Before President Obama sits down with six different network anchors Monday to make a case for striking Syria, portions of an interview Bashar al-Assad recorded with CBS's Charlie Rose will air in the morning. It is his first interview with an American network in nearly two years.
Assad recorded an interview with Rose, who is in Beirut now, CBS's Face the Nation host Bob Scheiffer announced Sunday. Rose spoke with Assad live from the presidential palace in Damascus. Parts of the interview will air on CBS This Morning, and later the entire interview airs on PBS's Charlie Rose Show on Monday evening. This marks the first time Assad spoke with an American news anchor since his interview with Barbara Walters in December 2011. Assad will deny any role in the August 21 chemical attack. Whether or not the world will believe him, on the other hand, is a completely different thing.
The President is racing to convince Congress, the Senate, and the rest of the country, with some significant help from old allies and lobbying groups, that a military strike against Syria is the right thing to do. Assad will not confirm or deny having chemical weapons in his interview with Charlie Rose tomorrow. There is some lingering doubt among lawmakers about whether or not the U.S. should go ahead with an attack, despite international backing. But, according to a report from The New York Times, diplomatic cables and declassified intelligence shows Syria has spent much of the last few decades obtaining chemical weapons, or at least the materials used to create them, through help from Iran, Russia, and even some American companies. This all happened in the background while the world was focused on more immediate world dangers like Iran's nuclear program or North Korea. Meanwhile, the Washington Post reports ships leaving from Ukranian port known for weapons shipments have become the center of investigations trying to track the supply of heavy weaponry, and possibly some chemical weapons, into Syria. One focus of the investigation is a cargo ship called the Ocean Fortune that disappeared for two months between January and March in international waters after turning towards Syria.