The View From Damascus

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Sheds new light on the recent history and current politics and policies of this important Middle Eastern country. Throughout the last hundred years Syria has been a crucial hub of Middle Eastern events: the birth place and 'pulsating heart' of Arab nationalism, the object of colonial and regional ambitions, it has transformed into a regional power exerting influence over Lebanon and the Palestinians, Iran's closest ally and a thorn in the side of the Bush Administration. Itamar Rabinovich is uniquely qualified to...
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Overview

Sheds new light on the recent history and current politics and policies of this important Middle Eastern country. Throughout the last hundred years Syria has been a crucial hub of Middle Eastern events: the birth place and 'pulsating heart' of Arab nationalism, the object of colonial and regional ambitions, it has transformed into a regional power exerting influence over Lebanon and the Palestinians, Iran's closest ally and a thorn in the side of the Bush Administration. Itamar Rabinovich is uniquely qualified to take a panoramic view of Syria's modern history and contemporary politics. As a scholar, he spent thirty-five years studying Syria in diplomatic archives and through the range of sources available to current research. As a diplomat, he was Yitzhak Rabin's chief negotiator with Syria and Israel's ambassador to Washington, and thus a key participant in some of the events addressed in this volume. The twenty-one essays cover the century from the eve of the First World War to the Bush Administration's row with Bashar al-Asad. They are focused on three principal themes: the notion of a Syrian entity and its translation into a Syrian state in its current boundaries; the conflict between rival concepts of the political community that inhabits the Syrian state; and issues of foreign policy with a particular emphasis on the Syrian-Israeli conflict and peace process. The main themes of Syrian history and politics are picked up at their inception and followed through the course of the twentieth century to the present day.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780853038009
  • Publisher: Vallentine-Mitchell
  • Publication date: 11/18/2008
  • Pages: 371
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

Part I Historical Background and the Period of the French Mandate

1 Syria and the Syrian Land: The Nineteenth-century Roots of Twentieth-century Developments 7

2 France and the Levant 19

3 Between Nationalists and 'Moderates': France and Syria in the 1930s 26

4 Oil and Local Politics: The French-Iraqi Negotiations of the Early 1930s 43

5 Inter-Arab Relations Foreshadowed: The Question of the Syrian Throne in the 1920s and 1930s 54

6 The Greater Syria Plan and Palestine Problem: Historical Roots, 1919-1939 68

7 An Anthropologist as a Political Officer: Evans-Pritchard, the French and the 'Alawis (with Gitta Yaffe) 81

Part II Ethnicity And Politics

8 The Compact Minorities and the Syrian State, 1918-1945 95

9 Syria: A Case of Minority Might 111

10 Arab Political Parties: Ideology and Ethnicity 123

Part III The Ba'th Regime

11 Historiography and Politics in Syria 143

12 Syria's Quest for a Regional Role 154

Part IV Syria And Israel

13 Syria, Israel and the Palestine Question, 1945-1977 175

14 Israel and Husni Za'im 187

15 Syria, Inter-Arab Relations and the Outbreak of the Six Day War 226

16 Israel, Syria and Lebanon 235

17 From Deposit to Commitment: The Evolution of US-Israeli-Syrian Peace Negotiations, 1993-2000 255

18 Israel and Syria, Rabin and Asad 261

19 On Public Diplomacy and the Israeli-Syrian Negotiations During the Waning of Hafiz al-Asad's Rule 310

20 Ehud Barak and the Collapse of the Peace Process 324

21 The Bush Administration, Israel and Syria, 2001-2008 341

Bibliography 355

Index 367

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