On March 8, 1920, the Syrian-Arab Congress declared independence and ushered in a constitution that established the first Arab democracy with equal rights for all citizens, including non-Muslims. But France and Britain refused to recognize the Damascus government, and the French invaded and crushed the Syrian state—destroying the fragile Arab democracy with profound consequences that this book explores in detail.
This accessible historical narrative...imagines what would have happened had Syria gained independence in 1920 and suggests that the resulting state could have offered a model for the marriage of Islam and liberal democracy in the region. This counterfactual is both sweeping and unprovable. In reality, European powers strangled Syrian independence in its crib, and by the late 1930s, an intolerant form of Islam and autocratic Arab nationalism came to prevail in the Middle East.
This clearly written, detailed study of post-World War I diplomacy sheds insight into the Syrian struggle for self-rule, and shows how the legacy of imperialism and colonialism continues to endure throughout the years ... Highly recommended for history buffs and readers concerned about the failure of democracy in the Middle East.
Historian Thompson...delivers an exhaustive recounting of the short-lived Syrian Arab Kingdom (comprised of the modern states of Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, and Syria) and its betrayal by Western powers ... She wades deep into the minutiae of congressional meetings and declarations, but succeeds in making the case that the West’s betrayal of Syria set the stage for a century of regional strife. This expertly researched account brings to life a meaningful but underexplored chapter in world history.