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Syria: Hot Spots in Global Politics, 2nd Edition

Samer N. Abboud

ISBN: 978-1-509-52244-6 August 2018 Polity 304 Pages


With more than 500,000 people killed and at least half the population displaced, Syria’s conflict is the most deadly of the twenty-first century. Russia’s decision to join the war has broken the long military and political stalemate but it looks unlikely to deliver any of the core demands that spawned the original uprising against the Ba’athist regime.

In this fully revised second edition of his acclaimed text, Samer Abboud provides an in-depth analysis of Syria’s descent into civil war, the subsequent stalemate, and the consequences of Russian military involvement after 2015. He unravels the complex and multi-layered drivers of the conflict and demonstrates how rebel fragmentation, sustained regime violence, international actors, and the emergence of competing centers of power tore Syria apart in wholly irreversible ways. A resolution to the Syrian catastrophe seems to have emerged in the aftermath of Russia’s intervention, but, as Abboud argues, this “authoritarian peace” contains the seeds of continued and future conflict in Syria. While the Assad regime has so far survived, the instability, violence, and insecurity that continue to shape everyday life for the Syrian people portend an uncertain future that will have repercussions on the wider Middle East for years to come.
  • Introduction
  • Chapter One: The Rise and Fall of the Ba'ath Party
  • Chapter Two: The Syrian Uprising
  • Chapter Three: Continued violence and the emergence of armed opposition
  • Chapter Four: Before AleppoÉStalemate and Fragmentation
  • Chapter Five: After AleppoÉBreaking the Stalemate
  • Conclusion: The Coming Authoritarian Peace
  • References
-clear explanation of the history of the Russia-Syria relationship, as well as updates that take into account what has happened since the Russia heightened its military involvement in Syria in 2015
-insights into the regime’s decision-making process in the early stages of the uprising
-a comparative perspective on democratic transitions and regime breakdowns, showing why some of the uprisings turned violent, including Syria, while others did not, like Tunisia, Egypt and Jordan.
-analysis of the role of the economic turmoil and climate change in Syria and the internal displacement of people prior to the uprisings -analysis of the predicament of the Kurdish people to help readers situate the Syrian Kurds within the broader national movement
"Samer Abboud’s Syria is an indispensable reference on the uprising and brutal conflict that has raged in Syria since 2011. Abboud is masterful in providing an account that is at once accessible, balanced and analytically sophisticated. He explains clearly how a wartime order took hold in Syria after 2011, who its key actors are, their roles in the conflict,and how the likely imposition of an ‘authoritarian peace’ under the Assad regime is unlikely to deliver either stability or security to a country ravaged by violence."
Steven Heydemann, Smith College

"This second edition of Abboud’s small classic carries his valuable analysis forward. Bringing together the phases and dimensions of the Syrian conflict in a uniquely convincing and comprehensive way, Abboud explores how the failure of diplomacy left a stalemate, and how the stalemate was broken by Russian intervention, and yet today the conflict remains frozen but not resolved.” 
Raymond Hinnebusch, University of St Andrews