Saturday 7 December 2019

Playing By The Hama Rules - Rolling Stone Article From December 1984

Beginning of an extensive article on the Syrian regime led by Hafez al-Assad, the father of the present president Bashar, in which its author, British journalist William Shawcross, continually referred to the “Hama Rules” as a guiding ethos of Syrian government policy at home and abroad.

I lost my Rolling Stone magazine collection back in the 1990s while moving homes, but thankfully have got a hold of the December 6th 1984 issue which contained one of my favourite articles of the publication which I bought religiously from the middle 1980s to the early 1990s.

William Shawcross’ “Playing by the Hama Rules” covered geo-political machinations alongside family intrigue with a detailed reference to the brutal suppression by President Hafez Assad of an insurrection by the Muslim Brotherhood in the city of Hama in 1982. Assad entrusted his younger brother Rifaat, an army general, with the task of purging Hama of the insurgents. The story relates that Rifaat’s ambitions got the better of him and he was later forced into exile. A Ba’athist by ideology and an Alawite by religious denomination, Hafez Assad ascended to power by means of a military coup facilitated while he was the country’s minister of defence.

A riveting read!

Reference: Shawcross, William. “Playing by the Hama Rules”, Rolling Stone, December 6 1984, pps 33-36 and 64-69.

© Adeyinka Makinde (2019)

Adeyinka Makinde is a writer based in London, England.

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