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Syria's Peasantry, the Descendants of Its Lesser Rural Notables, and Their Politics
Hanna Batatu

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TABLE OF CONTENTS:

LIST OF TABLES xiii
PREFACE xvii
PART I THE PEASANTS' SOCIOECONOMIC CONDITIONS 3
CHAPTER 1 The Role of Demographics 5
CHAPTER 2 Differentiations 10
The "Peasant-gardeners" and the "Agricultural Peasants" 10
The Pacific Peasants and the Peasants of Warrior Origin 12
The "Orthodox" and the "Heterodox" Peasants 13
The Clanless and Clan-linked Peasants 22
The Landed and Landless Peasants, the Traditional Urban Landowners, and the Modem Mustathmirs 29
CHAPTER 3 Living Conditions 38
The Distribution of Agricultural Income prior to and since the Restructuring of Agrarian Relations 38
The Lessening Cost of Agricultural Credit 53
The Reduced Tax Burden 59
The Rapid Electrification of the Countryside 63
The Spread of Safe Water Networks 66
The Expansion of Rural Health Care 66
The Development of the Means of Communication and Conveyance 69
The Intensification of the State's Educational Efforts 71
CHAPTER 4 Economic Efficiency 75
Land Use 75
The Agricultural Growth Trends and Related Causal Factors 81
Possible Lines of Future Progress 91
PART II THE PRE-BATH PATTERNS OF PEASANT CONSCIOUSNESS, ORGANIZATION, AND POLITICAL BEHAVIOR 93
CHAPTER 5 Introduction: Portraits of Peasants by Ibn Khaldun, Balzac, Trotsky, Father Ayrout, and J. C. Scott, and Their Relevance 95
CHAPTER 6 The First Peasant Organizations or the Corporations of Peasant-gardeners from the Seventeenth to the Twentieth Century 98
CHAPTER 7 Sufism among the Peasants: A Source of Political Quietism? 103
CHAPTER 8 The Proneness in Ottoman and Mandate Times of the Peasant Mountaineers to Rebellion and of the Peasants of the Open Plains to Indirect Methods of Defense 109
CHAPTER 9 The Communists and the Peasants 118
CHAPTER 10 The Arab Socialists, or the First Agrarian Party in Syria's History 124
PART III THE RURAL AND PEASANT ASPECTS OF BA'THISM 131
CHAPTER 11 The Old Ba'th and the Political Rearing of a Rural Intelligentsia 133
CHAPTER 12 The "Transitional" Ba'th or the Ba'th of the 1960s, the Rise of the Lesser Rural or Village Notability, and the Ruralization of the Army, the Party, and, to Some Degree, the State Bureaucracy 144
The Social Origins of the Members of the Military Committee 145
The Causal Factors behind the Ascent of the Lesser Rural or Village Notability 155
The Stepped-up Ruralization of the Anned Forces 156
Reasons for the Paramount Influence of the 'Alawi Officers 157
The Rural Penetration of the State Bureaucracy 160
The Enhanced Rural Coloring of the Ba'th Party 161
The Agrarian Policies of the 1960s and Their Social Meaning 162
The Downfall of the Mainstream Ba'thists of the 1960s and Its Causes 170
CHAPTER 13 The Post-1970 Asad-molded, Career-oriented Ba'th 176
Qa'id-ul-Masirah 176
The General Characteristics and Social Composition of the New Ba'th 177
The Reasons Why the Proportion of Peasants in the Party Declined in the 1980s and Rose Subsequently 188
PART IV HAFIZ AL-ASAD, OR SYRIA'S FIRST RULER OF PEASANT EXTRACTION 191
CHAPTER 14 Asad's Background, Early Education, Party Apprenticeship, and
First Political Battle 193
CHAPTER 15 Asad's Military Career and Military Qualifications, or the Inferences as to His Generalship Deducible from His Performance in the 1967 and 1973 Wars and during Israel's Invasion of Lebanon 198
CHAPTER 16 The Varied Aspects of Power in Asad's State 204
A Few Preliminary General Observations on "Democratic" Rhetoric and the Realities of Life 204
Asad's Public and Private Views of the Power of Men in the Mass and Their Aptitude for Politics 205
The Four Levels of Asad's Power Structure and Their Basic Characteristics 206
CHAPTER 17 Focusing for a While on the More Subtle Forms of Power 208
CHAPTER 18 The Organization of Power at the Second Tier of Asad's Polity and Its Partaking, among Other Features, of a Basic Trait of Peasant Life 217
The Elemental Instinct for Family and Clan and Its Impact 217
The Lesser Rural Notability and the Inner Core of the Regime's Leadership 225
Is Asad's Regime Sectarian? 226
The Abuse of Authority in High Places and Its Prime Symbol 230
The "Succession Crisis" 232
New Tensions 237
A Word on the Security and Intelligence Networks and Their Key Figures 238
CHAPTER 19 A Glance at the Third Level of Power or at the Composition of the Upper Elite of the Ba'th Party (1970-1997) 244
CHAPTER 20 Shifting the Focus to the Fourth Level of Power, or an Analysis, by Way of Illustration, of the Role of the Peasants' General Union, the Party's Principal Ancillary Mass Organization 251
CHAPTER 21 A Closer View of the Summit of Power, or Asad's Personality as a Factor in the Maintenance of His Rule and the Thwarting of His Opponents 256
CHAPTER 22 Of the Manner in Which Asad Dealt with the Muslim Brethren and their Militants, and the Light It Throws on the Methods by Which He Holds Sway 260
Coping with the Muslim Brethren by Propitiating the 'Ulama' and How the 'Ulama' Responded 260
Benefiting from the Divisions within the Brotherhood 262
Encouraging the Quietism of the Brotherhood's "Damascus Faction"? 265
Facing the Militants' Violent Blows and Their Large-scale Armed Rebellions, or the Gravest Internal Challenge to His Regime 266
Using Force at First Guardedly and Differentiating between the Militants, Leaving Open a Line of Retreat for "the Misled" among Them 270
Feeling out the Country's Temper 271
Altering the Sectarian Composition of the Ba'th Command and Placing in High-Profile Posts More Sunnis from Families of High Religious Status 271
Linking the Irreconcilable Militants to the CIA. and Taking the Problem by the Horns and Going the Limit 272
Frustrating the Muslim Brethren in Exile 275
More Firmly in the Saddle than Ever 277
CHAPTER 23 Asad's Main Concepts at the Level of Regional Politics: Ends or Instruments? 279
Asad and Pan-Arabism 279
Asad and the Iraq-Iran War 283
The Conflict with Israel and the Concept of Strategic Parity 285
CHAPTER 24 An In-depth Study of Asad's Relations with Fath and the P.L.O. from 1966 to 1997 and the Light It Sheds on His Aims and Techniques 287
The First Spell of Fath-Ba'th Cooperation 287
"The Affair of Yasuf 'Urabi" 288
From the 1967 Arab Defeat to the Jordanian Crisis of 1970-1971 289
The Twists and Turns prior to and during the 1975-1976 Lebanese Civil Conflict and the Slide from Latent Enmity into Open War 292
An Interlude of Apparent Harmony 300
The 1982 Israeli Invasion of Lebanon and the Virtual Abandonment of the Palestinian Resistance to Its Fate 302
The Rupture of Relations and the Battle of Tripoli 303
Arafat Springs Surprises 307
The Arafat-King Husayn 1985 Initiative 308
The Reemergence of Fath in Lebanon's Military Equation, the Alleged "Assurances" to Israel, and the "War of the Camps" of 1985-1988 309
The Intifadah, the Tenuous 1988 Agreement, and the Continued Divergence of Policies 312
Turning a New Page? 315
Arafat Goes His Own Way 315
Pulling Together Again 318
Some Conclusions 320
CHAPTER 25 Epilogue 323
APPENDIX Members of the Syrian Ba'th Party (Regional) Commands, 1963-1997 331
NOTES 355
SELECT BIBLIOGRAPHY 391
INDEX I: SUBJECTS 405
INDEX II: PERSONAL NAMES 409
INDEX III: NAMES OF FAMILIES AND TRIBES 414

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File created: 4/17/2014

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