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Wasfi Tal in 1962
|15th Prime Minister of Jordan|
28 January 1962 – 27 March 1963
|Preceded by||Bahjat Talhouni|
|Succeeded by||Samir Al-Rifai|
14 February 1965 – 4 March 1967
|Preceded by||Bahjat Talhouni|
|Succeeded by||Hussein ibn Nasser|
28 October 1970 – 28 November 1971
|Preceded by||Ahmad Toukan|
|Succeeded by||Ahmad Lozi|
|Born||January 19, 1919
|Died||28 November 1971 (aged 52)
|Spouse(s)||Saida Al Jabari|
|Alma mater||American University of Beirut|
|Occupation||Military Officer, Diplomat|
Wasfi Tal (Arabic: وصفي التل; 19 January 1919 – 28 November 1971) was a Jordanian politician, statesman and general. He served as Prime Minister of Jordan for three separate terms, 1962–63, 1965–67 and 1970 until his assassination in 1971.
Tal was born in Irbid to prominent poet Mustafa Wahbi Tal. He received his education in Al-Salt, later continuing his education at the American University of Beirut in 1941. He then joined the British Army in Mandatory Palestine after being trained in a British-run military academy, and joined the irregular Arab Liberation Army to fight against Israel during the 1948 Arab–Israeli War.
Following the war, he served various positions in the Jordanian government, rising to higher positions after his abilities captured King Hussein's attention. His first tenure as Prime Minister in 1962 was short-lived, he resigned in 1963 over widespread criticism of his perceived pro-Western views. He was appointed Prime Minister again in 1965, which saw an improved climate of economic activity, but resigned just before the onset of the Six Day War in 1967. He was appointed again as Prime Minister in 1970 during Black September, the conflict which saw Palestine Liberation Organization fighters (fedayeen) expelled from Jordan. Earning the ire of PLO leaders for his role in the conflict, he was assassinated by the Black September group outside a Cairo hotel hosting an Arab League conference.
Tal was reportedly extremely loyal to King Hussein, and was popular within Jordan for his success in expelling the fedayeen. Meanwhile, he was widely denounced by Arabs who had supported the fedayeen. Egyptian President Anwar Sadat had also despised Tal. Tal was the third senior Jordanian political figure assassinated between 1951 and 1971; the first two being King Abdullah I and Prime Minister Hazza Majali. Tal’s assassins were found innocent and released on bail by an Egyptian court.
Early life and career
Tal was born in Irbid, a city in northern Jordan, in 1919. He served as a captain in the British Army during World War II. He also took part in the 1948 Palestine war, fighting for the Arab armies. He became a major in the Jordanian army shortly before graduating from American University of Beirut. After graduation, he began to work in the Jordanian civil service. Next, he served as chief press officer. Later he was named as the Jordanian ambassador, and he served as an ambassador in Germany, Iran and Iraq.
On 28 November 1971, four gunmen assassinated Tal in the lobby of the Sheraton Cairo Hotel in Egypt while he was attending an Arab League summit in the city. Among other acts, Black September accused Tal of personally torturing and executing Abu Ali Iyad, a Fatah field commander whose partisans formed the backbone of the Black September organization. Historian Patrick Seale claims that one of the assassins, Munshir al-Khalifa, was one of Abu Ali Iyad's soldiers who sought to avenge his commander's death. As Tal lay dying, "one of the assassins knelt and lapped with his tongue the blood flowing across the marble floor."
Tal was the first victim of the newly formed Black September Organization, a more militant offshoot of the Palestinian militant organization Fatah. His assassins were released on low bail and allowed to leave Egypt. Yasser Arafat, Fatah's leader and chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization, claimed responsibility for the killing.
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- Seale, Patrick (1992). Abu Nidal: a gun for hire. Random House. ISBN 0-679-40066-4.
- Susser, Asher (1994). On both banks of the Jordan : a political biography of Wasfi al-Tall. Frank Cass. ISBN 0714645281.
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