Syria - A Decade of Lost Chances: Repression and Revolution from Damascus Spring to Arab Spring by Carsten Wieland
When Arab Spring swept the region, Syria s President Bashar al-Asad thought that he was safe. Over the previous five years, the moderate opposition had been crushed. Unlike Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, and Libya, Syria had taken an anti-US stance since the US invasion of Iraq in 2003. Syrians were used to living under sanctions and being called terrorists. Asad told movie stars Brad and Angelina when they visited Damascus that he did not need personal security, because ordinary Syrians were protecting him. The Syrian president was convinced that Syrians loved him.
And not only Syrians. Vogue agreed in its March 2011 puff piece that described Asad's wife as a Rose in the Desert. What of Syrian naysayers? Asad counted on his ruthless and all-seeing mukhabarat to keep them in line.
Tackling politics, society, religion, and economy, Syria - A Decade of Lost Chances explores the eleven years of Asad s rule between the clampdown on Damascus Spring in 2001 and the challenge of escalating street protests in the wake of the Arab Spring in 2011 and 2012.
Author Carsten Wieland interviewed the major opposition figures year by year over this decade. A valuable complement to the growing body of indigenous reporting (youtube videos, blog commentary), Syria - A Decade of Lost Chances provides context and expert insight that reveals the essential struggle and untold barbarity unfolding here in what Syrian government tourist brochures call the cradle of civilization.