A Defence of President Bashar al-Assad of the Syrian Republic
An alternative opinion on President Assad and the future of Syria.
Assad has been portrayed as brutal and inhumane for shelling the Syrian rebels seeking to overthrow him and some civilians with chemicals filled weapons. The internal strife has continued for nearly two years in his country much to Assad’s frustration. Recently there has been a vast exodus of Syrian refugees to Turkey and Iraq. By contrast there used to be a distinct ancient Christian presence in his country – St Paul was “converted” on the road to Damascus and I believe the Roman and Christian sites of Syria are of great significance for all of us in the world. Of course the hymn speaks of the “Syrian Sea” with real feeling and veneration.
2) Assad – the man and 21st leader of Syria
By training he is an ophthalmic surgeon who practised in London and probably trained there as well. He went to University in Damascus. He left his home and family life and medical practice in London to take the helm legally in Damascus when the clarion call went out. His father who was the previous Syrian President had died without warning and he was summoned to the capital of Syria from Britain to succeed his father. The now ruling President Bashar al-Assad gave up everything to answer this appeal to govern Syria on the sudden death of his father by the Syrian leadership. A measure of Assad’s self-sacrifice and commitment can be seen in the same action and sacrifice of leaving London for Syria by his Arab spouse, (daughter of a cardiologist and retired Diplomat) who joined him in Damascus. She graduated from Kings College, London University and followed a merchant banking career in London.
The whereabouts of their three relatively young sons are not clear but they must be kept secure and safe from the rebellious forces in Syria. Thus Assad comes of Arab descent but also a good medical English pedigree. All doctors abide supposedly by the “Hippocratic Oath” but do not actually swear that oath on the Holy Book. The rest is done by the General Medical Council. Assad did not come to its notice before leaving London for Damascus so far as we know. In summary the President Assad I have described and his graceful and elegant wife deserve at least a fair hearing. They are presently not receiving it. He does stand alone in his actions but the very fact his well-bred spouse has associated with him so closely speaks volumes for his character and acumen. He is on trial in the western media and his wife is his strongest ally and character witness. As a leader Assad has stoutly defended his lawful regime in very trying circumstances. I have written a little on the “so called” war inside Syria and the chemical weaponry that was resorted to by Assad in August 2013 in my Central Asia essay. (Released Kindle 6/9/13).
Chemical weaponry should never be used but apparently Assad authorised the release and firing of such shells. Has he authoritatively denied this? I doubt it. The USA, Britain and France rightly condemn Assad’s chemical attack (localised though it was). The final judgement may have to be at the International Criminal Court in the Hague, Netherlands. That legal process has not yet been put in motion. The result in the Syrian flare up must come first. Assad could have fled Damascus but he was made of sterner stuff. I urge you to consider him a tenacious and bold if overzealous leader who went wrong on August 21st 2013 with that chemical bombardment as threatened leaders can do in that sort of predicament especially in the Arab World. He offers the best hope for a stable Syria when the undemocratic and armed insurrection has finally been quelled and order restored.
The Arabian World has never been very like our world and never will be. The Arabs have a brutal aspect and I do not mean the tyrant Saddam who was diabolical and brutal. Assad took over the reins of office in his Syria and clearly his regime is not democratic. He has barely been in power 10 years. We cannot impose that Westminster system of government on Assad as the rebels also may not have their way by force with his regime under present circumstances. Paradoxically the rebels have wrecked their democratic “hopes” for Syria by their armed revolt if they ever aimed for it. I have to say Assad is the lesser of two evils. No support should be given to the rebels who are very partisan and who are being supplied from somewhere there can be no doubt thereby driving Assad into his foolish and wrongful aggressive use of chemicals. The rebels are prolonging the internal conflict. He will not make that mistake of a chemical attack of any degree again I am sure. Clearly no one in the West will supply or support Assad presently. He will turn to the East inevitably and he may well prevail finally in Syria but there is a high risk of stalemate – even presently that impasse reigns. The West will have to decide in the long run will they parley with Assad or will they always turn up their noses at him? We live in the world of Realpolitik and Syria controls a large land mass close to the trouble spot of Lebanon and Iraq and the engine room of Israel. If Syria is to be broken in half the whole region will be destabilised. Only Assad can take the lead for suppressing the rebellion and reunifying his country. The West should offer moral support to Assad’s regime and technical advice on how to avoid any future Assad lead chemical attacks ever again including neutralising his chemical arms and removing from his control such weapons. Assad will welcome this discreet support on the understanding there must be no repetition of the August 21st 2013 atrocity in Syria. We have to make a judgement whom we work with and whom we do not. Assad is no Saddam. Let us eliminate for good the terrible use of chemicals in warfare in Syria once and for all – that is our bounden duty to the people of Syria and all the Near East. Assad will be rewarding to this attention. I am sure he will co-operate. He is of the West as we note. He is not megalomaniac nor a Stalinist type autocrat whatever else his regime may amount to. At the end of the day we have to “make peace” as well as war and live within the comity of nations above all else.
Mon Dieu restaurez la vrai et sacre vie de la Syrie – nous prions. Merci.