Modern Syria has known from 1949 to 1970 a series of military coups, which is still a subject of great controversy among contemporary historians. 575 pages of large pieces.

Its authors relied on thousands of documents (nearly two thousand) from the American, French and British Foreign Office, in addition to the living testimonies provided by contemporaries of the period of Adib al-Shishakli's rule. The documents and testimonies contained a lot of information that is being published for the first time.

And about the importance of what the book presented about the period of Adib al-Shishakli’s rule of Syria (he seized power in batches from 1951 to 1954), Saad Fansa told Al Jazeera Net that the Arab reader in the book “before the truest picture of the historical events that engulfed Syria after independence, and the political conflicts between parties through the defeat of Palestine.

The book - according to Fassa - opens the door to a different vision of what was transmitted to people of information written by pens that came out of the cloak of the official regime, "which has forgotten previous stages of Syria's history, to make of the destructive role of the Baath Party - which has lasted for nearly sixty years until today - and from He came to power in his name, he is the hero and the savior who has no heroism but his heroism and no history is written except his history.It is a highly narcissistic and backward mentality, which has led the country and people to a state of political madness and absurdity that Syrians live in today.

According to writer and historian Saad Fansa, the book seeks to cover the post-independence Syria era, especially the biography of former Syrian President Adib al-Shishakli, from his time as a colonel in the army until he came to power four years after his implementation of a military coup in December 1949, and to shed light on On his most prominent achievements in the military, economic, political and social fields, in addition to revealing many facts that have been "hidden" from the Arab reader for decades about this prominent figure in Syrian and Arab history and the period of his rule.

Syria in its golden age

Adeeb al-Shishakli attached great importance to the economy since he assumed the position of President of the Syrian Arab Republic in 1953. He directed the government to support free investment in the country and enact laws that contribute to its regulation and control. He returned the issue of the general budget to the parliamentary debate after years of its absence. He also issued decrees and instructed to take care of the affairs of the country. Supplying, encouraging local industries, increasing production, and holding monopolists to account.

The authors mention that Al-Shishakli was influenced by the advice of the German expert Schacht, which prompted him to establish many agricultural and industrial projects that he personally supervised, armed with his academic knowledge as one of the graduates of the agricultural school in the city of Salamiyah in the Syrian governorate of Hama. After years during which the agricultural sector witnessed a stagnation affected by corruption and government neglect.

The banking sector also witnessed a remarkable development during the Shishakli era. The former president was credited with establishing the Central Bank of Syria, which maintained monetary stability in the state, promoted economic growth and contributed to reducing unemployment rates, while the concerned state departments and institutions - under the guidance of Shishakli - turned to studying laws and decrees. Related to imposing progressive taxes on real estate and income tax, and issuing a law to improve the conditions of employees working in the state’s sectors and institutions before studying and ratifying the country’s general budget.

Steps and decisions that placed the country in an advanced position among the developing countries, and made Mahathir Muhammad - the former Malaysian Prime Minister and the architect of the Malaysian Renaissance - admit that he was affected by the experience of Al-Shishakli and his comprehensive and ambitious vision after his visit to Syria in 1952. , as stated in the book.

The Syrian historian Saad Fansa says about that era to Al Jazeera Net, "The country lived - the beginning of the fifties, and during the period of the rule of Adib Al-Shishakli, who relied on an elite of legal, economic and scientific competencies, its golden age in both industrialization, agriculture and the strength of the army, which made it witness growth and prosperity that was not repeated. during subsequent reigns.

Syrian historian and author Saad Fansa (communication sites)

He added: "The country lived through that era with the recognition of Shishakli's enemies and those who turned against him themselves, and the reports of the United Nations Development Organization, some of whose numbers and documents were published in the book."

The controversy of the Renaissance and authoritarianism

The authors see in their book that the most prominent thing that was associated with the image of former Syrian President Adib al-Shishakli in the minds of some Syrians is the comprehensive and early vision that he put forward for the advancement of Syrian society. and to be reflected in improving the living conditions of citizens.

Al-Shishakli's vision can be summarized in a quote from Dr. Amal Mikhael Bashoura - the wife of the founder of the Baath Party Michel Aflaq - who said in her memoirs about the former president, "Shishakli embarked on an ambitious project to achieve economic, social and administrative reforms, and struggled to highlight the identity of the independent Syrian entity, and emphasized the identity of Syria." For the first time in the history of modern Syria, Shishakli implemented a partial policy in Arabizing public life and the educational system, and worked hard to exclude foreign influence in this field.

Saad Fansa believes that the importance of Dr. Amal's testimony stems from her being the wife of Michel Aflaq, who was one of the fiercest opponents of Adib al-Shishakli's rule. The first great reformer in the history of independent Syria, as he was the first to take effective steps to complete the building of internal unity by reducing the political and social specificities of religious and racial minorities, and by breaking the severity of the Bedouin regime.

According to Fanasa, Shishakli's enemies, both military and politicians, have admitted the truth of what this man did to Syria. On the other hand, some historians and contemporaries of Shishakli's era believe that the latter was inclined to create a political system that relied on military dictatorship in the conduct of the country's affairs, based in their opinion on a set of internal policies that Follow it: dissolving parties and arresting opponents.

Battle of Palestine

Saad Fansa, in his interview with Al-Jazeera Net, refers to Al-Shishakli's role in the battle of Palestine in 1948;

Where he was assigned - when he was still a colonel in the army - by the National Government in Syria to lead the second Yarmouk Regiment before the regular armies entered the battle, and the regiment's goal was to liberate the Upper Galilee from the Zionist gangs.

Al-Finsa says: "Al-Shishakli led the battles with extreme valor, and his heroism was witnessed by Akram Al-Hourani and the writer Abdul Salam Al-Ajili - among the Syrian parliamentary figures who volunteered in the first battles of Palestine - which prompted Abdul Salam Al-Ajili to employ some of his true stories derived from the facts of the first Arab-Israeli war, and admitted On one occasion, some of his stories were vivid facts from his memory, in which he witnessed the heroism of Adeeb al-Shishakli without naming him.

Finsa was later able to confirm the fact that Adib al-Shishakli led the second Yarmouk Regiment with other testimonies from Israeli documents, as well as from the military figures who accompanied Shishakli. He met the military authority of the Salvation Army, begging to supply him with ammunition, but the committee justified the arguments, and he had already sent delegation after delegation to them to supply him with weapons and ammunition, but they did not respond to his repeated requests. Bashir Finsa when he was meeting him, and knew him closely after his return from the Palestine war, and at that time the idea of ​​a military coup was in his mind,” according to the author, Fassa.

As-Suwayda events

To this day, the bloody events that took place in As-Suwayda Governorate in January 1954 during the reign of al-Shishakli are still a matter of controversy among Syrians, especially the question of the extent of the former president’s involvement in those events that, according to accounts, resulted in the killing of nearly 300 civilians.

The spark of events began at the end of 1953 in Aleppo governorate, which witnessed demonstrations condemning the government’s policy, and soon moved to As-Suwayda in early 1954, where the demands of the demonstrators rose to the level of demands for al-Shishakli to step down.

The army besieged the city, a curfew was issued, and rumors spread about the security services' intentions to arrest a number of the city's dignitaries and sheikhs, and then the town of Al-Qurayya in the center of the governorate was bombed.

While Saad Fansa doubts the accuracy of this account and the numbers in which it was mentioned, he points out that the escalation occurred "against the background of the arrest of Mansour bin Sultan al-Atrash," who was mentioned in many accounts that he was coordinating a coup against Shishakli's rule.

"There are no official documents to date on the number of deaths or what happened in the city at the time," Fansa added.

And he continues: "But on the other hand, there are official documents confirming that Brigadier General Rasmi al-Qudsi is primarily responsible for the events in the city of Suwayda, where he carried out many abusive acts against Jabal al-Arab and its people, and after the outbreak of unrest, Shishakli did not find any solution to put it down."

Many historians believe that the events of As-Suwayda contributed to supporting the point of view of the coup plotters against Shishakli, and strengthening their chances of winning over the military and civilian components to support their plan.

Coup and assassination

The first spark of the military coup that ousted Adib al-Shishakli from the city of Aleppo was launched, after the Baathist officer Mustafa Hamdoun - the commander of the services company in the northern region - occupied the headquarters of the official radio, and announced the coup on February 25, 1954.

Although the commanders of the eastern and coastal regions joined Hamdoun’s coup, the barracks and camps in and around Damascus were still under the command of al-Shishakli, with hundreds of tanks and armored vehicles and thousands of soldiers and non-commissioned officers;

And this is according to the testimony of many Syrian officers who confirmed that Shishakli was able to crush the rebels if he wanted to, according to what was stated in the book.

The authors cite the confession of Officer Mustafa Hamdoun, in which he said that even after the central command in Homs and Hama joined the coup, the balance of military forces remained in favor of Adib al-Shishakli, who indicated in his resignation statement that he was resigning in order to preserve the blood of the people and the army and to stave off a civil war in the country.

While the putschists are preparing to strike any possible movement of military vehicles and armored vehicles from the Qatana camps loyal to Shishakli, the latter had left the country on February 27 by land to Lebanon without the knowledge of his officers, including the military police chief Abdelhak Shehadeh, Lieutenant-Colonel Hussein Hadda and others who occupied the Mezzeh airport in order to prevent him of leaving the country and relinquishing power.

Fassa recounts that stage, saying: "Some of Adib al-Shishakli's officers were surprised that he submitted his resignation and left the country after he recommended protecting his wife and children and not to be harmed. Shehadeh and the two brother officers, Hassan and Hussein Hadda, then declared disobedience to the Baathist coup."

After al-Shishakli left Syria, the pace of unrest and demonstrations escalated in Damascus and Aleppo, and everyone feared a state of security chaos that might drag the country into a civil war. Against the background of these turmoil, Fanasa tells of summoning President Hashem al-Atassi from Homs to complete his term, after he had resigned After the beginning of Shishakli's seizure of power since 1951.

Adeeb Al-Shishakli was assassinated in Goiás Province, Brazil, on September 27, 1964, by being shot at close range, and the accounts indicate that the perpetrator of the assassination was a young man from As-Suwayda Governorate named Nawaf Ghazala.

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