Judging from his public statements, Assad seems convinced that the Bush administration will not stop at Iraq, and that after a U.S. victory in Baghdad, he could be next on the regime-change agenda.
Therefore, when Assad vilifies the United States and openly aids the Iraqi war effort, he believes he is fighting for his life. In late March, buoyed by what he saw as initial Iraqi success in resisting the U.S.-led invasion, Assad explained the basis of his thinking in a fierce diatribe against Israel and the United States.
The war in Iraq, he told the Lebanese newspaper, As-Safir, was an Israeli-American conspiracy "designed to redraw the political map of the Middle East." In Assad's view, the United States would take Iraq's oil, and Israel would become the dominant regional power.