The Syrian Rebellion

The Syrian Rebellion

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by Fouad Ajami
     
 

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When the Arab Spring exploded across the Middle East, it was no surprise that the eruption in Syria came after the upheavals in Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Libya, and Bahrain. The Syrians had taken their time, knowing that they were in for a particularly grim and bloody struggle. But four decades of a brutal dictatorship under the Assad dynasty could not crush their

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Overview

When the Arab Spring exploded across the Middle East, it was no surprise that the eruption in Syria came after the upheavals in Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Libya, and Bahrain. The Syrians had taken their time, knowing that they were in for a particularly grim and bloody struggle. But four decades of a brutal dictatorship under the Assad dynasty could not crush their spirit-people were done with the Assad tyranny and ready to pay the ultimate price. The dictatorship alternated savage violence with promises of reform, but the barrier of fear had been broken; its horrific deeds only strengthened the resolve of those who wanted done with that cruel regime.

In The Syrian Rebellion, Fouad Ajami offers a detailed historical perspective on the current rebellion in Syria. Focusing on the similarities and differences in skills between former dictator Hafez al-Assad and his successor son, Bashar, he tells how Syria has overcome decades of repression, numerous coups, and other hardships to arrive at its current state of affairs: a people poised to throw off the yoke of oppression and move forward.

In 1994 Hafez Assad's oldest son, Bassel, whom he had been grooming for succession, was killed in a car accident. Hafez then settled on his other son Bashar, an eye doctor, as his successor. Syrians hoped for the best, thinking that perhaps this gangly youth, with a stint in London behind him, would grant them the freedoms denied by his father. They were wrong. When the political hurricane known as the Arab Spring hit the region, Bashar al-Assad proclaimed his country's immunity to the troubles. He was wrong. As Ajami explains, Bashar, the accidental inheritor of his father's political realm, now had his own war. He had stepped out of his father's shadow only to merge with it. But the house that Hafez Assad built, some four decades ago, is not destined to last.

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Editorial Reviews

The New York Times Book Review
…Fouad Ajami weaves the threads of Syria's past with the events of the previous year to give us a portrait of the country as it hurtles toward its moment of decisive transformation. This is no small feat: Syria is a country of enormous ethnic and religious complexity, and the story is moving very fast. The Syrian Rebellion is an elegant and edifying book, written on the fly, by an observer who retains an almost loving intimacy with his subject.
—Dexter Filkins
Library Journal
The recent Arab uprisings, or the Arab Spring, that began in Tunisia and spread to much of the Arab world have overthrown some of the most entrenched dictatorships and brought discomfort to hidebound monarchies in Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf Arab states. The spillover of this upheaval into Syria elicited a brutal response from the regime of Bashar Assad, leaving an uncertain future for both the Syrian regime and the opposition. In this informative book, Ajami (senior fellow, Hoover Inst.) offers an accessible account of the emergence of modern Syria, the country's volatile political landscape, and the machinations of various forces in affecting the contours of developments there today. The author does a good job of placing the Syrian turmoil in the context of the game being played by both major powers and regional actors in affecting the course of the Syrian crisis. What the book lacks is a detailed analysis of the makeup of the Syrian opposition, which includes several strains of extremist and jihadist groups and individuals who are challenging the ruling regime. VERDICT In spite of that deficiency, this is nonetheless a useful resource for both policymakers and students of the contemporary Middle East.—Nader Entessar, Univ. of Southern Alabama, Mobile

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780817915063
Publisher:
Hoover Institution Press
Publication date:
05/30/2012
Series:
Hoover Institution Press publication ;
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
260
Sales rank:
1,309,756
File size:
2 MB

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