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Digital Archive International History Declassified

1956

THE SITUATION IN SYRIA: ECHOES OF KING SAUD'S VISIT AND ITS REASONS

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    King Saud's visit to Syria sparks conversations among Syrian politicians regarding American involvement and the Fertile Crescent Project.
    "The Situation in Syria: Echoes of King Saud's Visit and its Reasons," 1956, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Emir Farid Chehab Collection, GB165-0384, Box 12, File 173/12, Middle East Centre Archive, St Antony’s College, Oxford. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/176095
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The situation in Syria

Echoes of King Saud's visit and its reasons:

Last week’s visit by King Saud to Syria was the subject of comments by Syrian politicians trying to understand the reasons behind it. People believe that King Saud had received secret reports from some of his agents and friends in Syria to the effect that the success of the American policy in staging a coup in Syria would undoubtedly lead to the implementation of the Fertile Crescent Project elaborated by the Hashemites and the PPS. If this happens, members of the latter party would assume all the sensitive positions. The reports also say that this would be followed by the accession of the Fertile Crescent countries, Syria, Jordan, and Lebanon, to the Baghdad Pact, which King Saud was one of the first to oppose.

What further confirms this theory is King Saud's statement to the effect that an attack on Syria would involve other Arab countries. He undoubtedly means by this the danger that threatens the Saudi Kingdom if the Fertile Crescent Project was ever implemented, and if Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan accede to the Baghdad Pact.

The Syrian military investigation focussed on the recent plot and sought proof of the involvement of American Embassy and PPS personnel, and of the fact that it was meant to annex Lebanon to Syria and implement the Fertile Crescent Project.

King Saud was afforded a very warm welcome in Damascus and all sectors of the population participated in the reception and farewell celebrations. While he was in Damascus, King Saud stayed in touch with his brother Prince Faisal in Washington and with Arab countries through his envoys there. He recommended that Arab Governments adopt a position favourable to Syria.

For their part, leftist Parties in Syria are constantly and diligently watchful of King Saud’s policies. They explain the reasons behind King Saud's visit as being part of a plan jointly elaborated by Iraq, Lebanon, and the Muslim Brotherhood in the Arab countries. They say that the plan emanates from the fear that tensions between America and Syria would escalate, and that the pro-Western Arab countries' support for America at the expense of Syria, their approval of American envoy Loy Henderson's report, and the American Government's statement about his visit to Turkey and Lebanon, will together pose a very grave danger to Syria. This, according to their theory, would compel Syria to link its fate, once and for all, to that of the Soviet Union and bring closer the threat of real war, among the first results of which would be the destruction of these countries and their leaders' exposure to the Russian threat lurking in the neighbourhood.

They also believe that Britain and America gave each of these countries the freedom to issue whatever declaration best suits their domestic situation and eliminates fear and apprehension from their hearts.

The leftists' theory is based on Iraq's position and its rapprochement with Syria in the aftermath of the severe crisis between the two countries because Iraq, due to its geographic location, is more threatened by war than any other country.

The leftists in Syria also say that Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, and Jordan still maintain their pro-Western and anti-Syrian policies, and that then statements are merely the result of current political imperatives.

Statements made by individuals close to King Saud to the effect that his support for Syria is based on his fear that the Fertile Crescent Project might be implemented, are meant to conceal the real reason behind King Saud's stand, namely the elimination of any imminent danger to his country and to other Arab anti-communist countries.

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