Hafez Al-Assad as described by Mr. Khaddam

publisher: ادباء الشام

AUTHOR: د.خالد الأحمد D,Khaled Al Ahmad

Publishing date: 2007-07-21


His Excellency Mr. Abdel Halim Khaddam had the opportunity to become acquainted with Hafez Al-Assad during his early years. They were comrades in the party since their youth. Subsequently, Khaddam assumed the positions of governor of Hama, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and deputy to Hafez Al-Assad. It is widely acknowledged that Mr. Khaddam possesses an intimate and informed understanding of Hafez Al-Assad.

Recently, Mr. Khaddam authored a publication in response to a query posed by a former member of the regional leadership of the Baath Party . This response encompasses numerous characteristics and actions attributed to Hafez Al-Assad, as conveyed in the words of Mr. Abdel Halim Khaddam, which were published on the East News website on February 6, 2007:

  1. Individual Dictatorship and the Elimination of the Party:

According to His Excellency Mr. Khaddam, the grave sin began on the morning of March 8 when the national leadership of the party engaged in concealing the party’s military committee, resulting in a significant alteration in the party’s nature, shifting it from a democratic entity to a totalitarian one.

The military played a pivotal role in Hafez Al-Assad’s leadership and the shaping of his trajectory.

Mr. Khaddam further states, “President Hafez Al-Assad stood alone in both the party and government authorities. In practice, the party leadership was absent from the decision-making center, with its Secretary General (Hafez Al-Assad) retaining full control over decision-making. Consequently, the party functioned merely as a façade, covering up the regime’s errors, the oppression of its leader, and the corruption of its associates.”

(The concentration of power had a significant impact on the party’s role, status, and leadership position. Democracy within the party was replaced by appointments, resulting in its transformation into a bureaucratic body. This transformation weakened its momentum, exacerbated by the proliferation of its members. As a result, its role diminished while that of opportunists and climbers advanced.)

Mr. Khaddam continues, “During Bashar Al-Assad’s reign, members of the national leadership became informants for the security services. It is natural for opportunists and hypocrites to thrive in such an environment. We witness absurd and lamentable scenes where these opportunists, who once groveled at the doors of the Labor Union, Peasants Union, and other organizations, now crawl at the feet of corrupt individuals in hopes of gaining favor. Their actions are akin to crawling to pick the scraps thrown their way.”

  1. The proliferation of corruption originated during Hafez Al-Assad’s rule. Mr. Khaddam further asserts:

“Under Hafez Al-Assad’s leadership, all the previously forbidden taboos by the party’s former leadership began to emerge, notably the rampant spread of corruption. He not only authorized this corruption among his relatives but also employed it as a means to control his associates who served as a protective force for his regime.”

I would like to add: Hafez Al-Assad permitted his brother Rifat and high-ranking officers within the security units, as well as his family and clan members, to accumulate immense wealth, turning them into billionaires across the globe, while a significant portion of the Syrian population languished below the poverty line. Furthermore, Bashar Al-Assad, who inherited power from his father, continued the practice of allowing Syria’s wealth and resources to be controlled by individuals like Al Makhlouf and other close associates.

To exacerbate matters, the situation worsened when Syria opened its doors wide to Iranian influence. The number of Iranian companies has since increased to 100. Overnight, Iranian businessmen began competing with Al Makhlouf in exploiting and plundering the remaining wealth of the Syrian people.

  1. Hafez Al-Assad transformed the party into a collective for which he evaded accountability for his crimes.

Mr. Khaddam continues, “Significant events and grave mistakes have taken place in the country for which (Hafez Al-Assad) bears responsibility. However, he skillfully utilized the party and popular organizations as a shield to conceal these errors, thereby absolving himself of blame. Consequently, the party was held responsible for the repercussions of that era.”

In conclusion, I previously published a piece in 2005 titled “Hafez Al-Assad versus the Baath Party,” in which I elucidated the challenges inflicted upon the Baath Party by Hafez Al-Assad. In that publication, I questioned the rationale behind labeling individuals such as Michel Aflaq, Akram Al-Hourani, Salah Al-Din Al-Bitar, Sami Al-Jundi, Jalal Al-Sayed, Munif Al-Razzaz, Shibli Al-Ismi, Fahad Al-Shaer, Mohammed Amin Al-Hafiz, Ahmed Abu Saleh, Salah Jadeed, Mohammed Omran, Nour Eddin Al-Atasi, Ibrahim Makhos, Ahmed Al-Meer, Abdulkarim Al-Jundi, and many others as agents and enemies of the people, while considering only Hafez Al-Assad as loyal and honest. Such a notion is inconceivable.

Those who aligned themselves with Hafez Al-Assad, including individuals like Mustafa Tlass, the Minister of Defense and author of the Cookery Book, and those who idolized and fostered dependence on him, are equivalent to him. Any individual who exercises independent thought becomes subjected to Hafez Al-Assad’s tactics of murder, imprisonment, exile, and displacement. Even the Baathists were treated by him in the same manner as he treated other citizens.

Furthermore, I stated that Hafez Al-Assad displayed brilliance, verging on genius, in his campaign against the Baath Party. He relied on minority groups such as Alawites, Ismailis, and Druze to eliminate Baathists (Sunnis). Then, he utilized Alawites to eliminate other minority factions, followed by relying on his family to rid himself of Baathists (Sunnis). The cycle repeated as he turned to Alawites to eradicate remaining minorities, and then relied on his family and loyal colleagues to purge individuals like Rifat, Jamil, and their offspring.


The comrades of the Baath Party deserve to reclaim and uphold the party’s principles, which include collective leadership, institutional work, and the rejection of the individuality and dictatorship inherited by Bashar Al-Assad from his father. Therefore, it is necessary for them to dismiss anyone who opposes the party and its institutions and unite with every patriotic individual loyal to their country.

One option is to join the interim Qatari leadership of the Baath Party, established by His Excellency Mr. Khaddam under the National Salvation Front, with the aim of overthrowing the Assad regime that has nearly eradicated the Baath Party. This may represent the party’s last opportunity for revival and survival, by aligning with dedicated activists for a future Syria characterized by Arabism, unity, freedom, and justice, where all its citizens can thrive.

I acknowledge that the awakening of honorable Baathists, their renewed commitment to Syria’s progress, security, and future, and their alignment with the interests of the nation, as demonstrated by Mr. Khaddam, signifies the final step towards toppling the Assad regime. This step is imminent, and change will arrive soon for all.