Assad predicts failure of US vision for 'new ME'

Syrian President Bashar Assad predicted Monday that the US vision for a "new Middle East" would fail as the region's conflicts continue to escalate. His comments come days ahead of a conference on reducing violence in Iraq that will bring together Iraq's neighbors - including Syria and Iran - and representatives of the big five UN Security Council members, including the US. "Results until now do not seem in favor of this project, and what we are seeing now in the east is a resisting Iraq, and in the west a resisting Lebanon, and in the south a resisting Palestinian people," Syria's official news agency SANA quoted Assad as saying. "And we in Syria are in the heart of all these events." Assad, who spoke at a mass rally in the northeastern Syrian town of Deir El-Zour, said his country and the Middle East were passing through "a critical stage." He also stressed that "those who tried to isolate Syria have failed" - an apparent reference to the tense Damascus-Washington relations.