On Sunday, the grand mufti of Syria warned the West that the Assad regime is prepared to play hardball in the event of foreign intervention. “I say to all of Europe, I say to America, we will set up suicide bombers who are now in your countries, if you bomb Syria or Lebanon,” Ahmad Badreddine Hassoun said. “From now on an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.”

The cleric made his remarks while entertaining a delegation from Lebanon expressing its condolences for Hassoun’s recent loss (members of the Syrian opposition killed the state-appointed cleric’s son).

Take the sheikh’s words for what they’re worth—who knows if Damascus really has “sleeper cells” in the West ready to do the regime’s bidding? However, we do know there are Syrian spies, controlled by Syria’s foreign embassies, surveying and threatening opposition members in exile with retaliation against their relatives back in Syria. Hassoun’s threat seems to be a proud admission that confirms one of the charges that Assad’s critics, foreign and domestic, have made against his regime—Syria is a state sponsor of terror. The mufti provides further evidence here that the U.S. and its allies have an interest in seeing this regime toppled, and backing an opposition that is going after American enemies.

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