First Basic Principle

Syria is for the Syrians and the Syrians are a complete nation.

When I began to give serious thought to the resuscitation of our nation against the background of the irresponsible political movements rampant in its midst, it became forthwith certain to me that our most urgent problem was the determination of our national identity and our social reality. Although there was no consensus of opinion concerning this problem, I became convinced that the starting point of every correct national endeavor must be the raising of this fundamental philosophical question: Who are we?. After extensive research, I arrived at the following conclusion: We are Syrians and we constitute a distinct national entity.

The confused conceptions of our nation implied in the statements such as `we Lebanese’, ‘Palestinians-,-Syrians’,’Iraqis-, or ‘Arabs-,have contributed to the breaking up of our national identity and cannot serve as the basis of a genuine national consciousness or of our national revival. Thus the assertion that the Syrians constitute a nation complete in itself is a fundamental doctrine which should put and end to ambiguity and place the national effort on the basis of clarity without which no national revival in Syria is possible. The realization of the complete nationhood of the Syrians and the active consciousness of this nationhood are two essential prerequisites for the vindication of the principle of national sovereignty. For, were the Syrians not a complete nation having right to sovereignty and to the establishment of an independent state, Syria would not be for the Syrians in the full sense, but might fail an easy prey to the intrigues of some other sovereign power pursuing interests conflicting with, or that might conflict with the interests of the Syrian people.

This principle is intended to safeguard the unity of the Syrian nation and the integrity of its homeland. The Syrians are a nation upon whom alone devolves the right to own, dispose of, and make decisions concerning every inch of Syrian territory. The homeland belongs to the nation as a whole and no one, not even individual Syrian citizens, may dispose of any part of its territory in such a way as to destroy or endanger the integrity of the country, which integrity is a necessary condition for preserving the unity of the Syrian nation.

This principle addresses the basic question posed by any thinking about national struggle, namely the determination of national identity. The starting point of every national endeavor is the determination of national identity which is the only viable basis of national consciousness and the starting point of national revival. In this principle lies the legal basis of national sovereignty. In essence, this principle announces the illegitimacy in the eyes of the SSNP of all international treaties, alliances or schemes that may affect the Syrian homeland in a fashion contrary to the real interests and wishes of the Syrian nation. This principle is the historical response to the Sykes-Picot arrangements of dividing the Syrian homeland into spheres of interest between France and Britain in the wake of the First World War. It is a resounding refusal of the right of Britain to issue the Balfour declaration promising to facilitate the settlement of Zionists in southern Syria (Palestine) and the creation of a Jewish homeland, and a rejection of the presumed rights of Jews to such a homeland in southern Syria.

This principle further asserts the permanence of national sovereignty in the face of the temporary political arrangements and separate states that arose in Syria under the influence of foreign colonial powers and separatist movements. It affirms the primacy of the integrity of the nation and its homeland over the temporary political forms that may arise during periods of national disintegration and foreign occupation. Furthermore, by relating the sovereignty over the homeland to the existence of the nation, Saadeh was setting the legal basis for this sovereignty in a national envergure. Since sovereignty over the homeland is national, no individuals, groups or governments within Syria have the right to forfeit or to allow the permanent loss of sovereignty over any part of the Syrian homeland. The concept of ‘land for peace’ is completely unacceptable in this reference frame. Based on this we understand Saadeh’s objections to the surrender of the Alexandretta district of northern Syria to the Turks before the Second World War and the continuing rejection by the Party of any settlements in southern Syria (Palestine) short of the restitution of Syrian sovereignty over the entire Syrian Homeland”.

A distinctive aspect of this principle is the necessary interconnection of its two clauses. A requisite that Syria the homeland belong to the Syrians is that the latter form a complete nation. This interdependence between the nation and the homeland is a primary axiom of Syrian Social Nationalism. The integrity of the Syrian nation is the safeguard of the integrity of the Syrian homeland and vice versa. Thus all attempts leading to a loss of Syrian national integrity threaten the loss of homeland. Saadeh often stressed that national disintegration was a main reason for the loss of Alexandretta and Antioch in the north, and Palestine in the south-west. Separatism is thus a danger to the integrity of the homeland. Conversely, the Syrian nation can not prosper and be revived when valuable portions of the homeland are taken away. The integrity of the homeland is vital to the survival and prosperity of the nation.

In its apparent simple structure, this principle is the most valuable guide to the understanding of Syrian Social Nationalism and to the elucidation of the plan for national struggle. It is a call to the constituency of the Party to fight separatism, to resist factional tendencies, to reject colonialism, and to re-establish unlimited Syrian possession of the entire homeland. Based on this principle, the SSNP does not recognize the right of Zionists to establish a belligerent religious state in the southern part of Syria (Palestine) with clear intentions of engulfing larger sections of the Syrian homeland. Furthermore, the SSNP does not abide by any international agreements that would deprive the Syrians of their national integrity or the integrity of their homeland. Finally, the independence of Syria in deciding its national interests and the course of its life in its homeland is an immutable right that the SSNP does not allow to be jeopardized or abrogated.