The definitive account of the destruction of Syria from inside the palace of President Bashar al-Assad, offering a new way of understanding the conflict that has engulfed the Middle East and pitted the United States against Russia.
In the spring of 2011, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad turned to his lifelong friend and the commander of the presidential guard, Manaf Tlass, for advice about how to respond to violent protests. Tlass urged Assad to make peace with the people, but Assad chose to launch a bloody crackdown on the protesters, the opening volley in a six year war that has killed more than half a million people and fueled a global refugee crisis. In this expertly reported examination of the man at the center of the worst humanitarian disaster of the 21st century, noted journalist Sam Dagher offers a new way to understand how a regional conflict has found itself at the center of the US-Russia standoff and led to increased xenophobia, hate crimes, and terror attacks around the world.
Though this conflict is global in scale, at its crux is the relationship between Assad and Tlass--born into friendship through their fathers--schoolmates, and close confidants. Assad, Or We Burn the Country charts the course of the Syrian war through the untold story of these two men, once as close as brothers, now set in opposition by conflicting visions for their country, and will examine the consequences of their choices for their families, Syria, and the world.