כותרות נוטות להיות ממצות, כך גם עדכוני חדשות. החלטתי להביא את דברי אסד על הנורמליזציה כלשונם, מהראיון:
Question: My last question is on the subject that we started with because as you pointed out, Israel seems to be the heart of the problem between the United States and Syria and you said that you can imagine if there was a withdrawal and settlement of the Palestinian question then there will be peace and the normalization as the Arab League described it. What is your vision of that normalization? Can you imagine a day when there is free trade between Israel and Syria and when Israelis and Syrians travel back and forth to each other's countries and you are not at war?אגב, קטע אחר מהראיון, שקצת שעשע אותי:
Answer: Let me go right to the point. This word has no limit. Normalization means like the relations between Syria and the United States. One day is good. The other day is bad. It is like the relations between Syria and France; and like the relations between Syria and other countries with whom it is not at war. In the 1980s we had some problems with the UK and we cut our relations. So when you talk about normalization, it is very wide. You may have warm or cold relations.
Question: Why are your eight most prominent critics in jail?
Answer: Who evaluated them as most prominent?
Question: They were certainly outspoken at the time before they were arrested.
Answer: No. If you go down to the street now, you will probably see more prominent speakers than they. People in the street criticize everything. If we put in prison anyone who criticizes us, I don't think we would have enough prisons. Everybody criticizes in Syria. As I told you a little while ago, anything that would harm our security or national identity is against our law and that will be punished. When you speak in a sectarian or religious way that creates problems among sects or when you try to harm or violate our national unity. Some of those whom you are referring to did not criticize the government at all. They are in prison because they were evading their taxes.