EDITOR'S NOTE: Will the Syrian people be in a better position than they were under Assad when his regime falls? I'm sure they are going to be far worse off with all those opponents (Saudis and Qataris) hardly the most democratic regimes, alongwith the Israel-centric neocons that are bankrolling the rebels taking control of the country. A stable Syria is in everyone's best interest, even if ruled by Bashar al Assad transiently, who by the way, is not a thug. Take a look at the titles given to the video clips and reports of his speech by the uploaders. (eg: Bashar Al Assad Defiant in Speech today, Defiance of a dictator, etc. ).The titles are intended to wrongfully convey a message that Assad is in defiance of the West's edicts, when on the contrary as any leader would/should, he is defending his country's sovereignty against foreign intervention that has plunged his country into chaos and bloodshed and as Russia has warned, has the potential to plunge the whole region into "bloody chaos".
Excerpts taken from BBC reports:
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has delivered a rare TV address, denouncing his opponents as "enemies of God and puppets of the West".
He lamented the suffering of the people in the civil war, saying a "black cloud" of pain engulfed every corner.
Mr. Assad also set out a plan involving a national dialogue conference and a referendum on a national charter.
The speech was Mr. Assad's first public address since June.
He rejected the Syrian opposition movement as puppets fabricated by the West, and said that Syria wanted to negotiate with the "master not the servants".
Mr. Assad said Syria had not rejected diplomatic moves but insisted it would not negotiate with people with "terrorist" ideas.
He said: "There are those who seek to partition Syria and weaken it. But Syria is stronger… and will remain sovereign… and this is what upsets the West."
His speech was interspersed with applause and chants from defiant supporters in the opera house in central Damascus, and at the end he was mobbed on the stage.
Mr. Assad accused the rebels of stealing wheat from the people, depriving children of school and cutting off electricity and medical supplies.
Mr. Assad called on every citizen to defend the country according to their means.
"We are now in a state of war in every sense of the word. This war targets Syria using a handful of Syrians and many foreigners. Thus, this is a war to defend the nation," he said.
Mr. Assad set out a series of steps he said would provide a solution to the crisis:
- Outside powers to stop arming what he called "terrorist groups"
- The army would then halt military operations, while reserving the right to defend state interests
- The government would then contact what he termed "Syrian individuals and political parties" to engage in a conference of national dialogue
- The conference would try to establish a national charter that would be put to a referendum, leading to parliamentary elections and a new government
Mr. Assad's last public comments were in November, when he told Russian TV he would "live and die in Syria".
Since then opposition forces have gained control of swathes of territory in northern Syria and have formed the SNC, a more inclusive leadership that has been recognised by the US and the EU.
President Assad Outlines Political Solution to Syrian Conflict
January 06, 2012 "RT" — Syria’s president has outlined a plan to end the country's conflict, starting with a halt to international support to “al Qaeda-linked terrorist groups.” The solution proposes a new constitution and government, as well as national reconciliation.
President Bashar Assad said that his government had never refused a political solution, but would not negotiate with terrorists. He then stressed that the only solution was a Syrian proposal to end the crisis.
“The political solution entails regional and international powers halting their support for armed groups, which will be followed by a halt in our security forces' crackdown against them,” Assad said in his first public address to the people of Syria since June.
He claimed the move would be followed by dialogue with all parties who work in Syria’s interests, in the form of a national conference on the creation of a truce and the drafting of a new constitution to be put to public vote. The charter would form the basis of the new Syrian government.
The final step would be a national reconciliation process, including amnesty for those imprisoned during the crisis.
Assad stated that his government had not yet found any partners willing to back a solution to Syria’s ongoing crisis. However, he did thank Russia, China and Iran for not “interfering in Syrian affairs.”
He also criticized the Syrian opposition, referring to the rebels as “Western puppets” and “terrorists affiliated with al-Qaeda.”
"We have terrorists who follow the ideology of al-Qaeda. We brothers fight against these people. Most of them are not Syrian… We will teach them a lesson," Assad said.
He called for a national mobilization to fight the “murderous criminals” besieging the country.
"Everyone must defend it… the attack on the entire nation… every citizen who is aware… and refusing to join solutions is taking the nation backwards," he said.
President al-Assad : Out of Womb of Pain, Hope Should Be Begotten, from Suffering Important Solutions Rise
Delivering a speech on the latest developments in Syria and the region at the Opera House in Damascus, President al-Assad added "out of the womb of pain, hope should be begotten and from the bottom of suffering the most important solutions rise, as the dark cloud in the sky conceals the sun light, but it also carries in its layers rain, purity and hope of welfare and giving."
President al-Assad said "These feelings of agony, sadness, challenge and intention are huge energy that will not get Syria out of its crisis unless it turns this energy into a comprehensive national move that saves the homeland from the unprecedented campaign hatched against it."
"This national move is the only balm for the deep wounds which affected our society and were about to divide it as it is the only way that is able to keep Syria geographically and making it politically stronger," the President added.
"At the beginning they wanted it a fake revolution but the Syrian people rebelled against them, then they tried to impose it by money, media and arms secretly and when they failed, they moved to the second phase through dropping the masks of a "peaceful revolution" and unveiled the cover of the weapons they were using secretly to use them openly starting their attempts to occupy cities as to pounce upon other cities," President al-Assad said, adding that "their brutal behaviors didn't deter our people, thanks to their awareness and steadfastness, to unveil their lies and reject them. Therefore they decided to take revenge on the people through spreading terrorism everywhere."
The President stressed that the Takfiries were working at the back rows through bombings mass killing leaving the armed gangs at the front line but the unity of the Syrian people and army obliged them to move for fighting at the front lines where they led the rudder of the blood, killing and mutilation ship.
"Each citizen is responsible and able to provide something even if it is tiny or limited as he/she may consider, because the homeland is for everyone; we all defend it each with his/her capacity and capability, because the thought is a way of defense, the stance is a way of defense, construction is a way of defense and protecting people's properties is a way of defense," President al-Assad added.
"Since the attack is launched against the homeland with all its human and material components, the mindful citizen has certainly known that passivity, waiting for time or others to solve the problem is a sort of pushing the country towards the abyss, and not participating in solutions is a kind of taking the homeland backwards with no progress towards overcoming what the home is going through.
"They have killed civilians and the innocent to kill light and brightness in our country; they have assassinated the qualified and intellectuals to spread their ignorance on our minds; they sabotaged the infrastructure built with the people's money to make suffering pervade into our lives; they deprived children of their schools to devastate the future of the country and express their ignorance and they cut off electricity, communications and fuel supply, leaving the elderly and children suffering from the cold weather without medicine, emphasizing their savagery. But their theft has been manifested through sabotaging wheat stocks, stealing wheat and flour to make the loaf like a dream for citizens and to starve people… Is it a conflict for power and post or is it a conflict between the homeland and its enemies? Is it a struggle for authority or is it a revenge on the Syrian people who did not give those terrorist killers the key word for dismembering Syria and its society.
''Because takfiri thought is strange to our country, they had to import it from abroad, whether in terrorists or thought…Thus, takfiris, terrorists, Qaeda members calling themselves Jihadis streamed from everywhere to command the combat operations on the ground…The gunmen, having failed, retreated to the backlines as aides in acts of kidnapping, pillaging and sabotage…Servants, and at best, guides who spy on their fellow citizens to serve criminals takfiris who only speak the language of slaughtering and mangling." ''The crisis has other dimensions, not only internal ones as it became clear to all who want to see.
Regionally, there are sides who seek to divide Syria, others to weaken it, and some sides are providing the criminals with funds and weapons, while others with support and training…It was no surprise to us what some neighboring countries have done to weaken and control the Syrian people, and the countries who sought a foothold in a history they don't have, writing it instead in the blood of innocent Syrians, but Syria and the Syrian people are strong, and they vow that they will not forget.''
''Syria has always been, and will remain, a free and sovereign country that won't accept submission and guardianship, which has been a nuisance for the West, so they sought to take advantage of internal events to drive Syria out of the political equation in the region to get rid of this irksome problem and to strike the culture of resistance and turn us into inferiors…But the West is not the entire international community, as there are world countries, namely Russia and China, and many others which won't agree to meddling in the internal affairs of countries and destabilizing the region."
''In light of this, there cannot be talk about the solution unless we take into consideration these factors: the internal, the regional and the international…Any procedure that does not change these factors is not a real solution and has no impact…Let's start form the internal front: If some tended to see the disagreement in the beginning as one between loyalists and opposition, this disagreement in a civilized world should be on the way to build the homeland not destroy it…on developing it rather than taking it decades back…When part of the people becomes tied to the outside the conflict becomes between the homeland and outside powers, between the country's independence and hegemony over it, between staying free or occupying it, and hence the issue becomes defending the homeland and all unify against the outside aggression which is aided by some internal tools.''
''It is not a matter of loyalists against opposition, nor an army vis-à-vis gangs and criminals…We are in a state of war in the full sense of the word…We are repelling a fierce outside aggression in a new disguise, which is more lethal and dangerous than a traditional war, because they do not employ their tools to strike us, but they have us implement their projects, and target Syria using a bunch of Syrians and a lot of foreigners.''
''Such war is confronted through defending the homeland in parallel with a reform that is necessary to all of us, which may not change the reality of war, yet it strengthens us and reinforces our unity in the face of the war…Reforms without security is like security without reform. No one will be successful without the other…Those who keep parroting that Syria has opted for a security solution do not see or hear…We have repeatedly said that reforms and politics go in one hand and eliminating terrorism in the other.''
"We did not ever reject the political solution as we have adopted it since day one based on dialogue as its main pillar as we lend our hands to those who have a national political project that moves Syria forward but with whom we dialogue.. with those who are carrying extremist thinking, and do not believe except in blood, killing and terrorism, " the president wondered.
President al-Assad also wondered whether we should dialogue with gangs that are ordered from abroad and pursue a foreigner who orders them to reject dialogue because it believes that dialogue will foil his schemes aiming at weakening and undermining Syria .
The President asserted that the leaders of some regional countries know that Syria to come out of the crisis will undermine their political future after they were involved and drowned their peoples with lies, spent their countries' potentials in supporting terrorism and involved in the bloodshed and killing innocent.
'The West, but not we who closed the door of dialogue as it has used to give orders while we have got used to independence, sovereignty and freedom of decision," President al-Assad said.
The President added "Who talks only about the political solution and turned the blind eye to these facts is either an ignorant of the facts or a coward who immolates his country and citizens to the criminals and those who support them, the matter which we will not allow, "
The political solution in Syria will be as following: the first stage, firstly, the adherence of all concerned regional and international countries to stopping funding and harboring gunmen in parallel to the cessation of terrorist operations by gunmen in a way that facilitates the return of the displaced Syrians to their original residing areas safely.
After that immediately, the military operations halt by the Armed Forces which have the right of response if the security of homeland or citizens is threatened or public or private properties were attacked.
Secondly, finding a mechanism to guarantee the adherence of all sides to the former item and curbing borders.
Thirdly, the current government starts intensive communications with all Syrian society spectra with all its parties and bodies to run open dialogues for holding a national dialogue conference as all sides desiring a solution in Syria from inside and outside Syria can participate.
The second stage: First, the current government calls for a comprehensive national dialogue conference for reaching a national charter that adheres to the Syrian sovereignty, its unity and territorial integrity.
It also rejects foreign interference and renounce all types of terrorism and violence, as this charter would draw the political future of Syria and propose the constitutional and judicial systems and depict the political and economic features, in addition to the agreement on new laws for parties, elections, local administration and others.
Secondly, the national charter is to be presented for a popular referendum.
Thirdly, a broadened government is established where the Syrian components are represented, as it is tasked to implement the items of the national charter.
Fourth, the constitution is presented for referendum, and after it is ratified, the broadened government adopts the laws agreed on in the dialogue conference according to the new constitution including the election law, and then carrying out new parliamentary elections.
The third stage : Firstly, a new government is formed according to the constitution.
Secondly, a conference for national reconciliation is held and an amnesty to those arrested due to the events is given with preserving the civil rights of their owners.
Thirdly, working on rehabilitating infrastructure, reconstruction, in addition to compensating the citizens affected.
''Homeland is above all…We can strengthen Syria through political initiatives and defending every single grain of land…The Syrian throbs with forgiveness and tolerance, but pride and patriotism run in his veins…the majority of people have risen against terrorism. Some have helped through providing the competent authorities with valuable information which enabled them to abort terrorist attacks against citizens…Others have risen against terrorists and deprived them of a support base, whether through defending their areas or even taking to the streets in protest against gunmen, many even martyred while doing so, and others have defended the cities, districts and infrastructure hand in hand with the armed forces.''
''Those citizens have demonstrated deep awareness. The aspired-to security does not come through fence-sitting, watching, escaping or groveling to the outside…If we are not fine in our country, we won't be so anywhere outside it…The homeland is not for those who dwell in it, but for those who defend it."
''The homeland is for those who rose from all walks of life and affiliations when their homeland needed them, even though they were wronged at times…Their giving has been without bounds…Some were honored with martyrdom, and their blood had punctured the fake 'Spring' and shielded the people from deceit that was about to bear fruit in the beginning…Their blood has punctured what the West falsely dubbed Spring, but was a vindictive fire that sought to torch whatever came its way through an abominable sectarianism, blind hatred and loathsome partitioning…It was a Spring only for those who planned it and tried to make it a reality, which is now collapsing.''
''The blood of martyrs protected and will protect the homeland and the region, and will protect our territorial integrity and reinforce accord among us, while at the same time purify our society of disloyalty and treason, and keep us from moral, human and cultural downfall, which is the strongest victory…When the homeland triumphs, it does not forget those who sacrificed for its sake.''
''I'd like to extend my salutation to those who deserve it most: the Syrian Arab army who are shedding blood and sweat for Syria which they see uppermost…Greetings to our armed forces who are fighting the fiercest of wars and are determined to restore security and stability to the homeland through uprooting terrorism.''
''The armed forces have wrote down the epics of heroism thanks to their cohesion, steadfastness and national unity which reflected those of the people…thus doing citizens proud and keeping them safe…Glory to every soldier who is completing the mission of his colleagues who passed away!'' ''I salute every single citizen who did his national duty through standing by the armed forces, each from his position…Those are the pride of Syria whose names will go down in history, for they are writing history in their blood and valor.''
''I come from the people and will remain so…Posts are transient but the homeland is everlasting…The tears of bereaved mothers will refresh the pure souls of their gone loved ones ad burn the criminals…''
''Syria will remain as it is and will return, God willing, stronger…There is no ceding rights or giving up on principles…Those who placed their bets on weakening Syria to forget Golan and its occupied lands are mistaken…Golan is ours and Palestine is our cause…We will remain the supporters of resistance against the one enemy..Resistance is a culture, not individuals."
''The people and state who bore the brunt of standing with the Palestinian people in their just cause for decades, despite all the challenges and costs that every Syrian citizen has paid, cannot be but in the same place towards Palestinians…Any attempt to implicate the Palestinians in the Syrian events is aimed at deflecting attention from the main enemy , and is stillborn…The Palestinians in Syria are doing their duty towards their second homeland like any Syrian…We are responsible, as Syrian people and state, for doing our duty towards them as towards any Syrian citizen. I salute every honest Palestinian who valued the Syrian stances and did not treat Syria as a hotel which he leaves when the service goes downhill.''
''In spite of what has been planned against Syria, they could never change us…Patriotism runs in our blood and Syria is the most precious of all…Your steadfastness over two years tells the whole world that Syria is impervious to collapse and the Syrian people impervious to humiliation…We will always be like that…Hand in hand we will move ahead, taking Syria to a brighter and stronger future.''
Sources: BBC and RT
Assad mobbed by exultant supporters after his speech