By Basher Assad, President, Syrian Arab Republic
We Arabs are a proud people. Honor is perhaps the strongest value in our culture, often trumping life itself. It is a point of pride for an Arab nation to attain self-sufficiency, and a source of ongoing shame that few, if any, Arab states can hold their own without some kind of support – military, economic, or otherwise. But that will totally not be a problem for Syria in the long term as it becomes necessary to rely in greater and greater measure on the non-Arab military and economic support from Iran and Russia just to keep my regime intact, I promise.
Perhaps the greatest source of shame is our collective inability to oust from our midst the Zionist entity, which, by all assessments, we should have swept aside like so much detritus in 1948. They were ragtag Holocaust survivors (not that I’m accepting the historical reality of the Holohoax, but you understand the rhetorical angle here) who shouldn’t have lasted a week against our mighty warriors. Instead we found ourselves outfought even when we weren’t outgunned. Our continued impotence against the Jews only grew worse in 1967 when we lost the Golan Heights, from which we used to spend time taking potshots and lobbing artillery shells at Israeli kibbutzim. Good times.
In the years since, as Israel has emerged as a regional powerhouse whose economy is larger than all of ours combined, you can imagine how shameful the whole things has become for us. This Western colonial enterprise, as we call it, has consistently humiliated us on every front, driving home the reality that we Arabs simple cannot compete with the advancement and influence of the non-Arabs.
That’s where Iran and Russia come in. In the aftermath of the Arab Spring and the chaos of the Syrian Civil War, my regime’s ability to maintain itself has been seriously compromised, creating a power vacuum that both the Islamic Republic and Putin have exploited, each for their own reasons. But it’s totally not shameful, I guarantee. There is no reason for any Syrian patriot to doubt his proud country’s inherent worth just because it can’t hold itself together without massive aid and reinforcement from Russian air and ground troops, and from Shiite militias coordinated by Iran. Apples and oranges. Take it from me, the man who totally does not harbor an inferiority complex about being his father’s second choice to take over the dictatorship after my older brother was killed in an accident.
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