From the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Black Flags, the harrowing story of America's mission in Syria: to find and destroy Syria's chemical weapons and defeat ISIS—only to lose control of both.
In August 2012, Syrian president Bashar al-Assad was clinging to power in a vicious civil war. Concerned that Assad might resort to chemical weapons, President Obama warned that any such use would cross "a red line," warranting an American military response. When a year later Assad bombed the Damascus suburb of Ghouta with sarin gas, killing hundreds, Obama was torn between living up to America's word and becoming mired in another unpopular Middle Eastern war. So when Russia offered to store Syria's chemical weapons, Obama leapt at the out.
So begins a race to find, remove, and destroy 1,300 tons of chemical weapons in the middle of Syria's civil war. Told in harrowing detail, the effort is a tactical triumph for the Americans, but soon Russia's long game becomes clear: it has UN cover to assist a close ally, Assad. As the Russians block attempts to check for chemical weapons that might have been missed, American realizes that ISIS seeks to secure them for itself.
Red Line is a classic Joby Warrick true-life thriller: a character-driven narrative with a cast of heroes and villains, including weapons hunters, politicians, commandos, diplomats, and spies. Through original reporting and eyewitness accounts from direct participants, Joby Warrick reveals how a well-intentioned effort to save Syrian lives touched off a chain of events that would rescue a dictator, sustain a terrorist movement, unleash torrents of refugees, humiliate two U.S. presidents, and empower Russia and Iran.