Assad: ‘If I Go, None of Syria Remains’

Ryan Mauro is a fellow with the Clarionproject.org, the founder of WorldThreats.com and a frequent national security analyst for Fox News Channel. He can be contacted at ryanmauro1986@gmail.com.


Syrian dictator Bashar Assad has privately pledged to “fight to his last bullet” in his ancestral hometown of Qardaha, vowing, “If I go, none of Syria remains.” The daily pools of blood spilled by his madmen cause hearts to be warmed by signs of Assad’s impending fall, but one Syrian Christian opposition activist is loudly warning that light is not waiting at the end of the tunnel. Islamist hordes are.

Michel Kilo is no friend of the Assad regime, though most of his Syrian Christian brethren fear what awaits them once it falls. He is a long-time and well-known opposition activist. His joy over Assad’s defeat comes with an honest and bleak reality check. The fight against Assad will be followed by a fight against foreign-backed Islamists.

“[A democratic] future that felt certain has now become nothing more than a vague promise—which might not be kept by the Islamist groups known for their lies, lust for power and cooperation with foreign powers,” Kilo urgently writes about “our hijacked revolution.”

“It is very likely that we will be dragged into a deep pit of chaos, violence and civil war, and that serious efforts will be deployed to prevent any evolution toward democracy by stifling the voices of free, secular forces,” he says.

The same disappointment can be heard in the words of Riad al-Assad, the secular defector who originally started the Free Syria Army.

“I talked with America, Europe, and the media that they needed to support the leadership of the FSA [Free Syria Army]…If there is no support for the FSA…new groups would appear and the work will fall apart, because then we wouldn’t be able to control what was happening on the ground…And that’s where we are now,” he said in October.

He indicated that the original assault on Aleppo was launched by fighters who aren’t under his command. He said, “It was the wrong decision by the people who took it.” On the ground, Islamist militants including Al-Qaeda-linked terrorists are the ones taking the lead. An infantry base in Aleppo has just fallen to the Al-Tawheed Brigade. It is described as an “Islamist faction” even though it fights under the FSA name. It is unclear if the Free Syria Army affiliated with Riad al-Assad incorporated it into its ranks or if the Al-Tawheed Brigade Islamists decided to unilaterally use the popular name.

Jabhat al-Nusra, a branch of Al-Qaeda in Iraq, is also growing. It makes up about nine percent of the rebel forces, and after the U.S. designated it as a Foreign Terrorist Organization, 29 rebel groups responded by declaring their allegiance to the Al-Qaeda affiliate. The Telegraph acknowledges that this group is independent of the FSA, but the time available to build the FSA as an alternative force is slipping away. “[M]any FSA leaders now recognize its strength and order their forces to cooperate with it,” it reports.

The Islamists are sidelining the secular Free Syria Army on both the military and the political levels. Earlier this month, Islamist rebels left the FSA out of a new joint command established in Turkey. The FSA said the 30-member council is controlled by the Muslim Brotherhood and is beholden to “external will.” A delegate said that two-thirds of the officials are members of the Brotherhood or are aligned with it. He described the body as a creation of Qatar and Turkey.

The newly formed National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, recognized by the U.S. as the “legitimate representative” of the Syrian people, is going to bypass the FSA networks in delivering humanitarian aid. Of course, it’s willing to use FSA bodies and bullets to make sure it arrives.

The original opposition umbrella body, the Syrian National Council, lacked support on the ground and was widely seen by secularists as a vehicle for the Islamists. When the new National Coalition absorbed the Syrian National Coalition, there was a chance for a credible, secular-led umbrella body. The two vice presidents, Riad Seif and Suhair al-Atassi, are popular secularists. The to-be-determined third vice president will be a Kurd and almost certainly a secularist. The president, Moaz al-Khatib, is a different story.

Al-Khatib is a “moderate Islamist”—“moderate” when compared to Al-Qaeda and incendiary Salafists. He is the former imam of Umayyad Mosque and today speaks with a very soft tone. His first message upon being elected was one against sectarianism, hoping to soothe the anxieties of Alawites terrified of a post-Assad Syria. He praises Muslim Brotherhood cleric Sheikh Yousef al-Qaradawi as “our great Imam,” comparing him to the Tunisian whose suicide sparked the Arab Spring. That alone is enough to discredit Al-Khatib as the type of “moderate” that should lead the opposition.

His attitude towards Jews is what we should expect from a Qaradawi fan. He praises Saddam Hussein for “terrifying the Jews” and his website carries articles that say Jews are “gold worshippers” and “the enemies of God.” He preaches that Israel seeks the “collapse” of Egypt in order to redesign the Middle East based on sect, apparently too blinded by anti-Israel fervor to see that the residents of the region are doing a fine job of themselves.

Al-Khatib’s reaction to the U.S. designation of Al-Qaeda’s Jubhat al-Nusra should be considered a foreshadowing of things to come. He opposes it, saying “The decision to consider a party that is fighting the regime as a terrorist party needs to be reviewed.” In other words, the enemy of my enemy isn’t a terrorist. So what happens when there’s a new enemy like Israel? By this logic, an Al-Khatib-led Syria will continue to harbor Al-Qaeda as long as there’s a common enemy.

The U.S. now knows that when it decided to “lead from behind” by letting Qatar act as the gun store for the Libyan rebels, it armed Islamic extremists. Qatar favored the Islamists in its role in Libya to the detriment of secularists. Non-Islamist Libyan rebels warned us then. Non-Islamist Syrian rebels are warning us now.

Michel Kilo writes:

If it is true that the regime is taking its last breaths and will fall before long, we ought to take immediate actions and put an end to the Islamist policies that took over the national council, and introduced non-nationalistic and non-Syrian thrusts into our revolution. These kinds of policies introduced a dangerous, dogmatic ideology into the revolution, one that poses a great threat to Syrian society.

Kilo and other secularist activists in the Middle East and broader Muslim world recognize that the problem is ideology. What will it take for the West to believe them?

This article was sponsored by the Institute on Religion and Democracy.

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  • kafir4life

    muslims killing muslims!!! How AWESOME is that??

    allahu snackbar!!

  • http://www.adinakutnicki.com AdinaK

    Here is where it's at with Syria and the region as a whole – all 'credit' due to the Pyromaniac-in-Chief –

    An urgent Syrian update is found within as it relates to chemical warfare – O M G – http://adinakutnicki.com/2012/12/02/urgent-syrian

    And if not for the Pyromaniac-in-Chief, the usual deadly Mid East fires would not be at their highest temperatures in decades – http://adinakutnicki.com/2012/11/14/debkafile-int

    Nevertheless, it is intrinsic to note: Islamists, whatever their stripes, are deadly – http://adinakutnicki.com/2012/08/31/islamists-wha

    Adina Kutnicki, Israel – http://www.adinakutnicki.com/about/

    • JacksonPearson

      Yep, Barack Hussein Obama II, have his finger prints on every Molotov Cocktail being tossed in the Middle East. His reward in the end will be a completely dominated Caliphate, being fed from the bottom up by the Muslim Brotherhood, and of course, don't be surprised if he's not the Grand Caliph (anti-Christ).

    • Dina

      This sure looks like the "Oracle of Damascus" about to come to pass (Book Of Isaiah). This was written in 722 BD, an never has yet come to pass. Syria and Damascus has ALWAYS been inhabited. The "Oracle" prredicts it's comple demise
      Blessings, in Him!
      .

  • ross1948

    These warnings should be heeded, and the fall of so many nations to communism caused by Western blindness should be evoked to consider what now needs to be done. http://rossrightangle.wordpress.com/2012/12/19/ge

  • Dwee

    The Noble Prize winning fool on the hill is destroying everything in his kingdom, so he can be a far bigger king, a king of islam, a far greater prize to his narcissistic insanity than a small, young nation, a nation he secretly reviles…

    Look down at that ant hill on the ground…little programmed creatures, all very busy, sure of the importance of their tasks, that their tiny world is worth building. Each ant with their own skills and duties, doesn't matter to them they are merely running ancient genetic codes that demand they reproduce, kill other creatures for food, or even take out the trash.

    Do you see them? Oh no!! You stepped on them! Their mound is destroyed! Thousands of ants dead or dying. But you have walked on, with no knowledge of their catastrophe. They will rebuild if they can, they have no choice…they are strong and determined, such great and noble ants….

  • Attila The Hun

    You like it or not, Assad is correct, brutality and all he is the glue that hold Syria together. Once he's gone Syria no more. In the aftermath of WWI , the none so wise man forced diverse group of people to live together against their will. And now century latter we are seeing the result of self serving decision which help no one including the decision makers. Despite the West's unrealistic desire to maintain the current ME map, Syria and her neighbors are destine to split along ethnic, religion and geographical lines. The question to asked is, Who and how much blood and treasure will be paid.

  • pierce

    100 years from now there will still be a Syria, whether Assad is still alive, or not. Remember when the Pharaohs thought of themselves as the Living God of Egypt, and they are no longer around. Bye bye Bashar, it is time for you to go. This world has enough tyrants.

  • WilliamJamesWard

    The Syrian cauldron boils and all of the ingredients are toxic, poison will be the end of the
    brew. As predicted in Isaiah 17:1, Damascus will be a ruinous heap, amazing how the
    prophecies always come true. There is no side of evil that America should support, the
    Syrian Christians are red meat for the Islamists and in the future Syria will be a wasteland.
    William

  • Thomas Wells

    Unfortunately, it may not only be Syria that pays the price for all this madness. If Assad chooses the: "Screw you all" option and releases his chemical-and infectious biological weapons-in the Middle East region, a wide trail of death would spread throughout the globe in massive epidemics of plague,smallpox,possibly genetically modified influenza,and other such "assault weapons".

    • WilliamJamesWard

      He may have nothing to loose and will take everyone with him as revenge, Hitler ordered
      the killing of Germans for failing him, bad people act alike…………….William

  • Ghostwriter

    This might not end well.

  • Anamah

    I see too many politicians in the most important positions, here and there around the world they are sprouting malice and falsehood from every pore to stay in power…Shocking and repugnant personages misleading our lives and wasting our future and children future.. Driving us into their dark ideologies, non existent realities and fabrications. In America as the Middle East. A feast of narcissism, idiocy and unstoppable compulsion to control humanity..

  • evy

    There has been a bit of debate between Bible believers regarding Isaiah 17 prophetic passage, about Damascus becoming a "ruinous heap." Some think it was all fulfilled in the past, some think it is a 'near/far' prophetic passage that will yet be kept to the letter. If the latter, will it just be frittered away, or will it go all in a moment. Whatever the case, the 'far' is looking 'near.' Surely here is pause for thought.

  • Don_in_Odessa

    Ignorance is it's own enemy, It destroys the body that it walks in. Pity the ideology of the Muslim world in it's various and many factions. Even if they defeat the western world they would, in the end, turn on themselves. They are no different the the rest of humanity.

    The wail of the widow echoes through the halls of time. It is harmonious with the unspoken goal of mankind. To end it's embarrassment of itself once and for all. Let it be so!

  • Neil

    My thoughts are with the Christian and Jewish peoples of the Middle East. You are in peril. You are in my thoughts all the time. I can't forget you. I wish there was something I could do. God help you. Stay strong.

  • W. C. Taqiyya

    Try as I might, I can't bring myself to cry about the destruction of Syria. Why? What has Syria ever done that was so great? OK, it used to be a profitable trading partner for Russia, Japan and Iran. So what? And all that support they gave to Hezbollah and the carnage in Lebanon we should just ignore? Bashar's support for terrorists all over the place we should forget? No, good riddance to Bashar Assad. Good riddance to Syria. I hope that land is split permanently into several different weaker nations and if they keep killing each other, so much the better. The Christians? They should not have supported a murderous regime. They need to flee or they will be slaughtered by the wacky Muslims. Go now, take your money and move to Greece, they need the help. I hear real estate in Greece is selling cheap these days.

  • jkort1

    For heaven's sake Assad didn't mean he's going to raze Syria, it means that anything Syria ever stood for will be gone. Have you ever listened to the man in an interview? Check out the Charlie Rose interview of 2010, the ARD interview in July 2012, or the RT interview in Sept 2012. Do you really think that a nice group of intellectuals could have held Syria together for the past 11 years? Nowhere in this article does the author get details on exactly what the pro-democracy folks were complaining about. Nowhere does it mention the specific reforms that had come and were coming even after 9/11 and the War on Terror or the quality of life under Assad.