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Al Jazeera – World: Syria: The Roots of Tyranny


March 16, 2017

Syria: The Roots Of Tyranny tells the story of Abdul Hamid al-Sarraj, a military intelligence chief who used fear and torture to turn 1950s Syria into a police state, a decade or so before the al-Assad regime rose to power.

When Syria gained independence from France in 1946, the country’s institutions were based on those of its former protectorate. It had an elected parliament, multi-party politics, freedom of the press and the right to protest, according to Radwan Ziadeh, executive director of the Syrian Centre for Political and Strategic Studies.

“The 1950 constitution was one of the most advanced in the Arab world.” There were three coups in 1949 but “the state’s infrastructure, its democratic, pluralist and civil institutions didn’t change,” explains Ziadeh.

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