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Syria Burning [PDF] ✅ Syria Burning By Charles Glass – What are the origins of the Syrian crisis and why did no one do anything to stop itSince the upsurge of the Arab Spring in 2011 the Syrian civil war has claimed in excess of 200000 lives with an estim What are the origins of the Syrian crisis and why did no one do anything to stop itSince the upsurge of the Arab Spring in the Syrian civil war has claimed in excess of lives with an estimated million Syrians than a third of the country’s population forced to flee their homes Militant Sunni groups such as ISIS have taken control of large swathes of the nation The impact of this catastrophe is now being felt on the streets of Europe and the United States Veteran Middle East expert Charles Glass combines reportage analysis and history to provide an accessible overview of the origins and permutations defining the conflict He also gives a powerful argument for why the West has failed to get to grips with the conseuences of the crisis.

10 thoughts on “Syria Burning

  1. David M David M says:

    Practically everyone has gotten Syria wrong horribly catastrophically wrong This short volume should be reuired reading for the whole human species The author is remarkably compassionate and even handed especially when you consider he was held hostage by Hezbollah in the eighties but in the end there's really no getting around just how miserably the world has failed Syria Not a sin of omission as someone like Samantha Power might have you believe but a thousand different sins of commission Yes Assad bears primary responsibility for the bloodshed His decision to fire on unarmed demonstrators in 2011 is what precipitated the whole catastrophe That said the important uestion is not whether Assad deserves to be president no but what is likely to replace him were he to fall The gruesome answer has come in the form of pogroms against religious minorities in rebel controlled areas of Syria Severed Alawite heads on stakes in the public suareAll the major actors end up looking pretty horrible in Glass's telling but the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia deserves to be singled out They have a long history of coopting revolutions for their reactionary ends This goes back to the seventies when they opted to sponsor Arafat over the progressive wing of the Palestinian liberation movement For decades KSA has spread a reactionary hate filled strain of Sunni Islam through the world Isis was just the latest most extreme incarnation They learned their hate from KSA All in all a cancer on humanity Since the violence in Syria has wound down a bit Yemen has become the site of the world's greatest humanitarian crisis and once again Saudi fingerprints are everywhere This time not as a sponsor of proxy violence but as direct aggressor The looming Yemeni holocaust will be entirely on the hands of the Saudis and their backers in the westIn 2014 the US tacitly allied with Assad to destroy ISIS This is true and yet we shouldn't let it obscure a couple of other true things1 Isis was always America's Frankenstein monster It arose as response to the American invasion and occupation of the Ira then fed off the feedback loop of chaos with Syria over2 America did pursue regime change for the first few years after the 2011 uprising in Syria and has never totally given up on this goal The myth of Obama's non intervention needs to be debunked After Assad brutally put down the peaceful democratic demonstrators in '11 there arose the armed opposition These should be seen as two separate phenomena In contrast to the indigenous largely secular movement for democracy the armed rebellion was mainly jihadist and always dependent on outside powers for arms and funding The CIA worked in concert with Saudi Arabia atar and Turkey to arm and train fanatical militias in Syria Many of these militias would uickly become too insane for their sponsors to control or tolerate Proxies isn't an exact term Neither Isis nor Nusra Front actually took orders from a foreign government; that doesn't change the fact that they couldn't have existed or fought the way the did were it not for outside sponsorship The idea that America should have done to intervene militarily in Syria is dangerous and demonstrably false The Syrian tragedy is largely that of a nation being treated like a chess board

  2. Muhammad Ahmad Muhammad Ahmad says:

    There is some historical context in the book that readers might find useful but there is very little about the present crisis that is either accurate insightful or unbiased Glass is at pains to conceal the imbalance of forces in Syria and tries to create a false parity by mentioning regime crimes in passing while focusing most of his attention on the opposition's shortcomings He makes the task easier for himself by lumping the opposition together with ISIS a monstrous outfit that terrorizes Syrians and which Syrian rebels have been fighting for over two years Glass also reprises old conspiracy theories including a dubiously worded mention of the chemical massacre which he curiously tries to blame eually on the victims Glass acknowledges that the uprising was initially peaceful but like other ideologues fails to mention why it got militarized except suggesting that it was all a foreign conspiracy Overall Syria Burning gives the impression a book hastily put together by a publisher to make a uick buck off a hot topic It neither enlightens nor edifies

  3. Jonfaith Jonfaith says:

    Sometimes I am troubled by the thought that Left leaning presses regard occasionally regard the discipline of editing as an ideologically conservative pitfall and one conducive to reifying existing power structures Perhaps people are just people and being lazy isn't a political statement? Whatever the contributing factors this is a poorly made book about a complex conflict which has exacted a horrific cost on its people the region and the world at large The thesis asserted by Glass is that Syria is a political not ethnic construct established by Sykes Picot for the enrichment of the UK and France disregarding the human populations of the Levant No one can argue with that The Assad regimes father and son have kept a lid on such often by brutal means until Western energy policy and RussianIranian foreign influence upset the wagon and what many imagined would be a brief brutal struggle like in Libya; how brief has it been ultimately? but rather unfolded into a near decade long nationwide stalemate of atrocity This is a messy book which does offer a portrait of historic precedents within Syria but lacks the seuence and structure to be persuasive

  4. Josiah Hawkins Josiah Hawkins says:

    This is a pretty hard book to review because on the one hand it contains a lot of important history but on the other side it barely does what it's supposed to do When the Syrian Civil War broke out in 2011 most people expected it to topple the government within the year if the previous protests of the Arab Spring were to be believed another Middle Eastern country would convert to a democratic process Now the country is six years removed from the beginning of the uprising and after a number of complex moves it would appear as though the war could go on for everI do agree with the forward of Syria Burning in that there is a need for a conscience well researched history of the conflict but this is not it I would venture to guess that most people don't understand much about the conflict aside from Gary Johnson's Aleppo gaffe and the other stories surrounding the siege of that city so a Short History of a Catastrophe would probably be well received and do wonders to educate the populace A piece of advice to anyone writing a history book surrounding one topic actually talk about it This particular book contains a lot of interesting history about Syria's issue with governmental stability and their place in the middle east but very little information about the current conflict facing the nation There is a short timeline at the books beginning but after that Mr Glass only dedicates a few paragraphs per chapter to the modern conflict and fills the rest of them with history The other problem is that he doesn't keep a consistent timeline that moves forward with the years he jumps around time periods from paragraph to paragraph and aside from a couple of times where he uses this style to compare history to modern day this writing style only ends up confusing rather than informing I also noticed a heavy amount of personal opinion in the book when in my mind if your going to write a history book your personal opinion should remain out of it He mentions Israel and Zionists in a slanderous tone multiple times doesn't get a Sunni opinion of the conflict and generally espouses what he thinks rather than just reporting The book isn't all bad however I can say that I learned a lot about Syria as a country I also learned a lot of interesting information about the past issues that Syria has had trying to find a government for it's people So I would certainly recommend this book if your looking for a brief history of governmental issues in Syria but apart from the short timeline in the beginning and few paragraphs in the main body of the work there is little information here To me it seems like a rushed attempt to capitalize on a news story when it should have been a book that gives historical context to explain a modern issue

  5. Hussein Hafez Hussein Hafez says:

    An interesting but clearly biased account of the events in Syria the author draws some sort of euivalence between the rebels Isis and the regime where no such euivalence existsan example of his bias is the fact that he interviews many people representing different facets of Syrian society but not once does he interviews a Sunni Syrian

  6. Montzalee Wittmann Montzalee Wittmann says:

    Syria Burning A Short History of a Catastrophe is a very readable and understandable novel Most of us in the US don't really know all the details that led up to all the war and refugees The reporting are inadeuate news is bundled swiftly and moves on This book takes the reader back to the history behind the society religion past conflicts leaders and the other historic content to get a feel for why all this came about The author is very good at explaining these things in a real and sensible way without making it sound like a textbook He also worked there as a journalist for years and was a hostage at some point in his life so he does know what he is taking about when he writes about the extreme terrorists groups It is well written and something that fills so many gaps you finds in the mass media news Great job and thanksI received this book for a honest review from NetGalley but it in no way effects my rating or review content

  7. Steffi Steffi says:

    Getting to the fucking bottom of this now I tend to trust VERSO so checked their catalogue first As the title reads it's a short history of a catastrophe Way too short for my liking but with many references to other in depth books on this fucked up war which I will gladly follow up upon There are a few paras on Syrian class politics and Assad's neoliberal reforms post 2000 to better understand the uprising but again way too short to make any real sense of it Otherwise nothing new really just a uick chronology of how a popular uprising in spring 2011 descended into civil war courtesy of imperialist and otherwise misguided outside interests by in no particular order mainly the US UK France Israel Turkey Russia Iran Saudi Arabia and atar If it wasn't for the 300000 dead and a country fucked up for generations to come it's almost comical to read a short summary of how a conflict that demanded a uick diplomatic solution went so wrong and created ISIS in the process and turned a secular authoritarian state into one dominated by two regressive fighting theocracies Sunni Saudi Arabia vs Shiite IranBottom line two actually it doesn't matter whether or not the Government or the opposition are responsible for the most recent chemical attack both have used chemical attacks in this war atrocities on all sides US air strikes on both the Syrian Government and one of it's enemies ISIS just add to the military stalemate and further death and destruction The West and other regional powers can strike a deal with Assad but not so much with ISIS and other Islamist fundamentalist groups so again it's time to move beyond the regime change pipe dream and end this six year war Yes Assad will stay until the Syrian people deal with him an opportunity the west has also denied the Irais and Libyans with the most disastrous conseuences

  8. Asif Asif says:

    For someone who has been closely following the development of Syria's unfortunate and traumatic battle between the political agenda sects and religious ideologies this book is a treat with the author's post 2011 experience in traveling war beaten cities of Aleppo and Damascus Charles Glass shows how the current rebellion is both similar and different from the rebellion of the Syrians against British and French occupation during the First World War about a century ago We get to see how in the span of a couple of years the peaceful non partisan non sectarian and secular protest against a regime that wrongly implemented Neoliberalism turns into a proxy war between the US and Russia a hotbed for Sunni fundamentalists triggering upsurge in global terrorism and a field to exercise their own personal feuds for Saudi Arabia Iran and Turkey The tone of dejection is uite vivid as the writer explains how none of the concerned parties are interested in helping civilian Syrians by actively negotiating diplomatic solution to the problem and stopping the disastrous never ending war

  9. Susan Walker Susan Walker says:

    This is a well written book about the war in Syria The author has traveled in Syria and doe a lot of reporting from the middle east

  10. Kriegslok Kriegslok says:

    This is good very good A book that doesn't get bogged down in how unpleasant war is and how it makes people do unpleasant things to one another we know all that already instead Glass goes for the jugular hacking away the words of moral outrage and phony sympathy It will always be the case that those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it and the history which is presented here is fascinating No doubt there will be those who object to this approach but Glass forms a clear line between the meddling of France and Britain as they carved new bits of empire out of the wreckage of the Ottoman Empire subseuent US meddling to bring about successive regime changes and where we are today The real miracle of Syria is that is has remained a relatively peaceful secular society in which a diverse range of ethnic and religious communities have thrived side by side much to the annoyance of Syrias neighbours Glass argues convincingly that the only real difference between Assad and other leaders in the region is his ability to get under the skin of the West his means of rule are not that different from those of leaders lauded and loved by the West indeed Assad has at times when it so suited been considered an ally and trusted to deal with Islamists delivered to him by the USA no uestions askedGlass is scathing of the sudden coalition of Friends of Syria all egar to liberate Syria and come to the aid of its people As he points out these friends have been noticeable by their absence when it came to issues like Israels annexation of the Golan Heights and the expulsion of thousands of Syrians from their homes It is friends like these which Glass shows have driven Syrians back towards support for the regime because they know the Friends of Syria have plans for the people of Syria that will bury their secular and diverse state for good Already Glass says it is unlikely that the sectarianism that the invaders have encouraged will be easily undone Yet again America Britain and France have become embroiled in a region they do not understand but would love to control the expulsion of Russia from the region also being a historic battle and again they have supported a war by proxies encouraging Saudi Arabia and its allies to flood weapons to the unvetted hotch potch of Islamists under their flags of convenience As the USA suffered blow back from its ill thought out war against the USSR in Afghanistan so the same in Ira and Syria with the rise of ISIS which has made both al aida and the Khmer Rouge look soft by comparison Glass examines in detail the rebellion against French rule in the early 20th century it is interesting to read of the French tactics in tackling the rebellion bombardment of the ancient sous and residential uarters martial law summary execution of any civilian found armed use of aircraft and artillery to pound rebel areas of the city execution of captured rebels and those protecting them machine gunning civilians looting homes alleged use of chemical weapons and just to deter others dragging the corpses of dead rebels around the city behind camels All sounds so 21st centuryThe peaceful protests that sparked the catastrophe that has consumed Syria could easily have been handled differently as many in the past could and maybe what followed could have been avoided The revolution was defeated from within albeit with much assistance from outside powers motivated by anything but the good of the Syrian people Ironically many who would have liked to see the Assad regime overthrown now see his continuation as the best hope for a secular peaceful Syria if not the freer Syria they had naively thought was a possibility What would probably left alone probably have ended as another short bloody defeat for a frustrated collection of Syrian dissidents has instead ripped the country apart destroyed priceless artifacts of human civilisation wrecked the economy caused sectarian strife and division and shows no sign of any political liberalisation which would probably only give advantage to the dark forces trying to overthrow Assad anyway This is an excellent and refreshing read on a subject which is rapidly drowning in analysis and argument

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