During an interview with Australia’s SBS News, Syrian dictator Bashar Assad claimed that Western nations have been secretly colluding with him, even though his ouster has been the stated policy of the United States and most of its allies, especially after Assad deployed forbidden chemical weapons in his bid to retain power.
Assad said that Australia was one of those countries. “They attack us politically and then they send officials to deal with us under the table, especially the security, including your government,” he told SBS News reporter Luke Waters.
“They don’t want to upset the United States. Actually most of the western officials they only repeat what the United States want them to say. This is the reality,” Assad said.
The Syrian dictator insisted that he has been “fighting terrorists,” which is how he, and his patrons in Russia and Iran, describe all of Syria’s insurgent forces, including those armed and trained by the Obama administration.
“Our army is fighting terrorists, our government is against terrorists, the whole institutions are against terrorists. If you call fighting terrorism butchery, that’s another issue,” Assad insisted.
SBS News notes that Australia’s former ambassador to Syria, Bob Bowker, disputed Assad’s claims, during an interview filmed for the same program.
“The reality is that Assad is seen in the west as an unfit leader to be dealt with,” said Bowker. “In the rest of the Arab world as well, he has lost the credibility that he enjoyed early in his period as president, through a series of miscalculations on his part, rather than through the behavior of those other Gulf states to which he was constantly referring in that interview.”
Russia’s Sputnik News quoted Turkish officials who said, “relations between Ankara and Damascus have improved in recent secret talks, as both sides are showing willingness for dialogue.” An Algerian newspaper has claimed the Algerian government is mediating these clandestine talks.