The History of US policy toward Syria, revealed in a new Book

A young historian from Syria, Sami Moubayed, has written a book about US policy toward Syria. The author is Forced to flee his city Damascus, and is now a Visiting Scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Beirut.

Syria and the USA: Washington’s Relations with Damascus from Wilson to Eisenhower (Library of International Relations)

Below are some opinions about the book:

‘Syria and the USA is a well-told and entertaining overview of US-Syria relations from World War I to the formation of the United Arab Republic. Sami Moubayed provides the reader with insight into how Syrians view events that are crucial to their political development. He explains how general Syrian attitudes toward the US government changed from admiration to anger over the first half of the 20th century and explores how US support for Israeli displacement of Arabs in Palestine and military coups in Syria undermined initial attitudes toward Washington. The author’s interest in the history of women and cinema in Syria gives this diplomatic history cultural depth and a welcome new dimension.’ – Joshua Landis, Director: Center for Middle East Studies and Associate Professor, University of Oklahoma.

The history of relations between Syria and the United States up until the 1960s is little known and understood. Sami Moubayed, one of Syria’s leading young historians, now offers us a remarkably comprehensive study that illustrates how a positive start in diplomatic relations in the early part of the 20th century eventually began to unwind in unfortunate ways by mid-century. Using a variety of sources including the US State Department archives and the private paper collections of Syrian political leaders, Moubayed sheds new light on the political intrigue and shenanigans that were so characteristic of the Cold War era. Scholars and foreign policy experts will appreciate the author’s efforts at reconstructing the history of an important chapter in America’s relationship with the Middle East region. — Philip Khoury of MIT