The Bourgeoisie and the Baath

A Look at Syria's Upper Class

by Volker Perthes
published in MER170

For more than a quarter of a century, Syria has been ruled by the Arab Socialist Baath Party, which claims to be leading the country not only to unity and freedom but also to socialism. In the early years of its rule, the Baath made great efforts to develop central planning and to build up public industrial, commercial and service sectors to lead the economy. A parallel effort aimed at liquidating “the enemy of the revolution,” the Syrian bourgeoisie. Yet in Syria today an active private sector controls more than 90 percent of agriculture, about half of all registered foreign trade and most internal trade, and produces about three quarters of the surplus in Syria’s converting industries, oil refining excluded. And there is a lively upper stratum of society which we will, somewhat simplistically, call the bourgeoisie.

The most shining exemplars of this class are a rather small group of big businessmen whom Syrians call al-tabaqa al-jadida, the “new class.” [1] A closer look at the Syrian bourgeoisie reveals four main groups or branches -- the old bourgeoisie, the new industrial bourgeoisie, the state or bureaucratic bourgeoisie, and the new commercial bourgeoisie (including its top stratum, the “new class”).

The Old Bourgeoisie

The roots of Syria’s old bourgeoisie can be traced back to the “landowning bureaucratic class” [2] of the late Ottoman period, those influential families of local notables and Turkish officials that owned estates, and were active in commerce and government and in the religious establishment. With the end of Ottoman rule, these families remained the leading class, whether as a comprador bourgeoisie colluding with the French mandate and foreign capital, or as a “national bourgeoisie” of merchants and early industrialists who in the 1930s and 1940s first imported modern machinery into Syria on a large scale. The few entrepreneurs who managed to ascend to comparable economic positions were usually of smaller merchant or artisan origin, including some Armenian immigrants.

With Syria’s independence in 1946, this class took over the government and, despite internal struggles, held control until the late 1950s. The land reform law of the United Arab Republic (uniting Syria and Egypt) struck the first blow against the old bourgeoisie, limiting its property and influence in the countryside. When the Baath took power in a 1963 coup, the new rulers, whose origins were mainly middle-class, pushed the old bourgeoisie out of government. The nationalizations of 1963 and 1965 liquidated or seriously diminished their economic power.

What was to happen to this group in the years that followed? First, a disparity emerged between merchants, who were less affected, and industrialists. The merchants’ businesses survived, although they were forced to reduce operations. Their role was restored in the 1970s when President Hafiz al-Asad announced an infitah (open door) policy. An unprecedented influx of petrodollars and foreign aid, especially after 1973, made possible huge development programs. [3] State and private consumption soared. Characteristically for the old bourgeoisie, merchants seized this opportunity, but for the most part they spumed the extraordinary profits they could have made had they been unscrupulous.

“A real merchant,” says Badr al-Din Shallah, born in 1908, and in 1988 reelected president of the Damascus Chamber of Commerce, “has to be what the letters of the word tajir [merchant] mean: God-fearing (taqiy), trustworthy (amin), daring (jasur) and gracious (ra’uf).” “A merchant,” he continues, “is not a broker. It is the brokers and middlemen who really have become rich, striving for extraordinary fortunes that some day will vanish like all wealth that comes from other than pious work. The honest merchant alone will continue.”

Shallah stands for continuity. Landowners in the Ghouta oasis around Damascus for almost a century, the Shallah family has long traded in dried apricots and other agricultural products. In 1928, Badr al-Din and his brothers helped set up a preserves and marmalade factory. In 1965 it was nationalized, not hurting Shallah too much; he was primarily a merchant, and so he remained.

Some trade establishments were nationalized as well, giving the state a monopoly over trade in certain products. After the banking sector was nationalized in 1963, though, the main target of the 1964 and 1965 nationalizations was industry, including all cement and sugar production, cotton ginning and spinning mills, as well as the biggest textile plants, and factories for glass, ceramics, matches, refrigerators, cables, furniture, shoes, socks, soap, vegetable oil, milk products, yeast, sweets and other products.

The government often asked owners to stay and run their nationalized factories. Some did, but many headed for Lebanon, Jordan and Saudi Arabia, transferring assets in advance and taking with them what they could in cash and expertise. Others left industry but stayed in Syria as brokers, agents and especially middlemen. Nationalizations hit the industrial sector hardest, depriving it of capital and leadership and adding a burdensome bureaucracy.

Some later came back; they or their sons today form the heart of the old industrial bourgeoisie, along with the few who were spared nationalization. Some opened new, smaller industries immediately after nationalization. Most returned to industry only after Hafiz al-Asad overthrew the radical wing of the Baath, called on merchants and industrialists to trust his new regime, and placed limits on trade union activities.

One of these is Zuhayr Zayn al-‘Abidin, son of a Damascene cloth merchant who in the mandate period employed up to 100 weavers who worked on looms in their own homes. Zuhayr, born in 1922, was trained in his father’s shop and in a nearby factory. In 1943, he set up his own firm, using simple, locally produced knitting machines and bringing his workers into a shop. In the early 1950s, he was able to enlarge his factory, now using modem imported machinery and employing up to 120 workers. His company was nationalized in 1964 and he stayed on as director for about two years before leaving Syria and founding small establishments in Lebanon and Jordan. In 1971, he returned to establish a factory for underwear and knitwear. He again imported European machinery, financed with loans from the suppliers. Today, with some 40 workers and a production of more than a million pieces a year, he is again in the upper ranks of Syrian private industry.

Zuhayr Zayn al-‘Abidin and Badr al-Din Shallah each represent a part of the old bourgeoisie in today’s Syria and share many characteristics. First, merchants and industrialists of their generation, who for the most part come from the less wealthy and less prominent parts of the pre-1963 entrepreneurial class, would rarely have obtained more than a seven-year elementary school education. Yet they often were innovators in their field, adapting new technologies or introducing new forms of production and distribution. They got their basic education on the job. And while their sons do the same, they also go to university. With few exceptions, these young men of the old bourgeois families hold degrees either in engineering or in management and commerce.

Second, the old bourgeoisie is generally socially conservative and religious. This will certainly decrease as the younger generation takes over, but both generations appear to be thoroughly conservative politically. While less inclined than the merchants to curry favor with the Baathist regime, neither group is likely to revolt; at most they may refuse to cooperate with the state beyond the minimum demanded by law. “Why,” asks one of these industrialists, harmed by nationalization and stressing that he never got a qirsh for his former properties, “should we cooperate with thieves?” Lastly, a relatively modest lifestyle distinguishes the old bourgeoisie. They know what positions their families have, or ought to have, in society and other people know as well. So there is no need for ostentation. Then too, despite all the regime’s attempts to reassure the private capitalists, there may be an element of fear and distrust behind their modesty.

The New Industrialists

As the state pursued its infitah policies, and public and private spending rose in the 1970s, new groups caught up with and surpassed the old bourgeoisie in wealth and influence. Using 1963 as a rough dividing point between “old” and “new,” belonging to one of the old notable families now ceased to be the main guarantee of bourgeois class status. Although some members of these new groups began their climb earlier, it was in the post-1970 period that they secured social positions into which they were not born.

Most similar to the old bourgeoisie is what we may call the “new industrial bourgeoisie” -- entrepreneurs, mostly from craftsmen or merchant families, most with a secondary school degree, some with university degrees in commerce or, rarely, engineering. They started in circumstances different from those of the first industrialists, but, like them, seized the opportunities offered by new technologies, a growing population, increasing purchasing power and new consumer habits. They declined the choices of others of their generation -- to enter the expanding civil service or become merchants.

An outstanding example is Riyad Sayf, a carpenter’s son who worked as a street vendor and packer to pay for his secondary education. In 1962 he and his brothers bought some sewing machines and started a workshop that in the 1970s became a real factory. In 1975 the brothers separated, each taking charge of a project of his own -- producing shirts, pajamas or ladies’ wear. Riyad began trading in cloth, too, and oriented his ladies’ wear production toward the Soviet market, which was taking Syrian products in lieu of loan repayment.

Sayf employed some 200 workers in 1980 and about 1,000 by 1989, in his own factory and in others in which he holds shares and manages. He pays probably the top industrial wages in Syria. “I take the workers’ youth and their labor,” he says, “so why shouldn’t I pay them as well as possible? Every worker who stays five years at my company will be able to buy a flat. And they will return their wages with even bigger efforts.”

Sayf’s stable and well-trained labor force, combined with clever marketing, ensures his success. Trade unions, the government and the Chamber of Industry point to him as a sort of ideal capitalist. He himself would not demur: “There are others,” he says, “who would like to copy my example. But they don’t want to bear the costs, that is, to distribute most of the profits among the workers instead of buying another car or a villa. They will not succeed.”

Sayf, now the largest private employer of labor in Syria, is in some ways unique. But thousands like him started private manufacturing establishments in the 1970s and 1980s. More than 2,000 garment workshops and factories were founded after 1970, an estimated 300 of these employing ten workers a shift or more. At the end of 1987, the Ministry of Industry counted a total of some 85,000 private manufacturing enterprises in industry and crafts. [4] About half of these employ only family labor, some 2,000 employ ten workers or more, and about 100 employ more than 60 workers.

Beyond class origins, the new industrialists differ from the old in the area of production. Whereas the old bourgeoisie emphasized heavy industry -- electrical generation, water, sugar refining and processing, textile weaving and manufacturing -- the new industrialists are almost entirely restricted to light and finishing industries, primarily the production of consumer goods for the middle and upper classes. Private production of refrigerators and stoves, underwear and some other rather basic needs does exist, but the new industrialists focus largely on outerwear, soft drinks, shampoos and cosmetics, toys and plastic items. The three largest private plants today, in terms of invested capital, are a biscuit factory, a tissue and diaper factory, and a perfume manufacturer.

This trend is not a matter of choice alone. Basic industries are still monopolized by the state; the private sector, according to official doctrine, is to make up the rest. There is currently some rethinking of this pattern, but the tendency remains: the state pushes and the new industrialists allow themselves to be pushed into the production of lighter consumer goods.

These new industrial bourgeoisie are not the nation-builders that the old industrialists were and still aspire to be, developing and governing the country according to their interests. The new industrialists’ production is mainly import substitution, serving the consumer demands of society’s upper half. An industrialist who manufactures a Western brand-name shaving cream -- importing the soap, the tube and the cover -- becomes a merchant-substitute and comes to share some of the merchant’s characteristics, notably an interest in quick profits. “A new project,” says the owner of a fairly large factory for shampoos, deodorant and cockroach pesticides, who is just setting up a soap plant, “should cover its cost in two or three years.” He is closely connected to foreign companies, working with licenses and importing raw material. He has no great interest in politics, neither favoring the regime nor opposing it, rather cooperating with it as it is. The state is not his product, but he is the product of this current state.

The State Bourgeoisie

The growth of new private industry in the 1970s was linked to the rapid growth of Syria’s new wage-earning middle class -- civil servants, teachers, engineers, medical personnel, officers -- and to their consumption demands. With this middle class forming the structural basis for the state apparatus, there emerged an upper stratum of the bureaucracy, soon to be far above the main body of public employees. It includes the top government and party officials -- ministers, governors, members of the Baath party command, party branch secretaries and the heads of the popular organizations; the top rank of the military, police and security services; and the managers of the public economic sector.

This group, owing its position to its loyalty to the regime and often its personal connections to President al-Asad, has acquired not only significant political and economic power but personal wealth as well, which came to equal or even surpass that of the old bourgeoisie. It was gained partly from the legal perks associated with official positions, but mostly by illegal, though not always covert, methods. These officials assiduously exploited the powers of their positions -- access to state property, control of employment opportunities, supervision of import, export and investment licenses of the private sector, and responsibility for government contracts, especially in imports and construction. To put it less politely, this group became rich from theft, bribes and commissions. [5]

Some names have become prominent in this business: Rif‘at al-Asad, the president’s brother, before he left for business outside Syria; Muhammad Haydar, the ex-deputy premier known as “Mister Five Percent”; [6] and an ex-prime minister, ‘Abd al-Ra‘uf al-Qasm. Some are still in power, while a few have been publicly accused and discharged from office, sentenced or sent into exile. Among these are Gen. Mahmoud al-Kurdi, former director-general of the Military Construction Establishment, and Col. Khalil Bahlul, the mighty manager of Milihouse, Syria’s biggest construction establishment, both of whom were sacked in 1987. But they are just the tip of the iceberg.

The majority of these state or bureaucratic bourgeoisie stem from middle-class or petty bourgeois rural or urban backgrounds. They usually have been to a military academy or a university, whereas their fathers rarely had more than a primary school or kuttab education. Descendants of the old bourgeoisie are seldom to be found in this group, although relationships based on common interests, even common enterprises or intermarriage, do exist.

Calling this group the state or bureaucratic bourgeoisie is, although common, not very accurate. They try to emulate the lifestyles of the old bourgeoisie, but more ostentatiously. Still, the accumulation of money, the purchase of a home in the exclusive Abu Rummana or Malki quarters of Damascus plus a villa in the countryside and some real estate in Germany, Switzerland or the US, and, above all, having a bank account “outside,” does not signify bourgeois status in the sense of membership in an entrepreneurial class.

It is possible that this class, controlling the surplus of publicly owned production, will some day be transformed into an authentic bourgeoisie that acquires the means of production as real private property and invests -- not just spends -- the surplus it has accumulated. This is even quite probable, given the severe crisis of the Syrian economy. As the state’s austerity policies continue to reduce opportunities for private accumulation of public surplus and for providing jobs for relatives, and given the common economic interests and various relationships established in the past, the transformation into and amalgamation with the authentic bourgeoisie would be eased.

Evidence for such a process is still limited. Some prominent members of the Syrian political-military elite or their sons and daughters do invest most or part of their wealth in industry, trade and services inside the country. Many officers are buying land estates for high-profit agricultural production such as fruit, chickens or greenhouse crops. [7] They are copying the example of the old bourgeoisie who lived in the cities and invested in the countryside.

In general, the bureaucracy of Baathist Syria has established itself in the cities. While the fathers advanced to the town, their sons and daughters now advance to the most respected city jobs. There are at present fewer merchants and industrialists than there are medical doctors, dentists and engineers among the children of the mas’ulin, the officials of the state.

The most outstanding example of those who have turned to investment is Minister of Defense Mustafa Tlass. He owns agricultural projects and Syria’s biggest private publishing house. His son runs a highly modern, computerized flower farm, a canned meat factory and a tin can factory. He also runs the Syrian branch of a Paris-based agricultural services company, which is in turn owned by a Saudi businessman of Syrian origin who was married to one of Tlass’ daughters. In addition, but not ending the list, the Tlass family joined with the families of the former Mercedes representative and the BMW representative for Syria, to found one of the new “mixed-sector” agricultural shareholding companies. [8]

The New Commercial Class

The youngest branch of the Syrian bourgeoisie is the commercial bourgeoisie. Its top stratum and sometimes the group as a whole is commonly known as the “new class.” This term also lacks accuracy. Some critics label it simply a euphemism for thieves. This group really is new, emerging only after 1973. Very few derive from the old commercial class; more come from the petty bourgeoisie, small traders and employees, some of whom have experience in state service or the public sector; some even come from a quasi-proletarian environment like the military. With their new wealth and a certain social respectability, members of this “new class” often try to upgrade their family history somewhat, making it difficult to trace their social background.

Their rise is linked to their personal relations with people in power and to soaring public expenditures. Both factors enabled these middlemen to skim off commissions from almost every deal made by the state and the public sector with its suppliers. The opportunities for such commissions explains many contracts that are hard to justify in terms of economic rationality. Privately imported shampoos are for sale in state-run retail shops, for example, although Syria produces comparable products, and many projects contracted out to foreign firms turn out to be oversized, overpriced, in the wrong location or otherwise inappropriate. [9]

Not every deal, of course, is subject to corrupt practices. Long-established import merchants and company agents still present their bids on public calls for tender, supply equipment and guarantee future service. They, too, profited from the economic boom of the 1970s.

No more than an estimated 100 people form what can truly be called the “new class.” They made most of their big deals by virtue of their connections, in “partnership” with influential bureaucratic or political figures with whom they had to share their cuts or under whose auspices other non-legal or semi-legal practices like smuggling and marketing of smuggled goods could take place. Some of these businessmen became the junior partners or front men for their powerful friends, falling when their silent partners fell or getting into even more trouble when they tried to become independent.

To be fair, the “new class” is not entirely involved in illegal deals. Rather, illegal or manipulative methods are used to run a business that in itself is generally legitimate, although looked upon with some disgust by some members of the old bourgeoisie. In addition to reaping commissions and acting as middlemen, “new class” members are also traders, contractors, official agents for foreign companies, and investors in services and international finance.

Three main characteristics allow us to define the “new class” as a unique group. First, the principal activities of the “new class” are in some way related to the state. Second, in pursuit of high profits, this class strives to obtain all sorts of exemptions to the rules, including the legalization of largely non-legal activities. Third, they tend to form monopolies in some sectors of the national economy.

Sa‘ib Nahhas, a Shi‘i Damascene, son of a small industrialist, began his career as a traveling merchant in the Gulf, acting as a representative for German producers of household articles. Upon his return to Syria, he sought commissions on household articles and worked as an agent of foreign companies. Today he is the official agent for no less than ten airline companies and for Peugeot, Volkswagen and Volvo. He is also allegedly active in smuggling and has made some not very successful attempts at international arms deals.

In 1978 Nahhas founded Transtour, with which he rose to become Syria’s main tourist-transport manager. The company’s capital, in which the state holds a 25 percent share, consists mainly of a fleet of Volvo taxis and buses. Transtour became the sole official airport car service; for some years Nahhas even managed to have ordinary city cabs banned from soliciting passengers at the airport. The company also became the biggest and, it is said, best company serving foreign tourist groups in Syria. It has begun to set up holiday resorts on the Syrian coast and holds the only rent-a-car company license.

Nahhas also holds the title of “coordinator of economic relations between Iran and Syria,” and his company is the only one that transports Iranian tourists and pilgrims through Syria. In 1988, he established the Sayyida Zaynab Touristic Complex Company, which is to erect a pilgrimage center with a bank, a tax-free market, a clinic and hotels in the important Shi‘i holy place of Sayyida Zaynab outside Damascus. In 1986, Nahhas and his partners were the first to start a mixed (state-private) agricultural joint stock company.

Even in appearance Nahhas is stereotypically “new class.” They are ostensibly cosmopolitan and modem. Religion plays no role for them, nor does ideology. ‘Abd al-Rahman al-‘Attar, for example, a Sunni by birth, held a partnership in a brewery for some years. Socialism is all right with them, as long as it is Syrian Baath-style socialism. They are keen to express their loyalty to the regime and to Hafiz al-Asad personally, whether by striving for quasi-official posts or for special missions as government representatives. Of course, they hate to be called the “new class.”

The Baathist State and Its Bourgeoisie

The development of the “new class” necessitates a state in which the bureaucracy directly controls essential parts of the national economy, including state planning, yet with no democratic control over those who run the state and little ability to prevent private business from organizing the external relations of the state economy. Such an “economic middle way...a patching together of capitalist economy, dependent on the West, and overall central development planning,” [10] is found not only in Syria and other developing countries with superficially socialist tendencies, but also in the Arab Gulf states with their quite different socio-economic structure. The “new classes” in both places not only appear to be similar but cooperate closely.

The relationship between “new class” and state is not free of friction. The “new class” owes its existence to the state and profits from its “middle-way” policies. By developing its own interpersonal networks and unofficial centers of power, though, it also represents a potential threat to the system and its leadership. The political leadership could decide to direct public criticism toward the “new class,” accusing it of corruption and decay.

This was what happened in the summer of 1977, after three of the most prosperous years ever for the “new class” and its partners. As the public’s grumbling grew louder at the obviously ill-gotten fortunes of the new class, the president launched a campaign against corruption and set up a “Committee for the Investigation of Illegal Profits.” The committee soon had a number of businessmen and public servants arrested, mostly of medium rank but also some prominent businessmen like ‘Attar, ‘Uthman al-‘Aidi and Nahhas.

Following their release some weeks later, these top figures immediately turned to another form of private business-state cooperation, the so-called “mixed,” private-state joint stock companies for tourism similar to Nahhas’ Transtour. The state holds a minority share of the capital and is represented on the board, but does not interfere in business, all the while granting the companies wide exemptions from most regulations private businesses complain about -- above all, labor laws and import regulations.

In 1986, this model of private-state cooperation was adapted to agriculture as well. According to Presidential Decree 10, the state would have a 25 percent share in the companies’ capital, in the form of agricultural land. The companies are exempted from all labor laws, land reform acts and import, export and foreign currency rules. In addition to wide-ranging tax exemptions, the companies are not subject to the state’s agricultural plans, and repatriation of foreign investment capital and profits is guaranteed. Within a short time, a dozen of these companies were set up, the first two initiated by Nahhas and ‘Attar, respectively. Not all the founding partners of these companies, and not all the businessmen attracted by the scheme, are “new class.” But these founders and initiators do represent those in Syrian commerce and industry who, more than others, seek close cooperation with the state.

The “mixed sector” is therefore more than just another indicator of economic policy. [11] It is a form of partnership between the state bureaucracy -- which still upholds the slogan of central planning and public-sector leadership of the economy -- and the commercial class. This cooperation entails, in effect, a privatization of public resources, and the state’s surrender of some of its social and political principles as expressed in labor laws, trade union rights, state planning programs, foreign trade and currency regulations.

The mixed sector is not the only example of privatization that is accelerating and that the regime calls necessary, given the present crisis in the state economy. But the mixed sector endeavor expresses a trend to transform a state-dominated development economy into a more “liberal” one, and at the same time to transform the state bourgeoisie which, legally and institutionally, is now acquiring a role in private business.

Our thesis is that the so-called “state class” or state bourgeoisie will not continue as such. After a period of partnership, first silent and then open, with the new bourgeoisie, and after increasingly coming to share the interests of the latter, this class will become an authentic bourgeoisie, owning the means of production. As this occurs, the transforming state class will increasingly intermingle with the other branches of the bourgeoisie and finally fuse with them.

Whereas 25 years of bureaucratic rule in Syria began with the liquidation of a major part of the industrial bourgeoisie and left its commercial counterpart more or less untouched, today we can see the beginning of the bureaucracy’s transformation process. The next generation’s commercial and industrial bourgeoisie will likely be stronger and more homogeneous than the present bourgeoisie, tracing its roots to two main sources: those who have “always” owned the means of production, and those who have obtained this status during the last third of this century -- those whom we call, for lack of more adequate terms, the “new class” and the state bourgeoisie.


[1] I will use the term “new class” as it is used by the Syrian public, in contrast to the common sociological use of the term in the sense of Milovan Djialas and others to describe politicized intellectuals dominating (socialist) systems. There is some talk of a new landed bourgeoisie as well, comprising the upper stratum of the peasants who own machinery and employ workers. See, for example, A. Filonik, Su‘ubat al-zira‘a al-suriyya al-haditha [Problems of Modern Syrian Agriculture] (Damascus, 1987), p. 217. I do not completely agree with terming this group “bourgeoisie,” and would instead refer to them as the middle-class peasantry, distinguishing them from those elements of the urban bourgeoisie who invest in agriculture.
[2] Philip Khoury, Urban Notables and Arab Nationalists: The Politics of Damascus, 1860-1920 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1983), p. 3.
[3] For a more detailed view on the economic development of the 1970s and 1980s, see Volker Perthes, Staat und Gesellschaft in Syrien, 1970-1989 (Hamburg: Schriften des Deutschen Orient-Institutes, 1990), p. 82 ff.
[4] Internal statistics of the Ministry of Industry. For a detailed discussion of the development of Syria’s industrial and commercial private sectors, including their small scale base, see Volker Perthes, “The Syrian Private Industrial and Commercial Sectors and the State,” paper presented to the Middle East Studies Association annual conference, San Antonio, November 1990.
[5] Corruption is not specific to Syria, nor to developing countries; however, in Syria it has taken specific forms and avenues. See Yahya Sadowski, “Patronage and the Baath: Corruption and Control in Contemporary Syria,” Arab Studies Quarterly 9/4 (1987).
[6] Referred to as such in Patrick Seale, Asad of Syria: The Struggle for the Middle East (London: I. B. Tauris, 1988), p. 319.
[7] The preoccupation of townspeople “with jobs in other fields” with the investment in rural greenhouses is sometimes cautiously criticized in Syrian newspapers. See, for example, ‘Abd al-Hamid Sulayman, “Hadha al-tawassu‘ fi zira‘at al-buyut al-blastikiyya,” al-Thawra, February 8, 1989.
[8] “Nour for Agricultural Technologies,” with a capital base of 60 million Syrian pounds, is 25 percent held by the state and 36.3 percent by its founders, with the rest announced for public subscription.
[9] The paper mill in Dayr al-Zawr is a prime example of this. Other examples are more important with regard to costs and the allotment of contracts to specific foreign companies, rather than the decision to build them in the first place. These include the Meridien Hotels, the Banyas power station and the Damascus University Hospital.
[10] Ghali Shukri, Diktaturiyyat al-takhalluf al-‘arabi: Muqaddima fi ta’sis susyulujiyyat al-ma‘rifa [The Dictatorship of Arab Backwardness: An Introduction to Establishing a Cognitive Sociology] (Beirut, 1986), p. 107.
[11] I have discussed the agricultural mixed sector in Staat und Gesellschaft, p. 119 ff.

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