In an exclusive interview with CBS and PBS’s “Charlie Rose,” Syrian President Bashar al-Assad denied responsibility for chemical weapon use, while gesturing at terrorism to intimidate America from taking up arms against Syria. Terrorism becomes a token piece in the game of politics, as the president intensively but disinterestedly says the U.S. should “expect anything” if we become militarily involved in Syria.
“There has been no evidence that I used chemical weapons against my own people” said the Syrian president in the Damascus interview. And later he said “We are against any WMD, any weapons of mass destruction whether chemical or nuclear…we haven’t tried either,” and addressing U.S. President Barack Obama, he said, “I will tell him very simply, ‘Present what you have as evidence … to the public. Be transparent.’”
Hitting on that political red button, “transparency” at this time is not without rhetorical weight. And so he claims it was the rebels who gassed 1,400 Syrians, including hundreds of children, directly denying what Secretary or State John Kerry has been saying in Europe, in attempts to rally support: “We know that his regime gave orders to prepare for chemical attack.”
And while pushing the politically charged rhetorical button, “transparency,” Assad gestured toward terrorism to intimidate the U.S. not to join the war.
“It’s area where everything is on the brink of explosion. You have to expect everything.” When the interviewer asked if chemical warfare was part of the “everything” we might expect – cagey fellow that he is – Assad said that he “didn’t have a crystal ball,” but he did suggest that terrorism may by the reprisal we should expect, that repercussions “may take different forms,” including “direct and indirect” effects, in a vague and ambiguous, but nevertheless menacing manner. He also suggested groups such as Iran or Lebanon’s Hezbollah could retaliate to the U.S.
will be making his case for military action this week, as U.S. lawmakers vote on whether they want war.