President Hashem al-Atasi having dinner with General Sami al-Hinnawi, architect of Syria's second coup in August 1949

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General Hinnawi launched a coup toppling President Husni al-Zaim, who came to power through a military coup, in March 1949. He immediately announced that he would not seek presidential office, asking on civilian politicians to hold parliamentary elections. As a result, Hashem al-Atasi was elected president and Hinnawi became Chief-of-Staff of the Syrian Army. The two men worked closely with Prime Minister Nazem al-Qudsi to create a Syrian-Iraqi Union. The project never materialized, however, due a coup that toppled General Hinnawi in December 1949. In the photo, General Hinnawi is seated fifth from left. Seated in the middle is President Atasi next to Prime Minister Nazem al-Qudsi.