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Asad's legacy - Eyal Zisser

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Asad's legacy - Syria in transition
Eyal Zisser
Paperback / softback
Hurst & Company
UK Publication Date

The Syrian President Hafiz al-Asad is one of the Middle East's most prominent leaders, under whose stewardship Syria became a regional power determined to exert its influence, if not hegemony, over the Middle East. Yet three decades after he took power, Syria was plunged into deep social and economic crisis and found itself in utter political isolation, both internationally and regionally, following the demise of its long-time ally, the Soviet Union. In the late 1980s and 1990s the country found itself at a cross-roads. Should it opt for the status quo, or make a long-term strategic choice in favour of peace with Israel and the economic rewards which would flow into the country from grateful western states and international institutions? This book presents a careful analysis of Syria's political and economic fortunes over the last decades, of Asad, his regime and his policies, and of what is happening to Syrian society in the face of changing circumstances, domestically and regionally. Taken together Zisser's analysis of these issues provides a comprehensive and up-to-date analysis of Syrian affairs at the end of the 1990s.

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From the 1940s to the end of the 1960s, Syria knew no political stability. Three military coups in a single year (1949) and a brief union with Egypt (1958-61) were interspersed with unstable, short-lived governments. Syria was a pawn in the overlapping arenas of Arab, Arab-Israeli, and U.S.-Soviet diplomacy. Then, in 1970, Hafiz al-Assad began his one-man rule that was ended only by his death last year. How did he survive where others had not? In brisk chapters, Zisser sets out the major strands of Assad's political record, including the establishment of virtual Syrian protectorate over Lebanon; its adjustment after the demise of its Cold War patron, the Soviet Union; and the movement from war to negotiations-but still no peace-with Israel. Zisser sees Assad as masterful tactician who nonetheless lacked useful basis for appraising the prospects and pitfalls facing his son and successor, Bashar.
Foreign Affairs

Keyword Index
Syria - Politics and government - 1971-
Country of Publication
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