Sunday, January 6, 2013

Assad Defiant in Speech to Syrian People

‘Will Not Negotiate with Terrorists’
By Nader Uskowi

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad proposed a plan on Sunday to resolve the country’s 21-month uprising with a new constitution and cabinet. In his hourlong speech, Assad did not acknowledge the advances by the rebels fighting against him nor did he accept any responsibility or offer any apologies or regrets over tens of thousands of casualties caused by his military crackdown of the opposition movement. He also ruled out talks with the opposition and ignored its central demand that he step down. (New York Times, 6 January)

In his first public speech since June 2012, he said the movement against him was driven by “murderous criminals” and foreign-financed terrorists, and all but rejected international efforts to broker a compromise. His speech came a week after UN-Arab League peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi visited Damascus in a push to have the government and the opposition negotiate a solution to the conflict.
“Everyone who comes to Syria knows that Syria accepts advice but not orders,” Assad said. “Who should we negotiate with — terrorists?” He added. “We will negotiate with their masters.” (NYT, 6 December)
There were no immediate comments from Mr. Brahimi if based on what Assad said should he continue with his mission.
Photo credit: President Bashar al-Assad of Syria spoke at the Opera House in Damascus. Sunday 6 January 2013. (Reuters/NYT)


Mark Pyruz said...

Rather than rely on what the editors of the New York Times found wanting in the speech, here's an English rendering of the actual speech by Assad:

Anonymous said...

The Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) is the national official news agency in Syria. It was established in 1965. It is linked to the Ministry of Information and has its headquarters in Damascus.


I'm not a big fan of the NYT's but surly you can't trust Assad's rag....can you???

Is SANA your idea of a Free Press....if so, I'll have to put you on ignore!!!

Mark...why have you become such a coward??? Do you have family that need to get out of Iran before you can speak your true mind???

Anonymous said...

What a sore excuse for a reply...That's no way to hold a discussion with another person. What you're doing is called ad hominem.

Nader Uskowi said...

Mark, what is said in the text of Assad's speech that you believe it must have been carried on this post? What did we miss?

I do agree with the New York Times conclusion that the speech showed not only Assad's defiance but that he has truly lost touch with the realities. He seems not to live in Damascus, but in La La Land! Did you see the video of the gathering, it's a must see! Assad supporters gathered in the city's Opera Hall laughing and cheering and agreeing with their leader of the bright future of their regime. It looked like the old movies we've seen before, except those movies were starring Saddam and Qaddafi!

Anonymous said... --- Jihadist training camps exist in Lebanon

Unknown said...

A regime in trouble must always display an air of detached confidence in its own survival, or it will crumble immediately; you should know this Nader. In this context the speech itself is rational Syrian regime response the current situation. I don't think there is any cause to discount it so sweepingly as you do Nader. Besides any way you look at it, right or wrong, an Islamic system with Sharia Law at its core is the only alternative offered by the opposition in Syria, by their own admission. Don't kid yourself Nader, Syria's diversity will die along with the Assad regime, so it has become a fight for the survival of secularism and the survival of minorities. If it was truly about democracy and freedom the regime would have crumbled more than a year ago and the US would not be hesitating about arming the opposition, or worried about the blow-back that backing Islamists will bring to their own interests in the region, especially after Bengazi. Some objective analysis on this would be useful as the mainstream and state medias already provide all the one-sided reporting needed.

Anonymous said...

Don't kid yourself, Ghadiri, the Syrian dictatorship and police state is going to continue to crumble and will not be missed.

Anonymous said... --- Russia to hold largest naval exercise in its recent history near Syria.

Anonymous said...

US and its puppets had their own usual delusional spin on the speech. The FACT of the matter is that President Assad still enjoys the majority support of his people. The murdering and raping Salafi terrorists are now mostly on the run as they alienate more people with their barbarity. As most of the grown-ups had posted the most remarkable achievement has been the cohesion and bravery of the Syrian army which refuses to bow to US/Zionist wishes. God Bless President Assad and the courage of its defenders. All this psy-ops are now failing and there is less than ZERO chance of the legitimate Syrian government being overthrown.

Nader Uskowi said...


There are so many questions on the composition of the Syrian opposition. But one thing is clear: Assad family dictatorship has gone on for more than 40 years and the country deserves a change. It is troubling to see you arguing for the maintenance of decades of dictatorship because you believe in a “secular” government even if it’s a dictatorship. We’ve had Islamist governments replacing secular ones before in this region, and not all the experiments were as terrible as you describe here. In any case, this ancient civilization must pass through a phase of overthrowing dictatorship and find its own answer for governing.

Anonymous said...

why is it the realities are dictated by hegemonic powers, and all puppets will agree with them???.new york times is nothing but a propaganda machine to represent special groups and elites.syria turmoil is orchestrated by west and the usual puppets in the region.terrorism at its best against all sovereign countries in the region.

Unknown said...

It is true that the Syrian regime is illegitimate and it will probably eventually fall, but its just a matter of how much ethnic cleansing will take place once the nominally secular government is disassembled. I don't think it will create a better society, it will be one that will be wracked by constant internal strife and effectively Balkanized. My previous point was that if Assad did not give grandiose speeches seemingly detached from reality, his regime would crumble much faster. Every time he gives such a speech it rallies his die hard supporters around him and gives them some extra belief in the longevity of the regime and the control of the central authority; and so giving such speeches is not a sign of delusion, but rather a calculated tactic. The adulation of the audience is as much a sign of the deep divisions in the country as much as it is a staged photo op; by this I mean that some of his supporters do actually believe they are fighting an existential fight and will follow him to the end as their figurehead, or their only viable leader in a time of war, their last best hope of survival as a minority. However even if Assad stepped down tomorrow, the cycle of violence would only intensify until Syria either breaks up along ethno-sectarian-religious lines, or is wholly dominated by Islamists (who have failed to put forward a plan for post Assad-Syria that doesn't involve some form of Sharia law and/or persecuting minorities under the guise of rooting out Assad supporters), either way it will be a weak state for the foreseeable future as the conflict will simmer on. Maybe after 10 to 20 years Syria can begin to rebuild its shattered infrastructure, if it exists at all. I don't support the Assad regime but I fail to see how the current course taken by the West, Turkey and the Gulf Arab states will improve the situation, unless one looks at the bigger strategic gains for each. The Iranian regime has dug its own grave in Syria and so no love lost for them, but if Syria's demise its going to leave Iran open to military strikes then I think I have every right to be pessimistic about the future of the whole middle east let alone Syria. Democratic struggles that are militarized rarely reach their goal and usually only empower the most extreme elements among the revolutionary forces. Anyway the rest of you who make big claims in their comments would do well to put a name to your statements, and then maybe you would be more inclined to actually research what you write here.

Unknown said...

btw the ancient civilization of Syria is fast getting its archaeological history looted and destroyed. Soon there will be little left, and I know both sides are guilty for the battle damage and perhaps even the looting, but Salafists are known to deliberately destroy historic sites and monuments because of their inherent intolerance, even going to the extent of bulldozing all of Mecca and Medina's ancient buildings and sites. One recent example of this was in northern Mali where Salafi fighters proudly demolished ancient monuments in Timbuktu for the cameras. If you look into the situation in northern Mali and how it has evolved, some stark parallels with the opposition forces in Syria become evident. The MNLA thought they could utilize the Salafists to gain a military victory against the forces of the southern based central government of Mail and declare independence; but instead it was the MNLA that were ultimately defeated by their better armed and funded Salafi former allies after only 2 or 3 months of gaining their desired military victory over the Mali governments forces with their crucial help. Despite the fact that the nomadic Tuareg people and the MNLA had been fighting for an independent Azawad for for decades, their declaration of independence and requests for international recognition to the UN were unceremoniously revoked by the Salfists, who had soundly and swiftly defeated them militarily despite their smaller numbers. Salfists do not care for democracy or civil rights, and are only ever interested in more war and the next battle to spread their ideology. My point is, if you are willing allow Salfists to do most of the tough fighting in Syria, the outcome may well end up being the same as in Northern Mali, they will dominate the opposition forces, even with their relatively small numbers. They will also radicalize others who have already suffered and lost so much in this war, including children, bolstering their numbers while simultaneously prying new recruits away from the more mainstream opposition forces. With continued financial support from the gulf monarchies, they will end up dominating the political arena in Syria. I wish I could say that I was confident that this could not happen in Syria, but I am not. If you are saying that this is a necessary process for Syria to go through, then you can also kiss much of Syria's undiscovered ancient history goodbye, because it will be looted and destroyed before it can even be documented. The same thing is going on in Iran through deliberate official corruption and disdain for all archaeological evidence of non-Shia Islamic related history. My real point is that is does not pay to tolerate or utilize Islamic extremists, however limited their numbers, weather Shia or Sunni, when your ultimate aim is not compatible with theirs.

Nader Uskowi said...

Well said. The danger of fundamentalism in Syria is real and worrisome. Longer the Assad regime clings to power, however, bigger the risk of the fundamentalists and terrorists gaining upper hand.

Anonymous said...

Assad has not been thrown under the bus like some failed predictors try to masturbate their minds with their delusions...

Anonymous said...

Assad gave over one hour speech in the city,s Opera Hall and nobody killed him like it hgappened to A. Lincoln who was killed in a theatre during an amusement.

It shows Assad courage and a misery of the cowards and scoundrels who employ satellite technologies in their attempts to assasinate him..
That last year blast showed coward's attempts to carry out that goal.

Assad who had offer for an asylum decided as a hero to fight against imperialists, who use terrorist for their goals.