Thursday, November 10, 2005

"We Must Fight," Bashar's Speech, Nov. 10 2005

President Asad just gave his speech to the nation at the University of Damascus. It was tougher than anyone could have imagined. It was a declaration of war.

He said that Syria and the region had only two choices: to resist or chaos. Resistance is the least costly option.

We will play the game of Mehlis that they have set out for us – and he stressed that the investigation is but a game – but we will resist the larger plan that “They,” America, has set out for us.

In the end we are going to win, even if this struggle lasts a long time.

“President Bashar,” he said, “will not bow his head to anyone in the world.”

For years the strategy of America has been to insist that either Syria” kill itself” or “we will kill you.” It is not a real choice, he insisted.

President Asad introduced these fighting words by explaining that “this is an attack on our national identity and values” as Arabs. They want to destroy our Arab identity as they destroyed Iraq’s Arab identity. They call Arabism and nationalism a racist ideology, but it has nothing to do with race. It is about a shared history, a desire to cooperate, shared interests, a shared language and past. Syria is a mosaic of peoples and religions – each one partakes in this Arab culture and history. It is not racist. They want to destroy our identity, divide us, and subjugate us.

He explained that America’s strategy would be to try to separate the Syrian people from the state. They will attack my reputation and try to denigrate the government accusing us of making mistakes and being weak, but there was no correct way to respond to this American plan, which is designed to destroy us and which is built in the interests of Israel.

He called on the Syrian people to stick together as one family. He explained that some countries of the region fall apart and shatter when they confront external pressure – in a reference to Iraq. Others will find more solidarity and pull together. Syria will pull together and find itself stronger as a result of this foreign attack.

He explained that when a smaller and weaker person is confronted by a big bully, the smaller person tries to move away and avoid conflict, as did Syria over the last several years. Then the bully follows the smaller person to attack him again. The small guy retreats to his house among his family members. But the bully pursues him to his home and begins to attack his family, one by one. This leaves the smaller person with no choice but to fight.

President Asad made the simile between his own self and family and the nation and Syrian family very clear. He implied that they must stick together as a family and fight.

He then set out very briefly an agenda for internal reform claiming that the government would open up greater dialog with the people and be more transparent so that the Syrians will understand what is going on.

He spoke specifically about the Kurdish issue, and said they would get their nationality. He referred to the recommendations of June’s Baath Party Congress as bold and courageous. He said they would be pushed through the political process.

He said almost nothing about how Syria would deal with the Mehlis investigation other than that it would “play the game.”

He explained that some Syrians would repeat the foreign criticisms, attacking the government and Syria when the foreign press did. He explained that this would be a sign that they were agents of the West. He was referring to the Syrian opposition and made it clear that they will be attacked as traitors if they try to divide the nation. He called on the young generation to build its future and not to give into despair or apathy. He said nervousness is natural and good if it leads to hard work and awareness. But getting scared is bad. Syrians will not give into fear. They will be strong and rise to the foreign challenges that confront them.

He explained that Syria is in a great battle, not just to protect itself but to protect the entire region. America will go after each Arab country one by one. The Arabs should stand together to avoid being divided. They must resist this overarching plan to destroy them, erase their identity, and undermine their unity.

My mother-in-law
called after the speech to say how excited she was and that Syria had no option but to fight. My wife is of the opposite view. She is filled with anxiety and wonders how little Syria can take on the world. She foresees very dark days ahead for her country. "Thank God we are going back to America," she allowed. A businessman from Deir az-Zor just called to ask me what I thought. He said he never expected such a tough speech. "It was very hard," he said. He had wanted Syria to get with the program to cooperate with the West and go through "radical change from top to bottom," opening up the economy and getting rid of the security state and corruption. Not much likelihood of that now.


At 11/10/2005 05:52:00 AM, Blogger Hashem said...

Well Done! Really well done, Bashar Al-Assad. He has just put the nation on a war path. It wasn't enough for him that Syria paid the price for his father's mistakes, now he it's his turn! I must say, I was shocked! I know he is an idiot, but never in my life did I think he is that stupid! He insulted everyone starting with the Syrian people then going over to Iraq then Lebanon, then everyone else. He is clearly saying he doesn't want to cooperate with the UN commission, further showing his guilt. He is preparing Syrian public opinion . What an insult, does he think Syrians are that stupid? He would rather see the country go down for the sake of a few of his cronies.

This guy has been the biggest insult to Syrians and Arabs.

Joshua, is this the regime you support? Is this the man you want to stay in power? Now I understand why you did not sign your name in the friendsofsyria list, since your friend is truly this idiot and a joke of a president. A criminal who is hiding behind a human shield of 18Million innocent people. You are not a friend of Syrians.
Well done Joshua, well done....

God help us from Bashar (before even we get to Bush!)


At 11/10/2005 07:56:00 AM, Blogger Innocent_Criminal said...

Cant talk much but i am shocked. Can it be just big words with no action behind it? or are we getting readyyyyyy tttoooo ruuummmblle

At 11/10/2005 07:56:00 AM, Blogger EHSANI2 said...

As I wrote earlier, Syria's information minister had already given a hint of what was to come from Bashar early this week when he said "The pressure against Syria is due to its rejection of occupation, aggression and hegemony policies in this region and in any part of the world". This was his statement following the full cabinet meeting on Tuesday. Bashar's speech essentially confirmed this sentiment, and more.

But Why is Bashar doing this? Is he a crazy lunatic? Why can't he just hand in members of his close circle and save himself and his country?

In my humble opinion, the answer is clear.

To suggest that President Bashar was not party to the decision making process that resulted in the Harriri assasiniation is naive and not credible.
Anyone that understands how Syria works knows how extreme the level of centralized decision making is. Indeed, during the Presidency of the late Hafez Assad it was rumoured that files containing the appointments of University professors used to lie on his desk for years before they found their way to his signiture approvals. Does anyone really think that even if Asef or Maher had ordered the assasination, Bashar had somehow no knowledge of it? Logic would dictate otherwise. Once you acknowledge this near certainty scenario, you will start to have little trouble understanding Bashar's speech. More specifically, Bashar knows that the real ultimate target of this investigation may very well end at his doorstep. He knows that Mehlis knows a lot more than he is saying in public. Bashar also knows that handing in Asef or even Maher is not the end game. In game theory (prisoner's dilemma), the group always win if they are not seperated from each other. If you isolate them, chances of one or two of them cooperating contains huge risks for those who decide not to cooperate. It is clear that the group has decided to stick together just as game theory predicts they should. Please note how many times he uses the word "stick together" .

The President is willing to take down the whole country with him hoping that this will mobilize Arab support that will try to avoid chaos.
Syria and the region is about to enter a very dark tunnel indeed.

At 11/10/2005 08:15:00 AM, Blogger U Know Who said...

Welcome to Propaganda Central.

At 11/10/2005 08:16:00 AM, Blogger U Know Who said...

I wonder who is really writing these negative comments?

At 11/10/2005 09:17:00 AM, Blogger Joseph ALi Mohammed said...

I hope France and America will not play the Iraqi game again: 13 years of Sanctions, killing quietly 2 million Iraqis while still subjecting them to the brutality of the Saddam Regime at the same time, and then move in to create the chaos and more killings among Iraqis themselves.

I wish that the West will just send one or two missiles, killing the heads of the Assad family fast and easy. That will end all the game, and really "liberate" 17 millions if that what the West really wants or pretend to want!


At 11/10/2005 09:26:00 AM, Blogger Ausamaa said...

It is a tough time but with full sincerity: WELL DONE and THANK YOU BASHAR.

I guess that does for all those smart lebanese and know-it-all-Chalabi-style-expersts on the Syrian "regime" who have been enlightening us with their self-decieving reports that Syria has worked out a deal with the Bush Administration.... You can not blame them, they mistook Bashar and Syrians for the usual Lebanese shirt changers.

And those experts who saw the speech as a war decleration (maybe they are deviously trying to stir Dubbya up a little bit more), missed the fact that Bashar still kept the door open to self-respecting and dignefied dialouge despite correctly acknowledging that such a dialouge is fruitless as the Agenda authors will keep squeezing no matter how "good" Syria acts. But as the saying goes: the Blind see only what they Blind wants to see. And if the Blind is not only sightless, has a cash price and has a hidden moscheavious Agenda, then what better can Syria and the Arabs expect from them.

This the true Syria and the true Syrian people, and to hell with "acommodating" anyone at the expense of national degnity and self respect.

Dubbya has put Syria in a corner by stupidly believing that he can dictate his wishes upon the world. However, I am not sure wether Bashar speech will "Help" bring Dubbya and his administration back to reality or wether it will give him fits and make him call Rummy to dig up the Pentagons "contingency" plans against Syria.

Either case, Dubbya will loose. He will either merely loose face, or he will opt for the bigger loss of the "Greater Middle East". For those eslf-declared realists ready to jump on Syria's case for "miscalculation", "policy mistakes" and "immaturity", I only urge them to examine Bush policies; as far as every one knows, Al Qaida was a ghost concept in Afghanistan, now it is every including Iraq, Saudi, Amman and God knowswhere next, thanks of course to the "well considered policies and actions" of George W. Bush who has proven to be no more than an ignorant sole being led by nose by anti Arab elements within his own administration. We know his Agenda and we know his intentions. The US people know better than some Arab intelectuals as the US polls and ratings are indicating. If has cheated his own people and they are now bashing him for it now, why should we Arabs believe him and cheer him up??

Finally, thank you President Bashar, maybe we suffer, and maybe we pay a heavy price, but at least our children and grand children will be proud of being Arab Syrians. All this apart from the fact that this is the only language the other side understands which is very crucial at this point of time when Syria's people and roll is wanted as a prelude to everything else in the now "beloved" Greater Middle East.

Thank you President Bashar, You spoke for Syria and the Arabs at a time when such a type of speech is needed. The cost maybe high, but so is the price of our maintaing dignity and our self respect as we did throughout history. This is not bravado, this is our destiny as a proud and wronged nation in a a time when the world is sitting at the mercy of a manupilated lunatic called the current US administration who does not wish us any good.

At 11/10/2005 09:29:00 AM, Blogger O.D.M said...

Bashar's words basically meant: "We will cooperate, but..."

This means he will get some time, but...

Arabism my a$$, no longer works. Anything Arabic is terrorist nowadays unfortunately. Bashar should have just developed a scenario in which he comes up with who killed Harriri before Mehlis and the little dwarfs. Evidence is very easy to come up with...and you can always find a couple of generals that you can attribute them to the murder and just throw in jail.

At 11/10/2005 09:48:00 AM, Blogger EHSANI2 said...


You are a perfect target and case study for Bashar and his strategy. Turn the attention away from the Harriri investigation to a senseless attack against Bush and America. You conveniently avoid talking about this subject and instead attempt to sell us the fact that you have more dignity, honor than the rest of us who dissagree with this regim's policies. Please spare us this nonsense. You sound like the s0called saloon communists. Comforatble at their beuatiful homes and cocktail parties but want to shove communism down the throats of the masses that have none.
You say to hell with accomodation and hello national dignity and self respect. Sir, i would like to see you having self respect when you earn $100 a month, have four kids, have no chance to get out of a country that faces an international roller coaster ahead of it. You of course don't care. Slogan and big words all you have been taught. Repeat and blindly believe is all you can muster. You are yet to answer the question:
IF you were accused of murdering your neighbor, would you be afraid to go down to the police station? You would hire the best lawyers money can find, gather your evidence, ask for the world's Tv cameras and simply ask Mehlis and his evil backers to bring it on. Instaed, all you do is attack the west, W.Bush and France. What a disgrace.

At 11/10/2005 09:49:00 AM, Blogger Joseph ALi Mohammed said...

That Mukhabarat COlonel, so called Ausama above is trying his best to be a genuine ass hole!

Don't try. Be yourself. Your being an ass hole is evident!

At 11/10/2005 10:34:00 AM, Blogger Ausamaa said...

Dear ODM, Joseph Ali Mohammed aka JAM,

Harriri assasination, and Harriri investigation??? Are you serious ?? And why the heck is Hariri's death (whome the Lebanese murdered fifty times a day ever since he came to power) so important when Yasser Arafat or Rashid Karami, or King Faisal, or many more important others is not?? Why this assaniation has taken such a "global, i.e. US led Security Council" importance when the assasination of the Palestinian people is a day-in-day out common event with the esteemed tender-hearted Chirac and the God-fearing Bush closing thier eyes? Come on guys? Harriri??!! He listened to Syria when it asked him to renew to Lahoud, so why the heck should Syria kill him? Was he not called the Ali Baba of Lebanon by his current "sarrogates" who are now so eager to find the truth about who killed him????
If you want to let your hatered of Syria, and the "regime" in Damascus overcome you emotionally and psychologically, fine. But give your brains and common sense a chance.
Besides, the great Sherlok Holmes tried his best to prove Syria killed al Harriri, but came back sounding like a the old neighberhood barber with his story telling and hearsay. If on the other hand you have some information that the general public does not know about who killed Harriri, email it Mehlis and get the thing over with. Otherwise, let the Syrian people sleep peacefully untill the "truth" is known.
Do you really believe all this hoopla by the US Administration and the all-of-a-sudden-truth seeking Lebanese politicians is really for the sake of Harriri or little Lebanon??? If so, I have a tramway in Cairo that I want to sell you. Similar to the tramyay Chalabi sold Dubbya in Baghdad..

P.S. Interesting that hours after the Assad speach, there is no comments in the Israeli newspaper sites on it yet.

At 11/10/2005 10:44:00 AM, Blogger yaman said...

This is terrible.

Whether Assad actually believes he has any chance of going to war with any Western entity, or he's blowing hot air to signal to America that he won't give in to pressure (knowing, of course, that at this point an American invasion is unlikely), is crucial in understanding this man.

In other words, he has either just commit suicide for the nation or has cleverly saved himself.

However, though Assad and his regime may be willing to fight (they have the most to lose after all), I'm not really sure what the general Syrian populace is thinking. I doubt that they're eager to go to war with America, though. What sense do you have Mr Landis?


Upon further thought, its pretty clear that Syria has no military capability comparable to the United States. The regime can in no way survive a war. Its impossible, and one would hope, after the Iraq "example,"that that would be fairly clear.

This is a political move, a symbol of Arab machismo to the Syrian and Arab world, and an indication to the West and the UN that the Syrians will cooperate--BUT, they will not be appeasers.

In other words, Syria is listening, but America does not have a free hand.

Or maybe I'm being overly optimistic.

Not another war?

At 11/10/2005 10:54:00 AM, Blogger Nur-al-Cubicle said...

Events in Jordan:

Syrian filmmaker Mustafa Al Akkad was wounded by the blast at the Radisson SAS in Amman. Tragically, he lost his daughter, Rima, in the explosion which struck the Philadelphia ballroom during a wedding reception for Ashraf Mohamed Al-Akhras and bride Nadia Al-Alami. They were both wounded and both lost their parents.

At 11/10/2005 11:41:00 AM, Blogger YM said...

I was a bit surprised that you left out in your comment all reference to Assad's direct insults addressed to the Lebanese people. He insulted our prime minister, whom he named specifically and without any titles before calling him "a slave to a slave" he threatened to continue to interfere in our country's politics.. He even stated the he left Lebanon in order to avoid interfering with our elections and the result was not satisfactory to him !!(The ottomans were more careful when referring to their protectorates!) And I only listed the blunt uncamouflaged insults.. His speech was teeming with threats and I don't hink it would be hyperbolic to say that it was indeed a declaration of war. While you did not state that you were providing a complete translation, it was clear that you were providing a synopsis of the speech .. Academically speaking that synopsis was incomplete and dare I say, somewhat biased.
This being said, I do want to extend my sympathies to the syrian people for having to suffer such an irresponsible, angry and short-sighted creature for president. How long will they continue to buy these fake promises of arabism and sacrifce for the palestinian cause at the expense of their own livelihood and future. What dignity is Assad talking baout? His entire nation lacks respect and dignity thanks to his and his father's deeds. We have seen their army soldiers during their "dignified" occupation of Lebanon: you could bribe the wretched soldier with 6 loaves of bread. They were paid miserably and erratically.. they never got to visit their families and most of them could barely spell their names.. and they represented the young generation of their country!! Used and abused as peons in the Assad mafiosi empire.. The presence of syria in Lebanon had one and only goal: corrupt and be corrupt.. enrich a few and enslave many..
Are ordinary syrians really satisfied with eternal third worldism, mediocre economy, corruption, poor education, outdated and antequated industry, elitist health care and isolation? DOn't they want a better future for their children? Don't they dream of freedom of expression? When will they express their anger? Every syrian citizen today ought to be ashamed of the performance of their so-called president. It is time to get mad and hit the streets.Syrians deserve better!

At 11/10/2005 12:49:00 PM, Blogger EngineeringChange said...

Does anyone have a link to the speech??

My initial reaction is that I hate feeling like a pawn in someone else's game--whether it is Bush's or Bashar's game.

And I bet John Bolton was peeing in his pants with glee. This is looking more and more like Iraq....

I only wish Bashar and his 'adviser's are smart and are acting in the nation's best interests not their own self-interest.

But I don't have much confidence that is the case.

At 11/10/2005 01:08:00 PM, Blogger adonis syria said...

when bashar think that these obsolete slogans still working is an another proof of his stupidity.They are not more than criminals and thieves,they killed 100 000 syrians and have stolen billions of US $ under the excuse of the struggle against zionism and imperialism,the victim is infinitely this poor syrian people.He and his familly are the biggest threat to Syria.

At 11/10/2005 01:25:00 PM, Blogger EHSANI2 said...

Bashar had no option. He was pushed into a corner with his back to the wall. His response is not surprising. Once he starts cooperating the way everyone expected him to, he would effectively have handed over his entire Government to Mehlis. That slippery slope could have ended up with Mehlis asking for Bashar's personal files and closets. Maher controls the Tanks division. He has the ultimate control over security. Now that the decision is made, Bashar has invited the International Community to bring it on. If they impose economic sanctions, he can blame them for destroying his country. If they attack, he will unleash his surrogates all over the region and will effectivelu light the region in flames as he goes down. We can criticise him all we want, but this was the only hand he was given to play. The ball is now in the Bush/Chirac court. The average Syrian citizen will feel the brunt of all this. Then again, what is new? The poor and powerless always do and always will.

At 11/14/2005 09:57:00 PM, Blogger Luluwatbarada said...

Can anyone please verify with Anthony Shadid what law was Minister Shaaban refering to when she said she pled with the Late President Assad to revise a law when she was 16 that allowed her to attend college. I was left with the impression that women were not allowed to attend universities before that date. I know for a fact that Syrian women did graduate from Damascus University 52 years ago, a privilidge that was not extended to many women in the west.


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