|Assad addressing supporters at Opera House in Damascus today|
What was supposed to be President Bashar al-Assad’s national address outlining a roadmap to peace in Syria, transmuted today into a war cry.
Pending follow-up posts, here are snippets I translated from his speech at the Opera House in Damascus:
onslaught on Syria is unlike anything else the region has seen.
describe the conflict as one between regime and opposition is incorrect. Defined
within the compass, the conflict is between the nation and its enemies -- between
the people and the killers and criminals.
terrorists have killed the innocents, wrecked the infrastructure, destroyed
schools, deprived people of medicine and bread and cut off water and power
revolution must have thought. Who knows what the thought of this supposed
revolution is? A revolution needs leadership. Where are the leaders? The insurgents?
They are no more than a bunch of criminals.
are fighting against Takfiris
espousing the ideology of al-Qaeda. They are at the forefront of the offensive.
The armed rebels were shoved back to the rear lines to serve as their Takfiri lackeys.
are fighting against these terrorists from al-Qaeda. Most of them are not
Syrian... The West didn’t want them in their midst and so sent them to Syria
instead. We have to close ranks and fight them.
countries… have refused to cower before the West and said Syria alone must
decide its fate. I am referring to Russia, China, BRICS, Iran and many others. We
salute them all and we thank them for their backing and support.
of a solution has three dimensions: internal, regional and international. On
the internal front, reform without security is unattainable. We were never
against a political solution. If someone wants to marry but doesn’t find a
spouse, would you say that person wants to remain single? We were open to
dialogue but found no partner. Are we expected to enter into a dialogues with
gangs based abroad? We would rather talk to the masters, not their slaves.
only believe in a Syrian-led dialogue. Where the regional countries are
concerned, they know that our victory is their end. Internationally, the West is
the founding father of colonialism and partition. There
are those who seek to partition Syria and weaken it. But Syria is stronger...
and will remain sovereign... and this is what upsets the West.
- Does all this mean we have no interlocutors? It simply means, we
won’t negotiate with any disloyal side or anyone who took up arms. But we
believe in a Syrian-led dialogue that would provide a solution to the crisis
through a series of steps, namely:
- A commitment by outside powers to stop funding and arming terrorist groups
- The army would then cease military operations, while reserving the right to defend state interests
- A mechanism to control the borders
- The government would then contact Syrian individuals and political parties to engage in an open national dialogue
- The conference would try to establish a national charter that would be put to a referendum, leading to parliamentary elections and a new government. The new government would sponsor a national reconciliation process, issue a general amnesty and begin the reconstruction
- No cessation of the fight against terrorism throughout the process