Last week, after two years of uneasily watching the Syrian crisis from the sidelines, Israel staged a bombing run near Damascus. So far the political fallout remains limited -- but the episode shows how easily Syria's civil war could spark a broader conflict.
Rabinovich, an eminent Israeli scholar and diplomat, paints a picture of the domestic and foreign policy crosscurrents confronting all the parties and inhibiting momentum toward peace.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad may blame Israel for his problems, but the Israelis are more ambivalent about their sometime antagonist. Yet with little ability to affect the outcome of the uprisings, Jerusalem can only watch nervously as events unfold.
As Washington considers a rapprochement with Bashar al-Assad’s Syria, Itamar Rabinovich’s commanding new book makes clear that change will not come quickly or easily -- and, if the past is any indication, it may not come at all.