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Photograph of Sayyida Zainab bin Imam Ali Ibn Abi Talib Shrine.


Photograph of Sayyida Zainab bin Imam Ali Ibn Abi Talib Shrine.

Popular Documents

November 18, 1957

Excerpt from the Unedited Translation of Mao Zedong’s Speech at the Moscow Conference of Communist and Workers’ Parties

June 20, 1967

On Soviet Policy following the Israeli Aggression in the Middle East

Polish document describing the speech given by Soviet Leader Leonid Brezhnev to the Plenum of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CC CPSU) on the actions undertaken by the Soviet leadership before and during the 1967 Arab-Israeli war. Brezhnev tells the CC CPSU plenum that the Arab struggle in the Middle East has both a class struggle and a national liberation dimension. Brezhnev blames Israeli aggression for the start of the war and Arab blunders and low morale for the humiliating defeat of the UAR forces. Given the success of the Israeli Defense Forces, the Soviets were forced to consider diplomatic and political methods for saving the Arab leadership. When Israeli forces did not stop their aggression against Syria, threatening to overrun the Syrian capital of Damascus, Brezhnev claims tells the CC CPSU that Soviet leadership warned the Americans that the Soviet Army would have to intervene and, at the same time, threatened the Israeli that any further actions would result in Soviet involvement in the war. Brezhnev claims that, since the war ended just hours after the Soviets had made their threats, the imperialist powers acquiesced to Soviet demands. This documents is a translation of the version the Soviet leadership sent to the United Polish Workers’ Party for the information of the Polish leadership.

July 2, 1919

Resolution of the Syrian General Congress at Damascus

In the last two years of World War I, British Empire troops based in Egypt succeeded in occupying Bilad al-Sham (Greater Syria, roughly present-day Israel/Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan), which had been Ottoman from 1516/17. They were accompanied by the militarily weak but politically important Sherifian (also Arab or Hejazi) Army, troops loyal to the Hashemite rulers of Mecca and Medina. That dynasty, in place since the tenth century, had risen against Ottoman rule in 1916; Britain had made promises about a postwar Arab Kingdom, which were contradicted by the secret 1916 Franco-British Sykes-Picot Agreement, however. In October 1918, the Sherifian Army entered Damascus, followed by the British army. A Hashemite, Faisal (1885-1933), effectively became King of Syria with the consent of Britain and the support of Arab nationalists from all classes, including Ottoman-educated officials and officers, as Michael Provence’s The Last Ottoman Generation and the Making of the Modern Middle East (2017) shows.

From January to May 1919, Faisal attended the Paris Peace Conference. Neither then nor during a second stay, later in 1919,  did he succeed in convincing France to recognize his rule and abandon its claim to Syria. Moreover, he lost the backing of Britain, which in September 1919, following an agreement with France, withdrew its troops from Syria. The way was now open—though still winding—to France’s eventual occupation of Syria, in July-August 1920. This move contrasted the (exceedingly vague) Anglo-French Declaration of November 1918, with which the war’s victors had sought to reassure postwar Middle Easterners about their intentions; and it contravened the wishes of the Syrian General Congress (also known as the Syrian National Congress).

Convened from May 1919 to July 1920, the Syrian General Congress functioned as a parliament with representatives from across Greater Syria and interfaced with bottom-up national demands, as James Gelvin’s Divided Loyalties: Nationalism and Mass Politics in Syria at the Close of Empire (1999) showed. Led by nationalists, it inter alia declared the independent Arab Kingdom of Syria, headed by Faisal, in March 1920. And in July 1919, as the below text shows, it published clear recommendations to the King-Crane Commission (also the 1919 Inter-Allied Commission on Mandates in Turkey; in the text referred to as the American Section of the International Commission). Created by the Allies but soon feared to contravene their wishes and led only by US-Americans, that commission canvassed public political opinion in parts of Anatolia and Greater Syria in June-July 1919. Despite the demands issued in the text below, its final recommendation, which the Allies allowed to become public only in 1922, were for a Mandate.

November 1979

Saddam and His Inner Circle Discussing Relations with Various Arab States, Russia, China, and the United States

Transcript of a meeting between President Saddam Hussein amd Iraqi officials, taking place sometime between 4-20 November 1979. Saddam discusses relations with Europe, Russia, China, the Gulf countries, and the United States. Iraqi officials criticize Libya and Syria for their support to Iran. Another official criticizes the Egyptian President Anwar Al-Sadat for his attitudes in making peace agreement with Israel. Saddam accuses the Americans of playing a central role in overthrowing the Shah of Iran.

March 23, 1965

Mao Zedong, 'We Hope the Arab Countries Will Unite'