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Purcellville mayor compares Sen. Black’s letter to Assad to sending a ‘thank you note to Stalin’

Purcellville Mayor Bob Lazaro today called local state Sen. Dick Black's letter to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad “unbelievable” and likened it to “sending a thank you note to Stalin.”

Commenting on the correspondence in which Black lauds the controversial Syrian leader and his national army “for its heroic rescue of Christians in the Qalamoun Mountain Range" of Syria, Mayor Lazaro said the senator's words are “inaccurate and naïve.”

Lazaro last year traveled to Turkey to meet with Syrian refugees as part of a Northern Virginia community-organized blanket drive. In addition to serving as mayor of the western Loudoun town, Lazaro is the vice chairman of the Northern Virginia Regional Commission and co-chairman of the Virginia Municipal League's Legislative Committee, according to the Town of Purcellville's website.

“I think of the little kids I saw and the families I met,” Lazaro, speaking to the Times-Mirror about Black's letter, said Wednesday. “I've seen the pain in their faces ... I've seen Syrian kids [the same age as those] who were gassed by their own government.”

To send Assad a letter of thanks is "unfathomable," said the mayor.

Black, who represents portions of Purcellville, Leesburg, Ashburn and Prince William County, is known as one of the most hard-line Christian conservatives in Virginia's General Assembly.

In his letter to Assad, the senator states: "I pray that your army will drive the jihadists from Syria, so that Syrians of all faiths may live together in peace.

"Until then," Black continued, "I pray that the Syrian armed forces will continue to exhibit extraordinary gallantry in the war against terrorists. Please convey my personal thanks to the Syrian Arab Army and Air Force for protecting all patriotic Syrians, including the religious minorities who face death at the hands of the foreign jihadists."

The senator's two-page letter, which was posted this week on the Syrian president's Facebook page, has raised eyebrows for its outright praise of a leader who many experts claim has used chemical weapons to kill some of his citizens in the nation's ongoing civil war. Well more than 100,000 people have died in the conflict since it began in 2011.

While President Barack Obama has called for Assad and his regime to step down, Black said the alternative to Assad's leadership -- al-Qaeda, in Black's eyes -- is far worse.

Black claims "few Americans realize that the rebels in Syria are dominated by our arch-enemy, al-Qaeda."

Lazaro called that categorization false. The Syrian war is “certainly a complex issue,” Lazaro said, but no president who “displaces and gasses his own people” deserves praise.

The Purcellville mayor, elected in nonpartisan elections, considers himself a moderate. He has endorsed candidates in state and federal elections from both major parties, including Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe and Republican Congressman Frank Wolf.

Lazaro was joined on his 2013 trip to Turkey by Loudoun County Board of Supervisors Chairman Scott York, a Republican. Lazaro is a former chief of staff for York.

Virginia Democrats were quick to condemn Black's letter and highlight past controversies involving the GOP lawmaker.

In 2011, Black sent plastic pink models of fetuses to colleagues to sway votes on an abortion bill, and he's made several inflammatory remarks about the gay community and spousal rape.

"It is bizarre that state Sen. Dick Black would send a letter to the President of Syria. Especially one that heaps praise on President Bashar al-Assad, a man who has presided over terrible massacres and atrocities, including gas attacks that killed hundreds of his own people," state Sen. Donald McEachin, the Democratic Caucus chairman, said in a statement. “As state legislators we should be spending our time on issues here in Virginia."

This story has been updated from an earlier version to clarify a quote from Mayor of Purcellville Bob Lazaro.

Contact the writer at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


Anyone else suspect the praise for Black is all written by one poster with many different names? Same propaganda and lies stated over and over again. Maye a PR firm to help sell Black to us?

The latter posts seem to miss the point. Black is a corrupt state politician, not federal. Therefore the letter was a waste of our taxpayers(state) money. Seems like a lot more important issues then to write a letter…. Dick Black is a disgrace.

@fedupdude: Mabdin is not misinformed - the terrorists were called in by the SNC and FSA. Those groups have always acknowledged that they would have had no significant victories without al Nusra, al Qaeda, etc. In fact the first SNC leader, Khatib was Muslim Bro who was very frustrated that the US designated al Nusra as terrorist as he was well aware that they were the critical piece needed for victory. The SNC and FSA have always been dominated by salafists and they called in the takfiri dogs of war to do their dirty work. The Syrian army IS Syria - conscript and created from all religious and tribal groups. It is the ‘rebels’ who have been virtually all Sunni fundamentalists from the beginning with some misguided others who bought into the Qatar/Muslim Bro media propaganda campaign that created this false narrative in the first place.

The Syrian war is a perfect storm of geo-political intrigue. What the Syrian war IS NOT is a fight between ‘freedom and democracy rebels’ and an ‘evil dictator’. If you look at who represents, arms and supports the ‘democracy’ rebels who will see: Saudi Arabia/Qatar/Muslim Brotherhood/Turkey. Now, if ANY of those groups has any appreciation for freedom and democracy, perhaps they might try it in their nations first! The truth is that Syria, under Bashar Al Assad is literally nothing like the US/western media has portrayed it. Assad’s troops didn’t ‘open fire’ on peaceful protestors - at the very first protest in Daraa in March 2011 SEVEN POLICEMEN were gunned down by the peaceniks. Yes, there were thousands (out of a nation of 23 million) who believed the Muslim Bro/Qatar/Al Jazeera propaganda that the true Islamist revolution in Syria was a democracy movement - but that was all to create a human credibility shield for what is really a US/NATO backed regime change against a very popular and quite progressive leader. Under Assad women have equal rights (not so with our best Arab buddies, Saudi Arabia). Under Assad,every religion is not only tolerated and protected - they are respected and appreciated (there are hundreds of Christian churches for example - there are none in Saudi Arabia and Christians are imprisoned and tortured if they even just pray in a public place). In Syria, Assad spent an average of 16% of the GDP on secular, free education for all Syrian children (our US backed ‘democracy’ in Pakistan spends 1/4 of 1% on education. In Syria, they have popular vote-ratified constitution and a democratically elected parliament. They now have over 30 recognized political parties. The ‘opposition’ the US supports refuses to participate in any election because they know they would get maybe 5 votes. The Syrians living in Lebanon and in countries all over the world just participated in the multi-candidate elections for Syria’s next president. The Saudis will NEVER get to vote for their leader. The Syrians in Lebanon created a 3 kilometer line - waiting in the heat for 15 hours and more for the opportunity to vote and show their support for Assad. For Purcellville Mayor Lazaro to say what he did shows a complete lack of understanding of this complex crisis.

mabdin you are misinformed; there are three factions in Syria. The terrorist there are outsiders looking to take advantage. The Syrian rebels are just tired of a having a violent dictator who is willing to gas a village of people in power.

Most people are categorically misinformed about what is happening in Syria and who Assad has been fighting. Well to make it simple, Syria has been fighting the same people who attacked us on 9/11. How is supplying members of Alqaueda with arms and logistical support is in the US national interest?

a truly sick thing to do—but how about OBAMA giving the Muslim brotherhood that billion dollar reward for winning their election?—Is libya really any better off without their dictator everyone hated?—did leaving Iraq like we did only put that country is a worse position than when we entered their country in the first place
—what will happen to Afghanistan when we pull out?—in spite of the Americans lives lost or destroyed?, not to mention the monitory costs

how many people actually knows how many of those fighters are terrorist or freedom fighters?
military intelligence?—or a lyre’s word?
news media bias reporting to make someone look good?—or bad—just to sell

Perhaps Dick Black thinks he’s running for Congress. He recently agreed not to run for Frank Wolf’s open seat, giving Barbara Comstock the opportunity to prevail in the Republican primary. Either he wanted her to win or he didn’t think he could beat her. Does Del Comstock reject this kind of foreign policy meddling by someone who obviously doesn’t know what he’s talking about or does she agree?

Agent Orange syndrome?

Pot calling the kettle black, I’d say…


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