The mass murdering Hafaz al-Assad handed over the Syrian regime to Bashar al-Assad like a Mafia don passing on the family business to his son. Assad père had come to power through a military coup. The son maintains power through the same charms that brought his father to power and maintained him there. The set-up is lacking in any shred of legitimacy or decency, for that matter, yet Assad has been the great right hope of American statesmen such as Hillary Clinton and John Kerry. Assad remains John Kerry’s hope — of a Nobel Peace Prize, but he won’t get it without Vladimir Putin joining him for the ride.
Now comes Fox News contributor Dennis Kucinich [!] to present Assad to the American people for an extended interview on Fox News. What is Kucinich doing there? The Washington Post’s Erik Wemple quotes Fox News EVP Michael Clemente’s explanation/statement on the interview and comments on it here. Joining Kucinich in the proceedings is Fox News correspondent Greg Palkot. It is, as Wemple says, “really weird.”
The New York Times’s Robert Mackey points out that Assad’s office promoted Assad’s “television dialogue” with Kucinich online before Fox News acknowledged that it had taken place. It posted video of the interview on its YouTube channel as soon as the Fox News broadcast began Wednesday night.
How did Kucinich score the interview? Mackey also points out that Kucinich met Assad during an unannounced visit to Damascus in 2011. Kucinich’s Web site still displays a banner saying, “Tell Congress: Stand for America — Vote No to Any Attack on Syria.” Kucinich seems pretty excited by the course of events. The Syrian video with Arabic subtitles is below.
Mackey mentions that at one point in the interview Assad defends his use of force to put down the uprising against his rule by comparing it to the use of soldiers and Marines to quell rioting in Los Angeles in 1992. “What did you do in Los Angeles in the ’90s, when you had rebels?” he asked. “Didn’t you send your army? You did.”
Fox News has posted the full interview in five parts here and on YouTube here (the link is to part 1, including Bret Baier’s introduction echoing Clemente’s statement, with parts 2-5 accessible at the link).
A part of the Fox News Special Report panel commenting on the interview is posted here. Don’t miss Charles Krauthammer’s opening comments. Fox News also reports on the interview here. Roger Simon comments: “The dictator WILL be televised.”