March 6, 2005


Syria's Assad: 'I am not Saddam Hussein' (AFP, 3/6/2005)

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, under pressure to withdraw troops from Lebanon, insisted he should not be compared to Saddam Hussein and that he wanted to cooperate with international demands, according to an interview released Sunday. [...]

At the end of the interview, which was conducted last week, Assad said: "Please send this message: I am not Saddam Hussein. I want to cooperate."

Prove it: get out of Lebanon, hold free elections, and open a Lens Crafters.

Report: Syria expels terror leaders (JPost Staff and Gil Hoffman, Mar. 6, 2005, THE JERUSALEM POST)

Bowing to international pressure, Syria has ordered head of Hamas politburo Khaled Mashaal and Islamic Jihad leader Ramadan Shallah to leave Damascus, The Daily Telegraph reported on Sunday.

Islamic Jihad was behind the March 25 suicide bombing in the Tel Aviv 'Stage' nightclub, in which five Israelis lost their lives and over 50 suffered injuries.

"They have gone, and they have told me that they have gone," Khaled Fahum, the veteran head of the PLO in Damascus, told The Telegraph.

Mashaal had left for Qatar, while Shallah was being sheltered by Hizbullah in Lebanon, he said. "The government has closed their offices, cut off their phones and shut down their email," Fahum said. "I know this from both sides."

Meanwhile, the Sunday Times reported that Israel had passed on to the US transcripts of a phone conversation in which Shallah orders the March 25 suicide bombing on Tel Aviv's beachfront promenade.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 6, 2005 3:29 PM

I think the main problem for Assad is that he must pacify hardliners because they might kill him if he surrenders to much too soon. I don't think he has any stomach for this.

I imagine that if Mario Puzo had Fredo become the Don instead of Michael after Vito died, the Godfather would be very much like Syrian politics now.

Posted by: Chris Durnell at March 7, 2005 11:16 AM