With the rising problem with Iran, the upcoming 8/22 deadline on nuclear matters, and what seems like inevitable wars in the Middle East I want to
clarify one of the men in the region who can help shape the region for better or for worse. Is he a friend or is he an enemy of our security or our
friends security (Israel).
Bashar Al-Asad, he is the son of the late Hafiz Al-Asad, Syrians last President. Bashar become an heir to his fathers position after his brother,
Basil died in a car accident. Bashar was summond from England where he studied medicine to take over his brothers position.
Bashar ran as a anti-corruption party, when he assumed the office of President after his fathers passing, he was seen by the West to be good for the
Middle East, that he along with our Jordan friends, who are more secular and free thinking, would procede with progress and reforms. The main party
in Syria is the Baath party, they did not take some of Bashar's changes lightely, stalling his career and was pushed into a position where he pretty
much kept the status quo that existed before his father died.
How could a man who the west though promising, he was educated in English schools, he had a great plan of easing the police state style governments
end up an enemy of our country?
When he assumed office he released the politcal prisioner long held by his party, restrictions on the press, esspecially international where eased and
allowed for more critisism of the government to be heard.
It is sometimes viewed that the general mess in the Middle East is what prohibits any one from actually developing correctly and to allow progress to
be made. Because Syria has had problems with Israel in the past they are not friends, and because of Israels war with Lebanon, Syria has had troops
there until they where ordered home last year. Bashar tried to make progress, which led to unrest, which eventually led to Bashar resorting to the
same tactics as his father. Political motivated arrest where made, though much smaller in scale, and he resumed a tough anti-Israel stance.
Assad's Foriegn Relations.
Assad's stance on Israel is not pure hate for Jews, but it would seem a hate for the way Israel conducts it's self in the Middle East. Assad showed
his support for other religions by welcoming Pope John Paul II, saying that the Zionist of Israel are against both Islam and Christianity.
Assad was also opposed to Bush's plan to invade Iraq, which may have been what sparked the bad tension between Washington and Damascus. Even though
Iraq and Syria have never been on friendly terms with eachother, Syria was still against any American involvment in the region. That was stacked with
America and Israel around the same time accusing Assad of harbouring Hezbollah terrorist, and the assassination of the former Lebanese Prime Minister
which led to Syria withdrawing from Lebanon, was also bad for Western relations. Things eally got hot in July 2006 after Hammas kidnapped two Israeli
soldiers, Israel did a fly by of jets over Assad's house.
To make things worse, Assad is placing himself on the side of Iran in a what appears to be a chess game involving real innocent people. Assad has
defended Hezbollah, Irans nuclear projects, signed a military defense pact with Iran, declared Israel a Zionist state, declared Hezbollah a victor
over Israel in the Lebanon crisis and finally named Israel an enemy that you cannot broker with. These comments have led to several western countries
cutting ties with Syria.
I hope this has shown people on ATS what Bashar Al-Assad is like, that he is not a crazy loon like American press makes the Iranin president out to
be, but a smart intelectual progressive who appears to be defending his country from the slander of the west. His actions have become more bold as he
has assumed a new level of respect from his generals for his actions of standing up to the West, while allienating himself from the outside world, and
setting his place in the war should America procede and attack Iran over it's nuclear institutions.