More Lee Harris

Harris has a number of pieces (of varying quality imo) at Policy Review, from the Hoover Institution.  You can hear the same themes recurring, mentioned in the Hirshi Ali piece.

His latest, a review of Barry Rubin’s The Truth About Syria, is one of the better ones (except for the vague reference to the Saddam’s WMD program might be in Syria conspiracy theory).  Rubin’s book also, by this review, sounds worth the read.

Key quote:

What makes The Truth about Syria invaluable is Rubin’s insider’s perspective on the Syrian regime: He is able to grasp Syria from the Syrian point of view, and to see our side from their side. This is not to say he is an admirer of the regime; on the contrary — he looks upon Syria as one of a “new breed of dictatorships” that “jeopardize the hope for a better future not only for the West but also for those unfortunate enough to live under their rule.” But Rubin is able to put himself inside the minds of those who have led the Syrian regime for the past three decades. Like a novelist, he knows how to bring his characters to life, to see the world as they see it, and feel it as they feel it. There are no cardboard villains in his book; cardboard villains can teach us nothing about the true nature of evil — only living characters can. Rubin brings Syria to life for us, and in so doing makes it absolutely clear why there can be no hope for reform of the Syrian regime and why no trust can be placed in it by the West.

The game they are playing and have played is to on the one hand use the threat of Islamist takeover to continue the militarization and dictatorship of Syria while on the other using Islamists (e.g. in Iraq, Hamas) to propel their influence way beyond it’s otherwise expected level in the region.

Other highlights (or lowlights depending on pov): no way for regime change.  But other forces at work–demography for one–that could shake the system down the line.

Readers familiar with John Robb’s Global Guerrillas will find strong echoes of his thinkin at the end of the piece (on asymmetric warfare).

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Published in: on January 8, 2008 at 2:24 pm  Comments (1)  
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  1. […] in January I linked to a review of a book called The Truth About Syria by author Barry Rubin (review was written by Lee […]


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