Briefly On The History Of The Ba'ath Party

This Arab political party advocates formation of a single Arab socialist state. Founded in Damascus by M. Aflaq and Salah al-Din al-Bitar in 1943, in 1953, it merged with the Syrian Socialist Party to form the Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party. It espoused nonalignment and opposition to imperialism and colonialism. It gained control of Syria in 1963 after the failure of a short-lived union with Egypt, and of Iraq in 1968 after a series of coups. The party also has branches in other Middle Eastern countries.'Ba'ath' means 'renaissance'.

The Ba'ath Party is the name of both the ruling party of Iraq, headed by Saddam Hussein, and of the ruling party of Syria.

Both parties originate to the Ba'ath movement, an Arab political movement which started in the early 20th century with Syrian nationalists like Michel Aflaq and the more republican wing of Iraqi soldiers under British, and later Hashemite services.

Iraqi and Syrian Baathism didn't split till later. They actually were quite united throughout the period of Zionist ascendance in Palestine. There is much imitation of the Italian and Spanish Fascists by Baathists. Though it was extremely exclusive, factional and often relying on nationalist radicals in the militaries, Ba'ath always claimed to be speaking for the entire Arab nation and the progress of the masses.

Michel Aflaq
Arabic: mishal 'afl‚q
(1910- 89)
Syrian socialist politician and thinker.

Aflaq was a fairly moderate politician, who in many cases had to accept that most of the grand parts of his ideology never was realized, like freedom of speech and Arab unity. From the early stages of his political activities until his old days, he had to change many ideas, simply from realizing that real-life politics demanded compromises.


1910: Born in Damascus into a Greek Orthodox family.

Early 1930s: Is educated at the University of Sorbonne in Paris, France.

1934: Returns to Damascus, and starts to teach at a secondary school.

1940: Establishes a study circle together with Salah al-Din Bitar which they call Movement of Arab Renaissance, in Arabic Ba'th.

1942: Aflaq starts to devote himself full-time to politics.

1947 April: Aflaq is elected senior member of the executive committee of the newly established Arab Ba'ath Party.

1949 August: Aflaq is appointed minister of education. After he fails to win a seat in the general elections, Aflaq resigns.

1952: Flees to Lebanon in order to avoid arrest by the new regime of Syria.

1954: Aflaq returns to Syria, and leads the merger with the Arab Socialist Party, and becomes secretary-general of the new party.

1966 February: Following a conflict inside the Ba'ath Party, Aflaq finds himself on the weaker side, and leaves for Lebanon.

1967: Moves to Brazil.

1968: Aflaq is invited to Iraq, following the Ba'ath coup there. He then resumed his leadership over the Ba'ath Party.

1970: As a protest against the lack of support from the Ba'th regime of Baghdad for the Palestinians in their fight against the Jordanian military, Aflaq once again leaves for Lebanon.

1974: Returns to Baghdad, in order to lead the National Command of the party. He was officially highly respected, but soon had to realize that he had minimal impact on the Iraqi politics.

1989: Aflaq dies in Baghdad, and Iraqi media claims that he had converted to Islam shortly before his death.

-- "America is... chiefly responsible for our condition, with its intrinsic mandacity and unctuous superiority; to me [it is] the most repugnant of our enemies." (Oswald Spengler)

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