“Surgeon of Damascus” Promises more Blood, Blames West for Syria Violence

Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad said Sunday that the 14-month-old attempted revolution in his country is being instigated by outside forces. He defended the bloody crackdown on the rebellion by the regime, saying that when a doctor operates on an eye, we don’t complain about all the blood but rather thank him for saving the victim’s sight (al-Assad was an ophthalmologist). So instead of ‘the Butcher of Damascus’ he is angling for the epithet, “the surgeon of Damascus.”

He went on to blame the protesters and rebels for the killings at the central Syrian town of Houla two Fridays ago, saying it was the work of ‘monsters’.

In contrast, a defecting Air Force officer, Major Jihad Raslan, has told the Western press that he saw Syrian army soldiers give cover to the pro-regime Shabiha thugs who carried much of the massacre in the city, which is a stronghold of opposition to al-Assad. Raslan’s account is corroborated by satellite photos published by the BBC last week.

Aljazeera English has a video report:

Refreshingly, an independent Russian observer, Dr. Aleksandr Shumilin, told a Moscow radio station that al-Assad’s speech, most of which took place in fantasy-land of his creation, is a very bad sign. It is so unrealistic that it may presage an intensification of the conflict. Russian President Vladimir Putin is blocking a UNSC resolution permitting outside intervention in Syria, but some of his own Middle East experts see al-Assad as detached from reality and as provoking the violence (translation courtesy the USG Open Source Center):

‘ Syrian leader’s speech bring military conflict closer – Ruatssian pundit
Ekho Moskvy Radio
Sunday, June 3, 2012
Document Type: OSC Translated Excerpt…

Excerpt from report by Gazprom-owned, editorially independent Russian radio station Ekho Moskvy on 3 June

(Presenter) Syrian President Bashar al-Asad has blamed foreign forces for the armed conflict in the country. Addressing the new parliament, he said that Syria was being pushed towards war. (Passage omitted: excerpt from al-Asad’s speech)

By his speech in parliament, al-Asad spelt the end of political process of settlement of the internal Syrian conflict, director of the Centre for the Analysis of Middle East Conflicts Aleksandr Shumilin believes.

(Shumilin, voice recording) It is clear that this sort of unreasonable assessment of the events will only aggravate the situation, and will, incidentally, serve to justify the opposition’s move to tougher measures, military measures of putting pressure on the regime. They may now start to unite and move towards military plans of in effect ousting the regime. In these efforts, they may well get the support of the Arab countries – not only of Saudi Arabia and Qatar, which are currently at the forefront of putting pressure on Syria, but also the majority of member states of the Arab League.

(Presenter) Let me remind you that the armed confrontation between government forces and the opponents of al-Asad’s regime has been ongoing for over a year now. According to human rights campaigners, 13,000 people have already lost their lives in the conflict.’

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5 Responses

  1. The Putin-Assad Bromance

    The Syrian chief Al-Assad
    Is more than a little bit odd
    He claims that the blood he is shedding
    Is something the victims are spreading.
    He’s likened his role to a surgeon
    But the violence continues to burgeon
    He’s killing men, women and kids
    If they don’t do whatever he bids
    All the world thinks that he should just go
    But the Russians have been saying No.
    Why does Putin act like a friend,
    Why not bring this regime to an end?
    But Assad will maintain his attack
    While Putin says, Bashar, I’ve got your back.

  2. It is surely clear that there are bad guys in Syria and it is obvious that those bad guys are backed by powerful organizations. It is only logical to assume that there are also many decent people being mistreated. What is not clear is whether or not any “good” organizations exist and merit support.

    Given the record of U.S. influence over Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Somalia, Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, etc., it is also clear that the likelihood of Washington decision-makers correctly identifying an organization in Syria that might merit diplomatic, economic, or military support is very small.

    It is no doubt useful to point out the evil being done by various Syrian politicians, though one must be careful to point out such evil regardless of which side is doing it (and few reports have such balance). But at this point, would it not be more valuable to lay out any argument that may exist to justify making a commitment to support those we think might possibly deserve our help? And if no such candidate can be identified, then the proper course of action lies elsewhere.

    “Do no harm” should be the default course of action, especially for elephants. The burden of proof lies on those Westerners who presume to have the wisdom to interfere and make things better.

    • I favour interfering, but I agree with your points; the lack of a unified, recognised and reputable Syrian opposition is a crucial obstacle to stopping the state genocide.

      At the most, perhaps intervention could take the form of strikes on heavy weapons that are shelling civilian areas. Coupled with the provision of medical aid, food, intelligence and secure communications, this measure should give the opposition groups in their various zones a little breathing space, and a chance to coalesce behind a programme and an umbrella organisation (like the PLO).

      Of course the Russians won’t like this strategy, but the more they block foreign intervention the greater the political cost they’ll pay as the bloodshed continues.

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