The Lord of the Desert: A Study of the Papers of the British Officer John B. Glubb in Jordan and Iraq

by Dr. Sa’ad Abudayeh


John Bajot Glubb, a British engineer officer, was sent to Iraq in 1920 to resolve the problems which erupted after the Iraqi revolt. He remained in the area for ten years, working with the Bedouins and learning fluent Arabic with the Bedouin accent which made him more likeable and approachable. In 1930, he moved to Jordan where he spent twenty-six successful, productive years. Glubb served with four Hashemite Kings who liked him. In Jordan he discovered what the Greek, Romans, and Ottomans did not discover in understanding the culture and environment. He invented what Dr. Abudayeh calls the Diplomacy of Desert. Glubb established the Camel Corpse, one of the striking forces in the army. This force played a great role in assisting the neighboring states of Jordan during the World War II. Moreover, he established two mobile schools which moved with the Bedouins. While Glubb enjoyed his time and work in Jordan, Britain needed to evacuate the region it had occupied so long. Glubb became the scapegoat and was fired in 1956. Yet Glubb played a pivotal role in the history of the region, and no one could take his place.

Professor Dr. Saad Abudayeh is a Jordanian scholar. Educated at Penn State University, he first began his career as a diplomat. Later, he became an academic and taught at several universities in Jordan, UK and Japan. In addition to teaching, Dr. Abudayeh has written numerous books and articles. For his work, he was decorated by His Majesty King Abdulla II of Jordan for his cultural role in Jordan.