by : Robert G. Rabil, 2006 , Amazon Link
Dr. Robert G. Rabil is Professor of Political Science at Florida Atlantic University. He holds a masters degree in Government from Harvard University, a PhD in Near Eastern and Judaic Studies from Brandeis University, and an honorary PhD in humanities from the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. His area of studies and expertise include Political Islam, Salafism, Transnational and Revivalist Movements, Terrorism, US-Arab Relations, Arab-Israeli Conflict, U.S.-Muslim Relations, and Contemporary Middle East Politics.
In this book, he refers to the fact that ever since Syria won its independence from France in 1946, it has been a crucial player in Middle Eastern politics. Over the years, relations between the United States and Syria have fluctuated as Washington has tried to balance its commitment to Israel’s security with its support for Arab nations in order to protect vital and strategic interests in the Arab world. The Arab-Israeli conflict is, however, no longer the only focal point of the relationship. Now, terrorism has entered the fray. On the State Department’s terrorism list since 1979, Syria became even more persona non grata as far as Washington was concerned when Damascus vocally opposed the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003. The American war in Iraq, occupation, and promotion of democracy throughout the Middle East pose a strong challenge to the Syrian government. The new Syrian leadership, in power only since 2000, faces immense challenges―protecting Syria’s regional status and surviving internal and external threats. Against this background, Syria and the United States have set themselves on a collision course over terrorism, arms proliferation, Lebanon, the Middle East peace process, and Iraq. Syria is, nevertheless, extremely important to the United States, because it can be a force for either stability or instability in an extremely volatile region.