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BLITZER’S BLOG: Assad must go – but where?
August 19th, 2011
03:39 PM ET

BLITZER’S BLOG: Assad must go – but where?

By CNN's Wolf Blitzer

(CNN) - Now that President Obama has declared that Bashar al-Assad must go, my question is this: Where does the Syrian leader go?

I suspect he can’t simply retire somewhere in Syria. The protesters in Syria no doubt would like to arrest him and try him for killing more than 2,000 people in the last few months. They probably would like to see him in a courtroom cage – sort of like what Egyptians have done to their former president, Hosni Mubarak.

Other human rights activists probably would like to see the United Nations Security Council recommend that al-Assad be brought before the International Criminal Court and tried for crimes against humanity – along the lines of the late Serb leader Slobodan Milosevic.

Most of the Syria experts I’m hearing from believe al-Assad will try to maintain his power for as long as possible. That’s what Moammar Gadhafi has done so far in Libya though there are now reports that his days in power may be numbered. We shall see.

I have no doubt that both Gadhafi and al-Assad will do whatever they can to make sure they don’t wind up like Mubarak or Milosevic. That means many more people will die.

One final note: On Thursday I wrote about Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki siding with Assad and the Syrian leader’s main backer, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. I noticed Friday that The New York Times is now reporting that al-Maliki says Israel will benefit the most from the Arab Spring.

“There is no doubt that there is a country that is waiting for the Arab countries to be ripped and is waiting for internal corrosion,” he said in Baghdad. “Zionists and Israel are the first and biggest beneficiaries of this whole process.”

I am sure the protesters who have risked their lives in Egypt, Syria, Tunisia and elsewhere in the Middle East and North Africa will disagree with him.

RELATED STORY: Bashar al-Assad: Syria's unintended president

RELATED STORY: EU panel calls for embargo on Syrian oil as deaths mount

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Filed under: Syria • Wolf Blitzer
soundoff (46 Responses)
  1. rajeev

    August 27, 2011 at 10:13 pm |
  2. Essay writing

    Great Post! Thanks for giving detailed description about blog.

    August 26, 2011 at 12:30 pm |
  3. Joe

    'Assad, the ophthalmologist who cannot see', sees no problems in Syria that cannot be solved with more words, more promises and no change.

    August 22, 2011 at 9:41 pm |
  4. Dan in Albuquerque

    The obvious place for adherence to international law is to be tried in the world coourt. It's one thing to have collateral damage among civilians in wartime, a very sad fact in nearly all wars. It is entirely another to commit genocide among your own people , then pretend you have a majority and are protecting it from 'thugs". These thugs are basically unarmed, and include women and chldren who only care about being free from oppression.

    August 22, 2011 at 1:27 pm |
  5. Shafiq7

    Sorry to post this tip here, but I could not find a method to submit this news tip to CNN. My apologies for not using the correct format.

    Spicy Spring

    I have been informed by friends and in-laws from Singapore that a silent, though aromatic protest is taking place in Singapore on August 21st, 2011. Apparently, a Government mediator had made the political blunder of responding to a complaint from one of the overabundant new Chinese immigrants in that country related to the aroma of hot curry, which he apparently disliked, wafting through his neighborhood from one of his native Singaporean neighbors. When word spread that the government mediator was choosing to “solve” the complaint of an unwelcome immigrant over a native who was doing nothing more than cooking with a spice that is part of virtually every southeastern Asian meal. Singaporeans of all ethnicities, including ethnic Chinese citizens, were angered. (It is, incidentally, no secret that the S’pore Government has been actively recruiting Chinese immigrants to take the jobs of the native Singaporeans at much lower wages.) In response to the government mediator’s order to not cook with curry, and taking the side of this immigrant interloper over its native citizens, many Singaporeans had vowed to cook with lots of curry on August 20th at approximately the same time producing an abundance of the tangy bouquet to demonstrate that they have had enough of the government coddling immigrants from China who are, apparently, taking all of the good jobs from the native citizens.

    I guess that would be a different version of the Arab Spring; perhaps it should be called the Spicy Spring?

    John Ciccotelli

    August 21, 2011 at 3:33 pm |
  6. rh12

    First Malki takes his orders from Iran, that is the kind of puppet he is . Syria had been for years the main supporter for most terrorist organization in the region so it should not surprise any one to know that they (the Syrian Regime) have been terrorizing Syrians for so many years. Now every one in Syria knows that Iran had been supplying Bashar with money and armed men to kill Syrian. So it is only logical that Malki follows the Iranian orders and support Asad. Bashar and his dad had one goal which is to rule Syria infinitely and never thought for one day that the Syrian people will stand against them especially after the Massacre of Hama in 1982. However they failed to remember that Justice will be served in time no matter how long it takes to get there. Bashar will be with his brother Maher, Rami Maklouf, Asef Shouket and all his thugs in court soon. We as Syrian will not take revenge from them we will only ask for justice for all the kids that were tortured and their life destroyed. We will never forget all the ones killed and detained. Mark my words JUSTICE WILL BE SERVED.

    August 20, 2011 at 3:44 pm |
  7. William W. Choate

    Regarding LEADERSHIP, whether Syria, the U.S., corporate, city, civic organization, family, or anywhere else, Consider
    Avis'Robert Townsend's book, Up the Organization at page 81, quoting 500 b.c. Lao-tzu,"As for the best leaders, the people do not notice their existence. The next best, the people honor and praise, The next, the people fear; and the next, the people hate. When the best leader's work is done the people say, 'We did it ourselves!" For example, as to jobs, what if the leaders with the information published which Cities had he least and which had the most loss of building space (sf) to fire so investors and businesses could take it from there and make informed decisions for locating to avoid such loss.

    August 20, 2011 at 2:06 pm |
  8. SQZ

    Gitmo still has room

    August 19, 2011 at 11:23 pm |
  9. NonZionist

    Blitzer writes +( al-Assad be brought before the International Criminal Court and tried for crimes against humanity )+

    When are the George Bush neo-cons going to be tried for lying us into creating the trillion-dollar holocaust in Iraq?

    There are two competing systems of justice here:

    * The Zionist system: We are God, we dictate to the world, we make the laws but are not bound by the laws ourselves.

    * The American system: All people are created equal. The law must apply to everybody equally; otherwise the law becomes a farce.

    I subscribe to the American system. If we refuse to hold OURSELVES accountable then we have no basis for holding others accountable.

    August 19, 2011 at 9:44 pm |
  10. Dave


    August 19, 2011 at 8:23 pm |
  11. SNAPPA

    Hey, i've got an idea him and Ghadafi could share a cell at some notorious prison. How aobut Guantonomo Bay?

    August 19, 2011 at 8:15 pm |
  12. slong

    let him live with your liberal boyfriend Bill if Hillary don't mine

    August 19, 2011 at 8:09 pm |
  13. Brendan M. Prawdzik

    Surely, Assad "must go." But aren't you getting way ahead of things, Blitzer? The relevant question is not, "where should Assad go?" but "how can his military dictatorship be toppled", or "can it be?" Egypt was one thing, and surely Libya was then another. But what kind of beast is this Syria situation?

    August 19, 2011 at 8:00 pm |
  14. usaf2

    Blitzer is nothing but another Actor and he should be in Hollllywoood!! he is one sided bias ugly pig

    August 19, 2011 at 8:00 pm |
  15. Mike

    Let him go to Iran. They have been helping him, advising him, giving him money and sending in their people to help kill Syrian civilians. He would fit right in with the dictatorship now in place in Iran. The Iranian people traded the Shaw for a religiuos nut for a ruler and a fruitcake for President. Yep he would fit right in.

    August 19, 2011 at 6:42 pm |
    • cs

      Right on but do not omit Libya as a great place for him. I hear the beaches are great.

      August 19, 2011 at 8:11 pm |
    • Paul

      LOL – your last sentence could very well describe the United States ! !

      August 19, 2011 at 11:47 pm |
    • Abu Hassan

      I agree with you bro, all the money we spent in Iraq , Thanks Bush

      August 20, 2011 at 1:21 am |
  16. Bill D.

    Let him go to Iran.... Kindred spirits that treat their and respect their own people in very similar ways. The only difference is that Iran considers THEIR government GOD...and conveniently brands those that disagree with their fascist, totalitarian society "enemies of God". How convenient.

    August 19, 2011 at 6:40 pm |
  17. kerry

    Sad that these dictators cannot see what is in front of their faces. Hopefully one day all tyrants will be gone, human dignity will demand it. Sad that there are still dictators in power who encourage this kind of government, to justify their own existence.

    August 19, 2011 at 6:31 pm |
  18. Thomas

    How about Libya ?

    August 19, 2011 at 6:28 pm |
    • kerry

      The people need to bury him in his bunker where he the coward that he is.

      August 19, 2011 at 6:34 pm |
  19. H

    No Blitzer. We AGREE with him, not with you. Just because Obama said he has to leave doesn't mean he has to obey his order. Who the heck is Obama? Russia doesn't want him to leave, just that in your report. US has no business policing the world. You, CNN and your government are the problem.

    August 19, 2011 at 6:28 pm |
    • Josh

      Clearly you work for the Syrian government.
      The POTUS is not alone in demanding Assad to leave Europe is also calling for his exit. Russia wants him to stay. Russia, a country that's only better than Syria in how they like to portray themselves. The Prime Minister & President take turns trading places. Assad is a monster and his days are winding down.

      August 19, 2011 at 7:27 pm |
    • Dave

      Your right, do you think that Obama would leave office if another foreign leader said he has to go? I think we'll have a hard enough time getting his funk out of the White House in 2012! To many blind followers that a have no common since and think he is a God.

      August 19, 2011 at 8:26 pm |
  20. Salaheddin Kurdi

    "Arabi Souri" name itself sounds like ultra nationalist Baathist and his post doesnot make any sense at all.

    The French colonial left Syria but elevated Alawites into powerful positions. They could not however survive as Alawites and took the umbrella of Baath party to fool the masses. This family dynasty has crossed all limits in brutally subjugating its own people. Their Arab nationalist cry was itself fake when they sided with Iran against fellow "Arab" Saddam of same Baath party. These Baathists talk about Israel as enemy but forget that last time the man who liberated Palestine and Jerusalem was neither a Syrian or a Arab but a Kurdish general from Northern Iraq-Salaheddin.

    August 19, 2011 at 6:19 pm |
  21. ad-Dajjal

    Assad should go to hell. He needs to be punished for harming and mostly killing countless of his own people. Same with the insane and delusional Gadhafi. Their fates will come soon. Killing just to stay in power. They should know that they are forever linked to every soul of the innocent or guilty they kill. Killing a human being is not a small or forgotten matter indeed.

    August 19, 2011 at 6:15 pm |
  22. Jim Thomas

    That world over there will always be at war so let them kill each other as long as it is not our USA people.We just need to get all of the American people out and let it happen then we go in and take over.Jim Thomas Phx.Az.

    August 19, 2011 at 6:11 pm |
  23. STAB

    blitzer is an outright idiot and the liberals have a real dummy reporter to lean on!
    go get em dummy.nobody listens to your communist station anyway!

    August 19, 2011 at 6:05 pm |
  24. Truthwillsetyoufree

    Texas! same kind of mentality...

    August 19, 2011 at 6:04 pm |
  25. ArtInChicago

    You don't have to go home, but you can't stay here.

    August 19, 2011 at 6:01 pm |
  26. Liberal87

    What a shame that Al-Maliki is backing Assad. No wonder though, he's Shiite, so he agrees with everything Iran says or does.

    August 19, 2011 at 5:59 pm |
  27. Arabi Souri

    I was expecting a more in depth analysis when followed the link from twitter taking in consideration your vast experience in the geopolitics & your close observations from senior politicians in the USA, but take my advice: ask the man not his wife about their encounter with the Syrian leadership and the way events lead in this area of the world, the Clintons I mean.
    Syria been under worse than this when it was much powerless than now and it passed it successfully while its enemies suffered losses, a saying of late president Hafez Assad gives you a clear indication how policy is planned in Syria: "We might lose and die, but when we die and fall our bodies will fall on the dead bodies of our enemies". Syria might lose a million of its people per an israeli military & strategic expert, but is israel able to lose a million of its people?"

    August 19, 2011 at 5:59 pm |
  28. a

    Send Mr. Assad to Venezuela with his buddy Mr. Chavez

    August 19, 2011 at 5:56 pm |
  29. Rick

    Mr Wolf, what a question....before Mr. Assad go, you should kill at list 20 million Syrian lover and supporter of him…I know that your country is capable of doing that by using nuclear bombs that you threatened to us against us and wipe Syria out of the map a couple of years ago…. Then you said it was just a joke
    Any way prepare for a huge bloodshed of American soldiers in Iraq and all over the world if you tried to force his resignation…. Don’t under estimate the Syrian military power and i suggest that you read the history about his father when he defeated US in Lebanon when he kicked you out of Lebanon with your tail between your legs.. I think the history will repeat itself and you will incountar a huge casualty and defeat by the Syrian army..

    August 19, 2011 at 5:55 pm |
  30. Steve

    In a Syrian courtroom.

    August 19, 2011 at 5:53 pm |
  31. Robert Marshall

    Maybe the Russians will take him. They are so quick to back him up.

    August 19, 2011 at 5:42 pm |
  32. Malaqb

    IF BASHAR GOES... THIS WILL OPEN THE BACKDOOR FOR IRAN TO INTERVINE, Wwe dont like to see the situation in BAHRAIN to repeat itself. IRAN IS NOT ellegible nor POLITICALY READY to assume its role as a protector of international intersts in the region

    August 19, 2011 at 5:36 pm |
  33. TALKing point

    I know , how about next to Obama home. so he can look out

    August 19, 2011 at 5:36 pm |
  34. Greg, Ontario

    That is a simple one Wolf, Iran. They hate everyone that is not exactly like them as much as he does. He would fit right in but really Wolf, should we even care? As long as the evil is made toothless who cares? As long as he doesn't try coming to Canada or the US I don't care.

    August 19, 2011 at 5:32 pm |
  35. Stuart

    I can use him to get rid of noisy neighbors.

    August 19, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
  36. closetiguana

    How about the Hague for crimes against humanity. They'll take him.

    August 19, 2011 at 5:15 pm |
  37. Mike

    He goes home to his wife and children. The majority of Syrians not only support Assad, they love Assad. The West and its Arab stooges won't change that.

    August 19, 2011 at 5:07 pm |
  38. Frank Sage

    Richard Quest and Ali Velshi were content to leave him with his point. Velshi even acknowledged later that the country needs to "stimulate employment." Lenzner insisted that "What we really need, but unfortunately we're politically behind the eight-ball is, we need an enormous stimulus program of say, $200 billion to put to work all these people from the construction trades and building and real estate that are out of work.
    Congressional Budget Office The estimated Friday that the U.S. federal budget deficit for fiscal year December 2007, which ended Sunday, was about $161 billion, or 1.2% of gross domestic product. That’s down from the $248 billion shortfall recorded in fiscal 2006, which translated into 1.9% of GDP. The Treasury Department will report the official tally later this month. Unemployed Rate 4.9% this is how company hire do you know what the President was 2007

    August 19, 2011 at 4:56 pm |
  39. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    The Bush administration has paid al-Maliki billions and he has always been a snake.

    August 19, 2011 at 4:53 pm |

    The Cage? Agood Ideal. What aboput a fitting for Obama?

    August 19, 2011 at 4:22 pm |

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