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Opinion: Congratulations Assad, You Won - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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In the middle of the moral, political and mental chaos in the Arab world, a caliph is being appointed in Mosul to rule all Muslims—yes, all of them—and Bashar Al-Assad is being democratically elected as the president of Syria.

What a bizarre scene! It exceeds anything one’s imagination could create.

So Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, with his expensive watch and his black robes, has declared himself a caliph, where he was once merely the leader of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Without exception, Islamists agree with ISIS on the establishment of a medieval-style Islamic state known as a caliphate. They only differ from ISIS in terms of their style, devotion and leniency.

Let’s focus on the democratically elected Assad, who is also completely detached from reality and who suffers from a severe lack of vision, both literally and figuratively.

On Wednesday, Assad delivered what he described as a “speech of triumph,” after he was sworn in for a third seven-year term as president. In a lengthy speech addressed to his supporters, Assad attacked Saudi Arabia, Turkey and other Arab and Western countries, claiming “victory” against his opponents and announcing the death of the Arab Spring.

“They wanted it to be a revolution, but you are the true rebels. I congratulate you on your revolution and victory and I congratulate Syria on having citizens like you,” Assad addressed of course himself and his supporters.

Assad reminded everyone that he was the only one to have warned of terrorist and jihadist groups from the outset. He also claimed to have warned other governments of the terror spreading like a disease in their countries. Assad explained that he was only warning, not threatening, and that all research centers across the world were incapable of understanding Syria.

No one can understand the way Assad views the world around him. Assad has invented his own logic and diction while raining down barrel bombs on his people, of whom he has killed 130,000, displaced millions, and stirred up hatred among all their different segments.

All this is the true work of Assad, but it would be useful to remind those who bought Assad’s fake, propagandist speech that his regime is the real snake charmer here—one that has lured and nurtured the serpents of terrorism for years. His intelligence agencies invented several of them to use against his opponents, from Fatah Al-Islam in Lebanon to Mahmoud Qul-Aghassi (known as Abu Al-Qaqaa), the famous preacher from Aleppo who used to say in public he was not against the Syrian regime but only against the American presence in Iraq. He also used to recruit young Syrians to join the jihad in Iraq under the aegis of the Syrian security services. Having done his job, he was killed in full view of everyone by unknown gunmen in September 2007.

Victory, then, against whom—Syria?

And victory for whom? For Bashar and his brother, Maher, who are now in Damascus operating the Syrian military’s 7th Division? For the Hilal Al-Assad Militias, who fight with the support of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps and its arm in Lebanon, the yellow-clad militia of Hezbollah?

Mshari Al-Zaydi

Mshari Al-Zaydi

Mshari Al-Zaydi is a Saudi journalist and expert on Islamic movements and Islamic fundamentalism, as well as on Saudi affairs. He is Asharq Al-Awsat’s opinion page editor. Mr. Zaydi has worked for the local Saudi press, and has been a guest on numerous news and current affairs programs as an expert on Islamic extremism.

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