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A message from al-Assad! - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Despite Syrian denials of the Iranian Fars News Agency’s report – quoting a senior Arab official speaking on the condition of anonymity – that President Bashar al-Assad threatened Turkish Foreign Minister [Ahmet Davutoglu] that it is within his capability to “set fire” to the entire region in 6 hours, we can suppose that al-Assad’s message has reached its intended recipients in our region.

Of course, Davutoglu has also denied this news, however what is clear – and this is most important – is that this news report is a Syrian – Iranian message to the region and the West, aiming to warn everybody against providing any help towards the toppling of the al-Assad regime. This is because this news was not reported by any western or Arab news agency, even though it is attributed to a “senior Arab official”, rather it was reported by an Iranian news agency!

To summarize the Iranian Fars News Agency report, al-Assad had shocked Davutoglu by calmly asking him for his “opinion as a diplomat, as to why international powers known for their hostility towards Damascus are hesitating with regards to repeating the Libyan experience in Syria?” According to Fars News Agency, Davutoglu asked al-Assad “is there any specific message you want me to transfer to Ankara?” to which al-Assad replied “the message that I come with is not just for Ankara, for but many countries, and I want you to transfer this message word for word…if a crazy measure is taken against Damascus, I will not need more than 6 hours to transfer hundreds of rockets and missiles to the Golan Heights to fire them at Tel Aviv.” Al-Assad also said that Damascus would call on Hezbollah in Lebanon to launch “an intensive rocket and missile attack on Israel the likes of which the Israeli spy agencies cannot even imagine.” The Syrian President then reportedly said “all these events will happen in [the first] three hours, but in the second three hours, Iran will attack US warships in the Persian Gulf, whilst the Shiite’s in the Gulf will attack European interests, killing Americans and Europeans around the world. The Shiites in the Arab world will become a Fedayeen suicide force attacking every available target, as well as hijacking Middle Eastern airplanes.”

The Fars News Agency also reportedly that al-Assad told Davutoglu that “the US knows that we helped it topple the Saddam Hussein regime because this is what we wanted…and that Syria is the reason that they are embroiled in Iraq today.” He said “if we wanted to kill thousands of US soldiers we would have done this without hesitation, however Syrian policy has always been one of caution and not playing all our [political] cards at one time” adding that “Damascus is playing [the political game] with good humor.”

I am convinced, as I said above, that even though Davutoglu himself denied this news report, as did the al-Assad regime, the intention behind the Iranian Fars News Agency publishing this report was to send a clear message to the Gulf States and the West, and it enough to consider what happened, and is happening, in al-Awamiyah in Saudi Arabia, or the [Shiite] movement in Bahrain, and so on. We have become accustomed to this game of media leaks from Iran, whether this is via their own numerous news agencies or television [news] channels. We have also become accustomed to the al-Assad regime sending messages via certain Lebanese newspapers, and we saw this throughout the famous “S – S initiative” negotiations between Saudi Arabia and Syria over the situation in Lebanon. However the question that must be asked today is: has al-Assad’s message reached those concerned in the region? We hope so!

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed is the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat. Mr. Alhomyed has been a guest analyst and commentator on numerous news and current affair programs, and during his distinguished career has held numerous positions at Asharq Al-Awsat, amongst other newspapers. Notably, he was the first journalist to interview Osama Bin Ladin's mother. Mr. Alhomayed holds a bachelor's degree in media studies from King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah. He is based in London.

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