Authoritarian Power and State Formation in Ba'thist Syria: Army, Party and Peasant

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Examines how the Ba'th regime under Hafiz al-Asad consolidated power, building on party organization, control of the army and rural support. The Ba`th Party's 1963 seizure of power marked a major watershed in modern Syrian history: the collapse of the "old regime'' which had inherited power in the first independent Syrian state and its replacement by a counter-elite which set out to forge an entirely new type of state and development strategy. Whether this amounted to a revolution as the Ba`thists insisted is a matter of controversy. This study will argue that the key concept which gives the most adequate insight into the rise, durability, and nature of the Ba`th is authoritarian-populism. Authoritarian-populism has been a characteristic feature of the post-colonial world, a particular kind of solution to the challenges facing new states being incorporated as subordinate players in the international state system and dependents of world capitalism. It seeks to establish the authority of a strong state autonomous of the dominant classes and external powers and to launch national economic development aimed at easing dependence and subordinating capitalist forces to populist goals.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationBoulder CO, US
PublisherWestview Press
Number of pages350
ISBN (Print)0813375908
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1990


  • Syria
  • Ba'th party
  • army
  • Peasants


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