“Power lies in your ability to prevent wars not in igniting them. Power comes from ones ability to stand up and acknowledge their mistakes; if Obama was strong, he would have stood up and said that there is no evidence that the Syrian government used chemical weapons, he would have stood up and said that the right way forward is to wait for the results of the UN investigations and work through the UN Security Council. However, as I see it, he is weak because he succumbed to internal pressure from small groups and threatened military action.”
President Assad in interview September 2013 with Le Figaro
More excerpts follow:
Le Figaro: How will you respond to these strikes, should they happen?
President al-Assad: If we think of the Middle East as a barrel of explosives close to a fire that is coming ever closer, then it becomes clear that the issue is no longer contained to a Syrian response, but rather what will happen after the first strike. The architects of the war can define the first strike – in other words they can determine what they will do, but beyond that it is impossible for anyone to predict what will follow. Once the barrel explodes, everyone loses control; nobody can determine the outcome, however what is certain is the spread of chaos, wars and extremism in all its forms everywhere.
Le Figaro: Have the Russians reassured you that they will reach out to the Americans to try to attenuate the strike?
President al-Assad: I don’t think anyone can trust the Americans; I don’t think there is a country in the world that can guarantee that the Americans will or will not take any form of action towards another country, so it is pointless to look for such reassurances. The Americans adopt one position in the morning, only to endorse the complete opposite in the evening. As long as the US does not comply with or listen to the UN, we should not be reassured.