In one of those moments that make time standstill, a Jordanian delegation of 18 activists visiting Assad in Damascus heard him, quoting from al-Quds al-Arabi, say:

“I am not a monster, the way my enemies try to portray me. All those who talk about me and Syria forget that I am human, made of flesh and blood, and I have feelings. They forget that I am a doctor and I am pained by scenes of blood and death.”

“They say that I should leave, or announce that I will not run in the next elections. I will not do this,” he vowed. “I will keep my right to contend, and even if I do not, I will stay in Damascus and I will not leave it. I have friends, family and a homeland, and I will continue to serve my homeland in any situation.”

For conspiracy buffs, Assad told his guests that his military campaign is not against Salafists or Islamists, but against the Zionists and the United States.

My guess is that his 11-year rule of barbaric repression, torturing of children, killing of innocent Syrians, raping of women, and systematic targeting of civilians had nothing to do with him. It is all the fault of the Americans and the Jews! Why can’t we just figure it out?

Assad still believes he and Iran can continue to harness the Salafists to serve their savagery as they did in Iraq.

Could Assad be preparing himself for an insanity plea should he one day face the International Criminal Court? The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court does provide for such a defense in accordance with Article 31(1)(a), which says that a person shall not be held criminally responsible if, at the time of that person’s conduct:

“The person suffers from a mental disease or defect that destroys that person’s capacity to appreciate the unlawfulness or nature of his or her conduct, or capacity to control his or her conduct to conform to the requirements of law;”

During the Yugoslavia hearings, the Trial Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal did uphold that the mental disease defense is only admissible in two circumstances:

(1) in case of impairment of the accused’s capacity to appreciate the unlawfulness of or the nature of his conduct; or

(2) in case of an impairment to control his conduct in order to conform to the requirements of the law.

The statute however requires a destruction of mental capacity for the Article 31(1)(a) insanity defense to apply. How to define “destruction of mental capacity” would simply become a legal battle and Assad may simply be preparing for that day.

Never underestimate the cunning calling themselves insane. I remember one fellow to fit this picture and his name was Lecter Hannibal everyone called him Hannibal the Cannibal.

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