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>> Asharq Al-Awsat


Asharq Al-Awsat - November 13, 2012

by Tariq Alhomayed

In his recent television interview, the tyrant of Damascus Bashar al-Assad launched an attack on Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, saying that he considers himself to be a new Ottoman Sultan and a Caliph, and claiming that he alone supports the Syrian opposition, not the Turkish people!

Of course, this attack was expected, but it was delayed. It seems that al-Assad could not bite his fingernails any longer, so he came out himself to attack Erdogan saying: “He personally thinks that he is the new sultan of the Ottoman and he can control the region as it was during the Ottoman Empire under a new umbrella. In his heart he thinks he is a caliph”. Al-Assad then proceeded to make a joke about Turkey’s foreign policy and its international relations, saying that the policy has shifted “from zero problems to zero friends”!

When I say that al-Assad’s attack is not surprising, this is for one simple reason. He was preceded by Hassan Nasrallah, who earlier attacked Turkey by saying that its people (the Turks) were more Arab than some Arabs! So al-Assad’s attack on Turkey was expected, but it was delayed.

What we must remember now with al-Assad attacking Turkey today, and specifically Erdogan, is that al-Assad once wanted to court Turkey and manipulate its prime minister to strike a blow to Saudi Arabia and Mubarak’s Egypt, in order to scam the French and the Americans at the time, and to manipulate the Turks and the Israelis with regards to the “negotiations” issue. When Erdogan was famously offended by the Israeli Prime Minister at the Davos conference, al-Assad himself even said that good relations with Turkey would be in everyone’s interest.

This was the extent of al-Assad’s ploys against the Turks, whereby he opened all doors to Turkey’s “new Ottoman Sultan”, signed unprecedented agreements with the Erdogan government, and abolished the need for visas to travel between Syria and Turkey. Of course, al-Assad wasn’t the only one trying to take advantage of Turkey, there was also Iran and Hezbollah, who dealt with the Turks as if they were neo-Arabs, not neo-Turks, in the hope of pitting the major Sunni states in the region – Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Turkey – against each other, in order to enhance the influence of Iran and its agents in the region.

All of this was done despite the rational criticism that a marriage between Turkey and the al-Assad regime was unsustainable, and that Turkey’s “zero problems” theory – which al-Assad is mocking now – was unenforceable, not only in our region but in politics as a whole, for the friend of everyone is also the enemy of everyone. Therefore, and because his lies could only be spun so far, here is al-Assad, like the Iranians and Nasrallah, complaining today about the Turks, while attempting to take advantage of them once again by saying that Erdogan is the one who supports the Syrian opposition, not the Turkish people. This is the same trick used by the Syrian regime in Iraq in the days when it would cooperate with the Americans in the morning, and then set terrorists upon them at night.

Today the tyrant of Damascus’ tricks have ended, even with the Turks, and more importantly with the Syrians themselves, who are no longer deceived by the slogans of opposition and resistance, or that al-Assad is the last bastion of secularism in the region.

This is the most important thing, namely that al-Assad’s lies are over, just as his criminal regime will soon end.

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