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Threats from al-Assad! - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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In early October, the Iranian Fars news agency published a report – attributed to an Arab official – claiming that Bashar al-Assad had told Turkish Foreign Minister [Ahmed Davutoglu] that should any missile fall on Damascus, then within 6 hours he would engulf the entire region in flames! Although the Bashar al-Assad regime later denied this, al-Assad himself has now appeared on the scene to explicitly state this!

In an interview with the British “Sunday Telegraph”, al-Assad said that the western powers risk causing an “earthquake” across the Middle East if they intervene in Syria, adding that his country is “the hub now in this region. It is the fault line, and if you play with the ground you will cause an earthquake.” The Syrian president asked “do you want to see another Afghanistan, or tens of Afghanistans?” adding “any problem in Syria will burn the whole region.”

These comments made by al-Assad are practically the same as the statements previously attributed to him by the Iranian news agency. The Fars news agency previously reported that al-Assad had told the Turkish foreign minister that “if a crazy measure is taken against Damascus, I will not need more than 6 hours to transfer hundreds of rockets and missiles to the Golan Heights to fire them at Tel Aviv.” Fars also reported that al-Assad said that Damascus would call on Hezbollah in Lebanon to launch “an intensive rocket and missile attack on Israel the likes of which the Israeli spy agencies cannot even imagine” adding that “all these events will happen in [the first] three hours, but in the second three hours, Iran will attack US warships in the Persian Gulf, whilst the Shiites in the Gulf will attack European interests, killing Americans and Europeans around the world. The Shiites in the Arab world will become a Fedayeen suicide force attacking every available target, as well as hijacking Middle Eastern airplanes.”

As I said above, there is no difference between the statement that the Iranian news agency attributed to al-Assad, and what the Syrian president himself told a British newspaper. On 8 October, I wrote an editorial commenting on the Iranian news report entitled “A message from al-Assad” in which I said that the statements attributed to al-Assad must be closely examined and viewed as if were a message from the Syrian president to the region [despite the denials from the al-Assad regime]. Today, following al-Assad’s statements to the British newspaper, it is clear that this was truly the case! However the facts confirm – and perhaps this is something that the Syrian intellectuals are aware of – that empty threats of burning the region to the ground and others “will neither nourish nor satisfy hunger” [Surat Al-Ghashiya; Verse 7]. This is something that has been confirmed by the experience of others, for such threats were also made before the US invasion of Iraq, and where is Saddam now? What was Saddam Hussein’s end? Whilst Muammar Gaddafi also repeated the same threats when NATO forces began to move against his own forces who were brutally suppressing the Libyan people in the same manner as the al-Assad forces are suppressing the Syrian people today. Gaddafi threatened to target Europe’s cities, however where is the Libyan leader today? What was Gaddafi’s end? And what an end it was!

Therefore, with the recent fitful statements issued from Damascus, most recently al-Assad’s threats, we can say that the situation in Syria has reached a dangerous turning point today, and the best proof of this is the regime’s emotional statements!

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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