Total Pageviews

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Assad’s Office Promotes Fox News Interview With Kucinich

Syrians who take their cues from President Bashar al-Assad’s office were advised to stay up late Wednesday, so they can tune into the Fox News Channel at 1 a.m. local time (6 p.m. Eastern) to watch “a television dialogue” between their leader and Dennis Kucinich, the former Democratic representative from Ohio who is now a Fox News contributor.

Although Fox News has not yet announced the interview, and did not respond to a request for comment, the Syrian presidency’s Twitter promo featured a photograph of Mr. Kucinich and Greg Palkot, a Fox correspondent who has been reporting from Damascus this week. They were apparently seated in exactly the same spot occupied by Charlie Rose during the taping of his recent interview with Mr. Assad for CBS.

Mr. Kucinich was spotted in Damascus on Tuesday, posing for photographs with his crew on his way to the interview, according to Bill Neely, a correspondent for Britain’s ITV in the Syrian capital.

Before he left for Syria, Mr. Kucinich said in an appearance on Fox that President Obama risked impeachment if he launched a military strike on the Assad government without Congressional approval. He also argued against a strike on Syria in a blog post that prominently cited speculation on the Canadian Web site GlobalResearch that Syrian rebels might have staged the chemical attack to provoke Western intervention. The founder of GlobalResearch, Michel Chossudovsky, has also claimed that the 9/11 attacks were “a pretext” for invading Afghanistan and asserted that there was “not a scrap of evidence” that Al Qaeda was responsible.

Six weeks after the protest movement in Syria began in 2011, Mr. Chossudovsky uncritically repeated the Assad government’s claim that “many of the demonstrators were not demonstrators but terrorists involved in premeditated acts of killing and arson,” in a post accusing the United States of “fabricating a pretext” for military intervention.

That same month, Mr. Kucinich refused to blame the Syrian government for the deaths of protesters. He told The Plain Dealer in Cleveland that “there’s very serious questions raised about the conduct of the Syrian police, but we also know the Syrian police were fired upon and that many police were murdered.” He added, “President Assad has made certain commitments, and I would imagine that when things finally settle down, that President Assad will move in a direction of democratic reforms.”

Mr. Kucinich then met Mr. Assad in person during an unannounced visit to Damascus in 2011. The former congressman’s Web site, which has not been updated since Mr. Obama deferred action, still displays a banner encouraging readers to “TELL CONGRESS: STAND FOR AMERICA - VOTE NO TO ANY ATTACK ON SYRIA.”