Commander of People's Army demands End to Baath Pan Arab Leadership
New bits added at end (21 March 2005)
Andrew Tabler of Syria Today, just alterted me to this interesting new development announced by Ayman Abdulnour's "All for Syria," newsletter.
Syria: an investigation committee with leader of the people's armySyria, Politics, 3/19/2005
The Syrian "all for Syria" website said that the regional leadership of the Baath party has formed a committee to investigate the leader of the People's Army lt. gen. Ibrahim al-Ali. General al-Ali, during an interview on Syrian TV, called for the abrogation of the Baath Party Pan Arab national leadership of the Baath Party, which has two leaderships: the Regional and National.
The website said on Friday that "the Regional Leadership of the Baath Arab Socialist Party issued a decision to form an investigative committee to look into the remarks of Lt. gen. Ibrahim al-Ali (the commander of the people's army, who also has the rank of Minister, a title confered on the position when the Baath party assumed power in Syria in 1963). Al-Ali's statement was made during an interview on the popular TV show, "Madarat" ( circles), a program hosted by Nidal Zaghbour who is also a secretary for the Baath party group in the Syria Radio and TV station.
The news bulletin "all for Syria" added that the investigative committee is composed of the chairman of the party's military committee Lt. Gen. Mustafa Tlass, chairman of the party regional party preparatory committee Ahmad Dargham and the chairman of the regional organizational office Ghayyath Barakat.
Al-Ali, who is also member of the Party's central committee, not only demanded the abrogation of the party's pan Arab Leadership, but also accused the party's regional leadership of being frozen.
It is not clear whether this is important. The People's Army is some militia group of doubious importance. We shall see if this is a tempest in a tea pot or more.
Ibrahim Hamidi writes in Al-Hayat (20 March 2005) that the exicitement caused al-Ali is a sign of tension caused by the Lebanon debacle. He points out that the substance of al-Ali's remarks are nothing new. Information Minister Dakhlallah called for the elimination of the "National Leadership" of the Baath before he became minister. some thought his remarks would lead to his being removed as editor-in-chief of the Baath newspaper, his position at the time. Instead he was appointed Minister.
Evidently, the Baath Party confress is still due to be held in June, according to Hamidi's article. Party elections should begin "next month." As I reported in an earlier article, the Baath Party hold two tiers of free elections, each of which takes aproximately three weeks to complete, before the new Regional Baath Leadership Council is appointed from the winners, by the President.