The Communist Movement in Syria and Lebanon

Tareq Y. Ismael and Jacqueline S. Ismael

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"A major tour de force."--Joseph G. Jabbra, Academic Vice President, Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles

"A cogent historical survey and assessment . . . gives us rich historical records and texts, understood as instruments of political struggle, bureaucratic in-fighting, and, occasionally, as reflections of important intellectual engagements with the great issues of our time."--Raymond William Baker, Dean of Faculty, Trinity College, Hartford, Connecticut

This is the first comprehensive work in any language to examine the development and growth of the communist movement in Syria and Lebanon. Drawing on party documents and literature, as well as interviews with key players conducted over a 25-year period, the authors examine the movement’s evolution, intra-party struggles, and fragmentation over the course of the 20th century.
From its foundations as a unified movement in 1924 as the Communist Party of Syria and Lebanon, the party separated into two branches. The authors describe the origins, characteristics, and dynamics of both parties, showing how each reflected the domestic environment in which it operated.
The Ismaels’ study also provides an important chronicle of the ongoing struggle for political power in the Middle East and the reverberations from the collapse of the Soviet Union. With significant insights from a wealth of Arabic language sources inaccessible to most Western scholars, they offer a window onto one of the major political experiments of this century, documenting communism’s great promise for the Middle East and its devastating disappointments.

Tareq Y. Ismael is professor of political science at the University of Calgary and president of the International Center for Contemporary Middle East Studies at Eastern Mediterranean University in the Turkish Republic of North Cyprus (TRNC). Jacqueline S. Ismael is professor of social work at the University of Calgary and adjunct professor of international relations at Eastern Mediterranean University. They have coauthored a number of works; among the most recent are The Gulf War and the New World Order: International Relations of the Middle East (UPF, 1994) and Politics and Government in the Middle East and North Africa (UPF, 1991).

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