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Syrian President Attributes his Stability to Poor relations with U.S., Israel

Syrian President Bashar Assad attributed his country’s political stability to the absence of strong ties with the United States. He spoke as Tunisia, Egypt and Yemen, all countries aligned to one degree or another with the West, have been wracked by unrest. In a rare interview with The Wall Street Journal, Assad said his conflict with Israel helped him stay in power. Nevertheless, he said he would introduce political reforms, including municipal elections and easing media restrictions.  Assad said the peace process with Israel shouldn’t be declared dead, because doing so would mean “everybody should prepare for the next war." Earlier this month, Washington posted an ambassador to Damascus for the first time since 2005. The Syrian leader also blasted the Israeli foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman as “extremely right wing,” and who has said publically “as long as he is a minister he will not allow the peace with Syria to move forward."