"Definitely, for one reason because the terrorists in Syria, they don’t have the social incubator yet. That’s why we do not worry about them."

 From President Assad's Dutch NPO2 TV Interview, December  17, 2015.

 

   

 

"As much as it is Syrian heritage, actually it’s a global heritage, and you understand what I’m talking about because you belong to a country that has one of the oldest civilizations in the world, and your neighboring countries like Afghanistan and so on suffer from the same cultural disaster. The same happened in Iraq after the American invasion. Now, that’s what’s happening in Syria. Some of those international heritage sites have been demolished; they cannot be restored. There’s another part of the problem; that many of the monuments could be smuggled outside Syria in order to be sold internationally. But fortunately, I think all of them are documented, and they are registered in the UNESCO, so we are going to work with friendly countries and international organizations including the UNESCO in order to get back our heritage."

 From President Al-Assad's  Interview with the Chinese PHOENIX” TV, November 22, 2015.

 

   

 

"I believe in the Syrian people first, I believe that I’m working for my country and for the Syrian people, not for myself. The West wanted to portray the situation as a problem regarding a president who wants to stay in power, he wants to stay on his chair, and he wants to kill the people because they want to get rid of him. That’s not the reality. How can you stay when you have the opposition of not only the terrorists inside Syria, but also the strongest countries and the richest countries, and you stay for five years? It means you have the support of, at least, let’s say, more than half of the Syrians. I wouldn’t talk about the majority, but more than half of the Syrian people. Without that, how can you stay here? It’s not a matter of a superman, it’s the matter of a normal person, he has the support of the public opinion. The problem with the West is they didn’t understand the Syrian people, they don’t understand this region. That’s why they miscalculated at the very beginning, they thought it was a matter of a few weeks or a few months, like what happened in Tunisia and in Egypt, and now because they failed, they want to blame somebody else, they look for a scapegoat, and they want to say it’s me, it’s some other reasons, and so on. But actually, they miscalculated, and I believed in the Syrian population."

 From President Al-Assad's  Interview with the Chinese PHOENIX” TV, November 22, 2015

 

    

 

"This is a two-part question. The first part, is there anything I have to do in response to any foreign request? My answer is no. I will not do it, no matter what that request is; small, big, important, not important, because they have nothing to do with the Syrian decision. The only thing they did so far is to support terrorists in different ways, by [providing an] umbrella and by direct support. They could only create problems; they are not part of the solution. Those countries, whoever supports terrorists, are not part of the solution in Syria. So, whatever they say, we don’t respond because we don’t care about them, to be frank. Second, for me, as a Syrian, I have to respond to any Syrian will. Of course, when I talk about Syrian will, there must be a kind of consensus, the majority of the Syrians, and the only way to know what the Syrians want is through the ballot box. This is second. Third, for any president, to come and go, in any state that respects itself, respects its civilization and respects its people, is through a political process that reflects the constitution. The constitution will bring the president and the constitution will make him leave, through the parliament, through elections, through referendum, and so on. This is the only way for the president to come and go."

 From President Assad's interview with the French Magazine Valeurs Actuelles, November 19, 2015.

    

  "The future of Syria is everything for us. I mean, even my future cannot be separate, as a citizen. As a citizen, if my country is not safe, I cannot be safe. If it’s not good, I cannot have a good future, so that’s self-evident. But again, if you want to put them against each other, it’s like saying “if the president is here, the future of Syria is bad. If the president leaves, the future of Syria is good.” That’s the Western propaganda. Actually, that’s not the case within Syria. Within Syria, you have people who support that president; you have people who don’t support that president, so when my future is good for Syria, if the Syrian people want me as president, the future will be good. If the Syrian people don’t want me, and I want to cling to power, this is where for me being as president is bad. So it’s very simple. So, we don’t have to follow the Western propaganda to answer according to that propaganda, because it’s disconnected from reality. I have to answer you according to our reality."

 From  President Assad's interview with Italian TV channel RAI UNO, November 18, 2015.

     

 

''We support any political move in parallel with fighting terrorism. But this needs a number of factors to succeed. When we talk about dialogue among the Syrians, this dialogue has two aspects: there is a dialogue on the future of Syria, and it includes all Syrians. Every Syrian has the right to express an opinion in this dialogue in order to know the shape of the Syria we want. Later, there are institutions, there is the public opinion, there is a referendum on a constitution which might be produced by this dialogue. Whatever the people decide, then, will be binding to us as a state and for me as an official. But there is also a dialogue which is specific to the crisis: how to put an end to terrorism and how to restore security. If we talk about political reform, it does not concern the terrorists, because terrorists do not fight for political reform. They fight because they receive money or because they have a perverted doctrine, or because they want to have a role in a state that becomes another state’s client.."

 From President Al-Assad Interview with the Iranian Khabar TV, October 4, 2015.

    

 "From the very beginning we were open. We engaged in dialogue with every party in Syria. Party doesn’t mean political party; it could be party, current, or some personality, it could be any political entity. We changed the constitution and we are open to anything. But when you want to do something, it’s not about the position or about the government, it’s about the Syrians; sometimes you might have a majority that doesn’t belong to any side. So when you want to make a change, as long as you’re talking about a national problem, every Syrian must have a say in it. When you have a dialogue, it’s not between the government and the opposition; it’s between the different Syrian parties and entities. That’s how we look at dialogue. This is first. Second, whatever solution you want to make, at the end you should go back to the people through a referendum, because you’re talking about the constitution; changing the political system, You have to go back to the Syrian people. So engaging in a dialogue is different from taking decisions, which is not done by the government or the opposition."

 From  President Assad's Interview with US Foreign Affairs Magazine, January 26th, 2015.

    

 

"A captain doesn’t think of life and death, he thinks of saving his ship. If the ship sinks, everybody will die, so we would rather save the country. But I want to stress an important point here. Remaining president had never been my objective, before, during, or after the crisis. But we as Syrians will never accept that Syria become a western puppet state. This is one of our most important objectives and principles."

 From President Al-Assad's interview with the French 'Paris Match Magazine, December 4, 2014.

 

   

 "The more we comprehend the nature of the ongoing war, the more we are able to encounter the propaganda. The Syrians have authorized none as to surrender their rights. Syria is for all Syrians and the share of every Syrian is all of Syria, the one integral Syria, in which the terrorists are on one side and the rest of the Syrians is on the other side."

 From President Al-Assad's July 26th 2015 Speech

 

   

 

"We will never be slaves but ever independent masters and  the ongoing is the war for our existence as either to be or not to be as the battle for every Syrian, for the integrity and unity of the Syrian territory. The future of Syria is to decide the future of the region; we have to vanquish in our battles, to be united against terrorism; Syria's victory is for all Syrians against the plots hatched against them. The homeland, Syria, is our right, the protection of Syria is our duty and God stands with right."

 From President Al-Assad's July 26th 2015 Speech

 

    

 

"Fellow citizens, you have proven throughout your history, that you do not fear challenges but rather embrace them, no matter who the challenger is. You have insured the failure of our foes and proved their artificiality and ignorance. Research and study centres will be busy for years looking for answers to questions about what happened, in order to identify their mistakes, miscalculations and bad judgments. They will never find real answers because they depended on lackeys and agents. They did not know or understand how to deal with masters and honourable and patriotic people, and that is why they are more capable of understanding the terms of subservience, humiliation and dependence. They are unable to interpret the true meaning of honour, sovereignty and freedom.  Those who want to predict the behavior and reaction of an ancient and civilized people should have the same historical and civilizational depth in order to fathom a great people’s strength and tenacity; this shows itself only in great national crises and at crucial historical junctures."

From H.E. President Al-Assad 2014 inauguration speech

"Let us ask ourselves, would we have witnessed the corruption we have seen – the robbery, the exploitation, the kidnapping, treason and other horrendous crimes, had the parents of those deviant people given their children a sound upbringing?  On the other side of the horizon, what about the millions of honourable people working in state institutions and other entities? What about the hundreds of thousands of young people who took up arms to defend their country and were martyred? What about those citizens who decided to carry on with their national duties despite the threats, and the resilient families who remained rooted in the soil of the homeland despite their difficult circumstances?  All of these actions were not due to administrative directives, but rather because these people were given a sound upbringing which produced honest and patriotic citizens."

From H.E. President Al-Assad 2014 inauguration speech

"Looking forward to the future, we need to address the large gaps that have appeared in our national fabric. This requires our concerted efforts and our standing shoulder to shoulder in the next stage, which means an interactive relationship between the people, their leadership and their government.  The role of a leadership does not eliminate the role and contribution of the people; similarly the presence of a leadership or a government should not imply total reliance upon it.  This interactive relationship means that we move forward together towards the desired future, if we mean to succeed in our endeavour."

From H.E. President Al-Assad 2014 inauguration speech.

"Hence the word ‘Sawa’ or ‘together,’ which focuses on enhancing the sense of responsibility in every one of us ensuring we move forward as one nation. It means that we shall rebuild Syria together, that we shall continue to strike terrorism whilst concluding reconciliations so that no Syrian remains in temporary housing or refugee camps. It means that together we shall fight corruption with the necessary laws and morals, and strengthen our institutions by focusing on equal opportunities and eradicating nepotism."

From H.E. President Al-Assad 2014 inauguration speech.

"There should be no excuse for negative thinking and negative attitudes in dealing with our national challenges; and we must acknowledge that many of the negative aspects in our society are the product of a common culture that has become ingrained in our minds, making it difficult to replace; the only way to do so is to build a proactive, cooperative and altruistic culture. Some people might be asking how possible this is when officials do not respond to initiatives and ideas. It is a legitimate question, but we cannot generalize; there are always those who listen and are interested. We must not tire or give up; we must continue to try every possible way to make our voice heard and contribute to the process of rebuilding, development and correcting our mistakes."

From H.E. President Al-Assad 2014 inauguration speech.

 

"You have proved to the entire world that pressures and conspiracies, even varied and intensified, would but increase your determination and insistence upon encountering the challenges, reiterating that Syria has basics which can never be breached into; these basics lie in the interests of the Syrian Arab people, and its national and pan-Arab objectives. History would register in letters of illumination your sacrifices, and heroism in defense of the homeland,"

From H.E. President Bashar Al-Assad’s Army Day Speech ,August 1,2013.

"The homeland is above all, and Syria is above all. We can strengthen Syria through political initiatives and defending every single grain of its soil. Syrians abound with forgiveness and tolerance, but pride and patriotism run in their veins. The majority of people have risen against terrorism. Some have helped through providing the competent authorities with valuable information which enabled them to abort terrorist attacks against citizens. Others have risen against terrorists and deprived them of a support base, whether through defending their areas or even taking to the streets in protest against gunmen, many even fell martyr while doing so, and others have defended the cities, districts and infrastructure hand in hand with the armed forces."

From H.E. President Bashar Al-Assad's January 6th, 2013 Speech

"I will mention one example of a small village in the farthest north of Syria in al-Hasaka province named Raas al-Ein where the valiant young men of this village, which lies directly on the Turkish border, confronted over several days repeated terrorist attacks and were able to force out the terrorists who came from Turkey. So, we give our salute to this village."

From H.E. President Bashar Al-Assad's January 6th, 2013 Speech

''Our steadfast people has undergone attempts to starve and besiege it and play with its daily livelihood. You must rest assured that all this will disappear when we work together to meet citizens' needs of social justice which manifests itself through fair distribution of wealth, equal opportunities, access to basic services, balanced development between the country and the city, promoting social support networks in order to strengthen and broaden the middle classes in society.''

From H.E.'s Parliament Speech (June 3, 2012)

 "I have strong desire to be here with you at al-Umayyad Square , in the heart of Damascus, the capital of the Umayyads, Resistance,Civilization, the blessed Bilad al-Sham, which they wanted for to be transferred from the land of harmony, amity, and peace to a land which they plant with destruction, killing, and wreckage,"

From H.E's Umayyad Square Address  ( January 11, 2012)

"I do feel the same love to you as you feel towards me. I wish that God would have granted me a very big heart capable to give the more of amity and love to this great people,"

From H.E's Umayyad Square Address  ( January 11, 2012)

"I salute you while you get out from Mosques, churches, schools and universities as to stand against westernization and to support Arabization, and assert the role of your institutions, on top of which the institution of the Army and Armed Forces, whose martyrs are every day martyred so that we are secure and free,''

From H.E's Umayyad Square Address  ( January 11, 2012)

"We do trust the future, put trust in you, and through you we are to be victorious against the conspiracy,''

From H.E's Umayyad Square Address  ( January 11, 2012)

''Now that we talked about the details, I proposed in my speech in this auditorium last June about an action plan; and I talked mainly about the legislative component in relation to laws and the constitution. At that time, I offered a timeframe for the laws which have all been passed within the timeframe identified at the time. Now, we hear many people saying “we haven’t seen any tangible results”. I always like to talk transparently, and I’ll address every subject separately.''

From H.E's Damascus university Speech  ( January 10, 2012)

''The first law we passed was lifting the state of emergency. In such circumstances that Syria is going through, can any state lift the state of emergency. On the contrary, any state would have imposed the state of emergency. Nevertheless, we didn’t do that. We insisted on lifting the state of emergency. Some Syrians accused us of abandoning part of the security of Syria because we lifted the state of emergency. Of course this is inaccurate, because lifting the state of emergency or the state of emergency itself doesn’t provide security. It is rather an organizational issue. When there is a state of emergency, there are certain measures and when it is lifted there is a different set of measures. We haven’t abandoned security. No state could accept to abandon security. The laws and the measures now in place give us full authority to control security regardless of the state of emergency law. But lifting the state of emergency needs training for the relevant services, including the security and police forces which deal with citizens. We all know that they are all over Syria now; and some of them haven’t taken leave for months. So, it is logical, reasonable or practical to train them now? This is impossible. There will be no training in the current circumstances. Nevertheless, we insist that the services stress some basic regulations in relation to lifting the state of emergency. When there is an environment of terrorism, destruction and law breaking, if there are errors they will multiply tens of folds. That is why we are not dealing only with the results but with the causes too. The results are the mistakes we see being committed by some, but the causes are related to the state of chaos in itself. We need to control the chaos in order to feel the results. In other words, we cannot feel the true effects of lifting the state of emergency while chaos prevails. And here I distinguish, of course, between different levels of mistakes, on the one hand, and killing, on the other.''

From H.E's Damascus university Speech  ( January 10, 2012)

''There is no cover for anyone; but the issue of killing needs evidence. Some people believe that none of those who committed acts of killing have been arrested. That’s not true in relation to those working for the state. A limited number of people have been arrested in relation to murder and other crimes. I say limited because the evidence was limited and connected with those people. The existence of evidence or searching for evidence needs institutions; and institutions need appropriate conditions; and the current conditions hamper the work of such institutions. But I would like to stress that there is no cover for anyone; and there is no order, I stress, no order at any level of the state to shoot at any citizen. Shooting, under the law, is allowed only in the case of self defence and in defence of citizens and in cases of engaging an armed person. So, there is a specific case in the law. In this regard, I stress the need to deal with causes and effects.''

From H.E's Damascus university Speech  ( January 10, 2012)

''Concerning the political parties, the political parties law has been issued. Some parties have applied and have been given licenses. The first license was given to the first party a few weeks ago; and I believe that yesterday or today there is a second party on the way which met all the conditions. There are many other parties which are still trying to meet the conditions and submit the necessary documents to be licensed. Of course we didn’t feel the existence of these parties, because political parties need time. But, in any case, after the political parties law has been passed, we haven’t only given licenses, but encouraged many groups to form parties. I don’t think that the state is responsible in this regard. We will not form any parties, will not appear in the media or conduct activities on behalf of anyone. So, there are no obstacles in this regard and it is only a question of time.''

From H.E's Damascus university Speech  ( January 10, 2012) 

''The local administration law has been passed and elections have been held. Of course they have been held in difficult circumstances; and it is natural that they will not give the desired results because participation, neither on the part of the candidates or the voters, was not as they were supposed to be with a new law because of the security conditions. There was a point of view saying that we should postpone local administration elections to a later stage. But there was a different opinion, which we adopted, saying that there should be change because every change is positive, particularly that most citizens’ complaints were about the performance of local administration. We embarked on that effort. But in any case, anything related to elections will not give results if there is no broad participation on the part of candidates and also on the part of voters, so that there is competition. That is why you will not feel the results. In general, with anything related to elections, part of the responsibility lies on the citizens and not only on the state.''

From H.E's Damascus university Speech  ( January 10, 2012)

''As for the media law, I think the government has completed last week the preparation of executive instructions and have become ready for implementation. There are requests ready for television, press and others. The election law was issued and the aim of which is to frame all these ideas that we hear on the political scene, and anyone who has an idea should go to the ballot box which is the voice of law for everything in this country; this is the core of the issue. ''

From H.E's Damascus university Speech  ( January 10, 2012) 

''The important law is the law of fighting corruption. It is the only law which has been delayed for several months. The first reason is related to the fact that this law is very important and has many aspects. Therefore, I asked the government to extensively consider it in collaboration with various bodies and parties. It was put on the internet and there were many posts and useful ideas. The government finished this and sent it to the Syrian Presidency which sent it back recently to the government. It is a good law which includes very important points and a point related to the inspecting authority.''

From H.E's Damascus university Speech  ( January 10, 2012) 

''In the current law, the anti-corruption law, the inspection commission was abolished, and the Anti-Corruption Commission replaced the inspection commission, but the anti-corruption law is specialized in corruption cases. This means that it deals only with small issue which often does not list all cases of corruption. This commission deals with corruption after its appearance, while the inspection commission was in charge of broader functions, including organization of management, raising proposals in the field of management and control of state action in terms of administration as well as combating corruption. Thus, the abolition of all these tasks and linking them only to one title which is corruption is not good, especially that fighting corruption cannot be done in isolation from the organization of the administration.''

From H.E's Damascus university Speech  ( January 10, 2012)

''We cannot fight corruption alone because this is a great imbalance apart from other points that are present. There are proposals on the integration of the inspection commission with the Financial Control Commission, but this issue is not important. The most important thing is to know the relationship between inspection and Anti-Corruption Commissions. If there is a cancellation of the inspection commission, will the Anti-Corruption Commission include all the tasks of the two bodies or should we leave the two commissions and specify different tasks for each one of them, or should we coordinate between both of them in respect of the issue of corruption? That is why this law was resent to the government to resolve this point. After that, the law of fighting corruption will be issued.''

From H.E's Damascus university Speech  ( January 10, 2012) 

''Anyway, if the law was passed in the best of conditions, it will be easy for the state to fight corruption at the intermediate level and above, but it is difficult to fight it from the intermediate level and below without the contribution of the citizens and the media. This means that prosecution will not be done even by this commission because it will only receive information. Thus, we need to look for the information and report them to this commission. This means that the success of this law needs significant popular awareness. ''

From H.E's Damascus university Speech  ( January 10, 2012) 

''Within the framework of the corruption topic, many people whom I meet say we want the President to hold corrupt people accountable. Here, I want to clarify that the President does not replace institutions; I handle one or two issues when I see an error, but the institution holds thousands of people accountable or address thousands of cases. When the President replaces the institutions, this will not be reassuring even if he is doing the right thing. Therefore, we have to work in order to activate institutions.''

From H.E's Damascus university Speech  ( January 10, 2012)

''I told them that I will take care of this law and the activation of these institutions, and I want to see fighting corruption through normal legal channels. At that time, we solved the problems of thousands, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands and millions of Syrians. I always focus on institutional work. If I solved a problem, it is an individual problem; I solve the problem of someone but not the problem of thousands of people.''

From H.E's Damascus university Speech  ( January 10, 2012) 

The other pillar in reform is the Constitution. The decree that provides for establishing a committee to draft the constitution was issued. This committee was given a deadline of four months and I think that it has become in its final stages. This constitution will focus on a fundamental and essential point which is the multi-party system and political pluralism. They were talking only about article eight, but we said that the entire Constitution should be amended because there is a correlation among articles. The Constitution will focus on the fact that the people is the source of authority, especially during elections, the dedication of the institutions' role, the freedoms of the citizens and other things and basic principles.

From H.E's Damascus university Speech  ( January 10, 2012) 

"What’s important at this stage is for us to reach a state of unity, unity between the government, state institutions and the people. We are supposed to be moving in parallel when we move in the same direction. In this case we maximize the outcome and the achievement. The more we distance ourselves from the Syrian population, the weaker our strength and the less our achievement".

From H.E's Speech to the New Government  (April 16, 2011) 

"The most dangerous thing is the existence of contradiction between the direction we are moving in and the direction the people are moving in. The outcome in that case will be zero; and the achievement will be moving backward. The important thing, as I said, is to stress these channels of communication because the lack of communication with the citizens creates a feeling of frustration and a feeling of anger, particularly when there are daily needs and within the capacity of the state and yet we do not provide them. In that case the results will not be good".

From H.E's Speech to the New Government  (April 16, 2011) 

"The last law proposed within this package made by the committee is allowing for people to demonstrate. The Syrian constitution allows for demonstrations, but we do not have a law which regulates the process of demonstrating. This process is a challenge to the police because they are not prepared for such things. That’s why the police should be adequately prepared and supported by personnel and equipment. There might be a need for restructuring the police in order to cope with the new reforms. One of the tasks of the police is to protect demonstrators and at the same time protect other individuals and public and private property from any attempt at sabotage or undermining people’s security."

From H.E's Speech to the New Government  (April 16, 2011) 

''The citizens have always been the linkage between the internal and foreign policies; the citizens are the compass for us in anything that we do.''

(From H.E.'s Parliament Speech, (March 30, 2011)

 ''In the local level, we have built our policy on the basis of development and openness and the direct contact between the people, the citizens and me, regardless of the pros and cons…I am talking about general principles and regardless of what we have and have not achieved, yet regarding general principles these are the principles of internal policy."

From H.E.'s Parliament Speech, (March 30, 2011)

 ''The only pressure an official is subject to is the pressure of responsibility caused by people's confidence in him and now the biggest pressure is the pressure of the public national awareness we have seen …it is unprecedented awareness that astonished us as it has astonished us before in many times…all these pressures make us think well of how we could give back…through more development, more reform and more prosperity…through all these.''

From H.E.'s Parliament Speech, (March 30, 2011)

''Syria was able to encounter many hatched schemes, because of the real oneness and rallying between the united people and leadership behind the Arabism, the sacred subject for all of the Syrian colours, and intellectual trends, not to mention what Syria possesses of the many rich points of strength, of which the most important are the rights, principles, basics, vision, and the confidence in the ability to achieve positive results,''

From His Excellency's Speech at 5th General Conference of the Arab Parties, Damascus Summit(November 11, 2009)

 ''To excel is to add a further block to the big edifice, the Homeland. The first congratulations, as far as your distinctions, go to the Homeland; the second to your families, and the third for you. Your distinction in your study is not only the result of your exerted efforts; the big favour is for the family providing adequate climate, and the Homeland providing every necessity, equal opportunities and facility needed as to achieve this distinction,'' said His Excellency addressing Syria's outstanding baccalaureate students, highly applauding their efforts, calling on them to pursue their distinction, (September 8, 2009).

 ''High School distinction is the beginning of the way of science; hence the distinction is a continued process, and never a passing phase. You have to shoulder the responsibility of paying the Homeland Favour back, through your excellence, persistence of excellence, and through your field work later, in the interest of the Society, and Homeland towards a better future for the Homeland,'' added H. E. President Al-Assad, asserting that Science is the backbone for Syria's growth, development and future, (September 8, 2009). 

"The challenges have made us -the Syrians- stronger and more able to confront “ and withstand  standing challenges; “ The strong State is so through the strength of its citizens and their all-participation” where every citizen “ knows his/her duties, as much as knowing rights,”, and where every citizen “ takes part -in the process of development and stability- as a main player,”

 Domestically, President Al-Assad highly lauded the Syrian Citizens “ giant national unity” , pledging to be up to their choice, trust, and the great responsibility, asserting that “ the challenges have made us -the Syrians- stronger and more able to confront “ and withstand  standing challenges; “ The strong State is so through the strength of its citizens and their all-participation” where every citizen “ knows his/her duties, as much as knowing rights,”, and where every citizen “ takes part -in the process of development and stability- as a main player,”

 From HE’s Second  Presidential Term Inauguration Speech , ( July 17, 2007)

  Increasing of wages and salaries, whenever the sources are available” is the “ right for every citizen”, and “ the duty of the State”

H. E., the president underlined that “ raising the standard of living” , “ increasing of wages and salaries, whenever the sources are available” is the “ right for every citizen”, and “ the duty of the State”. To the strong acclamation of the Parliament members, H. E. President Al-Assad pledged to continue the efforts as “ to provide the appropriate political and political climate, build strong basics for the national economy” as to “ improve sustainable standards of living”

From HE’s Second  Presidential Term Inauguration Speech , ( July 17, 2007) 

 “ We have faced during  last years difficult which pressures  our resources and consumed the great part of our time and effort. Such challenges came at the time during which initiated a large scale and prospect development process; a process which  needs , in turn, the mobilization of our resources and investment of the time with the best possibility of efficiency. These challenges, and as much as they have occupied us psychologically and mentally, and as much as alerted our potentialities and force , have made of us stronger and more able to stand up to the challenges.”

 From HE’s Second  Presidential Term Inauguration Speech , ( July 17, 2007) 

"The Administration reform is the first step towards whatever economic development in our country. Consequently, on top of the agenda of our priorities there should be the follow up of administration reform, computerization of work, spread of the just administration culture, caring properly for cadres training and  enabling  , consecrating the rules of transparency and efficiency,” 

  “ It is a must as to complete creating the conditions conducive for the promotion of investment and its diversity towards the promising sectors in our country, surpassing all bureaucratic obstacles standing on the way… The Administration reform is the first step towards whatever economic development in our country. Consequently, on top of the agenda of our priorities there should be the follow up of administration reform, computerization of work, spread of the just administration culture, caring properly for cadres training and  enabling  , consecrating the rules of transparency and efficiency,”

 From HE’s Second  Presidential Term Inauguration Speech , ( July 17, 2007)

  “ There should be a real, active and permanent due attention to the issue of the modernization of the jurisdiction, one of the big problems, which the citizens  complain against. Jurisdiction stability is the basic for stability and justice in the society, and the decisive factor for a correct and strong development,”

 From HE’s Second  Presidential Term Inauguration Speech , ( July 17, 2007)

“ The process of development is a joint one among us, all, the State as well as the people.”

  From H. E.’ s Speech to the Syrian Citizens in the Governorate of Deir Azzour, (April 30, 2007)

 “We are putting on the final touches on the 10th Five-Year plan, which is a promising plan for economic, monetary and administrative reforms, as well as for improving the services and the living standards of the citizens. On the political level work is underway on several projects that boost popular contributions and help enrich democratic life relating to the party, electoral and local administration laws. We also work to consolidate institutional work, the supremacy of the law and independence of judicial system… this will activate the political life and enrich our national work and tackle many negative aspects we face. We have always confirmed that reform begins and depends on our national needs…we vehemently reject any reform imposed from outside under any title of justification. Our war is very long… it is a war for identity. We reject this war, which has been imposed on us … we are with the dialogue of civilizations and cultures. Our battles are cultural and moral, and their tools are of political, military, economic and media nature. You have convened your conference in Syria to express solidarity with her people in face pressures and support to her stances. Everybody knows that Syria is strong and will continue to be so God’s Will. But we have to know that there is strong country without steadfast people. Allow mw to avail this opportunity to extend my greetings to the Syrian Arab people because they embody all meanings of dignity and honor.”

From HE’s Arab Lawyers Speech, (January 21, 2006) 

“I didn’t invent reform. Reform starts from the challenges that you have. Our reform starts from the challenges, problems, obstacles and complaints before us.” 

“I didn’t invent reform. Reform starts from the challenges that you have. Our reform starts from the challenges, problems, obstacles and complaints before us. If you sit with any Syrian, you’ll mainly hear about the question of better living standards and more jobs. Syria is about 18 million people and 60 percent of them are under 25 years old. 300,000 babies are born every year and 200,000 need jobs every year. The most dangerous challenge for our country is to offer jobs for those young people. Second, the political reform is linked to economic and cultural reforms and to upgrading the whole society. But you need to have priorities. I do not mean by priorities a sequence, where I do the economic reform first then the political and so on, but rather to move in parallel terms. “

“We should focus on the economic field first because it can’t wait; people are hungry because there is poverty and people want to make sure that their children go to good schools and that they have a good medical system. People can wait for other fields. In spite of that we are moving in all the fields together. People can wait for other fields. In spite of that we are moving in all the fields together. But what has changed in the last five years? In the first place our priority was economy then politics, but now after 9/11 events and the way they dealt with terrorism our priorities have changed. “

From HE’s PBS TV Interview, (March 30, 2006)

 

“What are the reforms they want us to implement so that we check their credibility. Is it political reform? What kind of political reform are they talking about? They want the country without controls so that they could blackmail any regime form the inside. Is it economic reform? They want us to open our markets before them regardless of our interests, in return for some charity and left-overs which will be offered to us. As to cultural reform, they want us to get out of our skin and become a copy of them. If they want to prove the credibility of their propositions, since they always express concern for our internal situation, let them come forward and support us in the political framework to restore our occupied land and to prevent aggression against us if they are truthful.

In the economic context, let them come forward and support us so that we improve our economic situation and consequently the living conditions of our citizens. We want real support, not imaginary or partial support that does not achieve the desired objectives.”

From HE’s Speech at Damascus University, (November 10, 2005)

“Some people think that if we make this move we will protect ourselves. Small tactics are no longer useful under these international circumstances. There is an international plan moving; and when at one point we get into a confrontation after we have given in, we will not be able to resist and engage in a dialogue and triumph in the end; because no matter how long it take, we will triumph in the end. We are all thinking of the interest of the country; and we all know that conditions are hard, but there is a compulsory price that we have to pay and we pay it from the beginning, because the question is that of history, and the cause is that of a people. It will not be the Syrian people who will change their skin at any price. We will get along with their game, because what is happening is a game. There is nothing serious in it except the danger on Syria and the whole region. Syria is one of the many links in a chain that will affect the Arab states one after the other and one people after another. We stress to everyone that this damage, if it happens at any time it will remain outside Syria’s borders, and it will affect first of all the agents who brought the colonizers in this manner to our region. “

From HE’s Speech at Damascus University, (November 10, 2005)

“In the final analysis any resolution will be taken in a dialogue with the people, because the people is the concerned party first and last. The Syrian people is a good and faithful people. And God always shows the faithful people and the faithful individual the right path. But it will not be President Bashar who will bow his head nor the head of his country. We only bow to God almighty.

At any rate, things are moving at a fast pace, and all the details that will become available will be discussed with the people in a transparent manner. Everyday there is something new, but I am talking about the way we think. But at any rate, what they cannot get by external pressure they will not get through internal pressure. They have been using pressure on Syria and the Syrian people through the media, thinking that this pressure will make us collapse and do what they want. This did not work, particularly after the masks they have been using dropped. Then they tried to create a crack between the government and the people. The Syrian people are aware of this. If there are mistakes in the state, we all discuss them at home, but we will not allow anybody to talk about them from the outside. This method failed as well. Later they tried to distort the image of the president directly so that the people lose confidence in the president. These attempts also failed. Then they are now engaged in this stage by stage tactic to create a crack in the Syrian society about how to react and to create a crack within the state and another crack between the state and society, thinking that this will prepare Syria in the end to do what they want. Of course they are surprised that as they move from one tactic to another social cohesion is increasing. And we stress the importance of social cohesion. This moves us to the subject of the Arab mass media. I mean that these media created a lot of confusion and contributed to the political attacks. I say here and I repeat that we should distinguish between the Arab media and the Arabic language media. The Arab media are those which speak the Arabic language and adopt Arab causes, while the Arabic language media are those which adopt the causes of the enemies and the opponents, but use our Arabic language. Consequently, they contribute to their battle because they come from the same structure and because they have credibility.”

From HE’s Speech at Damascus University, (November 10, 2005)

“Now there is a great deal of polarization: there are those who support concessions in the extreme and those who support steadfastness in the extreme. Distinguishing between the two is easy. On the other hand, Syria has been at the center of events for years, particularly recently. Consequently the largest part of the information comes from Syria. When we know the truth we avoid lying. Those who know the truth do not care for lies. That is why we have to be more transparent in passing information to Syrian citizens. Then we will not be worried about the confusion our citizens are subjected to. This was raised in the regional conference of the party. And we started some modest mechanisms for passing information, not necessarily through the media. But these mechanisms are still not sufficient to face this huge media campaign. The more we move ahead in terms of transparency and pass correct information quickly to our citizens the more they will be immune. Then, these media campaigns will not be of any use. The ultimate purpose of this media attack is to cause panic and fear, or to inflict defeat without a battle. We know that moral defeat is half, if not three quarters, of the real defeat in any battle, whether it is military, cultural or otherwise. “

“As to the media attack, with all it capabilities, instruments and men, it might succeed only through our reactions. It fails too through our reactions. Consequently, we decide its success or failure, by our awareness, holding to our principles, and arming ourselves with science and knowledge.

Despite the difficult situation we are going through, we continue to implement our development plans in order to improve the living conditions of our citizens, and in the process of political, economic and administrative reform. We are also going ahead in our anti-corruption campaign and in widening the circle of accountability to involve all those who harm the interests of the people and the country. These pressing regional and international conditions, the challenges associated with them, and also the sorry Arab condition which does not call for optimism, pushes us towards more self-reliance, towards depending on our capabilities in the first place, to invest in our capabilities in a better manner, and to benefit from all patriotic and faithful efforts in the process of reform and modernization. The regional conference of the Baath Arab Socialist Party passed a number of ambitious resolutions which express the concerns and aspirations of our people. We are determined to put them into implementation according to set priorities which take into account the conditions and available resources. The relevant resolutions will be passed in the coming period. I would like to touch on a subject which has been raised in the media, which is the party law. Discussions of this law have started, but they will take a long time because of the sensitivity of this issue.”

From HE’s Speech at Damascus University, (November 10, 2005)

“Another issue is that of the census, because it was discussed during the regional conference. This issue was in fact settled in 2002, when I visited the city of Hasaka and met community leaders. The issue of the census was raised, and I said at the time that no one in Syria is opposed to solving this problem. It is a technical issue, and we started solving it in 2002 by studying the criteria put for solving the problem, i.e. granting the nationality. In the last stages there have been some details which were not finalized, until the events of March 2004 happened, and we thought there was a big problem. We discovered later that it was a passing ordinary problem. Political developments delayed this issue. Now there are authorities in the state which are putting the final touches and we will solve this issue soon in an expression of the importance of national unity in Syria.

We have to know that whatever we do, or try to achieve, needs a national and moral base to build our reform project on. If this country belongs to all its faithful sons and daughters, it could not belong to those who have ranked against it or those who play with its capabilities, those who see the national interest only through their own narrow interest and only remember the rights they are entitled to enjoy and forget their duties.”

From HE’s Speech at Damascus University, (November 10, 2005)

“We always talk about national unity, but we hear expressions like a conference for national reconciliation, as if we were feuding tribes in this country going out of a civil war. When we speak about consolidating national unity, it does not mean that this unity does not exist, because this means civil war. There are no half-solutions, but the national unity, like everything else, has standards and criteria, not necessarily in terms of numbers, but it depends on the national situation and it depends on every citizen. Since we are at the university, when two students pass, the first gets 48+2 and the second gets 90, the first student is not like the second. Both of them pass but there is a difference. When two students pass the secondary school certificate, a student gets 110 grades and the second gets 260, there is a difference. When we talk about enhancing national unity, we mean upgrading this unity so that it becomes a general and strong condition throughout the country. There is sometimes confusion between chronic cases and acute cases (doctors understand this here). Treatment of chronic cases is different from treatment of acute cases. Now we have a crisis, or a problem, or a difficult situation. Let us do this in order to overcome the crisis. I say this is wrong. If we arrive at a crisis and we have not done anything to overcome it before, then it is too late. Everything we do is for the future. These are remedies for future cases. As I said earlier, crises will never stop, because there is a plan moving in a certain direction against Syria and against the whole region. What we are doing now is preparing for future crises. We do not have to stick to a straw. We have to do things about whose results we are certain and use the capabilities that we possess today. This must be clear. Of course when such things are suggested, they are suggested in good faith because when we do something we need to know when to reap the results. “

From HE’s Speech at Damascus University, (November 10, 2005)

“We should also know a number of concepts. I use here what I said in my speech at the regional conference when we talked about national unity. How do we define national unity. We have examples in the region. There are nations that respect themselves which unite when they pass through a crisis, although they might have a thousand issues that they do not agree on. And there are nations in this region too which when they come under pressure and these pressures reach a crisis point they divide. Such nations do not respect themselves. One example, a person raises his voice in harmony with voices coming from outside his country and lowers it also in harmony with outside voices. This person belongs to the outside. How can he be a patriot and connected to the outside. Those who raise their voices should do that according to certain principles and according to national principles. Voices should be raised within the same house not in harmony with outside voices. I do not allow anyone to raise his voice from the outside and be called a patriot. We will deal firmly with unpatriotic cases, because these cause confusion at times of crises. In the final analysis we support having different opinions. Openness and all these issues are moving but slowly perhaps. I do not claim that we are moving fast and have never said that. Some people say that the process of development was fast and then slowed down. I say it was slow from the beginning. To be realistic, it has never been fast. But we have no other choice but to move forward using our capabilities in order to enhance national unity. We do not differ from other societies. Patriotism or the lack of it exist everywhere. At times of crisis we have to control these cases with the objective of consolidating national unity as I said.”

From HE’s Speech at Damascus University, (November 10, 2005)

 

“Syria is protected by God”.

“We have to focus on pivotal sections in our society, and young people come at the forefront of these sections. This needs a comprehensive strategy which includes objectives that we want to achieve and clear executive programmes in relation to this vitals sector.

The world is moving very fast. And there are challenges produced by these changes. There have been new opportunities for achievement. Since at the heart of these changes lie information, communications and the digital revolution, we have all to work in order to integrate young people into this information age and to provide the integration mechanisms in all our institutions starting from the school, whether material mechanisms like laboratories, the internet, or activating the institutional, educational, cultural and media structures, in a manner that allows for embracing their creative energies and guarantee confidence in their capabilities on which we pin great hopes, because they are the real guarantee for the greatness and progress of our country.

Trust the credibility of the position of your country, trust that when national cohesion is strong between the people and their leader, it will surround the country with a wall of immunity to face the difficulties and challenges. At the threshold of such a country, the illusions and conspiracies of others will fail. National cohesion will remain, God willing, as powerful as ever. This country is protected by its people, by its state and above all, as the popular saying has it, “Syria is protected by God”.

From HE’s Speech at Damascus University, (November 10, 2005)

“Definitely. And we're not perfect. Nobody's perfect. We are going steadily and consistently. Maybe not too fast, but we are consistent, we are committed. And not only the government, the majority of the people support this process. But we still have a long way to go. That doesn't mean we didn't do. We did a lot. We recently started studying modern law for multi-parties in Syria. We have multi-parties, but we're looking for more open law. We had private universities during the last two years. We had private media, private schools, private banking. We had many things we did during the last five years.For me, I don't think it's slow. It's fast. But we always want to be faster, and this is normal, and this is right, and want to achieve more. This is normal ambition.”

From HE’s CNN Interview, (October 12, 2005)

“Whether or not we agree with some of these propositions, and whether they take an upbeat approach to the party or not, and whether they are appreciative or critical of the party, they all go to show that the Ba'ath Party is a popular force, central to Syrian life, and that its development is not just necessary for the party, but is also a paramount national necessity upon which depends the development of all aspects of politics. In order for this to bear fruit, every individual and institution needs to make a concerted effort, and everyone should take up their position and role in the process of development based on national unity and the principle that every citizen bears the right, the duty and responsibility of developing and reforming society.”

From HE’s Speech to the 10th BASP Regional Conference,  (June 6, 2005)

“As members of the Ba'ath Party, we should first of all redouble our intellectual efforts and political and cultural effectiveness in order to strengthen our national existence, and protect our cultural identity, and secondly respond to the fast moving logic of development. There is actually no contradiction between the two, in contrast to those who believe that divorce from the past is the way to the future, or that living in the past is the way to salvation. The Ba'ath Party, as should be clear to every one of us, is a cause before it is a political organization, and a civilizing mission before it is a party in power. For it to defend its cause and carry out its mission, it should develop its teachings and methods, overcome shortcomings in its performance, open itself to the patriotic forces in its society and restore respect to its role as a pioneer amongst the masses.” 

From HE’s Speech to the 10th BASP Regional Conference,  (June 6, 2005)

“Fellow party members, I call upon you to exercise your role in a courageous and responsible manner by pointing out both our limitations and our achievements, by addressing the shortcomings we suffer from as well as the successes we enjoy, and by being as honest as possible in your discussions and proposals about the concerns and aspirations of the public, bearing in mind that every decision you take and every recommendation you make should express only our internal needs, regardless of any considerations which aim at pushing us in directions which harm our national interests and threaten our stability.”

 From HE’s Speech to the 10th BASP Regional Conference,  (June 6, 2005)

 “I am certain that the Party's Tenth Regional Congress, its discussions and recommendations, will be a major event and an important landmark in the march of our party. It comes in the context of developing our country and enhancing the role of the party, developing the party's intellectual principles and modernizing its social project in order to activate our political institutions, to expand popular participation in national decision making and to be more open towards patriotic forces in a manner that enhances the position of our home country, and allows every one to take part in building Syria's future.”

 From HE’s Speech to the 10th BASP Regional Conference,  (June 6, 2005)

 

“On the internal affairs, the president said he wants to see Syria more prosperous. " the word prosperity means economic prosperity, political prosperity, scientific prosperity and prosperity in different fields. But all of them are based on social prosperity. Without the social prosperity, other forms of prosperity remain temporary or false and fake," he said. The president said that there can be no move to any political development except through the historical situation of the country. " I said at the oath address that we are not coming to torpedo reality but to develop it," "In my oath address, I did not promise anything but action. I mean that I have to act with my full capacity. So, development is not dependent on the president of the republic, but on all groups of society. On our plans as a party and a front (the National Progressive Front) there is a thought to develop the action of political parties in Syria, he said. He reiterated that the existence of new parties is possible. This is being done through the discussions of the experience which have started in the past and is still underway today. I mean political experience in general, the discussing of the positive and the negative points and , of course, discarding the negative ones. Concerning the experience of the Progressive Front, the president said this experience, since its outset early in 1970s was distinguished. All probabilities are possible. We reject no single thought . all these issues are topics of discussions, particularly by the Front’s parties including the Baa’th party. As for the Baa’th party, it is based on a national ideology, the resurrection of the Arab nation. The party is present in different Arab countries. It is not only in Syria or Iraq. On the information in Syria, he said it was limited to the party and the state. Recently the front’s parties because a partner to information. This partnership is now in the stage of study and development. A number of independent papers were approved. There is an old printing law, which is now under study. And there will be a basis for press activity to contribute to the development process. That is to say the paper should not be without a clear aim, or that the aim might be an obstruction to the development process. The open information does not mean that matters should be out of the control of Information Ministry. This indicates that the state has a desire that the people posses the tools of knowledge including information, otherwise the state should have banned the satellite receivers. And this is not difficult for the state. This means the state in Syria has a desire to let citizens have more knowledge. As for the statements given by Syrian intellectuals to foreign journalists, the president said "president of the Republic" does not deal with his country through special statements when such statements come via channels from outside the country not from inside of the country. The natural thing is that there is no small group that represents the people or considers itself the broadest among the people. For the state, the elite must be the broadest among the people. It is wrong that the elite be the smallest group of people. I have relations with the groups as a whole and it is natural that there is some difference in priorities put forward...homeland is a family and members of one family may differ. When they are out of their home they should not speak about their problems. And when we say which home, we say the home is Syria? or is it the Arab homeland? I heard about these statements, a person addressing you from outside of your country. It is natural that you should not give him any attention. They are called statements of intellectuals who are they? and who is the intellectual? We, in our development march, depend on our previous experiences and depend on the persons who underwent those experiences in various fields. So, we distance ourselves from the intellectual auctions. And we avoid that the development process be a fertile ground for those who are ambitious to be chiefs or for those who want" to ride different waves"

From HE’s Interview with al-Sharq al-Wsat daily , (January 29, 2004)

“The civil society is a civilized society, which has developed out of the accumulation of civilizations through hundreds or thousands of years. Syria has a history, which dates back to over six thousand years of cultural heritage. And the saying that we want to build a civil society means that we want to cancel all this history to start a new history. Of course, this is unrealistic. It is fantasy, not to mention that it means a rejection of this history and attempt to get out of it. And the one, who tries to get himself out of his own history, he gets himself out of the present and the future as well. As for the establishment of civil society, they are existed in Syria...They might be not in their best conditions, but this is not the essence of subject. We are for reforming these establishments to be in their best manner.”

From HE’s Interview with al-Sharq al-Wsat daily , (January 29, 2004)

 

“We are increasingly able to expand our economic reach to far away lands. However the likelihood of being affected by troubles in other countries is also much higher. As we cannot hope for prosperity without a sound economy, we cannot expect a sound economy without ensuring stability, not only internally or even regionally but globally. Here lies the importance of replacing reckless policies with rational policies to establish appropriate conditions to achieve peace which is not elusive, but real and enduring. This will increase investment opportunities and economic growth for all people. Thus we are unable to achieve sustainable economic growth without implementing good policies, and we cannot separate the politics of a country from its larger economic interests, that go even beyond its borders.” 

From HE’s Speech at the Municipality of London  , ( December 17, 2002)

“Syria has started to implement a wide ranging program of sustainable development and reform, as  well as seeking to achieve just and comprehensive peace in the region and in the world at large based on UN resolutions. In our program, in Syria, we focus on banking sector, fiscal policies, information technology, human resources, training in all fields and education at all levels.”

 From HE’s Speech at the Municipality of London  , ( December 17, 2002)

“This is what we are trying to achieve in Syria and this is not new in our agenda. Since the 1970s when President Hafez al-Assad came to power, this was his first priority. But I think it is not correct to take the word pluralism as you take it in any other country that has a different culture and different circumstances also. I think it is wrong to bring experiences at the level of your society as if you were dealing with your computer, you give it certain issues and it gives you the results in a minute. This process has to be gradual, but with a clear objective in mind, and the only criteria in this is stability. You canot achieve development and prosperity in a country that is suffering from turbulent political circumstances. So, what you are saying is an extremely important objective for us, but we have to prepare the ground, and this is part of the road we have spoken about that we are preparing for the future.”

From HE’s Interview with the Italian Corriere Della Sera, (February 14, 2002) 

“Hafez al-Assad has prepared for us a firm ground, solid basis and a great heritage of values and principles which he defended and adhered to till he parted with us and moved to the after life”

 “These tasks are both very difficult and very easy.  These tasks are very easy because the great leader, Hafez al-Assad has prepared for us a firm ground, solid basis and a great heritage of values and principles which he defended and adhered to till he parted with us and moved to the after life. Added to this the  infrastructure and the great achievements in all fields and  throughout the country that will enable us to launch our work strongly and confidently towards a future we all desire. Yet, these tasks are difficult because the approach of the great leader, Hafez al-Assad, was a very special and unique approach and therefore it is not easy to emulate it especially as we remember that we are  required not just to maintain it but to develop it as well. This undoubtedly requires great efforts and work at all levels with the aim of building on the basis of what has been achieved in the glorious period of Assad to continue with what has been achieved and  to multiply the steps determined to overcome the difficulties and  cope with the challenges without giving up our national principles ordained in our hearts and minds. In all this we have to imitate his wisdom by transforming sorrow to a creative energy and the painful event to continuous work and achievement. “

From HE’s 2000 Inauguration Speech, ( July 17, 2000)

 

“The responsibility is towards the interest of the people and the legitimacy is the people's will and their desire”

“I said this yesterday and I reiterate it today that I am not after  any post nor do I avoid any responsibility. The post is not an end but a means to achieve an end. And now, and since my people have honored me with their choice of me as president of the Republic and after I have been sworn in and assumed my responsibilities I would like to say that I have assumed the post but I have not occupied the position; the post has changed but the position remains unchanged  since I was born and where the Almighty God wanted me to be and  where our people desired me to stand since they have known that there is some one who truly loves his people and whose people truly love him and are loyal to him and where my parents and my family wanted me to be and in the place which I am determined to maintain and cherish to be strong by it and through it. This position that never changes is the position from which I serve my people and my  country.  The question now is what does this new post add to the position in  which I have always found myself? I have always said to those I met  with, that the post is a responsibility but the position has imposed this responsibility on me beforehand. Some might say that the post gives the legitimacy, but the legitimacy is first and foremost the will of the people and their desire. The importance of your vote on my nomination stems from the fact that it is a response to the  desire of our people whom you represent in all their different  strata. Hence, we can say that the responsibility is towards the interest of the people and the legitimacy is the people's will and their desire. The post is only the framework combines the two and regulates their relationship. Thus this post has added a huge burden to my position, a burden that consists of your love, trust,  ambitions and hopes that I shall, with the will of God, be able to shoulder with your help and support.”

From HE’s 2000 Inauguration Speech, ( July 17, 2000)  

“Every decent citizen has to put himself in a the position I have  indicated above, shoulder his/her responsibility and to believe in legitimacy even if he were in situation that does not allow him to implement his ideas. The post does not engender responsibility, the  opposite is true. The post deprives one of his responsibility and allows him to exercise it only through the authority granted to him.  Whenever a person who has no sense of responsibility assumes a post  he can take nothing out of it except power and power without a sense of  responsibility is the source of chaos, carelessness and the destruction of institutions. The ideal state of affairs is that every one should feel responsible  and this does not mean that every one should occupy a post. Posts are basic junctures in which the performance of society is continuously checked, inspected and energized in two directions: from top to bottom and from bottom to top. Thus, if anything went wrong at the bottom this will reflect at the performance of the top,  and if any one at the top violated the rule this will reflect  negatively on the bottom. Thus society will not develop, improve or prosper if it were to depend only on one sect or one party or one group; rather, it has to depend on the work of all citizens in the entire society. That is why I find it absolutely necessary to call  upon every single citizen to participate in the process of development and modernization if we are truly honest and serious in attaining the desired results in the very near future.  “

 

“The time factor which we should use to the  utmost extent in order to achieve what we aspire to achieve in the shortest time possible”

 

“As we are speaking about development, which I believe, is the major  concern of every citizen in this country and in all fields, we have to know in which direction we are treading and what is the best way to take and what are the desired results. The answers to such questions constitute the compass that determines our current and  future moves. In order to achieve what we aspire to achieve we have to move at three basic fronts at one and the same time:  First: to suggest new ideas in all domains whether in order to solve  our current problems and difficulties or in order to improve the current situation.  Second: to renew old ideas which are no longer appropriate to our reality with the possibility of discarding outdated ideas which can neither be renewed nor could they be beneficial; rather they have become an obstacle in the way of our performance.  Third: to improve old ideas and renew them in order to be suitable  to the current and future purposes. Each work needs to be assessed in order to determine the percentage of progress and achievement in it. It is useful in this regard to adopt a set of measurers: The first measure is the time factor which we should use to the  utmost extent in order to achieve what we aspire to achieve in the shortest time possible. The second measure is the nature of the situation in which we live and the different circumstances: internal and external, which surround us.  The third measure is the potential we possess in order to start our pursuit to reach the designated objective, taking into account that the potentials are not fixed givens but they are susceptible to  modification and change through our efforts and effectiveness.  The fourth measure is the public interest at which all previous  measures meet and through which all of them should be determined.  This is a measure and an objective at one and the same time. What is the value of any work we do if it is not navigated by public interest?  But in order to make the required move, and with confidence that we shall succeed, we have to have a certain set of means the most important among which are:  The creative mind that cannot be stopped at any limit and does not confine itself to any fixed framework. Today and tomorrow we are in  desperate need to creative minds in order to push the development process forward. Some people may believe that creative minds are linked to age and that they can frequently be found with the youth but this is not quite accurate. Some people of a young age have  strong minds and some elderly people may depart this life with minds that are still so lively and creative. 

We are also in desperate need to constructive criticism which is the  exact opposite of destructive criticism that often colors most discussions and proposals for various reasons whether they are personal or otherwise. In order to be constructive in our criticism we have to be objective in our thinking. Objectivity dictates that we should view each topic from more than one perspective and under more than one circumstance. Hence, we analyze it in more than one  way and then we may reach more than one possibility, or at least the best possibility or the closest to the truth. We have to stop ushering criticism with the objective of beseeching people or of inviting people to clap hands for us or with the aim of provocation or malice. This is a waste of energy and time that we can well do  without. When we say constructive criticism and an objective opinion  this will necessarily mean to view the topics under criticism in a complete and comprehensive fashion in a way that enables us to see the positive points as well as the negative ones. In this way we will be able to increase the positive points at the expense of the negative ones and this is the only way to development.  As we are speaking about instruments we cannot afford to ignore the issue of accountability which is a complete and inseparable process that starts with the basic and the smallest unit in society which is the citizen and it ends up with institutions. Each citizen has to ask himself and watch it and review his daily work, otherwise this accountability will not fulfil its objectives. Here, one's  conscience plays an  important role and the necessity to purify it  form all misgivings that cause its impurity due to certain circumstances and different factors that may surround each individual. As for the other levels of accountability which are carried out by specialized institutions, they relate to the cases in which there was an abuse of rules and regulations, the cases which  should be very few if personal accountability is properly exercised.”

From HE’s 2000 Inauguration Speech, ( July 17, 2000)

 

 

“President Hafez  al-Assad  was able during the last three decades to put a general strategy that responded to the various needs of desired development; a strategy that covered different sectors.” 

“In this case the performance of institutions would be better and  healthier. This is a continuous process that should be in parallel to the work or should form a part of it. Mistakes in their various forms are part of life and if they are not duly addressed they will be aggravated. Correcting mistakes, however, should never aim to revenge; rather it should be meant as a deterrent for others and not  just for the one who committed the mistake but for all those who might think of committing similar mistakes.  In such a way we will be able to put a common strategy for  development that will constitute a specific framework for steps and measures which should be taken in order to achieve the objectives of such a strategy, especially as our country has undergone different historic, political, economic and social circumstances during the twentieth century, circumstances that were and still are changing rapidly. These changes were mostly political. President Hafez  al-Assad  was able during the last three decades to put a general strategy that responded to the various needs of desired development; a strategy that covered different sectors. The political strategy which he put and supervised both its implementation and development  proved a great success until this very day. As for the other  domains, as we all know, they did not cope with the excellent  political performance for many reasons. That is why there was a  definite gap between the political performance and the performance and all other sectors. If the performance of other sectors were better our political stand would have been stronger no doubt, though it is solid enough, but our ambitions always to add to what we have. The performance in the economic field, in particular, went through  sharp fluctuations as a result of changing circumstances that in turn were the subject of sharp changes, particularly as our economy moved from an economy that has open markets to an economy that has to be competitive. This point was addressed through issuing laws and decrees which were sometimes experimental, sometimes impulsive and at other times they were a reaction to a certain state of affairs.  Very rarely this point was addressed in an effective way that takes the initiative which precedes event. The reason for this was that there was no clear strategy that aimed to bring about certain legislation; rather the economic strategy came as a result of all these legislations. Hence, it came out weak with many loopholes and it was partially to blame for many of the difficulties from which we  suffer today. This means that today we need economic, social and scientific strategies that may serve both development and steadfastness in the meantime. Such strategies are not available as ready recipes; rather they need deepened studies the results of which can be considered the basis that decides our point of   direction. This undoubtedly needs time, effort, cooperation as well  as extensive and broad dialogues. “

From HE’s 2000 Inauguration Speech, ( July 17, 2000)

 

“ Finding solutions is the responsibility of all of us in order to make these  solutions complete and effective.”

 

“The question that we have to ask here is, shall we wait to finish  putting the required strategies in order to start the process of development or do we continue to improve what we have started in the past? It seems to us that the work should start in parallel through a follow up of taking the required measures in addition to preparing visions in order to draw our future plans knowing full well that  fragmented development does not achieve our desired objectives.  Hence there is a need for coordination and complimentary orientation  among measures and steps taken in all fields. All what has been indicated above needs analysis and analysis needs studies and results which in turn need a reality to be based on. When we say reality it means accurate figures. Figures do not lie  and therefore they are genuine and transparent. Dealing with figures  requires honesty and transparency. The term transparency' has been frequently used and discussed lately in dialogues and essays and in other places as well. Some used to call for a transparent economy and others called for transparent media while some others called for a transparent mentality in other domains. There's no doubt that transparency is an important thing and I support such an endeavor  but through a proper understanding of the content of the idiom and of the ground on which it might be based.  Prior to being an economic or a political or an administrative case,  transparency is a state of culture, values and social habits. This poses a question and a requirement in the meantime that we should ask ourselves before we address it to others; am I transparent with myself first and with my family second and with the close and distant circle and with my country third? Any one whose answer is in the affirmative will undoubtedly know the meaning transparency and  will be able to appreciate its horizons and to practice it wherever he/she might find himself herself. How do we, for example, ask a person who is not honest in his personal life and with those closest to him to be an honest official towards his responsibility and towards his people? If he is a vague man in his arguments how do we ask him to be transparent when he assumes a certain post? If we want to address a problem we should start at the beginning and not at the  end and we should address the cause rather than the result. This dictates that we should face ourselves and our society bravely and conduct a brave dialogue with both in which we reveal our points of weakness and talks about customs, traditions and concepts which have become a true impediment in the way of any progress. Society is the path on which all progress in different domains must tread. If this  path is not good, development will flounder or stop, which in a  relative sense means going backwards. This is one of the difficulties in our reality and the analysis of this reality requires concentration on the obstacles which keep this reality as it is without any true improvement. This needs an active  participation by all parties concerned, outside the framework of the State and inside it so that all groups and social strata may  contribute to finding the appropriate solutions. I would like to stress here that any one who figures out a problem should also  indicate the solution for it. We have to shake off the attitude of  evading the sense of responsibility. We have to give up reliance on others. The employee relies on his colleague and the junior employee relies on his senior and the citizen considers the State responsible finding for solutions. I would like to reiterate here that finding solutions is the responsibility of all of us in order to make these  solutions complete and effective. You should not rely solely on the  State nor should you let the State rely solely on you: let us work together as one team.  I would like here to give an example from our economic life which is the case of export that is considered an important pillar in the national economic income and which will receive a very special attention during the coming period. It is the duty of the State to issue legislations and laws and to make decisions and sign  agreements with other countries and parties in order to encourage  export and to help find markets in addition to achieving the capacity to be competitive, but this will not be completed properly if the Syrian goods do not enjoy a good reputation and if they are not of high quality and standards. Added to this the fact that both  producers and exporters should be accurate and should respect the  date of delivery in addition to conducting marketing operations for their goods and effectively participating in domestic and external exhibits in order to broaden their markets, the fact that will achieve prosperity both for them and for national economy.”

From HE’s 2000 Inauguration Speech, ( July 17, 2000)

 

 “We  have also to put a wise economic policy that bridges gaps between sources and expenditure, between export and the rehabilitation of the private and public economic sectors to face the increasing dangers resulting from the challenges of globalization.”

 “In this regard it has become necessary to move in steady, though  gradual, steps, towards performing economic changes through the  modernization of laws, the erosion of bureaucratic obstacles standing in the way of internal and external investment flow, the recruitment of both private and public capital, and the activation  of the private sector and granting it better opportunities to work.  It is also necessary to bring the public sector to a competitive  level in both domestic and external markets, the thing that leads to  a balanced and comprehensive development in all provinces of the country and in rural as well as urban areas. This will also lead to a fair distribution NGP in a balanced fashion, to the increase of job opportunities and to the improvement of the livelihood of  citizens in the light of the increase of their lively needs and the  constant increase in the cost of living. The agricultural public sector should also be developed through the modernization of its means of production and through the search for markets to sell its products as well as through enhancing land reform and  dispensing with negligence and passivity which took place in the past and to  speed up the building of dams that serve our developmental plans. We  have also to put a wise economic policy that bridges gaps between sources and expenditure, between export and the rehabilitation of the private and public economic sectors to face the increasing dangers resulting from the challenges of globalization. In this way our economy may well assume a respectable place in regional and  international economic blocs.”

From HE’s 2000 Inauguration Speech, ( July 17, 2000)

 “Democracy is our duty towards others before it becomes a right for us. Democratic thinking is the building and the  structure”

  “Our aspirations will not be properly fulfilled unless we emphasize  the role of institutions in our lives. An institution is neither a building nor a system that governs nor the persons who work in it; rather, it is first and foremost, the institutional thinking that considers every institution, however small it might be and whatever its domain may be, a representative of the entire country, its  reputation and its civilized outlook. Institutional thinking  acknowledges that institutional work is a joint and not a personal work, a work that is based on honesty, sincerity and on using time  to the maximum extent, on putting public interest above personal interest, and on putting the mentality of a state above the  mentality of the tribe. It is the logic of cooperation and openness  to others, and it is inseparable from the democratic thinking which has many things in common with it in various places. This means that democratic thinking enforces and strengthens institutional thinking  and work. To what extent are we democratic? And what are the indications that refer to the existence or non-existence of  democracy? Is it in elections or in the free press or in the free  speech or in other freedoms and rights? Democracy is not any of  these because all these rights and others are not democracy, rather they are democratic practices and results of these practices which all depend on democratic thinking. This thinking is based on the principle of accepting the opinion of the other and this is  certainly a two-way street. It means that what is a right for me is a right for others, but when the road becomes a one-way road it will become selfish. This means that we do not say I have the right to  this or that; rather we should say that others have certain rights and if others enjoy this particular right I have the same right.  This means that democracy is our duty towards others before it becomes a right for us. Democratic thinking is the building and the  structure. We all know that when the foundation of a building is  weak the building will be threatened to fall for the slightest reason. Hence, each building is designed in a way and has a  foundation appropriate to the weight it is expected to carry. Hence,  we cannot apply the democracy of others on ourselves. Western  democracy, for example, is the outcome of a long history that  resulted in customs and traditions which distinguish the current  culture of Western societies. In order to apply what they have we have to live their history with all its social signification. As  this is, obviously, impossible we have to have our democratic experience which is special to us, which stems from our history,  culture, civilization and which is a response to the needs of our society and the requirements of our reality. In this case our  experience will be strong and able to stand the test of time no  matter how difficult that might be. Destructive experiences in different countries: close and to see and take lessons from. Our National Front is a democratic example that has been developing through our own experience and that has played a basic role in our political life and in our national unity. Today, it has become  necessary to develop the method of the work of the National Front in a way that responds to the needs of development in our developing and changing reality at all levels.”

From HE’s 2000 Inauguration Speech, ( July 17, 2000)

“As the democratic and the institutional thinking are linked, and I  am not saying identical, administration is bound to be influenced by them. Hence, administrative reform which we have to conduct in both the private and the public sectors is linked to them: it develops with their development and retraces with their retrace.  Administrative reform is a pressing need for all of us today.  Inefficient administration today is the greatest impediment in the way of our march towards a better development; it negatively affects all sectors without any exception. We have to start immediately to prepare the studies which ensure the change of this reality to the better through improving the administrative systems and their  frameworks, through increasing the level of efficiency of the  administrative and professional cadres and through putting an end to the state of carelessness, passiveness and evasion of carrying out one's duty. There is no escape from bringing the careless, the corrupt and the evil doers to justice. This also requires the improvement of the accountability apparatus in the country in order to make it more effective and to support it with the appropriate resources. Here comes the importance of the energized role of your Parliament in correcting the work of  different institutions through pointing to the points of weakness  and inefficiency and following up the process of correcting it in a positive way. I would also like to stress here the important role of the judicial system and the necessity to support it with the clean  and efficient cadres so that it may play its full role in order to achieve justice and guard the freedoms of citizens and the proper  implementation of laws. From what has preceded we can notice that the work of institutions  is closely linked, the fact that requires also a close link between the mind that governs and organizes the work of each institution such as the institutional mentality, the democratic mentality and transparency that starts in the home and grows or recedes through the circumstances of daily life. Society is the fertile soil in  which we sow our seeds; as for the fruits we reap in institutions.  Hence, the better the seeds we sow the better and fresher the fruits we reap. The task of the state is to prepare the suitable and appropriate ground for the seeds to grow. It also has to provide the best circumstances for this growth and to guarantee that the fruits  remain fresh (which is the most important stage) so that our soc may benefit from them; otherwise they will go off and become rotten and a source of illness and disease.”

 From HE’s 2000 Inauguration Speech, ( July 17, 2000)

 “The rule of law guarantees our freedom and the freedom of others”

 “We have to respect law because it guarantees the state's respect for  the citizen and the citizen's respect for the state. The rule of law guarantees our freedom and the freedom of others.  We have to fight waste and corruption taking into account that each kind of work will necessarily entail a percentage of unintentional  mistakes which should not worry us but we should try not to allow  their recurrence.  We have to distance ourselves from chaos and wasting time and to commit ourselves truly and sincerely to our work and to double our  efforts in order to make up for what has been lost.  We have to give up the idea of uprooting the status quo in totality instead of working to develop and improve it basing our work on the  view that human life has no ultimate truth. No matter how bad the reality might be it must carry within it some good things, and no  matter how good or excellent it might appear it will not be pure  from misgivings. The march of people is made up of successive achievements, each group of which is built on what has preceded it.  Development comes as a result of building positive things on the good things that preceded them. As for  backwardness it is the  opposite of that. Hence, one can launch one's work from the positive points even of a bad reality to create a better reality and from the  better one moves to what is best. While if we are to uproot  everything in reality it means that we are eliminating it with all its negative and positive points, and then when a new launch is needed what is it to be based on: a vacuum or a point zero? We have also to get away from repeating concepts and idioms without  any proper understanding of their contents. Many ideas may respond well to our needs but the lack of a proper understanding of these ideas may turn them into harmful concepts. We have to pay a very special attention to qualifying cadres and training them in all fields and at all levels through depending on  national cadres both in Syria and out of it in addition to contacts with Arab and foreign cadres and through benefiting from countries which have successful experiences in various fields.  We have to stress the importance of planning and the quality of this  planning in order to reach a qualitative society and state and in  order to continue the building of contemporary and progressive Syria. We also have to stress the importance of spreading education and knowledge and information technology as well as paying special attention to the trade of minds and to exporting ideas and developing scientific research through providing the infrastructure  that starts with organized work through research institutions and  ends up with the necessary technologies, according to the abilities  and the necessity of linking this to the developmental needs of our society. Reform and improvement are certainly needed in our educational, cultural and information institutions in a way that serves our national interests and strengthens our genuine culture that leads in turn to undermine the mentality of isolationism and   passivism and addresses the social phenomena that negatively affect  the unity and safety of our society. The target of all what has been mentioned above is to prepare skilled and qualified social forces able to deal and interact with various world developments especially as our current reality constitutes a ground that is not quite apt to enter the new century which is the century of institution and information technology. It will be very difficult to achieve any of what has preceded if women were not active participants from their positions as they  constitute a true half of our society. Women are the ones who bring  up both men and women and who prepare them to participate in building their country. Women play an important role in progress and development in various places of work. The appropriate ground for women's participation should be well prepared so that they may become more effective in our society and more capable to play a role in its development. “

From HE’s 2000 Inauguration Speech, ( July 17, 2000)

“If we are able to commit ourselves to all what has been mentioned  above we can rest assured that Syria will stay the master of itself, free to take its own decisions, taking into account that none of us has a magic solution to solve all the problems in one go. Hence, there is a need to put priorities and preferences remembering always that change is not an end in itself but a means to respond to our  daily needs. Promises should not be cut unless one possesses all the elements that lead to the achievement of the required task. This could be possible at a personal level or in a certain domain or field but when we speak at the level of a country, especially when  hopes are so great and difficulties are just as great, then no one  person may possess all the right elements and no single post can  provide them; rather these elements have to be found by the community, officials, institutions and citizens. What I can promise you now is that I shall work tirelessly. As for achievements we have to promise each other that each one of us shall offer what she/he has of elements and potential and abilities in order to reach our  common objectives.”

From HE’s 2000 Inauguration Speech, ( July 17, 2000)

 

Dr.Mohammad Abdo Al-Ibrahim

 

 

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