News Release

“Syria Burning”

syria-burningCHARLES GLASS, charlesglassbooks[at], @charlesmglass
Glass was recently in Syria for the New York Review of Books and was on assignment in Iraq for Harper’s Magazine. His latest book is the recently released Syria Burning: ISIS and the Death of the Arab Spring, from Verso Books. He was ABC News Chief Middle East correspondent and recently wrote the piece “In the Syrian Deadlands.”

He said today: “The problem is that the two main parties backing the factions in Syria — the United States and Russia — have not budged from their positions. Russia’s position is that Bashar al-Assad must remain as president, and the American position is that Bashar al-Assad must go as president. And they haven’t seemed to have reconciled these two points of view, although the recent agreement has pushed the U.S. closer to the Russian position…

“If you look at a map of the Arab world, there are about 22 members of the Arab League stretching from Mauritania all the way to the borders of Iran. Almost every one of those countries is an American client state. Only one is a Russian client state. That’s Syria. …

“On the surface, the United States is fighting against the Islamic State mainly because it went into Iraq. They didn’t seem to mind it when they were just in Syria. But they’re still allowing Turkey to keep its border open for men and supplies to come into the Islamic State. And they still — if they’re fighting the Islamic State, they’re still allowing the Saudis to provide the Islamic State and…other similar jihadist groups [like] al-Qaeda to receive weapons, including anti-tank weapons, from the Saudis. And this is fine with American policy and consistent with it, or they’ve simply lost control over the course of events.”

Glass’s past books include The State of Syria: Past, Present and Futureand Tribes With Flags.