In The Syrian Rebellion, Middle East expert Fouad Ajami explains how an irresistible force clashed with an immovable object: the regime versus a people who conquered fear to challenge a despot of unspeakable cruelty. Offering a detailed historical perspective, he shows how, for four long decades, the Assad dynasty, the intelligence barons, and the brigade commanders had grown accustomed to a culture of quiescence and silence. But Syrians did not want to be ruled by Bashar’s children the way they had been ruled by Bashar and their parents, by Bashar’s father. This book tells how a proud people came to demand something more than a despotic regime of dictatorship and plunder.
The lands and coasts across the Bab el-Mandeb—the tiny strait that separates the Red Sea from the Indian Ocean at the southern tip of the Red Sea—have for centuries had a forbidding reputation as lands of piracy and privation. The author looks at the twenty-first-century challenges facing the region from civil war, piracy, radical Islamism, terrorism, and the real risk of environmental and economic failure on both sides of the strait.
Bernard Lewis looks at the new era in the Middle East. With the departure of imperial powers, the region must now, on its own, resolve the political, economic, cultural, and societal problems that prevent it from accomplishing the next stage in the advance of civilization. There is enough in the traditional culture of Islam on the one hand and the modern experience of the Muslim peoples on the other, he explains, to provide the basis for an advance toward freedom in the true sense of that word.
Charles Hill analyzes the refusal of the ideologues of pan-Islam to accept the boundaries and responsibilities of the order of states. He offers a historical perspective on the war of Islamism against the nation-state system, looking at changes in world order from the Thirty Years’ War of the seventeenth century to Iran’s Islamic revolution in 1979 to the overthrow of Saddam Hussein in Iraq.
Middle East expert Reuel Marc Gerecht argues that the Middle East may actually be at the beginning of a momentous democratic wave whose convulsions could become the region’s defining theme during Obama’s presidency. He describes the powerful Middle Eastern democratic movements coming from both the left and right and argues that America must reassess democracy’s supposed lack of a future in the region.
With field notes accumulated in a Syrian environment not generally hospitable to research and inquiry, Nibras Kazimi provides a unique view of the Syrian regime and its base at home, filling a void in our understanding of the intelligence barons and soldiers who run that country. He offers a look at the tactical, propagandists and strategic ingredients required, in jihadist eyes, for a successful jihad—and whether those ingredients are available in Syria.