Pulled from the interview:
TIME: Could you give me a timetable?
ASSAD: It's a technical issue, not political. I could not say we could do it in two months because I have not had the meeting with the army people. They may say it will take six months. You need to prepare when you bring your army back to your country. You need to prepare where you will put the troops.
Translation by Pursuit of Happiness: Timetable? Hell man, I'm just trying to prevent a coup here. I've got to get buy-in from the troops. I can't bring these guys into Damascus! I need to keep them remote and controllable. I'm probably going to have to buy-off a couple Generals if this thing gets any worse just so these guys don't decide the only way to save their buts is to have me hanging in the town square!
More from the interview:
There are two factors. The first is security in Lebanon. The security in Lebanon is much better than before. They have an army, they have a state, they have institutions. The second thing, which is related to Syria, is that after withdrawing we have to protect our border. We need to talk about our borders, because when Israel invaded in 1982, they reached that point. It was very close to Damascus. So we will need [fortifications for the troops] along the border with Lebanon.
Translation by Pursuit of Happiness: Look somebody throw me a bone here. I had no idea blowing Hariri up would cause such trouble. I guess you could call me a short sighted Optometrist, heh, heh.....get it? Ach, you're right, this is no time for jokes! President Bush have you no heart? Give me something to keep me alive here, a border negotiation, some commitment from Israel no matter how insincere......I'm a desperate man!
UPDATE - Exclusive to Pursuit of Happiness: Reached this afternoon for comment via his chauffeur en-route to his wife's home in Aspen, John Kerry clad in his Bogner Bera-P ski outfit, put Tim Robbins on hold and repeated that Iraq was the wrong war, at the wrong place, at the wrong time. He then asked if this line was beginning to sound a bit hollow.