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This book examines the modern history of post-mandatory Syria. The evolution of the Syrian ideology and policy of neutralism since the early stages of the Cold War is explained, and the effects that Arab neutralism had on shaping Syria's foreign policy and the shaping of its national identity are identified. The phenomenon of Arab neutralism has never before been comprehensively investigated. The prevailing belief is that the formulation and realisation of the policy of anti-alignment began only during Nasser's first years in power in Egypt. However, the author demonstrates that the roots of neutralism were already sown in Arab soil in the early 1940s, and that successive Syrian governments carved out this policy during the final stages of World War II. A core issue in the analysis is the dynamic between ideology and policy. A conceptual framework is developed to explain the various patterns of neutralism that emerged, and the complex of relationships between features exhibited by Syria, the Arab world, and the Third World.
The book makes extensive use of newly declassified material gleaned from archives in India, the former USSR, Poland, Britain, the United States and Israel; primary sources, studied and interpreted in the original Arabic, are also widely utilised.
Rami Ginat is Senior Lecturer at the Department of Middle East History, Bar-Ilan University, Israel. He is the author of The Soviet Union and Egypt, 1945-1955 (London: 1993) and Egypt's Incomplete Revolution (London: 1997). He has published widely in various journals, including Middle Eastern Studies, International Journal of Middle East Studies, British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, Diplomacy and Statecraft.