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Hani al-Hindi

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Title: Hani al-Hindi  
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Subject: Sami Droubi, 1963 Syrian coup d'état
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Hani al-Hindi

Hani al-Hindi was a Salah al-Din al-Bitar in 1963.

Early life

Hindi was born in [3]

Intent on avenging Arab losses during the 1948 war, Hindi helped form a secretive militant group called the Battalions of Arab Sacrifice (BAS) in 1949 with other Syrian activists and exiled members of the Young Egypt Party. Led by Tawfiq al-Hakim, the group offered military training and carried out a number of attacks against British and American targets in Damascus and Beirut, and a synagogue, but failed to hit their most sought after targets: King Abdullah of Jordan and Prime Minister Nuri as-Said of Iraq.[2]

Arab Nationalist Movement

Early years

In 1949, Hindi also joined The Firmest Bond student society in the AUB, initially editing its newspaper, and by 1950 becoming its virtual head, along with Habash.[4] Hindi left BAS in the spring of 1950, disillusioned by its random violent methods and preferring to develop a broader military campaign against the Israelis from across Arab borders. Hindi took particular inspiration from the Michel Aflaq, leader of the Ba'ath Party, to turn BAS into the party's armed wing, but was turned down.[2] When BAS's Young Egypt members unsuccessfully attempted to assassinate Syrian strongman Adib al-Shishakli and prominent socialist leader Akram al-Hawrani in 1950, Hindi was briefly detained by the authorities, although he had no involvement in the plots.[4]

Through their leadership positions in the student society, Hindi and Habash befriended other members of the grouping, including Wadie Haddad, Muhsin Ibrahim and Ahmed al-Khatib, from Palestine, Lebanon and Kuwait, respectively. The five associates formed the founding core of the Arab Nationalist Movement (ANM), which was established in 1951-52 after their student society federated with numerous other Arab nationalist student groups from Syria, Lebanon and Jordan. The ANM's chief goals were the liberation of Palestine, ending Western imperialist influence in the Arab world, and Arab unification.[4]

The ANM's weekly paper Al-Ra'i was shut down in Jordan in 1951, although Hindi reopened it from Damascus in January 1955. By then, the movement had grown little, having much of its potential membership sapped by other nationalist parties, namely the Ba'ath and al-Hawrani's Arab Socialist Party, which merged in the mid-1950s. Only between 1956 and 1957 did the ANM's membership increase significantly, particularly among teachers and students at Palestinian refugee camps, and to an extent the Jordanian middle class.[5] The ANM established a military around that time under Hindi's leadership and in cooperation with the Syrian intelligence chief Abd al-Hamid Sarraj. Hindi facilitated the military training of volunteers at Palestinian-Syrian army camp in Harasta. The faction participated in the 1958 Lebanese conflict, fighting alongside Arab nationalists in Tyre and Tripoli.[6]

Alliance with Nasser

The ANM dissolved its branches in Syria and Gaza Strip in line with the single-party system established by [7] Hindi visited Nasser in Cairo in 1962 and became a crucial link between Nasser and Syria's new rulers, with whom Hindi had familial ties. He conducted low-key mediation between the two sides and was rewarded by Nasser's deputy Abdel Hakim Amer with a pledge of military assistance. Ties between Syria and Egypt did not improve and the ANM was involved in the failed March 1962 coup against the Syrian government, although only to a small extent.[8]

The ANM also had minor involvement in the successful 1963 Syrian coup d'etat by a Ba'athist-Nasserist alliance that toppled President Nazim al-Qudsi. The ANM was awarded with two seats on the National Council of the Revolutionary Command (NCRC), one of which was occupied by Hindi, who served the post of communications minister. The NCRC was the transitional government put in place following the coup. Syria and Egypt entered into reunification talks soon after the coup, but the agreement was cancelled in April following purges against Nasserists in the military, prompting Nasserist ministers, including Hindi, to resign.[8]

On 19 July, the ANM collaborated with Nasserist officer Jassem Alwan to topple the Ba'athist government, although its regular members had little knowledge or involvement in the plan. Hindi was in regular contact with Alwan and his co-conspitators and acted as their emissary with Nasser and Egyptian intelligence. The coup attempt was violently put down, and the participants arrested or executed. Hindi fled Syria for Lebanon and the ANM's power in Syria deteriorated.[8]

In 1964, the ANM held a National Conference in Beirut that gathered representatives of the movement throughout the Arab world.[9] By then, the ANM had several branches across the region with growing membership, largely because of the group's association with Nasser.[10] The movement's relationship with Nasser's government was discussed at the conference, with some members led by Muhsin Ibrahim of Lebanon advocating the ANM's complete submergence into the wider Nasserist movement, while Hindi led the skeptics in the ANM who felt Nasserism had been much weakened by the Syrian secession. A compromise was reached where the ANM would ultimately maintain its existing organs and organization with Hindi, Muhsin and younger leaders such as [10][11]

The ANM's activities were largely paralyzed in 1966 due to inter-organizational tensions between Hindi and Habash's faction which sought to limit unilateral military action against Israel without Arab backing, the far left faction led by Hawatmeh and Ibrahim, and the faction that pushed for immediate attacks against Israel.[11] Following the decisive defeat of Egypt and Syria in the June 1967 Six-Day War, the ANM's credibility among Palestinians was dealt a blow. Hindi and Habash subsequently increased their efforts to establish a strong a military wing.[12]


  1. ^ Sayigh, p. 71.
  2. ^ a b c Sayigh, p. 72.
  3. ^ Cobban, p. 440.
  4. ^ a b c Sayigh, p. 73.
  5. ^ Sayigh, p. 74.
  6. ^ Sayigh, pp. 75-76.
  7. ^ Sayigh, pp. 76-77.
  8. ^ a b c Sayigh, p. 77.
  9. ^ a b Cobban, p. 142.
  10. ^ a b Sayigh, p. 130.
  11. ^ a b Hasso, p. 5.
  12. ^ Sayigh, pp. 159-160.


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