Abdul Rahman Al-Rashed
Wednesday 25 July 2012
Last Update 25 July 2012 9:54 am
PRESIDENT Saddam Hussain was under heavy pressure to surrender when it became evident that the American attack on Baghdad was imminent and his defeat inevitable in 2003. He had only two choices before him — either to step down or to kill himself.
Initially, Saddam chose the first option and agreed through Abed Hammoud, his special envoy and personal secretary, to step down and avoid the attack under the mediation of the United Arab Emirates. When the Arab leaders met in a summit at Sharm El-Sheikh, the then Secretary-General of the Arab League Amr Moussa refused the UAE mediation. Then the head of the Iraqi delegation protested and said Saddam would not surrender. The development put Saddam in a quandary, and he withdrew his willingness to step down. If he were to step down, the history of Iraq would have been different and, of course, the bloodshed that followed would have been averted.
A few days ago, the Russian ambassador in Paris exploded a bomb when he said that Syrian President Bashar Assad had agreed to step down in a “civilized manner” as part of the Geneva agreement placed by UN representative Kofi Annan. However, the official spokesman of the regime in Damascus denied the report. It is certain that the Russian ambassador knew that what he said was the truth. He also knew what the president really meant with the words “civilized way” of abdication. Most likely, he must have meant a journey ticket without return. Bashar’s denial of the ambassador’s statement is quite understandable. Disclosure of such an agreement might deal a fatal blow to the morale of his loyal aides and forces when they learn that the man, whose criminal orders they were executing, is planning to save his skin and abandon them to fend for themselves. Perhaps Bashar is under greater pressure than before, after the blast at the national security building. According to confirmed reports, the blast was executed by an unidentified man at the location where the leaders and commanders of police and military were meeting. They fled to the interior of the building when the frontal side of the building was demolished. Now Bashar realizes that he is no more safe. This is the second time his men are exposed to assassination attempts. The first attempt was to kill them with poisoned food. The attempt made by one of his staff at a most guarded and secretive location in Damascus did not succeed. So Bashar no more trusts even his own personal security who guard his bedroom. In fact, he cannot sleep in peace while they are at the bedroom doors. All recent events are demoralizing, especially when the battle has reached the capital city and he hears roar of gunfire even while eating his dinner. All the indicators point to the fact that he is heading for the same fate as Saddam and Qaddafi had, and therefore, he has to either flee or face an end the two other tyrants had.
Bashar is reputed for his stubbornness and stupidity, due to which he committed dozens of foolish and criminal acts since his insistence on supporting former President of Lebanon Emile Lahoud and on removing Lebanon’s Premier Rafik Hariri. He blocked Hariri’s candidature to the premiership before the assassination of Hariri and dozens of other Lebanese leaders who opposed Syria. He was also typically obstinate since the beginning of the present crisis last year, rejecting all proposals to end the crisis. It is his foolish obstinacy that led to the destruction of Syria, resulting in the killing and flight of thousands of citizens, and finally his reaching a stage of begging for a “civilized exit.”