Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Obituaries

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Obituaries

Article excerpt

Saadalla Mohamed Aly, 79, the perpetually tuxedoed butler on the set of the NBC news program "Meet the Press," died in December after contracting pneumonia while on a trip to his native Egypt. Beloved by the show's staff as well as the politicians, panelists, and personalities featured each Sunday, Mr. Aly served drinks and food with elegance and charm. Born in Aswan, Egypt, in 1931, he was orphaned at a young age and moved to Cairo when he was 16. There he found employment with the wealthy Sabet family, and followed them to the Egyptian Embassy in Washington, where he served at restaurants in the evenings. When his boss returned to Egypt, Aly asked to stay behind, and in 1963 found a job in the World Bank's printing department, where he remained until he retired in 1997. After marrying in 1970 and the birth of his daughter, Mr. Aly began waiting tables to earn extra cash. In the mid-1970s, news anchor David Brinkley hired Aly as a waiter, and his career with "Meet the Press" began in 1976. According to The Washington Post, "the show's extended clan of politicians, pontificators, analysts and newsmakers are taking Aly's loss hard." He is survived by his daughter, Dalia Aly.

Abdallah El Maaroufi, 66, World Bank economist and former Moroccan ambassador, died of a neurological disorder Jan. 8 at his home in Chevy Chase, MD. His long career at the World Bank lasted from 1969 until his retirement in 1998, and included assignments with the organization's offices in Burkina Faso, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia, as well as heading the bank's European office. King Hassan II of Morocco appointed him CEO of the Groupe Banques Populaires, and in 2000, King Mohamed VI named him Morocco's ambassador to Washington. Born in Casablanca, El Maaroufi was among the first foreign students to attend the private St. Paul's School in Concord, N.H. According to a 1958 Time magazine article, he said that his dream was to become an ambassador because he was "weak in mathematics." He received a bachelor's degree in economics from Harvard University in 1967 and a master's degree in public affairs from Princeton University in 1969. El Maaroufi served on the boards of Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane, Morocco and the American School of Tangier. Since 2003 he had been an independent consultant on African and Middle Eastern economic development. He is survived by his wife of 37 years, Kathleen McKim El Maaroufi of Chevy Chase, and two sons, Karim El Maaroufi of Washington and Omar El Maaroufi of Lugano, Switzerland.

Sultan Amir Tarar, the retired Pakistani spy known as Colonel Imam, "the godfather of the Taliban" died Jan. 23 in captivity in Pakistan's Waziristan Province, where he had been kidnapped 10 months earlier. He reportedly was killed because his kidnappers' ransom demands had not been met, although the Taliban issued a statement saying he had suffered a heart attack. After graduating from the Pakistan Military Academy (PMA) in Kakul, Tarar trained in Fort Bragg, North Carolina, where he was awarded an American Green Beret by his training commander. He then returned to Pakistan and the secretive Pakistani Special Service Group (SSG). In the 1980s, he ran a network of CIA-funded training camps in the tribal regions and Balochistan, which supplied tens of thousands of mujahideen guerrillas for battles against the Soviets. He won the respect of his students, mostly Pashtun refugees, including Muhammad Omar, who emerged as head of the Afghan Taliban and seized power in Kabul in 1996. …

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