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Destroying a Nation


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Table of Contents

Preface 1 Introduction 2 Ba'thist history before the Syrian Revolution (2011) 3 Could the War in Syria have been avoided? 4 Confrontation between the military of the regime and the opposition 5 The ambivalent Western approach to the Syria conflict 6 Intra-Syrian talks but no negotiations 7 Conclusions Notes Bibliography Index

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Ground-breaking account of Syria's descent into chaos

About the Author

Nikolaos van Dam is a specialist on Syria who served as Special Envoy of the Netherlands for Syria in 2015-2-16. He has previously served as Ambassador of the Netherlands to Indonesia, Germany, Turkey, Egypt and Iraq.


'[A] monumental work on Syrian power politics' - Robert Fisk, The Independent, 'An excellent book' - Patrick Seale, 'An admirable study... invaluable for anyone with a serious interest in Middle Eastern politics' - Peter Mansfield, 'The most informative explanation of the effects of sectarianism and regionalism on Syrian politics' - Philip S. Khoury, MERIP Reports, '[An] excellent study of the sectarian bases of Syrian politics' - Foreign Affairs, 'Only a handful of important books have been written on modern Syria; and Nikolaos van Dam's The Struggle for Power in Syria is one of them' - Joshua Landis, International Journal of Middle East Studies, 'Nikolaos van Dam is a rare species: An academic analyst and an excellent diplomat who has accompanied and shaped recent Syrian history in theory and practice. He is also brutally honest, including with Western policy failures, and hard to be put into a political camp in this polarized conflict. On the basis of profound studies of the Baath system, he explains how Syria's disaster inevitably unfolded in the context of the Arab Spring, the brutal internal logic of an encrusted regime, and the vested interests of foreign powers. Van Dam's insights from old and new Syria make this book a valuable guide in the complex web of this worst conflict of our century. We get a taste of the difficult search for a new social contract and a political solution in Syria - if this is still possible before the state fails.' - Carsten Wieland, author of Syria: A Decade of Lost Chances, 'Nikolaos van Dam is simply one of the top experts on Syria. Setting the Syrian conflict within its historical and contemporary contexts, he draws on his unique combination of scholarly excellence and practical diplomatic experience. This book is a sophisticated, yet accessible and readable analysis of a highly complex situation. It substantially updates and advances our understanding of the ever evolving war in Syria.' - David W. Lesch, Ewing Halsell Distinguished Professor of History at Trinity University, San Antonio, Texas and author of Syria: The Fall of the House of Assad.

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