Bashar Assad speaking on August 20, 2017 on the corruption of the West and looking East for Syria’s future. The video is subtitled, and there is transcript included in the original post by Sayed Hasan.
As he came to power, Bashar Assad was somewhat impressed by Western culture and the possibilities opened by attempting to rejoin the ‘International Community’ led by the United States and the EU. He married a woman from a wealthy Damascene family, but who was born and raised in London. Shortly after coming to power he opened up a space for a private press, released hundreds of political prisoners and allowed others to contact their families – often after many years in isolation. He opened up Syria to cell phones and computers which came through western corporations, and accepted some restrictions on Syria’s economy so that the country would be able to establish economic connections to the dominant global institutions. He set out to make Syria a leader in education, increasing opportunities for higher education and licensing private universities, and worked to enhance the quality of medical treatment available in Syria.
What he did not do is turn his back on Palestine and Syria’s long time ally, Iran. He continued to support Hezbollah and allow a variety of Palestinian factions to maintain offices in Syria. When Israel invaded Lebanon in 2006, Hezbollah receive supplies through Syria. Hundreds of thousands of Lebanese refugees found hospitality over the border in Syria while the war ravaged their homes in southern Beirut and towns and villages across southern Lebanon. In 2001, George Bush put a damper on this opening to the west by placing Syria on his ‘Axis of Evil’. By 2006, the CIA with the support of US State Department officials including Ambassador Ford, whose resume included work with the infamous Contras in Nicaragua, began actively plotting an insurrection to remove Assad from power and destroy the Socialist Republic of Syria.
Today, Bashar Assad will work with the Eastern block to rebuild and restore Syria to prosperity. The opportunity he presented to the west was squandered.