Mohamed Ali Eltaher



Page 21


Eltaher lived in Damascus until 1957 surrounded by a crowd of appreciative Syrian nationalists among officialdom and long-time friends among the regular people, starting with former Presidents such Hashem Bey Al-Atassi, Shukri Bey Al-Quwwatli and Nazem Bey Al-Qudsi. That is until the government and the whole country fell under the spell and control of Military Intelligence (Deuxième Bureau) led by Colonel Abdel-Hamid Al-Sarraj, who grabbed control of the country from the politicians and became the effective ruler of Syria.

1955 - President Shukri Al Quwwatli & PM
Inauguration of the new Yabroud Hospital in 1955
Right to left: 1-Prime minister Sabri Al-Assali 2-Eltaher 3-Syrian President Shukri Al-Quwwatli

Colonel Al-Sarraj worked closely with his counterparts in Egyptian Intelligence, which was fed up with Eltaher’s writings against the behaviour of the 1952 revolutionary leaders vis-à-vis the nationalists and the nationalist press in Egypt. It is possible that they may have intimated to the Syrians that Eltaher should be pressured by them to stop bothering the Egyptian government or leave the country. Al-Sarraj succeeded in doing that. When Eltaher found out that his safety and that of his family, who had come from Cairo to visit him during the summer vacations, were in possible jeopardy, he left Syria for Lebanon during the summer of 1957, without ever returning to Damascus, the city he loved. His attempts to ask the President, the Prime Minister and the Speaker of the Parliament for an explanation as to what happened to him were pointless, since they were themselves on notice from their intelligence chief, and were soon to be removed from power with the declaration of the United Arab Republic that was supposed to unite Syria and Egypt in 1958.

1956 - King Hussein, President Quwwatli, PM Sabri El Assali
Eltaher, Syrian President Quwwatli, and Syrian Prime Minister Sabri Al-Assali
with King Hussein of Jordan during his official visit to Syria - Damascus, August 19, 1956
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