A good quick primer on the always complicated allegiances and influences in Syria and the region. Readable and reliable, some of the information is already out of date as the Civil War has progressed. Still the basics are essential.
Through his many contacts inside Syria, the author reveals who is supporting Assad and why; he describes the agendas of the rebel factions; and he depicts in stark terms the dire plight of many ordinary Syrian people caught in the cross-fire. The book also provides insights into the role of the Kurds, the continuing influence of Iran, and the policies of US leaders who seem interested only in protecting US regional interests. As Erlich shows, current events in Syria can be best understood by looking at Syria's recent history, especially the roles of key historic figures. History and Current Events newsletter September 2014.
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