© Arnold Holtzman (2004)
Bashir Al-Assad
President of Syria (The Syrian Arab Republic)


Born: September 1965
Second son of Hafez Al-Assad.

Received a medical education (opthalmology) in England. Named commander-in-chief of Syria's armed forces, (promoted from army colonel to lieutenant-general).

Assumed the presidency from his father at the age of 34. His father, prior to his death, had carefully arranged for his son's appointment. The Syrian parliament had conveniently lowered the age bar for its president from 40 to 34 to accommodate Hafez Al-Assad's dictates.

Bashir Al-Assad came to the presidency in the midst of efforts in the region to regain lands lost to Israel, to terminate Arab Israeli hostilities, and to consolidate Syria's military presence in Lebanon. His youth, his exposure to Western values and lifestyles, and his inexperience in regional politics, has had many question his ability (or willingness) to carry on his father's ambitions for the country.


he hand of Bashir Al-Assad is particularly rich in its complexity and projects a number of very powerful currents in his personality which would be in fundamental contradiction to each other. The most striking instance of this are the implications inherent in the long and narrow construction of the palm matched to what its relative thinness contributes. Other features which would be of central significance include the definition of the fingers and the placement and construction of the thumb.

The long and narrow construction of the palm becomes manifest in personality as emotional fluidity. In some this might appear as capriciousness if this person gives vent to his, or her, feelings and impulses of the moment. It identifies an individual who tends to be more responsive to emotions than to logic, more alert to his, or her, sensitivities and sensibilities than to cold and calculated reason.

The thinness and relative stiffness of the palm and fingers (note how the fingers are held tightly together with the thumb held erect rather than open and at a discernable angle to the palm) together underline a very rigid mental discipline. This rigidity would have its compulsive and intellectual overtones where set formulas and rationalizations would virtually dictate this persons attitudes and behavior. There will be almost no demonstration of creative thought. Cold and very cerebral calculations would be his most natural manner. In this respect he would be very much like his father.

From a psychological perspective what is critical here is the fact that the features of length and narrowness are genetic, or inherited, constructions. These would define President Bashir Al-Assad's true, original, and inherent personality makeup. The thinness of the palm and fingers and their relative rigidity represent not genetic but learned quantities. Their collective manifestation in personality would underline patterns of attitude and behavior which would be in perfect contradiction to the original designs. It would be fair to say that the rigidity and compulsive mental discipline extend from a defensive organization which itself suggests a particularly stressful childhood. This defensive organization would have been enlisted by Bashir Al-Assad, even as a child, to enable him to manage, if not overtake, his weaknesses and vulnerability.

The somewhat bulbous tip phalange of the little finger points to a continuing obsessive involvement with early traumatic experiences. This may explain the thinness of the fingers (a general sense of insufficiency) and the defenses as noted above. These traumatic experiences seem to include molestation - most likely of a physical nature. Sexual molestation may be unlikely but cannot be ruled out.

President Bashir Al-Assad may prove to be a very effective head of state whose position should become increasingly secure with time. His thumb bespeaks a powerful willfulness, a capacity for serious achievement, and a personal identification with autonomy and independence. He is very much an intellectual and would be intrigued by intellectual exercises. He is probably a very honest man who will come to feel uncomfortable with those elements in the military and ruling Ba'ath party who may have put him in power but who are thoroughly corrupt. These include the people who jealously control Syria's very lucrative drug economy. Bashir Al-Assad's most serious tests await him when the moment he will elect to confront them.



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