Middle East Research and Information Project: Critical Coverage of the Middle East Since 1971

Hafiz al-Asad marched into the Palace of the People in Damascus on the evening of January 6, 1985 to convene the eighth regional congress of the Baath Party. The standing ovation which greeted his entrance was immediately broadcast to the most remote corners of Syria by a platoon of television cameras. These cameras carefully framed the president against a backdrop of gigantic wall banners which proclaimed him “leader of the struggle, champion of steadfastness and confrontation.” Such scenes tempted some observers to dismiss the congress as chiefly an occasion for promoting the president’s image, or at best as “a mere safety valve through which the party faithful could let off steam about such matters as bureaucratic incompetence and the poor quality of rice imported from North Korea.”

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How to cite this article:

Yahya Sadowski "Cadres, Guns and Money," Middle East Report 134 (July/ August 1985).