::Hafez al-Assad


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{{ safesubst:#invoke:Unsubst||$N=Use dmy dates |date=__DATE__ |$B= }} {{#invoke:Infobox|infobox}} Hafez al-Assad (Arabic: حافظ الأسد‎{{#invoke:Category handler|main}} Ḥāfiẓ al-ʾAsad, Levantine pronunciation: [ˈħaːfezˤ elˈʔasad]; 6 October 1930 – 10 June 2000) was a Syrian statesman, politician and general who was President of Syria from 1971 to 2000, Prime Minister from 1970 to 1971, Regional Secretary of the Regional Command of the Syrian Regional Branch and Secretary General of the National Command of the Ba'ath Party from 1971 to 2000. He participated in the 1963 Syrian coup d'état which brought the Syrian Regional Branch of the Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party to power, and was appointed Commander of the Syrian Air Force by the new leadership. In 1966, Assad participated in a second coup, which toppled the traditional leaders of the Ba'ath Party, and brought a radical military faction headed by Salah Jadid to power. Assad was appointed defense minister by the new government. In 1970 Assad seized power by toppling Jadid, and appointed himself the undisputed leader of Syria in the period 1970–71.

Assad de-radicalized the Ba'ath government when he took power, by giving more space to private property and strengthening the country's foreign relations with countries which his predecessor had deemed reactionary. He sided with the Soviet Union during the Cold War in turn for support against Israel. While he had forsaken pan-Arabism—or at least the pan-Arab concept of unifying the Arab world into one Arab nation—he did seek to make Syria the defender of Arab interest against Israel.

When he took power, Assad instituted one-man rule and organized state services into sectarian lines (the Sunnis becoming the formal heads of political institutions, while the Alawites were given control over the military, intelligence and security apparatuses). The formerly collegial powers of Ba'athist decision-making were curtailed, and were transferred to the Syrian presidency. The Syrian government ceased to be a one-party system in the normal sense of the word, and was turned into a one-party state with a strong presidency. To maintain this system, a massive cult of personality centered on Assad and his family was created.

Having become the main source of initiative inside the Syrian government, Assad began looking for a successor. His first choice as successor was his brother Rifaat al-Assad, widely seen as corrupt. In 1983–84, when Hafez's health was in doubt, Rifaat al-Assad attempted to seize power, claiming that his brother wouldn't be fit to rule if he recovered. When Assad's health did improve, Rifaat al-Assad was exiled from the country. His next choice of successor was his own son, Bassel al-Assad. However, things did not go according to plan, and in 1994 Bassel al-Assad died in a car accident. His third choice was his son Bashar al-Assad, who had by that time no practical political experience. This move was met with open criticism within some quarters of the Syrian ruling class, but Assad reacted by demoting several officials who opposed his succession plan. Assad died in 2000 and was succeeded by Bashar al-Assad as President and Syrian Regional Branch head.

Hafez al-Assad sections
Intro   Early life and education: 1930\u20131950   Air Force career: 1950\u20131958  [[Hafez_al-Assad?section={{safesubst:#invoke:anchor|main}}Runup_to_1963_coup:_1958\u20131963|{{safesubst:#invoke:anchor|main}}Runup to 1963 coup: 1958\u20131963]]  Early Ba'ath Party rule: 1963\u20131970  Presidency: 1970\u20132000  References  External links  

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