Bashar Al-Assad: We are still Ticking

Excerpts from following article translated by Walid Shoebat

Syria: Bashar Al-Assad issued a statement this Monday, October 14th, 2013, and covered his views on the entire Middle East “Russia, the chemical weapons, Hamas, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, Turkey, Iraq, the situation on the ground… Are all present, and one conclusion: ‘We are satisfied'”. In other words, despite all his troubles, Bashar Al-Assad is still ticking.

Al-Assad: Where Syria stands today.

Al-Assad: Where Syria stands today.

When it came to his views on the Russians, Bashar said, via al-Akhbar:

“What they do, defending neither Syria nor its people nor its president. They are defending themselves. He recalled a meeting held in 2005 with President Vladimir Putin. This initiated the Syrian President to express his sense that the Cold War is still raging…”

“…Syria’s security and stability is protected by the policy, more than the military arsenal,” he says. He believes that the international balance and politics is the best guarantee. “Three vetoes from the Russians and the Chinese during the lifetime of the Syrian crisis is proof enough.”

Assad does not regret losing the chemical arsenal because it’s essentially passé for three reasons:

  1. The Syrian missile system development is itself quite the deterrent force and can be used from the first stages of war. “Chemical weapons are only used when the other side uses its nuclear arsenal.”
  2. The military’s effectiveness diminishes the relevance of chemical weapons.
  3. The effects of chemical weapons can be treated quite easily, especially as tensions rise between Israel and Syria. Masks are being distributed to Israeli citizens which would decrease the effectiveness of such weapons. For example, five Syrian soldiers were treated by an injection and returned to the battlefield after only two days.

Assad said Syria stopped manufacturing chemical weapons in 1997 and replaced them with conventional weapons, which he sees as a much more decisive factor on the field of battle. He went on to explain that fire power is what will cripple Israeli airports.

There is no doubt that there is a moral and political loss in giving up chemical weapons, says Assad. In 2003, the issue was raised. If Damascus was to be free of weapons of mass destruction, a bargaining chip existed that would be used against Israel’s nuclear program.

REGARDING THE WEST
The problem for the West is that the group they support negotiations with are disjointed and has no control on the ground. The west, in it’s war against Syria, had to join Islamic groups. What was left of the forces that support the West and the Gulf are only terrorists; they have no place in Geneva 2. How can the West give recognition of the existence of two thousand armed groups? Who then can control and ensure the implementation of any political agreement?

HAMAS-SYRIA RELATIONS
Hamas and Syrian relations have taken a toll. “Hamas betrayed us,” says Bashar Al-Assad. Eighty years ago, the Muslim Brotherhood was formed, caring only about its self-interest and treachery, he said. Hamas got Assad in trouble in the past since, “Europeans wanted to know why we allowed Hamas to operate in Syria. We told them it is nothing more than a resistance movement, which earned the group’s embrace by Syria.”

Hamas decided in the end to give up its status as “resistance” and become a part of the Muslim Brotherhood movement. For that Assad said, “This is not the first time they betrayed us. This happened before in 2007 and 2009. Hamas has a history of treachery and treason… Hamas has sided against Syria since the first day, they made their choice.”

REGARDING EGYPT
Al-Assad said that, “Egypt is back in the Arab camp” and that he has a better relationship with them today than even during the days of former President Hosni Mubarak. “During the era of deposed President Hosni Mubarak, we saw the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs just as we saw the U.S. State Department. Relations with Egypt are now better than they’d been over the last two periods.”

SAUDI ARABIA
Saudi Arabia is “…nothing more than a tribal state. When its leaders differ with us, all Saudis differ with us. Saudis have harbored hostility towards the Syrians for the past 20, 30 years.” Of course, Assad forgot to mention that this is primarily because of the Sunni-Shia divide and that Saudi Arabia fears Syria’s alliance with Iran since Shia are “khawarij” or those who split from the true Islam.

TURKEY
The problem in Turkey, from the standpoint of al-Assad, is limited to its Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, since the Turkish people in general are against the policy in Syria. Recent opinion polls showed that the overwhelming numbers are against participating in any aggression against us. Even President Abdullah Gul began to publicly express his opposition to the policy of his prime minister. Gul felt that if Erdogan wants to destroy himself, there is no need to waste the AK Party with him. Assad blamed Foreign Minister Mohamed Davutoglu since the military channels between Syria and Turkey were open all the time until Davutoglu decided to put it under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; then it stopped.

CONCLUSION
Assad stressed that Syria will not follow a Lebanese or Iraqi model under any circumstances. Syria was and will remain a secular nation that it will remain a civilian government because this is the only formula that is appropriate for the cohesion of Syria, which has religious pluralism along sectarian and ethnic lines. For him, religion is an umbrella over all sectors, from politics, to economic, to cultural, etc., but not the politicization of religion in Syria because it is simply a recipe for dismantling it. Religion plays a spiritual and humanitarian role, and the role of religious institutions is for Da’wa (proselytization). The president praised the Grand National role here the role that was played by the national clergy in maintaining the unity of the Syrian fabric against the thoughts of takfirist. He praised Dr. Mohammed Saeed Ramadan Al Bouti, who was martyred for this cause.

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