The Baath regime in Syria is definitely a communist regime
From Wikipedia, the free
Ba'athism (from the Arabic البعث Al-Ba'ath or Ba'ath meaning "renaissance" or
"resurrection") is an Arab nationalist ideology that promotes the development and
creation of an Arab nation through the leadership of avanguard party over a progressive revolutionary state. The ideology is officially
based on the theories of Zaki al-Arsuzi (according to the pro-Syrian Ba'ath movement), Michel Aflaq and Salah al-Din al-Bitar.
A Ba'athist society seeks enlightenment, renaissance and rebirth of Arab culture, values
and society. It supports the creation of single-party states, and rejects political pluralism in an unspecified length of
time – the Ba'ath party theoretically uses an unspecified amount of time
to develop an enlightened Arabic society. Ba'athism is based on principles of
Arab nationalism, pan-Arabism, Arab socialism,
as well as social progress.
It is a secular ideology. A Ba'athist state supports
socialist economics to a varying degree, and supports public ownership over the
heights of the economy but opposes the confiscation of private property.
Socialism in Ba'athist ideology does not mean state socialism or economic
equality, but modernisation;
Ba'athists believe that socialism is the only way to develop an Arab society
which is truly free and united.
The two Ba'athist states which have been in existence (Iraq and Syria), through a policy
forbid opposition and criticism of their ideology. The existing Ba'athist
regimes have been labelled as neo-Ba'athist, because the form of Ba'athism
developed in these countries was very different than the Ba'athism of Aflaq and
al-Bitar; for example, none of the ruling Ba'ath parties actually pursued or
pursues a policy of unifying the Arab world.
Allegations of being fascist
Cyprian Blamires claims that "Ba'athism may have been a Middle Eastern variant of fascism, even though 'Aflaq and other Ba'ath leaders criticised particular fascist ideas and practices." According to him, the Ba'ath movement shared several characteristics with the European fascist movement, such as "the attempt to synthesize radical, illiberal nationalism and non-Marxist socialism, a romantic, mythopoetic, and elitist 'revolutionary' vision, the desire both to create a 'new man' and to restore past greatness, a centralised authoritarian party divided into 'right-wing' and 'left-wing' factions and so forth; several close associates later admitted that 'Aflaq had been directly inspired by certain fascist and Nazi theorists." An argument against Aflaq's fascist credentials is that he was an active member of the Syrian–Lebanese Communist Party, he participated in the activities of the French Communist Party during his stay in France, and that he was influenced by some of the ideas of Karl Marx. Cyprian concludes that Ba'athism, along with the Free Officers Movement in Egypt, can be categorised asneofascist.
The Arab Ba'ath Party established by Zaki al-Arsuzi was according to Sami al-Jundi, one of the co-founders of the party, heavily influenced by fascist and Nazi ideals. The party's emblem was the tiger because it would "excite the imagination of the youth, in the tradition of Nazism and Fascism, but taking into consideration that the Arab is in his nature is distant from pagan symbols [like the swastika]". Arsuzi's Ba'ath Party believed in the virtues of the "one leader", and Arsuzi himself believed personally in the racial superiority of the Arabs. The party members read a lot of Nazi literature, such as The Foundations of the Nineteenth Century for instance, became one of the first to plan the translation of Mein Kampf into Arabic and they were actively looking for a copy of The Myth of the Twentieth Century – the only copy in Damascus was, according to Moshe Maʻoz, owned by Aflaq. Despite his pro-fascist views, Arsuzi did not support the Axis Powers, and refused Italy's advances for party-to-party relations. Arsuzi was also influenced by the racial theories of Houston Stewart Chamberlain and Nazism. Arsuzi claimed that historically Islam and the Prophet Muhammad had reinforced the nobility and purity of Arabs, which degenerated in purity because of the adoption of Islam by other people. He had been associated with theLeague of Nationalist Action, a political party strongly influenced by fascism and Nazism with its paramilitary "Ironshirts", that existed in Syria from 1932 to 1939.
Saddam drew inspiration on how to rule Iraq from both Joseph Stalin, a communist, and Adolf Hitler, a Nazi. According to a British journalist who interviewed Barzan al-Tikriti, the head of the Iraqi intelligence services, Saddam had asked Barzan to procure these books not for racist or anti-Semitic purposes, but instead "as an example of the successful organisation of an entire society by the state for the achievement of national goals."
Allegations of being racist
In Ba'athist Iraq, Iran, especially during the Iran–Iraq War, was presented as the age-old enemy of the Arabs. The Iraqi Ba'athists, according to Fred Halliday, brought the ideas of Sati al-Husri to their full, official and racist, culmination. For the Ba'athists their pan-Arab ideology was laced with anti-Iranian racism, it rested on the pursuit of anti-Iranian themes, over the decade and a half after coming to power, Baghdad organised the expulsion of Iraqis of Iranian origin, beginning with 40,000 Fayli Kurds, but totalling up to 200,000 or more, by the early years of the war itself. Such racist policies were reinforced by ideology: in 1981, a year after the start of the Iran–Iraq War, Dar al-Hurriya, the government publishing house, issued Three Whom God Should Not Have Created: Persians, Jews, and Flies by the author, Khairallah Talfah, the foster-father and father-in-law of Saddam Hussein. Halliday says that it was the Ba'athists too who, claiming to be the defenders of 'Arabism' on the eastern frontiers, brought to the fore the chauvinist myth of Iranian migrants and communities in the Gulf.
Three Whom God Should Not Have Created: Persians, Jews, and Flies describes Persians (Iranians) as "animals God created in the shape of humans", Jews as a "mixture of dirt and the leftovers of diverse people", andflies as poor misunderstood creatures "whom we do not understand God's purpose in creating". According to Con Coughlin, "This weak Iraqi attempt at imitating Mein Kampf nevertheless had a bearing on Saddam's future policymaking. Mauritanian Regional Branch of the Iraqi-dominated Ba'ath movement was accused of being racist by the Mauritanian Government and certain political groups.
The Iraqi Regional Branch could approve or disapprove of marriages of party members. In a party document, it was ordered that party branches "to check thoroughly the Arabic origin of not the prospective wife but also her family, and no approval should be given to members who plan to marry [someone] from a non-Arab origin." During the war with Iran, the party began to confront members who were of non-Arab, especially Iranian origins. One memo from the party Secretariat sent directly to Saddam read "the party suffers from the existence of members who are not originally Arabs as this might constitute a danger to the party in the future." The Secretariat recommended not giving party membership to people of Iranian origins. In a written reply to the document, Saddam wrote "1) [I] Agree with the opinion of the Party Secretariat; 2) To be discussed in the [Regional] Command meeting." Many of those who were refused, or whose membership had been revoked, were loyal Ba'athists. For instance, one Ba'athist of Iranian origin had been a member of the party since 1958, been a part of the Ramadan Revolution and had been imprisoned by the authorities in the aftermath of the November 1963 Iraqi coup d'état for the Ba'athist cause. Later, the authorities began to specifically look for people of Iraqi origins, and any contact with Iran or Iranian functioned as a good enough reason to not be given party membership.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Damascus, Ottoman Syria
|Died||23 June 1989 (age 78-79)|
|Political party||Arab Ba'ath Movement (1940–1947)|
Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party(1947–1966)
Iraq-based Ba'ath Party (1968–1989)
|Religion||Greek Orthodox Christianity|
Michel Aflaq (Arabic: ميشيل عفلق, 1910 – 23 June 1989) was a Syrian philosopher, sociologist and Arab nationalist. His ideas played a significant role in the development of Ba'athism and its political movement; he is considered by several Ba'athists to be the principal founder of Ba'athist thought. He published various books during his lifetime, the most notable being The Battle for One Destiny (1958) and The Struggle Against Distorting the Movement of Arab Revolution (1975).
Born into a middle-class family in Damascus, Syria, Aflaq studied at the Sorbonne, where he met his future political companion Salah al-Din al-Bitar. He returned to Syria in 1932, and began his political career incommunist politics. Aflaq became a communist activist, but broke his ties with the communist movement when the Syrian–Lebanese Communist Party supported France's colonial policies. Later in 1940 Aflaq and al-Bitar established the Arab Ihya Movement (later renaming itself the Arab Ba'ath Movement, taking the name from Zaki al-Arsuzi's group by the same name). The movement proved successful, and in 1947 the Arab Ba'ath Movement merged with al-Arsuzi's Arab Ba'ath organisation to establish the Arab Ba'ath Party. Aflaq was elected to the party's executive committee and was elected "'Amid" (meaning the party's leader).
The Arab Ba'ath Party merged with Akram al-Hawrani's Arab Socialist Party to establish the Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party in 1952; Aflaq was elected the party's leader in 1954. During the mid-to-late 1950s the party began developing relations with Gamal Abdel Nasser, the President of Egypt, which eventually led to the establishment of the United Arab Republic (UAR). Nasser forced Aflaq to dissolve the party, which he did, but without consulting with party members. Shortly after the UAR's dissolution, Aflaq was reelected as Secretary General of the National Command of the Ba'ath Party. Following the 8th of March Revolution, Aflaq's position within the party was weakened to such an extent that he was forced to resign as the party's leader in 1965. Aflaq was ousted during the 1966 Syrian coup d'état, which led to a schism within the Ba'ath Party. He escaped toLebanon, but later went to Iraq. In 1968 Aflaq was elected Secretary General of the Iraqi-led Ba'ath Party; during his tenure he held no de facto power. He held the post until his death on 23 June 1989.
Aflaq's theories about society, economics and politics, which are collectively known as Ba'athism, hold that the Arab world needs to be unified into one Arab Nation in order to achieve an advanced state of development. He was critical of both capitalism and communism, and critical of Karl Marx's view of dialectical materialism as the only truth. Ba'athist thought placed much emphasis on liberty and Arab socialism – a socialism with Arab characteristics, which was not part of the international socialist movement as defined by the West. Aflaq believed in the separation of state and religion, and was a strong believer in secularisation, but was againstatheism. Although a Christian, he believed Islam to be proof of "Arab genius". In the aftermath of the 1966 Ba'ath Party split, the Syrian-led Ba'ath Party accused Aflaq of stealing al-Arsuzi's ideas, and called him a "thief". The Iraqi-led Ba'ath Party rejects this, and does not believe that al-Arsuzi contributed to Ba'athist thought.