June 6

The hereditary republic of Syria

I have only read of the video which shows the tortured and mutilated remains of a 13 year old Syrian school boy, Hamza Ali al-Khateeb.

He had dared to go to a rally where he chanted “down with the regime’.

The boy lies on a plastic sheet, the eyes of his bruised and swollen, purple face clenched shut,” reported David Rowe in The Herald Sun, (5/6). The rest of his young body is a mass of bloated flesh, scarred by welts and cigarette burns, slashes and bullet holes.”

 “His knees and elbows are broken. Whoever did this has also cut off his penis.”

…  40 year old hereditary republic…. 



“The Assad regime has always been expert at presenting an urbane, civilised face.

“The young Assad himself is Western-educated, seemingly erudite. But he has only paid lip service to democratic reform, simultaneously tightening the screws on dissent through the old Stalinist tactics of intimidation and fear.

“Now, like his father who killed thousands of protesters, the younger Assad is murdering to quash dissent” Welcome to the hereditary republic of Syria.

When the mass murderer President Hafiz al-Assad died in 2000, the National Assembly amended the constitution to reduce the minimum age to become  president to permit Assad’s son, Bashar al-Assad, to succeed him.


So on 10 July 2000, as the only candidate,  Bashar al-Assad was elected President by a majority of  97.29% of the electorate.  He has turned out as evil and as brutal as his father.


…Syria could have been  a constitutional monarchy….

It could have been different.  Syria could have been a constitutional monarchy as Jordan is, and as Iraq and Egypt once were until the dictators took over.

In 1920 Faisal bin Hussein bin Ali al-Hashemi Faisal was proclaimed King of the of the Arab Kingdom of Syria by the Syrian National Congress.  

As Emir, Faisal worked closely with Lawrence of Arabia in the liberation of the Ottoman Empire.  With Western forces, including the Australian army, he liberated Syria and Damascus from Turkish control. He hoped that this would result in the creation of a great Arab dominion as free as say Canada and Australia were.


It is appropriate here to recall that the Australian Light Horse, led by Sir Harry Chauvel, were the first foreign troops into the liberated Damascus.

The British General Edmund Allenby, later Field Marshal Lord Allenby, ordered his troops to hold back from entering the city so that  Emir Faisal's Arab forces could enter first.

Allenby is celebrated for dismounting from his horse and walking when he led the armies into Jerusalem, a city holy to Jews, Christians and Muslims.

The following clip is from that magnificent and unforgettable film, Lawrence of Arabia. It shows the conference of Arab leaders in the liberated Damascus. Not how Lawrence guards the chair for the Emir Faisal. 


The Emir, who traced his lineage back to Mohammed,  led the Arab delegation – which included Colonel TE Lawrence – to the Paris Peace Conference which settled the terms of the Treaty of Versailles ending the First World War.


[Continued  below]

The Emir was a liberal man who wanted an Arab world which was  independent but where the different religions co-existed and where government was under the rule of law.

In 1919 Emir  Faisal and Dr. Chaim Weizmann, President of the World Zionist Organization signed the Faisal–Weizmann Agreement for Arab-Jewish cooperation, in which Faisal conditionally accepted the Balfour Declaration for the provision of  a Jewish homeland in Palestine.

…French policy…

But France had long believed she should be the paramount power in the Levant. In 1920, the San Remo conference awarded France a League of Nations  mandate over Syria.

The Syrians rose against the French but the French prevailed in the following year in the Battle of Maysalun.

Emir Faisal was expelled from his kingdom; he sought refuge in Great Britain. The British proposed that he become King of Iraq, a proposal approved by the people.


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