54 Facts About Michel Aflaq


Michel Aflaq was a Syrian philosopher, sociologist and Arab nationalist.


Michel Aflaq's ideas played a significant role in the development of Ba'athism and its political movement; he is considered by several Ba'athists to be the principal founder of Ba'athist thought.


Michel Aflaq published various books during his lifetime, the most notable being The Battle for One Destiny and The Struggle Against Distorting the Movement of Arab Revolution.


Michel Aflaq returned to Syria in 1932, and began his political career in communist politics.


Michel Aflaq was elected to the party's executive committee and was elected "'Amid".


The Arab Ba'ath Party merged with Akram al-Hawrani's Arab Socialist Party to establish the Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party in 1952; Michel Aflaq was elected the party's leader in 1954.


Nasser forced Michel Aflaq to dissolve the party, which he did, but without consulting with party members.


Shortly after the UAR's dissolution, Michel Aflaq was reelected as Secretary General of the National Command of the Ba'ath Party.


Michel Aflaq was ousted during the 1966 Syrian coup d'etat, which led to a schism within the Ba'ath Party.


Michel Aflaq escaped to Lebanon, but later went to Iraq.


In 1968 Michel Aflaq was elected Secretary General of the Iraqi-led Ba'ath Party; during his tenure he held no de facto power.


Michel Aflaq held the post until his death on 23 June 1989.


Michel Aflaq was critical of both capitalism and communism, and critical of Karl Marx's view of dialectical materialism as the only truth.


Michel Aflaq believed in the separation of state and religion, and was a strong believer in secularisation, but was against atheism.


Michel Aflaq was first educated in the westernized schools of the French Mandate of Syria.


Michel Aflaq founded an Arab Student Union at the Sorbonne, and discovered the writings of Karl Marx.


Michel Aflaq returned to Syria in 1932, and became active in communist politics, but left the movement when the government of Leon Blum, supported by the French Communist Party, continued France's old politics towards its colonies.


Michel Aflaq was impressed by the organisation and ideology of Antun Saadeh's Syrian Social Nationalist Party.


Michel Aflaq took the pre-eminent position of Amid, sometimes translated as 'doyen' or as 'leader'; and was elected to a four-member executive committee.


Michel Aflaq personally led demonstrations, and claimed that al-Quwatli, a landowner, was a corrupt and capitalistic politician, who was to blame for the Syrians army's defeat.


Michel Aflaq called for al-Quwatli's resignation, and wrote several al-Ba'ath articles criticising his presidency and his prime minister, Jamil Mardam Bey.


Michel Aflaq was later arrested on the orders of al-Quwatli's prime minister Bey.


Michel Aflaq, who had been set free, was rearrested during al-Zai'm's presidency and sent to the notorious Mezzeh Prison.


Al-Atassi established a national unity government, and Michel Aflaq was appointed to the post of Minister of Education, the only government post he would ever hold; he held it from August to December 1949.


When, under the United Arab Republic, Michel Aflaq was forced by Nasser to dissolve the party, he disbanded the party by himself, instead of convening a congress on the matter.


The party's Third National Congress in 1959 supported Michel Aflaq's decision to dissolve the party, but a 1960 National Congress, in which Jadid was a delegate representing the then-unknown Military Committee, reversed the decision and called for the Ba'ath Party's reestablishment.


In 1962, after four years, Michel Aflaq convened the Fifth Congress in Homs.


Michel Aflaq was reelected the National Command's secretary general, and ordered the reestablishment of the Syrian-regional Ba'ath organisation.


In several Ba'ath Party meetings Michel Aflaq responded with pure anger, and became an anti-Nasserist.


An anxious Michel Aflaq hastily traveled from Syria and dissolved the Regional Command of the Iraqi Regional Branch, exclaiming that the National Command would rule Iraq in its place until a new Regional Command was elected.


Michel Aflaq responded to the threat posed to his leadership by invoking his office as secretary general, and calling for the National Command to dissolve the Regional Command.


Michel Aflaq was forced to withdraw his request, when the majority of Ba'ath Party members proved to oppose such a move.


Michel Aflaq appointed al-Bitar Prime Minister, Umran defence minister, Mansur al-Atrash as Chairman of the National Council of the Revolutionary Command and al-Hafiz retained his post as President of Syria.


Michel Aflaq was exiled from Syria, and ordered never to return his homeland.


Michel Aflaq's downfall caused a split within the Ba'ath Party; the party was de facto dissolved and two Ba'ath Parties were established, one Iraqi-led Ba'ath Party and one Syrian-led Ba'ath Party.


The Syrian-led party was led by Jadid and his supporters and hailed Zaki al-Arsuzi, the founder of the Arab Ba'ath in 1940, as the father of Ba'athist thought, while the Iraqi-led party led by Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr and Saddam Hussein, still proclaimed Michel Aflaq to be the founder of Ba'athist thought.


Michel Aflaq moved to Baghdad following his reelection to the secretary generalship in February 1968.


Michel Aflaq stayed there until 1970, when Black September happened, he criticized the Ba'ath leadership of doing too little to help the Palestine Liberation Organisation during the conflict.


Michel Aflaq wanted Iraqi intervention; al-Bakr refused to get Iraq involved in such a conflict.


Michel Aflaq published several works during this period, the most notable being The Struggle Against Distorting the Movement of Arab Revolution in 1975.


Michel Aflaq regained some of his influence when he befriended Saddam Hussein, President of Iraq from 1979 until 2003.


Effectively, throughout his tenure as secretary general in Iraq, Michel Aflaq was given all due honour as the founder of the Ba'ath movement, but on policy-making, he was ignored.


Michel Aflaq died on 23 June 1989 in Paris, after undergoing heart surgery there.


Saddam Hussein claimed that Michel Aflaq converted to Islam before his death.


Michel Aflaq's family reported that the tomb was badly damaged during the invasion.


Michel Aflaq was influenced by Marxism in that he saw the need for a vanguard party to rule the Arab Nation for an indefinite period of time.


Michel Aflaq was a strong believer in pluralism of thought, but paradoxically, against pluralism in the form of votes.


Michel Aflaq coined the word Arab socialism for his variant of socialism.


Socialism, in its original form in the Arab world had, according to Michel Aflaq, first come into being under the rule of Muhammad.


Michel Aflaq opposed Marx's view that dialectical materialism was the only truth, but believed that the "importance of material economic conditions in life" was one of the greatest discoveries in modern history.


Michel Aflaq did not believe it was necessary to worship Muhammad, but believed that all Arabs should strive to emulate Muhammad.


Michel Aflaq called on all Arabs, both Muslim and non-Muslim alike, to admire the role Islam had played in creating the Arab character.


Time and again Michel Aflaq emphasised that the Ba'ath party was against atheism, but equally against fundamentalism.


In contrast to his longtime friend and colleague Salah al-Din al-Bitar, who was more practical when it came to politics, Michel Aflaq was a "visionary, the dreamer rather unfitted for political life".