Syria and the USA: Washington's Relations with Damascus from Wilson to Eisenhower

Overview

The early years of Syrian-US relations can be described as hopes dashed, hopes revived. Although American missionaries had visited the Middle East in the nineteenth century, it was not until after World War I that Syrian and US dignitaries met in an official capacity. The relationship had its ups-and-downs: warm under Woodrow Wilson; virtually non-existent under Warren Harding and Calvin Coolidge; revived under Franklin Roosevelt when Syria sided with the Allies to declare war on Nazi Germany. In the aftermath of...

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Syria and the USA: Washington's Relations with Damascus from Wilson to Eisenhower

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Overview

The early years of Syrian-US relations can be described as hopes dashed, hopes revived. Although American missionaries had visited the Middle East in the nineteenth century, it was not until after World War I that Syrian and US dignitaries met in an official capacity. The relationship had its ups-and-downs: warm under Woodrow Wilson; virtually non-existent under Warren Harding and Calvin Coolidge; revived under Franklin Roosevelt when Syria sided with the Allies to declare war on Nazi Germany. In the aftermath of World War II, the relationship took a new turn, as the US was accused of involvement in the series of coups and counter-coups that rocked the young republic from 1949 until the ill-fated Syrian-Egyptian union of 1958. Engagement and the right to self-determination were the rule of the game in the post-Wilson era, but this quickly transformed into espionage and covert activity during the Cold War when the US saw Syria as a Soviet proxy in the Middle East. In the forty years between 1919 and 1959, envoys from the White House, along with presidential candidates from both the Republican and Democratic parties, Secretaries of State, and US celebrities like Eleanor Roosevelt and Helen Keller all came to Damascus and reported - in many different ways - their observations. Featuring original research and previously unpublished material, this book will be essential reading for scholars of the Middle East and US Diplomatic History and twentieth-century International Relations.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Selected as a 2012 Outstanding Academic Title by CHOICE
From the Publisher
'Syria and the USA is a well-told and entertaining overview of US-Syria relations from World War I to the formation of the United Arab Republic. Sami Moubayed provides the reader with insight into how Syrians view events that are crucial to their political development. He explains how general Syrian attitudes toward the US government changed from admiration to anger over the first half of the twentieth century and explores how US support for Israeli displacement of Arabs in Palestine and military coups in Syria undermined initial attitudes toward Washington. The author's interest in the history of women and cinema in Syria gives this diplomatic history cultural depth and a welcome new dimension.' – Joshua Landis, Director of the Center for Middle East Studies, University of Oklahoma

'Sami Moubayed is one of Syria's leading scholars and commentators, and he is uniquely qualified to provide important insights into the history of the Middle East in the twentieth century. Anyone wanting to understand how what was an amicable and respectful US-Syrian relationship early in the twentieth century deteriorated by the 1950s into a confrontational one would do well to read Moubayed's book. He weaves together a scholarly yet entertaining tapestry of information that presents the all-too-often ignored Syrian perspective of its relationship with the United States. The US-Syrian relationship today is still fraught with mistrust and misunderstanding. Moubayed shows in his book that this is not a new phenomenon - it has a rich and interesting history.' – David W Lesch, Professor of Middle East History, Trinity University

'The history of relations between Syria and the United States up until the 1960s is little known and understood. Sami Moubayed, one of Syria's leading young historians, now offers us a remarkably comprehensive study that illustrates how a positive start in diplomatic relations in the early part of the twentieth century eventually began to unwind in unfortunate ways by mid-century. Using a variety of sources including the US State Department archives and the private paper collections of Syrian political leaders, Moubayed sheds new light on the political intrigue and shenanigans that were so characteristic of the Cold War era. Scholars and foreign policy experts will appreciate the author's efforts at reconstructing the history of an important chapter in America's relationship with the Middle East region.' – Philip S Khoury, Ford International Professor of History, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781848857056
  • Publisher: I. B.Tauris & Company, Limited
  • Publication date: 4/24/2012
  • Series: Library of International Relations Series , #56
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Sami Moubayed is a Syrian historian, journalist, author, and political analyst. He is the Editor of Forward Magazine and has written a number of books on contemporary Syria. He is a Research Fellow at St. Andrews and holds a PhD from the University of Exeter.

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Table of Contents

Shattered Dreams and Wilsonian Principles
• Crane in Damascus, again
• The rocky 1920s
• The road to Washington runs through Berlin
• The struggle for Syria
• Husni al-Za’im and the United States
• The early Shishakli era 1949-1951
• Ike comes to Damascus
• Turning back the clock
• Ropes of Syrian Sand
• Tipping the balance at Suez
• The Stone Affair
• The United Arab Republic

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