Coup in Damascus

Syria and the birth of Arab military rule, 1949

By Carl Rihan

Coup in Damascus
Hardcover -
  • Price: £85.00
  • ISBN: 9781526151049
  • Publish Date: May 2025
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Pre-Order £85.00

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    Book Information

    • Format: Hardcover
    • ISBN: 978-1-5261-5104-9
    • Pages: 264
    • Price: £85.00
    • Published Date: May 2025


    Coup in Damascus is a history of Syria's first military regime. It plots the the fall of Syria's democracy and the rise of its military rulers, particularly Husni al-Zaim, whose brief rule in 1949 represented a profoundly transformative moment for the Syrian nation.

    It is a history of the thoughts, intentions and motives of political actors underpinning the events that have marked Syria's history after the first Arab-Israeli war, and focuses mainly on the interaction between local, regional and international actors. Unlike most histories of the modern Middle East that tackle broad intervals and that focus on the sequences of events, this history seeks to reconstruct the thought processes behind the events, and anchor them within the epoch's existing political and socioeconomic conditions. It draws on several methodological influences, particularly R.G. Collingwood's 'history as re-enactment of the past'.


    1 Central Bankers, Notables, and Peasants
    2 The Political Disaster of 1948
    3 The Jordanian Option
    4 The Wrongly Accused
    5 Diplomatic Landmine
    6 The New Dawn
    7 Officers and Bankers
    8 Containing Greater Syria
    9 The Birth of Rentierism
    10 First Cracks in the Junta
    11 Backlash
    12 The Polarization of Rural Politics
    13 Blurred Borders and Blurred Allegiances
    14 A New Deal
    15 The Collective Imaginary Denied
    16 An Unusual Sedition
    17 The Flood Gates are Open
    18 Conclusion


    Carl Rihan is specialist of governance and public policy in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. He is an Associate of the German Institute of Global and Area Studies (GIGA, Hamburg) focusing on the political economy and economic history of MENA States. A seasoned educator with ten years of experience, Carl teaches Business Management as well as History at Ecole Jeannine Manuel, France's top-ranked educational institution, and lectures on International Security and Public Policy at SciencesPo Lille.

    Coup in Damascus

    By Carl Rihan

    Hardcover £85.00 / $130.00

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