Syrian President supports Islamism but doesn't like it
Asked by [PBS] interviewer Charlie Rose why his secular regime was supporting the Islamist movements [Hamas and Hezbollah] he said, “This is one of the things that they don’t understand in the West. If I support you, that doesn’t mean I’m like you or I agree with you. That means I believe in your cause. There’s a difference.
“We support the Palestinian cause, and Hamas is working for that cause. Hezbollah is working for the Lebanese cause, so we support that cause, not Hezbollah."
The irony here is that Middle East "expert" and staunch Israel foe Antony Loewenstein describes Assad's remarks as reflecting "reality" but roundly condemns all who support Israel's continued existence, failing to acknowledge it is possible to support the existence of the Jewish state without approving of, or admiring, all its actions.
Islamist supporter Loewenstein ignores probable Assad untruths, however:
Assad went on to dismiss accusations by the Israeli government that Damascus has transferred sophisticated Scud missiles to Hezbollah, the militant Lebanese Shiite political movement.
"This is a very good story by the Israelis," Assad said, adding that the Israelis have no proof of their accusations.
Assad's claims contradict a report published in the Times of London on Friday based on satellite pictures that supposedly show a Hezbollah-controlled weapons cache outside Damascus. A spokesman for the Syrian Embassy in London rejected the report, saying that if such a depot existed, it would be for the sole use of the Syrian army.
Note that Assad does not deny that Scuds have been transferred to Hezbollah. Perhaps Middle East expert Loewenstein could clear this up by investigating, which could be rather difficult considering that he's spent about as much time in the Middle East as I have flossing my teeth. Perhaps I should claim to be an oral hygiene expert.