Iraq and Syria: Revolution Without Renaissance

  • Rodney Wilson


Political factors are often observed to be of paramount importance in determining the pace of economic development, and nowhere in the Middle East is this better illustrated than in the case of Iraq and Syria. During the 1950s and 1960s both countries experienced frequent domestic political upheavals, often of an extremely violent nature, and the consequent policy changes and attendant uncertainty hardly provided favourable conditions for economic advance. The lack of continuity was demonstrated by the ambitious development plans that were being adopted by each incoming regime, only to be scrapped or changed out of all recognition by succeeding governments. Under such unstable conditions, planners found it impossible to take a five-year time horizon, when it was difficult even to be certain from one annual budget to the next.1 Government employees found themselves always trying to fit in with the policy whims of their political bosses, and this could take up a major part of their working hours. At the same time the countrys’ rulers, preoccupied with their own immediate survival, scarcely had time to deal with more than the most pressing current issues, and seldom looked far ahead.2


Middle East Land Reform Retail Prex Royal Dutch Shell Iraqi Government 
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    A standard source on economic planning in Syria is Khaled A. Shair, Planning For a Middle Eastern Economy: Model For Syria (Chapman & Hall, 1965). Chapter 1, on the economic background, discusses the basic problems on pp. 3–19.Google Scholar
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  3. 2.
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© Rodney Wilson 1979

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  • Rodney Wilson

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