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Hafez Assad

June 11, 2000
A look at key dates in the life of Syrian President Hafez Assad, who died Saturday at age 69. * 1930 Oct. 6: Assad born in Qurdaha, an Alawite Muslim village in northwestern Syria, then ruled by France. * 1948 May: Syria, independent since 1946, and other Arab states invade newly declared state of Israel. Arab failure to crush Jewish state leads to decades of instability in Syria and conflict in region.
March 14, 2014 | By Patrick J. McDonnell and Nabih Bulos
BEIRUT -- Syrian lawmakers Thursday approved revisions to the nation's electoral law amid mounting indications that President Bashar Assad plans to run for a new seven-year term. Assad, whose current mandate ends in July, has frequently hinted that he would seek reelection under the terms of a new constitution approved in 2012. The Syrian parliament has been modifying the nation's election law in accordance with the new constitution, though no date has yet been set for elections.
June 12, 2000
The death of Syria's President Hafez Assad brings new uncertainties along with new opportunities to the country he ruled for nearly 30 years and to the region where his influence vastly exceeded the military and economic resources at his command. The uncertainties stem from the threat to stability that arises when any autocrat dies. In his final years Assad acted to assure a dynastic succession, grooming his son, Bashar, to follow him.
September 4, 2013 | By Hector Tobar
Books can start wars, or shape how they are fought. Abraham Lincoln famously told Harriet Beecher Stowe that her book, “Uncle Tom's Cabin,” started the Civil War. In the 1990s, two books helped inform the policies of President Clinton in the Balkans. Robert D. Kaplan's "Balkan Ghosts: A Journey Through History" portrayed many centuries of  irreconcilable ethnic enmity and gave the impression of a morass that would swallow up any country that intervened there; David Remnick of the New Yorker called it a “marvelous alibi for inaction.” But later Clinton read Noel Malcolm's "Bosnia: A Short History," which portrayed the conflict in that country as the product of the Machiavellian political calculations of Slobodan Milosevic.
In what could be the first crack in a 2 1/2-month freeze in talks between Syria and Israel, President Clinton and Syrian President Hafez Assad plan to meet Sunday in Switzerland to discuss how to revive the stalled U.S.-sponsored negotiations. Clinton announced the surprise summit with the Syrian head of state at a news conference in Bangladesh, during the first leg of his six-day journey to South Asia. He said the meeting with Assad will take place on his way home.
Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres on Monday will make his first trip to Washington since assuming the reins of government here, seeking to reinforce Israel's strategic relationship with the United States and ways to restart U.S.-mediated peace talks with Syria. Peres will meet with President Clinton to try to forge the kind of personal relationship the U.S. president had with slain Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.
President Hafez Assad, like Syria itself, has always perplexed the West. Yet of all the Arab leaders, none has been more skillful and cunning in executing policies that are both predictable and consistent. Ever since high school, when he led street demonstrations in support of Arab nationalism, Assad has been the odd man out in the Arab world, a contradictory figure who mastered the manipulation of others and built a reputation as a statesman who, though devious, honors his word.
November 29, 1990
After jilting his erstwhile playmates Noriega, Saddam Hussein and others of their ilk, President Bush is now wooing his current playmate of the month, Hafez Assad. Lots of luck, Mr. President. HAROLD MEVERT Harbor City
May 9, 1991 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
Soviet Foreign Minister Alexander A. Bessmertnykh met with Syrian President Hafez Assad on the first stop of his Mideast tour and said that achieving peace requires Palestine Liberation Organization input. A Syrian spokesman said they discussed "ideas raised for starting a peace process that would lead to achievement of just and comprehensive peace." Meanwhile, Israel's opposition Labor Party pressed Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir to enter peace talks.
January 9, 1997 | From Times Wire Reports
President Hafez Assad left a hospital after successful prostate surgery, a spokesman said, adding that the Syrian leader will resume his duties within the next few days. No further details of the operation were available. Assad, 66, who previously had his appendix removed and suffered heart problems, has ruled Syria since 1970. Assad last appeared on television Sunday night, shown receiving ambassadors from Chile, Poland and North Korea.
April 16, 2013 | By Raja Abdulrahim, Los Angeles Times
ANTAKYA, Turkey - In newly printed textbooks at dozens of Syrian refugee schools, a small piece of Middle East geography has been amended. Seventy-five years ago, Turkey annexed the northern Syrian territory of Hatay against the will of Syria, but maps in Syrian schoolbooks during the lengthy reign of the Assad family have continued to include Hatay inside Syria's borders. The maps in the new schoolbooks show Hatay in Turkey, one of a number of political changes made by the Syrian opposition group that published the books.
March 5, 2013 | By Patrick J. McDonnell, Los Angeles Times
BEIRUT - The Syrian opposition said Monday that rebel fighters had taken control of much of the north-central city of Raqqah, where video showed jubilant residents toppling a statue of former leader Hafez Assad, father of the president. The capture of Raqqah, if confirmed, would mark the first time in the nearly 2-year-old war that rebels had won control of a major city and a provincial capital. Meanwhile, the Iraqi government reported that at least 40 Syrian soldiers who had taken refuge across the eastern border in Iraq had been killed in an ambush.
May 4, 2012 | By Haitham Maleh
Syria yearns for freedom from the brutality of the Assad regime. For four decades, thousands upon thousands paid the price for their opposition to Bashar Assad and his father, Hafez Assad. We have been intimidated, arrested, tortured and killed. Since the uprising began in 2011, opposition forces put the death toll at more than 10,000, with many more imprisoned. And all because we want a free, fair Syria. I am 81; I have dedicated my life to advancing democracy, constitutional principles and an independent judiciary in my country.
November 2, 2011 | By Patrick J. McDonnell, Los Angeles Times
Under intense pressure from Arab states, Syria has signed a pact to pull its armed forces from the streets, release political prisoners and engage with opposition groups after seven months of unrest that has ravaged the strategically situated nation and unsettled the entire region. On the surface, the move appears to be a major concession from an increasingly isolated President Bashar Assad, who has been the target of international condemnation and sanctions. But some of Assad's opponents question whether the agreement signals a true change in attitude to the uprising, or is simply an effort to buy time for his regime.
October 9, 2011 | By Patrick J. McDonnell, Los Angeles Times
Syria's foreign minister warned other nations Sunday not to bestow international legitimacy on a new opposition umbrella group that seeks to expedite the ouster of embattled President Bashar Assad. Foreign Minister Walid Moallem, speaking in Damascus, the capital, vowed unspecified "tough measures" against any country that recognizes what he termed the "illegitimate" Syrian National Council. The minister's admonition appears to be the opening broadside of what will probably be a protracted war of words between Damascus and the dissident council, which was formed this month with the goal of governing in place of Assad.
August 14, 2011 | By Borzou Daragahi, Los Angeles Times
Raed Habbal was not a particularly devout Muslim, a relative recalls. The 19-year-old college student and scion of a socialist family in the city of Hama even occasionally took a swig of alcohol with friends, the relative says. But during the 1982 uprising in Hama, the young man was snatched up by security forces aiming to crush what they called an armed Islamist revolt. By the time the government crackdown ended, then-Syrian leader Hafez Assad's forces had flattened swaths of Hama, the country's fourth-largest city, and killed tens of thousands of civilians.
January 22, 1994 | From Associated Press
Presi dent Hafez Assad's eldest son and presumed political heir to the leadership of Syria died Friday in an auto accident. Basil Assad, 31, emerged two years ago as the expected successor to the 63-year-old president, who has ruled Syria with an iron grip since 1970. Basil Assad was considered his father's favorite and was apparently being groomed to carry on the dynasty.
June 25, 2000 | From Times Wire Reports
Syria's ruling Baath Party elected Bashar Assad, 34, to the post of secretary-general of its executive, bringing him another step closer to the presidency left vacant by the June 10 death of his father, Hafez Assad. The late president came to power after a 1970 coup. The unanimous vote in Damascus, the capital, for Assad to head the 21-member regional command came a day before parliament was expected to approve his nomination for the presidency.
April 9, 2011 | By Garrett Therolf, Los Angeles Times
In recent days, Syrian President Bashar Assad has tried to show that his long-entrenched autocracy is capable of reform. He fired governors and Cabinet members, promised citizenship to the Kurdish minority, and vowed that, over time, he would increase civil liberties for all. The response from the Syrian street now seems clear: That's not enough. Assad's political maneuvers have failed to close the spigot of outrage that has now flowed for more than three weeks. Tens of thousands of protesters turned out across the country Friday, spreading for the first time in large numbers to Aleppo, the country's second-largest city.
March 29, 2011 | By Jeffrey Fleishman, Los Angeles Times
The Syrian government resigned Tuesday as President Bashar Assad sought to stem a widening rebellion by promising to reform the police state that has kept his family in power for more than 40 years in one of the Middle East's most strategic countries. Dissolving the Cabinet was the latest gambit by Assad to counter protests that threaten the kind of upheaval that brought down autocratic leaders in Egypt and Tunisia. The move suggested that the ruling elite is alternating between concessions and crackdowns as it navigates a crisis that has killed at least 61 people in recent days.
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