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Greater Syria Plan

GREATER SYRIA PLAN

Plan for unification of the central regions of the Middle East.

Championed by King Abdullah of Transjordan, the Greater Syria plan was the expression of an old dream to unify Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, and Jordan. After Faisal's kingdom in Syria collapsed in 1920, Abdullah tried to unite Transjordan and Syria under his rule, and throughout the 1930s, he kept the dream alive for the Hashimites. Although he received little encouragement from British officials, his ideas revived after World War II and met with the approval of Nuri al-Saʿid of Iraq; certain aspects of the program were incorporated into the Arab League charter in 1945. Most Syrian leaders, however, not to mention those of Lebanon and Palestine, were against a Hashimite-led Greater Syria and distrusted Abdullah accordingly. Although the Syrian Social Nationalist Party of Antun Saʿada supported the scheme, the rest of the Syrian leadership rejected it, including the first president of independent Syria, Shukri al-Quwatli, and his successor, Husni al-Zaʿim. With the assassination of Abdullah in 1951, the Greater Syria plan lay in ruins, though it was kept alive by Nuri al-Saʿid until his untimely death in 1958.

See also abdullah i ibn hussein; faisal i ibn hussein; fertile crescent unity plans; hashimite house (house of hashim); league of arab states; quwatli, shukri al-; saʿada, antun; syrian social nationalist party; zaʿim, husni al-.


Bibliography

Lenczowski, George. The Middle East in World Affairs, 4th edition. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1980.

Seale, Patrick. The Struggle for Syria: A Study of Post-War Arab Politics, 19451958. London: I.B. Tauris, 1986.

zachary karabell

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