The dramatic chronicle of an American journalist caught between President Bashar and U.S. Middle East policy
A key player and an unrelenting obstacle in the Middle East peace process, Syria has long been a thorn in Washington's side when it comes to forging strategic alliances with powers in the region. But only after the events of 9/11 and Damascus's staunch opposition to the War in Iraq did the U.S. government begin a campaign to pressure President Bashar al-Asad's regime to change its policies and bring Syria into the Western political orbit. Author Andrew Tabler was both a witness to and participant in the events of this covert conflict. No other Western journalists or academics were based in Damascus during this entire period, and as co-founder of what was then Syria's only English-language publication, Tabler was not only watched and censored, but courted by the Syrian government in an attempt to influence his stories to the international community. He gained unique access to the upper echelons of power like no other journalist before him, even accompanying the Syrian president on a state visit to China. In the Lion's Den provides a rare glimpse into the machinations of one of the world's most baffling political systems. The book vividly captures Tabler's behind-the-scenes experiences as well as the story of Syria itself post-9/11 and Washington's attempts to craft a "New Middle East." Tabler's astute political analysis of the goings-on around him is seamlessly interwoven with a devastating critique of U.S. foreign policy. He examines the effects of the the Bush adminstration's strategy, asking what went wrong, what went right, and where Washington needs to go from here to deal with this volatile Middle Eastern country.
"Tabler's unique position as an American working to promote Syrian culture allowed him a keen perch from which to observe unfolding events...A singular, critical look inside this compelling Arab nation." —Kirkus
"Tabler's frontline report offers readers a chilling glimpse of an enigmatic region." —Publishers Weekly
“A fascinating odyssey through the maze of modern Syria. Full of wisdom, optimism, and caution.” —Jon Alterman, Director of the Middle East Program, Center for Strategic and International Studies
“It is difficult to think of a more timely book and of an author better suited to write it. Andrew Tabler worked around the inner sanctum of Bashar al-Assad [and] offers unique insights into the inner workings of the regime and of Syria’s ruling elites. Mandatory reading.” —Itamar Rabinovich, Israel’s former chief negotiator with Syria and ambassador to the United States
“Riveting . . . a compelling insider’s account of life under the Assad regime.” —Steven Heydemann, United States Institute of Peace
"...spot on for spelling out Syria's strategic importance: its alliance with Iran and Hezbollah, its border with Israel, its sworn vengeance for the loss of Golan Heights."—The Boston Globe