Assad Presents His Defense Against the U.S.
Syrian President Bashar al Assad defended himself publicly to the United States in an interview with Charlie Rose, claiming that the U.S. doesn't have "a single shred" of evidence tying him to the August 21 chemical attacks, and that we should "expect every action" in retaliation if the United States does execute military strikes against him.
The first glimpses of the interview -- Assad's first with an American anchor in nearly two years -- debuted Monday on CBS This Morning. The full conversation won't be available until Monday evening, when it airs on PBS' The Charlie Rose Show. Assad was calm and collected for a leader who is accused of killing more than 1,400 people with poison gas and who is facing a military strike from the United States, possibly with the help of an international coalition in the "double digits," according to Secretary of State John Kerry. But, of course, Assad maintains his government is innocent and accused the United States of trying to start another false hunt for W.M.D.s:
"He presented his confidence and he presented his convictions," Assad said of Kerry. "It's not about confidence, it's about evidence. The United -- sorry, the Russians have completely opposite evidence that the missiles were thrown from area where the rebels controlled. That reminds me -- about what Kerry said -- about the big lie that Colin Powell said in front of the world on satellites about the W.M.D. in Iraq before going to war when he said, 'This is our evidence.' Actually, he gave false evidence. In this case, Kerry didn't even present any evidence. He talks, 'we have evidence,' and he didn't present anything, not yet. Nothing so far... not a single shred of evidence."