Robin Yassin-Kassab

Discussing Assad’s Speech at the Opera House

with 2 comments

“It was operatic in its otherworldly fantasy, unrelated to realities outside the building,” wrote Rami Khouri of Bashaar al-Assad’s latest speech, delivered as the bombs fell on southern Damascus. I was a guest on the BBC World Service to discuss the speech alongside Patrick Seale (Hafez al-Assad’s biographer), Syria Comment’s Joshua Landis, Faisal Yafai of the National, and Dr Yazan Abdullah. You can listen to the conversation here.

Written by Robin Yassin-Kassab

January 7, 2013 at 9:57 pm

Posted in Syria

Tagged with , ,

2 Responses

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  1. Excellent intervention Robin


    January 8, 2013 at 6:44 am

  2. It was a good discussion, and you made some excellent points, and made them very well. In fact, I think you led it.

    What’s the provenance of your co-panellist Syrian-doctor-in-London Dr Yazan Abdallah? I see he labels himself out there as a “Syrian political activist”. I would have thought it should be “political Assadist”.

    I loved his earnest bewilderment at your comment that extremists emerged in the absence of the arming of the opposition.

    It matches my earnest bewilderment at the motive and mindset of a well-educated person like him who has enjoyed freedoms and opportunities in the west for years but still defends the Assad regime and parrots its propaganda. Apparently he believes the people of Syria aren’t the same as other people and should be content to live under a vicious and inept dictatorship in the 21st century.

    Dr Yazan Abdullah obviously has something personal to lose if Assad loses. He should be upfront and state what that is, then he would seem less hypocritical and his views more authentic.

    And I saw co-panellist Patrick Seale (Hafez Assad’s biographer) tried his hardest, but couldn’t control his impulse to rationalise the actions of the Assad regime, saying that there was an external conspiracy against Syria and explaining Bashar had been focussed on that prior to the crisis and was now naturally reacting to the powerful reality of this conspiracy fuelling the rebellion. Seale seems to be affected by the same syndrome as David Lesch who got cosily close to Bashar (and whose book you discuss earlier in this blog).


    January 8, 2013 at 12:20 pm

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