A former Syrian prime minister was a double agent who worked with Britain, France and Israel, a report published by Haaretz claims to have revealed for the first time.
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, according to Ben-Gurion University of the Negev Professor Meir Zamir.
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.
A new state would then be formed of Syria, Iraq and Jordan (known as Transjordan at the time) and be ruled by the Hashemite family, under heavy British influence.
According to Zamir, the plan would have allowed Britain to sustain a wide-reaching influence over the region.
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 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.
Past 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.
Instead, Mardam declared war on Israel, alongside several Arab states, immediately after the entity's declaration of independence in 1948.
Mardam, however, was later ousted after declaring himself military governor of Syria and imposing martial law in 1948.
He spent the remainder of his life between Saudi Arabia and Egypt, eventually dying in Cairo in 1960.