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Israeli author claims ex-Syrian PM Jamil Mardam was ‘double agent’

DAMASCUS, Syria: Former Syrian prime minister Jamil Mardam Bey, who served in office in the 1930s and 1940s, was a double agent who worked with Britain, France and Israel, a report published by Israeli newspaper Haaretz claims revealed for the first time.

Author and Israeli researcher, Meir Zamir claimed, in a new book that will be published in Israel, that Mardam Bey had provided Israel’s first Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion with “information” and warned him that “Britain was planning to thwart the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine.”

Zamir’s book, “The Secret Anglo-French War in the Middle East: Intelligence and Decolonization, 1940-1948,” is due to be published in December. Haaretz has released excerpts of the book.

Jamil Mardam, who served as prime minister of Syria in the late 1930s and mid-1940s, was reportedly working with the British intelligence agency MI6 as early as 1945.

He was later blackmailed into working for the French intelligence services, who used an Israeli intelligence agent as his handler, the author who is also a professor at the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.

The handler, Eliahu Sasson, acted as a go-between, delivering information and documents from Mardam, who was posted in Cairo at the time, to French intelligence.

Mardam provided key information to Zionist leader David Ben-Gurion on the British military’s plans to prevent the establishment of a so-called Jewish state, Zamir claims.

The plans included declaring the militant Haganah group a terrorist organisation and forcing it to disarm; allowing the establishment of a small Jewish entity within Palestine, and implementing the “Greater Syria” plan.

Mardam, according to the report, had been a key proponent of the “Greater Syria” idea, which would see French forces expelled from their mandated territories.

Mardam was blackmailed into working with the French, against the British, after evidence of the plot was revealed to Paris’ intelligence services.

The French threatened to share documentary proof that Mardam was working as a British spy with his political enemies in Syria, forcing the prime minister to become a double agent.

However, Zamir’s account of Mardam’s life is starkly different from previously accepted versions of events.

Historians have said French General Charles de Gaulle ordered the Syrian prime minister’s arrest, ransacked his office and confiscated documents mere weeks after the end of the Second World War.

Zamir’s account also runs into problems as Mardam never showed public sympathy for Zionism or the Zionist cause, debunking the notion the Syrian prime minister was a willing spy for the Jewish entity.