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Syria has long presented a difficult problem for American policymakers. Actively supportive of groups such as Hezbollah, it has occupied Lebanon for more than 20 years. Damascus remains intransigent on Israel's complete withdrawal from the disputed Golan Heights as the sine qua non for peace with that state. It is often mentioned in the same breath as members of the infamo Syria has long presented a difficult problem for American policymakers. Actively supportive of groups such as Hezbollah, it has occupied Lebanon for more than 20 years. Damascus remains intransigent on Israel's complete withdrawal from the disputed Golan Heights as the sine qua non for peace with that state. It is often mentioned in the same breath as members of the infamous "axis of evil." Syria occupies an important strategic position in the Middle East—one made even more significant as America considers long-term involvement in the reconstruction of Iraq. As the policy challenges posed by Syria's problematic behavior have grown more pressing in the recent security environment, the United States has had difficulty formulating a coherent and effective policy toward Damascus. The death of long-time dictator Hafiz al Assad has forced renewed debate on its place in the region. The transition from Assad to his son Bashar has thrown Western consensus on how to deal with the Syrian leadership further into doubt. In heriting Syria fills this void with a detailed analytic portrait of the Syrian regime under Bashar's leadership. It draws implications for U.S. policy, offering a bold new strategy for achieving American objectives, largely via a strategy of "coordinated engagement" employing both sticks and carrots. This strategy would be independent of the Arab-Israeli peace process, thus a historical departure for the United States. The author's long service in the foreign policy establishment has uniquely positioned him to provide valuable insights into this mysterious yet important country. This book will be of high interest to those concerned about the Middle East, the war on terror, and the future of American foreign policy. Written for a general audience as well as the policymaking and academic communities,her iting Syria is is an important resource for all who seek deeper understanding of this enigmatic nation and its leadership.


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Syria has long presented a difficult problem for American policymakers. Actively supportive of groups such as Hezbollah, it has occupied Lebanon for more than 20 years. Damascus remains intransigent on Israel's complete withdrawal from the disputed Golan Heights as the sine qua non for peace with that state. It is often mentioned in the same breath as members of the infamo Syria has long presented a difficult problem for American policymakers. Actively supportive of groups such as Hezbollah, it has occupied Lebanon for more than 20 years. Damascus remains intransigent on Israel's complete withdrawal from the disputed Golan Heights as the sine qua non for peace with that state. It is often mentioned in the same breath as members of the infamous "axis of evil." Syria occupies an important strategic position in the Middle East—one made even more significant as America considers long-term involvement in the reconstruction of Iraq. As the policy challenges posed by Syria's problematic behavior have grown more pressing in the recent security environment, the United States has had difficulty formulating a coherent and effective policy toward Damascus. The death of long-time dictator Hafiz al Assad has forced renewed debate on its place in the region. The transition from Assad to his son Bashar has thrown Western consensus on how to deal with the Syrian leadership further into doubt. In heriting Syria fills this void with a detailed analytic portrait of the Syrian regime under Bashar's leadership. It draws implications for U.S. policy, offering a bold new strategy for achieving American objectives, largely via a strategy of "coordinated engagement" employing both sticks and carrots. This strategy would be independent of the Arab-Israeli peace process, thus a historical departure for the United States. The author's long service in the foreign policy establishment has uniquely positioned him to provide valuable insights into this mysterious yet important country. This book will be of high interest to those concerned about the Middle East, the war on terror, and the future of American foreign policy. Written for a general audience as well as the policymaking and academic communities,her iting Syria is is an important resource for all who seek deeper understanding of this enigmatic nation and its leadership.

30 review for Inheriting Syria: Bashar's Trial by Fire

  1. 4 out of 5

    Salim

    يتحدث الكتاب باسلوب غربي احترافي عن منظومة الحكم في سورية التي صنعها الرئيس الراحل حافظ الاسد و التي حضرت لابنه كل الركائز الضرورية ليستند اليها ابنه المدلل بشار ليكون استمرارا لدولة قائمة على رعاية مصالح ضيقة بشبكة علاقات اقليمية و دولية تضمن ديمومة هذا الجسد القبيح الذي يتخذ من من وشاح الشعارات الايديولوجية كوسيلة لاخفاء سلوك القمع المتجذر في جيناته الذي يترجم كسبيل وحيد للعيش بالنسبة لهذه المجموعة وان حاولت السنون تغيير هذه الحقيقة مع بدايات الرئيس الجديد من خلال ما اطلق عليه ربيع دمشق في اوا يتحدث الكتاب باسلوب غربي احترافي عن منظومة الحكم في سورية التي صنعها الرئيس الراحل حافظ الاسد و التي حضرت لابنه كل الركائز الضرورية ليستند اليها ابنه المدلل بشار ليكون استمرارا لدولة قائمة على رعاية مصالح ضيقة بشبكة علاقات اقليمية و دولية تضمن ديمومة هذا الجسد القبيح الذي يتخذ من من وشاح الشعارات الايديولوجية كوسيلة لاخفاء سلوك القمع المتجذر في جيناته الذي يترجم كسبيل وحيد للعيش بالنسبة لهذه المجموعة وان حاولت السنون تغيير هذه الحقيقة مع بدايات الرئيس الجديد من خلال ما اطلق عليه ربيع دمشق في اوائل القرن الواحد و العشرين .. لكن الطبع غلب التطبع و كما يقول المثل "طب الاسد على فمه يطلع مثل بيو "

  2. 4 out of 5

    Dorian Santiago

    I was wary about reading this book because of the author's experience as a CIA analyst and a policy staffer for the U.S. State Department, meaning that the entire book was going to be written in the framework of U.S. foreign policy interests, but the year in which the book was published (2005, which is clearly before the Syrian humanitarian/refugee crisis and insurgency of the Islamic State) convinced me to see exactly what was in plan for the U.S.' dealing with the Asad regime before the occurr I was wary about reading this book because of the author's experience as a CIA analyst and a policy staffer for the U.S. State Department, meaning that the entire book was going to be written in the framework of U.S. foreign policy interests, but the year in which the book was published (2005, which is clearly before the Syrian humanitarian/refugee crisis and insurgency of the Islamic State) convinced me to see exactly what was in plan for the U.S.' dealing with the Asad regime before the occurrences that have become so globally pertinent today. It had its clear biases, of course, but I'm glad I read it nonetheless. Flynt Leverett did a great job of recounting the history of Hafiz al-Asad's political history and laying out his fundamental interests for Syria and the actions that corresponded with them. He also did well in delving into how Asad père maintained the Alawite minority stronghold on the establishment, and that served his introduction into Bashar's regiment and carrying out of his father's policy script wonderfully. Leverett also has a strength with compartmentalizing and explaining the logical bridges in both of the Asads' decision-making, which are skills that are a given for any intelligence analyst. It wasn't until the last chapter, in which he made recommendations for the U.S. policymakers, that my misgivings really started to surface. As noted above, his experience with the American foreign policy establishment made it clear that this work's perspective was loyal to American interests, and while he revealed that in doses throughout the book, the final chapter read more like a CIA declassified document than an all-encompassing scope of how to allow Syria to thrive as best it could with or without the Asad regime (i.e. paying attention to the Syrian civil society). Overall, it was an informative read and I was sure to mentally point out where strong bias laid. It was smoother to weed out through that than I thought. In fact, the only grating part of the book was the author's occasional comma misplacement.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Bridget

    RIVETING. I loved this book. It was so informative and well constructed. The prose is very spare and although it is not a short book, it consists of only five chapters. It reads more like an extended, in-depth Foreign Policy article than a book, but it was so intelligent and clear that I still found it very readable. That said, I don't think the audience for this book is a very wide one. If you are not already interested in Syria under the Assads, this book will not whet your appetite. It assumes RIVETING. I loved this book. It was so informative and well constructed. The prose is very spare and although it is not a short book, it consists of only five chapters. It reads more like an extended, in-depth Foreign Policy article than a book, but it was so intelligent and clear that I still found it very readable. That said, I don't think the audience for this book is a very wide one. If you are not already interested in Syria under the Assads, this book will not whet your appetite. It assumes a certain baseline knowledge of the country's (and region's) history and current condition. If you don't have that, I can't imagine this would be a very interesting read for you. But wow, for me, having lived in Syria during the exact critical time period focused on by the author, it was an amazing read. I remember these events happening and I knew the government big-wig names he mentioned (I even taught English to one of those guy's kids). I have to say, I felt relieved to have my opinions of Bashar al-Assad largely vindicated by this book. Syrians can be very possessive of opinions of their country and leader and don't often extend the privilege of holding one to outsiders. Armed with the knowledge I gained from this book, I feel more comfortable defending my opinion of Assad, which remains that he is a "closet reformer" held back by certain entrenched elements and structures of the regime he (reluctantly) inherited. I'm not saying dude deserves to stay in power. I'm just saying he is not the evil dictator some would like to make him out to be. Read this book before you contradict me.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Andrew Daniels

    Initially, I liked this book, I found the author's style easy to read The more I read, the less I liked it. It told too little about Syria, and the author seemed not to understand some of the things he talked about or the people he quoted. I thought he didn't understand Ba'athism or other topics. Little bit Americentric, lots of speculation and not too balanced. The author doesn't seem to question that his premises could be wrong. this is definitely not for a casual reader on Syria, and I think th Initially, I liked this book, I found the author's style easy to read The more I read, the less I liked it. It told too little about Syria, and the author seemed not to understand some of the things he talked about or the people he quoted. I thought he didn't understand Ba'athism or other topics. Little bit Americentric, lots of speculation and not too balanced. The author doesn't seem to question that his premises could be wrong. this is definitely not for a casual reader on Syria, and I think the book is a failure - its neither appropriate for casual readers, and those with a greater interest will find it disappointing with too little content.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Kris

    Political, economic, and domestic life is heavily analyzed in this book. Highly recommended for anyone wanting to understand the foundation of Syria post World War 2. It was written in 2005, many years before the Syrian situation of today. The writer, while having an inherited, doctrinal bias, isn't blatant and doesn't obfuscate facts or try to justify truths of history. More or less, it seems that the writer wanted to give as clear as possible, a picture of the socio-political environment in Sy Political, economic, and domestic life is heavily analyzed in this book. Highly recommended for anyone wanting to understand the foundation of Syria post World War 2. It was written in 2005, many years before the Syrian situation of today. The writer, while having an inherited, doctrinal bias, isn't blatant and doesn't obfuscate facts or try to justify truths of history. More or less, it seems that the writer wanted to give as clear as possible, a picture of the socio-political environment in Syria. The book is broken up into 3 parts. Highly recommended.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Malek

    الكتاب من الناحية الجوهرية فهو كتاب جيد و مهم * هو يتحدث عن فترة مهمة من تاريخ سوربة وكيفية اتخاذ القرار فبها * في الكتاب بعض المبالغات التقديرية من قبل الكاتب * الكتاب سيئ من الناحية الترجمية للغة العربية وهناك بعض التشويش من قبل المترجم تم حذف بعض النقاط في الترجمة العربية وهذا يسئ لاهمية الكتاب * انصح بقرائة الكتاب لكل متتبع للاوضاع السورية

  7. 5 out of 5

    Natalie

    This book is quite old now, but it still served it's purpose of providing a brief history of Hafez's time in the Presidency, as well as the first few years of Bashar's. Quick read with decent information - even a decade (and with plenty of new developments in the region/country) on. This book is quite old now, but it still served it's purpose of providing a brief history of Hafez's time in the Presidency, as well as the first few years of Bashar's. Quick read with decent information - even a decade (and with plenty of new developments in the region/country) on.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Naim Askar

    يثبت الكتاب مجددا أن السياسة السورية و تعقيد المجتمع السوري ما يزالان عصيان على فهم الادارات الاميريكية المتعاقبة

  9. 5 out of 5

    Maen

    كتاب تاريخي أكثر منه تحليلي

  10. 5 out of 5

    Cate

    A really neat look into the Syrian royal family. It outlines the problems that Bashar faces in the domestic political arena and gives an inside look at Syrian politics and government.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Samer

  12. 5 out of 5

    enas elnaggar

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jessica Falk

  14. 4 out of 5

    Kevin Warzala

  15. 4 out of 5

    Justin Delabar

  16. 4 out of 5

    Ammar Amer

  17. 4 out of 5

    Ahmed Suliman

  18. 5 out of 5

    Waddah

  19. 5 out of 5

    Magdy Tahoun

  20. 5 out of 5

    Michael

  21. 4 out of 5

    Stephen Denney

  22. 4 out of 5

    Ian

  23. 4 out of 5

    جميل

  24. 4 out of 5

    Fadi Tibi

  25. 5 out of 5

    Othman Aljbawi

  26. 5 out of 5

    Jamil Ghazal

  27. 4 out of 5

    Firas

  28. 4 out of 5

    Fadi Dardari

  29. 4 out of 5

    Lynn Alkhalil

  30. 4 out of 5

    M-Nour Hiyany

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