Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has for a decade fooled many figures around the world with his civilized appearance, good manners and gentleness. Nevertheless, anyone who knew him in reality discovered a horrid person. Bashar is like Al Pacino in his role of gang leader in The Godfather that depicts him as the most civilized family member, but then we discover that, in fact, he is the most dangerous member of the mafia.
Indeed, Bashar al-Assad’s appearance is not comparable to that of crazy North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, but, in reality, Assad is worse than him. Ever since he succeeded his father, Hafez al-Assad, 10 years before the revolution, he committed a series of terrible crimes and masterminded endless wars. He has assassinated a number of Lebanese figures that outnumbered his father’s records during the civil war in the seventies.
Bashar orchestrated a war from Syria that was allegedly an Iraqi resistance war against what he called American occupation for about seven years. During that war, more than 100,000 people, 3,000 of whom were Americans, were killed.
Not a splitting image
As for North Korea's insane leader, despite his frequent threats, he concealed his crimes inside his country's borders. The two men are quite the same, but the difference lies in the image. Unlike Kim Jong, Assad always seems to be well dressed, accompanied by his elegant wife as if he is a Wall Street investor. Deep inside, he is a cruel dictator who did not hesitate during the revolution in his country to commit multiple massacres that were unprecedented in the history of our region.
Similar to Kim Jong, he was not the expected heir. It is said that Kim Jong’s brother was excluded by the father after the latter discovered that he had secretly traveled with fake passports to visit Disneyland in Japan; he got arrested and deported from there, and the father appointed his brother, Kim Jong, to rule after him. As for Bashar, his brother, Bassel, who was killed in a car accident when he was driving a Ferrari at high speed along the airport road, was meant to be Hafez’s successor.
Bashar al-Assad’s appearance is not comparable to the North Korean outlandish leader Kim Jong Un, but in reality Assad is worse than him.Abdulrahman al-Rashed
Bashar succeeded in concealing his truth; many fell for the civilized appearance trick, especially in the West. Whoever had met him has admitted to being fooled. One of them was former French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who was eager to support him, lift the economic sanctions imposed on Syria and host the Syrian president and his wife in a national ceremony in front of the rest of the leaders. For almost two years, Sarkozy worked hard to defend Assad in all opportunities and was politically supporting him, but, eventually, he discovered the truth; despite his Italian suit, Bashar is nothing but a criminal dictator, so Sarkozy became one of the most enthusiastic leaders to overthrow him.
In addition to his look, Bashar al-Assad’s policies are also tricky. The New York Times newspaper stated that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad assigned a number of loyal businessmen to use their relations to persuade the U.S. administration and the dominant forces that those who are fighting against him are jihadist terrorist groups.
We cannot deny that the jihadists joined the Syrian rebels, because they have finally announced their organizations’ names and their affiliations to al-Qaeda. This is what always leads us to be suspicious; whether the Syrian regime and its Iranian ally are behind the infiltration of these terrorist groups to intimidate the world, just like how they were used before in Iraq and Lebanon.
What the Syrian people are doing is not just a great job for themselves to free their country from one of the world's worst regimes, but also to save the world from a regime that has been supporting terrorism for 30 consecutive years. Iraq's Saddam and Libya’s Qaddafi are gone; the most dangerous regime, i.e. Assad’s regime in Syria, is still lingering.
In the same misleading style of appearance, Bashar dispatched smart and elegant businessmen, Sunnis and Christians, who have a western education, to convince the West that he is fighting al-Qaeda and not the defenseless Syrian people. Vogue magazine fell for this misleading image when it chose his wife Asma as one of the most respectable women, until the magazine discovered the shocking facts that she is only a deceptive dictator's wife. Kim Jong, who calls himself the wonderful companion, is similar to Bashar al-Assad whose men write his name on the walls of the villages that they have burnt and where they have killed the families: Either accept Assad’s rule or we burn the country.
This article was first published in Asharq al-Awsat on April 27, 2013.
Abdulrahman al-Rashed is the General Manager of Al Arabiya News Channel. A veteran and internationally acclaimed journalist, he is a former editor-in-chief of the London-based leading Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat, where he still regularly writes a political column. He has also served as the editor of Asharq al-Awsat’s sister publication, al-Majalla. Throughout his career, Rashed has interviewed several world leaders, with his articles garnering worldwide recognition, and he has successfully led Al Arabiya to the highly regarded, thriving and influential position it is in today.