Trust me, as the father of all Syrians, I – President Bashar al-Assad – am more aggrieved than anyone by the cowardly and criminals gas attacks that killed scores of women and children in the town of Khan Sheikhoun. Even though I’m an enormously proud and powerful man, I tell you I wept at reports and newscasts of little ones foaming at the mouth or gasping through poisoned lungs as they suffocated. Seeing their bodies later lined up intensified my agony. What horrible people would commit such atrocities? I’m sure you know it wasn’t Bashar al-Assad.
On the contrary, I was attacking the terrorists who’ve killed more than four hundred thousand in my once-peaceful land. I was bombing the heathens but my freedom explosions detonated a terrorist stockpile of nerve gas. The Russians have already verified this and spoken quite publicly. They know I’m fighting heathens who a few years ago produced their own projectiles to deliver chemical agents to kill our people. The atrocity at Khan al-Assal had also been verified by the Russians, who on my request investigated most thoroughly. ISIS and Al Qaeda and others of their ilk have often launched such attacks.
Only in self-defense did I in August 2013 respond in kind, and grieved in the aftermath of fourteen hundred Syrians perishing from poison gas. The United States appeared poised to attack me but wisely settled down and with the Russians forged a deal wherein I agreed to destroy my chemical weapons. Now, be fair and honest and tell me if, in my position, you would really dismantle every device in a nation under siege by barbarians you very well know would not rid themselves of all weapons of mass destruction. You wouldn’t, and I too saved a few gaseous options, which the enemy has on occasion compelled me to use.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson understands the reality that most foreigners have not: “The long-term status of President Assad will be decided by the Syrian people.” President Obama didn’t realize that, but what did he ever do about his belligerent red line in regard to limiting my occasional sad but essential use of gas? He did nothing. Now President Trump is saying – about an attack I again swear I did not commit – that I’ve crossed several red lines with him, and, like Obama, I know he wants to attack me. But the Russians wouldn’t like that. And most importantly the Syrian people would disapprove because they know I’d easily win a fair national election.