The Truth About Syria reveals how the Assad regime backs terrorism in Iraq, Israel and Lebanon, murders Lebanese journalists and politicians and oppresses its own citizens whilst effectively continuing to deceive Western diplomats.
The author looks at the 20th century history of Syria to explain how the Assads came to power. The country is a patchwork of religions with a Sunni majority, ruled like a mafia by the Assad family of the Alawite minority via the Baath Party.
The Alawites first gained dominion after World War I under the French mandate and established complete hegemony in 1970s with Hafez al-Assad's coup d'etat. The family then became a hereditary dynasty. The regime's crimes are many, including the slaughter of more than ten thousand people in the city of Homs in 1982.
Since the end of WW II Syia has given refuge to Nazis, produced TV series promoting anti-Semitic libels, supported a multitude of terrorist formations, occupied Lebanon and indulged in counterfeiting, smuggling and drug trading. It is astonishing that the West could ever have considered this thugocracy as a negotiating partner.
Rubin makes it clear that Syria has no interest in peace as that would be the undoing of the Assad dynasty. Prosperity would undermine their hold on power. Bashar Assad is clearly preparing for war with Israel by purchasing Russian arms, continuing to interfere in Lebanon and increasing support for Hamas and Hezbollah.
The secular regime has now made an alliance with the Iranian ayatollocracy and is clearly up to no good. There are signs that Bashar Assad will try to initiate a proxy war with Israel about the Golan heights. The very real danger is that this might spin out of control and that in a panic, the dictator might launch missiles with non-conventional warheads at Israel. That will mean the end of the Assads and quite possibly the end of Syria as well.
This informative book is an urgent warning to the West and a valuable antidote to the flawed work of authors like Patrick Seale and Flynt Leverett, like Asad: The Struggle for the Middle East and Inheriting Syria: Bashar's Trial by Fire.
It is clear from Rubin's book that Syria cannot be trusted or negotiated with. He suggests tough diplomacy and containing the regime by supporting Israel, the Lebanese government and "moderate" Arab states opposed to Syria. I am not sure I agree with the concept of moderate Arab states - except perhaps Morocco and Tunisia - but time will tell.