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Bashar al-Assad

President of Syria
I'm not a puppet. I wasn't made by the west to go to the west or any other country. I'm Syrian. I'm made in Syria. I have to live in Syria and die in Syria.

Bashar al-Assad (born September 11, 1965) has been president of the Syrian Arab Republic since 2000.

Contents

QuotesEdit

  • They are not my forces. They are military forces that belong to the government.… I don't own them. I am president. I don't own the country so they are not my forces.
    • Interview with Barbara Walters (7 Dec. 2011) on the military escalation of the Syrian conflict
  • The army is engaged in a crucial and heroic battle... on which the destiny of the nation and its people rests. The enemy is among us today, using agents to destabilise the country, the security of its citizens... and continues to exhaust our economic and scientific resources. They (the enemy) wanted to deprive the people of their national decision... but they were astonished to see these proud people, who confronted their plans and defeated them. You men of the country... you have demonstrated, in dealing with the war waged against our country by the terrorist gangs, that you possess an iron will and a keen awareness. Our military remains the backbone of the motherland.
  • I'm not a puppet. I wasn't made by the west to go to the west or any other country. I'm Syrian. I'm made in Syria. I have to live in Syria and die in Syria.

Quotes about AssadEdit

Alphabetized by author
  • The reason is not simply because of my opinion of him. It is because it is unimaginable that you can stop the civil war there when the overwhelming majority of people in Syria consider him to be a brutal, murderous dictator.
    • Barack Obama, when he said that Assad must leave office to end Syria crisis [1]
  • There’s a different leader in Syria now. Many of the members of Congress of both parties who have gone to Syria in recent months have said they believe he’s a reformer.
  • For me he is the last Arab ruler, and Syria is the last Arab country. It is the fortress of the remaining dignity of the Arabs, and that's why I'm proud to be here.
  • There is considerable evidence that Bashar al-Assad is actually supported by a large majority of the Syrian people, even among those who would welcome more democracy, because they know the alternative to him is chaos... Washington... clearly would like to see a solution that involves a fragmentation of the state enabling containment and rollback of Iranian influence there while also satisfying both its clients Israel and the Saudis as well as creating a possible mini-state for the Kurds. The destruction of Syria and the Syrian people will just be regarded as collateral damage while building a new Middle East. Hopefully the Syrians, backed by Iran, Russia and China will prevent that from happening and as the U.S. did not directly engage in much of the hard fighting that destroyed ISIS, it thankfully has little leverage over what comes next.
  • Although Americans are starting to wake up, many people are still caught up in the mainstream narrative regarding the Syrian war.... Starting in 2011, tens of thousands of foreigners – Al Qaeda and other jihadists – were sent into Syria to overthrow Assad. The U.S. and its allies – Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey & Jordan – assisted in buying and transporting weapons to the “insurgents.” Special forces from the U.S., U.K., France and Israel also spent billions of dollars arming and training the terrorists, a.k.a “moderate rebels.” What’s happening in Syria is not a civil war – it’s a proxy war. Assad has been fighting the Islamic terrorists for seven years. It’s cynical and Orwellian for the West to shed crocodile tears for the Syrians and blame Assad for this brutal war. While the presstitutes make it look like Assad is fighting women and children, fact is that the rebels have highly sophisticated weapons – million-dollar tanks, U.S.-made anti-tank missiles that cost $250,000 etc..
  • Assad protects Christians and other minorities. There’s no Sharia Law in Syria, and religious minorities have full freedom. The only group that’s “oppressed” in Syria is the violent Muslim Brotherhood, which has been banned for many decades. The Syrian opposition consists of Sunni extremists who have been persecuting and killing Shiites and Christians for the last seven years.
  • No way – no way possible in the imagination – that the man who has led the brutal response to his own people could regain the legitimacy to govern. One man and those who have supported him can no longer hold an entire nation and a region hostage. The right to lead a country does not come from torture, nor barrel bombs, nor Scud missiles. It comes from the consent of the people. And it’s hard to imagine how that consent could be forthcoming at this point in time.
  • ... Assad’s survival—if Saddam Hussein’s murderous rampage in 1991 is any indication—will without a shadow of a doubt translate into hundreds of thousands of Syrian dead, mostly butchered after his victory has been assured. The comparison comes to mind because the two Ba’thi regimes of Saddam Hussein and Bashar Assad bear an unmistakable resemblance—they are mirror images of one another, one might say. Both are minority dominated, single party regimes originating in the same quasi-fascist pan-Arab ideology built on the principle that any form of disagreement is an act of “betrayal” to the “revolution.”
    • Kanan Makiya, "Intervention In Syria is a Moral and Human Imperative", New Republican (February 24, 2012)
  • Assad as President has actively tried to kill his own people. He has bombed them with barrel bombs in a most terrible way. He has brought untold suffering over his people -- if you look at Aleppo and other places. When you talk to the many Syrian refugees who have fled here to Germany, they will be able to tell you their own personal story, and the majority of them -- the great majority of them -- fled from Assad, and most of them not even fled the IS. So I don’t see him as an ally.
  • The US foreign policy establishment had rhetorically justified America’s presence in Syria as part of the war on the Islamic State (ISIS). With ISIS essentially defeated and dispersed, Trump called the establishment’s bluff... This shift had the benefit of unmasking America’s real purposes in the Middle East...because of ISIS. In fact, ISIS was more a consequence than a cause of the US presence. The real purposes have been US regional hegemony; and the real consequences have been disastrous.
  • The truth about the US presence in Syria has rarely been told. But one can be sure that the US has had no scruples about democracy in Syria or elsewhere in the region, as its warm embrace of Saudi Arabia amply demonstrates. The US decided to promote an insurgency to overthrow Bashar al-Assad in 2011 not because the US and allies like Saudi Arabia longed for Syrian democracy, but because they decided that Assad was a hindrance to US regional interests. Assad’s sins were clear: he allied with Russia, and he received support from Iran.
  • The truth about the US presence in Syria has rarely been told. But one can be sure that the US has had no scruples about democracy in Syria or elsewhere in the region, as its warm embrace of Saudi Arabia amply demonstrates. The US decided to promote an insurgency to overthrow Bashar al-Assad in 2011 not because the US and allies like Saudi Arabia longed for Syrian democracy, but because they decided that Assad was a hindrance to US regional interests. Assad’s sins were clear: he allied with Russia, and he received support from Iran.
  • Today, Bashar Al-Assad is playing the role of the son of the Levanter, offering his services to any would-be buyer through interviews with whoever passes through the corner of Damascus where he is hiding. At first glance, the Levanter may appear attractive to those engaged in sordid games. In the end, however, the Levanter must betray his existing paymaster in order to begin serving a new one. Four years ago, Bashar switched to the Tehran-Moscow axis and is now trying to switch back to the Tel-Aviv-Washington one that he and his father served for decades. However, if the story has one lesson to teach, it is that the Levanter is always the source of the problem, rather than part of the solution. ISIS is there because almost half a century of repression by the Assads produced the conditions for its emergence. What is needed is a policy based on the truth of the situation in which both Assad and ISIS are parts of the same problem.
  • Those who urge an alliance with Assad cite the example of Joseph Stalin, the Soviet despot who became an ally of Western democracies against Nazi Germany. I never liked historical comparisons and like this one even less. To start with, the Western democracies did not choose Stalin as an ally; he was thrusted upon them by the turn of events. When the Second World War started Stalin was an ally of Hitler thanks to the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. The Soviet Union actively participated in the opening phase of the war by invading Poland from the east as the Germans came in from the West. Before that, Stalin had rendered Hitler a big service by eliminating thousands of Polish army officers in The Katyn massacre. Between September 1939 and June 1941, when Hitler invaded the Soviet Union, Stalin was an objective ally of Hitler. Stalin switched sides when he had no choice if he wanted to save his skin. The situation in Syria today is different. There is no alliance of democracies which, thanks to Obama’s enigmatic behavior, lack any strategy in the Middle East. Unlike Stalin, Assad has not switched sides if only because there is no side to switch to. Assad regards ISIS as a tactical ally against other armed opposition groups. This is why Russia is now focusing its air strikes against non-ISIS armed groups opposed to Assad. More importantly, Assad has none of the things that Stalin had to offer the Allies. To start with Stalin could offer the vast expanse of territory controlled by the Soviet Union and capable of swallowing countless German divisions without belching. Field Marshal von Paulus’ one-million man invasion force was but a drop in the ocean of the Soviet landmass. In contrast, Assad has no territorial depth to offer. According to the Iranian General Hossein Hamadani, who was killed in Aleppo, Assad is in nominal control of around 20 percent of the country. Stalin also had an endless supply of cannon fodder, able to ship in millions from the depths of the Urals, Central Asia and Siberia. In contrast, Assad has publicly declared he is running out of soldiers, relying on Hezbollah cannon fodder sent to him by Tehran. If Assad has managed to hang on to part of Syria, it is partly because he has an air force while his opponents do not. But even that advantage has been subject to the law of diminishing returns. Four years of bombing defenseless villages and towns has not changed the balance of power in Assad’s favor. This may be why his Russian backers decided to come and do the bombing themselves. Before, the planes were Russian, the pilots Syrian. Now both planes and pilots are Russian, underlining Assad’s increasing irrelevance. Stalin’s other card, which Assad lacks, consisted of the USSR’s immense natural resources, especially the Azerbaijan oilfields which made sure the Soviet tanks could continue to roll without running out of petrol. Assad in contrast has lost control of Syria’s oilfields and is forced to buy supplies from ISIS or smugglers operating from Turkey. There are other differences between Stalin then and Assad now. Adulated as “the Father of the Nation” Stalin had the last word on all issues. Assad is not in that position. In fact, again according to the late Hamadani in his last interview published by Iranian media, what is left of the Syrian Ba’athist regime is run by a star chamber of shadowy characters who regard Assad as nothing but a figurehead.

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