Published in The Jerusalem Post on January 23, 2000
By brilliant ploy, the Mossad is reported to have covertly obtained a urine sample from Hafez Assad. According to the tale, our undercover agents teamed up with the Jordanians to capture Assad’s waste in a specially-prepared latrine when the Syrian president attended King Hussein’s funeral. The specimen was then rushed off to Israel for analysis. This clandestine caper gave us our best look ever at Assad’s state of health.
So what did our intelligence boys learn from the urinalysis of Assad? What follows are the lab results, published here for the first time ever:
*High bilirubin level:* The lab results point to a jaundiced world view, rooted in out-of-date Soviet-style and pan-Arab propaganda. Ingestion of such ingrained self-delusion has led to significant atrophy of brain cells and little elasticity in neural membranes and other important information-processing centers. Hardening and rigidity of the mind is clearly evident.
This explains the Syrian leader’s unwillingness to think of relations with Israel in a creative and open-minded fashion, with cooperative partnership as the engine for long-term growth and prosperity.
Such visionary thinking is blocked by the egoistic need to win a decades-old propaganda battle with Israel, to recover lost pride and territory, to assert Syrian primacy in the Arab world and to maintain the corrupt Alawite regime.
*Malnutrition:* Low levels of protein and other nutrients suggests the patient lacks the invigorating vitamins that come from exposure to democratic culture and values. Consequently, he suffers from ideological bankruptcy and diplomatic tunnel vision. This is not surprising, since Assad never really has stood for election nor traveled much outside his comfortably-reclusive Damascus backwater.
This mental myopia translates into an inability to correctly evaluate the outside world. The patient is worryingly incapable of understanding the importance of public opinion in a democracy, especially Israeli public opinion in the context of a peace treaty. Smiling at an Israeli, or shaking his hand, appears to be beyond comprehension for the patient.
It also could be that Assad suffers from stiff-elbow syndrome, a neurological disease brought on by insufficient zinc in his diet. Either way, this latter finding ought to be of greatest concern to Prime Minister Ehud Barak.
*High urine concentration:* This is a classic sign of dehydration. The patient needs more fluids, which explains his desire to control the water resources on the Golan Heights and in the Sea of Galilee. Doctors treating this patient, and diplomats dealing with him, ought beware Assad’s palpable thirst and find ways to quench it, without draining Israel’s limited natural resources in the process.
*Traces of heroin:* The opiates detected in Assad’s urine undoubtedly come from Lebanon, the Arab world’s leading center of drug-production. The ingestion of this mind-altering drug has deluded Assad into believing that he can forever utilize his Lebanese playground as a base of operations against Israel, a notion that Assad had best be disabused of during the current negotiations.
The Syrian domination of Lebanon, for ideological expansionist reasons and for calculations of profit, should sound warning bells in Jerusalem. What type of regime will develop in Beirut and Damascus after we withdraw from the Golan?
*Signs of cancer:* Cancerous cells were detected in the specimen. Unless checked, this cancer could spread rapidly, much like the cancerous spread of terrorism, sponsored by Assad’s very own Syrian Arab Republic. An affinity for Hezbollah in Lebanon and a half-dozen Palestinian terrorist factions in Syria, is the true malignant disease afflicting Mr. Assad.
Any series of medical treatments, any cure or peace treaty must involve the complete cleansing of these carcinogenic elements. Heavy radiation to kill these cancers may be called for, a treatment that can only improve Assad’s health – and ours.
*High levels of aluminum:* Indicates memory loss and the onset of Alzheimer’s. This would explain Assad’s inability to recall the shelling of Israeli towns in the north from the Golan before 1967. Nor does he “remember” what happened to our POWs from the Lebanon war.
*Evidence of blood:* The patient, Mr. Assad, is no bleeding-heart liberal. The saturation levels of blood found in his urine, rather, is a symptom of ruthlessness. Assad’s unfeeling barbarity, and the absolute control maintained by his numerous security services, explain the lack of crime in Syria, not to mention the absence of any political dissent.
Assad has tried to keep the blood out of his system, but the bloodbath in Hamma and other nasty massacres seem to have left traces in his kishkes — and on his hands.
Now I know why Assad refuses to travel to Shepherdstown or any other location in order to meet Prime Minister Barak. He’s worried that we’ll CAT-scan or echo-cardiogram him through the walls of his hotel room. Given the fact that we’re negotiating our future with this man, keeping Assad under continued medical supervision isn’t such a bad idea at all.