When Bashar al-Assad came to power in 2000 after his father's death, many in the West thought the new president would bring long-awaited reform to Syria. Unfortunately, changes did not come to the influential Middle East nation and, as the Arab Spring swept through the region, the repression of the Assad regime turned to violence and, ultimately, to a wide-ranging conflict that is threatening the whole region.
Why has Assad failed to lead Syria to a new era? How did he transform from a bearer of hope to a reactionary tyrant? How have other nations responded to the increasing bloodshed and what are the implications of an extended conflict in Syria for the Middle East and the world?
David Lesch is professor of Middle East history at Trinity Univeristy. Lesch has consulted with presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama on U.S. relations with Syria, and with the United Nations on Middle East issues. His books include The Arab-Israeli Conflict: A History With Documents and The New Lion of Damascus: Bashar al-Assad and Modern Syria.
Speaker: David W. Lesch
Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs
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