As an upbeat and peaceful uprising quickly and brutally descended into a zero-sum civil war, Syria crumbled from a regional player into an arena in which a multitude of local and foreign actors compete. The volatile regional fault lines that run through Syria have ruptured during this conflict, and the course of events in this fragile yet strategically significant country will profoundly shape the future of the Levant.
Emile Hokayem’s first-hand experience and sober analysis provide up-to-date insight into the myriad opposition groups, the conflicting external interests and the murky calculations of the Assad regime. Tracking the seeds of dissent that laid the groundwork for rebellion, he looks at how Syria’s largely apolitical society mobilised and at the unpredictable dynamics that have been unleashed as the protest movement has radicalised and militarised. In the face of such profound challenges to its four decades of authoritarian rule, Hokayem also assesses the continued resilience of a regime that has escalated beyond the point of return.
‘A well-argued, informative account of the Syrian conflict by an expert who has tracked the crisis every step of the way. An important read for those interested in understanding the evolution of the revolt and the dire prospects for Syria’s future.’
Roula Khalaf, Middle East Editor of the Financial Times
‘This book offers the most timely and sophisticated analysis of the tragic war in Syria. Its author is one of the most subtle and perceptive observers of the Syrian political scene and relies in his arguments and presentation on primary sources, fieldwork and in-person interviews with a whole range of actors from Syria and the region. You will not find a better work on both the history and current dynamics of this conflict.’
Bernard Haykel, Professor of Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University
‘Emile Hokayem provides deep insight into the complexities of Syrian society and the demise of a strong state, and, most usefully, walks the reader through the maze of conflicting agendas and interests of the regional players. It is an authoritative account of the most dynamic and difficult period of modern Syrian history. Hokayem’s work will be a valued tool for regional security studies, as Syria’s tragedy is likely to drive the agenda for regional analysis in the years ahead.’
Ellen Laipson, President and CEO of the Stimson Center and Director of their Middle East/Southwest Asia program