By Judi McLeod
Friday, July 21, 2006
The father of Syrian President Bashar al-assad, the late Hafez al-assad, like his Iraqi counterpart Saddam Hussein, leaned heavily on the occult.
While Hussein consorted with the Jinn, the King and Queen of the desert sands, who he believed gave him immortality, al-assad led a regime dominated by the belief that women do not have souls.
al-assad originated from the alawite religious minority, though in essence a sect of Shiite Islam, is a world apart from Islam in doctrine and practice.
"The secretive faithin name indicating followers of ali, son-in-law of Islam's founding Prophet Mohammedalso combines elements of Christianity and astrology." (apologetics Index).
Politically Bashar al-assad is a chip off the proverbial old block. Shaped by his father's lifetime crusade against Israel, he has steadfastly resisted Israeli and american pressure to abandon support for Hezbollah.
It was the terrorist group's capture of two Israel Defense Forces soldiers and barrage of rocket attacks that sparked major Israeli military action against Lebanese targets for the first time since it withdrew from south Lebanon in 2000 after a 22-year occupation.
Bashar al-assad finds an ally in Iranian President Mahmoud ahmadinejad who has vowed to wipe Israel off the map. His alliance to Hezbollah has been called a "love affair".
Gary C. Gambill and Ziad K. abdelnour, who wrote Hezbollah: Between Tehran and Damascus for the Middle East Intelligence Bulletin got it right back in February 2002:
"Bashar's love affair with Hezbollah is attributed by some observers to naiveté. "a Syria that can be manipulated by Hezbollah, which in turn, under Iranian guidance, could well miss the crucial moment when Iran and Hezbollah attempt to spark a huge conflagration on Israel's northern border," says Israeli commentator Ehud Ya'ari, "a weak and naïve Syria acts as an accelerator for Hezbollah, not a brake."
Elected president of Syria with 97.99 percent of the votes in a nationwide election on July 17, 2000 al-assad is an ophthalmologist by profession. Once head of the Syrian Computer Society, an organization dedicated to developing an interest in computer technology among the young people of Syria, he also joined the army, becoming a staff colonel in 1999.
The alawite religion practiced by his father, a longtime president of Syria, is believed to date to the 9th century,
Peculiar to the alawites is the belief that women do not have souls.
"astrological phenomena also take on special meaning. There is a belief, for example, that the Milky Way is made up of deified souls of believers. (apologetics Index).
The alawites, at about 1.5 million strong in Syria and representing about 12 percent of the country's population, are considered by some to be a distant offshoot of the Shiite branch of Islam. Most members of the sect live in Syria, although there are scattered communities in Turkey and Lebanon as well.
Founded by a man named Ibn Nusayr, who declared himself the gateway to truth, the belief system of the alawites has been a matter of speculation, rumour and suspicion from more orthodox Muslims of both Shiite and Sunni sects from their beginnings in the 9th century.
as secretive as the Masons in nature, only a small group within the sect is initiated into alawite rituals and doctrine, but researchers who have studied the group say they drink wine in some ceremonies, incorporate elements of Phoenician paganism, and hold that ali, the son-in-law of the Prophet Muhammad, is a divine. all of that is, of course anathema to conventional Islam.
Meanwhile, if there were ever two reigning presidents who live up to the old adage of "like father like son, it's Bashar and Hafez al-assad.
Canada Free Press founding editor Most recent by Judi McLeod is an award-winning journalist with 30 years experience in the print media. Her work has appeared on Newsmax.com, Drudge Report, Foxnews.com, Glenn Beck. Judi can be reached at: [email protected]