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Saturday, February 24, 2024

Book | Syria: From Revolution From Below to Holy War (Jihad) 2011-2018

Dr. Munzer Alzamalkani

Originally from Damascus, Munzer Alzamalkani is an author who writes about Middle East politics, Syria, the Arab Spring, revolutions, and international relations with a special focus on political Islam and jihad. 

Alzamalkani acquired a BA and diploma in Political Economy from the University of Damascus before leaving Syria, and an MSc in International Relations from the University of Bristol as well as a PhD in International Relations from the University of St. Andrews in the UK where he has been living since 1998.

Published by Grosvenor House Publishing Limited, Alzamalkani’s book Syria: From Revolution From Below to Holy War (Jihad) 2011-2018 was released on February 8, 2024.

In its 350 pages of text, the author aims to provide what he considers to be missing details of the Syrian revolution that began in 2011 and to clear up the prevailing misconception about what has been referred to by many as the “civil war” in Syria. 

“I offer in this book a different approach to observing the Syrian revolution by dividing it into phases, and using more precise terms,” says Alzamalkani in the description he wrote for its listing on Amazon.

The first section of the book talks about revolution in the Arab world, and the second section the rule of Assad in Syria from 2000 to 2011. Both subjects are dealt with from an academic approach.

I use the term internal war rather than civil war in order to be more specific in analyzing the war in Syria”

Munzer Alzamalkani

The third section describes what Alzamalkani refers to as the “revolution from below” wherein a popular and peaceful uprising of civilians was the mainstream character of the Syrian revolution.

In the fourth section, he details how the peaceful revolution devolved into an internal war wherein mutual violence spread systemically across the country after the formation of the Free Syrian Army. 

In the fifth section, Alzamalkani describes how the internal war then devolved into a holy war, or jihad, wherein most revolutionaries turned into national jihadists accompanied by the arrival of global jihadists to Syria to fight the Assad regime and to establish the Islamic State or Caliphate. The author also provides additional information garnered during his comprehensive investigation into the rise and fall of ISIS during this time.

“the massacres and war crimes which have been committed by Bashar Assad, Iran, and their militias against the people in Syria are well documented in this book”

Munzer Alzamalkani

The sixth section deals with the role that international relations played in the Syrian revolution as well as the perspectives of other countries regarding events in Syria from 2011 until 2018.

Many Syrians have objected to the term “civil war” which has often been used in the media when describing events in Syria since 2011 and Alzamalkani presents his arguments in the book as well. I use the term internal war rather than civil war in order to be more specific in analyzing the war in Syria. Also, the international relations of the Syrian revolution occupy a considerable part of this book. The behavior of states and sub-state actors regionally and internationally, and the stance of the international organizations towards the Syrian revolution are critically examined.”

“I have refuted the civil war term because I feel it is misleading and does not reflect reality”

Munzer Alzamalkani

“In addition, the massacres and war crimes which have been committed by Bashar Assad, Iran, and their militias against the people in Syria are well documented in this book,” added Alzamalkani while also making it clear that his book is not a book of statistics. 

Alzamalkani told SYRIAWISE: “This book is very different from the mainstream books dealing with the war in Syria. I have refuted the civil war term because I feel it is misleading and does not reflect reality. I have focused on two main topics in the book:  Why the revolution erupted in Syria, and why it turned into a tragedy. It is a comprehensive book, but nothing is perfect.”

1 COMMENT

  1. I would like to express my sincere appreciation for your excellent book review of this book. Your insightful and nuanced analysis of the book’s strengths and weaknesses is a valuable contribution to the ongoing conversation about the Syrian crisis.

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