The crisis in Syria was in the news this weekend, as usual, thanks to a British newspaper’s interview with Syria’s president, and other related items.
In the interview, Bashar Assad delivered his default standard propaganda line and the same indignant response that has prevailed since the popular uprising that broke out nearly two years ago.
In short, the Syrian government and its president are outraged that aid and nonlethal assistance are being channeled to the opposition; earlier versions of this regime rhetoric focused on the entire source of unrest in Syria being due to the outside world’s meddling.
So the problem is that foreign states are helping the opposition outside the country and the rebels inside Syria.
Assad put forward these comments as his regime receives critically important aid and assistance from Lebanon’s Hezbollah and the states of Iraq, Iran and Russia, who are helping Damascus in different ways, with a mix of money, weapons and fighters to aid the Assad regime.
The regime doesn’t want the outside world to interfere in Syria, but turns a blind eye to all of the interference that keeps it afloat.
Assad also reiterated the old “fighting terrorism” argument, but didn’t provide answers about how some 6,000 children in Syria have been killed. All by terrorists? Who controls the skies in Syria, and who is responsible for the indiscriminate bombardment of populated areas? Do only terrorists live in such places?
Finally, Assad trotted out the old “come and talk” offer to the opposition. After 70,000 people have been killed, he says that he is open to dialogue, with a straight face, after the opposition lays down its arms. There is no reference to any legitimate demands by the opposition, and some press reports maintain that Assad fully intends to “run again” in 2014.
The term “delusional,” which was used by the British government in response to Assad’s interview, is very apt.
If Assad and his regime believe they can hide their atrocities in this day and age, they are in for a surprise. If they think anyone is listening about their complaints of foreign intervention – when planes from Russia, fuel from Lebanon, and who-knows-what from Iran and Iraq all play a role in the conflict – they are wrong.
Almost everyone knows the true score, and the kind of regime that exercises control in Damascus. Having a “dialogue” with these rulers is a waste of time, while the conditions for the opposition to join are tantamount to surrender. There is one point of total agreement, in that everyone knows a “political solution” under these conditions isn’t going to work. The regime knows this, as does the opposition, and their allies both in Russia and the Western world.
The future will bring only more destruction in Syria, and a self-fulfilling prophecy. The longer the war goes on, the more fertile a place Syria will be for extremism and extremists.