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Al-Assad at the opera! - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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For nearly an hour Bashar al-Assad spoke at the Syrian Opera House in Damascus, presenting his discordant speech full of pride and arrogance. He showed that he is a man out of touch with reality, with whom one cannot expect to reach any sort of agreement or settlement, even if al-Assad himself has become convinced that matters in Syria are not going in his favor.

Al-Assad’s speech was an arrogant one and it came in direct response to the Russians and others, telling them that he refuses to settle, or if there is to be a settlement al-Assad would be laying down the terms and conditions. It was as if al-Assad was saying to the Russians “go to hell”, but al-Assad is aware, as he said in his speech, that the situation in Syria is no longer going in his favor. This was especially apparent when he said: “We meet today and suffering is overwhelming Syrian land. There is no place for joy while security and stability are absent on the streets of our country”. These were the only true words in the whole speech, but it does not mean that al-Assad will learn from the experiences of others, rather it means that he will commit more crimes. What al-Assad proposed in his initiative was nothing but a clear game, which the foreign ministers of both Britain and Turkey were quick to pick up on, as was the EU, when they called for al-Assad to step down and described his speech as hypocrisy.

Al-Assad was trying to convince what remains of his supporters that what is happening in Syria is the work of terrorists, and Islamists seeking to return Syria to the middle ages, but the truth is that anyone who has visited Syria in recent years is aware that the country, under the shadow of the father al-Assad and the son, has lived through centuries of underdevelopment, and far from being a civil state it is a backwards police state used to ensure the rule of al-Assad and nothing more. Therefore, everything proposed by al-Assad is nothing but the age-old game that has already been used in Lebanon and Iraq, and Syria throughout his reign, and throughout the Syrian revolution.

What al-Assad said shows there is no hope of reaching a peaceful agreement; for he is fundamentally incapable of absorbing the gravity of what is going on around him. In his latest speech he was like Gaddafi, without the comedic element but with the clear arrogance and the desperate attempt to outsmart everyone, including those who support him such as the Russians, whom it is clear al-Assad embarrassed in his latest speech.

Today, after al-Assad’s speech, it is inevitable that we must return to advocating the need for foreign intervention, in a variety of forms, the simplest of which being to act now to support the rebels with quality weaponry, specifically weapons capable of disabling the tyrant of Damascus’ aircraft. This would accelerate the fall of al-Assad, especially as the revolutionaries are now surrounding him from everywhere, yet the aircraft remain the decisive factor. Supporting the rebels with quality weaponry would enable them to impose their control over military airports and clear the Syrian skies from the tyrant’s aircraft.

Al-Assad’s speech at the opera was discordant, but it was a message to the international community that now is the time to intervene in Syria, for there is no hope of reaching a peaceful solution with this tyrant in any way.

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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