Assad and his Thugs including benefactor (Rami Makhlouf) say they will Fight the Syrian people Till ‘the End’

By    Published: May 10, 2011

DAMASCUS, Syria — Syria’s ruling elite, a tight-knit circle at the nexus of absolute power, loyalty to family and a visceral instinct for survival, will fight to the end in a struggle that could cast the Middle East into t

urmoil and even war, warned Syria’s most powerful businessman, a confidant and cousin of President Bashar al-Assad.

The frank comments by Rami Makhlouf, a tycoon who has emerged in the two-month uprising as a lighting rod for anger at the privilege that power brings, offered an exceedingly rare insight into the thinking of an opaque government, the prism through which it sees Syria, and the way it reaches decisions. Beset by the greatest threat to its four decades of rule, the ruling family, he suggested, has conflated its survival with the existence of the minority sect that views the protests not as legitimate demands for change but rather as the seeds of civil war.

The Syrian tycoon Rami Makhlouf, a cousin of President Bashar al-Assad, in Damascus in 2007.

“If there is no stability here, there’s no way there will be stability in Israel,” he said in an interview Monday that lasted more than three hours. “No way, and nobody can guarantee what will happen after, God forbid, anything happens to this regime.”

Asked if it was a warning or a threat, Mr. Makhlouf demurred.

“I didn’t say war,” he said. “What I’m saying is don’t let us suffer, don’t put a lot of pressure on the president, don’t push Syria to do anything it is not happy to do.”

His words cast into the starkest terms a sentiment the government has sought to cultivate — us or chaos — and it underlined the tactics of a ruling elite that has manipulated the ups and downs of a tumultuous region to sustain an overriding goal: its own survival.

Though the uprising has yet to spread to Syria’s two largest cities — Damascus, the capital, seemingly tranquil, was bereft of any military buildup this week, and Aleppo, a key conservative bastion, has been relatively quiet — the protests have unfurled in Damascus’s suburbs and across much of the rest of the country, building on longstanding neglect of the countryside and anger at corrupt and unaccountable security forces. While the government offered tentative concessions early on, it has since carried out a ferocious crackdown, killing hundreds, arresting thousands and besieging four cities.

“The decision of the government now is that they decided to fight,” Mr. Makhlouf said.

But even if it prevails, the uprising has demonstrated the weakness of a dictatorial government that once sought to draw legitimacy from a notion of Arab nationalism, a sprawling public sector that created the semblance of a middle class and services that delivered electricity to the smallest towns. The government of Mr. Assad, though, is far different than that of his father, who seized power in 1970. A beleaguered state, shorn of ideology, can no longer deliver essential services or basic livelihood. Mr. Makhlouf’s warnings of instability and sectarian strife like Iraq’s have emerged as the government’s rallying cry, as it deals with a degree of dissent that its officials admit caught them by surprise.

Mr. Makhlouf, a childhood friend and first cousin of Mr. Assad whose brother is the intelligence chief in Damascus, suggested that the ruling elite — staffed by Mr. Assad’s relatives and contemporaries — had grown even closer during the crisis. Though Mr. Assad has the final say, he said, policies were formulated as “a joint decision.”

“We believe there is no continuity without unity,” he said. “As a person, each one of us knows we cannot continue without staying united together.”

He echoed an Arabic proverb, which translated loosely, means that it will not go down alone.

“We will not go out, leave on our boat, go gambling, you know,” he said at his plush, wood-paneled headquarters in Damascus. “We will sit here. We call it a fight until the end.” He added later, “They should know when we suffer, we will not suffer alone.”

Mr. Makhlouf, just 41 and leery of the limelight, stands as both a strength and liability of Mr. Assad’s rule, and in the interview he was a study in contrasts — a feared and reviled businessmen who went to lengths to be hospitable and mild-mannered. To the ….. Read more

  1. May 10, 2011 at 9:51 pm

    So this is the reason try to hold people for 41 years claiming to be against Israel and USA. Now he shows that the Assad’s rulers are the security keepers to Israel. Just tell him, leave the Syria and the County and whole Middle East will be saved from thefts like you and other crocks in this regim.

    • afif sleiman
      May 11, 2011 at 12:40 am

      As a Canadian leaving abroad most of the time in Syria, this kind of regime is the best to control the Salafiyeh (quaydaa)which is became the most powerful tool to influence on the Muslim people, in the name of democracy and freedom, they kill innocent people, destroy most of governmental institutions, so regarding Mr. Rami Makhlouf he is at least hired lot of poor people where they can not find a place to work, he is like any other business man in syria whom makes a lot of money from the corruption but at least he did not save them in banks in Swiss on USA, so be honest and look for reality when searching the truth

      • May 12, 2011 at 9:57 am

        It is the time to stop the killing!!! If your are a Canadian abroad why are you righting this response from a Syrian government house? you are @ Syrian Telecommunications Establishment, so please do not act like someone live in Canadian, also I will like to tell you that we are planing to trace, catch and prosecute anyone that is working and assisting in cover up of the crime that has been committed. you could be one of them!!!!!

        Stop talking about Salafiyes nonsense… We have all what we need to prosecute any one that is involved in the killing, suppuration, abduction, injuring or any of the Syrian people in the International Criminal Court, you can run, but you can’t hide. we will have you all of the one the list, by toping and helping the Syrian people you may be spread …
        All of the criminals will be haled accountable in the court of law, if you did know that, now you do so stop and tell all of your friends to stop.

        Mohamed Abdlla Al-Rifai

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