The Syrian Rebellion

The Syrian Rebellion

Author: Fouad Ajami
ISBN: 978-0-8179-1504-9
Publication Date: 5/30/2012
Pages: 260



Freedom's Call and Its Cruel Price

In The Syrian Rebellion, Fouad Ajami offers a detailed historical perspective on the current rebellion in Syria. Focusing on the similarities and the differences in skills between former dictator Hafez al-Assad and his successor son, Bashar, Ajami explains how an irresistible force clashed with an immovable object: the regime versus people who conquered fear to challenge a despot of unspeakable cruelty. Although the people at first hoped that Bashar would open up the prison that Syria had become under his father, it was not to be—and rebellion soon followed.

Ajami 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 had been by Bashar's father. When the political hurricane known as the Arab Spring hit the region, Bashar al-Assad proclaimed his country's immunity to the troubles. He was wrong. This book tells how a proud people finally came to demand something more than a drab regime of dictatorship and plunder.


Scott W. Atlas, MD Fouad Ajami is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and the cochair of the Herbert and Jane Dwight Working Group on Islamism and the International Order. From 1980 to 2011 he was director of Middle East Studies at the Johns Hopkins University. He is the author of The Arab Predicament, Beirut: City of Regrets, The Dream Palace of the Arabs, and The Foreigner's Gift. His writings also include some four hundred essays on Arab and Islamic politics, US foreign policy, and contemporary international history. Ajami has received numerous awards, including the Benjamin Franklin Award for public service (2011), the Eric Breindel Award for Excellence in Opinion Journalism (2011), the Bradley Prize (2006), the National Humanities Medal (2006), and the MacArthur Fellows Award (1982). His research has charted the road to 9/11, the Iraq war, and the US presence in the Arab-Islamic world.


"In The Syrian Rebellion, the Middle East scholar Fouad Ajami weaves the threads of Syria's past with the events of the previous year to give us a portrait of the country as it hurtles toward its moment of decisive transformation. This is no small feat: Syria is a country of enormous ethnic and religious complexity, and the story is moving very fast. The Syrian Rebellion is an elegant and edifying book, written on the fly, by an observer who retains an almost loving intimacy with his subject. But it is underlain by a sobering subtext: Ajami suggests that the dynamics of Syria's politics and history are leading inexorably toward a catastrophe, or at least no quick and happy end. If he's right, we have probably not yet seen the worst."
   DEXTER FILKINS, The New York Times. Read the full review here.

"[The Syrian Rebellion] is deeply erudite as well as being avowedly partisan. Ajami is an eloquent advocate for Syria's rebels, who he feels have been let down by the West... he draws on a dazzlingly broad range of sources and his own deep experience of foreign policy."
   GERARD RUSSELL, The Times Literary Supplement. Read the full review here.

"It is a very readable account by an individual who has spliced a broad knowledge of the subject with a core of emotion."
   JAMES DENSELOW, International Affairs

"A superb scene-setter for the ongoing civil war"
   Foreign Affairs

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Fouad Ajami

Fouad Ajami was a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and the cochair of the Working Group on Islamism and the International Order. He was also the Majid Khadurri Professor of Middle East Studies at The Johns Hopkins University, the School of Advanced International Studies.


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