Our forces are now entirely ready not only to repulse the aggression, but to initiate the act of liberation itself, and to explode the Zionist presence in the Arab homeland. The Syrian army, with its finger on the trigger, is united....I, as a military man, believe that the time has come to enter into a battle of annihilation.
Why should we not boycott the Soviet Union and its supporters inside the country? If we do so, we can force them to review their stand. Either they give us what we want and what is necessary or they will lose our friendship.
When I asked Bhutto what he thought of Assad, he described the Syrian leader as “The Levanter.” Knowing that, like himself, I was a keen reader of thrillers, the Pakistani Prime Minister knew that I would get the message. However, it was only months later when, having read Eric Ambler’s 1972 novel The Levanter that I understood Bhutto’s one-word pen portrayal of Hafez Al-Assad. In The Levanter the hero, or anti-hero if you prefer, is a British businessman who, having lived in Syria for years, has almost “gone native” and become a man of uncertain identity. He is a bit of this and a bit of that, and a bit of everything else, in a region that is a mosaic of minorities. He doesn’t believe in anything and is loyal to no one. He could be your friend in the morning but betray you in the evening. He has only two goals in life: to survive and to make money.