Syria’s Baath Party Evaluates Past Era, Discusses Remedies

Published June 18th, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

By Nabil Al Mulhem 



Syria’s ruling Baath party discussed Saturday night three reports seen by observers as “a serious change in the party’s thought and future orientation” 

The Baath 9th regional command congress opened here Saturday, a week after the death of President Hafez Assad. 

Partisan sources told that the political, organizational and economic reports, discussed by the concerned committees during closed-door meetings, pinpointed the weaknesses in the party’s performance and suggested remedies for them. 

The last Baath regional command congress was held in 1985. 

According to the sources, the organizational report denied the “rumors that Baath will have no or less influential role [in the new era]” 

“On the contrary, the party will play a bigger role, and will be a pillar in the new era’s policies,” the report said, adding that Dr. Bashar Assad will give top priority to modernizing the party. 

However, the report in question highlighted the necessity for reforming the structure of the party and criticized the phenomenon of “apathy, dependency and lack of the sense of responsibility among the Baathists”. 

It also urged that more attention should be directed to political and partisan activities in the army.  

The sources did not elaborate so fully on the political report, but said it was submitted by caretaker president Abdul-Halim Khaddam. They said the report outlined “a new and realistic strategy for the coming years”. 

The sources told that the economic report “was received with great attention by the participants.” 

The report’s headlines are regarded as a landmark shift in Syria’s economy. It addressed underemployment, saying the number of civil servants is three times the number needed to run the governmental departments. 

In addition, the report criticized low salaries, lack of accountability and absence of monitoring over government performance. 

The low quality of education, “dangerous distortion of the judiciary system”, and the uninviting climate of investment were among the flaws underscored in the report. 

The economic report suggested remedy to the ailing economy in a list of 23 items. Most noticeable was the suggestion to adopt market economy. It also called for decentralization in administration and planning -- 


© 2000 Al Bawaba (

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