Bushra al-Assad is the first child and only daughter of Hafez al-Assad, the president of Syria from 1971 to 2000. She is the sister of current Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, she is the widow of Assef Shawkat, the deputy chief of staff of the Syrian Armed Forces and former head of the Syrian Military Intelligence, killed by the rebels on 18 July 2012. As a result of the Syrian Civil War, in March 2012 she was placed on a list of Syrian government figures who were subject to European Union economic sanctions and travel bans. On 28 September 2012, it was reported and confirmed by Gulf states that Bushra al-Assad had fled Syria with her five children to seek refuge in the United Arab Emirates. In January 2013, Bushra al-Assad was joined by her mother Anisa Makhlouf in Dubai after she too fled Syria, but she returned. Bushra is reported to have enjoyed a close relationship with her father Hafez al-Assad and took a large role in leadership during the last years of his life. During the late 70s, she accompanied her father during foreign visits and was active in the decision-making within her father's inner circle in matters relating to economic and foreign affairs, leading to speculation that she was being considered for a leadership role and possible succession.
Despite this, by the 1980s, her younger brother Bassel took on that role instead and after 1994, her second oldest brother, Bashar. There has been widespread speculation that had it not been for her gender, she would have been groomed for the presidency, it is reported that she helped convince her father that jailing her uncle, Rifaat al-Assad, after his failed 1984 coup attempt would disgrace the family. Bushra received her degree in pharmacy in 1982 from Damascus University. At university Bushra befriended Bouthaina Shaaban, now member of the Syrian Cabinet; some sources report that it was Shaaban who introduced Bushra to Shawkat, an army officer 10 years her senior and married with a reputation for womanizing. Despite family opposition, Bushra married Shawkat in 1995. Since the death of her brother Bassel al-Assad in 1994, Bushra was credited with increasing influence in Syria, she was reported to have played a major role in guiding the development of Syria's pharmaceutical industry. Bushra was reported to have worked for her late husband to gain acceptance and recognition.
In the late 1990s, Shawkat assumed key security roles within Syria's military and intelligence apparatus. Tensions between Bushra and her sister-in-law and Syria's first lady Asma al-Assad were reported. Since Asma's marriage to the Syrian president in 2000, Asma defied social conventions by appearing in public and in the media, it was reported. Bushra moved to the United Arab Emirates in September 2012, she is living in Dubai with her five children. Assad family
Bassel al-Assad was a Syrian engineer and politician, the eldest son of President of Syria Hafez al-Assad and the older brother of President Bashar al-Assad. It was expected that he would succeed his father as President of Syria until he died in a car accident in 1994. Bassel al-Assad was born on 23 March 1962, he was trained as a civil engineer, he held a PhD in military sciences. We saw father at home but he was so busy that three days could go by without us exchanging a word with him. We never had breakfast or dinner together, I don't remember having lunch together as a family, or maybe we only did once or twice when state affairs were involved; as a family, we used to spend a day or two in Lattakia in the summer, but too he used to work in the office and we didn't get to see much of him. Trained in parachuting, he was commissioned in the Special Forces and switched to the armoured corps after training in the Soviet Military Academies, he progressed through the ranks, becoming a major and commander of a brigade in the Republican Guard.
After his father recovered from a serious illness in 1984, Bassel began to accompany him and he emerged on the national scene in 1987, when he won several equestrian medals at a regional tournament. The Ba'ath Party press in Syria eulogised him as the "Golden Knight" because of his prowess on horseback, he had a reputation for an interest in fast cars, his friends described him as charismatic and commanding. Assad was soon appointed Head of Presidential Security. In addition, he launched the Syrian Computer Society in 1989, headed by Bashar. Assad's uncle, Rifaat al-Assad, was Hafez's chosen successor but Rifaat attempted to usurp power from Hafez while the latter was in a coma in 1984; this led to Rifaat's exile. Following the incident, Bassel was groomed to succeed his father. Hafez's efforts intensified to make Bassel the next President of Syria in the early 1990s. Assad was being introduced to European and Arab leaders. Assad had a significant role in Lebanese affairs, was known to Lebanese leaders of all sects.
He organised a publicised anti-corruption campaign within the government and appeared in full military uniform at official receptions to signal the government's commitment to the armed forces. Former CIA director Michael Hayden has compared Bassel to Sonny in the novel The Godfather. "There is no doubt the Assads, along with the Makhloufs who are tied to them in bonds of marriage and partnerships, were just as busy with crime and committing cruel acts as they were with ruling over Syria." Bassel is said to have spoken Russian fluently. According to leaked United States diplomatic cables, he had a relationship with a Lebanese woman, Siham Asseily who married Lebanese journalist and deputy Gebran Tueni. On 21 January 1994, while he was driving his Mercedes at a high speed through fog to Damascus International Airport for a flight to Germany in the early hours of the morning, Bassel collided with a motorway roundabout and, not wearing a seatbelt, died instantly. Hafez Makhlouf was with him and was hospitalized with injuries after the accident, a chauffeur in the back seat was unhurt.
Assad's body was taken to Al Assad University Hospital and buried in Qardaha, where his father's body was later buried. After his death, shops and public offices in Syria closed for three days, luxury hotels suspended the sale of alcohol in respect, he was elevated by the state into "the martyr of the country, the martyr of the nation and the symbol for its youth". A great number of squares and streets were named after him; the new international swimming complex, various hospitals, sporting clubs and a military academy were named after him. The international airport in Latakia was named after Bassel Al-Assad International Airport, his statue is found in several Syrian cities, after his death, he is pictured on billboards with his father and brother. Bassel Assad's death led to his lesser-known brother Bashar al-Assad, undertaking postgraduate training in ophthalmology in London, assuming the mantle of president-in-waiting. Bashar became President following the death of his father, on 10 June 2000.
Bassel Assad's posters and his name were used to secure a smooth transition after Hafez Assad introduced the slogan "Basil, the Example: Bashar, the Future." The death of Bassel al Assad BBC World Service Witness episode
Rafic Baha El Deen Al Hariri was a Lebanese business tycoon and the Prime Minister of Lebanon from 1992 to 1998 and again from 2000 until his resignation on 20 October 2004. He headed five cabinets during his tenure. Hariri is credited with his role in constructing the Taif Agreement that ended the 15 year Lebanese Civil War and reconstructing the capital Beirut, he was the first post-civil war Prime Minister and the most influential and wealthiest Lebanese politician until his assassination. Hariri was assassinated on 14 February 2005 by a suicide truck bomb in Beirut. Four Hezbollah members were indicted for the assassination and are being tried in absentia by the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, but others have linked the assassination to the Syrian government. Hariri's assassination was a catalyst for dramatic political change in Lebanon; the massive protests of the Cedar Revolution helped achieve the withdrawal of Syrian troops and security forces from Lebanon, a change in governments. Hariri was born on 1 November 1944 to a modest Sunni Muslim family in the Lebanese port city of Sidon.
He had two siblings He attended elementary and secondary school in Sidon, graduated in business administration from Beirut Arab University. In 1965, Hariri went to Saudi Arabia to work. There, he taught for a short period of time before shifting to the construction industry. In 1978, he gained Saudi Arabian citizenship, in addition to his Lebanese citizenship. In 1969, Hariri established a small subcontracting firm, which soon went out of business, he went in business with the French construction firm Oger for the construction of a hotel in Ta’if, Saudi Arabia, the timely construction of which earned praise from King Khaled. Hariri took over Oger, forming Saudi Oger, which became the main construction firm used by the Saudi Royal family for all their important developments; as a result, a few years after his first contract with King Khaled, Hariri had become a multi-billionaire. Having accumulated his wealth, Hariri started a number of philanthropic projects, including the building of educational facilities in Lebanon.
His first initiative in Lebanon was the Islamic Association for Culture and Education, which he founded in 1979. The association was renamed the Hariri Foundation. Hariri became progressively more embroiled in politics, his appeals to the United Nations and services as an emissary to the Saudi Royal family won him international recognition on the political stage for his humanitarian efforts. In 1982, Hariri donated $12 million to Lebanese victims of the 1978 South Lebanon conflict and helped clean up Beirut's streets with his company's money and contributed to early reconstruction efforts during lulls in the Lebanon war. Said to have financed opposing militias during the war, his former deputy Najah Wakim accused him of helping to destroy downtown Beirut in order to rebuild it again and make billions of dollars in the process. After the conflict, he acted as an envoy of the Saudi royal family to Lebanon, he laid the groundwork that led to the 1989 Taif Accord, which Saudi Arabia organised to bring the warring factions together.
Taif put an end to the civil war. While acting as the Saudi envoy to Lebanon, he spent more time in Damascus than in Beirut where he ingratiated himself with the Assad regime. Hariri returned to Lebanon in the early 1980s as a wealthy man and began to build a name for himself by making large donations and contributions to various groups in Lebanon. However, he continued to serve as a political advisor to Prince Bandar bin Sultan in 1983, he was implanted as the Saudis' strong man following the collapse of the PLO and the paucity of any viable Sunni leadership in the country as well as a response to the rising power of the Shiite militia Amal. As a former Saudi diplomatic representative, he played a significant role in constructing the 1990 Taif Agreement that ended Lebanon's sixteen-year civil war. In 1992, Hariri became the first post-civil war prime minister of Lebanon under president Elias Hrawi. Hariri put the country back on the financial map through the issuing of Eurobonds and won plaudits from the World Bank for his plan to borrow reconstruction money as the country's debt grew to become the largest per capita in the world.
His first premiership lasted until 1998, Hariri was replaced by Salim Hoss as prime minister. In fact, as a result of the power struggle between Hariri and newly elected president Émile Lahoud, he left office. In October 2000, Hariri was again appointed prime minister, replacing Salim Hoss, formed the cabinet. In September 2004, Hariri defended UN Security Council Resolution 1559, which called for "all remaining foreign forces to withdraw from Lebanon." On 20 October 2004, his second term ended. Omar Karami succeeded him as prime minister. Hariri implemented an aggressive new economic policy. Hariri's most important creation in the beginning of his career was "Horizon 2000" the government's name for its new rejuvenation plan. A large component of "Horizon 2000" was Solidere, the owned construction company, established to reconstruct post-war Lebanon. Solidere was owned by the government and private investors. Solidere was focused on redeveloping Beirut's downtown and turning it into a new urban center as as possible as one aspect of the various infrastructure redevelopment plans that would be implemented by "Horizon 2000".
Another aspect of the decade-long plan was the privatization of
Syria the Syrian Arab Republic, is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon to the southwest, the Mediterranean Sea to the west, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, Israel to the southwest. A country of fertile plains, high mountains, deserts, Syria is home to diverse ethnic and religious groups, including Syrian Arabs, Armenians, Kurds, Circassians and Turks. Religious groups include Sunnis, Alawites, Isma'ilis, Shiites, Salafis and Jews. Sunni make up the largest religious group in Syria. Syria is a unitary republic consisting of 14 governorates and is the only country that politically espouses Ba'athism, it is a member of one international organization other than the United Nations, the Non-Aligned Movement. In English, the name "Syria" was synonymous with the Levant, while the modern state encompasses the sites of several ancient kingdoms and empires, including the Eblan civilization of the 3rd millennium BC. Aleppo and the capital city Damascus are among the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world.
In the Islamic era, Damascus was the seat of the Umayyad Caliphate and a provincial capital of the Mamluk Sultanate in Egypt. The modern Syrian state was established in mid-20th century after centuries of Ottoman and a brief period French mandate, represented the largest Arab state to emerge from the Ottoman-ruled Syrian provinces, it gained de-jure independence as a parliamentary republic on 24 October 1945, when Republic of Syria became a founding member of the United Nations, an act which ended the former French Mandate – although French troops did not leave the country until April 1946. The post-independence period was tumultuous, a large number of military coups and coup attempts shook the country in the period 1949–71. In 1958, Syria entered a brief union with Egypt called the United Arab Republic, terminated by the 1961 Syrian coup d'état; the republic was renamed into the Arab Republic of Syria in late 1961 after December 1 constitutional referendum, was unstable until the 1963 Ba'athist coup d'état, since which the Ba'ath Party has maintained its power.
Syria was under Emergency Law from 1963 to 2011 suspending most constitutional protections for citizens. Bashar al-Assad has been president since 2000 and was preceded by his father Hafez al-Assad, in office from 1971 to 2000. Since March 2011, Syria has been embroiled in an armed conflict, with a number of countries in the region and beyond involved militarily or otherwise; as a result, a number of self-proclaimed political entities have emerged on Syrian territory, including the Syrian opposition, Tahrir al-Sham and Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. Syria is ranked last on the Global Peace Index, making it the most violent country in the world due to the war, although life continues for most of its citizens as of December 2017; the war caused more than 470,000 deaths, 7.6 million internally displaced people and over 5 million refugees, making population assessment difficult in recent years. Several sources indicate that the name Syria is derived from the 8th century BC Luwian term "Sura/i", the derivative ancient Greek name: Σύριοι, Sýrioi, or Σύροι, Sýroi, both of which derived from Aššūrāyu in northern Mesopotamia.
However, from the Seleucid Empire, this term was applied to The Levant, from this point the Greeks applied the term without distinction between the Assyrians of Mesopotamia and Arameans of the Levant. Mainstream modern academic opinion favours the argument that the Greek word is related to the cognate Ἀσσυρία, Assyria derived from the Akkadian Aššur; the Greek name appears to correspond to Phoenician ʾšr "Assur", ʾšrym "Assyrians", recorded in the 8th century BC Çineköy inscription. The area designated by the word has changed over time. Classically, Syria lies at the eastern end of the Mediterranean, between Arabia to the south and Asia Minor to the north, stretching inland to include parts of Iraq, having an uncertain border to the northeast that Pliny the Elder describes as including, from west to east, Commagene and Adiabene. By Pliny's time, this larger Syria had been divided into a number of provinces under the Roman Empire: Judaea renamed Palaestina in AD 135 in the extreme southwest.
Since 10,000 BC, Syria was one of the centers of Neolithic culture where agriculture and cattle breeding appeared for the first time in the world. The following Neolithic period is represented by rectangular houses of Mureybet culture. At the time of the pre-pottery Neolithic, people used vessels made of stone and burnt lime. Finds of obsidian tools from Anatolia are evidences of early trade relations. Cities of Hamoukar and Emar played an important role during Bronze Age. Archaeologists have demonstrated that civilization in Syria was one of the most ancient on earth preceded by only those of Mesopotamia; the earliest recorded in
Ministry of Defense (Syria)
The Ministry of Defense is a government ministry office of the Syrian Arab Republic, responsible for defense affairs in Syria. Jamil al-Ulshi Yusuf al-'Azma Abd al-Ghaffar al-Atrash Abd al-Rahman al-Kayyali Ahmad al-Sharabati Abdullah Atfeh Jamil Mardam Bey Abdullah Atfeh Akram El-Hourani Faidi al-Atassi Fawzi Selu Khalid al-Azm Mar'uf al-Dawalibi Rashad Barmada Abd al-Hasib Raslan Khalid al-Azm Abd al-Hasib Raslan Muhammad al-Sufi Ziad al-Hariri Mamdouh Jaber Hamad Ubayd Muhammad Umran Hafez al-Assad Mustafa Tlass Hasan Turkmani Ali Habib Mahmud Dawoud Rajiha Fahd Jassem al-Freij Ali Abdullah Ayyoub Ministry of Defense
Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party – Syria Region
The Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party – Syria Region the Syrian Regional Branch, is a neo-Ba'athist organisation founded on 7 April 1947 by Michel Aflaq, Salah al-Din al-Bitar and followers of Zaki al-Arsuzi. It was first the regional branch of the original Ba'ath Party before it changed its allegiance to the Syrian-dominated Ba'ath movement following the 1966 split within the original Ba'ath Party; the party has ruled Syria continuously since the 1963 Syrian coup d'état which brought the Ba'athists to power. The Ba'ath Party, indirectly the Syrian Regional Branch, was established on 7 April 1947 by Michel Aflaq, Salah al-Din al-Bitar and Zaki al-Arsuzi. According to the congress, the party was "nationalist, populist and revolutionary" and believed in the "unity and freedom of the Arab nation within its homeland." The party opposed the theory of class conflict, but supported the nationalisation of major industries, the unionisation of workers, land reform, supported private inheritance and private property rights to some degree.
The party merged with the Arab Socialist Party, led by Akram al-Hawrani, to establish the Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party in Lebanon following Adib Shishakli's rise to power. Most ASP members did not adhere to the merger and remained, according to George Alan, "passionately loyal to Hawrani's person." The merger was weak, a lot of the ASP's original infrastructure remained intact. In 1955, the party decided what they perceived as his pan-Arabic policies. Syrian politics took a dramatic turn in 1954 when the military government of Adib al-Shishakli was overthrown and the democratic system restored; the Ba'ath, now a large and popular organisation, won 22 out of 142 parliamentary seats in the Syrian election that year, becoming the second-largest party in parliament. The Ba'ath Party was supported by the intelligentsia because of their pro-Egyptian and anti-imperialist stance and their support for social reform; the assassination of Ba'athist colonel Adnan al-Malki by a member of the Syrian Social Nationalist Party in April 1955 allowed the Ba'ath Party and its allies to launch a crackdown, thus eliminating one rival.
In 1957, the Ba'ath Party partnered with the Syrian Communist Party to weaken the power of Syria's conservative parties. By the end of that year, the SCP weakened the Ba'ath Party to such an extent that in December the Ba'ath Party drafted a bill calling for a union with Egypt, a move, popular; the union between Egypt and Syria went ahead and the United Arab Republic was created, the Ba'ath Party was banned in the UAR because of Nasser's hostility to parties other than his own. The Ba'ath leadership dissolved the party in 1958, gambling that the legalisation against certain parties would hurt the SCP more than it would the Ba'ath. A military coup in Damascus in 1961 brought the UAR to an end. Sixteen prominent politicians, including al-Hawrani and Salah al-Din al-Bitar – who retracted his signature, signed a statement supporting the coup; the Ba'athists won several seats during the 1961 parliamentary election. The military group preparing for the overthrow of the Separatist Regime in February 1963 was composed of independent Nasserite and other unionist, including Ba'thi officers.
The re-emergence of the Ba'tha's a majority political force aided in the coup. Ziyad al-Hariri controlled the sizable forces stationed at the Israeli Front, not far from Damascus, Muhammad as-Sufi commanded the key brigade stationes in Homs, Ghassan Haddad, one of Hariri's independent partners, commanded the Desert Forces. Early in March it was decided, but on March fifth several of the officers wanted to delay the coup in hope of staging a bloodless coup. It was presumed that the Nasserite were preparing a coup of their own which canceled the delay; the coup began at night and by the morning of March eighth it was evident that a new political era had begun in Syria. The secession from the UAR was a time of crisis for the party. In 1962, Aflaq convened a congress; the division in the original Ba'ath Party between the National Command led by Michel Aflaq and the “regionalists” in the Syrian Regional Branch stemmed from the break-up of the UAR. Aflaq had sought to control the regionalist elements – an incoherent grouping led by Fa'iz al-Jasim, Yusuf Zuayyin, Munir al-Abdallah and Ibrahim Makhus.
Aflaq retained the support of the majority of the non-Syrian National Command members. Following the success of the February 1963 coup d'état in Iraq, led by the Ba'ath Party's Iraqi Regional Branch, the Military Committee hastily convened to plan a coup against Nazim al-Kudsi's presidency; the coup – dubbed the 8th of March Revolution – was successful and a Ba'athist government was installed in Syria. The plotters' first order was to establish the National Council of the Revolutionary Command, which consisted of Ba'athists and Nasserists, was controlled by military personnel rather than civilians. However, in its first years in power, the Syrian Regional Branch experienced an internal power struggle between traditional Ba'athists, radical socialists and the members of the Military Committee; the first period of Ba'ath rule was put to an end with the 1966 Syrian coup d'état, which overthrew the traditional Ba'athists led by Aflaq and Bitar and brought Salah Jadid, the head
Syrian Civil War
The Syrian Civil War is an ongoing multi-sided armed conflict in Syria fought between the Ba'athist Syrian Arab Republic led by President Bashar al-Assad, along with domestic and foreign allies, various domestic and foreign forces opposing both the Syrian government and each other in varying combinations. The unrest in Syria, part of a wider wave of the 2011 Arab Spring protests, grew out of discontent with the Syrian government and escalated to an armed conflict after protests calling for Assad's removal were violently suppressed; the war, which began on 15 March with major unrest in Damascus and Aleppo, is being fought by several factions: The Syrian government's Armed Forces and its international allies, a loose alliance of majorly Sunni opposition rebel groups, Salafi jihadist groups, the mixed Kurdish-Arab Syrian Democratic Forces, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, with a number of countries in the region and beyond being either directly involved or providing support to one or another faction.
Iran and Hezbollah support the Syrian Arab Republic and the Syrian Armed Forces militarily, with Russia conducting airstrikes and other military operations since September 2015. The U. S.-led international coalition, established in 2014 with the declared purpose of countering ISIL, has conducted airstrikes against ISIL as well as some against government and pro-government targets. They have deployed special forces and artillery units to engage ISIL on the ground. Since 2015, the U. S. has supported the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria and its armed wing, the SDF, materially and logistically. Turkey, on the other hand, has become involved against the Syrian government since 2016, not only participating in airstrikes against ISIL alongside the U. S.-led coalition, but actively supporting the Syrian opposition and occupying large swaths of northwestern Syria while engaging in significant ground combat with ISIL, the SDF, the Syrian government. Between 2011 and 2017, fighting from the Syrian Civil War spilled over into Lebanon as opponents and supporters of the Syrian government traveled to Lebanon to fight and attack each other on Lebanese soil, with ISIL and Al-Nusra engaging the Lebanese Army.
Furthermore, while neutral, Israel has conducted airstrikes against Hezbollah and Iranian forces, whose presence in southwestern Syria it views as a threat. International organizations have accused all sides involved, including the Ba'athist Syrian government, ISIL, opposition rebel groups and the U. S.-led coalition of severe human rights massacres. The conflict has caused a major refugee crisis. Over the course of the war, a number of peace initiatives have been launched, including the March 2017 Geneva peace talks on Syria led by the United Nations, but fighting continues; the secular Ba'ath Syrian Regional Branch government came to power through a successful coup d'état in 1963. For several years Syria went through additional coups and changes in leadership, until in March 1971, Hafez al-Assad, an Alawite, declared himself President; the secular Syrian Regional Branch remained the dominant political authority in what had been a one-party state until the first multi-party election to the People's Council of Syria was held in 2012.
On 31 January 1973, Hafez al-Assad implemented a new constitution. Unlike previous constitutions, this one did not require that the president of Syria be a Muslim, leading to fierce demonstrations in Hama and Aleppo organized by the Muslim Brotherhood and the ulama; the government survived a series of armed revolts by Islamists members of the Muslim Brotherhood, from 1976 until 1982. Upon Hafez al-Assad's death in 2000, his son Bashar al-Assad was elected as President of Syria. Bashar and his wife Asma, a Sunni Muslim born and educated in Britain inspired hopes for democratic reforms. President Al-Assad maintained in 2017 that no'moderate opposition' to his rule exists, that all opposition forces are jihadists intent on destroying his secular leadership; the total population in July 2018 was estimated at 19,454,263 people. Socioeconomic inequality increased after free market policies were initiated by Hafez al-Assad in his years, it accelerated after Bashar al-Assad came to power. With an emphasis on the service sector, these policies benefited a minority of the nation's population people who had connections with the government, members of the Sunni merchant class of Damascus and Aleppo.
In 2010, Syria's nominal GDP per capita was only $2,834, comparable to Sub-Saharan African countries such as Nigeria and far lower than its neighbors such as Lebanon, with an annual growth rate of 3.39%, below most other developing countries. The country faced high youth unemployment rates. At the start of the war, discontent against the government was strongest in Syria's poor areas, predominantly among conservative Sunnis; these included cities with high poverty rates