Source: WSJ.comAssad Outlines Plan for Syria
January 6, 2013
By Nour Malas
BEIRUT-—Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, in his first address to the nation in six months, issued a defiant call to war to defend the country and rejected international peace efforts, proposing his own political plan that reforms the government but keeps him in power. Mr. Assad, whose family's four-decade rule of Syria sparked an uprising in 2011, told a cheering audience the country faced a total war against foreign interests and al Qaeda. He delivered the speech to the audience of hundreds at the Damascus Opera House, in a central district of the capital that has been sealed off by security for months as rebel fighters have encircled Damascus. The less than hour-long address, his shortest speech yet, was broadcast by Syrian state television.
Mr. Assad appeared calm and confident as he delivered the speech—dressed in a black suit, grey tie, and looking slimmer—on Sunday. They were his first comments on the war ravaging Syria since a television interview last November, and his first public appearance in many months. Mr. Assad proposed a two-phase political process that would result in an elected parliament, a new government, and a national conference that would exclude much of the current opposition leading the battle against the government. He said regional and international countries should, first and foremost, cut off funds and weapons supplies to the rebels, before a cease-fire can come into effect and a political process started.
As in a handful of previous speeches since the uprising began 22 months ago, the president portrayed the conflict as a battle against external terrorists, and denied it was a fight between the government and opposition. But in this speech, he singled out al Qaeda for infiltrating the country, said Syria faced an extremely difficult war, and snubbed international mediation on the crisis. "What is sure is that most of those we are battling are jihadis holding the ideology of al-Qaeda," he said, accusing rebels of cutting off electricity, communications, fuel lines and bread supplies across Syria. "The battle, ladies and gentlemen, is between the nation and its enemies…between the citizen and his bread, between the security we all wish for, and fear."
The opposition immediately described the speech as arrogant and disconnected to the fighting raging across Syria. Many Syrians said any hope they had for a resolution of the conflict in coming months through a political deal faded after Mr. Assad's defiant comments. The United Nations last week said at least 60,000 people have been killed in the Syrian conflict. "The initiative proposed by President Bashar al-Assad takes us back to point zero," said Rima Fleihan, a member of the main National Opposition Coalition. "There can be no solution that leaves Bashar al-Assad in power," Ms. Fleihan told an Arabic television station after the speech.
This shit won't fly.
<snip> he singled out al Qaeda for infiltrating the country </snip>
Would this be the same Bashar Assad who provided beans, bullets, and benzine to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and al-Qaeda elements during the Iraq War?
he's a dead man.
“the misery of being exploited by capitalists is nothing compared to the misery of not being exploited at all” -- Joan Robinson
How can he bomb his own people and expect to remain in power?....
Cheers!...on the rocks!!
Actually, in my opinion, Assad observed quite closely how Gaddafi acted during the civil war there and is actively navigating to avoid being painted in the same vein. Unlike Gaddafi, he doesn't have the image of a drooling old man who doesn't know what he's talking about.
Note that he's not directly painting Al Quaeda as the enemy though. The people painted by him as the enemy are religious zealots whose ideology is that of Al Quaeda (ie. raising the caliphate etc pp). He's trying to portray this struggle as a general one between his pseudo-laicist state and religious zealots. Which will find support among his population. Problem for Assad is mostly that this can not be turned into an "external enemy" concept that unites the nation behind him. He's trying it with the good old standard "rebels sponsored and guided by the West".
When you really get down to it, he's rather successful in keeping this civil war contained though. 21 months, and counting.
Win nervously lose tragically - Reds C C
Assad has had advantages Qaddaffi could only dream of: 1) a military that was not only lavishly enough equipped to make outside intervention painful, and an officer corps that has largely stayed loyal; 2) Several allies prepared to back him to the hilt; 3) The unwillingness of outside military forces to intervene and level things up (partly influenced by 1 & 2). Given those advantages he should have done quite a bit better. he really should have been able to end this wihting 6 months. As it is he is slowly losing his country to an enemy that has struggled to get anything heavier than a few anti-aircraft missiles from outside sources & which is almost as deepy divided as libya's forces were. All he has managed to do is draw this out & make it bloodier for his nation. It will probably make the postwar even more unpleasant than it would otherwise be.
Assad is going down. it is just a question of when.
Win nervously lose tragically - Reds C C
Don't forget the Russian silent support that lasted for a while.
Seems like they are backing out. If I may add add - as usual.
No such thing as a good tax - Churchill
To make mistakes is human. To blame someone else for your mistake, is strategic.
If Assad falls and a non-mullah regime come to power in Syria, then Lebanon can become the Paris of the (middle) east once again.
Cheers!...on the rocks!!
Worse hes also a Dr., can you imagine that.
Fortitude.....The strength to persist...The courage to endure.
To me it is very clear that Assad is going down it is what has happened in Libya and Egypt and it is what will happen in Syria as well. Who knows if Assad has chemical weapons or if he will use them it as it will not change the outcome of this war. If he does have WMDs this is still a very serious problem regardless of if he uses them or not because once he is gone there will be a bundle of unused weapons and a lot of groups like Hezbollah, al-Qaida and many others who want them is not a good thing. I only hope that Syria has no WMDs and that Assad was trying to be a big shot.
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