Barbara and the Idiot

No Words from Off the Wall. (But rights reserved to shred the idiot at later time)

No comment (Thanks to Shia-Chat)

Source at ABC News

ABC’s Barbara Walters: Mr. President, you have invited us to Damascus and you have not given an interview to the American media since this crisis began. What is it you want us to know?

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad: I would like to reiterate what I used to say after 11th of September, to every American delegation I met, first of all I think the American people, people should know more about what’s happening beyond the ocean, second the American media I would like them to tell only the truth about what’s happening in the world, and for the American administration. Don’t look for puppets in the world.

Walters: Don’t look for puppets?

Assad: Only deal with administration that, on people that can tell you know about the truth, because what’s happening in the world now is taking the world toward chaos, what we need now is we need to deal with the reality. So the message now is about the reality.

Walters: Tell me what the reality here is your country is. What is the reality?

Assad: It’s too complicated, it takes hours to talk about… so let’s be specific.

Walters: Not long ago you were widely seen as a fresh pragmatic leader, a doctor whose life was in healing people, now sir, much of the world regards you as a dictator and a tyrant. What do you say to that?

Assad: What’s important how the Syrian people look at you, not how you look at yourself. So I don’t have to look at myself. This is… second, it’s about the system. You have a dictator and you have dictatorship, there’s a big difference between the two, dictatorship is about the system, we never said we are democratic country, but we’re not the same, we– we are moving forward in, in reforms, especially during the last nine month, so I think we are moving forward, it takes a long time, it takes a lot of maturity to be full fledge democratic country, but we are moving that, that direction, for me as a person, whatever I do should be based on the will of the people, because you need popular legitimacy and this is against dictatorship for person.

Walters: But you talk about the support of your people. You did have the support of your people, and then began these demonstrations, which I will discuss in more detail and crackdowns, and you have people now who don’t want you to lead. You don’t have the support of your people.

Assad: You always–

Walters: Of all of your people.

Assad: You always have people that don’t want you to be in that position, that’s self-evident, that’s normal, you cannot say that having the support of the people. All the people support you means something absolute. You’re talking about the majority, and people are against you, they’re not majority, when they are majority you don’t have to stay in that position.

Walters: But you have people who are against you who are protesting every day. It started with people marching with olive branches and with their children asking for more freedom, for freedom of press, for freedom of expression, and much of the country now, sir, is not supporting you, that’s what these, that’s what your crisis is about.

Assad: Yeah. That’s why we had the reform started quickly, after the very beginning that you described as simple, so we didn’t take the role, we didn’t play the role of stubborn government, they say they need more freedom. We right away had new party laws, new media law, new election law, new local administration law, and we are revising our constitution now.

Assad: Showing your opinion, whether you like somebody or doesn’t like government or president or whoever, should be through the election, the ballot box, this is the only way.

Walters: If you have elections, will they be elections for president?

Assad: No, no, we are going to have first of all the local administration election this month…

Walters: Local administration, but what about the president?

Assad: Yeah, after that, we are going to have the parliamentarian election, which is the most important. Talking about presidential election, it’s going to be in 2014, this is the…

Walters: People don’t want to wait that long, till 2014.

Assad: Which people?

Walters: The people who are protesting.

Assad: How, how, how much, how many, are they majority or not, that’s why you need, you need to wait first of all for the parliamentarian election, these election will tell you are you going to have majority or minority, then when you can think about presidential election, but not before, before that you don’t have any indication, any clear indication.

Walters: In 2014, when there are presidential elections, will you allow opposition parties?

Assad: That’s why we are changing the constitution.

Walters: OK. And if somebody else wins, will you step down in 2014?

Assad: If he wins he’s going to be in my position, I don’t have to step down, he’s going to be president. So you don’t step down. He will win the election, he will be president. So step down means you leave, while if you win the election, he’s going normally, he’s going to be in that position instead of me.

Walters: Mr. President, you once had positive things to say about President Obama. Now President Obama says, and I quote, “President Assad has lost his legitimacy to rule, he should step down.” What do you say to President Obama?

Assad: I’m not a political commentator. I– I comment more on action rather than word. At the same time if I want to care about something like this I would care, I would care about what the Syrian people wants. Nobody else outside Syria is part of our political map, so whatever they say we support, we don’t, he’s legitimate, or he’s not, it’s the same for me. For me what the Syrian people want, this is the popular legitimacy that put me in that position, and this is the only thought that can make me outside, so anyone could have his own opinion, whether president, official or any citizen, it is the same for me, outside our border.

Walters: Public opinion doesn’t matter?

Assad: Outside Syria?

Walters: Outside Syria.

Assad: No. It’s Syrian issue.

Walters: But Syria is almost completely isolated. The prime minister of Turkey, who was your ally has said, and I quote, “no regime can survive by killing or jailing.” Jordan says you should step down, the Arab League, Syria was a founding member, have said that they have suspended you, you’ve lost all the support of your neighbors and friends. Does that matter to you?

Assad: That depends how do you describe, or how do you define isolation and support? How did they support, how did they support me and how did they isolate me? Isolation is not by visitors or by supporting by words, it’s about your role, your position.

Assad: Nobody can support– can isolate Syria because of our position. That happened in 2005 and they couldn’t, Bush tried to isolate Syria, Chirac, Blair… everybody, they couldn’t, we have role to play. We are related to two different problems. If they isolate Syria, Syria will collapse and it’s going to be doing effect, everybody will suffer, so they don’t have interest to isolate Syria, we’re not isolated.

Walters: Sir, they are isolating you, they have economic sanctions against you, they may have further sanctions, all of these neighbors, so-called friends, have now abandoned you.

Assad: Yeah.

Walters: So you are isolated.

Assad: We’ve ban-, we’ve been under isol-, of, under embargo for the last 30, 35 years, it’s not something new, but it’s fluctuating, up and down depending on the situation, those country that you’re talking about, they have little influence on the situation in Syria.

Walters: Your neighbors have no influence?

Assad: No, no, we have, we still have good relation with them, they’re not, we’re not isolated. You have people coming and going, you have trade, you have everything, so that’s why I said, how do you define isolation, if you don’t define it, it’s just term. In reality, we’re not isolated here.

Walters: They have sanctions against you.

Assad: What kind of sanctions, nothing?

Walters: Economic sanctions against you.

Assad: It’s not implemented. They’re going to suffer, the countries around Syria the countries suffer. What about the transit, what about many, many other things, they have common interests with us, they won’t implement it, or they cannot or they’re going to suffer. That depends on the option that they are going to take, that’s why I said, isolating Syria is not something easy. It’s not only a decision that you implement, it’s not easy. So it’s not about the economy, it’s about the whole role in the, in the political arena in the Middle East, it’s not only about the economy.

Walters: You know, sir, that many leaders in the region have been overthrown.

Walters: You have seen, I am certain, the pictures of Egypt from the President Mubarak in jail, pictures of, uh, in Libya of Moammar Gadhafi killed, are you afraid that you might be next?

Assad: No, I am afraid that the people won’t support me, Syrian people.

Walters: That they won’t support you?

Assad: I mean the only thing that you could be afraid of as president to lose the support of your people that the only–

Walters: You don’t.

Assad: Thing that you should be afraid of not to be in jail or things like this.

Walters: Do you feel now that you still have the support of your people?

Assad: If you don’t have the support of the people you cannot be in this position.

Walters: But–

Assad: This is Syria. It’s not easy, it’s very compli–, it’s very difficult country to govern if you don’t have the public support.

Walters: But Mr. President, you have people an hour and a half away from here protesting you have people who have been killed and people who have been tortured and still they are protesting and you say you have the support of your people?

Assad: No, no you are mixing between the protesters and the killing, it’s different. Now we are having terrorists in many places killing.

Walters: Now?

Assad: No, no, not only now, no from the very beginning, no not now, now it’s recognized in the media that the difference, that from the very first few weeks we had those terrorists they are getting more and more, more aggressive, they have been killing. We have 1,000– over 1,100 soldier and policeman killed, who killed them peaceful demonstrations. This is not logical this is not palatable.

Walters: Let me ask the question again, do you feel now, even with people who have been protesting, that you have the support of your people?

Assad: The majority or the minority? Because you are talking about protesters.

Walters: The majority, the majority of the people you feel still support you?

Assad: Not the majority of the people only in the middle always, the majority of the Syrian people are in the middle and then you have people who support you and you have people who are against you. So the majority always in the middle. Those majority are not against you. If they are against you you cannot have stable most of the city is not Syria let’s say, as you see, you’ve been here for two days now.

Walters: You feel the majority of the people in this country support you?

Assad: I say the majority are in the middle and the majority are not against — to be precise.

Walters: OK, the majority that is in the middle support you.

Assad: Yeah.

Walters: The protest really began with after the detention and torture of children who were writing graffiti calling for your downfall; I’ve seen awful pictures of what happened, why was there such a brutal crackdown?

Assad: What happened?

Walters: Well I will give you some examples and you can tell me if you’ve seen these, these are some of the images and stories and some of the images that I saw, a 13-year-old boy who was arrested in April, a month later his body was returned to his family bearing scars of torture. A famous cartoonist whom you know who was critical of you badly beaten his arms are broken. A singer, famous singer who wrote a popular song calling for your oust he was found with his throat cut. You have seen these pictures, have you not?

Assad: No, but I, I…

Walters: Is this news to you?

Assad: No, no, no it’s not news. I met with his father, the father of that child and he said that he wasn’t tortured and he appeared on the media, you have to see, we have to see things with a stereoscopic vision with two eyes, not with one eye to be frank.

Walters: Ok, the cartoonist…

Assad: I don’t…

Walters: The cartoonist who was critical of you, I have seen his pictures, his hands were broken, he was beaten.

Assad: Many people criticize me, did they kill all of them, who killed who, most of the people that have been killed are supporters of the government not the vice versa.

Walters: But in the beginning, what about the singer with his throat cut?

Assad: I don’t know about him, I don’t know about every single case.

Walters: He was a famous singer, a famous song, you don’t know about it?

Assad: No I don’t think he’s famous. I don’t know about him.

Walters: You don’t know about him? Well I saw those pictures.

Assad: Famous in the United States but not in Syria.

Walters: This is.

Assad: Do you know about him? This is editing, I don’t know, I don’t know.

Walters: You don’t know?

Assad: No. I didn’t hear this story, it’s the first time for the child I met with his father and there were special investigation committee to see if there was torture, there was no torture. This is only false allegations to be frank with you that’s what I said at the very beginning of my message for the media to tell the truth not to listen to rumors.

Walters: Well in the beginning these protests, the women were marching with children carrying olive branches nobody at that point was asking for you to step down. It has escalated. Do you think that your forces cracked down too hard?

Assad: They are not my forces, they are military forces belong to the government.

Walters: OK, but you are the government.

Assad: I don’t own them. I am president. I don’t own the country, so they are not my forces.

Walters: No, but you have to give the order?

Assad: No, no, no. We have, in the constitution, in the law, the mission of the institution to protect the people to stand against any chaos or any terrorists, that their job, according to the constitution to their– to the law of the institution.

Walters: The crackdown was without your permission?

Assad: Would you mind, what do you mean by crackdown?

Walters: The, the reaction to the people, the some of the murders some of the things that happened?

Assad: No, there is a difference between having policy to crack down and between having some mistakes committed by some officials, there is a big difference. For example, when you talk about policy it’s like what happened in Guantanamo when you have policy of torture for example we don’t have such a policy to crack down or to torture people, you have mistakes committed by some people or we heard we have some allegations about mistakes, that is why we have a special committee to investigate what happened and then we can tell according to the evidences we have mistakes or not. But as a policy, no.

Walters: Have there been mistakes made in this crackdown, yes?

Assad: Yes, for one reason because we don’t, when you don’t prepare yourself for new situation you are going to make mistakes.

Walters: OK, have the people who made the mistakes been found accountable, have they been punished?

Assad: Some of them yes, according to the evidences, but you cannot puni–, punish anyone according to rumors or allegations so this is judicial committee independent judicial committee, it’s, it’s, uh, job to detain people if they are guilty and to send them to the court for prosecution.

Walters: So some people have been found accountable?

Assad: Yes, according to my knowledge from the very beginning.

Walters: Last week an independent United Nations Commission who interviewed more than two hundred and twenty five people issued a report what it said was that your government committed crimes against humanity and they went on torture, rape and other forms of sexual violence against protesters including against children, what do you say to them, I mean what I am saying again and again is that protesters were, were beaten, things happened to them, um, do you acknowledge that, do you acknowledge what the U.N. said?

Assad: Very simply I would say send us the documents and the concrete evidences that you have and we will see if that is true or not, you have not offered allegations now.

Walters: Did the U.N. not send you these documents?

Assad: Nothing at all.

Walters: You mean the first you’re hear–

Assad: They didn’t say. They don’t have even the names, who are the rape people or who are the tortured people who are they, we don’t have any names, they didn’t.

Walters: But they’ve issued–

Assad: Sorry.

Walters: Mr. President they have issued this report.

Assad: Yeah.

Walters: They have accused you and your regime…

Assad: According to what?

Walters: Well according to what they said is 225 people, witnesses, uh, men, women, children, whom they interviewed and identified and that’s when they called it crimes against humanity.

Assad: They should send us the documents, as long as we don’t see the documents and the evidences we cannot say yes that’s normal, we cannot say just because the United Nations who said that the United Nations is a credible institution first of all.

Walters: Who says if the United N–

Assad: Who said? We, we, we know that you have the double standard in the world in the United States policy in the United Nations that is controlled by the United States and this so it has no credibility so it’s about evidences and documents, whenever they have we can discuss it just to discuss the report that we don’t see in reality related to it. It is just a waste of time.

Walters: You do not think the United Nations is a credible organization?

Assad: No, for one reason, they haven’t implemented, they never implemented any of the resolutions that related to the Arab world for example the Palestinians to the Syrian land why don’t they, if they talk about human rights what about the Palestinians suffering in the occupied territory, what about my land is my people that live their land because it’s occupied by Israel, of course not.

Assad: For every citizen it is not for me as president I am telling you about the perception in the whole region.

Walters: You do, you do not think the United Nations is credible?

Assad: No.

Assad: Never it’s not something before my generation it’s something we inherited as a concept as a belief.

Walters: You have an ambassador to the United Nations.

Assad: Yeah, it’s a game we play. It doesn’t mean you believe in it.

Walters: I see. Even some of your armed forces are not remaining loyal. Some of them have defected and some of them are fighting now against you, what do you say to that?

Assad: What do you mean by defected?

Walters: Well they are– some of your armed forces have left the military.

Assad: But every year, in the normal situation you have thousands of soldiers that fled from the army. You have it normal when you have this situation you have a little bit more you have higher percentage and then you have some few officers that leave the army to be against you and this cannot say if you talk about deflection in the army different from having few people deflecting so we cannot generalize.

Walters: You don’t think that they are a great many, you think it’s just a few.

Assad: No, otherwise we have different situation. You are in Syria now you see most of the things are stable if you have defection in the army you cannot have stable country or stable major cities like Damascus, Aleppo and the majority of Syria is stable.

Walters: You describe your country now as a stable country?

Assad: In most of the areas, yes. We have trouble we have turbulence but not, not to the extent that you have a divided army. If you have divided army you are going to have real war. You don’t have war, you have– instability is different from war.

Walters: You do not feel now that you are at the brink of a civil war?

Assad: No. No, not because of our policy because of the history of this society.

Assad: We don’t think that we are on the brink of civil war because the people are aware about the need to live together that’s why.

Walters: I want to make this clear, you say that the country in general is stable, certainly we see here in Damascus since we’ve been here it’s business as usual but there are areas of this country an hour, an hour and a half away in which there is still fighting, in which there is still protest–

Assad: That’s true.

Walters: Do you see that as something important, people fighting for their freedom or do you see it as a little something here and a little something there?

Assad: No it’s, you have different components. Not everybody is fighting for the freedom, you have people who want freedom and that’s why we have reform because we recognize those people and most of the people that they need freedom. Not everybody in the street was fighting for freedom. You have different components, you have extremists, religious extremists, you have outlaws people who have been convicted in the courts and they have been escaping for, for years now.

Assad: Drugs smugglers and you have like-minded people of Al Qaeda and those so it’s different components. You have money coming from outside just for the media, uh, propaganda they give money to people they demonstrate for 15 minutes or for half an hour and in the media you see demonstration. You have everything, you have real demonstrations, you have peaceful demonstrations you have militants, you have terrorists, you have everything in the same place sometimes.

Walters: So here you have what seems to be much of the world condemning you so what’s the biggest misconception why is there this misconception in the USA, the country is stable, we have some factions what is the misconception?

Assad: First of all who is most of the world, most of the West do you mean?

Walters: Not just the West– Turkey, well Turkey, Jordan.

Assad: Turkey is not most of the world.

Walters: The members, that is not the West, the members of the Arab League, they are saying to you they are imposing sanctions, some of them are telling you to step down these are your neighbors?

Assad: There is an agenda for those countries. It’s not, it’s political gain it’s not because they don’t care about the killing, they don’t care about democracy most of these countries they have agenda not going to talk about it now, I am not going to talk about their agenda because we have information but when we have evidence we will announce it. But this is not because they care about the Syrian people.

Walters: Right.

Assad: If we talk about Turkey and the Arab League.

Walters: Yeah.

Assad: But going back to the condemnation no we still have good relation with most of the world and not vice versa, even with the neighboring countries we still have normal relation.

Walters: With who?

Assad: With our neighbors.

Walters: Not Jordan.

Assad: With Lebanon, we have trade, we have normal–

Walters: Not– well Lebanon…

Assad: With Iraq.

Walters: But what is the agenda, for example, of Turkey or Jordan or the Arab League, why?

Assad: I’d rather ask them. I wouldn’t answer on their behalf.

Walters: OK.

Assad: They will tell you they have an agenda.

Walters: Do they want to destroy you?

Assad: You should ask them, I cannot talk about their will I don’t know about their will to be frank.

Walters: One of the things that the Arab League has asked for consistently is to have monitors, to have objective people come and visit these areas where there is discontent. Will you allow monitors?

Walters: Will you now allow monitors to come into this country?

Assad: Of course.

Walters: Of course?

Assad: We want that but in line with our sovereignty.

Walters: What does that mean?

Assad: What does it mean to everything in cooperation with the Syrian government you have a state here?

Walters: Yeah but if–

Assad: They cannot just come and do whatever they want.

Walters: But if you had monitors they have to be free to look around they can’t be.

Assad: Of course they are free.

Walters: They can’t, but you are saying they have to be free with your people accompanying them.

Assad: NO.

Walters: They’re not independent.

Assad: They ask for protection so they need our people, they are asking for protection how can they go to conflicts and being killed if they want this is their responsibility.

Walters: I am going to ask this again because I want it very clear this is important. Will you allow monitors outside monitors to come into your country and look around to go to these other cities, to Homs for example will you allow them to come, yes or no.

Assad: Yes as a principle, of course we would say yes.

Walters: Under what circumstances?

Assad: To be in line with our sovereignty to do everything in cooperation with the Syrian government, they cannot say that we’re going to send, send say, for example, 15,000. It’s two sides. It’s contract you don’t make contract from one side it’s a technical issue you have technicalities I don’t know everything about these technicalities.

Assad: How to move, how to prepare, how to protect them, what their job, what’s our job>? We are party, you cannot have protocol just to explain to you very clearly you cannot accept protocol that is made there and we don’t have anything to discuss, very simply.

Walters: Are you now negotiating with the Arab League?

Assad: Of course that is what we are doing. Yeah, yeah.

Walters: You are?

Assad: Of course we are still negotiating, yes.

Walters: So you think that monitors will be allowed to come soon?

Assad: Of course, as I said we ask this before.

Walters: You asked for monitors?

Assad: Yeah before they have this–

Walters: Can they travel wherever they want?

Assad: Of course. But according to certain rules, how to discuss this rules, they are going to, when you make contract you discuss it. At the very beginning they didn’t want to discuss it with us. We said no if we don’t discuss it we cannot sign it, it will be discussed in details.

Walters: Are you now discussing with the Arab League allowing monitors to come?

Assad: Yeah, yeah.

Walters: Can outside foreign reporters come, they have not been allowed?

Assad: No, they were allowed and you are here.

Walters: I am here and I have a correspondent here, but in–

Assad: But you have been here for two days now did anyone tell you where to go or where not to go nobody you are free to go wherever you want.

Walters: I am appreciative that I have been allowed here and that you’ve granted an interview, can other foreign correspondents, American and others come into this country now?

Assad: Yeah, exactly.

Walters: We have not heard this, you will say yes?

Assad: You have to hear; to hear the truth, you have to look for the truth, the truth–

Walters: Well I’m, I’m asking you now.

Assad: But that doesn’t mean they can come without a visa. We are a country where they have to take visa. We give visa to people, maybe we don’t give visa to– we are like any other country against our sovereignty.

Walters: OK, but in–

Assad: That doesn’t mean anyone can come any time and do whatever they do.

Walters: I grant you but as soon as you say visa it means this one can’t come, that, in general now can foreign correspondents come to this country.

Assad: Of course. Yes, and we have been receiving the delegations from Europe, from the United States, from the rest of the world.

Walters: No sir, you have not been receiving delegations.

Assad: I met with them, I met with them.

Walters: Foreign correspondents?

Assad: Of course, of course foreign, they can give you the article they made interviews with me.

Walters: But now?

Assad: I met with two British recently, one a French we meet we had and others.

Walters: Let me ask you once more time so we are clear, in general, can foreign correspondents, if they are accredited, come to this country?

Assad: Of course they can come.

Walters: They can?

Assad: Yeah of course.

Walters: You said that if there is any outside attempt to bring you down it would mean an earthquake, what do you mean by that?

Assad: Syria is the fault line in the Middle East. You know, the Middle East is generally it’s very diverse in ethnicities, in sects, in religions, but Syria the most diverse and this is the fault line where all these diversity meet so it’s like the fault line of the Earth of the, of the Earth. When you play with it, you will have earthquake that is going to effect the whole region. So playing don’t mean to overthrow me or to deal with me it’s not about me it’s about the, the, the fabric of the society in this region that is what I meant.

Walters: You know your father led this country for 30 years until his death. You have now led the country for more than a decade.

Assad: Yes.

Walters: If the Arab Spring means anything it seems to be that the era of one-family rule is over.

Assad: OK, no I never supported being a dynasty, is that correct?

Walters: That’s correct.

Assad: Yeah of being a dynasty.

Walters: You are not raising your son to succeed you?

Assad: No, no and my father never spoke with me in politics, you don’t believe this. We never and he never tried to prepare me. He always wanted me to be a president against what you hear in the media that he asked me to come from London. He wanted me to go back to London to continue and I refused.

Walters: But your older brother was supposed to be, take your father’s place when he was killed.

Assad: No, he had no posit–

Walter: Your father asked you to come back?

Assad: My brother had no position when my father was there and I had no position. I wasn’t, I was nothing in the party, I was only, I was in the military since I was a doctor, nothing else.

Walters: But your father did not expect his sons to take his place?

Assad: Never, he never spoke about this.

Walters: Really?

Assad: Yeah.

Walters: Then, then with all due respect you’re a doctor you’re an ophthalmologist how did you become the leader of this country?

Assad: I was a military doctor and according to our laws that military law you can move from how to say sector to sector within the army.

Walters: OK.

Assad: So I left the, I was military doctor. Even when I was in London I was a military doctor. They only sent me to London not the Ministry of Higher Education, for example, or anything or the university or university. And so I was in the army since 1985 since I was made a student at the school, few people knew that. I wasn’t civil doctor. So anyway when I became, when I became president, I became president through the party after President Assad died. Not, not– When he was alive I was not there I didn’t have any position.

Walters: But when your father died the son became the leader.

Assad: Yes.

Walters: So there were not free elections to make you the leader.

Assad: No anyway we don’t have free election we have referendum this is our constitution.

Walters: So your constitution said we want the son?

Assad: No not the constitution, the party.

Walters: The party said?

Assad: And the people demonstrating and they surrounded the parliament they said we need a president so many people who didn’t want the president in the government they accepted this new president and I nominated myself, before that I never thought about it.

Walters: So when you have elections which you say is in 2014, you will have opposition parties?

Assad: Yeah.

Walters: Yes.

Assad: We have them already now.

Walters: OK and if they want somebody else and not you, you say OK and you step down?

Assad: The people will say OK, the people say OK. Of course you have to be, to leave that is self-evident you don’t have to discuss it. To stay to be president while the people don’t want you how can you, how can you succeed.

Walters: You are not training your eldest son who is now, 8?

Assad: He’s 8. No.

Walters: To take your place?

Assad: No I was never trained to be in this place.

Walters: Do you sometimes wish that you were still an ophthalmologist?

Assad: No, because I was in the public sector anyway as son of president, I couldn’t have my own clinic and get money from the people, so I was in public sector now in wider public sector in the same place. So you wish you still have kind of let’s say emotion and feeling toward that job and I am still in touch with the new innovations in that field. But you cannot look back to see yourself as a doctor now we have more important position.

Walters: You have said often that you don’t see yourself doing this job for life. You’ve said you’re doing it for your country. With all the turmoil in your country is it perhaps better for Syria that you no longer remain its leader?

Assad: I don’t have problem. For me Syria as a project, project of success, if you don’t succeed you don’t have to stay in that position and that success again depends on the public support without public support you cannot, whether you are elected or not. It’s not about the election, now it’s about public support. This is the most important thing. So when I feel that the public support declined, I won’t be here even if they say, if they ask or not I shouldn’t be here if there is no public support.

Walters: OK.

Assad: That’s conclusive.

Walters: So you are still having protests and now your military is involved and there are armed people on the other side there is turmoil in your country but you are saying that in general you have the support of your people?

Assad: Yeah but let’s wait for the elections to be, to be clear.

Walters: That’s too, no but that’s, that’s, this is 2011 we are talking this can’t go on for two years.

Assad: No, no, no I am talking now about these next elections now we are going to have the parliamentary elections.

Walters: And…

Assad: I belong to the Bath Party we will see what the position of our party is because this is an indication it’s important it’s not only the person you are part of another party of another identity.

Walters: Yeah but your party is not going to want to give up power?

Assad: Yeah no to give up why to give up if the party has the right like the other party to compete and win the elections. But to see through the election do we still have support as a party, if yes well this is an option and if not they have another option.

Walters: And your parliamentary elections which are when in two months?

Assad: In three, two to three months.

Walters: And they will be open enough so that people can vote against it?

Assad: Of course. Anyone.

Walters: And that would be the end of the Bath Party and you as terms of leadership?

Assad: If the people said no to the Bath Party, if they lost you, can say this is the end.

Walters: Is there an opposition that they can go to?

Assad: We have opposition but it takes time to have strong opposition you have so many figures now if they unified themselves and go to the election you can have one strong election that depends on the tactic that they are going to adopt I cannot tell you they are going to be strong or not I don’t know. And I don’t know about how much among the people they have, how much support they have among the people I cannot tell you.

Assad: As I said, it’s about personal mistakes. Not about policy. There was no policy of cracking down.

Walters: Who made them?

Assad: There was policy of facing the terrorists when you have militants; you have to face the militants. You don’t allow in the United States to have militants, and remember what happened in Los Angeles in the ’90s, when you send the army to the city, to face the terrorists. That the same.

Walters: Our protest, we don’t kill people. And we have– we have press seeing it all.

Assad: Yeah, but nobody knows yet who killed the people. Because– when the same question who killed the 1,100 soldiers. If you don’t know, if you don’t know who killed those, you can’t tell who killed the civilians.

Walters: The crackdown in the beginning, the brutality. Do you think it went too far?

Assad: I cannot tell you this, without the evidence. You ask me to tell you according to rumor, or to reports. It’s not enough for me, as president. For me, when there is policy, I could say yes, or no, when there is individuals with concrete evidence, who committed mistake, I will say yes or no.

Walters: Did you give the order? For the crackdown?

Assad: No, we gave the order to implement the constitution, and the law. That’s the order and that’s the job of the president.

Walters: You gave– but who gave the order to react against the protests?

Assad: You don’t need order, because this is their job.

Walters: Well somebody had to say–

Assad: No, no, no…

Walters: You know, use guns, somebody had to say their arrests.

Assad: No, no. There was even written not to use guns, that’s why I said it wasn’t policy. Their job is to prevent people like any other country, you have the own means. Whenever they used machine guns against civilians, this is breaching of the law.

Walters: It happened.

Assad: In some cases yes, and they were caught, and they were detained I mean.

Walters: People went from houses to houses. Children were arrested. I saw those pictures.

Assad: When, but you, to be frank with you, Barbara, I, you don’t live here– how did you know all this– this– you have to be here to see. We don’t see this. So it cannot depend on what you hear in the United States. You have to–

Walters: But I saw reporters who brought back pictures.

Assad: Yeah but how did you verify those pictures? Yeah so, that’s why we are talking about false allegations and distortion of reality in this region, and most of the things that happened. In Syria, not reflected in the media, I’m being frank with you. So I cannot answer about fake pretenses, I can only talk about reality. Yeah.

Walters: Some people say that it’s not the protests that may bring you down, but the economic sanctions, uh, now. Not just the West, but your, as we said, your former allies having imposed economic sanctions on your country.

Walters: Shell Oil for example, which is the largest oil production in Syria, has stopped production. How much are the economic sanctions are going to hurt Syria?

Assad: How much, it’s difficult to tell. But it– it will hurt from us, one aspect, but from another aspect, it will have positive effects because of course this is surprising. But actually, we were under sanctions, strong sanction, in the second half of the ’80s, and we built our industry in that period of time. So you can use sanctions for example the– agreement between Syria and Turkey, wasn’t fair.

Assad: It was against our interest. Many industrialists in Syria, many business men, most of the economic sector were against it, and they asked our government many times, to stop working with this treaty. They sent to see– I think two folds, export, something like this, I don’t have the numbers now, so, you have– if you– if you are smart enough, if you are creative enough. You know, every cloud has silver lining, and we have a lot of political clout in this region. So we have lot of silver lining, but you have to see the silver lining to know how to– to have the positive. So it will affect you badly, from one side, but you can decrease the harm. I wouldn’t say you can win now, let’s not exaggerate, but you can decrease this harm and get some benefits from it.

Walters: How can you get benefits from economic sanctions?

Assad: First of all we are not oil producing country, we are not like Iraq. Iraq was depend– oil dependent. We are not oil dependent, we produce. We can leave the– we export the food. We eat our food.

Walters: So you were saying that it would take more maybe creativity, more industry.

Assad: Exactly.

Walters: In this whole country to become independent.

Assad: Exactly. And we can. We don’t have problems if– and this could be the strong point of Syria. That’s why I said they cannot isolate Syria.

Walters: They cannot isolate you?

Assad: No.

Walters: I have seen the markets filled with food so I, you are able to– to keep feeding your people.

Assad: Of course, no, we don’t have trouble. We can– we can eat two years without, with full embargo. We export wheat to many countries.

Walters: Your wife was raised and went to school in England. It has been said that she is a force for moderation. I’d like to know, when you and she discuss things, um, what has she said about what’s happening in your country?

Assad: We are used to live as one family in Syria, because Syria is small country. Whenever you have one crime, the whole country will hear about it. It’s very safe country. Of course it’s still the same pain, to feel– we feel sorry about what’s happening, but at the end– the– the, the discussion– is always and I think everywhere in Syria is part– what can we do to have to prevent more blood shedding in Syria.

Walters: Your wife has her own projects in the country.

Assad: Yes. Development project. Charity of course.

Walters: But do you discuss the situation?

Assad: Of course yes. That’s what I said, part of the solution is how to make life better in different aspects. Development is part of the solution. It’s not only about demonstrations and militants and terrorists and things like that.

Walters: Is your wife a source of support for you?

Assad: Of course, all my family.

Walters: Let me ask about the children. Because you have three young children, 9, 8 and 6.

Assad: Yes.

Walters: What have you told them about what’s happening in this country?

Assad: The reality.

Walters: Which is what?

Assad: What– what I told you.

Walters: What do you say to them?

Assad: I told them all.

Walters: Especially the older boy?

Assad: I told them about terrorists, I told them about people– innocent people being killed. About investigation we have to know who– who helped looked for the reason. Everything.

Walters: You’ve told them about innocent people getting killed?

Assad: Of course.

Walters: Some of whom are children.

Assad: Uh we didn’t talk about whether– innocent is innocent. Whether it’s children or– is innocent.

Walters: Do they see pictures? Do they have Facebook?

Assad: Of course.

Walters: Or YouTube?

Assad: Of course. Of course.

Walters: Do they ask questions?

Assad: They can watch the Internet every day. Of course. They ask a lot.

Walters: Pay attention?

Assad: They are very curious to know.

Walters: What do they say?

Assad: About the question– about what’s happening? Why– why do you have militants, why do you have evil people? Why do the– why do those people want to kill?

Walters: I want to hear the answers, what do you say?

Assad: I told them a lot of things. Sometimes people commit mistakes, sometimes you have bad people. In every society you have bad people. So they kill more to undermine the government, that’s what you explain to the children.

Walters: How does this all end? How do you restore peace?

Assad: By reform and facing the terrorists.

Walters: Is the reform, too little too late?

Assad: No, because anyway, the reform will not have direct impact on the terrorists, because most of the terrorists, and I would say, all the terrorists, they don’t have political agenda. They don’t care about reforming. The reform is for the majority in the middle that I told you about and the people who support you, and the people who are against you. But terrorists don’t care about this.

Walters: Will you allow freedom of expression, freedom of press?

Assad: We already have it.

Walters: You don’t have freedom of press, they can’t criticize you.

Assad: We have in every– every society, you have a, like– I wouldn’t call taboo? You have a limit.

Walters: Taboo? Not in mine. We have freedom of press.

Walters: How do you hope that you will be remembered?

Assad: By doing the best I can, can for, for this country. Whether you agree, or whether the people agree or don’t, don’t agree, but at– at the end, I was not a puppet. I care a lot about being independent president for independent Syria. And do my best, according to my convictions. That’s the most important thing. At the end, even if they disagree with you, they will respect you.

Walters: What do you think is the biggest misconception that my country has of what’s happening here, if indeed there is a misconception?

Assad: Misconception about a lot of things. I cannot tell you, because it’s so many facts, distorted facts, you have them in the media. But the most important thing, as accumulation of these facts, you don’t have vision. The problem with the West in general, especially the United States, They don’t have vision about– at least my region, I wouldn’t talk about the rest of the world — failing in Iraq, failing in Afghanistan, failing in fighting terrorism.

Assad: The situation is getting worse and worse in the rest of the world. The question you ask as American, what did you get? Well, where did you win? Well, you spent trillions, where you could spend few hundred of millions, and get the terrorists out. So that will– you– it harms your interest, but at the same time, it harms others’, interest. So this is the misconception I think.

Walters: Dealing with the protest– with the protesters. What is the misconception, if there is any?

Assad: About this situation?

Walters: About the protests, that’s what is being focused on now.

Assad: OK, we don’t kill our people, nobody kill. No government in the world kill its people, unless it’s led by crazy person. For me, as president, I became president because of the public support. It’s impossible for anyone, in this state, to give order to kill people.

Assad: We have militants, those militants killing– soldiers and killing civilians. This morning, we lost nine civilians, killed in Homs, in the middle of Syria, and they are supporters. Most of the victims are support government supporters. That’s something they don’t know, they think every civilian is demonstrator, and every civilian is against the government, which is not true.

Walters: But the protesters in the beginning, who were killed…

Assad: Yeah.

Walters: What about them?

Assad: What do you mean?

Walters: OK. Our view is there are peaceful protesters, they were killed, some were tortured. It was a brutal reaction. Are we wrong in thinking that?

Assad: Every single– every brute reaction, was by individual. Not by institution. That’s what you have to know.

Assad: We don’t have institution that kill people, or give order to– for brute reaction. This is individual– and that’s what I call– what I describe as– individual mistakes.

Walters: OK. Done by the military, or done by whom?

Assad: We don’t know everything. In some cases done by the police. In some cases done by civilians.

Walters: But not by your command?

Assad: No, no, no. We don’t have– nobody– no one’s command. There was no command, to kill or to be brutal.

Walters: So that was individual people?

Assad: Of course.

Walters: Are you remorseful?

Assad: Let me just check…

(side chat)

Assad: What do you mean remorseful? You mean being sad or– or regret?

Walters: Regret.

Assad: No, a regret– you regret when you do– when you do mistakes, when you commit a mistake. I always try to protect my people. How can I feel remorseful if I try to protect the Syrian people?

Walters: But people were killed. You’re not remorseful?

Assad: Well, just let me be. So you mean remorseful be sad?

Walters: Yeah, do you feel guilty? Guilty. Guilt.

Assad: Because if you mean guilty, it means you made the mistake. That’s why I have be precise. So if you can change the term just for me to–

(side chat)

Walters: And then I’m done. Do you feel guilty?

Assad: I did my best to protect the people, so I cannot feel guilty, when you do your best. You feel sorry for the lives that has been lost, but you don’t feel guilty — when you don’t kill people.

Walters: Thank you, Mr. President.

Assad: Thank you.



  1. Anyone who calls this bastard a highly educated man (like Barbara did) has no clue what education is. Read the words and see if there is anything but narcissism and delusion.


  2. ok, this is not subtle. But you really have to watch this on TV to get the full effect!…. There is still time if you are in America. I misspoke earlier… the full show is at 11:30 EST on Nightline.


  3. You know OTW, her saying that is like a euphemistic…. something or other way of commenting how he doesn’t look like those ‘angry arab’ maniac stereotypes such as Gaddafi or Sadaam types….you know all cool calm and collected…. as if this is supposed to explain our (for example, certain american officials’) trust or confidence in him ….
    Syria Comment’s headline reads: Assad’s Parallel Universe Suggests a Long Struggle

    : )


  4. So after watching Nightline, I wish they aired the actual interview and not just few clips here and there, but I guess now I can really appreciate this blog and OTW for making the full script available, thank you sir 🙂

    As for Nightline, well the episode was kinda meh until the very end were they showed Alexander Marquardt’s visit to Daraa, almost as good as the Skynews report from Homs.


  5. Embarassing. Erjal. His only choice is to resign; the crimes are committed in his name. He is supposedly in charge and since he is not, he has no business staying in “power” and cover the crimes of his gangster nizam. Haytham is right : delusional.


  6. What a sad, out of touch, pathetic hack. and thats just my opinion about Baba Wawa. You know the only reason the regime would ever allow Baba Wawa to interview Betho, is because she vacationed with him and his family a few years back. She even talked about it on the View (A talk show in the US) a few years back, and how charming, and great he and his wife that speaks “English like us” are.

    Below is a link that shows video and transcripts of her trip to Syria, back in 2007.


  7. Exactly my sentiment, S.O.D, and I said so on SC with further comments along the same lines by Jeurgen. Absolutely lame! This job needed someone with sharp interviewing skills to really hit him where it hurts and expose more the rotten regime he rules over. What a wasted opportunity. But even with BW’s lameness he still managed to make a mess of it, so something useful to the cause did come out of the exercise.


  8. MGB,
    It really is so sad. I truly feel like gouging my eyes and pouring clorox into my brain to expunge the dribble that came out of that donkeys butt. Reading the transcript is worse than actually seeing him interviewed, because you are forced to read his thoughts rather than listen to them, and who would have ever thought that reading could be so bad to your health, maybe OTW should have posted a Surgeon General warning before the transcript.



    Do not read in the presence of minors, you are going to use bad language
    Material may cause loss of confidence in human race
    Before reading, make sure to stay far away from bottles of harsh chemicals as you are likely to pour some in your eyes
    Article may cause bafflement, nausea, barfing, anger, and a suite of negative emotions, likelihood is higher if you are Syrian

    Disclaimer: To ensure future interview with subject and similar characters, good questions were not asked


  10. The Conspiracy Theory Hour (“Outer Limits” music)

    I like this comment:

    Walters: Tell me what the reality here is your country is. What is the reality?

    Assad: It’s too complicated, it takes hours to talk about… so let’s be specific.


  11. 1. Modernity has not reached him yet. He is the ruler the president the absolute the spoiled little brat for whom there is not an ounce of accountability. He has never been subjected to any accounting and therefore does not even conceive of being responsible for anything bad that might happen. He thinks that it is merely bad execution of his most noble directives.
    2. He is the only agent for change and any change in the country would have to be directed and formulated by him and no one else for he and only he knows what is best for Syria
    3. He can only think of two alternatives now either I rule over you or you are not a good Syrian and therefore subject to retribution. He cannot conceive of any other alternative.
    The regime is mounting a PR campaign and so far it fell flat on its face with the Muallem press conference that was immediately shown to be fake. Then we have a return of Shabaan behind the scenes and Mustafa to direct a PR campaign in the US. This interview went so badly for the regime that they had to bring the spokesperson of the Ministry to clarify what he said almost immediately. The pro regime sites are actually not boasting of it and therefore they are waiting for further instructions.
    Cham Press and Dunia TV have not boasted very much about this.
    How should we read this:
    Is the regime gaining the upper hand? Is it scared? Is it wiggling its way out of its tight corner? Is it going to stand firm? HA coming to declare the opposition not patriotic is it desperation?
    What I can say is that the grip is slowly slipping. Continued demonstrations in the face of the most brutal regime is amazing. The independence flag over Quasyun is amazing.
    It is clear the sanctions are hurting very badly they are desperate to have them stopped. Arabi is going to Baghdad to negotiate with the Iraqis tighter sanctions.

    Then there is silence from the AL and the ambassadors have returned, not sure what this means.

    I think the regime played the civil strife card and it backfired on it. Something is going to have to give as in my opinion the game has become regional and the Syrian people are caught in this tornado. Something is being cooked.


  12. How should we read this:
    Is the regime gaining the upper hand? Is it scared?

    These despots have always turned to the American media to get their story out (no one else will).

    The story: “I’m a nice guy, I’m misunderstood, I’m trying to make democratic change and terrorists are harming the country.”

    The translation: “Please don’t hang me like Saddam when I eventually quit this gig. An apartment back in London would be nice.”


  13. My comment from the last post was probably missed, or I am either out to lunch. Do any of you think that this is plausible, I said:

    “With all due respect, a criminal and bozo-stupid are two different things. I don’t think ours is as stupid and a criminal at the same time. The way I see it: he is simply and cleverly covering his tracks. I don’t see him pulling the trigger on himself type. He is already setting the stage for the 5% chance (in his mind), that if he ever gets tried he will keep this story in tug. Basically “I didn’t order shoot-to-kill”, and “our intelligence was that there were infiltrators and foreign invaders” and “my commanders made mistakes and lied to me, I was doing my best”. Whether this will fly and the circumstances around a possible trial at the Hague is what prompts him to sound delusional.”

    Despite how high on the Mount Nebu he maybe, or how calm and in control he seems with Barabra, the video of Ghaddafi certainly made his throat shrink.


  14. The man is a bimbo airhead.
    I’ve, like, you know, known more eloquent valley girls. No, no, yes, like, you know. Yes.


  15. An 82 year old woman, interviewing Syria’s butcher, nothing wrong, in fact it underscored the mind of Syria’s dictator. She asked and he answered. However, editing the interview by ABC Nightline, together with Barbara Walters comment is a pick and choose that resulted in a 30 minute of TV trash. The contrast between the actual script and the 30 minutes piece they produce was more of a Dunia TV production.

    The transcript conveyed a dictator who has no interest in ending the bloodshed, he incriminated everyone on the expense of glorifying his persona, all that in a very idiotic way, only he himself can be satisfied, self deception is the daily regimen of all these dictators.

    This 30 minutes trash production, together with Clinton “”We’re already seeing that, something that we hate to see because we are in favour of a peaceful … protest and non-violent opposition,” , Feltman “While the goal of all us is to find ways to stop the killing and brutality, we are looking for peaceful ways to do so,” and bibi “Arab Spring pushing Mideast backward not forward” all these rants are elongating the dictator’s life and giving him more time to butcher his people. He is an indispensable asset for no other than this little shxxty country called Israel, as a French diplomat once called it.

    After all these assurances, adding to it the procrastination of AL and Turkey, their is only one way forward


  16. I think the entire Alawi community and a major part of the Christian community is much, much more responsible for this bloodshed and oppression than Bashar is personally.

    Though he is greedy and megalomaniac, you can’t discount the sectarian Islamophobic Sunniphobic bloodthirstyness among a major portion of Syria’s minorities. And if u don’t believe this, just go to SyriaComment and ShiaChat to see the hateful comments ursleves. They want to slaughter even secular Sunnis like S.O.D or Hamster and Zenobia. So its time the secular, liberal or leftist Sunnis wake up and realize that they are SUNNI first and everything else later.


  17. The clown dog, Hassan Nasrallah at dahiye Beirut a few days ago :

    Hypocrites, bloody hypocrites. I wouldn’t shed a tear if Israel rained down guided missiles on him and his crowd.


  18. Khaled,
    So are you advocating that we should eradicate all minorities from Syria?
    That is not only foolish, but is EXACTLY what the regime wants.
    What about all the Sunnis that are supporting the regime? Are Tlass, Hamsho, Khanj and company exempt because they are Sunni ?
    What about the minorities that have stood up against this regime?

    And for the record I will ALWAYS BE SYRIAN FIRST. My religion does not define me, nor will it ever. I don’t judge people by their religion or background, but rather by their actions. Maybe you should start to do the same.


  19. S.O.D,

    As I said, the Sunnis that kiss Besho’s a** do it either because of megalomania, corruption or becoz they’re atheists or hypocrites, or plain self-interest,

    But the problem is when some minorities use the excuse that this is a “Sunni uprising” to distance themselves from this uprising or to oppose it altogether,

    S.O.D, most minorities think that this is a Sunni uprising, so they won’t join. So why do people like you stick their necks out for unity and secularism when in the minds of a minoroty perosn you are an “armed Ikhwani terrorist” ?

    I respect your decision to put your nationality first, but the problem is that many minorities look at you as Sunni first, believe me I learnt this the hard way. So why do we need to stick out our necks for unity and silmiyyeh, lets call it an uprising of the disenfranchised Sunni majority; after all, the Shia in Saddam’s Iraq NEVER failed to make this point. Even now, the Bahraini Uprising and even the Saudi protests are being called as uprising of Shia against oppressive Sunni regimes, so why should it be diferent for Syria ?

    Even today all international media including BBC, Guardian, even Al Jazeera never fail to refer to Saddam’s regime as a “Sunni minoritarian regime” that oppressed the majority, even Bahrain is being called as such, so why should it be different for Syria ?


  20. At this moment, all my thoughts are concentrated on Homs, Homs is where my heart is. I feel worried athat the Special Forces might try to launch a major operation, but they are not doing becoz they know they will suffer huge casualties and there will be huge defctions in the other divisions. The regime is trapped, but the FSA needs to get hold of heavier weapons, like DsHk 12.7 mm heavy machineguns, SA-7 and SA-13 anti-aircraft rockets, etc. The FSA needs to increase its firepower substantailly so as to be a good deterrent. Also defenses like trenches, ditches and bunkers need to be built in residential areas of cities like Homs, Hama, Idlib and Dara’a.


  21. I do not think he is trying to have his tracks covered. Being ousted or tried does not cross his mind. Seeing Ghadafi makes him think that this is not going to be my fate I am smarter than that.
    The audience was for the US primarily and is a PR campaign as the sanctions are really hurting.
    The reality is that in this day and age, you cannot pick and choose who watches and who comments.
    The PR campaign is being directed by people who have not traveled outside of Syria as the videos shown during the Press Conference of the Muallik. It is based on people that follow one TV station and one only that is Doounya or the Syrian one. So from my perspective it is an attempt at buying more time and at wiggling out of the sanctions.
    What worries me are the silences that we are witnessing
    The AL is silent and working behind the scenes, Turkey is silent as well and there is meetings going on without many outlets talking about them.
    Intervention of some sort in the horizon and those that would intervene are making sure that it will be fruitful from the outset.
    The return of the ambassadors could be to get in touch with members of the inner circle for defections just as the former minister of defense was killed as he attempted to contact others and was discovered and made to have a heart attack.
    The presence of Youssef Ahmad as the Syrian ambassador to the AL is also another indication that no one is accountable for he failed in preventing the suspension and the sanctions.
    The blowing up of the pipeline indicates either that they are incompetent or more likely capable of destroying the country in an effort to discredit the opposition.
    I think that the only way to get rid of this clique is the Ghadafi way. No two ways about it it is going to be long and bloody and extremely destructive.


  22. Khaled
    Why should we avoid being sectarian hate mongers as you are trying so hard to be, Because we are better human, and if we are not, we strive to be.

    Please remember that advocating sectarian murders is not tolerated here. Your comments are becoming a hairline distance from such repulsive advocacy.


  23. The Oil pipeline was 100 % blown up by the regime Army and shabbiha, to create more oil crisis for ordinary Syrians;

    Spread this video to refute the lies spread by the regime that FSA did it.


  24. Why is Ammar AbdulHamid spreading stupid stuff about the FSA ? Whats wrong with the guy ? Of course the FSA does not always inform Riyad al Asad before conducting operations, but that is becoz immedaite necesstiies on the ground, not becz of disunity. And the FSA will continue to attack Assadian Army as long as they don’t withdraw from the streets, whatever Dr. Ghalyoun may say.


  25. S.O.D,

    As I said, the Sunnis that kiss Besho’s a** do it either because of megalomania, corruption or becoz they’re atheists or hypocrites, or plain self-interest,

    But the problem is when some minorities use the excuse that this is a “Sunni uprising” to distance themselves from this uprising or to oppose it altogether,

    S.O.D, most minorities think that this is a Sunni uprising, so they won’t join. So why do people like you stick their necks out for unity and secularism when in the minds of a minority person you are an “armed Ikhwani terrorist” ?

    I respect your decision to put your nationality first, but the problem is that many minorities look at you as Sunni first, believe me I learnt this the hard way. So why do we need to stick out our necks for unity and silmiyyeh, lets call it an uprising of the disenfranchised Sunni majority; after all, the Shia in Saddam’s Iraq NEVER failed to make this point. Even now, the Bahraini Uprising and even the Saudi protests are being called as uprising of Shia against oppressive Sunni regimes, so why should it be diferent for Syria ?

    Even today all international media including BBC, Guardian, even Al Jazeera never fail to refer to Saddam’s regime as a “Sunni minoritarian regime” that oppressed the majority, even Bahrain is being called as such, so why should it be different for Syria ?


  26. OTW, I never called for sectarian murders, pls don’t put words on my mouth.

    I was not at all sectarian before the revolution. Infact I did not even expect a Syrian Uprising back in February-march. Infact when i heard about the first protests and killings in Dara’a I prayed that it doesn’t turn sectarian, but Alas, the Assadists had to attack Mosques, write blasphemous stuff on Mosque walls, still I prayed it doesn’t turn sectarian. Hafez statues began to fall in Dara’a and Rastan and Assdaists started shelling like crazy, when I saw the videos of the Homs New Clock massacre and video of the Homs woman who was raped by the shabbi7a my mind snapped completely and I knew there was no turning back.

    In fact I expected Hassan Nasrallah and Iran to distance themselves from these anti-Islamic and sectarian acts by the regime, but rather I was disappointed to see growing support for Assad among Hezbollah, Iran and the global Shia community at large. then the Maronite patruarch went on air to supprt Assad and try to portray Sunnis as bloodthirsty fanatics. Iran which claims to be an islamic Republic supports a regime that bans Niqab from universities, and attacks Mosques. Would their reaction been similar if a Sunni regime did it ? Just judge their reaction on Bahrain.

    Basically this uprising and the response of non-Sunnis to it has made me sectarian. I wasn;t like this 8 months ago, now I feel most Shia, Alawi and Arab Christians hate Sunnis and are Islamophobic to the core.

    Also, OTW, I would appreciate it if you would gove me a formal warning before banning or moderating me.


  27. Khaled,
    Who exactly decides what those “sunni” that are supporting the regime really believe?
    Your perception of history is sickening, your dear Saddam slaughtered all his people, no matter their faith. Just go ask the kurds (who are a normally Sunni) what they think of your dog of a hero Saddam.

    This uprising is not a Sunni uprising, but a SYRIAN uprising. Its about dignity, human rights, and most importantly freedom in all its forms and colours (Choice, faith, press, expression, even sexual preference). You can’t pick and choose which freedoms you want, its either all or none.

    By the way I’m a staunch supporter for the right of self defence, but doing it under the banner of “Sunni Islam” I’m vehemently opposed to that.


  28. Khaled
    I will always give a formal warning. But to be honest with you, the incessant sectarian language you have showed is objectionable to a large portion of people here. And you can see that from the responses 7ee6anis have for your posts. People realize that once you finish off one of your perceived group-enemy, you will turn around to the next, and the next, and the next…… How different is that from the regime.


  29. S.O.D, I know this is NOT a Sunni uprising, but our minorities don’t want to see/believe this.

    I am not defending Saddam, but the fact is Bashar and his father did/ are doing exactly the SAME THINGS that Saddam did, YET we don’t see the same condemnation for them as we do of Saddam ?

    My bottomline is that the SUNNI MAJORITY IN SYRIA IS BEING OPPRESSED BY THE MINORITY, now why doesn’t the SNC declare this ? What is going on in Syria is a sectarian genocide perpetrated by the regime, SYRIA IS AN APARTHEID STATE, and its high time the opposition including ppl like Ghalioun, Maleh, Ziadeh, Kodmani et al. declare this to the world media.


  30. OTW, my only contention is that Syria as it is now, is an Apartheid State, just like South Africa. the sooner the opposition highlights this, the better. The ANC and Nelson Mandela did not get the world’s attention until they highlighted the discriminatory policy of the regime.

    When the ANC and Mandela were given black majoroty rule in South Africa, the World did not ask them for guarantees that the White minoroty will not be repressed.

    When Saddam was toppled and elections were held in Iraq, the World did not ask Nouri al maliki to guarantee that Sunnis will not be treated shoddily.

    So why does the World always demand that the SNC guarantee such things ? Why is Hillary Clinton beating about the bush and harping on the issue of minorities ?


  31. The butcher’s speech ignited Syrians, the popular uprising has just turned into a full scale revolution.
    The real countdown, bloody, yes, but not necessary long.


  32. This was the video which was the turning point for me. After this my mind snapped and I became totally in favor of the Uprising.



    Khalid Tlass,

    My impression is EVERYONE is being oppressed in Syria, not just Sunnis.


  34. Akbar,

    That is true to a certain extent, BUT there are some perverted people in Syria who get orgasms to see Sunni Mosquies getting shelled and atacked and Sunnis being killed.


  35. Khalid Tlass,

    I find that hard to believe. Why would anyone “get orgasms to see Sunni Mosque getting shelled”?? BTW – how do Sunni and Shia mosques differ? Are Shia mosques getting shelled?

    And who are all these Sunni “haters” you are talking about? Can you post a link exposing them? Perhaps you are exaggerating.


  36. [I started to write a brief comment over at The Other Place, but it quickly got way out of hand. I will scrape out its references to folks who do not post here, and introduce my remarks as “Things that chill me about Syria’s President and his Bubble.” Forgive me, 7ee6anis, for my prolixity! I don’t have much more to say after this rant.]

    I am not a big fan of the USA’s Barbara Walters. Although she has had a long career and has met notables in sport, politics, media and glamour, she does not have the gravitas or sharp investigative teeth of CBC’s late journalist Barbara Frum.

    That said, Frum died a long time ago, and when the media advisor(s) and the President decided to invite a well-known Western TV interviewer to Damascus, they made the choice, not ‘the West’ or ‘the Conspiracy’ or ‘instigating channels.’ Indeed, perhaps the President himself made the choice. Walters neither sought nor initiated the interview.

    So, when I read this kind of language, I pause to consider my own position:

    Barbara Walters, a featherweight, faded, fake celeb “journalist”.
    Like her or not (like me), or perhaps expect her to have better rejected down the offer, is she really much different from Harry Reasoner, at the least a veteran media face with a current highly-rated program on USA TV (the awful View)?

    I suggest also that she is not only a journalist of ‘fake celebs’ (her gushy primetime evening with the Obamas in 2008 notwithstanding). Even were that so, more fool Syria for picking her as their best or only USA media option at this crucial time…

    Fact is she has had access to players in MENA and elsewhere for over thirty years. She has brought her ‘powder-puff’ journalism to this area before: a joint interview with Sadat and Begin (1977), the late King Hussein, with Bashar Assad (in 2007), the Shah of Iran, Boris Yeltsin, Jiang Zemin, Margaret Thatcher, Castro, Indira Gandhi, Václav Havel, Saudi kings, Chavez … she first did Gaddafi in 1989. She also moderated presidential debates in the USA. Fluffy at times and definitely past her height of journalism with ABC’s 20/20 and the nightly ABC news anchor desk, but not the very bottom of the barrel (Katie Couric or the blonded air-bubbles with boobs at Fox).

    See this image from 2008:

    She’s finally sunk to new lows for chequebook journalism.

    She is 82. She obviously felt she could not turn down the President’s offer. Even if she is the shittiest People-magazine style poodle-to-the-famous (like Couric), there she was in the Palace, and here are we talking about the performance she drew out of the Syrian President. She is not, I assume, the least aware that some nameless Syrians consider her (as I do) in some ways a lightweight. She has her scoop and the world’s English-speaking media is having a field day with the results. She leads international news with her Bashar catch.

    Is there a corresponding Arabic media he should have allowed/invited? Or another, more hard-hitting USA journalist he should have give the scoop to? Are there even any Syrian journalists left to take up the job? I really do believe that the onus is entirely and utterly on Assad for the effects of this awful mumbling stumbling bizarre backfire of an interview. What results has he delivered from his own efforts?

    And is it not there – the result — that matters? The glimpse into the President’s core rationales and perception of ‘reality’? His pronouncements, his evasion or forthrightness, his humanity, his wisdom, his ability to empathize and seize the moment, his boldness and gravity and firm command?

    I get this result, me: the reality of a President witless and cornered inside the SANA bubble. He seemed stupefied by events and their consequences, like a man who cannot interpret the signs of the endgame.

    I find the interview very sobering, even a little bit creepy. An elderly American woman, no longer at the height of her powers, face-lifted, groomed and coiffed to the Nth Western degree, a cream puff of a reporter, a reporter who has clinked champagne glasses with this man, and who has sad around with this man while he charmed her and blabbered about reform …

    So, here is ancient stale creampuff Walters putting to the Palace the story that the instigating channels have spread all over the world.

    And he fumbles.

    Here is a President who seems trapped by his own carefully constructed Baathi wonderland of reality. Both his and Walter’s Syrian stories cannot be exclusively true, yet there he is calmly lisping his way through a fantasy comic-book tale of Terrorists versus Popular Leader … he is popular, he mumbles, the majority is in the middle, he asserts softly, there has been no harshness against the people, um civilians are always killed by terrorists, militants, the outside news reports are full of lies, the elections are coming, the isolation is a mirage, the opposition are fanatical criminals, all of them, deserving of the utmost violence and political purges to destroy them …

    The only thing more horrifying than the President’s detachment and the haunted look in his eyes is the notion that he is a captive of forces he cannot perceive, a perfect figurehead prisoner of the Myth Machine: “The President does not order deaths. The military cannot shoot at civilians. The Constitution guides the Army. Security may have made mistakes, but all that is fixed by committees, I am the Baathi choice, my father chose me! not my stupid brother, he groomed me! you think I will go back to opthamology when I am replaced as leader? Are you insane?

    It is chilling that he has so completely sealed himself away from information that challenges what he is fed by the SANAtized regime built by his father. He is like a cornered rabbit king pretending he still holds all the symbolic power of the throne bequeathed to him by the Lion of Syria. His eyes betray his claims. He is haunted by his coming end, baffled, not understanding his own role in the House of Horror built by the regime. He cannot conceive himself as the Dracula figure, the Ceaucescu monster, the Stalin, the brute. He cannot grasp what some of his subjects truly think of when they think of him.

    What deepens the horror for me is in the interpretation of the reality of these sobering events, as when a proud American expatriate Syrian — a doctor — with Syrian blood and pride and love and history in his veins, calling openly for the the Syrian state and its irregulars to intensify its death and destruction in Homs. This to me is stark horror, unleavened by humanity. The shutters have gone down on some minds. It is time for unmerciful war.

    It is time for the army to take charge of Homs , declaring a militery zone, surrounding it asking to surrender all arms from everybody, then going house to house and bringing down any building that a bullet comes from as they did in Lebanon, it is time to assert it’s control.That is the only way.

    Sir, are you there inside this statement? Is your heart still Syrian or has it become like Lukachenko’s? From your beloved America, you openly call for a kind of Hama solution in your distant homeland? Is that you, doctor, a man bound by his personal oaths to do no harm?

    And who is this?

    Well, freaks, before you write your priceless whines you may need to take your heads out of each other asses to see reality and to be honest then write something meaningful, but I guess it’s too much to ask from an immature dump talking about vulgarity while his comment start with an A word (how polite) or from the most obvious pathological liar mom SC ever seen.

    Whoever this is, it does not resemble the man whom I remember from my earliest months here on Syria Comment. That man I recall did never personally denigrate commenters or accuse entire classes of folks as traitors and criminals. That man I remember had empathy and an enquiring mind — he listened to and attempted to understand concerns of his countrymen. He sought a rational, reasoned, peaceful discussion of the best road for Syria.

    Now I do not recognize the personality I have watched very sympathetically over the months. I see a rage-filled contempt towards compatriots. I see a person who has let his prejudices and his hatreds overwhelm his reason. It leaves me troubled for this man himself. How will he be able to understand events in Syria over the next five years if he is trapped in the hall of mirrors inside the House Of Assad? Will all future transitional leaders (as with Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, there will be many) receive his derisive contempt, his unabashed loathing, his militarism and his accusations of treachery and capital crimes? I am left wondering for Syria, wondering if an expat/non-citizen/Westerner like this person will call for fire and vengeance against all his enemies, all those whom he has never met, never conversed with, never read, never entertained, never shared hopes with.

    To this former gentleman I ask, how are you going to adapt to the new reality coming to Syria? Will you emigrate from your Western home (or return to your Syrian home) to live and work and study? Will you remain anonymous in the West and curse your countrymen and countrywomen on this blog as Syria moves past the Assad era?

    Stranger, is it really you calling another passionate expat an obvious pathological liar? Is it you who speaks this language of hate, who demonizes yet another doctor, who denounces and slurs Haytham Khoury, who loathes and despises Radwan Ziadeh, who sees only MB prostitution in the man named Ghalioun?

    Syria needs its men calm and rational, not half-mad with anger and impotence.


    Sadly for me, this post over there is garnering negative thumbs … oh well.


  37. About Assad’s state of mind.

    These people know what they are doing. They aren’t deluded. They’re power is based on force and fear. They know it, we know it, the world knows it. They can’t admit to it. Instead they have to create an alternative narrative. They stick to it. You can say that after a certain amount of time spouting this ‘narrative’ they can lose touch with reality. (?)

    Take Gaddafi for example. He took power. Came up with the nonsense green book stuff, which I doubt he actually believed in, to fill the vacuum, to give the impression he has brought something to offer, something to impose on the country, some ‘substance’.

    The interview transcript. Seemed to me a tactic. Denial, feigning ignorance, dodging questions. Shame doesn’t come into it. Do whatever it takes to hold on to power. One thing they cannot do is admit or accept the truth. The elephant in the room. Or the elephant under the seat cussion on which Assad is sat during the interview.


    Your idea of trenches filled with kerosene, petrol etc interesting. However it would be easy for the regime to feign an attack in order to trick the rebels into igniting the trenches prematurely. (?) Just like in warfare armies parachute mannequins onto a location to trick the enemy into revealing their locations.


  38. Some things I forgot to include in previous post.

    Assad (and his inner circle) are stuck. He has a duty to his family (also clan, sect). Remember the report from early on in the uprising which described a meeting of Assad, his brother Maher , brother-in-law Assef etc presided by Anisa Makhlouf (his mother)? She was described as the key decision maker. They don’t want to lose it all. Family pride. Legacy. They’re stuck. According to that report they decided to crush the uprising at all cost. Anissa Makhlouf insisting on it. If I find the report I’ll post the link. Correct me if Im wrong.

    Another thing. The recent blunders are an indication that they are losing control. Not fully in control. The regime is taking risks. Gambling. Hoping to get lucky. Muallem’s press conference, and this interview. These were potential pit-falls. They went ahead with them on the small chance they may come off to their benefit. With almost everything going wrong for them they desperately need something to go right. The outcome instead couldn’t be worse.

    The only thing going for them is their security forces at thir disposal. Include military hardware too. Although even these forces are facing difficult challenges.


  39. Dear OTW,

    I do not share the view that Bashar was in denial or that he was delusional during the interview. Barbara Walters was picked by Bashar and his team to help him deliver a message to his none-Syrian audience. The main purpose was to show the following:

    I am calm and relaxed. I can even crack a joke or two. Your sanctions don’t scare me. Neither does the isolation that you think you have engineered against me. The only thing that matters to me is the internal situation. “Some” of my people my not support me but the “majority in the middle” do. I am not stepping down. I am going nowhere. And by the way, I am not giving unilateral orders to the army. This task falls to my whole leadership (I called them government). In case you charge me with crimes against humanity, please watch this interview to hear my rebuttal to the charge. In the end, I know that my enemies want to bring me down on the cheap. This is not going to happen. If you want me, you need to come physically and get me. I believe that you will huff and puff but I am calling your bluff, for I know that you won’t dare bring your foreign boots to my country, the region’s fault line.


  40. Dear Hamster,
    That was so funny. Not only a great poet, but also a witty comic.
    I think that Bashar has been told by so many people and for so long how good he is, that he actually believed it. He probably told his PR staff that it was time to pull out the big guns and he was convinced it is him. He did not know that a 10 year old from the streets of any Syrian village or city, could have done a much better job, reason being that a 10 year old would usually either tell the truth or lie a lot more convincingly.
    Damn the day when a country like Syria that has incredible numbers of educated and talented people, is being ruled by such a moron.
    And I thought nothing can make me swear. (sorry mom)


  41. Dear WSS,
    The last time I was on SC, I read a post by no other than Ya Mara Ghalba. Everybody should read that post. It is beyond description. The man is quoting no other than Najwa Karam. Yes, you read that right, Najwa Karam. He says that he thinks she is the best Arab singer ever (that alone speaks volumes about this man’s lack of basic human abilities and sensibilities), then he proclaims that when you are this great of an artist, then you should have brains (another comment that you would expect only from a buffoon.) and thus the comment that she made about the situation in Syria is very smart. At that point I had to run and throw up and could not finish the brilliant comment any more. I urge Dr. Landis to conduct some sort of a basic IQ test before he allows people to post on his blog.


  42. Observer, CSi, SOD, NZ:
    I enjoyed your analysis. Great original contibution.

    Your comment was like music to my ears!


  43. Sheila,
    I usually try not to speculate, but I have a hard time believing that this woman is not paid to comment. She has SANA articles lined up one after the other, and is always calling any criticism of the regime as fabricated. I think Syrian Hamsters Surgeon General Warning should be applied to her posts as well.

    By the way she is a woman no? Am I misreading his/her handle as O Dense Woman?


  44. To All Syria’s Freedom Lovers,

    A song that was not heard before, from the late Mr. Ibrahim Qashoush, the Syrian Revolution Singer of all times. May God bless his soul and all those who gave their lives for others to live in dignity. Bless them All.


  45. Dear EHSANI
    Upon his retirement, Bill Moyer, an icon of rational progressives in the US once threatened GWB and his fans of leaving the rocking chair back into the anchor chair. He delivered on his threat with a new series of interviews that are among the best interviews I have seen rivaling and exceeding those of another one of my favorites, Charley Rose. I have a feeling that with the Walters’s interview, a threshold was crossed that also got you back into this mysterious world of blogging about Syria, so in the end, there are few positive outcome from that disastrous interview. Welcome back.

    While I concur with your description of the message they wanted to convey or as you described it on SC the playbook , but that does not bring the playbook to reality. I have read the 14 pages interview several times. There was no one under 18 in the vicinity, and I had no access to harsh chemicals, but Hamster was right, I cussed, my bafflement was evident, along with few other symptoms that would have betrayed to any on looker a distressed state.

    There is a section in the transcript in which he answers questions about his ascendance to the thrown, and there he describes his light-speed ascendance from a mere military doctor (say a captain) and a member of the party into the ranks all the way up to becoming a president, secretary general of the party, commander in chief, and so on, as being the most normal thing, for he was chosen by the people. Now his ascendance is a reality, but the way he perceives this reality as being normal is delusional beyond comprehension. Walters failed to ask him one simple question, why you… if Syria had many others whose contributions to each and every branch where he rose to the helm, far exceeded his then, what were his unparalleled contributions, despite of him not having a position then. The man is obsessed with a deluded image of being a normal folks-person, driving his own car, shaking hands with people, down to earth, while in reality, this image is meant to show that despite of his greatness, he is a humble man, which makes him even more great. There is a self defensive mechanism in that obsession for deep inside he suspects that he will be remembered as the most mediocre tyrant to ever rule a country. The bubble of denial was so thick, yet transparent from the outside that to me he looked more pathetic than ever, especially when he tried to justify that based on our laws which allow military transfer.

    Off course reading the transcript is far more telling than watching the media production. One can see that he clings to the party as his last defense line and as his mechanism for a come-back and for perpetually holding this position . One can also see the clear separation of responsibilities, when it is the fabled reforms, he uses we , when it is brutality, he reverts to they . Granted, in the early days of the uprising, brutality may have been due to personal initiative of security thugs and shabee7a at the local level. But within days, it became evident that the brutality is a policy dictated by the same we . He wanted to convince the world that an army like the Syrian army is on auto-pilot not needing any directives to mobilize certain divisions and coordinate with para-militia gangs. If that is not delusional, what is it?, but then when not responding to external provocations, again it is the wise we who exercises rational restraint (which I do think is rational in the sense that self preservation demanded that he does not get in real confrontation with a strong adversary).

    Barbara Walters also failed in reciprocating. He asked for verification of stories of brutality, which i thought was repulsively cynical. Yet, she failed to ask him for verification of his numerous lies during the interview. One simple case would have been to ask him to authorize his people to provide names, incident synopsis, and ranks of those who were investigated because of their personal mistakes . I think the fact that she approaches everyone she interviews with the “celeb” approach was the reason she was chosen as she lacks the gravitas and the preparedness for a real political style interview. Charley rose,again one of my favorite, is not much better, for he approaches everyone as if they are intellectuals, what is needed when one interviews pathological liars such as Jr. is a bull or a lioness (no pun intended). (No Akbar, we are not getting Bill O here). On a second thought, may be it should have been Bill O.

    Despite of all of this, the interview exposed not his detachment from reality, but the reality he wants imposed on Syria and Syrians by force and blood. It exposed his mediocrity beyond any doubt, his pathetic state, which reflects the pathetic state of a Syria, ruled by a family mafia, whose rule is enabled by the brutality of their private army, enforced by the corruption of morality through divisive polity, and by the erosion of national sense of honor, which was replaced over the years with the cynical baathist propaganda machinery acting as the fly-paper catching every corrupted person in the country and recruiting them. I think we should reconsider calling Syria under Assads the empire of fear, it should be the empire of fear and mediocrity. Syrians deserve better, and better they will get.

    The interview reminded me of the dead presidents’ famous phrase ( من القصر الى القبر) “from the palace to the grave”. I think Jr. internalized that phrase, Alas, his trip to his grave will be a costly one for Syria, but i am sure that with what he exposed, getting him a ticket out of the palace is a historical, human, and natural necessity. We know the starting point of the trip, it is him and his mafia gang who are dictating the destination.


  46. (No Akbar, we are not getting Bill O here). On a second thought, may be it should have been Bill O.


    Whether it is Saddam Hussein, Muammar Gaddafi, Bashar Assad and other tin-pan despots, the result is the same:

    They are normal to below average people who have lived years amongst “Yes Men”, body guards, thugs, riches, and power.

    Any leader in a democratic society knows the minute they are voted in, it is a temporary assignment and that they have to produce if they want to stay in office. No so in the ME.

    When these despots lose control, they look surprisingly weak and ordinary. No surprise.

    The British Royals are just as out-of-place today as the Saudi and Jordanian Kings.


  47. To all who can read Arabic,
    If you haven’t already read “The Shell” by Moustafa Khalifeh, please take the time to read it. This is the true story of this Syrian Christian who was arrested in Syria accused of being a Muslim Brotherhood member. He subsequently spent 13 some years, most of them in the infamous Tadmor (Palmyra) prison subjected to the most brutal torture and humiliation. I think this book is a must read for every human being who wants to understand the meaning of tyranny, for every Syrian who has any doubts about what is next after this regime, for all minorities to understand that no one is immune in this God forsaken country, but most importantly, it is a must read for all Syrian Alawiis who have ever felt gratitude for this regime because it pulled their community out of poverty, to realize that poverty was much better than where they are today. This regime took their youngest and best and transformed them into monsters.
    A disclaimer: Please have enough tissues at hand to wipe your tears. Please try to read it during the weekend as you will surly loose sleep for a few nights.
    Here is the link to download it:


  48. OTW,
    I think the new format is fine, but now in addition to not having numbering, we even lack a time stamp…so it makes it really hard to reference back in any way to a particular comment. Z


  49. I wonder if Hama has a museum like “Yad Vashem”. Assad should visit it.

    “The earth was shaking,” one Homs resident told the Associated Press, saying explosions and gunfire erupted in the early morning. “Armoured personnel carriers drove through the streets and opened fire randomly with heavy machine-guns.”


  50. I found the report I mentioned in the previous comment. I don’t know if the beginning is an imagined scenario, however I wouldn’t be surprised if it accurately reflected reality.

    At home with the Assads: Syria’s ruthless ruling family

    The dynasty founded on Hafez al-Assad’s rise from poverty and obscurity is maintained by some uncompromising characters, Tuesday 11 October 2011

    It is evening, and in a large house in a leafy, upmarket district of Damascus, a trio of siblings have gathered in the home of their mother, Anisa Makhlouf al-Assad, the reclusive former first lady of Syria. Along with her son Bashar, the country’s current president, his younger brother Maher, commander of the brutal Fourth Division, and their formidable older sister, Bushra, she pores over the latest reports from officials across the country, as Bushra’s husband, Asef Shawkat, the president’s chief of staff and former military intelligence chief, looks on.

    How many people came out on the protests? What did they chant? How many were killed? The family debate, perhaps, over what more can be done to put down the protests, and argue over what reforms to offer, or where next to direct the extensive security forces at their disposal. The subtext to the gathering is clear: under no circumstances will they release their grasp on the country they have ruled for more than four decades.

    Read more:


  51. CSI-HAMA
    I fixed it, it was a simple mistyping in closing the tag. You put the escape character / after the b not before. And thanks for finding the report. Great find.


  52. OTW, I’d like to second what Zenobia said about re-instituting the time stamp, if numbering is not possible (my first choice is both, 2nd is time stamp, 3rd is numbering).


  53. Dear OTW,
    I Think this is by far the best format. It allows you to go directly to the comments section without having to scroll down through the article and all the comments are numbered. I vote for this one.


  54. Things are very serious in Homs. They are on the threshold of a full-scale attack by about 500 Tanks.


  55. Dear Sheila
    I like the functionality, but there is some work to be done on the style. I am not so crazy about the color theme. But we’ll keep it for now. More work is needed.


  56. Khaled
    I agree, the regime is milking the never-ending extensions from the AL and others. They want to end any serious challenge. It is now or never for them. The stupid interview has caused some concerns among some higher-ups in the regime. I would not be surprised if the regime wanted to change the news from the possible wide participation in tomorrows general strike as well.


  57. OTW, the AL, true to their authoritarian frame of mind ( including KSA and Qatar ) never really wanted the Syrian uprising to succeed. They changed course when they saw the uprising had no signs of slowing down even after brutal repression. Even today they secretly wish that all this god-damned hellish “Arab Spring Stuff” fizzles out and things go back to the good ol’ days.

    Lets face it, the Syrian uprising makes every single Arab Dictator from Morocco to Oman and Syria to Yemen shake in their boots.

    The Syrian Uprsing 2011 is a SURREAL EVENT in the 1400 years of recorded Arab history.


  58. OTW, in view of the extraordinary situation in Homs, may i request you to lift the moderation on ABOUD and invite him by Email back to this blog so he may give us ground news. I’m dying of nervousness.


  59. OTW, what do you expect from the A.L, the Old Men of Arabia are shaking in their boots at the surreal resilience of the Syrian people.


  60. This is not the first time a massive assault is facing Homs, but this time there are almost 600 tanks. There are bound to be many defections and also the armed resistance in Homs is at its strongest. Also this assault on Homs has forced the regime to transfer many valuable Tanks and units from Hama, Idlib and Deirezzor, thus relieving the pressure on these cities. The regime has till date never been able to sustain large-scale operations on more than one city at a time.

    Also the FSA units in other parts of the country, particularly in Idlib and Dara’a , won’t keep quiet. There will be immediate and ruthless retaliation against all instuitutions and functionaries if the regime. I am hopeful and praying to Allah, pls do the same too, if you are a believer.


  61. OTW, in view of the extraordinary situation in Homs, may I request you to lift the moderation on ABOUD and invite him by Email back to this blog so he may give us ground news. I’m dying of nervousness


  62. Yesterday the regime had to use thugs from the PFLP and DFLP to keep order in Damascus. They are stretched, they are at their weakest point. Its time for full-scale escalation by the FSA, all over the country.


  63. Khaled,
    Aboud can still post, his comments will be posted almost in real time, he knows his value both to me personally and to the 7ee6ani community. I am following the almost in real time today, since I am spending most of the day working some design issues to keep my mind busy.

    No problem. Sorry I can’t yet implement re-editing comments.


  64. If the regime launches an all-out assault on homs, they won;t be able to do mucn damage to the FSA, the FSA will simply melt away into the night, escape and resurface in a couple of days in some other city, just like they did during AlRastan siege. They are smar, not suicidal, they know the value to this uprising anf they would rather retreat and live to fight another day.

    What I’m worried about are the unfortunate unarmed people especially women and children, the regime will take their full revenge on them..

    And OTW, don;t you think its high time Ghalioun got his act together ? If he can’t muster enough international support and God forbid there’s a massacre in Homs with 500-600 ppl dead, how will he ever show his face again ? i think he is useless, he is a liabilty rather than an asset, he forced Col Riyad to abandon offensive operations and hence adversely affected the morale of the FSA troops, YET he can’t muster enough international support to force the regime to back down. Its apparent that as long as Ghalioun and his boring team can;t muster enough REAL international support, offensive operations by FSA is the only way.

    If this goes on it won’t be long before the FSA commanders inside Syria start undercutting Col. Riyad’s authority.


  65. OTW The new outlay is very good.
    Thank you Sheila and OTW for refering to the Shell. I’ll read it in French. Just the summary makes me feel sick.
    Homs breaks my heart not only figuratively

    I am happy I was out during the fight; just flying over it was enough. I would not have responded


  66. I disagree with Ehsani’s analysis
    I believe that he is in a different world view.
    Here are the premises on which his train of thought and his arguments stand on
    1. The Baath party in particular and the National Front in general represents the political spectrum of the Syrian people and since I am the final product and outcome of their choosing me as President I have all the legitimacy in the world.
    2. As President and not withstanding the incredible concentration of power in the position of President, I give directives and outline the vision for Syria. The reforms that I propose are the only ones that are acceptable and permitted as I and I alone know what is best for Syrian and Syrians. No reforms are permitted that may undermine the house of security cards that my father constructed and therefore asking for the separation of powers and what have you are not going to happen. Mistakes are not mine; execution is faulty; and that is why I am the one to conduct reforms.
    3. The house of security cards that my father built is the guarantee of Syria’s survival for Syria has two choices Me or Chaos. I will show you what chaos means as there is hint of what the civil war would look like.
    4. There is no dissent outside of the National Front structure and any other dissent is only that of the outlawed MB and therefore is not only criminal but totally illegitimate and not even worthy of a human or humane treatment. Therefore we are fighting a war to the end.
    Mistakes the regime did based on these premises
    1. Dissent at the beginning was crushed with such brutality that for a generation there will be hatred. The lack of true retribution for the governor of Deraa is also a major mistake and a direct byproduct of such closed circular arguments. I am the one to decide who and how to punish. From a minimal issue a snowball phenomenon was created
    2. The use of the security forces showed that their numbers despite being inflated are merely for the collection of information not for repression, hence the use of armed gangs to quell the violence. When this did not work, the use of a basically weak army made up of conscripts resulted in a split. This resulted in a loss of control over areas of the country. Combined with deep corruption it became clear that the regime cannot even count on its own forces to remain loyal as they are subject to bribery and graft. Now some of the security services are selling ammunition and weapons to the people and the defectors simply because no one has a true loyalty to this regime
    3. Mistaking the old AL for the post Arab Spring Al has resulted in the shock of the regime’s life as it excluded Syria and imposed sanctions. Further isolating itself the regime threatened Turkey with Alevi dissent and with PKK revolt only to have one its former allies turn against it. It can count on Iraq as it threatened to deport the Iraqis back and on Lebanon that does not want the strife to spill over.
    4. Conducting a Soviet style PR campaign the last of which was the interview with ABC shows that the understanding of the outside world and how a free press works. The debacle of the Muallim press conference and the mumbling of Buthaina and the stupidity of the Doonia and SANA has shown that there is no understanding of impact of instant interned based information.
    5. Window dressing of the reforms is just that which is making the regime less credible and this is embarrassing to its allies such as Russia. They have tried very hard to defend the regime but they are having a hard time defending such stupidity.

    I think that some have read the interview as a panic attack and that he is preparing for his departure without facing the ICC. The problem is that the house of security cards that the regime built will not allow for the President to leave and the inner circle or the high ranking members of the regime left to carry the load and to pay the price. He may suffer an internal coup or even an assassination attempt.

    Russia is having dissent and therefore the wiggle room is becoming tight. The discussion with NATO about the missile shield has not gone well. Iran is being subjected to a concerted sabotage campaign. The West has many problems and cannot use blunt force anymore however they can use a variety of methods to give severe pain and even to cripple regimes. Human rights will present to the UNSC in a closed session. If a massacre is planned for Homs then we may very well have the US/Turkey/EU/AL intervene without a resolution.


  67. A video for the Arab F-ing League :

    Get your acts together goddamn murtadeen. Goddman fuck all Arab countries.

    OTW pls send this video to Arab Leagye ekmial adress, this is very critical,or else email this video to Burhan F-ing Ghalioun, may his sould be cursed.


  68. Dear Annie,
    I am very happy to see that “The Shell” is available in French. When I posted the link in Arabic I thought about you and felt guilty knowing that you can not read Arabic. Please take the time to read it. It is an eye opener.


  69. Will the Russian uprising reach critical mass, and if so how will that effect the Russian foreign policy on the Syrian card?

    I think we are unlikely to see any immediate changes, but it may get interestingly different 3-6 months from now.

    A must see “The Long Road to Liyba” for those expats itching to do something more for Syria. Get inspired!


  70. Khaled
    Aboud is not responding for his own reasons, moderation my be one of them, another could be just that he does not want to respond to your hyperventilation. We are all concerned not only you.

    I don’t have the AL email. You have a computer, and you obviously have access to the internet. Google the AL and find their email and send them the links to all the you-tube videos you want to. This way your activism is directed far better than it is now. But you are welcomed to continue posting here on 7ee6an as well.

    It seems to me that we are all getting updates from Homs, Aljazeera, You-Tube, facebook, and other media outlets are reporting. Who knows, may be Aboud’s reports are among those report. 7ee6an does not have exclusivity deal with Aboud or with any one else for that matter.


  71. Dear Husam
    If 7ee6anis use google chrome it comes with spell checker. Unfortunately, I can’t install the plugins, because does not allow plugins other than what is available. Plans are to move the blog to a 3rd party host and install bells and whistles ones the electronic shabeeha are in jail.

    As for news of cracks, I don’t believe any of that now. It is simply media confusion campaign the Syrian mukhabarat is conducting. Last night the spread out a rumor of the minister of interior having defected. The man has so much blood on his hand to defect. He will be handed to the ICC the moment he shows his face out of Syria, so logically he has no motives to defect and all motives to fight it to the end.


  72. Internet has been sh*t in Homs. I don’t expect it to improve much.

    And don’t anyone worry about Homs. The FSA is much, much stronger today than it was a month and a half ago when the regime failed to subdue even Baba Amr.

    There is a slightly better than 50% chance that the regime *wont* try anything in Homs. But even if they do, nothing I’ve seen suggests that the same old tired pattern won’t be repeated; heavy shelling, mass movement of troops, the menhebaks get a premature hard on, and the army then gets bogged down fighting off night time attacks from a very mobile, resourceful and dedicated guerrilla force. After a few weeks, things go back to how they were.

    After all, two weeks ago the head of military security was gravely wounded in a day time attack in downtown Homs. The guy could very well be dead.

    Again, don’t worry. The idiots gave the FSA 72 hours notice, and I can assure you ten thousand troops aren’t nearly enough to launch the wide scale house to house, scorched Earth attack the menhebaks have been having wet dreams about for months, especially since Homs has had 3 days to prepare for it.

    I hope to God junior is that stupid. Maybe after the attack fails, it will finally get through to the idiots that there is no way to subdue the revolution through military means.

    If I’m absent from posting, please do not read too much into it. As hard as it may seem, I have more immediate and pressing concerns than another bungled Besho attack that may or may not happen today, tomorrow or next Friday.

    And the strike has been very successful in Homs. It always is.


  73. Baba Amr and Khaldia have been almost emptied of civilians. The strike is one big f*ck you to junior, who I will never forgive for making me continuously face palming after seeing his interview with ABC.


  74. ABOUD, how many people estimated have died ?

    Also, since Khalidye has been emotied of civilians, does that mean the demonstrations from now on will be virtually finished like they were in Deirezzor and Hama ?


  75. ABOUD, th FSA needs to have heavier weapons , like more RPGs, 12.7 mm heavy machine guns, SA-7 and SA-13 anti-aircraft rockets, that way they will be much more safer in defending Homs. Ghalioun is a fool. We need to do dirty deals with now to secure the weapons that we need, its abt the success of the revolution dammit !!!!!


  76. Aboud. It’s good to hear from you bro. Be safe. My prayers are with you & all our brethren in Homs.


  77. Aboud, relieved to hear from you. Be safe. my prayers are with you with Homs and with Syria


  78. Dear Syrian Prometheus
    The article mentions Nizar Nayouf, as having corroborated the story after interviewing an employee of the Londob-Based Jordanian Airline, calling Nizar their Correspondent and adviser?!

    Talking about an officer of the Jordanian army describing soldiers speaking languages other than Arabic, i Believe most officers in the Jordanian Army would recognize English if not speaking it, no?


  79. Hello OTW,
    I agree with you regarding the “weird” aspect of this story.

    However, the web site where this came from tends to collect the stories that are running around Wall Street. A bit of a “traders’ community” where they discuss events that may drive the markets. As such, this bit of smoke may have some fire below it.


  80. Regardless, I am not sure I can stomach foreigners coming into our back yard. On the other hand, any help we can get…

    I don’t know. This is a gray an area to ponder as they come.


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