Wednesday, June 30, 2010


These fantastic, 2005 photographs were taken in the Great Souk near Aleppo, Syria. This area of the Mideast still has architecture/communities stemming from or influenced by the earliest days of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. We hear little of their busy commercial affairs in 2010.

These photos, and many others, can be found on

Lurene's email in 2014:

MAY 1990

Wednesday May

Syria 1948-1949, last country to sign armistice with Israel. Wanted a fair quid pro quo.

Armistice did NOT mean a recognition of the jewish state. Created de-militarized zone, which in this case had no good definition. Syrians interpreted this as an area where no sovereignity has been decided upon.

If the Arabs lost Palestine, Syrians looked at themselves as responsible.

Arab nations had conflicting interests in Palestine.

Syria first country (arab) after the war of ’48 to experience military coup.

Mechanisms of Military revolutions in the Arab world: 5 or 6 key points in Capital city must be taken; parliament, military headquarters, T.V. station, presidential quarters. Must purge enemies, call forth loyalists.

Easy in Syria at time without functioning political administration. Hafez Assad first leader to use structure of Ba’ath party for his own use, to build a structure.

March 1949, 1ST revolution
August – 2nd
Dec 1949 – 3rd revolution

1) Hosni Za’im
2) Sami Hinawi
3) Adib Shishabli

3 communiques in 1949: all language used, policies followed, reflected Syrian interests. First realization of Syria as a separate entity.

(Meddling of outside forces helped these coups)

In 1949, no Syrian political structure functioning. 1949-1970, emergence of strong man idea as Syrian leadership character. And each ruler brought with him a clique.

Hosni Za’im – b. 1848. Son of Kurdish woman. Religious Muslim family. Was Ottoman officer. Arab-Syrian nationalist, but was officer under French. Also a friend of Mufti of Jerusalem. 1941, joined Vichy loyal forces. Took a pile of $ from Vichy and fled to Lebanon. 1948, went back to Syria. Was chief military officer in Syria in ’48. March of ’49, organizes coup against military leaders. Takes power. First Syrian strongman.

Put together Civilian Govt → Stayed in military → 3 weeks after revolution nominated Prime Minister (nominated himself) → Outlawed all political parties → followed with referendum as example of Eastern Europe → His foreign relations: first Syrian Foreign policy to take active role in region → was not very good at consultations with his regime → tried to put together Egyptian-Saudi coalition with Syrians, to control Jordan and Iraq → Also first to have an American Orientation

But he was not generous enough with his soldiers, which was a mistake → He made many mistakes →


Sami Hinawi → shot Za’im, took power → was commander of a Brigade along Israeli border → Arab-Kurdish family → was in Ottoman, French armies → Same age as Hosni → Established the Revolutionary Command Council, 10 members → Didn’t want to be main focus of legitimacy → Council comprised all sections of Syrian Society → est. all-civilian cabinet → first Syrian popular leader (supporters in Alleppo) → tried to do opposite of Za’im, freezed reforms → Nov. 1949, first parliamentary elections in Syria → nearly free, confident elections → But Army did not like this →

Adib Shishakli → brn 1909, 1948 was only a captain and not responsible as much for ’48 defeat → Was in Damascus as commander during coup →

Akram Hawrani → Cousin of Shishakli → originally from wealthy family, but family lost all property → Hawrani became socialist → was a thug → but later became lawyer → pro-Nazi in Iraqui revolt during war →

MAY 3, 1990

[Test at end of term on basic facts from text. Map pg. 68 for instance.]

The transition of the world Order from a nation-state structure to a supranational structure took place at Yalta (Feb. 1945)

The nation-state structure which had been the fundamental building block of the world structure is now replaced by a power structure in which individual states are ranked by reputation of military strength.

Pg 40 U.N. Roosevelt’s “one world” idea.
Pg – 116 about Israel

PG 24 – 32

I. Marked by personal Rivalries among leaders of first independent Syrian years

The National Bloc

1) who were the members of Katla al-Watania? These were members of the Syrian National Bloc who waged struggle for Syrian independence against France between the wars.
2) Who did these leaders also face? The Ottoman Turks.
3) What happened to the treaty in 1936 the National Bloc negotiated with the French Blum Administration?

 It fell apart. The French Parliament failed to ratify it. The Authority of the Bloc was undermined. They also lost Alexandretta to Turkey in 1939, which also scarred them.

4) After the 1941 independence of Syria and Lebanon, who helped the Syrians complete process of independence from the French?

The British. In 1946, all foreign troops withdrew. But in 1919, the British withdrew leaving the French in Syria. So the Brits were not completely trusted.

5) Who was leading Syria after the July 1943 elections?

Shukri al-Quwatli and Sa’dallah al-Jibiri.

6) Who was murdered on July 7, 1940?

National Bloc critic Dr. Abd al-Rahman Shahbandar. Suspects included three nationalists who fled to Iraq. But since they did leave, this left Quwatli free to lead Syria.

7) What did Quwatli do?

Led in months between fall of Vichy admin. In Syria and allied occupation in June of 1941. Had contacts with Italian Armistice Commission and Germans who encouraged pan-Arabism.

8) What happened when the Allies invaded Syria?

Quwatli went to Saudi Arabia. Returned in Spring of ’42 on heels of Ibn Saud’s good graces with free French in Damascus. Quwatli had a history of cooperation with King Saud.

9) How did the National Bloc split?

Opposition to the ruling faction within the bloc since France’s failure to ratify 1936 treaty. Both sides of Bloc were conservative, though one faction a bit more tuned to social, economic questions. More divided on personal loyalties.

10) What was the National Party?

The break-away ruling wing of the Bloc which came about in the Spring of 1947. Damascus was its stronghold.

11) What’s important in Damascus politics?

Family ties, neighborhood loyalties. Elections engineered with help of neighborhood strongmen, in lower middle class sections. In the 1950s, modernization brought reforms

12) What did the People’s Party represent?

Opposition to Quwatli. Aleppo leaders, representing business interests. Aleppo leaders disliked the loss of revenue associated with the vanished trade route which existed before the 1920-1923 borders drawn. Wanted abolishment of Iraqui-Syrian frontier, lower trade barriers.

On Nov. 23, 1948, the party called for federation with Iraq. Had support of Ba’athists before this.

13) After the 1948 elections, did the new parliament function?

Yes, but by all accounts not very effectively. Syria did not have an existing political class.


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