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Isn't al-Assad detached from reality? - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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During an interview with German’s Der Spiegel magazine, which was also published by our newspaper last Thursday, Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said “In Damascus I met a president who is perfectly aware of the critical situation. He didn’t seem to be out of touch, but rather self-confident and combative. The president appeared confident that he could win the conflict in Syria militarily.” Is al-Assad truly not out of touch?

Salehi did not stop here, and went on to say “the president is realistic. He does not believe that Syria can be pacified from one day to the next. He assumes that, like in Iraq, there will continue to be additional trouble spots and pockets of opposition.” The fact is that the information that I have heard from regional officials familiar with Syrian affairs is the complete opposite to Salehi’s statements, even if they agree with the Iranian Foreign Minister that al-Assad believes that he can decisively win this conflict militarily.

Well-informed sources have told me that those involved with Syrian affairs have begun to receive numerous messages from officials close to al-Assad. These messages reveal that al-Assad is detached from reality and leading the entire country into chaos. We cannot believe any of his talk about reform or negotiations, for al-Assad – according to these Syrian officials – is completely detached from reality and believes that he will be able to resolve the situation in the country in the near-future. He is committed to continuing the killing until the bitter end. This is the sole thing that those close to al-Assad and Salehi agree upon, particularly after Salehi stated that al-Assad is “confident that he could win the conflict in Syria militarily.”

Talk about al-Assad’s detachment from reality is nothing new, and this was put forward by some who met him immediately following the outbreak of the Syrian revolution. This is also what we heard from some of al-Assad’s own ministers, including some who are personal friends of his, or at least that’s what the tyrant of Damascus believes! Everybody confirms that the man is completely out of touch regarding what is taking place around him, and that he truly believes that there is a universal conspiracy against him. Therefore, he is incapable of seeing the truth and will drag all his allies into the abyss with him. The tyrant of Damascus is like somebody who has fallen into a hole and keeps digging! Informed sources also told me that the Russians – and this is a surprise – informed al-Assad that they cannot continue supporting him in this endless manner, and that they are no longer able to bear all the losses and difficulties that they are facing!

Here, one might say: why are we talking about al-Assad’s detachment from reality at this juncture, whether this comes from officials close to him or Russian nervousness? The answer is simple, and that is that we are beginning to approach the final stages of the US presidential elections. This is not to mention the developments that have taken place on the Turkish side, with Ankara now being in a state of war with al-Assad. Arab observers will also be aware of Arab movement on different levels in this regard. This means that everybody has begun to sense that something is imminent on the Syrian scene, perhaps not today or tomorrow, but certainly in a matter of months!

Therefore, there can be no doubt that al-Assad has indeed lost his senses, and the evidence of this is the daily criminal escalation on the ground in Syria.

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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