Based on first-hand reporting from Syria and Washington, journalist Reese Erlich unravels the complex dynamics underlying the Syrian civil war. Through vivid, on-the-ground accounts and interviews with both rebel leaders and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Erlich gives the reader a better understanding of this momentous power struggle and why it matters. Through his many contacts inside Syria, the author reveals who is supporting Assad and why; he describes the agendas of the rebel factions; and he depicts in stark terms the dire plight of many ordinary Syrian people caught in the cross-fire. The book also provides insights into the role of the Kurds, the continuing influence of Iran, and the policies of US leaders who seem interested only in protecting US regional interests. As Erlich shows, current events in Syria can be best understood by looking at Syria's recent history, especially the roles of key historic figures. Several chapters are devoted to these influential leaders--including T.E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia), journalist Lowell Thomas, Muslim brotherhood founder Hassan al Banna, Zionist leader Chaim Weizmann, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, Saddam Hussein, and Hafez al-Assad. Disturbing and enlightening at once, this timely book shows you not only what is happening inside Syria but why it is so important for the Middle East, the US, and the world.