The United States embassy in Damascus seized the opportunity to win Syrian approval for Tapline. The Central Intelligence Agency's man, Stephen Meade, approached the army chief of staff, Colonel Husni Zaim, to arrange a coup. The Kurd and former Ottoman soldier took embassy money to foment an insurrection that justified his seizure of power in 1949. The embassy reported to Washington that "over 400 Commies [in] all parts of Syria have been arrested." Syria signed an agreement with Aramco in May and an armistice with Israel in July.
Col Zaim antagonised sectors of society by raising taxes and attempting to give women the vote. Although he did not kill anyone, another colonel overthrew and executed him a month later. That colonel was himself eliminated by a third colonel. Thus began Syria's instability, with military coups as regular as changes of season.
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