Ba'ath Party (Syrian-dominated faction)
|This article is outdated. (January 2013)|
||This article uses bare URLs for citations. (January 2012)|
- This article is about the pan-Arab Ba'ath Party, which controls the Syrian-led Ba'ath movement. For its branch which controls Syria, see Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party – Syria Region
|Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party
حزب البعث العربي الاشتراكي
|Secretary General||Hafez al-Assad (de jure)
Abdullah al-Ahmar (de facto)
|Founded||25 February 1966|
|Split from||Ba'ath Party (unitary)|
|Ideology||Ba'athism (Assadist Ba'athism as of 1970)|
|Colors||Black, Red, White and Green (Pan-Arab colors)|
|Parliament of Syria|
|Parliament of Lebanon|
|Parliament of Yemen|
The Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party (Arabic: حزب البعث العربي الاشتراكي Hizb Al-Ba'ath Al-'Arabi Al-Ishtiraki), also referred to as the pro-Syrian Ba'ath movement, is a Ba'athist political party, with branches across the Arab world. The party emerged from a split in the original Ba'ath Party in February 1966. The party leads the government in Syria. From 1970 until 2000, the party was led by the Syrian president Hafez al-Assad. As of 2000[update], leadership has been shared between his son Bashar al-Assad (head of the Syrian regional organization) and Abdullah al-Ahmar (head of the pan-Arab national organization). The Syrian branch of the party is the largest organisation within the Syrian-led Ba'ath Party.
Secretary Generals 
- Nureddin al-Atassi (1966–1970)
- Hafez al-Assad (1971–2000; 2000–present de jure)
- Abdullah al-Ahmar (2000–present; de facto)
Hafez al-Assad became the secretary of the Syrian Regional Command of the party in 1970, and Secretary General of the National Command in late 1970. Despite being deceased, Hafez al-Assad is still the official Secretary General of the National Command. Bashar al-Assad became the Regional Secretary of the party in Syria after his father's death in 2000. Abdullah al-Ahmar serves as the Assistant Secretary General of the National Command, a post he has held since the 1970s.
|Part of a series on|
1966 split 
Since February 1966 there have been two Ba'ath Parties: one based in Syria and one based in Iraq. The original Ba'ath Party was founded on 7 April 1947; in 1966 a military coup d'état in Syria against the historical party leadership of Michel Aflaq and Salah Bitar led to the emergence of two separate Ba'ath parties. Each of these parties maintains its own (pan-Arab) National Command and regional structures.
The division in the original Ba'ath Party between the National Command led by Michel Aflaq and the “regionalists” in the Syrian party stemmed from the break-up of the United Arab Republic. Aflaq had sought to control the regionalist elements, an incoherent[clarification needed] grouping led by figures such as Fa'iz al-Jasim, Yusuf Zuayyin, Munir al-Abdallah and Ibrahim Makhus. The regionalists hailed from towns in the Syrian periphery, where local Ba'ath Party structures had not dissolved during the years of union with Nasser. Aflaq, on the other side, had the support of most of the non-Syrian National Command members (13 at the time).
The Ba'ath Party seized power in Syria in 1963. Jadid served as the Secretary of the Regional Command of the party in Syria. General Amin Hafiz removed Jadid as the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces, so Jadid concentrated his powers in the Syrian party apparatus instead. On December 21, 1965 the National Command dissolved the Syrian Regional Command. On February 18, 1966 Aflaq denounced the Jadid group as a “regional separatist” deviation. On February 23, 1966 a coup d'état took place, the bloodiest Syria had experienced since 1949. Jadid and the Syrian Regional Command, backed up by army units under their control, seized power. Other leaders of the coup were Hafez al-Assad, an Alawite general, and Nureddin al-Atassi. The new rulers of Syria declared the old National Command of the party expelled. Party stalwarts Aflaq and Bitar were released from jail and went into exile. This effectively split the Ba'ath Party National Command in two: one based itself in Syria, the other in Iraq. The two parties have since quarreled over which National Command is the “genuine” one.
In Syria, Ba'athist civilian politicians were made leaders of state institutions—Atassi became president, Yusuf Zuayyin became Prime Minister and Ibrahim Makhus became Minister for Foreign Affairs. Jadid sought to avoid suspicions[clarification needed] against a military dictatorship, and did not formally join the government. During an attempted coup in September 1966, Jadid formed “Workers Battalions” to defend the regime, inspired by the Red Guards of the People's Republic of China. The ninth National Party Congress (counting the congresses of the pre-split Ba'ath Party as theirs) was held September 25–29, 1966, in Damascus.
Rise of al-Assad 
The defeat in the 1967 war discredited the Ba'athist leadership, in particular the faction of Jadid, Atassi, Zuayyin and Makhus. Thus, the 1967 defeat enabled al-Assad to emerge as a more powerful figure. In late 1968 an open split emerged between Jadid and al-Assad. Al-Assad represented the more ideologically moderate military wing of the party. However, the more radical Jadid had a strong backing in the party ranks. The ninth Extraordinary National Congress was held in early September 1967 in Damascus.[contradiction]
The tenth National Party Congress and a (Syrian) Regional Party Congress were held in October 1968. Al-Assad was marginalized in both of them. In response, al-Assad decided to boycott the Syrian Regional Command. In February 1969 al-Assad and his brother Rifaat al-Assad took control of the Damascus and Aleppo radio stations, the offices of al-Ba'ath and at-Thawra, and Alawite-dominated party organizations in northern Syria, ousting the Jadid supporters. Egyptian, Algerian and Iraqi diplomats came to Damascus to negotiate an agreement between the two factions. In March 1969 al-Assad and Jadid reached a compromise, resulting in the formation of a new cabinet in May 1969.
Divisions in the party were deepened in 1970 when 200 Syrian-based Palestine Liberation Army tanks were sent to Jordan to assist the PLO in response to the Black September conflict. Jadid's group called for clear support for the PLO, while al-Assad blocked the usage of the Syrian Air Force to support the PLA intervention.
For two weeks through November 12, 1970, the tenth Extraordinary National Party Congress met in Damascus. The congress reaffirmed Jadid's control over the party. Disciplinary measures were taken against al-Assad and the Chief of Staff, Major General Mustafa Tlas. The following day, army units arrested Jadid, Zuayyin and Atassi. On November 16, 1970 the Syrian Regional Command issued a statement, indicating a shift of power within the party and the formation of a National Front. On November 19, 1970 the Syrian Regional Command designated al-Assad as Prime Minister and Defense Minister and Ahmad al-Khatib as acting head of state. Al-Assad appointed a new government consisting of pro-al-Assad Ba'athists, Nasserists, socialists, communists and independents. This change within the government became known as the Correction Movement.
A 173-member parliament (People's Council) was set up in February 1971, with 87 seats allocated to the party. In March 1971 a Regional Party Congress was held, which elected a 21-member Regional Command led by al-Assad. Al-Assad was elected President of Syria in a referendum.
Later developments 
The eleventh National Party Congress was held in Damascus in August 1971. The twelfth National Party Congress was held in Damascus in July 1975. The thirteenth National Party Congress was held in Damascus between July 27 and August 2, 1980. As of 2011[update], the thirteenth was the last to have been held.
The party is organized along Leninist lines, a policy stemming back to Aflaq and Bitar's leadership before the split. The highest organ[clarification needed] of the party is the Party Congress. The Congress elects a General Secretary and a National Command. Under the National Command there is a Regional Command for each state in which the party operates. The regions are divided into branches, which are divided into companies. A branch consists of two or more companies. A company comprises three to seven cells. Each cell has between three and seven members.
In theory, the National Command of the party is the embryonic government for the entire Arab nation. The body comprises 21 members, half of whom are Syrian. In practice, the Syrian Regional Command is the more powerful institution inside the party. The Syrian Regional Command is the real political leadership in Syria; the power of the National Command has become more symbolic than real. A seat in National Command has become a sinecure, an honorary post given to Syrian politicians as they retire from active political life. Hafez al-Assad rarely had time to attend National Command meetings. Instead, he appointed Vice President for Party Affairs Zuhayr Mashariqa or Abd al-Halim Khaddam to represent him at National Command meetings. In theory, the National Command could conduct proselytism and form new Regional Commands across the Arab world and support weaker Regional Commands, but Syrian policymakers have curtailed that capacity.
Branches by region 
There is also an active branch in Bahrain.
There is also an active branch in Egypt.
The party was sometimes known in Iraq as Left-wing Ba'ath or Qutr Al-Iraq. Prominent members of the party in Iraq include Mahmud al-Shaykh Radhi, Fawzi al-Rawi and Dr. Mahmud Shamsa. The party opposed the rule of Saddam Hussein and was one of the first groups to be targeted by him. The party lost hundreds of its cadres amid repression by his government. Radhi was based in Syria during the 1970s.
The party labelled the Saddam government as “fascist”. When the Iran-Iraq war broke out in 1980, the party took part in the formation of the Iraqi Patriotic and Democratic Front, together with the Iraqi Communist Party, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan and the Kurdish Socialist Party. The front vowed to overthrow Saddam Hussein.
In the 1980s, the party began cooperating with the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq. The party organized the first general conference of Iraqi opposition groups in Damascus in 1989. It also participated in a conference of Iraqi opposition groups in Beirut in 1991. In 1999, Radhi was staying in the United Kingdom. The party was one of three main groups (along with the Iraqi Communist Party and the Dawa Party) which formed the Coalition of Iraqi National Forces. The Coalition was opposed to Saddam Hussein as well as U.S. military intervention. During the run-up to the 2003 Iraq War, the party publicly denounced U.S. involvement in the organization of Iraqi dissidents in exile.
After the fall of Saddam Hussein's administration, confusion arose as to whether the de-Baathification law also applied to the party. In 2008 Radhi requested that the party be allowed to function inside Iraq and join the process of reconciliation. In response the Iraqi government declared that they viewed Qotr al-Iraq as distinct from Saddam's Ba'ath, as Qotr al-Iraq had participated in the opposition conferences during the Saddam years. As of 2009[update], the Iraqi regional organization is still based in Syria.
The Arab Ba'ath Progressive Party is the party branch of the Syrian-dominated Ba'ath Party in Jordan.
The Lebanese branch of the undivided Ba'ath Party was formed in 1949–1950. During the Lebanese Civil War, the party had an armed militia called the Assad Battalion. The party joined forces with Kamal Jumblatt's Progressive Socialist Party in organizing the National Democratic Movement, seeking to abolish the confessional state. The National Democratic Movement was superseded by the National Democratic Front, in which the party participated. The party organized resistance against Israeli forces in Lebanon. In July 1987 it took part in forming the Unification and Liberation Front.
In the 2009 parliamentary election, the party won two seats as part of the March 8 Alliance. The parliamentarians of the party are Assem Qanso and Qassem Hashem. The current leader of the party is Fayez Shukr.
As of 1989[update], the General Secretary of As-Saiqa, Isam al-Qadi, had been a member of the National Command from at least 1975. As of 1976, Palestinian Samir al-Attari was a member of the National Command. Until 1970, as-Saiqa remained under the control of Jadid. Zuhayr Muhsin is Palestinian who is a member of the Ba'ath Party's National Command.
During the 1980s, the party was called Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party – Organization of Sudan (differentiating it from the pro-Iraqi party, called Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party – Country of Sudan). The party contested[clarification needed] the 1986 election as part of the Progressive National Front.
The party held its third regional congress in Khartoum on February 5–6, 2009. The congress elected a 23-member Central Committee, an 11-member Regional Command and a regional secretary (at-Tijani Mustafa Yassin). The congress stated that the party sought cooperation with the National Congress Party for the sake of forming a national front. The party staunchly opposed independence of South Sudan.
The party slogan "Unity, Freedom, Socialism" is enshrined in the constitution of the Syrian Arab Republic. The eighth article of the constitution stipulates that "[t]he leading party in the society and the state is the ... Ba'ath Party. It leads the National Progressive Front seeking to unify the resources of the masses of the people and place them at the service of the goals of the Arab nation." The constitution was adopted in 1973. As per the constitution of the Syrian Arab Republic, it is the Regional Command of the party that nominates the candidate for president of the Republic. The constitution does not explicitly say that the president has to be the leader of the party, but the National Progressive Front charter states that president of the Syrian Arab Republic and the secretary of the party is also the president of the NPF.
The party has dominated the Syrian parliament since 1963. The party leads the National Progressive Front, and in all elections conducted under this constitution has obtained the majority of the 167 parliamentary seats reserved for the Front. In the 2003 parliamentary election, the party secured 135 of the seats.
As of the mid-2000s, the party membership in Syria was estimated at 800,000. Key party organs in Syria are al-Ba'ath and at-Thawra.
The Syrian Regional Command has 21 members. As of 1987, the Syrian Regional Command comprised the three vice presidents of the Syrian Arab Republic, the Prime Minister, the Minister of Defense, the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces, the parliamentary speaker, the Aleppo and Hama party secretaries as well as the heads of the party bureaus for trade unions, economy and higher education.
The seventh Syrian regional party congress was held in January 1980. The congress created a new institution, the Central Committee, to act as an intermediary body between the Regional Command and local branches. The Central Committee had 75 members. The eighth regional congress decided to expand the Central Committee to 95 members. The Central Committee was charged with electing the Regional Command, which previously had been done by the regional congress delegates. The Central Committee represents the regional congress when the congress is not in session.
The party has 19 branches in Syria: one in each of the thirteen provinces, one in Damascus, one in Aleppo and one at each of the four universities. In most cases the governor of a province, police chief, mayor and other local dignitaries make up the Branch Command. However, the Branch Command Secretary and other executive positions are filled by party whole-timers[clarification needed].
The Syrian regional party congress is held every four years. While it is a strictly orchestrated affair, the regional congress has been a venue for actual debates on current affairs. Criticism against corruption and economic stagnation were expressed at the 1985 regional congress, albeit candidly. This congress was assisted[clarification needed] by 771 branch delegates.
The party has a parallel structure within the Syrian armed forces. The military and civilian sectors only meet at the regional level, as the military sector is represented in the Regional Command and sends delegates to regional congresses. The military sector is divided into branches, operating at the battalion level. The head of a military party branch is called a tawjihi (guide).
The party has three bureaus for coordinating work in mass organizations: the Popular Organizations Bureau (coordinating the People's Army militia, the Revolution Youth Union, Students Union and the General Union of Syrian Women); the Workers Bureau (coordinating the General Federation of Trade Unions); and the Peasants Bureau (coordinating the Peasants Federation). Children joined the Vanguards, an organization for grade-school boys and girls. Vanguards attended paramilitary summer camps operated by the armed forces. In the mid-1970s, the party ran a mass campaign for the mobilization of peasants into the Peasants Federation.
There is no formal structure linked to the Damascus-based Ba'ath Party. Most Ba'athists in Tunisia support the Iraqi faction as members of the Ba'ath Movement or the more leftist and radical the Party of the Arab and Democratic Vanguard. Only a small number of militants headed by Mohamed Salah Hermassi (a member of the Damascus-based National Command) are historically linked to Damascus.
Ba'athism in Yemen originated in the 1950s. The party worked underground until 1990. It obtained official registration as the Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party – Yemen Region on December 31, 1995 (while the other group had to register as the National Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party).[clarification needed] The regional secretary of the party in Yemen is Dr. Mahmoud Abdul-Wahab Abdul-Hamid. The party ran in the 1993 parliamentary election, winning seven seats. In the 1997 and 2003 parliamentary elections, the party won two seats. In 2003, the party got 0.66% of the national vote. The party supported Ali Abdullah Saleh in the 1999 presidential election.
In December 2008, the party and the National Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party agreed to coordinate their political activities.
- Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party. "Baath Message". Retrieved 2 August 2012.
- Perthes, Volker (1997). The Political Economy of Syria Under Asad. I.B. Tauris. p. 140. ISBN 1-86064-192-X.
- Perthes, Volker (1974). The Current digest of the Soviet Press 26 (1–6). American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies. p. 4–5.
- Tucker, Spencer; Roberts, Priscillia Mary (2008). The Encyclopedia of the Arab-Israeli Conflict: A Political, Social, and Military History. ABC-CLIO. pp. 183–184. ISBN 978-1-85109-841-5.
- "Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party". Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party. Retrieved 24 October 2011.
- Brechner, Michael (1978). Studies in Crisis Behavior. Transaction Publishers. p. 257. ISBN 0-87855-292-8.
- van Dam, Nikolaos (1979). "The Struggle for Power in Syria: Sectarianism, Regionalism and Tribalism in Politics". I B Tauris.
- Reich, Bernard (1990). Political leaders of the contemporary Middle East and North Africa: a Biographical Dictionary. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 34. ISBN 978-0-313-26213-5.
- Rabinovich, Itamar (1972). Syria Under the Baʻth, 1963–66: the Army Party symbiosis. Transaction Publishers. pp. 36–39. ISBN 0-7065-1266-9.
- Federal Research Division (2004). Syria: A Country Study. Kessinger Publishing. p. 55. ISBN 978-1-4191-5022-7.
- Federal Research Division (2004). Syria: A Country Study. Kessinger Publishing. pp. 59–60. ISBN 978-1-4191-5022-7.
- Hauss, Charles (2006). Comparative Politics: Domestic Responses to Global Challenges. Cengage Learning. p. 410. ISBN 0-534-59053-5.
- Freedman, Robert Owen (1979). World Politics and the Arab-Israeli Conflict. Pergamon Press. p. 123. ISBN 0-08-023380-5.
- "National Conference of the Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party". Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party. Retrieved 24 October 2011.[dead link]
- Sayigh, Yezid (1999). Armed Struggle and the Search for State: The Palestinian National Movement, 1949–1993. Oxford University Press. p. 146. ISBN 0-19-829643-6.
- Federal Research Division (2004). Syria: A Country Study. Kessinger Publishing. pp. 61–62. ISBN 978-1-4191-5022-7.
- Federal Research Division (2004). Syria: A Country Study. Kessinger Publishing. p. 63. ISBN 978-1-4191-5022-7.
- Federal Research Division (2004). Syria: A Country Study. Kessinger Publishing. p. 214. ISBN 978-1-4191-5022-7.
- Choueiri, Youssef M. (2000). Arab nationalism: a History: Nation and State in the Arab World. Wiley-Blackwell. p. 234. ISBN 0-631-21729-0.
- Federal Research Division (2004). Syria: A Country Study. Kessinger Publishing. p. 215. ISBN 978-1-4191-5022-7.
- Perthes, Volker (1997). The Political Economy of Syria Under Asad. I.B. Tauris. p. 156. ISBN 1-86064-192-X.
- Lakiss, Hasan (6 October 2011). "Lebanon should ban Baath party: Mahfouz". Daily Star. Retrieved 16 February 2012.
- Al-Ray News. اخبار العراق كما اوردتها الصحافة العربية والعالمية
- Al-Ittihad. لا تفرطوا بـ"قيادة قطر العراق"..!
- U.S. Labor Against War. Who's Who in the Iraqi Opposition
- "البعث السوري العراقي: نحن الذين اوصلنا رجال الحكم الحاليين الى السلطة". Aljewar.org. 2012-01-25. Retrieved 2012-01-29.
- Asharq al-Awsat. عبد المهدي: اللقاء بحزب البعث ـ تنظيم العراق لم ينقطع.. ولا مشكلة لنا مع القوميين
- Al-Ittihad. في الذكرى الثالثة والثلاثين لميلاد الأتحاد عبدالرزاق فيلي
- McDowall, David (2000). A Modern History of the Kurds. I.B.Tauris. p. 346. ISBN 1-85043-416-6.
- Iraqi Patriotic Alliance. قداسة الحبر الأعظم يوحنا بولص الثاني المحترم
- Nahrain. مقاطعو مؤتمر لندن للمعارضة العراقية لماذا يقاطعون؟
- "حقيقة الجدل العراقي حول الانفتاح على (حزب البعث) السابق - مركز النور". Alnoor.se. Retrieved 2012-01-29.
- [dead link]
- Seddon, David (2004). A Political and Economic Dictionary of the Middle East. Taylor & Francis. p. 85. ISBN 1-85743-212-6.
- Federal Research Division (2004). Syria: A Country Study. Kessinger Publishing. p. 282. ISBN 978-1-4191-5022-7.
- O'Ballance, Edgar (1998). Civil War in Lebanon, 1975–92. Palgrave Macmillan. p. 62. ISBN 0-312-21593-2.
- O'Ballance, Edgar (1998). Civil War in Lebanon, 1975–92. Palgrave Macmillan. p. 149. ISBN 0-312-21593-2.
- O'Ballance, Edgar (1998). Civil War in Lebanon, 1975–92. Palgrave Macmillan. p. 179. ISBN 0-312-21593-2.
- "March14 – March 8 MPs". NOW Lebanon. 11 March 2009. Retrieved 24 October 2011.
- Talhami, Ghada Hashem (1989). CJ international 5–6. Center for Research in Law and Justice. p. 49.
- Talhami, Ghada Hashem (2001). Syria and the Palestinians: The Clash of Nationalisms. University Press of Florida. p. 116. ISBN 0-8130-2063-8.
- Lain, Donald Ray (1989). Dictionary of the African Left: Parties, Movements and Groups. Dartmouth. pp. 58 –60. ISBN 1-85521-014-2.
- [dead link]
- [dead link]
- Cavendish, Marshall (2006). The World and Its Peoples. Marshall Cavendish. p. 256. ISBN 0-7614-7571-0.
- Federal Research Division (2004). Syria: A Country Study. Kessinger Publishing. p. 216. ISBN 978-1-4191-5022-7.
- Dishon (1973). Middle East Record 1968. John Wiley and Sons. p. 720. ISBN 0-470-21611-5.
- Federal Research Division (2004). Syria: A Country Study. Kessinger Publishing. p. 217. ISBN 978-1-4191-5022-7.
- Moubayed, Sami M. (2006). Steel & Silk: Men and Women Who Shaped Syria 1900–2000. Cune Press. p. 272. ISBN 1-885942-40-0.
- National Information Center. الأحزاب السياسية في الجمهورية اليمنية
- [dead link]