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Truth About Syria (Englisch) Gebundene Ausgabe – 30. Juni 2007

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  • Gebundene Ausgabe: 292 Seiten
  • Verlag: Palgrave Macmillan (30. Juni 2007)
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ISBN-10: 1403982732
  • ISBN-13: 978-1403982735
  • Größe und/oder Gewicht: 15,5 x 2,9 x 24,8 cm
  • Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 5.0 von 5 Sternen  Alle Rezensionen anzeigen (2 Kundenrezensionen)
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 1.318.948 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)
  • Komplettes Inhaltsverzeichnis ansehen

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Syria will play a major role in the years to come both as a player and an issue in world politics. This book, written by a veteran student of Middle East affairs, is the most up-to-date and reliable guide available on this subject. (Walter Laqueur, Emeritus Professor, Georgetown University, and author of The Road to War)

In this book Barry Rubin takes Syria as a model of Arab tyranny. What might look like gratuitous violence, cruelty, or mendacity serves the purpose of shoring up the power of the one-man ruler and his regime, and is completely predictable. There is now no good reason for the West and its leaders to go along with this dynamic, indeed to feed it regularly. Rubin describes with care, and prescribes with caution. The achievement is as informed as it is humane. (David Pryce-Jones, author of The Closed Circle: An Interpretation of the Arabs)

Barry Rubin's book is a much-needed examination that cuts through the delusions and fantasies currently in vogue about the Assad regime. Rubin nails the nature of Syria's rulers and their behavior, explaining why they are--and will always be--hard-line, chronic exporters of instability. (Tony Badran, Research Fellow (Levant), Foundation for Defense of Democracies)

The Truth About Syria . . . is a welcome contribution to the largely unimpressive body of research on modern Syria. Rubin's well-sourced study provides an unvarnished appraisal of Syrian politics, making no apologies for the brutal internal and destabilizing foreign policies that characterized the 30 year rule of Syrian leader Hafiz Assad and that persist under Hafiz's son and successor Bashar. The Truth About Syria is informative, insightful, and readable, and is an important contribution toward understanding this important but understudied state. (David Schenker, Senior Fellow in Arab Politics, Washington Institute for Near East Policy)

Professor Rubin's book comes at a time when the debate over Syria and its regime is growing throughout Europe and America. He courageously gathers evidence showing the impossibility of dealing with Syria or changing its behavior. The merit of Rubin's book lies in the thorough dissection of the regime's psychological conduct, and of the tools this dictatorship has used in the past and uses now to remain in power. Any approach to the Syrian problem that does not take Professor Rubin's analysis into consideration will be an incomplete one. (Elie Fawaz, Lebanese political analyst)

Rubin's book is a breath of fresh air, compared with analysis from other Syria 'experts'...[who] stubbornly insist that Syria can be a U.S. ally...The Truth About Syria is relentless and unapologetic. It shows how Syria is backing Palestinian terrorism and the Iraqi insurgency, murdering Lebanese patriots, lying to American diplomats and committing a host of other offenses that Americans should learn about if they are to prevent their elected representatives from further missions of folly. (Jonathan Schanzer, New York Post)

As a history of Syria, especially under Hafiz and later Bashar Assad, The Truth About Syria is a very good book. (Håvard M Nygård, Journal of Peace Research)


Syria has long presented a serious problem for the Middle East region and U.S. policy. With its mix of competing religious and ethnic groups, radical ideologies, and political repression, it is a 72,000-square-mile time bomb waiting to go off. Yet surprisingly, very little is known about this country and the role it has played in shaping the destiny of the Middle East. In "The Truth about Syria", Middle East expert Barry Rubin looks at the critical issues that have made the country the powderkeg of the Middle East and offers an insightful analysis of the effects of recent developments.


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Isn't it interesting how in just a few months we yet again see how Barry Rubin has delivered the goods and upset the favoured 'truths' of the foreign policy mandarins and thinktanks?

Whilst European and US foreign policy pundits along with their governments have been cuddling up to arab despots, of which the Assad's numberered amongst the worst, BR warned that the leopard didn't change its spots after marrying a nice english arabian girl, not even having spent a few years studying to become an eye doctor. What with all the faked degrees that are handed out in the UK nowadays to despots willing to 'help' needy British universities, it was a blessing of sorts that Assad the Younger went back into daddy's business of being president rather than operating on gullible victim's eyes.

Well maybe a blessing for British people not having to undergo Assad's knife, but he seems to be wielding the knife pretty handily at the moment, 5,000 of his own people at the last count (December 2011) and rising.

There is shock horror in the West. How could this happen? After Bashir Assad was such a nice family man who along with his wife even appeared this year for a laudatory piece in Vogue.
Such a caring type would never commit gruesome massacres???

Well all this butchery is a surprise only to a west hoodwinked by gullible journalists and university trained fools with high paying jobs in the government diplomatic offices. The tyrants of the middle east know how to talk about democracy and human rights but behind their smooth tongues, in every arab regime, lies the unmitigated and brutal power of the police state.
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1 von 4 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich Von Peter Uys am 5. August 2007
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
The Truth About Syria reveals how the Assad regime backs terrorism in Iraq, Israel and Lebanon, murders Lebanese journalists and politicians and oppresses its own citizens whilst effectively continuing to deceive Western diplomats.

The author looks at the 20th century history of Syria to explain how the Assads came to power. The country is a patchwork of religions with a Sunni majority, ruled like a mafia by the Assad family of the Alawite minority via the Baath Party.

The Alawites first gained dominion after World War I under the French mandate and established complete hegemony in 1970s with Hafez al-Assad's coup d'etat. The Assads then became a hereditary dynasty. The regime's crimes are many, including the slaughter of more than ten thousand people in the city of Homs in 1982.

Since the end of WW II Syia has given refuge to Nazis, produced TV series promoting anti-Semitic libels, supported a multitude of terrorist formations, occupied Lebanon and indulged in counterfeiting, smuggling and drug trading. It is astonishing that the West could ever have considered this thugocracy as a negotiating partner.

Rubin makes it clear that Syria has no interest in peace as that would be the undoing of the Assad dynasty. Prosperity would undermine their hold on power. Bashar Assad is clearly preparing for war with Israel by purchasing Russian arms, continuing to interfere in Lebanon and increasing support for Hamas and Hezbollah.

The secular regime has now made an alliance with the Iranian ayatollocracy and is clearly up to no good. There are signs that Bashar Assad will try to initiate a proxy war with Israel about the Golan heights.
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3 von 4 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Patterns of Misbehaviour/Hariri On My Mind 24. Juli 2011
Von L. King - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Taschenbuch
Revealing insights into the dynamics of the Assad dictatorship that has been running Syria for the last 40 years, useful background given the current protests against the regime.

Rubin's first major point is that the Assad's greatest success has been the rebranding of their ruling minority Alawite Nusayri faction (12% of the pop) as quasi Shias and their emphasis on defining Syria as an Arab state at the forefront of non-existent pan-Arab unity. The irony here is that, at least formerly, the Alawaite sect was regarded as heretic as they not only celebrate the 9th century prophet Nusayri (Mohammed is supposed to the be final prophet) they also consider him to be a manifestation of God and don't perform salah - daily prayers.

Example after example shows that the goal of the regime is to keep the Assads in power - all else is secondary. Loyalty is considered far more important than merit or competence and The Assads, like Saddam Hussein did in neighbouring Iraq, have made sure to install their kinsmen in key positions of power. Any dissent from the majority Sunnis who dominate the business class is kept in line by mukabarat security forces. Newspapers are licensed by the State and can only publish that which is favorable to the regime.

A quote listed on pp207 should be kept in mind. In an interview in Der Spiegel in August 2005, son Bassar Assad said: "If any Syrians are involved (in the Hariri assassination), it means I'm involved." During the At the beginning of this month representatives of the Special Tribunal For Lebanon investigating the Rafiq Hariri assassination served indictments on 4 members of Syria's proxy Hezbollah, and then flew to Damascus to serve more.

The Syrians have always regarded Lebanon as part of greater Syria. During the 30 year Syrian occupation of Lebanon which ended in April of 2006 (Ch 4) Syrian intelligence Chief Ghazi Kanaan maintained a network of informers and wiretaps and acted as co-sponsor along with Iran for the paramilitary Hiz b'Allah. He could and did order assassinations, controlling all important aspects of Lebanese political life, including judiciarial appointments and decisions as well as political ones, including illegal extension of Lebanese Prime Minister Lahoud's term of office as he was favorable to Damascus . Kanaan was found dead in his office in Damascus shortly after the Hariri assassination, an apparent suicide that was brushed under the carpet, though Rubin is skeptical and believes Assad had Kanaan murdered so that he could be blamed for the death of Hariri if need be, without Kanaan pointing the finger at others.

Rubin also asserts that the Assads have done well playing off external regional politics. During the Iraqi sanctions of the 90s they subverted UN policy by surreptitiously laundering Iraqi oil, taking a substantial cut for the State, while pretending to be part of the US coalition. They also managed to serve as a base and supplier for Iraqi insurgents operating against US and the pro-democracy government of Iraq, without incurring the wrath of the United States.(1) WIth regard to the Arab/Israeli dispute to a large degree it has been Syrian sponsorship of proxy terrorist organizations (Hiz b'Allah, Fatah) that has kept the conflict going, including the sponsorship of elements (PFLP and PLA) of Fatah against each other. It was interesting to note that originally Hafiz Assad had claimed that the PLO, set up by Egypt, was a Zionist front (pp39), and he and Arafat did not get long. Assad had picked his friend Yousif al-Urabi to be the new Fatah leader - he was killed by Arafat's supporters and Arafat was thrown into a Syrian prison. One should not forget that it was Syria who dictated the withdrawal of Arafat and his militants from Lebanon in December of '83. (pp89). And, as has been a common tactic in the Arab world, anti-Israel rhetoric has been indoctrinated into the general public and is used as an excuse to stave off meaningful reform that might undermine the entrenched power elite.

The book also spends time looking at tensions between Syria and it's other Arab neighbours, including its intense rivalry with Jordan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Jordan is viewed as historic Syria and the legitimacy of King's Hussein was considered questionable. Bashar and Abdallah are contemporaries, but the governing styles are different and the a relationship hasn't gelled, not that I would advise Abdallah to put any trust in Bashar. The secular nature of Ba'ath and Syria's alliance with Shia Iran plays poorly in Saudi Riyadh and aside from a failed UAR alliance in the 1960s where Egypt viewed Syria contemptuously as a very junior partner, the Assads have portrayed the Egyptian leadership of traitors to the Arab cause.

It's current to the time of publication (2006), and though the content is good, at times Rubin repeats the same point in more or less the same way. To me this indicates a problem with editing not writing. Not a big deal as Rubin makes more cogent points in each chapter than many writers make in an entire book. The 2nd problem is that the index is incomplete - for example I tried to find a passage about Adbdallah II of Jordan that I had read, but it didn't show in the index - I used Amazon's "look inside the book" feature instead. Again I feel the problems lie with the editors at Palgrave and not the author. I also had problem with some dead links in web references - in most cases I was able to google quotations in the text and come up with an alternate source. This is a problem across the publishing industry for which a solution is needed.

Obviously, given that he is a Zionist, Rubin's arguments would likely be rejected by those who need it most. Even so it is a useful guide. Inshallah the people of Syria wil replace this government soon and seek a new path, but not only will they have to replace the regime they will also need to break the patterns.

I found it a worthwhile read.
9 von 13 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
non-academic perspective, a simple good start on Syria 12. Juni 2009
Von PJ - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Taschenbuch
I don't think we can ever claim that this type of book writing is objective. There may be objective dates and events, but one look at the title "The Truth About..." is enough to suggest that this book is the result of the author's experience of the region. His language is not academic and is filled with expressions that shout "this is my opinion". Therefore, it is pointless to make a judgement about his book based on his ethnic background.

In controversial topics like the one this book tackles, it's important to read as many books as possible from different authors, both academic and non-academic. I think that Barry Rubin has written an easy-read account of various events in Syrian and Middle Eastern recent history with this book.

What I got out of the book was that Syria has been a rogue state with very self-destructive internal policies. For decades, the regime has been run by elite that have focused on meddling into neighboring countries' affairs instead of addressing their own peoples' plights. Furthermore, this has been- possibly on purpose- largely ignored by the West especially by the US. I would argue that, with this book, Barry Rubin has attempted to call on to Western (particularly) American foreign policymakers to take a more effective and pro-active stance against Syria, instead of running after imaginary missions (a.k.a search for Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq).

I think the gist of the book is that the West has failed to identify the reasons why Palestine and Israel have not settled there differences for so long. And one real reason is interference from Syria.
9 von 13 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Anatomy of a dictatorship 2. Dezember 2009
Von Thomas Mitchell - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Verifizierter Kauf
This book is in the style of academic books on the former Soviet Union or Nazi Germany--the anatomy of a dictatorship. Rubin details early Syrian politics, the rise to power as sole dictator of Hafez al-Assad and then the transfer of power to his son Bashar al-Assad. For those wishing to understand the internal dynamics of Syria this appears to be quite a good guide. I would urge caution, however, in reading the chapter on relations with Israel. Rubin writes with certainty and conviction, and some persuasion, that Ba'athist Syria is incapable of making peace with Israel. But he writes that Israel offered to return all of the Golan to Syria in exchange for peace and Assad turned Israel down. This is not true. Rabin made the offer provided that Syria was willing to offer full peace in exchange. But Peres broke off talks in the early spring of 1996 because Syria refused to condemn a terrorist attack and Barak wanted to adjust the border when his final offer was made to Assad by Clinton in March 2000. Dennis Ross blamed Assad's rejection of the offer on Assad's focus on assuring a smooth succession before his impending death from cancer. So Rubin's thesis regarding Israeli-Syrian peace has yet to be fully tested, contrary to what he writes. But I still urge those interested in Syria and Middle East peace to read this book.
Timely, even though not recently written 26. November 2014
Von Teacher/Photographer - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Taschenbuch Verifizierter Kauf
Fantastic insight into understanding Syria and its conflict within historical context. Sad that there is no follow-up text to the current conflict -- the author, a brilliant scholar, passed away last year. Can't wait to start digging into his other 30 books - Barry Rubin was prolific and fair-minded when it came to topics about the Middle East.
12 von 19 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Must reading about Syria 3. März 2008
Von Ami Isseroff - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
Professor Rubin's book does for Syria what John Gunther did many years for USSR. Shorn of topical references, this is an "Inside Assad's Syria" and can give many people insights into what the regime is about, how it works and what it is like. It is, if you will, a "user's guide."

That doesn't mean that every prognostication or evaluation in the book is precisely right, but it does mean you will come away with the understanding that a regime such as Syria is very different from the sort of political reality that you might know as a person living in a free society with post modern industrial values.

I would have liked to see more history and detail about the workings of the regime and relation to Hezbollah and Iran, suppression of dissidents and prospects for political change, and less dwelling on prognostications that are apt to be mistaken in the nature of things, but this is still a must-read book.

When you come to a place like Syria or want to understand such a regime, everyone must understand "You are not in Kansas Dorothy" - words don't have the same meaning, concepts like democracy don't mean the same thing either.
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