'Assad cousin: Israel's stability is linked to Syria's'

Tycoon and confidant of Syrian president tells 'NY Times' that the Assad regime has "decided to fight," adds, "we have a lot of fighters."

Protestors in Syria 311 (photo credit: Reuters)
Protestors in Syria 311
(photo credit: Reuters)
Syrian President Bashar Assad and the ruling class in Syria have "decided to fight," a Syrian business tycoon and first cousin of Assad told The New York Times on Tuesday, warning that stability in Damascus and Israel are inexorably tied.
"If there is no stability [in Syria], there's no way there will be stability in Israel," Rami Makhlouf told the Times, adding, "And nobody can guarantee what will happen after, God forbid, anything happens to this regime."
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Makhlouf, however, denied that his statement was a threat. According to the report, he explained, "I didn't say war. What I'm saying is ... don't push Syria to do anything it is not happy to do."
Describing an alternative situation in a hypothetical post-Assad Syria, he warned, that a successful Islamist-run revolution and government would mean a civil war in Syria and fighting abroad, the Times reported.
Makhlouf also made it clear that Assad and those who back him would not capitulate to demands for his departure. "We won't accept it," he said in the interview. "People will fight against them. Do you know what this means? It means catastrophe."
"We have a lot of fighters," he warned, according to the Times. "The decision of the government now is that they decided to fight."