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Al-Assad: Secularist who will “live and die” in Syria - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Like sand through an hourglass, Bashar al-Assad and his regime are running out of time. This is not just a wish on my part, but rather a reality confirmed by statements issued by the regime, and indeed Bashar al-Assad, himself. Most recently, we have his interview with “Russia Today” in which al-Assad said that he will “live and die” in Syria, and claimed that his regime is the last stronghold of secularism in the region, protecting minorities and coexistence! To be certain, this statements serves as his farewell address. Some might ask: how so?

The answer is very simple: by looking at the recent history of all the tyrants in our region, including those who blinded themselves to the facts, like former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak; they all said that they would live and die in their countries. Saddam Hussein said this, and later Muammar Gaddafi. They all said the same thing, demonstrating their incalculable arrogance. As did Mubarak himself, demonstrating a critical miscalculation and stubborn obstinacy. The end is known, some of these tyrants were killed whilst others ended up in prison, albeit the hospital wing. Whilst today al-Assad has arrogantly made the same mistake indicating that the man is completely detached from reality, particularly when he said “I am not a puppet. I was not made by the West to go to the West or to any other country. I am Syrian, I was made in Syria, I have to live in Syria and die in Syria.” It is clear that al-Assad has forgotten that it is the Syrian people who are seeking to oust him from power; how can he expect to live and rule in a country where even districts of the capital are being bombarded by warplanes? Certainly, this is the talk of a man who is completely out of touch from reality, which indicates that his end is fast approaching. In fact, it is those who surround al-Assad who are most convinced of this, especially when they hear him making statements such as this. Those close to him are well aware of the reality of the situation, and these statements only serve to further convince them that al-Assad is leading a suicide operation that will ultimately kill them all.

As for al-Assad’s claims of secularism, saying “we are the last stronghold of secularism and stability in the region and coexistence”, warning that any military attack on Syria “will have a domino effect that will affect the world from the Atlantic to the Pacific and you know the implication on the rest of the world”, this is further evidence that this regime is over and bankrupt. The first observation that we can make is that al-Assad is no longer seeking to play up his legitimacy – or the legitimacy of his regime – in terms of the “resistance”, rather he has resorted to raising the slogans of protecting the minorities and secularism. This is a further miscalculation, as al-Assad – and those around him – seems to have forgotten that not only was Hitler secular, but he also came to power by democratic elections! The al-Assad regime represents the worst example in our region in terms of regimes that claim to be secular, not to mention those that pay lip service to protecting minorities. Saddam Hussein was secular, as was Gaddafi, but like al-Assad they were bloodthirsty. As for the Islamists who want to claim that al-Assad is their regional enemy, in reality they have been his primary allies. Some of them remain his allies today, whilst others were allied to him just hours ago! Islamist Iran is al-Assad’s unerring ally, as his Hezbollah and the Shiite Islamist parties of Iraq, whilst Hamas and other Palestinian jihadist groups were allied with him until very recently, as were the Muslim Brotherhood. As for Al Qaeda, al-Assad is their biggest investor, particularly in Iraq!

Therefore, al-Assad’s recent statements tell us that this regime is bankrupt even of arguments, and its end is just around the corner.

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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