When Syrian President Bashar al-Assad came to power upon his father’s death in 2000, many in- and outside Syria held high hopes that the popular young doctor would bring long-awaited reform, that he would be a new kind of Middle East leader capable of guiding his country toward genuine democracy.
David Lesch was one of those who saw this promise in Assad. A widely respected Middle East scholar and consultant, Lesch came to know the president better than anyone in the West, in part through a remarkable series of meetings with Assad between 2004 and 2009. Yet for Lesch, like millions of others, Assad was destined to disappoint. In this timely book, the author explores Assad’s failed leadership, his transformation from bearer of hope to reactionary tyrant, and his regime’s violent response to the uprising of his people in the wake of the Arab Spring.
Lesch charts Assad’s turn toward repression and the inexorable steps toward the violence of 2011 and 2012. The book recounts the causes of the Syrian uprising, the regime’s tactics to remain in power, the responses of other nations to the bloodshed, and the determined efforts of regime opponents. In a thoughtful conclusion, the author suggests scenarios that could unfold in Syria’s uncertain future.
David W. Lesch is professor of Middle East history, Trinity University, San Antonio, Texas. He has written numerous books on the Middle East and has traveled widely there on scholarly, business, and diplomatic endeavours. He is a frequent consultant to US government departments on Middle East issues.
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BookTV: David Lesch, “”Syria: The Fall of the House of Assad”
David Lesch talks about the rise of Bashar al-Assad in Syria, the faith that many in the West had that he would implement reforms in the country, and the Syrian ruler’s turn towards repression and violence in recent years. Prof. Lesch spoke at an event hosted by the Los Angeles World Affairs Council.
Syria: The Fall of the House of Assad
Author and Trinity University Middle East history professor David W. Lesch explores Syrian President Bashar Assad’s transformation from bearer of hope to reactionary tyrant, and his regime’s violent response to the uprising of the Syrian people in the wake of the Arab Spring.