Why do most of the left support Assad

The Assad Galaxy

Since the beginning of the Syrian conflict, the states of Europe have been in a diplomatic dilemma. While they agree to condemn the actions of the terrorist group "Islamic State", it is much more difficult for them to find a common position on (not) tolerating the Syrian regime. Two positions emerged: While most governments condemn the Syrian regime for violating human rights, other states and politicians support Assad. The latter can be found everywhere in the political spectrum: from the left to the far right. According to David Rigoulet-Roze, who conducts research on the Middle East, the common denominator among Assad supporters is the fear that the country could fall into the hands of radical Islamists if the regime were overthrown.

The Syrian head of state during an interview with Paris Match on December 4, 2014.


In the Federal Republic there are only a few who stand up for Assad or his retention as President of Syria.

Assad can be a very useful partner in the war on terror. After all, he knows his own country best. (...) The future of Assad is a question for the post-war order of Syria.

Georg Pazderski, chairman of the Berlin AfD

Important AfD politicians such as the vice-verses Alexander Gauland and Georg Pazderski urge "realism", as they call it. The chairman of the Berlin AfD Pazderski writes that Merkel's goal of fighting the IS terrorist militia and wanting to overthrow Assad at the same time is a "policy of attitudes" and a "denial of reality". Assad could fight against the Islamists "very useful partner" be. Pazderski also writes that Merkel should take an example from the anti-Hitler coalition in the fight against "IS". At that time, the allies would have represented completely different ideologies and goals. Pazderski proposes an "anti-IS coalition" made up of Germany, the USA, Russia, Assad and the Syrian opposition. In doing so, he takes over the arguments of Russian President Putin.

Former CDU member and journalist Jürgen Todenhöfer, known for his bestseller "Inside IS - 10 days in the 'Islamic State'" also advocates a diplomatic solution. Todenhöfer's word carries weight in the German debate on the Syria conflict. The 76-year-old knows Syria like very few people in Germany. Todenhöfer wants negotiations between the regime and the rebels, regardless of the price. Assad should finally make the rebels a fair offer to negotiate and the West should use its influence on the rebels. After all, they too should have seen that the Syrian problems could not be solved by war, as Todenhöfer said on Deutschlandfunk.

More and more people are coming to the realization that the reconquest of western Syria in connection with the rapprochement with Russia announced by Trump and the joint fight against 'IS' and other jihadist militias is the only way to restore the country to a stable state State to lead. "

Middle East expert Günter Meyer

The head of the Center for Research on the Arab World at the University of Mainz, Günter Meyer, attributes the comparatively small number of Assad supporters in Germany to the minor military role that the country plays in the Syria conflict. "France and Great Britain are the US's closest military partners. Germany, on the other hand, only flies observation and transport missions." In addition, the topic of Syria causes great emotions in the public discussion: "When tens of thousands of Syrians fled to Germany and Merkel uttered her famous phrase 'We can do it', the people in this country were really affected", continues Meyer. That could be the reason why hardly any politicians dared to advertise the ruler of such a country.

However, Meyer notices a rethink lately: "More and more people are coming to realize that the reconquest of western Syria in connection with the rapprochement with Russia announced by Trump and the joint fight against 'IS' and other jihadist militias is the only way to reunite the country stable state to lead. "



Since the beginning of the Syrian conflict, a large part of the French left has spoken out clearly against Bashar al-Assad. According to the French journalist Nicolas Hénin, the "moral line" of the French government is therefore one of the most coherent in the diplomatic world. "From the moment France condemned the Assad regime, the country did not change its position. It was only supplemented by the emergence of the so-called Islamic State: Neither Assad nor IS."

Left of the left, however, things are different. The presidential candidate and former leader of the Left Party Jean-Luc Mélenchon is an unwavering supporter of Vladimir Putin, Assad's most important ally. Mélenchon warned several times that one had to negotiate with the Syrian regime. In February the politician repeated that he trusted Putin in the fight against the "IS" terrorists. From the point of view of scientist David Rigoulet-Roze, Mélenchon's position could be due to his "anti-Americanism".


Assad is gaining more and more supporters within the French right. Thierry Mariani is one of the politicians of the French "Republicans" who is closest to the regime leader. Even after dozens of civilians, including women and children, were killed on December 13 and the international community condemned these acts, the Republican MP rejoiced at the situation in Aleppo. He hailed the development as a success over terrorism.

Mariani has visited ruler Bashar al-Assad several times in the past few months. In March he was one of five French MPs who celebrated Easter with the Christian community from the Middle East. The MPs then met President Assad in Damascus. The visit was strongly condemned by the French government.

Two candidates in the Republican primaries, which took place in November, sided with the "pro-Assad" side, including the President of the Christian Democratic Party PCD, Jean-Frédéric Poissonwho paid a visit to Assad in July 2015.

Also the Republican presidential candidate François Fillon supports or at least tolerates the Syrian rulers. In September 2015, he said in an interview with the radio station Europe 1: "We have to help the Assad regime, despite all its mistakes, because it is about to fall." A position that "for lack of alternatives" needs to be explained, says David Rigoulet-Roze. François Fillon is also a great supporter of Christians in the Middle East.

The right-wing populists:

The Front National makes no secret of his support for the Assad regime. Party leader Marine Le Pen demanded that France join forces with the Syrian President to fight the terrorist group "Islamic State". From their point of view, Assad is an "authoritarian ruler" but not a "barbarian".

Frédéric Châtillon, founder of the Riwal communications agency and advisor to Marine Le Pen, has direct contacts with the Assad regime. His agency even designed a website called "InfoSyrie", which is clearly committed to Assad.

David Rigoulet-Roze explains why the FN and other right-wing populist parties in Europe support Assad "the fear of Islamism and the question of migration" back.


Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz has been of the opinion for a long time that there can only be a solution to the Syrian conflict with Assad. He said in September 2015 that all "players" should come to one table. Austria hosted several conferences on the Syrian conflict in Vienna. The aim at the time was to find a solution without Assad - but almost no one is assuming it any more.

The right-wing populist FPÖ is more open to Assad. The former candidate for the federal presidential election and party vice is particularly interested in Russia Norbert Hofer a closer cooperation. Russia, Hofer said in an interview for Russia Today, is fighting for peace in Syria.

In Great Britain

We have to make sure that the Syrian army cleans up Aleppo and Raqqa and that the Assad regime stays in power. "

UKIP chairman Paul Nutall

The right-wing populist UK Independence Party, UKIP for short, known for its Brexit campaign, has always taken a different position than former Prime Minister David Cameron. Paul Nutall, who succeeded the famous Nigel Farage as UKIP party leader, reiterated his party's pro-Assad position in early December. In an interview he said: "We have to make sure that the Syrian army cleans up Aleppo and Raqqa and that the Assad regime remains in power, even if it should be controlled. (...) In contrast to Islamist terrorism, Assad is not a threat to world peace."

Also the Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn drew attention to itself on the question about Assad. In 2009, Corbyn accepted a trip to Syria paid for by pro-Palestinian lobbyists. There he met the Syrian head of state, to whom he thanked: "I appreciate the actions of Syria, which has taken in large numbers of Palestinian refugees and granted them protection".

Jeremy Corbyn (first from left) at the meeting with Assad.

At that time, however, Corbyn was not yet party chairman, nor did the Syrian conflict break out."In 2009, Bashar al-Assad was not yet a head of state to be avoided. Even when the Arab Spring broke out, Assad's hands did not have any blood. That changed when he ordered his army to shoot the population with live ammunition than he began to kill his people ", explains journalist Nicolas Hénin.


If we want peace, we have to come to an understanding with Assad, at least temporarily. "

Foreign Minister José Manuel Garcia-Margallo

In Spain it is believed that negotiations with Assad are necessary and correct. Foreign Minister José Manuel Garcia-Margallo declared in November 2015 that Assad was the least evil for Syria. He added: "If we want peace, we have to come to an understanding with Assad, at least temporarily." He compared the Syrian ruler to Stalin and recalled the alliance the Americans had with Stalin to win against the Nazis in World War II.

Only in October was Spain called to order by the NATO alliance because the country had authorized Russian warships to dock in the port of Ceuta in order to refuel. The Russian warships in question are believed to have been involved in military operations in Syria. After the call to order, Madrid summoned the Russian ambassador and withdrew his approval.

"It will be very difficult (...) to stay on the anti-Assad line. "

What is currently a war could turn into terrorism of a new dimension. "

Nicolas Henin

The French journalist Nicolas Hénin predicts that due to the likely development in the Syrian conflict, the number of Assad supporters in Europe will increase in the near future. "The Syrian army is gaining ground and wiping out the rebel bases. The rebels that remain will most likely slide into terrorism. They will seek refuge among the population and carry out attacks against the Assad regime. Which is currently a war , could develop into terrorism of a new dimension. " The consequences of such a scenario for Europe: "If there were more terrorist attacks in France or elsewhere in Europe, public opinion would immediately change to 'We have to fight the terrorists!'", explains Hénin. In this case "It will be very difficult, no matter which head of state, to stay on the anti-Assad line."