To Assad and his admirers, Trump offers ‘hope and change’

Author
Mahdi Dakhlallah, Imad Salim, Tahseen al-Halabi, Bashar al-Assad
Content Type
Journal Article
Journal
Harvard Journal of Middle Eastern Politics and Policy
Volume
6
Issue Number
0
Publication Date
2017
Institution
The John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University
Abstract
During the presidential campaign, Trump said he “[doesn’t] like Assad at all” and described the Syrian leader as “a bad guy.” But he compared Assad favorably to the alternatives. “Assad is killing ISIS,” Trump stated, whereas “we don’t even know who they [the rebels] are.” Trump even claimed Assad to be “much tougher and much smarter” than political rivals Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Unsurprisingly, Assad and his admirers took heart in Trump’s surprise victory last November, with an adviser to the Syrian president saying the American people had “sent a great, a very important message to the world.” Yet Assad supporters – as well as the Syrian president himself – are taking a cautious approach to the new US administration, unsure of whether, and to what extent, Trump will overhaul American foreign policy. Here’s what columnists in pro-Assad media outlets think about Trump’s implications for Syria, followed by excerpts from two interviews with Assad about the new US president.
Topic
Foreign Policy, War, Elections, News Analysis, Trump, Syrian War
Political Geography
Middle East, Syria, North America, United States of America