Marwan Habash

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Marwan Habash
مروان حبش
Member of the Regional Command of the Syrian Regional Branch
In office
March 1966 – 13 November 1970
In office
1 August 1965 – December 1965
Personal details
Jubata ez-Zeit (now Neve Ativ)
Political partySyrian Regional Branch of the Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party
OccupationPolitician and writer

Marwan Habash (Arabic: مروان حبش‎; born in 1938) is a Syrian politician and writer. He was a member of the Regional Command of the Baath Party in Syria and Minister of Industry in the government of Salah Jadid. Following a successful coup d'etat against Jadid's leadership in 1970, Habash was imprisoned along with others perceived to be Jadid loyalists. One of the world's longest-held political prisoners, he was released in 1993.[1] He has since become a writer and public analyst.

Early career[edit]

Born in Jubata ez-Zeit in the Golan Heights, Habash was a member of the Regional Command for the Ba'ath Party between August 1965 and November 1970.[2] Habash also served as the Minister of Front Line Villages Affairs and the Minister of Industry in the government of Salah Jadid.[1][3]

When the Ba'ath Party split, Habash belonged to the faction that remained loyal to the National Command based in Iraq.[4][5]


When followers of then Defense Minister Hafez al-Assad launched a coup d'état against the Jadid's leadership over the government in 1970, Jadid and his loyalists (among whose number Habash was counted), known as the "February 23 Movement", were imprisoned in November and December of that year in al-Mezze military prison in Damascus.[6]

Over the course of his 23-year detention, Habash was tortured by some of his former party colleagues, including Naji Jamil, 'Adnan Dabbagh, 'Ali al-Madani, and Ali Duba. He was released by order of President Hafez al-Assad in 1993.[7]

Writings and public analyses[edit]

Habash published more than 50 articles, covering some 300 pages, that detailed his experiences as a political prisoner, and covered part of the history of the Ba'ath movement in Syria prior to his imprisonment in Kulluna Shuraka' fi al-Watan, and other Arabic-language media, between 2002 and 2009. Among these articles were: Harakat 23 Shubat… al-Dawa'i wa al-Asbab ("The 23 February Movement, its Motives and Reasons"), Muhawalat 'Usyan al-Ra'id Salim Hatum fi al-Suwayda' Yawm 8 Aylul 1966 ("The Revolt Attempt of Major Salim Hatum in al-Suwayda' on 8 September 1966"), and Harb Huzayran: al-Muqaddimat wa al-Waqa'i ("The June War: its Preludes and Facts").[7]

In 2002, Habash was summoned for questioning by Syrian intelligence agents after publishing an article calling for the strengthening of civil society in Syria.[8]


  1. ^ a b "Syria frees political prisoners". The Independent. July 21, 1993. Retrieved December 9, 2009.
  2. ^ Hanna Batatu (1999). Syria's peasantry, the descendants of its lesser rural notables, and their politics (Illustrated ed.). Princeton University Press. p. 338. ISBN 9780691002545.
  3. ^ Dishon (1973). Middle East Record 1968. John Wiley and Sons. p. 725. ISBN 9780470216118.
  4. ^ Basel Oudat (12–18 June 2008). "Shouting in the hills" (901). Al-Ahram Weekly. Archived from the original on 9 August 2009. Retrieved 2009-12-21.
  5. ^ "Silly spat or dangerous rift" (963). Al-Ahram Weekly. 3–9 September 2009. Archived from the original on 9 September 2009. Retrieved 2009-12-21.
  6. ^ Abu-Hamad, Aziz; Whitley, Andrew; Middle East Watch (Organization) (1992). Throwing away the key: indefinite political detention in Syria. Human Rights Watch. ISBN 9781564320872.
  7. ^ a b Nikolaos van Dam (May 12, 2009). "SYRIAN BA'THIST MEMOIRS: Extended Book Review Essay". Retrieved December 9, 2009.
  8. ^ "Attacks on the Press 2002: Syria". Committee to Protect Journalists. Retrieved 2009-12-21.