Abdul Halim Khaddam has passed away. The Syrian civil ruler of Lebanon for a quarter of a century has passed away

publisher: الشراع

AUTHOR: حسن صبرا

Publishing date: 2020-03-31


Abdul Halim Khaddam has passed away

The Syrian civil ruler of Lebanon  for a quarter of a century has passed away

Written by Hassan Sabra

Al Shiraa Magazine, March 31, 2020

For more than a quarter of a century, Abdul Halim Khaddam ruled Lebanon politically from his two main positions, which were Syrian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Vice President of two successive presidents, Hafez al-Assad and his heir, Bashar.

During this long period, Khaddam was the most knowledgeable about what was happening in Lebanon, so that he could manage its affairs from Damascus within a cell formed by Assad the Father, which included Khaddam Hikmat Al-Shihabi and Ali Duba in Damascus, and Ghazi Kanaan in his headquarters in Anjar in the Lebanese Bekaa Valley. Khaddam was the most political and intelligent among them, and the closest to them. To Hafez al-Assad, especially in Lebanese and Arab affairs, and Khaddam was the most flexible and patient among them, which helped him to have Assad’s three generals, Al-Shihabi, Duba, and Kanaan, listen to him.
Khaddam, who was running Lebanon politically through the decisive, understanding, and trusted military of Assad, father Ghazi Kanaan, told the oppressed Mufti Sheikh Hassan Khaled that he had no authority over the guardian of his office in Damascus. However, Khaddam’s understanding of the nature of Assad’s brutal security regime allowed him to form a harmonious duo with Kanaan to rule Lebanon. The elder Assad agreed to it, freeing Al-Shihabi and Doba from the concerns of Lebanon, handing over to them the affairs of the Syrian army and its cherished security, 
Because of this status, Abu Jamal was the reference point for every person who held power or aspired to it in Lebanon, and no politician, military man, security officer, media person, judge, ambitious university professor, party leader, businessman, judge, or even an intellectual who sought a position or an artist looking for protection passed by (male). Whether he was male or female, he knew his way to Abu Jamal’s office or house, or aspired to know him and visit him, or volunteered to convey news and await instructions from him, or rebuke, discord against a rival of his, or a complaint against an opponent or from him, or an aspiration for a position...and this was the subject of a comprehensive and sarcastic joke in Lebanon to the point that The artist Andre Jadda, in one of his plays, talked about how a politician met Khaddam and embraced him, kissed him on the cheeks, and received two kisses from him. He remained for a week without washing his face so that the traces of Khaddam’s kisses would not disappear from his cheeks!!!
Khaddam's coffers were filled with information he collected from Lebanese whose descriptions we wrote, some of it with their eminent pens. We heard from Abu Jamal many years ago that he had written about 2,000 pages up to the date of those distant years, all about Lebanon, and that he would publish them one day, going on to say that day: But after retirement.

We worked a lot with Khaddam in direct meetings with him in Paris, where he went to launch his defection from Assad Jr. and to give us the rights to publish his memoirs about Lebanon. We always talked to him from Beirut and Cairo for this purpose, and he used to joke with me by replying: Oh Abu Ali, you don’t want to leave me. And do not leave any friend behind you!
It has a history of 2000 pages about Lebanon in his handwriting as information about the conditions of Lebanon that he will publish at the appropriate time. Khaddam left and the appropriate time did not come, as if the story of the appropriate time that does not come is the specialty of the culture of the Assad family and everyone who cooperated with them.
For our part in Al-Shiraa, we sought, through our communication with the man during his stay in Paris after his defection from Bashar al-Assad, to obtain part of these memoirs, and the old man always answered us with a laugh:
Oh Abu Ali, you want to turn the world against me and against you. Leave it for time.
In the last two attempts with him for this matter, and over the phone from Cairo and Beirut, I suggested to Khaddam that I come again to Paris to meet him and record his memories and positions and what he heard and requested from former and current Lebanese officials, living and dead, including the presidents Suleiman Franjieh, Elias Sarkis, Amin Gemayel, Elias Hrawi, Emile Lahoud and Rashid. Karami, Salim Al-Hoss, Omar Karami, Rafik Hariri, Kamel Al-Asaad, Hussein Al-Husseini, Nabih Berri, Michel Murr, Issam Fares, Fouad Boutros, Walid Jumblatt, Suleiman Franjieh the grandson, Camille Chamoun, Pierre Gemayel and others. His response was as usual: Oh Abu Ali, Professor Hassan, leave it to time to continue while my boyfriend laughs, something for my diary. I admit that I held back words that almost exploded over the phone, but I did not release them until after I hung up the phone. Even so, Abu Jamal, when is the right time when you are approaching ninety?
Our contacts with Abu Jamal did not cease, especially with the outbreak of the Syrian popular revolution against the Assad family, and Khaddam had received an accusation from them of high treason by revealing some of the crimes of the son’s authority in an interview with the Al Arabiya station on the eve of New Year’s Eve, bidding farewell to 2005 and welcoming 2006.
The irony is that the National Salvation Front to Save Syria, which Khaddam formed with the Muslim Brotherhood and various national forces and figures, did not intercede for him with the national revolutionaries, and their political and combat formations later did not accept dialogue or coordination with Abu Jamal. Later, the Brotherhood withdrew from the front, which ended without ending. Opposing Khaddam until his last breath.
Because we were in constant contact with him until a few years ago, we clearly noticed his keenness to speak with some kind of loyalty towards Hafez al-Assad and his clearest keenness to describe his heir, Bashar, as ungrateful.
All Abu Jamal after he left his home on the upscale Foch Avenue in Paris, which extends from the Arc de Triomphe in one of the opposite directions to the most important and beautiful streets in the world, the Champs-Élysées.
Abu Jamal left, and we tried to contact him several times to no avail. We visited the avenue and the square in which he lived, one of his floors, and we found that the French police guards that had been before entering the square had disappeared. After we asked the guards of the nearby Iraqi embassy about Abu Jamal, they assured us that he had left the place since a period
It remains to mention that what we collected from private conversations with Abu Jamal during our phone calls and personal meetings with him, we will try to publish it to compensate for what we missed from the treasure of information that the important man stored, so that the mission of his sons, Jamal and Jihad, remains to present this treasure to the Syrian and Lebanese present and history, and he is his maker, and he is also one of the officials who They will stand before his court and one day it will issue its rulings against him
May God have mercy on Abdul Halim Khaddam, the politician, ruler, and revolutionary. He was a friend in all these stages
Hassan Sabra