President Fawzi Selu in 1952

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Fawzi Selu was born in Damascus in 1905 and studied at the Damascus Military Academy during the years of the French Mandate. He rose to fame during the first Syrian-Israeli armistice talks in 1949. In 1949-1951, he befriended Syria’s military strongman who appointed him Minister of Defense in the civilian administration of President Hashem al-Atasi. His main role was to destroy any progress in Syria-Iraqi union talks. In November 1951, Shishakli launched a coup d’etat but did not assume the presidency, making Selu instead the head of state, prime minister, and minister of defense. Selu co-ruled Syria with Adib al-Shishakli until the latter took over power in July 1953. Selu retired from political activity at the age of 67 and died in 1972.