Syria’s Bashar Assad says he won’t step aside

Atlantic Wire: Syrian President Bashar al-Assad delivered a defiant televised address on Tuesday saying that he will not step down and will not institute new democratic reforms, insisting that unrest in his country is the work of a foreign conspiracy. According to Al-Jazeera’s translations, Assad said that there are no real revolutionaries in his country, just terrorists carrying out a plan that was devised “tens of years ago” to divide Arab countries. Assad also claimed that he still had the support of Syrians and he will only leave office when it is “by the will of the people.”

During the rare 90 minute address, his first speech to the nation in more than six months, Assad also criticized other Arab League governments, which suspended Syria from the League and sent a team of monitors to attempt to oversee a peace plan. Assad says that Arab monarchies telling Syria how to institute democracy is “like a doctor who smokes and recommends to his patient to give up smoking while he, the doctor, has a cigarette in his mouth.”

Assad continued to insist that demonstrations taking place in Syria are merely the work of “terrorists” and “thieves” and that he will continue to hit them with “an iron fist.” However, he claims that “there are no orders for anyone to open fire on any citizen,” despite reports by the U.N. and opposition leaders that well over 5,000 Syrians have been killed by the military since the unrest began last March.

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  1. Wishing to use any and all accusations against Bashar al-Asad, even if out of context, the prevailing narrative would condemn the Syrian president for doing what most nations have done already. Counting only the rebels deaths and not those who support the regime is at the top. We invaded Iraq and Afghanistan in pursuit of terrorism. Based upon politicians’ rhetoric, we are still at war with terrorism–to the point of having our government murder US civilians without trial and placing suspects in indefinite detention. So much for a Constitution. Britain, France, Germany, Italy and others have used extreme force to destroy groups that oppose their policies. But, the narrative is about a terrible dictator (the worse according to Western media sources). If only Syria was more like Yemen or Bahrain or Saudi Arabia or Iraq or Afghanistan (the last two beneficiaries of our democratic invasion) or how about our most important trading partner China? Hypocrisy. Mr. al-Asad is correct that there is a foreign hand behind the explosion of violence. Enemies of old–relatives, disgruntled government officials, segments of Lebanon’s groups, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, NATO and its aid to rebel forces in Turkey and Jordan, as well as the old religious fanatics–have come together to topple the government. When Bashar is gone, the media will ignore the disintegration of Syria as quickly as we have disassociated ourselves from the fragmentation of Iraq.