by Janice Kortkamp
“You’re supporting Bashar al-Assad of Syria??? He’s a monster – a brutal dictator who’s gassing and killing his own people!”
Sigh. Do I really? Truth is no, because I’m not an idiot.
Actually I support a leader whom I’ve followed daily for over six years in an attempt to ascertain his character, discern his policies, and judge his actions. Keep in mind, the US supports (as of 2015) 36 of the 49 governments in the world classified as “dictatorships” and truth be told, whether a ruler was called a king or dictator, most countries throughout history have been led by dictators.
Frankly, it’s not anyone’s business except Syrians who their leader is unless that leader is invading other countries which President Assad has never done. And don’t pretend the US gives a darn about human rights abuses while we support the medieval and brutal “Kingdom” of “Saudi” Arabia and the insanely hypocritical, murderous government of Israel. Not to mention America’s own track record of killing whole countries by wars based on lies; punishing entire populations with sanctions; and our continual ‘awkward’ mass murder of innocent civilians with our carpet bombings and drone strikes. Give me a break.
So allow me please to respond the accusation of ‘supporting a brutal dictator’ with facts and reality…
IS PRESIDENT ASSAD A DICTATOR?
It’s interesting that the definition of the word varies between Google and Merriam-Webster. Google says a dictator is: “a ruler with total power over a country, typically one who has obtained power by force.” The Merriam-Webster dictionary though says, “1a : a person granted absolute emergency power especially, history : one appointed by the senate (see senate sense 1a) of ancient Rome. b : one holding complete autocratic control : a person with unlimited governmental power.”
Bashar al-Assad did not obtain his position through force (the transition of power was peaceful); his father, Hafez al-Assad, did in a bloodless military coup after Syria had experienced several coups over the decades (the CIA attempted its first coup to take control of Syria in 1949). Bashar al-Assad assumed leadership in 2000 after the death of his father.
President Bashar has described Syria in interviews as a hybrid of dictatorship with constitutional, democratic structures. Syria has had a constitution since the late 1920’s and was a founding nation of the United Nations. The Constitution was updated and ratified by popular vote in 2012. It has a popularly elected parliament.
In January of 2012, a poll done by The Doha Debates and funded by Qatar (who has been supporting the opposition and many terrorist groups in Syria over the war) showed that the majority of Syrians living in the country wanted Assad to stay in power.
Bashar al-Assad has always maintained that his future should only be decided by the Syrian people through the ballot box – elections in other words – not by foreign governments. In June of 2014, in spite of the fact that the war was raging and the government’s future was precarious (this was before Russia came into the conflict), Syria held its first multi-candidate presidential elections since 1963. The results were overwhelmingly in support of President Assad. The results were immediately dismissed by western governments and media. In fact BEFORE the election, Secretary of State John Kerry called it “a fraud on democracy, on the Syrian people and on the world.” The United Nations-Arab League envoy at the time, Lakhdar Brahimi criticized the idea of elections saying, “it would hamper prospects for a political solution that the country so urgently needs.” Fascinating that the UN envoy would declare that elections would hamper a political solution no?
Were those elections a fraud? The best evidence that they weren’t came from Lebanon where Syrians voted with the same results as in Syria, waiting for many hours in the hot sun to get their chance to show support for their leader. The main stream media tried its best to either ignore the spectacle of the almost 2km long line of voters or if they did cover it they ‘explained’ that the people in Lebanon were voting out of fear of the ‘regime’. This was total fabrication as there is no Syrian Army or secret police in Beirut and the people were enthusiastic and often celebratory.
The reason why the US and it’s international partner in crime, it’s usually submissive little sidekick called the UN, dismissed the elections was because the voting proved them wrong. Utterly, completely wrong in their endless slander and propaganda against the legitimate leader of the sovereign nation of Syria. The true frauds were revealed: the US and allies, their lies, and their disastrous attempts to take control of Syria.
Truth is President Assad is far less a dictator than the depraved despots the US supports in Saudi Arabia as just one of many examples.
IS PRESIDENT ASSAD GASSING AND KILLING HIS OWN PEOPLE?
This is how propaganda to gain support for war works folks, more so now because of technology than ever before. It’s the old, “_________ (insert name here) eats the heads off babies for breakfast” routine but packaged in a more sophisticated way as to not be so obvious to the masses. Then that package is marketed and sold as truth in the form of endlessly repeated sound bites so even the mostly oblivious of the masses will get it into their heads like a mantra. You get your mercenaries to create fake false flag chemical weapons attacks and make staged videos. You lie and keep lying and the more preposterous the lie the more you tell it, yell it, and sell it.
The fact of the matter is President Assad and the Syrian Arab Army – and the allies of Syria – have been fighting hundreds of thousands of terrorists who all share the same violent, intolerant ideology as al Qaeda and ISIS to some extent or another and many of whom are from about 100 other countries, in Syria to wage ‘jihad’. That ideology is abhorrent to most Syrians of all religions and people groups. Syria is historically tolerant and respecting of all religions and ethnicities; it has a secular government and constitution. Particularly under Bashar al-Assad, the country was empowering women who have basically equal rights and can wear what they wish whether short shorts and tank tops or burkas or anything in between. It was opening up to the world as the internet came in and floods of international tourists as well.
Here is an excerpt from an article in Catholic World Report called “ISIS, Assad, and What the West is Missing About Syria” :
“Msgr. Giuseppe Nazzaro, former apostolic visitor to Aleppo and former Custodian of the Holy Land, had this to say: ‘[Assad] opened the country up to foreign trade, to tourism within the country and from abroad, to freedom of movement and of education for both men and women. Before the protests started, the number of women in the professional world had been constantly increasing, the university was open to all, and there was no discrimination on the basis of sex. The country was at peace, prosperity was on the rise, and human rights were respected. A common home and fatherland to many ethnicities and 23 different religious groups, Syria has always been a place where all were free to believe and live out their creed, all relationships were characterized by mutual respect. The freedom that is purportedly being brought to us by the rebels is precisely what this rebellion has taken away from us.’”
So, no, Bashar al-Assad is not a monster. He is not a brutal dictator. He is a leader, and a very good one at that. He’s not a demi-god or perfect either but a human being who has risen to an extraordinary challenge. One of the compliments of President Bashar I’ve heard all over Syria is appreciation that he and his family stayed. He was offered a blank check to leave at the beginning by a Gulf country on an errand from the US, but he and his wife (who is beloved in Syria) and their children continued to live in their residential home (not a fortress or palace), drive themselves around in their own cars without security entourages, and send their children to schools that were targeted, as so many were, by US backed terrorist groups’ mortars and rockets. He is, in my opinion, that rare bird of benign dictators whose priorities are:
1) Fighting terrorism – defending his country and people from the head-chopping thugs the US so tongue-in-cheekily refers to as “moderates” and “freedom fighters”;
2) Protecting the sovereignty and independence of Syria from other nations, particularly the US, who want to turn it into a weak, puppet state that will submit to our dictates no matter how much our dictates would hurt the future of Syria and the Syrian people;
3) All while trying to battle corruption that’s become exaggerated over the war and punishing US/western sanctions that, added with the black market and battered war time economy, make rebuilding infrastructure and prosperity exceedingly difficult.
THE BOTTOM LINE OF THE BOTTOM LINE
As I said at the beginning, it’s none of my business who leads Syria. Having spent time with Syrians I have no doubt that a leader could never stay in power long against their wishes. It’s their country and belongs to no one else. America, get the hell out of Syria. You too, Turkey. You too, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the UK, France, Australia, Norway, Canada and all the rest of you illegal aliens.
As I’ve said before … Am I an “Assad apologist”? NO! A leader who hasn’t invaded any country, who has the support of the great majority of his people, who has stood with them throughout the most severe trial, who fights terrorists, who protects people of all religions and atheists of no religion, who empowers women, and who offers gracious hospitality to all people of good-will needs no apologists.