Yesterday on Fareed Zakaria GPS, the eponymous host interviewed Russian prime minister Dmitri Medvedev, and asked him about the situation in Syria and Russia’s involvement there. Most notably, Medvedev told Zakaria that he feels Assad’s grip on power is slipping away; when asked about the chances of Assad staying in power, he said, “I think that with every day, with every week, with every month, the chances of him surviving are becoming less and less. But once again, it should be decided by the Syrian people, not Russia, not the U.S.” In Medvedev’s comments via a translator, he also asserted later that “the opposition . . . is largely represented by Islamic radicals.”
More peculiarly, Medvedev tried to downplay Russia’s alliance with Assad, saying, “From the outset, the Russian Federation was not an exclusive ally of Syria or President Assad. We had good relations with his father and him, but he had much closer allies among the European states” — unclear who those might possibly be, besides Axis of Evil lackey Belarus, which has voted against a few U.N. resolutions condemning Syria.
The Russian politician also explained, “I personally a few times called Assad and said, ‘you need to start reforms. You need to sit down at the negotiating table.’” Guess that makes Medvedev a tougher friend than the American politicians who once so confidently proclaimed that Assad already was a “reformer.”