Since the terrorist attacks in Paris Friday that killed more than 120 people and injured hundreds more, world leaders from President Barack Obama to newly elected Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau, and from U.K. prime minister David Cameron to German chancellor Angela Merkel, have expressed their solidarity with France. An exception is Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, who sees mass murder as an opportunity to say I told you so.
According to Syrian state media, Assad blamed France for bringing the attacks on itself. "The flawed policies pursued by Western countries and especially France as regards what is happening in our region ... contributed to the spread of terrorism," said Assad.
The notion that Paris supports ISIS is nonsense. In September France started to launch attacks on ISIS positions in Syria in addition to its sorties against the terror group in Iraq. It had disdained targeting ISIS in Syria previously since it feared that might strengthen Assad’s hold in Syria and French president Francois Hollande wanted Assad gone. Indeed Hollande was the one Western leader who demanded that the Syrian dictator had to step down as part of any political settlement. What Assad and his allies want is for France and everyone else, from the EU to the Arab states and Turkey, is to stop backing any opposition at all.
It was Assad’s mass slaughter of the Syrian opposition, as well as Sunni civilians, that gave rise to extremist factions in the four and a half year war. But in the Syrian regime version of events, Western support for the anti-regime rebels is responsible for the rise of ISIS. After meeting with a delegation of French of lawmakers in Damascus, Assad told reporters that “We said do not mess with the fault-line in Syria, it’s going to be an earthquake that will reverberate around the world.” He continued: “Unfortunately the European officials did not pay attention.”
Assad is not alone in arguing that France’s policies are to blame for the death of French citizens. Iranian state media and key regime officials joined Damascus in arguing that France reaped the whirlwind.
“Terror hits its supporters,” writes the Iranian daily Hemayat.
"Self-made terrorism hits back,” claims the IRGC-affiliated Tasnim News.
The editor of Kayhan, Hossein Shariatmadari, an adviser to supreme leader Ali Khamenei, forecasts that “ISIS supporters—Saudi Arabia, United States, Qatar & Turkey—are next ISIS targets.” Kayhan’s front page says, “ISIS’s rabid dog bites its master.”
“Here you are, the dinner! West tasted what it cooked in Syria,” blasts the front page of Vatan-e Emrooz.
“French nation paid the price for France gov support to ISIS,” explains IRGC deputy chief Hossein Salami.
Curiously, Trita Parsi, president of the National Iranian American Council and one of the leading figures of Washington’s pro-Iran lobby, echoed the sentiments of the regime that has imprisoned his colleague Niamak Samazi. “If it turns out this horrible terror was done by ISIS or Al Qaeda,” Parsi tweeted the night of the attacks, “will France rethink its cosy ties with Saudi and those funding Salafists?”