Scott Lucas spoke with Monocle 24’s The Daily on Wednesday night about the Assad regime’s handover of only 4% of its chemical weapons stocks before international deadlines on December 31 and January 31.
The 8-minute discussion moves from the reasons — Damascus claims security concerns; others see deliberate stalling — to wider issues about the political and military conflict and Assad’s strategy.
Listen to interview from 7:39 on The Daily homepage or in a pop-up window
“It’s almost as if the chemical weapons are being held hostage by the Assad regime. They’re playing a political game with them.”
“Assad is not winning the military war, but the key question is whether he is winning the political war. His gamble is that, at the end of the day, he can whatever he wants and the US will not intervene — ‘Back me or Saudi-backed extremists will take over’.”
“Damascus will play for time until Assad can say, ‘I’m standing for re-election and the Syrian people can make their choice’.”
“Assad’s biggest worry is that the insurgency and the Saudis will call his bluff.”