December 5th, 2012
07:15 PM ET

Is Assad seeking asylum?

By Jamie Crawford

U.S. officials have said for months that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's days in power are numbered.

A fight to the death might seem a more plausible outcome as the carnage of the Syrian civil war approaches its second year.

But the idea of asylum in a third country is an option that is also emerging in questions over Assad's fate.

The complexities of a successful flight from Syria, however, could complicate any hope that Assad harbors for a clean get away.

The Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported Wednesday that Faisal al-Miqdad, the Syrian deputy foreign minister, recently traveled to Cuba, Venezuela and Ecuador with personal letters from Assad looking at the possibility of political asylum for himself and his family if he were forced to leave Damascus.

But there is no indication that Assad is ready to abandon his powers yet, according to multiple sources in the United States, Europe and the Arab world. U.S. officials have made it clear that Assad's decision is in his own hands.

"That will require the Assad regime making the decision to participate in a political transition, ending the violence against his own people," Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told reporters while traveling to NATO headquarters in Brussels on Wednesday.

"And we hope they do so because we believe, as you know, that their fall is inevitable," she said.

And the question of whether Assad seeks an offer of asylum is not as important for the United States, as are the responsibilities of the government that ultimately accepts him to make certain he is held accountable for the actions of his regime.

"A number of countries have offered" asylum to Assad, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said last month while declining to name specific countries. "We want to get him out of there so we can move on. That said, we also support accountability for him and for everybody else with blood on their hands."

And that certainly could be why Assad might find the three Latin American countries as an appealing destination.

While Cuba and Venezuela have made no secret of their anti-U.S. and western views over the years, Ecuador's leftist government has shown its resistance to U.S. policies as well, and could be hesitant to hand Assad over for prosecution.

Ecuador is currently offering WikiLeak's founder Julian Assange asylum in its British Embassy, as he resists extradition to Sweden.

But questions over the ultimate longevity of those governments might give Assad pause, some analysts say.

"Ecuador, Venezuela, Cuba are countries where he could feel safe for the time being but he has to be concerned about a shift in the winds in any of those governments as well," Scott Horton, an international law expert at Columbia University, told CNN. "And certainly no one expects the regimes in those three states to continue indefinitely."

Saudi Arabia, which has a history of accepting repressive dictators like Uganda's Idi Amin and Tunisia's Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali into exile, is not likely to figure in Assad's calculus with the government in Riyadh currently assisting and arming the rebel groups that seek his overthrow.

For many analysts who follow the situation, they say Iran has gone to great lengths to keep the Assad government in power and likely would be the most hospitable to Assad's situation should he choose to leave Syria.

"President Assad could go multiple places throughout the world," Andrew Tabler, a long-time Syria watcher who spent years living in the country, told CNN. "The question is how long can he survive there, how long can he really live in security before someone goes after him and his family, and Tehran is safer."

With Assad's Syria seen as Iran's principal ally in the Arab world and a conduit to its proxy Hezbollah in Lebanon, Iran likely would not have much interest in Assad leaving while still holding significant portions of Syria within his grip.

Russia, with its long time support for Assad and opposition to international efforts to oust him from power, has been mentioned as another possible destination for Assad. But that, too, may be a dwindling option.

"I think that the Russians at the moment are realizing that they are going to have to deal with a new Syria," Tabler, now with the Washington Institute for Near East Policy said. "It's going to be hard to deal with a new Syria when they are harboring, or possibly harboring the former president."

As countries make even informal offers of asylum to Assad, the United States continues to express what it believes is their responsibility to make sure that issues of Assad's accountability inside Syria are addressed.

"We've been quite clear publicly, and I would assume we've been equally clear privately," Deputy State Department spokesman Mark Toner told reporters on Wednesday.

But Assad's possible departure, while a welcome prospect to many in the international community, could open the door to even more instability in the country.

With the majority Sunni opposition enraged at the minority Alawite Assad regime for the many months of ruthless aerial and artillery strikes on civilians, analysts say his departure would likely hasten a scenario of revenge killings across the country on a much larger scale.

U.S. officials said they have long been planning for "the day after Assad" – such as training Jordanian troops to provide security. But for now, they just hope Syria will keep its chemical weapons under wraps.

In the end, Assad is still seen as having the vast support of his Alawite sect, that of the Iranian government, and with it, a ruthless ability to stay and fight to the end. Whether his inner core of support will ultimately see that as the best option, remains to be seen.

"The question is will his sect decide that President Assad has to leave as part of any transition in the country," Tabler said. "I think there is a real chance he will huddle along with his sect. The question is whether his sect will want to huddle with him or not."

Post by:
Filed under: Assad • Syria
soundoff (296 Responses)
  1. Maserati Concepts

    http://www.dta365.com/dt/uchome/link.php?url=http://www.maseratis.net

    May 17, 2021 at 10:36 pm | Reply
  2. Sprinter Blower Fan Repair Near Me

    Way cool! Some extremely valid points! I appreciate you writing this post plus the rest of the site is extremely good.

    http://www.phototo.com.ua/uk/redirect-to-site?client_id=258&url=https://fleettruckrepairshop.com/business-van-repair-shop-near-me/

    May 17, 2021 at 9:32 am | Reply
  3. Sprinter Van Repair

    http://thevillagesatpinevalley.com/Click.aspx?url=//sprintervanrepairshop.com/about/

    May 17, 2021 at 2:01 am | Reply
  4. Mercedes Sprinter Brake Caliper Repair Kit

    After exploring a number of the articles on your site, I honestly like your technique of writing a blog. I saved it to my bookmark site list and will be checking back in the near future. Please visit my website too and tell me how you feel.

    https://www.onionring.jp/rank.cgi?mode=link&id=281&url=https://boxtruckrepairshop.com/semi-truck-windshield-replacement-shop-near-me

    May 17, 2021 at 1:02 am | Reply
  5. Repair Conversion Van Blinds

    Very good post. I'm facing some of these issues as well..

    https://www.ref.webhostinghub.com/scripts/click.php?ref_id=nichol54&desturl=https://sprintervanrepairshop.com/van-body-shop-near-me/

    May 17, 2021 at 12:17 am | Reply
  6. Mercedes Sprinter Service

    https://developer.vantiv.com/external-link.jspa?url=https://commercialvanrepairshop.com/upholstery-shop-near-me/

    May 16, 2021 at 9:59 pm | Reply
  7. Dodge Sprinter 3500 2006 Window Repair

    This is the perfect site for anybody who would like to find out about this topic. You know a whole lot its almost tough to argue with you (not that I personally would want to…HaHa). You definitely put a new spin on a subject which has been discussed for ages. Great stuff, just wonderful!

    http://www.kanazawa-navi.com/navi/rank.cgi?mode=link&id=725&url=http://www.sprintervanrepairshop.com/nissan-high-top-van-repair-shop-near-me

    May 16, 2021 at 7:39 pm | Reply
  8. Service B Mercedes Sprinter

    http://www.digitalstage.jp/go/r/r.cgi?t=https://commercialvanrepairshop.com/dent-repair-shop-near-me/

    May 16, 2021 at 6:42 pm | Reply
  9. Eddy Maserati

    Your style is very unique in comparison to other folks I've read stuff from. Thanks for posting when you have the opportunity, Guess I'll just book mark this site.

    https://mortelmans.net/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=maseratis.net

    May 16, 2021 at 3:41 pm | Reply
  10. Sprinter Van Conversion Computer Repair

    Your style is so unique compared to other folks I've read stuff from. Many thanks for posting when you've got the opportunity, Guess I'll just book mark this blog.

    /

    May 16, 2021 at 12:23 pm | Reply
  11. solar panel installation orange county

    It’s difficult to find well-informed people on this topic, but you sound like you know what you’re talking about! Thanks

    http://em.starz.com/rbc40/c2.php?STAZ/34987929/197338/H/N/V/https://yestervid.com/charlie-chaplins-first-film-he-hated-it/charlie_chaplin-long/

    May 16, 2021 at 11:27 am | Reply
  12. aika online private server

    I really like it when people come together and share ideas. Great website, keep it up!

    http://sitebox.mailus.ru/requestform.php?success=1&referrer=http://aikareborn.com/

    May 16, 2021 at 11:14 am | Reply
  13. Local Marketing Services

    Way cool! Some very valid points! I appreciate you writing this write-up plus the rest of the site is also really good.

    http://www.visitbinghamton.org/wp-content/themes/vb/sv-update-hits.php?id=245&url=http://www.affordableranking.com

    May 16, 2021 at 4:33 am | Reply
  14. Content Marketing Master

    http://webranking.net/out.cgi?http://affordableranking.com

    May 16, 2021 at 2:09 am | Reply
  15. Internet Marketing Event

    Greetings! Very helpful advice within this article! It's the little changes that produce the greatest changes. Thanks for sharing!

    https://lovesgift.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=affordableranking.com

    May 16, 2021 at 2:04 am | Reply
  16. Aika Online

    The very next time I read a blog, Hopefully it won't fail me as much as this particular one. I mean, Yes, it was my choice to read, but I actually thought you would have something interesting to say. All I hear is a bunch of moaning about something you can fix if you weren't too busy looking for attention.

    http://qnrwz.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=aikareborn.com/wiki/accessories/

    May 16, 2021 at 12:49 am | Reply
  17. Aika Global

    http://www.fashiontime.ru/bitrix/redirect.php?event1=&event2=&event3=&goto=http://aikareborn.com/wiki/mount_cleric/

    May 15, 2021 at 11:56 pm | Reply
  18. Internet Marketing Teacher

    https://www.findip.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=www.affordableranking.com

    May 15, 2021 at 11:20 pm | Reply
  19. rv replacement parts near me

    Can I simply say what a relief to discover a person that truly understands what they are talking about on the internet. You actually realize how to bring a problem to light and make it important. More and more people need to look at this and understand this side of your story. I can't believe you're not more popular since you certainly possess the gift.

    http://www.tstz.com/link.php?url=http://www.ocrvcenter.net/

    May 15, 2021 at 8:36 pm | Reply
  20. Content Marketing Business

    I must thank you for the efforts you've put in penning this website. I'm hoping to view the same high-grade blog posts by you in the future as well. In fact, your creative writing abilities has encouraged me to get my own, personal website now 😉

    https://www.fanslations.azurewebsites.net/release/out/takami-no-kago-chapter-39/11534/?url=https://www.postfallsvideographer.com

    May 15, 2021 at 6:39 pm | Reply
  21. Opticians Near Me

    http://www.foodprotection.org/a/partners/link/?id=79&url=https://arizonasvision.com/

    May 15, 2021 at 12:39 pm | Reply
  22. rv plumbing parts near me

    http://transportation.automation.com/statistics/logClick.php?statType=commerce&pageId=33&Id=189&redirect=http://ocrvart.com

    May 15, 2021 at 8:22 am | Reply
  23. Maserati Granturismo Convertible For Sale

    http://www.friscowebsites.com/Redirect.aspx?destination=https://club-maserati.com/

    May 15, 2021 at 7:18 am | Reply
  24. Optometrist Near

    An impressive share! I've just forwarded this onto a coworker who was doing a little homework on this. And he actually bought me lunch because I stumbled upon it for him... lol. So let me reword this.... Thank YOU for the meal!! But yeah, thanks for spending the time to talk about this subject here on your blog.

    http://fishbiz.seagrant.uaf.edu/click-thru.html?url=https://arizonasvision.com/

    May 15, 2021 at 2:52 am | Reply
  25. rv service near my location

    Good post. I learn something totally new and challenging on websites I stumbleupon on a daily basis. It's always interesting to read through articles from other authors and practice a little something from other sites.

    http://bb3x.ru/go.php?https://fleetservicesocrv.com

    May 15, 2021 at 2:41 am | Reply
  26. home for sale coeur d alene

    Hi, I do think this is an excellent web site. I stumbledupon it 😉 I am going to come back once again since i have bookmarked it. Money and freedom is the best way to change, may you be rich and continue to help others.

    http://e-search.ohimesamaclub.com/y/rank.cgi?mode=link&id=13&url=http://meganleary.com

    May 15, 2021 at 12:37 am | Reply
  27. homes for sale the landings

    http://2ch.io/meganleary.com/

    May 14, 2021 at 10:35 pm | Reply
  28. RV Washing California

    https://dajsve.com/AdPonudaDanaOglas/ponuda-popust-akcija/jednodnevno-kupanje?type=2&idLokacije=1&idWeba=94&url=https://yelp.com/biz/ocrv-center-anaheim-2&h=QWRNZWdhYm9uSGFzaA==&c=OTA=

    May 14, 2021 at 1:15 pm | Reply
  29. Mercedes Sprinter Service Centers

    https://www.cropscience.bayer.ca/?setlanguage=en&returnUrl=https://commercialvanrepairshop.com/body-damage-shop-near-me

    May 14, 2021 at 4:30 am | Reply
  30. custom rv services

    https://publishing.brookes.ac.uk/?URL=ocrvcenter.biz/class-7-truck-collision-repair-shop-near-me

    May 13, 2021 at 11:59 pm | Reply
  31. i repair near me

    Everything is very open with a clear description of the challenges. It was really informative. Your site is very helpful. Many thanks for sharing!

    http://weekly.chosun.com/protect_weekly/redirect.asp?url=https://ocrv.info/rv-tire-repair-near-me

    May 13, 2021 at 11:58 pm | Reply
  32. bucket truck california

    http://tours.imagemaker360.com/Viewer/Feature/Schools.asp?URL=https://ocrvcenter.co/rv-repair-shop-el-segundo-california

    May 13, 2021 at 8:27 pm | Reply
  33. awnings orange county

    I was able to find good information from your blog articles.

    http://digitalbuzzblog.com/?wptouch_switch=desktop&redirect=https://ocrv.biz/rv-technician-near-me

    May 13, 2021 at 7:21 pm | Reply
  34. solar system repair near me

    https://www.fms.treas.gov/fmsweb/disclaimer.jsp?ciURL=https://ocrv.us/semi-truck-collision-repair-shop-near-me

    May 13, 2021 at 5:01 pm | Reply
1 2 3

Leave a Reply to Frankie ground


 

CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.