A key player and an unrelenting obstacle in the Middle East peace process, Syria has long been a thorn in Washington’s side when it comes to forging strategic alliances with powers in the region. But only after the events of 9/11 and Damascus’s staunch opposition to the War in Iraq did the U.S. government begin a campaign to pressure President Bashar al-Asad’s regime to change its policies and bring Syria into the Western political orbit.
Author Andrew Tabler was both a witness to and participant in the events of this covert conflict. No other Western journalists or academics were based in Damascus during this entire period, and as co-founder of what was then Syria’s only English-language publication, Tabler was not only watched and censored, but courted by the Syrian government in an attempt to influence his stories to the international community. He gained unique access to the upper echelons of power like no other journalist before him, even accompanying the Syrian president on a state visit to China.
In the Lion’s Den provides a rare glimpse into the machinations of one of the world’s most baffling political systems. The book vividly captures Tabler’s behind-the-scenes experiences as well as the story of Syria itself post-9/11 and Washington’s attempts to craft a “New Middle East.” Tabler’s astute political analysis of the goings-on around him is seamlessly interwoven with a devastating critique of U.S. foreign policy. He examines the effects of the the Bush adminstration’s strategy, asking what went wrong, what went right, and where Washington needs to go from here to deal with this volatile Middle Eastern country.