White House dismisses Assad retaliation threat

Olivier Knox
Chief Washington Correspondent
Yahoo News
Bashar Assad responds to "butcher" allegations
In an exclusive interview with Charlie Rose, Syrian leader Bashar Assad responded to questions about changes over the years that have led some people to consider him a "butcher."

The White House on Monday shrugged off Syrian President Bashar Assad’s thinly veiled threat of retaliation if the United States goes ahead with military strikes against his country.

Assad told CBS news that there will be “repercussions” for any American attack, ominously warning “you should expect everything.”

Asked about those comments, Deputy U.S. National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes told Yahoo News “it’s not in his interest to escalate with the United States, because that only invites greater risk to him.”

But what about the 1988 Lockerbie bombing? Agents of Libyan strongman Moammar Gadhafi were convicted of that attack, which came not quite three years after American warplanes struck Tripoli. And Syria has been a regular on the State Department’s list of state sponsors of terrorism since 1979. Is that a concern?

“We’re prepared for every contingency,” Rhodes replied, before repeating: “It’s not in his interest to escalate. That would only invite greater risk for him.”