SYRIA: Courageous Premier

Strapping Hasan Hakim, 65, wears the tarboosh of an Arab bourgeois but no man's collar. Between the two world wars he plied his profession as a financial expert all through the Middle East—in Jordan, Palestine, Syria—and won little popularity or following because of the backroom nature of his job and because of his blunt frankness. But he is regarded as an honest man, a mark of true distinction in Middle East politics.

Last week, installed as Syria's new Premier, primarily to clear up the country's financial mess, Hakim again took an unpopular stand. He declared that Syria (which is roughly...

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