , I am not that fond of him nor of his TV shows which I believe is more like a channel to sell his books. Mahmoud Fawzy is just repeating the same popular story that Baghdadi disguised as a waiter and poisoned Farouk. Nothing new to be added except that Baghdadi kept defending himself attacking the Royal family and Farouk.
Another book and another story
Dr. Latifa Salem said in her wonderful comprehensive biography “ King Farouk” in the last chapter that king Farouk died after a meal and that there were rumours in Egypt that the Egyptian intelligence was behind his death. As professional unbiased historian Dr.Latifa did not dish on the GIE intelligence not because for fear but because I believe the real historians need more solid proof from documents in their books than hear- say stories.
Still Dr. Latifa besides mentioning the theory in short reference , she mentioned very interesting fact that actually King Farouk went to dine with a lady friend called “Anna Maria” in Ile De France restaurant.Yes he ate too much but strangely when he began to feel sick towards the end ,”Anna Maria” suddenly disappeared and up till now we do not know nothing at all about her !!!
Anna Maria disappearance was suspicious for sure and it fits the scenario Etmad mentioned in her book that King Farouk’s mistress or rather lady friend had something to do with his death.
The unpopular unknown story
Now despite the popular story that late Baghdadi had killed Farouk , I have another story where Baghdadi had killed somebody too but he was not Farouk but rather the man who actually poisoned King Farouk !! Yes you read it right ; there was another secret service officer who did the dirty job and Baghdadi as a senior officer was making sure that the job was done 100%. The officer name was “Essam Al-Masry” and after finishing his dirty job he went to Brazil to receive some orders where he was poisoned by Baghdadi himself !!! He was poisoned by the same poison he used to kill King Farouk.
I do not know how accurate this story is , but it is also a realistic scenario that is frequent in the dirty world of the secret services all over the world. Also if you notice it goes with what Etmad’s mentioned in her book that Baghdad was supervising the operation.
A Possible scenario
All indications say that Farouk was killed, eating too much does not kill in that way. With the Italian intelligence cooperation Nasser secret service sent Essam Al-Masry and Baghdadi as his supervisor to get rid from Farouk . Farouk had a meeting that night with a lady friend “Anna Maria” who was cooperating with GIE for money, I believe the role of Anna Maria was not to poison Farouk but to persuaded him to go to Ile De France on that particular night !! Come on have you ever wondered why Farouk went to that restaurant on that particular despite he could have gone to any other fancy restaurant in Rome !! For sure Ile De France was not only favourite restaurant there. Al-Masry some how was working in the restaurant probably in kitchen itself not a waiter ,where as Baghdadi pretending as a waiter he made sure that the last supper reached to Farouk as it should. Of course there are 2 details I can’t keep them out of my mind ; the Italian accent and Egyptian facial features of Baghdadi. Farouk was not dump to know that that waiter was not an Italian especially that he was fluent in Italian , also Baghdadi did not look Italian !! These are side marks , of course they do not meant that I do not believe the accusations or the fact that Farouk was killed on that night.
The official death Story
The official death story according to the Italian authorities ; the former King of Egypt and Sudan ate too much leading to his death in other words Farouk had killed himself by his love to food !! No autopsy was done by the request of Queen Farida who as soon as she heard the news arrived to Rome to take in charge and to help her daughters and step son,the young King. According to King Fouad II and Princess Farial the former Queen refused the autopsy because it was against the Islamic rituals,of course autopsy is not against Islamic rituals, the Queen was bluffing and using the advantage that the young princesses and little king did not have enough religious information in order to protect them.Farida knew the door she was opening if she insisted on autopsy, if Farouk was found to be poisoned officially in front of the whole world. Young King Fouad II could be in danger along with his sisters, Farida knew how dangerous Nasser regime could be for sure.
- You can see a slide show for the funeral of King Farouk here
- You can watch a silent newsreel about the funeral here , I highly recommend it.
Advocates of natural death causes
The opponents of King Farouk and Nasser supporters say that there was no need to kill the ex-king as he was no danger on Nasser, whose popularity exceeded Egypt to the Arab world. Well the Nasserites can say what ever they want because in the end Nasser was a politician and a president and for sure he considered Farouk as a danger on his status , after all he got rid from most of all the revolution council except very few for fear they were going to take his chair !!?? Shall I remind you with Mohamed Naguib who was sent to an exile till Nasser’s death ??
Not to mention that we are speaking about the mid 1960s where the West and several Arab countries could not take any more from Nasser and his Eastern Arab Nationalist policies especially Saudi Arabia and Jordan. Farouk already showed some little but alarming interest in politics in 1950s from time to time according to historians.
The former King was under the eye of Nasser’s secret service especially in Italy and he knew it very well and that’s he avoided Egyptians in Italy for fear that they would meet trouble when they returned home. Salah Al-Shahad , himself mentioned this in one of the books about his career in Royal then the Presidential palaces. Al-Shahad was in a visit to Italy when he found Farouk in the street , when he tried to approach to salute him, the later avoided him , but Al-Shahad insisted to sit with him. Of course when he returned to Cairo , Nasser asked him about the incident , Al-Shahad defended himself that this was his ex-boss and he would not accept to ignore him , believe it or not Nasser respected him. Anyhow this incident shows that Farouk was under the eye of Nasser’s secret service very carefully , you won’t send your men to put an eye 24/7 on a man that does impose a danger on you !!??
Farouk despite what may appear in desperate images and careless public actions of an exiled King I believe he had from time to time hope that somehow the Mohamed Ali rule may return back to Egypt even if it were not him , it would be his son. The late ex-King insisted the young last King of Egypt Ahmed Fouad II to be educated in a military school preferably in UK , Farouk did not want his son to repeat his mistake again, of course God had other plans , Farouk died and Ahmed Fouad II did not enter the military school. This was an important indicator.
The second indicator I did not read it but I gathered from different sources to form my own theory is that may be Nasser received an information from his secret service that Saudi Royal family was working on getting Farouk back in some way or another. It was year 1965 ,we were stuck in Yemen War and the Egyptian-Saudi media war reached its epic. I do not have doubt that The Sauds thought of helping their old friend back to Cairo, their relations were so strong already.
Back to Baghdadi , well he is dead now , the neo-royalists of course wish that he may rotten in hell , well I can’t share the same wish , all what I can say that may God mercy his soul as a Muslim. I believe that this man had killed many people regardless of whether he killed King Farouk or not. It was the divine revenge from the undertaker that he became in the memory of the generations as the murderer of King Farouk.It was the divine revenge that he would be accused and stained from all the secret service officers with that dangerous accusation and it was the divine revenge that he kept defending himself till the end but in vain.
About whether Farouk was assassinated or not , well the truth has not been buried yet , it is not buried with late Baghdadi , it is buried in some file in the GIE archive and I believe one day we will know the truth and close that Egyptian X-File after reading that GIE file just like many other files.
Also I want to say something if the Egyptian intelligence was responsible of the murder of King Farouk of Egypt and Sudan then ,this would not mean that it is bad secret service that should be attacked and disrespected by some whether in that old era or even now as some people believe we still live in the post revolution days !! The political assassinations which Nasser and Amar adopted to eliminate their enemies does not mean that the Egyptian intelligence during that dark was 100% bad because at the same time the undertaker was on loose there were men like Mohamed Nassim May God bless his soul protecting his country as much they could.
Ibrahim Baghdadi info :
- Ibrahim Baghdadi fought in Palestine war 1948.
- He was from the first GIE officers generation.
- He worked in the intelligence service from 1954 to 1965
- He was appointed as the Governor of Monfia from 18/11/1965 to 31/8/1967
- He was appointed as the Governor of Cairo from 16/6/1971 to 7/9/1972 “Strangely the Khedival grand opera house was burned in his time !!”