One of the most striking recent developments in the modern Middle East has been the transformation of Syria under Hafez al-Assad from a weak, vulnerable and internally divided state to a leading regional power. While this is increasingly acknowledged by observers of the Middle Eastern scene , the scholarly discussion of the origins, the scope, the durability and the implications of this change is only beginning to take place.
Syria Under Assad addresses itself to this discussion. Based on a carefully selected collection of original articles, this volume focuses on the elements of Syria’s power, on Syria’s relations with each of its neighbours as well as on Syria’s relations with the superpowers. In the final analysis, conclude the editors, Syrian policies appear paradoxical. Its conduct ever since the advent of Hafez al-Assad exhibits subtle and hard-nosed pragmatism. Yet, in order to consolidate the domestic legitimacy of the Alawi Ba’athist regime, Syria has been impelled to articulate its foreign policy goals in the far-flung rhetoric of the Ba’athist ideology. As a result Syria is widely perceived of as a menace and, treated as such, it often responds in kind.
1. The Study of Syria Moshe Ma’oz and Avner Yaniv Part 1. The Elements of Syrian Power 2. The Emergence of Modern Syria Moshe Ma’oz 3. The Syrian Economy under the Assad Regime Kais Firro 4. The Evolution of Syrian Power, 1948–1984 Zeev Ma’oz Part 2. Syria and its Neighbours 5. Conflict and Accommodation in Turkish–Syrian Relations David Kushner 6. The Odd Couple: Ba’athist Syria and Khomeini’s Iran Yair Hirschfeld 7. Ideology and Power Politics in Syrian–Iraqi Relations, 1968–1984 Amazia Baram 8. Syria and Jordan: The Politics of Subversion Joseph Nevo 9. Syria and Israel: The Politics of Escalation Avner Yabiv 10. The Changing Prism: Syrian Policy in Lebanon as a Mirror, an Issue and an Instrument Itamar Rabinovich 11. On a Short Leash: Syria and the PLO Moshe Ma’oz and Avner Yaniv Part 3. Syria and the Superpowers 12. Washington, Damascus and the Lebanon Crisis Yair Evron 13. Moscow, Damascus and the Lebanon Crisis Robert O. Freedman Part 4. The Syrian Paradox 14. The Syrian Paradox Moshe Ma’oz and Avner Yaniv