Syrian leader Bashar Assad has alienated many of his fellow Arab leaders by calling them “half men.”
Embattled Syrian President Bashar Assad moved Monday to ease tensions with Arab leaders whom he had mocked as incompetent in confronting Israel – causing the latest rift among Arab states.
Last week, Assad knocked Arab leaders as “half men,” underlining the sharp division among Arab nations as they tried to forge a unified front to resolve the Lebanon crisis, triggered by Hezbollah’s July 12 abduction of two Israel Defense Forces soldiers.—-
Assad said in a televised speech Tuesday that the war had “unveiled
half men” – a reference to the opposition of Saudi Arabia, Egypt and
Hezbollah’s abduction of two IDF soldiers that triggered the July 12
fighting between Israel and the group.
governments did not officially comment on Assad’s jibes in Tuesday’s
speech. Instead, the task has been left to newspapers in Egypt, Saudi
Arabia and Jordan, some of which are state-run. Several launched
personal and direct attacks on Assad.
One paper described the
Syrian president as a rose that has failed to bloom. Another berated
him for remaining silent throughout the fighting between Israel and
Lebanese-based Hezbollah. And a third mocked his talk of resistance
even though Syria did not fire a single bullet toward the Golan Heights.
His attempts at explaining his comments are even more laughable.
On Monday, Assad sent a letter of condolence to Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak for the death of scores of Egyptians in a train collision earlier in the day.
Meanwhile, two of his ministers gave interviews to explain that Bashar did not mean to insult Mubarak or other Arab leaders.
In his letter, read on Egyptian state TV, Assad did not mention his earlier jibe. But his information minister, Mouhsen Bilal, told the state-owned Al-Ahram newspaper that Assad’s comments were not directed at Mubarak.
“Mr. President did not mean Egypt or its leadership, it was blame meant for other Arabs,” the information minister said.
In an interview with a Kuwaiti newspaper, Foreign Minister Walid Moallem also said Assad was not targeting Arab leaders when he said that those who did not support Hezbollah were “half men.”
“President Assad meant by that phrase individuals inside Syria and maybe outside it who cast doubt on the ability of the resistance [Hezbollah] to achieve victory,” Moallem was quoted as saying.
Biggest. Dork. Ever
If I were Mubarak and the other Arab leaders criticized by Assad, I would not be too insulted – considering this is Assad’s idea of a real man:
Masked young Indonesian Muslim militants who volunteer to fight against Israeli troops in Lebanon hold toy guns during a training in Solo, Central Java, Indonesia, Sunday, Aug. 20, 2006. (AP Photo/Yusrin)
I particularly like the sulker (mauve balaclava, second from left), and the nerd (purple balaclava, third from left).