Book Reviews

A Disappearance in Damascus

The story of A Disappearance in Damascus starts with a journalist researching in situ background information for an article.

She hires a “fixer” in Damascus who speaks Arabic and English and maintains “connections” to local media, officials, and international organizations that maintain offices in Damascus.

Her “fixer” is Iraqi who fled to Damascus and was involved in charity work in addition to making a living as a “fixer”.

In most cases,” fixers” are targeted by terrorist groups for helping journalists to gain information to their inner workings, objectives, operational techniques and local intelligence agencies that fear them as fomenters and trouble makers.

Deborah Campbell’s “fixer” disappears in Damascus, when the story becomes riveting, revealing how the American invasion of Iraq caused millions of deaths, created hardships for innocent Iraqis, and how the American army with no detailed planning and largely poorly trained, young, mentally ill-prepared soldiers invaded Iraq. Many soldiers disagreed with the invasion and behaved outside of the law of engagement.

The biggest mistake was to appoint an American administrator who had never in formed himself about the Arab mind.

He disbanded the Iraqi army, and as a result of this fatal error in judgement allowed millions of weapons to end up in public hands.

This facilitated the formation of the Islamic State a ka as Daesh or ISIL.

This book is a must read for people looking for a deeper understanding of the Syrian war, Iraq’s political problems, and Iraqi refugee crises, how Syrian intelligence (mukhabarat) is trying to cope with suspicious individuals, and dealing with international agencies trying to help refugees.

This is a seamless blend of story telling and reportage by a talented writer with high moral standards.

Her writing is as riveting, as it is illuminating about highly placed politicians, how their decisions affect innocent people, friendships, and their everyday lives.

Deborah Campbell deftly unravels all the complexities of the human mind with the world’s most intractable conflict.

A Disappearance In Damascus is a wonderful book to learn about the American invasion of Iraq and the Syrian political crisis in one place.

A compelling book any reader won’t be able to put down after reading the first few pages.

Buy it, read it, think about it, and reread it so as to understand how wars of any kind create havoc in a region.

Highly recommended.


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