The subtitle is Making Sense of the Syrian Tragedy, and the author is leading Syrian intellectual Yassin Al-Haj Saleh. Imagine having a well-written book, totally conversant in the arguments of the social sciences, that set out to explain the Syrian tragedy to an intelligent reader. Here is one typical bit:
The extremely decentralized nature of the Syrian revolution stemmed from nearly half a century of regime-enforced seclusion and isolation of Syrian society. It was also occasioned by the regime’s forcible domination over all social interaction — and so a divide-and-conquer strategy was used by the Assadist oligarchy to confront the revolution right from the start. Such strategies made any protest activities in central squares obviously impossible because this would have permitted the gathering of Syrian society’s diverse groups, and perhaps would have also allowed a degree of discussion, exchange of opinions, and general building of trust. Keeping this in mind, it becomes clear that the extreme, forced fragmentation of the revolution’s activities is an additional factor that has facilitated the spread of the nihilist synthesis of complete distrust and a propensity for violence.
Where else can you find a book that compares and contrasts ISIS nihilism to 19th century Russian nihilism, or Sultanic principles in Syria vs. Lebanon?:
Lebanon is a neo-Sultanic state without a Sultan, and should either fill the gap and assign a Sultan with a well-developed general security shield, or turn the page of the sectarian patronage system and evolve toward a state of citizenship and equality. In the context of present interconnections between the two Sultanates, Lebanon is the incomplete one with a large ‘security branch’ (i.e. Hezbollah) that is leaning more towards Sultanism, and the complete model is currently beset by a revolution.
Strongly recommended. And as the author himself suggests in closing: “It is always necessary to demystify sectarian fraud…”
You can order the book here, though please note I do not sympathize with the author’s career or overall views in many respects. He was a political prisoner from 1980-1996. “Worthy of Gramsci…” This book remains under-reviewed by mainstream outlets.