According to multiple mainstream media sources, Syria’s deputy oil minister has defected after denouncing the Assad government in a video uploaded to YouTube on Thursday. The man in the video, seated on a sofa and wearing a suit, shirt, and tie and speaking directly into the camera, identifies himself as Abdo Husameddine and condemns the Assad regime, whilst declaring his joining of “the dignified people’s revolution”.
It is unclear where or when the video was filmed, though it is reported that the video was uploaded to YouTube by a Syrian activist named Rami, whotold AFP in Beirut that the opposition helped arrange Husameddine’s resignation. Rami reportedly asked that the location where the video was shot not be disclosed for safety reasons.
The man is purportedly a deputy oil minister who has worked for the Syrian government for 33 years, giving the strong impression that he is a senior government figure — though as stated in an Associated Press report, the man says he is an “assistant” to the oil minister and in Syria, ministers may have several assistants known as deputies.
On Twitter, an individual reported to be from London foreign policy think-tank Chatham House named Rime Allaf has confirmed that:
A deputy minister is not a senior Syria regime figure; not so significant to be real defection, just a resignation with little effect.
The release of the video comes at a convenient time for the Syrian rebels and their backers in the West. Assad retains the strong support of his government, people, and military — which has not seen widespread defections, making the situation different to that in Libya during last year’s NATO-backed rebel ousting of Gaddafi. As stated in The Guardian, the Syrian government’s:
…core support, particularly members of Syria’s religious minorities led by Assad’s Alawi sect, has stayed loyal or neutral. The military has not splintered, with conscripts rather than officers or whole units defecting, and the merchant and middle classes of Aleppo and Damascus have remained quiet.
The only other reportedly high-level Syrian political defection came when Muhammad al-Bakkour, the attorney general of the province of Hama, resigned in similar fashion — on YouTube — last August. Bakkour has not been heard from since, and even some opposition sources say the video was made under pressure from rebels.
Due to the fact that we do not know when or where the video was filmed, the suggestion that the man could well be a low-level assistant rather than a senior Syrian political figure, and because the resignation was organized by the opposition and is being widely touted in the Western mainstream media, the video should be treated with skepticism as possible propaganda designed to make it appear that Assad’s government is crumbling, until it can be independently verified.
This article first appeared at Resistance Radio.
Brit Dee runs an independent online radio station called Resistance Radio, which broadcasts daily news, views and analysis challenging the lies of our corrupt political and financial leaders, and the controlled corporate media, at http://www.resistradio.com.