Delusional Detachment .. Assad in his own words

Text on the sheet of paper reads (Party Ideology). By Ali Ferzat.

In a recent article in the Canadian Globe and Mail, titled Untouchable’ Assad ruled by duty to familyPatrick Martin, the Middle East correspondent takes a shot at trying to analyze the Syrian president, whom he terms as “contradictory man” , who  “speaks the lines of Western liberalism but plays the part of ruthless dictator.“. Quoting former Jordanian PM Marwan Al-Muashar, the correspondent writes:

Marwan Muasher, Jordan’s former foreign minister, wrote that he always found Mr. al-Assad more reasonable in private. His “habit of pontificating in public was abandoned in private settings,” he said. “He listened to opposing arguments … with a desire to understand other points of view.”

In my own opinion, the article is nothing more than the recycling of the standard-form western narration of the Assads’ family story, with the primary goal of  overemphasizing the sectarian aspects of Syrian society we are accustomed to in western press articles about Syria. I read twice, and in both times i felt that Mr. Martin simply had to submit something, and he opted for the narration of only a minor aspect of the on-going struggle in Syria. In fact, I believe that our own Haytham Khoury’s “Immaturity as an origin of evil: Bashar al-Assad as a case study” analysis of Bashar Al-Assad has much more value to add in the attempt to understand the person even though Haytham does not delve too deeply into the family loyalty issue.

The Syrian society is a complex society, the pressure of despotism, the Baath party, and the layers of security arrangements over the past half a century have added tremendously to that complexity. Yet, at the core of the on-going revolt stand the simple absolute axiomatic issues of Right, Good, and Justice. Syrians’ quest for these principles, which have gone missing under the Assads, manifests itself in very subtle manner. Those failing to understand this concept always revert to the sectarian conditioning, which hides the much deeper meaning.

A fundamental character flaw of Bashar Al-Assad is his detachment from reality.  A detachment shared by most of those supporting him. While  the origin of this detachment is likely to occupy future Syrian sociologists for a couple of generations if not more, one could start from the dogmatic structure of Baath party ideology before starting from the narrow sectarian view. The marriage between the rigid Baath dogma and tribal self preservation machination is one place to look at. The dogma of an overarching victimized national exceptionalism manifests itself daily in the incessant belief of an absurd global conspiracy, the tribal construct then gets into the play by classifying all others as agents of that conspiracy. Manifestation of the marriage are abound. But they contribute to  the incredible detachment from reality and continue to feed the  self deceptive image of victimized righteousness.

In the early months (we are now counting months not days) of the uprising, and reinforcing his self image of a “civilized populist” leader, Mr. Al-Assad went on a spree of meetings with “representatives” of Syrian society. Among those were groups of the Youth. An early version of one such meeting appeared by a young man, and that version seemed very neutral then.  However, two days ago, the same young man issued a new version in which he gave more details about some of president’s answers. I have posted that version as a comment on the previous thread, but I think it serves to highlight the level of detachment, hardheadedness, and rigid dogmatic thinking of the man who the naive analysts in the west believe has betrayed his “western education“, a myth that can easily be refuted. Sheila has kindly provided an English translation. Read the dialog, and see if you can detect the quest for  the Right, Good, and Just in the questions of the youth and the criminal ambivalence and detachment in Mr. Assad’s dogmatic answers.

********************************************************************

 هذا ماقاله بشار الأسد في لقائنا معه ..

by Houssam Arian on Friday, November 18, 2011 at 3:03pm

From FB

Note: Bold emphasis on answers is added by OTW

في البداية أود أن أشير إلى رفضي نشر الجانب المأساوي من النقاش سابقاً, وقد تم نشر ماصرحت به عبر الهاتف لجريدة السفير بجملة واحدة مفادها أننا ذهبنا لطرح الحلول لا إستجرار مطالبنا الشخصية ومع ذلك فقد كان جزء من الحاضرين يحملون مطالباً شخصية ..

كما أود أن أسخط جملة “ماهي مطالبكم” حيث كانت تتردد على لسان كل مسؤول نصادفه وفي وقت سابق عبر إذاعة صوت الشباب أيضاً, وكأننا ذهبنا للتسول ..

في الـخامس من أيار لسنة 2011 وعبر إتصال هاتفي من الإتحاد الوطني لطلبة سورية أبلغت بأنه تم طرح إسمي مع مجموعة من شباب سورية من مختلف المدن السورية, لمقابلة الرئيس الأسد للبحث في الشؤون العامة واللقاء بعد يومين أي بتاريخ 7/5/2011, قبلت وسافرت إلى دمشق ..

في القصر الجمهوري هناك كان اللقاء, دخلنا جميعاً 14 شاباً وبعد الترحيب والتعارف بدأت الجلسة, فضلت أن أكون آخر الطارحين للمشاكل والحلول لكي لا أسرق فكرة أحدهم عن طريق الصدفة, لكن هنا سأسرد لكم بعض مما أذهلني بطريقة الردود أو التعامل المنتظر

.. يجب تفعيل دور حزب البعث لأنه خلال العقود الماضية, المواطن السوري لم يلمس أهمية الحزب القائد في الدولة ..

هذه الإجابة كانت من الرئيس الأسد على مداخلة لفتاة أتت من حمص حين طرحت فكرة إلغاء المادة الثامنة من الدستور بأسرع وقت ممكن لكي لاندخل في سجالات جديدة, والسماح للمعارضة بحرية التعبير, وتأسيس الأحزاب المعارضة لحزب البعث ..

 خدمة العلم بمفهومها الحالي هي خدمة للوطن وحتى لو كان الطبيب يقف عند الحواجز العسكرية ويحارب فهو بذلك يخدم وطنه ..

جواب مختصر تلقاه أحد الأعضاء المشاركين معنا وكان آتياً من القامشلي, حين طرح فكرة تحويل مفهوم خدمة العلم إلى خدمة الوطن بوضع الإختصاص المناسب  في المكان المناسب عبر إرسال المهندسين على سبيل المثال للمشاركة في المشاريع التابعة للحكومة وإرسال الأساتذة للتدريس في القرى, بهذه الطريقة الدولة تحقق فائدتين الأولى منهم هي تحقيق تغطية للمدارس في كافة الأراضي السورية, والثانية هي توفير مبالغ  لابأس بها ويمكن الإستفادة منها في تحسين مستوى المدارس عمرانياً في بعض المناطق.. وصل الدور لشاب قدم من الحسكة حين أدلى بمداخلة بسيطة, وهي توقف الأمن عن الضرب والقتل وإن كان هدفه الإعتقال فليعتقل وليحقق لكن بشكل محترم ..

  الرد كان, نحن نسعى لتدريب رجال شرطة مختصين في التعامل مع المتظاهرين وسيباشرون عملهم خلال أشهر قليلة ..

 كان ذلك أهم ماتم طرحه, حسب وجهة نظري أنذاك قبل أن أتوجه بثلاث نقاط للرئيس الأسد أولها كانت .. طالما أن رواية الحكومة صادقة ولاتحمل أي نوع من الأكاذيب والتلفيق, إذاً فلندع الإعلام يدخل إلى سوريا وليرى بأم عينيه مايدور على أرضنا ولتثبت الحكومة السورية أنها أصدق منهم ..

  جائني الرد, نحن لسنا بحاجة للإعلام الخارجي لسببين, أولهم أن وكالات الأنباء العالمية لديها مراسلين في شتى أنحاء العالم, عدا سورية .. فلذلك يبنغي عليهم أخذ أخبارهم من إعلامنا نحن ونحن من سيعطيهم الأنباء الواقعة على أرضنا, أضف إلى ذلك أن إعلامنا على طول السنين الماضية لم تسمح الفرصة لكي يبرز عالمياً واليوم هاهو يغتنم الفرصة لزيادة خبرته في هذا المجال

مداخلتي الثانية : الشعوب العربية بغالبيتها تميل للناحية العاطفية, ومع أن هذه الصفة هي من الصفاة الحسنة لكنها قد تكون نقمة على البعض الآخر إذا لم يتم التعامل معها بشكل جاد, لذلك أرى أنه ينبغي على رجال الأمن الإبتعاد عن الإعتقال العشوائي والتعامل مع المعتقلين بشكل حضاري وإنساني ..

الرد: نحن عاطفيون فعلاً, لكن حتى نتغلب على كل ماذكرت يجب علينا أولاً وأخيراً متابعة الإعلام الصادق والمتواجد على الأرض ومن هنا نستطيع أن نحدد إلى أين ينبغي أن تسير عاطفتنا..وكما أجبت أحد أصدقائك هنا, نعم نحن نعد كوادر مدربة على التعامل مع المتظاهرين بكل أدب وإحترام ..

القيادة والحكمة والقضاء لديكم, لماذا لم نرى حتى اليوم محاكمة للمتوطرين في سفك دماء السوريين كعاطف نجيب على سبيل المثال..

  أجل عاطف نجيب متورط “مع طأطأة للرأس” لكن لم يرفع أي شخص دعوى في المحكمة عليه ليتم محاكمته, أضف إلى ذلك هو إبن خالتي وصرلي 22 سنة ماشفته ..!!

هنا أنا لم أستطع أن أتاملك أعصابي قبل أن أقاطعه قائلاً, لكن في الأمس فقط تم إعتقال عدد من أصدقائي في مظاهرة لم يكونوا مشاركين فيها بالأصل لكن الإعتقال العشوائي طالهم, وعندما ذهبنا للمطالبة بهم وعن طريق محامي, أتانا الرد التالي “أنت ضد مين بدك توكل محامي” ..؟! هنا طلب مني أن أعطيه أسماء المعتقلين من أصدقائي, لكن بقي لدي سؤال مبهم, مامصير باقي المعتقلين حتى هذه اللحظة ..؟!أكمل حديثه مع المجموعة  قائلاً مبارح 19 واحد بسيف الدولة وكلهم عاطلين العملقاطعته من جديد, من بين ال19 شخص هنالك خمسة أطباء وهم اللذين تحدثت عنهم, بالإضافة لذلك الإعتقالات في تلك الليلة تجاوزت المئتين معتقل.. ثم تابعت ماذا بالنسبة لقانون التظاهر الذي لم يطبق بعد..؟

لا نحن لايهمنا من يتظاهر, لكن مايهمنا أمره هو من يصور ومن يرسل المقاطع للإعلام الخارجي ..

بعد لحظات دخل علينا الحارس الشخصي ليبلغنا بإنتهاء الوقت المحدد .. وقبل مغادرتنا, طلب الرئيس الأسد متطوعاً في لقائنا على قناة الدنيا لكي يدلي على الهواء مباشرة مادار بيننا في اللقاء, لم يجبه أحد من بين الحاضرين ..

صمت الجميع لبرهة, وقاطع الصامتين هو بعبارة “لهالدرجة” ..؟؟

أجبنا سويةً, أنا ومن في جانبي .. وأكتر كمان ..

Thanks to Sheila, we have an ENGLISH Translation

This is what Bashar Alassad said during his meeting with us:

by Houssam Arian on Friday, November 18, 2011 at 3:03pm

First, I would like to point out that I refused to publish the disastrous aspect of our debate earlier. What I said, was published by Alsafir Newspaper in one sentence that boils down to this: We went to propose solutions, not to ask for personal favors, despite that, some of the people present did have personal favors to ask. I would also like to say that I resent the question: “what are your demands?” that we heard over and over from every regime representative that we met and earlier over the broadcast of “the students’ voice”. It felt like we were there on a begging mission.

On May 5, 2011 and through a phone call that I received from the Student union of Syrian students, I was informed that my name came up along with a group of other Syrian youth from all over Syria, to attend a meeting with the president Alassad to discuss the current situation. I was also told that the meeting will take place in two days, i.e. on May 7, 2011. I accepted and traveled to Damascus to attend the meeting at the presidential palace. We all went in. A group of 14 young men and women. After they welcomed us and we introduced ourselves, the meeting started. I chose to be the last to ask any questions about problems and solutions, hoping not to steal anybody else’s ideas without realizing it. Here is what amazed me in terms of the answers that we received:

We have to activate the role of the Baath party, because in the last few decades, the Syrian citizens did not feel the importance of the ruling party in the government.

This was the president’s answer to a young woman who came from Homs, when she asked about the proposed idea to cancel article 8 of the constitution with the utmost speed, so that we avoid arguments and allow the opposition free speech and permit the establishment of parties opposed to the Baath party.

Military service, in its current condition is in fact national service. Even if you thought of a doctor manning a check point and fighting. In doing so, he is in fact serving his nation.

This was the answer that one of the participants from Qamishli received, when he suggested that we should transform the concept of military service into national service. This will allow us to use the young conscripts in their fields of expertise, like sending engineers to participate in government projects or sending teachers to teach in underserved areas. This will achieve two objectives: first, is covering all the schools in Syria and second, is saving a good amount of money that can be used to improve the schools infrastructure in some areas.

It was the turn of a guy from Hasakeh, who had a simple request: can we stop the beatings and killings by the intelligence services. If they are trying to arrest someone, why don’t they do it with a little respect?

The answer was that we are working on training police forces specializing in dealing with demonstrations. They will start their work within the next few months.

I believe that these were the most important questions asked before it was my turn and I asked three questions: The first was that since the government account of what is happening in Syria is the truth and not lies and fabrications, why don’t we allow the press to come to Syria and see what is going on to prove once and for all that the Syrian government is telling the truth.

The answer was that we do not need the outside press for two reasons: first, because press agencies have reporters all over the world except in Syria, this is why they need to get their news from our Syrian press and we will give them the truth about what is happening on our soil, second, our press throughout these past years never had the chance to shine on the world stage. Today it is taking advantage of this opportunity to increase its expertise in this field.

My second question was: Arabs in general tend to lean to the emotional side. This characteristic is a good one, but can prove detrimental if it is not dealt with properly. This is why I suggest that the intelligence services avoid random arrests and treat detainees in a humane and civilized manner.

The answer was that yes, we are emotional, and to overcome what you talked about, we should first and foremost, follow the truthful press on ground. this will help guide us on where to go with our emotions. I have also answered your friend that we are working on training the police to deal with the demonstrators with respect.

My third question was: since you have the leadership, the wisdom and the judicial system, why haven’t we seen till this day any trial for those who are complicit and guilty of killing Syrians like Atef Najeeb?

The answer was with a lowered head: yes, Atef Najeeb is complicit, but no one filed a law suit against him. In addition, he is my first cousin and I have not seen him in 22 years.

Then, I could not control myself and dared to interrupt him to point out that only yesterday a few of my friends were arrested during a demonstration that they were not even participating in. When we went to try to get them out through the judicial system, we were told: who are you going to sew? Here he asked me to give him the names of my detained friends, but I had one more question: what is the fate of the other detainees? He continued addressing the group saying:

yesterday there were 19 people arrested in Seif Aldowleh, all of whom are hobos.

 I interrupted him again to say: of the 19 that you just mentioned, 5 are doctors. In addition, the arrests that night exceeded 200. Then I continued: and how about the new demonstration law?

His answer was: we do not care who is demonstrating, rather who is documenting the event and sending it to the foreign press.

After a few seconds, his personal guard came in to tell us that our time was up. Before we left, the president asked if one of us would volunteer to appear on Aldunya news channel live, to talk about our meeting with him. He received no answer from anyone of us. Everyone was quiet for a little while, when he interjected:

has it reached that level?

 The answer came from me and the person next to me simultaneously: and a lot more.

Posted on November 19, 2011, in Bashar Al-Assad, Regime, Syria and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 36 Comments.

  1. OTW,

    I think that “the most fundamental flaw of Bashar Al-Assad is his detachment from reality” is not quite correct. The detachment from reality is a symptom of lack of transparency and accountability. Any politician that is not monitored or criticized becomes detached. Assad just suffers from the common ills of authoritarian rule.

  2. AIG
    Agree, felt that on post-publishing review, and changed the phrase to A fundamental flaw instead of the most fundamental flaw.

    But one has to live the ideology and its manifestation to see how it affects not only Assad himself but the entire society. After 50 years, even enlightened people are branded with its thinking structure and taboos. I believe that like most people in his circle, they breath it even though they violate its pretentious righteousness in every single step. I am not talking about the slogans, I am talking about things like notion that a single group can and should be in charge for perpetuity and that because of its lofty goals, it has the right to oppress all around. It is off course an authoritarian party, which addresses your comment about authoritarian regimes.

  3. The irony of fate: Ghadafi the father calls on his opponents as rats and is found in a sewer pipe; and Ghadafi the son has pointed his finger threatening the people of Libya and now he has his hand in bandages.
    I wonder what irony of fate will await the ruling family in Syria.

    I am sure that the leadership is delusional and has adopted a single narrative from the outset and has a single mind set of how to deal with any dissent and that is brute force.

    It is not the strategy of the son he is stupid but the same strategy of the father with the old cronies. The problem is that they have a variety of fiefdoms and areas of influence and none of them can coordinate fully their actions.

    Today there are reports of increased fighting between defectors and assadist troops across the borders in Lebanon and in Turkey. Next will be in the south and this is the beginning of an ugly end.

  4. Great post OTW. And gratz on the Guardian mention🙂

  5. Injured my finger while cooking. Can’t type well for a few days😦

  6. Terrific effort, well done OTW & Sheila.

    Aboud,” while cooking” or just too much tired from being a party animal while celebrating el7arakeh Eltas7e7eha “the correction movement”? (gotch you :))

    I’d advise Maher al-ASSAD to get in touch with his buddy Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, just to get ready when he gets arrested trying to cross the borders to Iraq or Lebanon.

  7. Dear Sheila and OTW; I just translated the article and the session with Assad. I’ll put them on my blog to morrow.

    It is staggering. I feel sorry for him. Never suspected he could be that stupid and insensitive. He will never understand what hit him.

    His speeches were already a catastrophy and I incriminated his speech writers, but may be he wrote them himself.

  8. CORRIGENDUM
    I have a small correction to the diagram published in the previous post. The AL process with the Syrian regime now looks more like this

    Arab League Process Revised

  9. can someone post the article from Sunday times. It’s not free online !

  10. Haytham Khoury

    I disagree with AIG. Bashar detachment from the reality is inherent to his character. It started from his childhood. By all accounts, Bashar is neurotic. Neurosis arises from unfulfilled real needs as stated by many authors, including Karen Horney, Eric Fromm and Abraham Maslow. Of course, outside control would limit the catastrophic consequences his delusion , but by no means would eliminate them.
    Certainly, you read all my articles analyzing the personality of Bashar, however I will leave the reference for these articles below.

    http://haytham-khoury2.blogspot.com/2011/07/response-to-national-initiative-for.html
    http://haytham-khoury2.blogspot.com/2011/07/strategies-to-fight-regime.htmlhttp://haytham-khoury2.blogspot.com/2011/10/immaturity-as-origin-of-evil-bashar-al.html

  11. One of the many gems from Bashar’s latest interview:

    “وسئل عما اذا كانت قواته عدوانية اكثر مما يجب، فقال الاسد للصحيفة “ان اخطاء ارتكبت، وهي اخطاء افراد وليس الدولة. لا توجد لدينا نحن كدولة سياسة القسوة مع المواطنين”.

  12. With no disrespect, Haytham Khoury, I would just like to object a little to the use of words like “maturity/immaturity” …. “evil”…. “breakdown” or definitely “neurotic”… these words have technical meanings in psychology and ethics (in the case of ‘evil’) and they have common lay meanings….and you seem to be wanting to use them interchangeably in this context where it is not clear they are appropriate at all.
    Especially, “neurotic”… this is a very anachronistic word, with outdated connotations…if you want to cite Karen Horney, a Freudian. Nobody outside psychoanalysis would use this term in the way the original Freudians might – or Horney for that matter. In contemporary terms – have the people walking down the street in America are “neurotic”…everybody and their mother is neurotic at this point. Neurotic is considered normal subclinical distress in psychological terms, so its use here tells us nothing exceptional, and lends very little in terms of wanting to analyze personality of a public leader.

    Many things you have said, i nonetheless agree with in terms of B Assad’s naivite, simplistic thinking, lack of intellectual acumen, etc and so forth. One doesn’t need a sophisticated psychological analysis to make these observations however. Maslow is a sociologist as much as a psychologist and his most famous contribution of the hierarchy of needs is better applied to thinking about society in general than any particular individual’s personality.

    The study of conscience in terms of individual persons is a difficult thing. In contemporary research, even babies – have been discerned to exhibit the earliest forms of ‘moral’ behavior and ability to perceive unfairness and a ‘conscience’ if you will – regarding immoral situations. Believe it or not.
    These historical circumstances are the product not of an individual personality – although certain a lack of imagination, intellect, leadership, and exceptional character can certainly be blamed, it doesn’t require “regression” or any such thing… (unless perhaps Bashar is wetting his bed lately… )….or clinical level ‘delusions’…. forget all that…. Bashar is a ill equipped man embedded in a complex system and structure with no personal ability to change that structure or the strong character that would be required to challenge it or think himself out of it. He is simply incapable.

    Take your mind to social psychology instead, it is much more interesting and helpful.

    I prefer not to talk of evil. But if we must then I should ask you to turn to Hannah Arendt’s “Banality of Evil”…. her treatise on Eichman. Not everyone will agree with her premise, but I am pretty sure it is what you are looking for and alluding to…. evil does not require psychopaths, sociopaths and maniacs, so to speak, it can flow from the absence of free thinking and from simply obedience to evil ideology that does the thinking for you.

    I recommend you set your sights in the arena of social psychology because it offers so much more to the picture of actions that are taken not in isolation in an interpersonal context (after all – I am sure that B Assad is a perfectly fine father and husband – or at least it would be not surprising if he is…..and lacks no conscience in this area, nor is infantile or ‘immature’.
    The arena we are talking about it an entire power structure and society – and in this – once can only analyze the individual’s role and response to that context…. the authoritarian context.
    It is more helpful to think about the obedience studies, beginning with the most famous – Stanley Milgram obedience studies… or the infamous Stanford prison experiments of Philip Zimbardo. These are decades old now – and much has been done on their backs….but the lessons hold true to this day… and you would have much more enjoyment examining that material I think than pondering Freudians.
    Take my word for it.

  13. I should like to add and emphasize that:
    It takes an exceptional character NOT to commit ‘evil’ when people are embedded in an ‘evil’ system…. and when they lack that strength of character to in fact RESIST the pressure to conform to the obedience that is demanded of them – or the role that they are expected to play…. then they will in fact follow the easiest route of compliance with that ideology and structure around them.

  14. Dear Zenobia

    It takes an exceptional character NOT to commit ‘evil’ when people are embedded in an ‘evil’ system…. and when they lack that strength of character to in fact RESIST the pressure to conform to the obedience that is demanded of them – or the role that they are expected to play…. then they will in fact follow the easiest route of compliance with that ideology and structure around them.

    Outstanding and Professionally said.

    It is good to see that I am seeing beyond the person even if naively. I had argued in my little write-up that one could start from the dogmatic structure of Baath party ideology before starting from the narrow sectarian view. The marriage between the rigid Baath dogma and tribal self preservation machination is one place to look at.. There are many other reasons such as the the pressure of despotism, the Baath party, and the layers of security arrangements over the past half a century have added tremendously to that complexity. and that After 50 years, even enlightened people are branded with its thinking structure and taboos. I believe that like most people in his circle, they breath it even though they violate its pretentious righteousness in every single step.

    So I guess i was on the right track associating Assad’s delusion with conditions larger than the person, which have resulted from 50 years of conditioning. The thing is that it is also not only his thinking but more-so a group think, which we all observe among people in Syria including some in the internal opposition. The conditioning creates limits on their thinking and amplifies the victimized righteousness feeling even among well educated, who should know better. I think such could also be investigated as one of the reasons for the stark difference between the internal and expat oppositions in outlook, and in the limits the traditional internal opposition places on its own movement. Off course, this is not universal. One only has to read the brilliant writing of Yassin Haj Salih to recognize the torment many Syrians are going through as they try to break the mental chains. Yassin has broken the chains long time a go and decided to place no limits to his thoughtful inquiries.

  15. May be an Update

    وفقاً لصحيفة “الشرق الأوسط” وجه نبيل العربي رسالة إلى وزارة الخارجية السورية جاء فيها: “استقر الرأي على أن مهمة الأمين العام هي الرد على الاستفسارات الواردة من الجانب السوري وليس إدخال تعديلات أو إضافات عليها، كما أود التأكيد أن أغلب التعديلات الواردة تتعارض مع أغلب المهام التي حددها المجلس للبعثة.”

    Let us see, I’ll be tracking to see if this is true.

  16. Part of the exclusive interview with The Sunday Times, Bashar al-Assad

    Talkig about being “Delusional Detachment”

    تعريب الجزء المسرب من مقابلة الرئيس الأسد مع صنداي تايمز
    سيدي الرئيس: هل تظن أو تعتقد بأن ردة فعل ضباط الأمن و الجيش على المحتجين كانت قاسية أو وعدوانية جداً في بعض الأوقات.
    الأسد: إن صفة قاس أو عدواني مصطلح قابل للجدل، و لكن دعينا نتحدث عن أن الحكومة ليس لديها أية سياسة لكي يعامل رجال الأمن و الشرطة المتظاهرين بشكل قاس أو عدواني، لأن كل سياساتنا في العقد السابق بنيت على اساس الدعم شعبي لها، لذلك لا يمكن ان نبني سياسة ضد الشعب. لكن إذا كان هناك أية أحداث ارتكبت من قبل بعض الأفراد في حالات معينة سوف يتم التحقيق بها من قبل لجنة شكلناها منذ عدة اشهر. لكن عندما يكون هناك حالة من عدم الاستقرار سوف يكون هناك احتمال لارتكاب اخطاء و مشاكل في الشارع.
    سيدي الرئيس: لكن عدد الأشخاص الذين قتلوا في الأحداث الأخيرة عدد كبير و هذا يعني أن الخيار العسكري أو الأمني لا ينجح، هل هناك طرق اخرى لديكم؟.
    الأسد: عندما نتحدث عن القتل يجب أن تسألي من قتل 800 ضابط من الشرطة و الأمن و الجيش في الشارع، لذلك نحن لا نتحدث عن تظاهرات سلمية و إنما عن ميليشيات. و عندما يكون هناك ميليشيات سوف يكون هناك قتل، لذلك فإن من واجب الحكومة أن تقاتل هذه المليشيات لحماية المدنيين وتحقيق الاستقرار، و ليس أن ندعهم يفعلون ما يحلو لهم و نتحدث عن القتل، و هذا ما نفعله.
    سيدي الرئيس: ماذا تشعر كأب أو كمواطن عندما ترى السوريين يقتلون أو يموتون في بلدهم؟
    الأسد: أشعر بالحزن و التعاطف مع عائلاتهم ولكن الشيء المهم ما الذي يمكنني فعله و ليس ما الذي يمكنني ان اشعر به، مالذي يمكنني فعله لحمايتهم و حماية السوريين الآخرين من القتل على أيدي المليشيات.
    سيدي الرئيس: مالذي تفعلونه لحماية المدنيين؟
    الأسد: سوف نقوم بمقاتلة هذه المليشيات لمنعهم من الاستمرار في اعمالهم ضد المدنيين وهذا ما نركز عليه الآن. علينا إيقاف تدفق السلاح لهم من عبر الحدود و منع وصول الأموال لهم.
    سيدي الرئيس: إلى أي مدى سوف تحمون بلدكم، هل سوف تقبلون بالاستقالة والتنازل عن منصب الرئيس إذا استدعى الحفاظ على بلدكم هذا الأمر؟
    الأسد: ليس هناك اية حدود لأي شيء يتطلبه الحفاظ على البلد، ليس على بلدي ان يخدمني و لكن العكس أنا يجب ان أخدمه، فالمشكلة ليست حولي و إنما هي حول سوريا، المشكلة ليست بالرئيس الأن و إنما في استقرار سوريا و وحدة سوريا. إذا كان بقاء الرئيس سوف يعزز وحدة البلد يجب أن يبقى و إذا كان يقسم البلد يجب أن يرحل هذا هو المبدأ. معظم السوريين موحدين ولكن ما يحدث الآن هو بسبب المليشيات القليلة التي تقتل المدنيين و التدخلات الدولية.
    سيدي الرئيس: ماذا عن القطاع الشعبي الذي يطالب برحيلك و رحيل النظام أيضاً أليس له الحق بالتعبير عن رأيه.
    الأسد: بالتأكيد ولكن عبر الانتخابات، سوف يكون هناك انتخابات برلمانية في شباط القادم، و سوف يكون هناك حكومة جديدة، وسوف يكون هناك دستور جديد و هذا الدستور سوف يحدد اسس انتخاب الرئيس وبالتالي يمكنه الذهاب الى الانتخابات والمشاركة في التعبير عن رأيهم.

  17. OTW, yes, I do think you are on the right track, and definitely agree. We might more precisely call ‘group think’ … the “in-group non-think”…..( I think)…:)

    I mused later further on the idea of his “detachment from reality”…. is he? or is he simply de-attached and dissociated from OUR reality… and quite attached to an alternate ‘reality’ created in that group non-think of the enclosed world he lives in… and the startled ‘deer in the headlights’ expression or nervous smile and laugh… reflect a small encounter with cognitive dissonance when he encounters or is confronted with perceptions (a different reality) that clash with the tightly constructed ‘reality’ existing in his bubble.

  18. OTW, Zenobia, “is he simply de-attached and dissociated from OUR reality… and quite attached to an alternate ‘reality’

    I would not relate his insanity to any psychological or mental disorder, he’s a healthy and mindful dictator for sure. I reckon he’s fully conscious about what’s going on and totally aware about the fact that protesters are unfolding his final chapter, he’s bloody sly who’s enjoying putting a mask of “really, I’ve got no clue!!!”.

    The shameful AL is begging Betho to grab on the safety ring they’re throwing every time and to give back anything but he does not give a sh!t and all what they get is the finger (Saif al-Islam Gaddafi’s managed to get his fingers chopped by protesters). This time Betho decided to reply by commencing one of the biggest manoeuvres in Syrian military history, an operation called “Breaking the Illusions, تحطيم الأوهام” where the (what so called) army establishes a classified military district to be the Counter-Buffer-Zone along the Turkish borders with depth of 15-25km inside the Syrian land and deploying 1500 tanks and armored vehicles across it. It’s quite indicative that this regime is pushing not only for a civil war but maybe for a regional war where opportunists such as Betho might be useful to play a role to put an end to it.

  19. Syria faces new Arab League pressure” (Alice Fordham, washingtonpost)
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/syria-faces-new-arab-league-pressure/2011/11/20/gIQAhG73eN_story.html

    No place for ‘authoritarian regimes’, Turkey tells Syria” (AFP, france24)
    http://www.france24.com/en/20111120-no-place-authoritarian-regimes-turkey-tells-syria

    Libya, Egypt and Syria all face an uncertain future” (Ian Black, guardian)
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/nov/20/libya-syria-egypt-arab-uprisings?newsfeed=true

    Canada ready to assist in Syria, MacKay says” (The Canadian Press)
    http://www.ctv.ca/CTVNews/Canada/20111120/mackay-middle-east-111120/

    Violence as Syrian demonstrators demand change” (telegraph)
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/syria/8902483/Violence-as-Syrian-demonstrators-demand-change.html

    Grenade blasts bring violence to Syrian capital” (ZEINA KARAM, newsday)
    http://www.newsday.com/news/grenade-blasts-bring-violence-to-syrian-capital-1.3334943

  20. I think you are agreeing with us cause that was sort of the point. He is quite “normal” within the mileu in which he resides.
    but it is always worth thinking about what makes a ‘normal’ dictatorship and a ‘normal’ authoritarian system, because this social system has influenced/impacted the greater society at large in many respects and the mindset of a great many people, and, again, i would argue… many aspects of ideology and attitude may not just disappear with the fall of the regime- especially if this is accomplished through armed conflict and force.

  21. “many aspects of ideology and attitude may not just disappear with the fall of the regime- especially if this is accomplished through armed conflict and force.”

    Very thoughtful indeed actually we might witness a spike and higher presence of such a behaviour from different communities within the Syrian society although I would not associate such a phenomenon to the means and methods of accomplishment such as armed force, civil war, …etc. Further to toppling the regime people will be in need to lean against something which might give them some assurity and this sense of security and I guess that’s where the “aspects of ideology” will come into the picture. Frankly speaking, there will be a long period of time ahead of us before Syrians can accept each other eh, please note that I did not say (accept each other AGAIN) because as a matter of fact we never did but we’ve learned how to hide and workaround it.

  22. Majed Khaldoun

    I was reading comments from OTW and Zenobia
    This is only analysis,in practical terms he is a dictator that he is afraid to loose his power and money that his family stole,and basically he is afraid to die if changes are allowed

  23. MAJED
    I think the real fear, which he shares with the chief thugs of his regime is the fear of information about their crimes coming out. Relationships with criminal entities, backroom deals in which they sold the future of Syria and Syrians. Hefez Assad was obsessed about his legacy and one of the reasons he wanted his dumb son to take the helm is his fear of folders and files being opened after his death.

    TRUE and ZENOBIA
    I think we will witness a strong show of syrian nationalistic sentiment both in its good sense (National Unity) and bad sense (National exceptionalism). Arab nationalism will also surge now that it is not beholden to the blackmail gangster politics of the departed regime.

    I was picking up some order from a Lebanese store yesterday, the owner and one of his customers where talking about Syria and he asked me for opinion. Sure enough few minutes into the conversation he blasted that “شعبنا بدو ديكتاتور قوي” (Our people can only be ruled by a dictator). This drove me really OFF THE WALL I turned back to him and said, I don’t know why do you think Lebanese blood was shed, but Syrians are shedding their blood to prove you wrong. This is the mentality that the Tyrant themselves have worked into our brains for decades. And eradicating it will not be easy. Just observe the pathetic Assad trying to look like the “protector” of Syrians from “militias”. Syrians are no longer buying it in general, but I will not be surprised if “law-and-order” people try to re-instill this notion in order to start yet another sad chapter. We should be vigilant as we only have a limited window of time to establish that freedom is worth it.

  24. Not to belabor the points but…. this:

    “but I will not be surprised if “law-and-order” people try to re-instill this notion in order to start yet another sad chapter’

    is one of the critical dangers… and this:

    “although I would not associate such a phenomenon to the means and methods of accomplishment such as armed force, civil war” –

    is connected to it.
    It was not I who made the argument that the MEANS of achieving the overthrow of a dictatorship will be reflected in the chances for subsequently being able to attain a democracy in its place or how long that would take or how smooth a transition is – or how able a society is in overcoming previous ideologies.
    Actually this is precisely the correlation that is presented in “From Democracy to Dictatorship”..
    To summarize in brief: the use of force to overthrow and bring about change – leaves in place the notion that FORCE and violence is the mode with which to attain political power -to mobilize people, to achieve a result…etc.

    In contrast, a civil disobedience movement requires a large mobilizing of people in a collaborative effort built around communication, negotiation, trust, organization, confidence building, and a developing sense of confidence in the powers of argument, persuasion, collective agreement, and finally the anchoring of civil society units that can one day form the bases of new and improved institutions.
    In essence, these particular means are already through the particular mode of overthrow – setting the stage for democratic participation and new convictions about the power of peaceful organization and efforts that can have meaningful results.
    This entire experience is absent if the means are mostly violent mechanisms of change, and the result is – the entire process of creating democratic participation and functions mostly has to be created after the fact in the wake of traumatic upheaval. In that environment – the associations to the prior system that almost entirely relied on violence, structural and overt – is still there by virtue of the ‘revolutionaries’ having resorted to that. Additionally, it leave open the door for a greater chance that the entire enterprise can be co-opted or sabotaged again later on by individuals who are still infected with the previous dominant ideologies.
    Again in contrast, a non- violent movement itself brings about gradual but dramatic changes in beliefs in its participants while it is building that weeds out such characters and potential dangers.

    otherwise, the beliefs of might makes right – remain lingering around the bend waiting to be asserted by nasty shop owners.

  25. Zenobia, I am not much of an intellectual, but in French I would say : tu coupes les cheveux en quatre, you are splitting hairs.

    I do not care about the exact diagnosis for Mr President; he is not fit to lead Syria period and he must go, whether neurotic, delusional, whatever. He is in charge and he is responsible for the atrocities his hoodlums commit.

    Bravo OTW for your retort to that deranged customer.

  26. Actually Annie, my last comment was on a different issue. Not sure you actually read it.

    but I will say: if all we need to figure out is whether Mr President has to go or not, then we are all in agreement and there would be no need for this blog.
    since we could just sit around repeating that.
    The post was about an interview and then an analysis of the pres’s character and I was responding furthermore to Mr. Khoury’s “splitting of hairs”….

    but if I was going to write a post – I would probably write it on this last subject entirely – which was not about Mr Pres’s personality but about the issue of implications of the methods of revolution.
    So you might want to tune out for that if you think it too deep and intellectual for you.

  27. Haytham Khoury

    Dear Zenobia:

    You did nothing, but confirming what I said.
    What I meant by what I wrote was never an analysis of Bashar personality in the professional way. Two of them were written to Rawan Ziadeh at the begining of the revolution and one of them was written in September upon Burhan Ghalioun request. For this reason, they were written to laymen for purely political purposes to explain to them what they can expect from the “clown”.

    I appreciate your show of knowledge of psychology.

  28. Interesting!… I was curious who the audience was. I found your thoughts interesting despite my comments that may have sounded dismissive, wasn’t intended that way. I happen to like these sorts of exercises – and do find them helpful. I just hope to pull the lens back sometimes – and have come to think that most tyrannical situations are the consequence of a larger social malady, and to focus too closely on the disfunction within one man is to miss the larger danger.
    I hate to bring up Hitler, but you know, even Hitler could not have been successful without the receptivity of a certain population at a certain moment in time with a certain ideological/historical fertile ground in place within which an individual character/leader becomes the symbol and reflection of the social malignancy.

    looking forward to more of your discussions

  29. Asking us to put an effort of understanding the theory and depth behind your arguments while you’re putting nil from your side is not fair. It’s true that most of what’s going on has been thoroughly conceptualised in many frameworks and I’m aware of the correlation that is presented in “From Democracy to Dictatorship”. However, in reality we’re living in a dynamic environment where things go out of planned (anticipated and analysed) patterns to create new phenomena and that’s how science and literature evolve, in our Syrian scenario I reckon sometimes we should take off the hat of being an academic and try to feel the pulse of the street. I reckon most of us are symbolically narrowing down the whole picture into this man but that does not mean we’re dropping other surrounding factors from our equation.

  30. TRUE
    Yes and no. Yes in the sense that not all of us have to be aware of the in-depth analysis, but no in the sense that we must at lease be aware of such correlation and avoid, if we can, being driven fully by events as opposed to being able to influence them in one direction or another.

    When things go out of plan, there are remedies, and unless awareness exists, these remedies become harder to come by. It is this situation that the SNC is finding itself now. On the one hand, Burhan Ghalyoun, an ethical fellow finds it important to nip any possibility of sectarianism in the bud. On the other hand, he should not yield to the regime’s narrative. There has always been a potential for sectarian strife, and the regime has been the primary culprit in both initiating it and then amplifying it. How does one deal with this dynamic situation?

  31. Zenobia, you are right. I did not read the whole argument because as I told you I am not an intellectual and MYGO rather fast. Fortunately there are people who delve a little deeper.

  32. Members of SNC and other notable speakers including Hytham Elmaleh, Pianist Malek Jandali, etc…will be in Montreal next week (see http://www.syriancanadiancouncil.com)

    OTW, you wanted me to keep you posted on the local Canadian scene, what the community is working on, so here it is. Much more rewarding than having cyber tit for tat with Aboud arrogance and personality defending Zionist.

    Also, Canada decided in keeping its Navy in the mediteranean after finishing its mission for Libya in case you missed the news. Some may interpret it that as a soft landing to future missions in some capacity by NATO.

    The 100k Libyans that were part and parcel of the Libyan Regime are still at large. So, removal of Assad and another 100 personalities, will leave 99,899 scum bags at large in Syria.

    Zenobia: Evil is the sum of lost souls. The system is so polluted that without rooting it out entirely, we won’t accomplish much (i.e. see what is happening in Egypt right now). There is no in-between.

    Cheers

  33. Dear Hussam
    You just made my day twice, first for coming around to visit, and second for the news you bring. Until recently, Montreal has been dominated by pro-regime groups. Now you are changing things to the better. Go for it, one city in Canada after another.

  34. @ Husam,🙂 yes, thanks for your visit and comments and update – friend.

  35. Haytham Khoury

    Dear Zenobia:

    I am so sorry, if I was blunt with you.
    Since you asked for discussion, let us go to business.

    First, every one of us has his system is beliefs. Some of these beliefs are “false”; thus, we can consider them “delusions”. Of course, those “delusions” are subclinical, consequently are not recognized by medicine as such. Furthermore, since each of us (literally each of us) has his own beliefs and “delusions”, each of us has his own reality. We should accept that and live with it. However, once a person’s own reality starts to affect negatively others, particularly if the damage irreparable, this reality stops to be his or her own. Indeed, it starts to be the damaged people’s reality. The person who causes this irreparable damage should be stropped and may be isolated and punished.

    Second, there is significant difference in the way Eastern and Western people think. Western people tend to have abstract thinking, while Eastern people have proclivity to concrete thinking. For this reason, the people in West spend a lot of time on defining things (such Evil). On the other hand, the Eastern people prefer to have few examples and they will understand the rest by themselves. Therefore, I did not bother myself defining Evil. I mentioned few example and I am sure my audience, the people living in Syria, understood the rest. If you think that the example that I mentioned about Bashar are not Evil, please tell me. I am happy to discuss with you further.

  1. Pingback: Détachement délusionnel, Assad par lui-même « annie bannie's Weblog

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