Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Opinion: Assad and Saddam’s Final Days | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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In this photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, Syrian President Bashar Assad speaks at the Opera House in central Damascus, Syria, Sunday, Jan. 6, 2013. (AP Photo/SANA)

Anybody who reads the interview given by Syrian deputy foreign minister Faisal Miqdad with Britain’s Guardian newspaper will immediately recall Saddam Hussein’s final days in power and the approach taken by the Baghdad regime’s officials. They might also realize that the stories and analysis put forward over the past decade propagating the lie of the “resistance” and distorting the reputation of moderate Arab States was cooked up by none other than the Assad regime itself.

In this press interview, Miqdad speaks about colonialism—about Britain and France aiding Al-Qaeda in Syria—and concluded the interview by insulting certain Arab States. This was an approach that the Iraqi officials relied on in the regime’s final days, with a range of leading figures from Ezzat Al-Douri to Taha Yassin Ramadan, and, of course, Mohamed Said Al-Sahhaf, taking part.

Today, the Syrian deputy foreign minister is using precisely the same approach to insult some Arab governments. There is nothing surprising about this, of course, particularly as Miqdad is representing a Ba’athist regime. This, unfortunately, is typical Ba’athist discourse. This discourse of insults is evidence of the extent of the regime’s emotional nature, particularly when it comes from a deputy foreign minister, not another (more junior) official. Even Saddam Hussein’s own foreign minister, Tariq Aziz, never stooped to this level.

Miqdad’s emotionalism did not stop at insults: he went further, claiming that Britain and France are directly and indirectly assisting Al-Qaeda and that European countries are sending Al-Qaeda affiliates into Syria in order to get rid of Assad’s government. He even claimed that Mossad agents are present in Syrian territory, just another indication of how confused he is.

Because of all these faults, the sole thing that Miqdad’s interview can tell us (aside from the fact that Miqdad feels the need to insult other Arab states) is that the Assad regime is under extreme pressure. So at the same time that the regime is talking about an “amnesty,” which is nothing more than a trick, its deputy foreign minister is talking about some kind of cosmic conspiracy involving Europe, the Arab states, Al-Qaeda and even the Israeli Mossad. More than this, Miqdad even claimed that “Syria will no longer be on the map” if Assad is removed from power.

The reality that everybody now believes in—even those skeptical of the Syrian revolution—is that allowing the doomed Assad regime to extend its life represents a genuine threat to the Syrian state and its society. It also represents a threat to the entire region as a whole. Therefore, the best way to save the Syrian state is to deliver a coup de grâce to the Assad regime and not listen to weak delusions and justifications, or allow the tyrant to attempt more tricks and distractions. One year ago, there was no Al-Nusra Front; there was no talk about an Al-Qaeda presence in Iraq, as we hear today. The international community allowing Assad to prolong the conflict is what brought Syria to where it is today. The more we delay burying the worst regime in our region’s history, the greater the price that we will pay.