ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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From 50 Years Ago: Syria and Arab Unity

Weekly Notes from Volume XIV, No 24, June 16, 1962.

It is likely that President Nasser is now prepared to settle for less than a full union with Syria. But he cannot be blamed for not coming to the rescue of the Syrian Prime Minister, Dr Bashir Azmeh, who must have proposed a federal union of his country with Egypt to forestall Governmental instability in Syria.

Paradoxically enough, in the current political instability in Syria lies Nasser’s hope of Arab unity. Syrians are fast moving into a situation when they may have to accept unity almost on any terms. There is no strong party or individual to lead the country; even the army which has a tradition of intervening in politics is about as leaderless and is hopelessly divided against itself…The Syrian Ba’ath Party which had been a powerful factor in giving some coherence to ideas of Arab socialism and unity is openly split on the Egyptian question. One wing led by Mr Akram Haurani, who in 1958 was one of the principal architects of the United Arab Republic, is opposed to any bilateral pact; it argues that only by multilateral agreements can countries like Syria maintain their identity. The other wing of the Ba’ath stands for a close union with Egypt as the starting point for a wider Arab union. In his attack on President Nasser, Mr Haurani has the wide, if somewhat strange, support of an assortment of Right-wing politicians, Communists and the Moslem Brotherhood. Before long the Syrians will realise that their only hope of getting out of this morass is Arab unity which may, in the present circumstances, only mean unity with Egypt…

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