Maamun al-Kuzbari

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Maamun al-Kuzbari
مأمون الكزبري
Maamoun Kuzbari.jpg
Vice President of Syria
In office
25 February 1952 – 28 February 1954
Prime Minister of Syria
In office
29 September 1961 – 20 November 1961
Preceded by Abdel Hamid al-Sarraj (as part of the UAR)
Succeeded by Izzat al-Nuss
Speaker of the Parliament of Syria
In office
24 October 1953 – 16 February 1954
Preceded by Nazim al-Kudsi
Succeeded by Nazim al-Kudsi
In office
12 December 1961 – 12 September 1962
Preceded by Said al-Ghazzi
Personal details
Born 1914
Damascus, Ottoman Empire
Died 1998 (aged 84)
Beirut, Lebanon
Political party Arab Liberation Movement
Religion Sunni Islam

Maamun al-Kuzbari (1914–1998) (Arabic: مأمون الكزبري‎‎) was a Syrian literary personality, politician and acting head of state (29 September - 20 November 1961) from a prominent Damascus family.

Career[edit]

He studied International law at the University of Lyon's affiliate Saint Joseph University in the Lebanese capital, Beirut, and became an attorney in Damascus in 1943 and a professor at Damascus University in 1948. He entered parliament as an independent in 1953, allying himself with military strongman Adib al-Shishakli. He was elected Speaker of parliament and chairman of the Constitutional Assembly charged by Shishakli to amend the constitution. Shishakli also appointed him secretary general of the Arab Liberation Movement (ALM), Shishakli's political vehicle. He also managed the party's daily newspaper, Al Tahrir al Arabi ("The Arab Liberation").

After Shishakli was overthrown, Kuzbari in his position as Speaker, and according to the constitution, was declared acting President in an emergency session of parliament on February 25, 1954. He succeeded in avoiding military confrontation among the supporters and opponents of Shishakli within the Syrian army and called the former President Hashim al-Atassi, whose administration was interrupted by Shishakli's coup in 1949, to come back to Damascus in order to complete his term.

Kuzbari remained head of the ALM. He participated in the new elections and returned to parliament in October of that year. In February 1955 he was appointed minister of justice under Prime Minister Sabri al Asali and in September of that same year he became minister of education under Prime Minister Said al-Ghazzi. He kept that post until June, 1956. In May 1956 he became acting president of Damascus University. In 1958, under president Shukri al-Kuwatli, Kuzbari took part, as a member of the government, in unification talks with Egypt that resulted in the formation of the United Arab Republic. He was politically inactive during the union and became President of the Syrian Lawyers Bar.

Three years later he endorsed the 1961 Syrian coup d'état that dissolved the UAR. One of the leading officers of that coup was Kuzbari's cousin, Haydar al-Kuzbari, and the coup leaders asked Mamoun to form the first post-UAR government. He formed a cabinet consisting mainly of technocrats and university professors. He assumed in addition to his role as prime minister, the ministry of Defense and Foreign Affairs and acted as president until his resignation in November 1961. His main objective was to re-establish an elected democratic government through a free and democratic elections. Parliamentary elections took place in December 1961. Kuzbari was elected again as a deputy in parliament and Speaker. Nazim al-Kudsi became president. On March 28, 1962 both Kuzbari and Kudsi were arrested in an attempted coup by military strongman Abd al-Karim al-Nahlawi, but were released when it failed. He remained speaker until September 12, 1962.

He represented Syria in the Non-Aligned Movement Conferences in Bandung on 1955 and in several other international conferences.

Exile and death[edit]

He was exiled after another coup on March 8, 1963 and settled for a short time in France before relocating to Morocco. He taught at Rabat, Casablanca and Marrakech Universities. He taught and published several books in Syria and Morocco in the interpretation of civil law. He actively participated in propagation of the Arab language in the Moroccan universities and courts. His books are used as reference in the Moroccan courts.

He moved to Lebanon in 1996 when that country's civil war ended. He died in Beirut in 1998 and was buried in Damascus.

References[edit]

  • Sami Moubayed "Steel & Silk: Men and Women Who Shaped Syria 1900-2000" (Cune Press, Seattle, 2005).