I should definitely preface this piece/meditation by saying that I support Bashar Al-Assad against the devils Qatar, NATO, Israel, various Salafi conglomerations and KSA. However, I find some recent comments by President Assad to be quite strange. Assad has told us that what we are observing — in the coup d’etat in Egypt, is essentially the fall of political Islam. A close ally of Bashar Al-Assad’s, though is political Islamist, of course. IRI (Iranian Islamic Republic) as per my understanding, is a current manifestation of political Islamism/Islam. The Muslim Brotherhood, Al Qaeda, the Wahhabis, Salafis and such don’t support it, of course, because they are Takfiris against the Shii!
Maybe Assad means in the Arab world, since the Iranians are, of course, Persian. But Hezbollah who helped Assad defeat the Salafis, and mercenaries in the key battle of Qusair; originally wanted Lebanon to be like Iran. In Lebanon you have a nation — the size of the US state of Connecticut essentially — that contains virtually every group that exists in the Middle East (Kurds, Christians, Druze, Sunni and Shia Muslims)! So pretty much a non-starter proposition! If one wants to read through this long interview, one can see how Assad views the Muslim Brotherhood as puppets of the West, essentially, and a very divisive group in the Middle East. Iran being mainly Shiite, does represent a very different kind of political Islam. And one where they are allied with the secular Baathist Assad, and also with Hezbollah (though a political Islamist grouping/formation one that supports a multi-confessional state of Lebanon).
The Iranian Islamic Republic is unequivocally a more enlightened political Islam, than its Sunni correspondent groups and organizations, I think. And perhaps this has something to do with there being only four majority Shiite nations in the world: Bahrain, Iran, Iraq and Azerbaijan. And so thusly there are not even many nation-states at all in the world, where bringing a political Shia Islamist government to power has much prospect/practicability, in fact!
Prior to Syria becoming a nation of great international attention, I had thought that Assad was pursuing a lot of neoliberal reform there. Something I believe has been done in many areas/cases, but I am not sure as to how great an extent that has occurred. I am happy to see a quote such as this though from President Assad. Showing that he still has a lot allegiance/influence to the best of Arab nationalist credentials, “Our original Arab identity represents the amalgamation of civilizations of thousands of years and is hence built on moderation in all aspects: social, cultural, political and religious. When this identity is being torn in any of the two directions I mentioned, the result will be these foci of extremism you mentioned. This is my greatest concern; extremism in following the West is as destructive to our identity as religious extremism and they both lead to turbulence, which is what we are witnessing in Syria and other countries. This is not exclusive to Syria, but perhaps the element of external interference in Syria was stronger than in other countries.”
And Assad again on the tradition/revolution that he represents in the Arab Republic of Syria, ” the real revolution of 1963….was a revolution that empowered the country, society and human values. It promoted science and knowledge by building thousands of schools, it brought light to the Urban and rural areas of Syria by building electricity lines and networks, it strengthened the economy by providing job opportunities according to competencies. It supported the wider foundations of society including farmers, labourers and skilled-workers. The revolution at the time built an army indoctrinated in national values that fought the fiercest of battles, it stood unwavering in those difficult circumstances and it won in the 1973 war. We are now perhaps enduring the most challenging circumstances in which the army has shown that its revolutionary foundations and ideological values are as strong as ever.”