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In the Lion's Den: An Eyewitness Account of Washington's Battle with Syria Paperback – September 1, 2011


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In the Lion's Den: An Eyewitness Account of Washington's Battle with Syria + The Syrian Rebellion + Syria: The Fall of the House of Assad
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Chicago Review Press (September 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1569768439
  • ISBN-13: 978-1569768433
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.1 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #652,395 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Tabler's unique position as an American working to promote Syrian culture allowed him a keen perch from which to observe unfolding events...A singular, critical look inside this compelling Arab nation." —Kirkus
 


"Tabler's frontline report offers readers a chilling glimpse of an enigmatic region."
Publishers Weekly


“A fascinating odyssey through the maze of modern Syria. Full of wisdom, optimism, and caution.” —Jon Alterman, Director of the Middle East Program, Center for Strategic and International Studies



“It is difficult to think of a more timely book and of an author better suited to write it. Andrew Tabler worked around the inner sanctum of Bashar al-Assad [and] offers unique insights into the inner workings of the regime and of Syria’s ruling elites. Mandatory reading.” —Itamar Rabinovich, Israel’s former chief negotiator with Syria and ambassador to the United States


“Riveting . . . a compelling insider’s account of life under the Assad regime.” —Steven Heydemann, United States Institute of Peace

About the Author

Andrew Tabler is a fellow with the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and one of the most sought-after voices on contemporary Syria. His articles have appeared in the New York Times, the New York Times Magazine, Newsweek, the International Herald Tribune, Foreign Policy, and Foreign Affairs. His opinion is regularly sought by CNN, NBC, and PBS. After seven years of living and working under Assad’s regime, Tabler left Damascus for Beirut.


More About the Author

Andrew J. Tabler is a senior fellow in the Program on Arab Politics at The Washington Institute, where he focuses on Syria and U.S. policy in the Levant.

The cofounder and former editor-in-chief of Syria Today, Syria's first private-sector English-language magazine, Mr. Tabler achieved unparalleled long-term access to Bashar al-Asad's Syria. During fourteen years of residence in the Middle East, Mr. Tabler served, most recently, as a consultant on U.S.-Syria relations for the International Crisis Group (2008) and as a fellow of the Institute of Current World Affairs (2005-2007), writing on Syrian, Lebanese, and Middle Eastern affairs. Upon completion of his graduate studies in 1994, he obtained editorships with the Middle East Times and Cairo Times; Mr. Tabler became senior editor and director of editorial for the Oxford Business Group (OBG) in 2000. The following year, he personally oversaw with OBG the first comprehensive report on Syria in more than thirty years.

Mr. Tabler has interviewed Syrian first lady Asma al-Asad, Israeli president Shimon Peres, the late Palestinian president Yasser Arafat, slain Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri, and former Lebanese prime ministers Fouad Siniora and Saad Hariri. His articles and opinion pieces on Syrian and Lebanese affairs and U.S. foreign policy have appeared in the New York Times, the New York Times Magazine, the International Herald Tribune, Newsweek, and Foreign Policy. He has also appeared in interviews with CNN, NBC, PBS, NPR, and the BBC.

Mr. Tabler is author of In the Lion's Den: An Eyewitness Account of Washington's Battle with Syria (Lawrence Hill Books, 2011), and the 2007 Stanley Foundation report The High Road to Damascus: Engage Syria's Private Sector.

EDUCATION

M.A., comparative politics and Arabic, American University in Cairo (AUC); Certificate, Arabic Language Institute, AUC; B.A., Washington & Jefferson College

LANGUAGES SPOKEN / READ

Arabic

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By CMC on May 6, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A captivating insider perspective, over the course of two days I only put down "In the Lion's Den" out of necessity, and wished there was more when I finished.

"In the Lion's Den" offers an unparalleled view on life in modern Syria: the oppression of citizens and foreigners, the corruption, the changes to the system under Bashar, the "Damascus Declaration" and the rise of the opposition, and significantly, Syria's relations with the United States. Tabler makes clear that one cannot fully understand the situations in Lebanon, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Palestine, and the wider Middle East without having a firm grasp on Syrian politics and Syria's foreign endeavors.

Tabler's privileged position as an adviser to an NGO under the patronage of the President's wife - we learn that some consider deceased President Hafez al Assad's wife to still be the "First Lady" - allows him unprecedented access to the powerful actors defining Syrian life from 2001-11. He meticulously charts the specific dates on which events occurred that shaped the history of a nation and region.

Bashar Assad's reign begins with hopes for reform and change, but positive political change never comes. Repressive laws written generations ago remain on the books, and even Asma al-Assad's NGOs exist in legal limbo. Tabler slowly comes to understand the myriad forms of power the state exerts on its population and the factional balancing act the president must play to remain in power during particularly challenging times.

Tabler chronicles the plethora of techniques the regime uses to psychologically imprison its population and to keep foreign powers guessing. As in Ryszard Kapuscinski's works, Tabler elucidates the seemingly trivial but critical details that keep the Syrian people constantly guessing.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on July 23, 2012
Format: Paperback
As reviewed for Executive-magazine.com -

Andrew Tabler's account of his time in Syria between 2001 and 2008 is refreshing -- relative to the reams of Orientalist trite other Western authors have published about the Middle East and North Africa -- in that he actually spent years in the region getting to know the place, first studying Arabic and working as a journalist in Cairo and later traversing the MENA for the Oxford Business Group writing country investment reports, before eventually basing himself in Damascus. Thus his offering, "In the Lion's Den", is neither `parachute journalism' nor the story of a doe-eyed apple-pie eater struggling to make sense of an alien Arab fantasyland -- the two most common categories of expat writing on the region. Rather, Tabler -- a former contributor to Executive -- is candid and observant in relating the challenges of trying to comprehend the vast complexities of a country like Syria.

The author has been accused of being naïve, in asserting that after Bashar al-Assad's succession to the presidency in 2000 the country would move from autocracy to democracy, but what Tabler says interested him more was getting an "unexpected front-row seat to a fight", pitting the young reformist Assad against the entrenched status quo of the old guard. He later admits some of his shortcomings in framing the situation as such; while there were superficial changes, it was clear after the first few years of the new Assad's leadership that regime survival would always be the paramount concern.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Patti Jo Kiraly on January 31, 2013
Format: Paperback
I finished this book two nights ago. What a story! Not just that, but also well told. Mr. Tabler's writing is truly exceptional. I noticed how he leads off each new section with action, so it becomes very hard to close the book without reading what will happen next. As a previous writer's wife, I really enjoyed the rhythm he set and the style he crafted.
On the subject of Mr. Assad, all I can say to sum up my thoughts is, "Oh, dear." It's a crazy world they have created. Whether it is purposely dumbfounding or accidentally is kind of moot. There seems to be no effort to truly right the ship they are sailing. Tabler did such a great job describing not only the daily life but also the systemic disorder. In the trips I have made to the region it is always the warmth of the people that gives me hope, and I enjoyed the other characters that surrounded him because of that. You can't truly get a good idea of the area without visiting and meeting the people.
I am not even close to understanding the big picture of the Middle East, but I do think about it a lot. I'm glad we have this writer, and others like him, who help people like me to understand it all.
Thanks for the read,
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Andy on August 21, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
a perfect starting point for any study of syria, especially regarding the rule of bashar al assad. gives enough historical background so that even those who are totally unfamiliar with syrian history and politics can gain a good, general understanding of how the events currently unfolding came about. tabler's style is highly readable and like another reviewer, i had a hard time putting this one down. a must read. *as a side note, i want to apologize for the lack of capitalization in this revew, it's being written from my kindle and the capital button isn't working for some reason.
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