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Digital Archive International History Declassified

August 21, 1948

REPORT FROM THE REPUBLIC OF SYRIA, ARMY AND MILITARY FORCES' GENERAL COMMAND, DEUXIèME BUREAU

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    Account of recent findings, including Syrian opposition activities, the discovery of Jehovah's Witnesses, and an attempted rebellion in Jordan.
    "Report from the Republic of Syria, Army and Military Forces' General Command, Deuxième Bureau," August 21, 1948, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Emir Farid Chehab Collection, GB165-0384, Box 12, File 2/12, Middle East Centre Archive, St Antony’s College, Oxford. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/176084
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1-2/12

Damascus, 21/8/1948

The Republic of Syria

Army and Military Forces' General Command

The Deuxième Bureau

Report on:

Opposition activities.

Contacts between King Abdullah and al-Damad Ahmad Nami Beik.

Appearance of a suspect society.

Entry of suspects into the country.

The dispatch of Prince Talal to Turkey and his ouster from Jordan.

A man by the name of Sabil al- Sayyed was sent from Damascus to Beirut to open an office to liaise between Syrian political opposition figures and Lebanese newspapers published in Beirut. This aims at forging cooperation between the two sides so that the opposition's voice and opinion can be brought out into the open in this brotherly country, at a safe distance from the Syrian authorities. The person in charge has rented an office in the building of abou 'Afif in al-Bourj. I do not discount the possibility that the articles which appeared in al-Sharq newspaper defending and exonerating the former Minister of Defence are the result of this office's endeavours.

It was Shbeilan Pacha al-Bisharat, an individual close to King Abdullah’s court spending the summer in Lebanon, who convinced al-Damad Ahmad Nami Beik to go to Amman. Well-informed circles were astonished and dumbfounded at this rapprochement especially at this particularly difficult time of Arab-Zionist hostilities. Some say that they would not be surprised if King Abdullah's ideas resurfaced in order to muddy the waters or the negotiations that took place between Abdullah and al-Damad related directly to Syria.

Someone arriving from Tal Kalakh said that a new society, calling itself Jehovah’s Witnesses, has managed to spread its influence between Wadi al-Husn and the village of Ammar near Tal Kalakh, and that its activities are restricted to the Alawite peasants in the above-mentioned province. The informer says that he would not be surprised if a foreign hand played a role in strengthening that society and urged it to gain the peasants support and poison their thoughts with ideas that have nothing to do with the nation's aspirations.

I learned from an informed source that the security forces in one of the areas of Jabal al-Druze has around ten days ago arrested four suspect individuals driving in a new car. The individuals begged to be allowed to enter Syria and leave their car at the frontier post until they can bring the necessary permits allowing them to drive it into the country. I also understood that the above mentioned individuals never returned with the documents, that the car is still at the police station where they had left it, and that still nothing is known about these people.

What is well known, however, is that the Jews have experts in forging passports and entry visas granted usually by legations, and it is not impossible that these individuals carried forged passports with which they managed to enter Trans-Jordan from Palestine, and then go on from there to Syria to carry out the missions they were entrusted with. This is why it is advisable to undertake thorough searches and investigations to discover the identities of these individuals and their passports, and circulate this information in all the regions so that they can be investigated and found.

Commercial markets in Hariqa, near Souk al-Hamidiya, have strongly condemned the obvious negligence of the Kettaneh Commercial Enterprises for employing a number of Jews at a time when other commercial and industrial enterprises have fired their Jewish employees in solidarity with the Government. A strong campaign is expected to be launched in the press against the Kettaneh Enterprise (the Lebanese commercial enterprise) for that very purpose.

We were contacted and told that Prince Talal, Crown Prince of the Kingdom of Jordan, had attempted to mount a rebellion against his father, King Abdullah, and bring down the regime in Trans-Jordan. Among the signs of his impending move was his violation of the wishes and orders of British officers working in Jordan. He went so far as give direct military orders to officers and soldiers of the Jordanian Army that prompted a number of British officers to report him to his father, King Abdullah.

To prevent a further escalation of the situation, King Abdullah forced his son Prince Talal to leave Jordan for Lebanon and from there to go on to Turkey. Thus, Prince Talal had to leave for Turkey where he would remain until such time as the anger of the Jordanian public opinion against his father and the British officers in Trans-Jordan calms down.

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