Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

The only game that al-Assad understands - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
Select Page

US President Barack Obama warned the tyrant of Damascus, saying “if you make the tragic mistake of using chemical weapons there will be consequences.” However Bashar al-Assad does not understand such language, for until now more than 40,000 Syrians have been killed, whilst his hands are stained with their blood, and so he is unconcerned about meaningless televised words.

Al-Assad’s crimes surpass all the crimes that have been committed in our region, historically and in modern times, whilst the danger that he represents increases day by day, particularly as his downfall is imminent. So here we see Arab League Secretary-General saying that al-Assad’s ouster “could happen at any time”, and that the situation on the ground “clearly shows that the Syrian opposition is making political and military gains” adding that “the battle is now raging in Damascus.” So the tyrant is under siege, whilst his regime is crumbling and his control of the capital – rather than Syria as a whole – is slipping. In addition to this, we now see official Syrian Foreign Ministry spokesman, Jihad al-Maqdisi, defecting, or at least taking the decision to flee. Al-Maqdisi is the mouthpiece of the tyrant, and I met him by chance in one of London’s streets just weeks before he was appointed Syrian foreign ministry spokesman. He stopped me and said “we read your articles, and we know you and are monitoring you.” I was accompanied by an intelligent companion, who said “beware!” However al-Maqdisi has now left al-Assad, which is something that Gaddafi’s spokesman did not do, even after the death of the tyrant. This indicates that al-Assad’s inner circle is no longer coherent, particularly in light of the noticeable silence from Bouthaina Shaaban, Walid Mualem, Farouk al-Sharaa and the arrogant Faisal al-Miqdad.

The issue does not stop here, for flights to Damascus have been put on hold and the UN has suspended its operations in Syria and withdrawn its non-essential personnel, as has the European Union mission. This tell us that the al-Assad regime is crumbling and that its collapse is imminent; this also means that al-Assad is closer – more than any time before – to using chemical weapons, despite the US and European warnings. What we must pay attention to here, and this is something that we have repeatedly referred to, is that the only thing that al-Assad has yet to do, with regards to the list of threats that he made, is to use chemical weapons. This tells us that he will not hesitate to use such weapons. Therefore the only game that al-Assad and his gang understands is the game of power, and if al-Assad and his gang heard US President Obama say clearly: “stop, and you have three days or less to step down otherwise a coalition of the willing will take action to eradicate you” then at this point the criminal of Damascus will yield, whilst his gang will think about the consequences of their actions. Without such firm language, al-Assad will neither listen nor stop his crimes, including the use of chemical weapons. So what we must remember here is that al-Assad is on a suicide run, the victims of which will be greater than anyone can imagine!

Therefore, what President Obama must understand is that al-Assad’s ouster is guaranteed, and this will take place faster than expected, however the price of his ouster will be horrifying, in terms of the political, security and human cost, particularly if we consider the immediate post-Assad period, where there will be no international presence [in Syria]. Therefore if the international community does not take action to guarantee the manner in which al-Assad is toppled, and the immediate post-Assad period, then this will have terrible consequences. This is not a pessimistic reading of the situation, but a warning; al-Assad’s end must come about in the expected and studied manner, otherwise we will be facing an unprecedented disaster!

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.

More Posts