SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) — Washington: Jordan’s King Abdullah II warned in an interview aired Tuesday that President Bashar Al Assad could make a “worst case scenario” retreat to an Alawite stronghold if he falls from power in Damascus.
The king peered into the mind of the embattled Syrian leader in an interview with CBS News “This Morning” and said that such an outcome to the Syria crisis could splinter the country and cause ethnic strife for decades to come.
The king also said he expected Al Assad would try maintain his bloody bid to cling onto power “indefinitely” and predicted Syria could slip into an “abyss” if a political solution to the crisis was not found soon.
Abdullah, in an interview with CBS News “This Morning,” said he feared a scenario that could eventually see Al Assad retreat to the shelter of his ethnic Alawite sect, which is a minority in Syria despite its monopoly on power.
“I have a feeling that if he can’t rule Greater Syria, then maybe an Alawite enclave is Plan B,” Abdullah told CBS interviewer Charlie Rose in the interview conducted on Sunday.
“That would be, I think for us, the worst case scenario — because that means then the break up of Greater Syria.
“That means that everybody starts land grabbing which makes no sense to me. If Syria then implodes on itself that would create problems that would take us decades for us to come back from.”
Some experts have also predicted that if Damascus falls to rebels, Al Assad could take refuge among ethnic Alawites in the northeastern mountains of Syria, where opposition forces say he has already been stockpiling weapons.
King Abdullah, a key US ally in the Middle East, is acutely conscious of instability in Syria, across the Jordanian border, and of the impact of Arab Spring upheaval on the subtle ethnic and political divisions in his kingdom.
He predicted in the interview, to be broadcast later in full on the PBS Show “Charlie Rose,” that Al Assad would keep up his brutal security purge to cling to power because the Syrian president “believes that he is in the right.
“In his mentality, he is going to stick to his guns ... I think the regime feels that it has no alternative, but to continue. ... I don’t think it’s just Bashar. It’s not the individual. It’s the system of the regime.
“For Bashar, at the moment, if I’m reading the way he’s thinking, is, he’s going do what he’s going to do indefinitely.”
The king also said that continued international squabbling over how to ease the Syria crisis, which has seen Russia and China at odds with Washington and its allies, risked deepening the danger.
“The longer we take to find a political solution, and the more the chaos continues, then we may be pushing Syria into the abyss,” he said.
“The abyss is complete and utter civil war which will take us I think years to come back from.”—www.shafaqna.com/english
Source: Gulf News