This book sets out to review the state reforms that have been carried out in Syria during the first presidential period of Bashar Al-Assad and the „elusive hopes“ that came with them. Caught in an authoritarian system, Syrians linked the prospect of a broad state reform to hopes for economic and social progress, greater political participation and better public administration, and above all, an improved service delivery and less corruption. However, the promised reforms failed to deliver the expected results and led to more than just disappointment.
In his study, Amer Ghrawi analyzes the interplay between factors at both national and regional levels and how they shaped the course of reform and caused its gradual derailing. He provides a detailed account of a very specific reform, describes how this reform was implemented, how it got trapped and abandoned, and why.
In retrospect, the period from 2000 to 2007 is indeed crucial for understanding the catastrophic events that followed. In fact, the reforms might well have been Bashar Al-Assad´s only chance to prevent the country from sliding into its current chaos.