By Raymond Hinnebusch
This learn examines the advance of the Syrian kingdom because it has emerged lower than thirty-five years of military-Ba'thist rule and, fairly, lower than President Hafiz al-Asad. It analyzes the way the fragility of the post-independence kingdom, not able to include emerging nationalist fight and sophistication clash, opened easy methods to the Ba'th party's upward push to energy and examines how the Ba'th's 'revolution from above' remodeled Syria's socio-political terrain.
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Extra resources for Syria: Revolution from Above (Contemporary Middle East)
Meanwhile, the army was disintegrating into a dozen or so personal or political factions.
The belief in the bankruptcy of laissez faire capitalism became, in a way, a self-fulfilling prophecy since, as the upper classes lost confidence that they could control political events, they lost the incentive to make the investments that might have sustained capitalist growth. Indeed, by the time the Ba’th took power disinvestment had already left scores of private firms indebted shells (Jabbur 1987:89–93, 339–435; Petran 1972:80–113; Zakariya 1984:38– 39; Hilan 1973:43, 158–168). When a period of sustained economic expansion, mobilising new social forces and raising expectations, is followed by an abrupt turndown, it arguably creates the potential conditions for a political crisis; while a strong legitimate state can normally contain and survive such a crisis, in Syria’s weak political system, it was enough to tip the outcome of the political struggle in favour of radical forces determined to launch a statist road to development.
Thus, from the early 1950s, the Syrian officer corps had become intensely politicised. Military politics was by no means a mere isolated struggle for power among small groups of officers for, more open to popular recruitment than parliament, the army had arguably become Syria’s mostly widely representative national institution (Perlmutter 1969:835). As Jabbur pointed out, the changing balance of political opinion in 1950s Syria was registered through two main processes: coups and elections. While the latter lagged behind in registering it, the army intrigue or coup tended to register it early since the army was more directly in touch with the “attentive public” and able to quickly translate opinion into direct action.