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History of Syria after World War I

In 1916, in the course of World War I, England and France have concluded the Sykes-Picot Agreement, which has split the spheres of influence among these two imperialist powers in the Near East. According to the agreement, Britain has gotten modern Jordan, Iraq, and the Palestine. Meanwhile, France has gotten south-eastern part of Turkey, northern Iraq, Syria and Lebanon.

This explains French "socialist" President's interest in "punishing" Syria for chemical attacks in 2013, together with "the world policeman", the U.S. France still has imperialist ambitions in Syria. Photo below is of the French warship "Chevalier Paul" sent to Syria in 2013 to help the U.S. aginst Russia and Syria.

The French warship ("Chevalier Paul") sent to the Mediterranean in 2013, to help the U.S. Navy against Syria & Russia.

Between World War I and World War II, the French have repressed the movement of Syrians for their independence with the same methods as they used in Algiers (see the film "The Battle for Algiers"), i.e. they have blown up houses of civilians, adopted the principle of "mutual responsibility", used tortures, etc.  In addition, they have tried to set one religious group against another.

World War II was a new battle for the "spheres of influence", and the French, having gotten a boot from Hitler, were forced to evacuate Syria in 1946, in favor of the British. Syria has formally become "independent", but England used its influence in the country to struggle against Israel, which formerly was its colony, but has obtained independence in 1946. Syria was the last Arabic country to sign a truce with Israel in July 1949.

Syrian hostilities with the U.S. start at around this period, over an oil pipeline through the country. Al-Jazeera  reports: "In late 1945, the Arabian American Oil Company (ARAMCO) announces plans to construct a Trans-Arabian Pipe Line (TAPLINE). With the State Department's help, ARAMCO secures rights-of-way from all Arab countries except Syria. American recognition of Israel in 1948 virtually guarantees continued refusal of the Syrian government to grant concession". Below is the map of the pipeline. 

In the context of the Cold War, which followed WWII, Syria leans towards the USSR, to neutralize the American pressure. In late 1948, early 1949,

"CIA agent Stephen Meade meets with Colonel Husni Zaim six times to discuss the possibility of a military dictatorship in Syria. Though U.S. officials recognize Zaim's incompetence, they are also aware of his strong anti-Soviet attitude, willingness to talk peace with Israel, and his desire for American military assistance", Al-Jazeera writes.

On March 30, 1949, "Husni Zaim, the Syrian army chief of staff, overthrows President Shukri Quwatli in a CIA-backed military coup". Photo below: Zaim after the coup.

In May 1949, Zaim approves "TAPLINE", in return for the U.S. Truman administration recognizing him as the head of the country. He also reports to the U.S. about the arrest of over 400 communists and his willingness to start talks with Israel.

In August 1949, "Zaim is executed by a group headed by Colonel Sami Hinnawi, unhappy with his personalistic rule and friendly policies towards Israel." Photo below: Sami Hinnawi.

In December 1949, the regime of Colonel Hinnawi is overthrown by Colonel Adib Shishakli. In November 1951, "Shishakli dissolves parliament and establishes a military dictatorship. U.S. officials, concerned about Syria's leftward drift, know of Shishakli's plan in advance and support it". Photo below: Shishakli.

On February 25, 1954, "Before the U.S. and Shishakli can reach a final agreement on an arms package, Colonel Adnan Malki overthrows Shishakli in an army-orchestrated bloodless coup. By October, U.S. diplomats are reporting a bitter anti-American campaign in Syria and pro-Soviet behavior at the U.N." Photo below: Malki.

On April 22, 1955, "Malki is assassinated by pro-Shishakli members of the Syrian Social Nationalist Party, a right-wing group long rumoured to have close ties with the CIA." Photo below: a soldier wearing a headband of Syrian Social Nationalist Party.

The first post-independence president of Syria was Shukri al-Quwatli. He was a representative of "National Party", which, just as in China in the early years of XX century, represented progressive elements, against imperialists' domination. Al-Quwatli was overthrown by Colonel Zaim in 1949. However, he was elected a president of the country again in 1955, following the assassination of Malki. Photo below: al-Quwatli in 1943.

1950's saw a wave of pan-Arab nationalism. Hence, on the crest of popular feeling, in 1958-1961 Syria and Egypt attempt to form a single state, called "United Arab Republic". Its head was the President of Egypt Gamal Abdel-Nasser. The regime was characterized by repression of the left and the right oppositionists (Communists, Muslim Brotherhood). Photo below: Nasser represinting the United Arab Republic. 

Nasser conducted pro-Egyptian policies in the newly formed state, e.g. unequal representation of Egyptians and Syrians in the Parliament, promoting Egyptian officers over Syrian officers in the army, etc. Hence, resentment of nationalist elements in the Syrian army, which conducted a coup in 1961, and exited the United Arab Republic.

In 1963 there is another military coup in Syria, which puts Baathists  in power, headed by Amin Al-Hafez. Photo below: Amin Al-Hafez in 1965.

In 1966, there is another military coup, led by another faction of the Baath party, headed by General Salah Jadid. Assad is named Minister of Defense. Photo below: Jadid.

In 1967, there is a "Six-day war", in the course of which Israel occupies Syria's Golan Heights. This remains a contentious issue, with Syrian threats to bomb Israel in 2013, in case of a U.S. attack. Map is below is of territories acquired by Israel after the Six-days's war.

In 1970, after an internal struggle within the Syrian army, Hafez al-Assad overthrows Salah Jadid and becomes a ruler of Syria until his death in 2000. His son, Bashar, takes over the power, until the present. Photo below: the two Assads, son and father. 

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