Few know better the intricacies, dirty dealings, cultural tics, political complexities, the potentates and shadow-dwellers, and the history of the Middle East and Islam than does NR’s esteemed senior editor. David Pryce-Jones is a jewel (heck, a treasure chest!), and his article in the May 23 issue of NR about Syrian President Bashar Assad, his fate, and recent events in Lebanon is but 1,400 words, but never did 1,400 words describe a situation so clearly. Here’s the article’s finale:
Repression and violence are the absolute ruler’s habitual tools. The secret police have already shot dead a score of Kurds in Qamishli and elsewhere demonstrating for autonomy on the lines of Iraqi Kurds. And in Lebanon Bashar can hope to activate those stay-behind agents to set the ethnic and religious communities against each other, in effect reviving the Lebanese civil war that contributed religiously inspired terror and the suicide bomber to the practices of the region. A couple of bombs have already exploded in Beirut. Hezbollah is waiting in the wings, and Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, its leader in Lebanon, likes to emphasize that he is at the head of “a resistance movement and not a militia.” Hezbollah, he also claims, is driving Israel to retreat, and it could do Bashar’s dirty work — and precipitate fighting — by firing some of those rockets when and if the Israelis leave Gaza as planned. Hafez Assad was a master of black arts of that kind, but in the post-Baathist world a hand-me-down reprise of them may not be enough to save Bashar.
You can read David’s entire article – and fine pieces by Ponnuru, Nordlinger, York, Sikorski, Goldberg, O’Sullivan, Brookhiser, and many more, including Mark Krikorian’s cover essay on immigration politics – right now by subscribing to National Review Digital. A full year of NRD costs just $21.95, which is almost one third the cost of NR’s print magazine, and you can access NRD (in convenient Text, PDF, and Image formats) the day its paper big brother comes off the press; in other words, before the US Postal Service can misplace your copy!). Don’t, as they say, take my word for it – check out National Review Digital right now, right here.