Bashar al-Assad Coldly Asks: ‘What Red Line?’

Syrian President Bashar Assad leaves the Elysee Palace following his meeting with his French counterpart Nicolas Sarkozy, in Paris, Friday Nov. 13, 2009. Assad says that Mideast peace will be the main issue in his talks with President Nicolas Sarkozy and that "France must act." (AP Photo/Remy de la Mauviniere)
ASSOCIATED PRESS
Brian Resnick
Sept. 9, 2013, 7:02 p.m.

It’s strange to watch a lead­er of a coun­try an­swer ques­tions for an Amer­ic­an audi­ence, know­ing that the United States is mulling over a de­cision to send rock­ets his way. What did Syr­i­an Pres­id­ent Bashar al-As­sad think he could get out of Monday night’s in­ter­view with Charlie Rose — a chance to warm Amer­ic­ans to his per­spect­ive, a chance to scare them away from con­flict in the coun­try with talk of re­tri­bu­tion? 

Dur­ing the in­ter­view, Rose, stoned-faced as ever, asked a per­son whom many con­sider to be a ruth­less dic­tat­or with the blood of a hun­dred thou­sand cit­izens on his hands, point blank: “Why do you have such a stock­pile of chem­ic­al weapons?”

For the re­cord, As­sad denied re­spons­ib­il­ity for the Aug. 21 chem­ic­al strike that re­portedly killed some 1,400 people. He wouldn’t com­ment on wheth­er Syr­ia had a stock­pile of chem­ic­al weapons. He said he “didn’t know” if chem­ic­al war­fare is com­par­able to a nuc­le­ar at­tack be­cause “we haven’t tried either (laugh).” He thinks those U.S. in­tel­li­gence re­ports that say he did, in­deed, try chem­ic­al weapons are “non­sense.” Of the Aug. 21 at­tack, here’s his ex­change with Rose:

BASHAR al-AS­SAD: We — we’re not in the area where the al — where the — where the al­leged chem­ic­al at­tack was happened, as it al­leged. We’re not sure that any­thing happened be­cause —

CHARLIE ROSE: Even at this date, you are not sure that chem­ic­al weapons, even though you have seen the video­tape, even though you’ve seen the bod­ies, even though —

AS­SAD: No, I have —

ROSE: — your own of­fi­cials have been there.

AS­SAD: I haven’t fin­ished. Our sol­diers in an­oth­er area were at­tacked chem­ic­ally. Our sol­diers. They went to the hos­pit­al — as cas­u­al­ties be­cause of chem­ic­al weapons. But in the area where they said the gov­ern­ment used chem­ic­al weapons, we only had video and we only have pic­tures and al­leg­a­tions. We’re not there. Our forces — our po­lice, our in­sti­tu­tions don’t ex­ist. How can you talk about what happened if you don’t have evid­ences?

But per­haps the scene-stop­per of the in­ter­view came when Rose asked As­sad what he thought about Obama’s red line, or the world’s red line, on chem­ic­al weapons. Without pause or af­fect, As­sad replied, “What red line?”

What We're Following See More »
MARCIA FUDGE TO PRESIDE
Wasserman Schultz Stripped of Convention Duties
1 hours ago
THE DETAILS

Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz "will not have a major speaking role or preside over daily convention proceedings this week," and is under increasing pressure to resign. The DNC Rules Committee on Saturday named Ohio Democratic Rep. Marcia Fudge as "permanent chair of the convention." At issue: internal DNC emails leaked by Wikileaks that show how "the DNC favored Clinton during the primary and tried to take down Bernie Sanders by questioning his religion."

Source:
EARLY BUMP FOR TRUMP?
New Round of Polls Show a Tight Race
2 days ago
THE LATEST
  • A Rasmussen Reports poll shows Donald Trump ahead of Hillary Clinton, 43%-42%, the fourth week in a row he's led the poll (one of the few poll in which he's led consistently of late).
  • A Reuters/Ipsos survey shows Clinton leading 40%-36%. In a four-way race, she maintains her four-point lead, 39%-35%, with Gary Johnson and Jill Stein pulling 7% and 3%, respectively.
  • And the LA Times/USC daily tracking poll shows a dead heat, with Trump ahead by about half a percentage point.
BELLWETHER?
Candidates Deadlocked in Ohio
3 days ago
THE LATEST
17-POINT EDGE AMONG MILLENNIALS
Clinton Dominates Among Younger Voters
3 days ago
THE DETAILS

In an election between two candidates around 70 years of age, millennials strongly prefer one over the other. Hillary Clinton has a 47%-30% edge among votes 18 to 29. She also leads 46%-36% among voters aged 30 to 44.

Source:
NEW POLL SHOWS TROUBLE FOR TRUMP
Clinton Leads Trump Among Latinos by Nearly 70 Points
3 days ago
THE DETAILS

According to an online tracking poll released by New Latino Voice, Hillary Clinton leads Donald Trump among Latino voters, attracting support from 81 percent of Latino voters, to just 12 percent support for Trump. The results of this poll are consistent with those from a series of other surveys conducted by various organizations. With Pew Research predicting the 2016 electorate will be 12 percent Hispanic, which would be the highest ever, Trump could be in serious trouble if he can't close the gap.

Source:
×