Syrians In Britain
مقابلة أجرتها صحيفة صنداي تايمز البريطانية مع الرئيس الأسد

President Al-Assad’s Intervie...

President Al-Assad's Interview with The Sunday Times Sunday Times: Mr. President your recent offer of political dialogue was qualif...

مقابلة أجرتها صحيفة صنداي تايمز البريطانية مع الرئيس الأسد

المقابلة الكاملة ل...

مقابلة أجرتها صحيفة صنداي تايمز البريطانية مع الرئيس الأسد صنداي تايمز: سيادة ال...

تجمع السوريين في بريطانيا يدعو أبناء الوطن إلى الإلتفاف حول مبادرة الرئيس الأسد

سانا: تجمع السوريين...

[caption id="attachment_91" align="alignleft" width="200"] تجمع السوريين في بريطانيا يدعو أبناء الوطن إلى ال...

تجمع السوريين في بريطانيا

بيان عن المبادرة ال...

بيان عن المبادرة التي طرحها السيد الرئيس بشار الأسد لإنهاء الأزمة في سورية [caption id...

SIB Statements

تجمع السوريين في بريطانيا يدعو أبناء الوطن إلى الإلتفاف حول مبادرة الرئيس الأسد

سانا: تجمع السوريين في بريطانيا يدعو أبناء الوطن إلى الإلتفاف حول مبادرة الرئيس الأسد

[caption id="attachment_91" align="alignleft" width="200"] تجمع السوريين في بريطانيا يدعو أبناء الوطن إ...


مقابلة أجرتها صحيفة صنداي تايمز البريطانية مع الرئيس الأسد

President Al-Assad’s Interview with The Sunday Times

President Al-Assad's Interview with The Sunday Times Sunday Times: Mr. President ...



The West views the Muslim Brotherhood as a “fellow traveller” in Syria and as a terrorist – in Gaza

Dmitry Babich Nov 21, 2012 The announcement by the United Kingdom’s foreign ...

President Al-Assad’s Interview with The Sunday Times

President Al-Assad’s Interview with The Sunday Times

Sunday Times: Mr. President your recent offer of political dialogue was qualified with a firm rejection of the very groups you would have to pacify to stop the violence: the armed rebels and the Syrian National Coalition, the main opposition alliance. So in effect you are only extending an olive branch to the loyal opposition, mostly internal, that renounce the armed struggle, and who effectively recognizes the legitimacy of your leadership, who are you willing to talk to, really?

President Assad: First of all, let me correct some of the misconceptions that have been circulating and that are found in your question in order to make my answer accurate.

Sunday Times: Okay.

President Assad: Firstly, when I announced the plan, I said that it was for those who interested in dialogue, because you cannot make a plan that is based on dialogue with somebody who does not believe in dialogue. So, I was very clear regarding this.
Secondly, this open dialogue should not be between exclusive groups but between all Syrians of every level. The dialogue is about the future of Syria. We are twenty three million Syrians and all of us have the right to participate in shaping the country’s future. Some may look at it as a dialogue between the government and certain groups in the opposition – whether inside or outside, external or internal -actually this is a very shallow way of looking at the dialogue. It is much more comprehensive. It is about every Syrian and about every aspect of Syrian life. Syria’s future cannot be determined simply by who leads it but by the ambitions and aspirations of all its people.
The other aspect of the dialogue is that it opens the door for militants to surrender their weapons and we have granted many amnesties to facilitate this. This is the only way to make a dialogue with those groups. This has already started, even before the plan, and some have surrendered their weapons and they live now their normal life. But this plan makes the whole process more methodical, announced and clear.
If you want to talk about the opposition, there is another misconception in the West. They put all the entities even if they are not homogeneous in one basket – as if everything against the government is opposition. We have to be clear about this. We have opposition that are political entities and we have armed terrorists. We can engage in dialogue with the opposition but we cannot engage in dialogue with terrorists; we fight terrorism.
Another phrase that is often mentioned is the ‘internal opposition inside Syria’ or ‘internal opposition as loyal to the government.’ Opposition groups should be loyal and patriotic to Syria – internal and external opposition is not about the geographic position; it is about their roots, resources and representation. Have these roots been planted in Syria and represent Syrian people and Syrian interests or the interests of foreign government? So, this is how we look at the dialogue, this is how we started and how we are going to continue.

Sunday Times: Most have rejected it, at least if we talk about the opposition externally who are now the body that is being hailed as the opposition and where the entire world is basically behind them. So, most of them have rejected it with the opposition describing your offer as a “waste of time,” and some have said that it is “empty rhetoric” based on lack of trust and which British Secretary William Hague described it as “beyond hypocritical” and the Americans said you were “detached from reality.”

President Assad: I will not comment on what so-called Syrian bodies outside Syria have said. These bodies are not independent. As Syrians, we are independent and we need to respond to independent bodies and this is not the case. So let’s look at the other claims.
Firstly, detached from reality: Syria has been fighting adversaries and foes for two years; you cannot do that if you do not have public support. People will not support you if you are detached from their reality. A recent survey in the UK shows that a good proportion British people want “to keep out of Syria” and they do not believe that the British government should send military supplies to the rebels in Syria. In spite of this, the British government continues to push the EU to lift its arms embargo on Syria to start arming militants with heavy weapons. That is what I call detached from reality–when you are detached from your own public opinion!
And they go further in saying that they want to send “military aid” that they describe as “non-lethal.” The intelligence, communication and financial assistance being provided is very lethal. The events of 11th of September were not committed by lethal aids. It was the application of non-lethal technology and training which caused the atrocities. The British government wants to send military aid to moderate groups in Syria, knowing all too well that such moderate groups do not exist in Syria; we all know that we are now fighting Al-Qaeda or Jabhat al-Nusra which is an offshoot of Al-Qaeda, and other groups of people indoctrinated with extreme ideologies. This is beyond hypocritical!
What is beyond hypocrisy is when you talk about freedom of expression and ban Syrian TV channels from the European broadcasting satellites; when you shed tears for somebody killed in Syria by terrorist acts while preventing the Security Council from issuing a statement denouncing the suicide bombing that happened last week in Damascus, and you were here, where three hundred Syrians were either killed or injured, including women and children – all of them were civilians. Beyond hypocrisy when you preach about human rights and you go into Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya and kill hundreds of thousands in illegal wars. Beyond hypocrisy is when you talk about democracy and your closest allies are the worst autocratic regimes in the world that belong to the medieval centuries. This is hypocrisy!

Sunday Times: But you always refer to the people fighting here as terrorists, do you accept that while some are from the Jabhat al-Nusra and those affiliated to Al-Qaeda but there are others such as the FSA or under the umbrella of the FSA? That some of them are the defectors and some of them are just ordinary people who started some of the uprising. These are not terrorists; these are people fighting for what they believe to be the right way at the moment.

President Assad: When we say that we are fighting Al-Qaeda, we mean that the main terrorist group and the most dangerous is Al-Qaeda. I have stated in many interviews and speeches that this is not the only group in Syria. The spectrum ranges from petty criminals, drugs dealers, groups that are killing and kidnapping just for money to mercenaries and militants; these clearly do not have any political agenda or any ideological motivations.
The so-called “Free Army” is not an entity as the West would like your readers to believe. It is hundreds of small groups – as defined by international bodies working with Annan and Al-Ibrahimi – there is no entity, there is no leadership, there is no hierarchy; it is a group of different gangs working for different reasons. The Free Syrian Army is just the headline, the umbrella that is used to legitimize these groups.
This does not mean that at the beginning of the conflict there was no spontaneous movement; there were people who wanted to make change in Syria and I have acknowledged that publically many times. That’s why I have said the dialogue is not for the conflict itself; the dialogue is for the future of Syria because many of the groups still wanting change are now against the terrorists. They still oppose the government but they do not carry weapons. Having legitimate needs does not make your weapons legitimate.

Sunday Times: Your 3-staged plan: the first one you speak of is the cessation of violence. Obviously there is the army and the fighters on the other side. Now, within the army you have a hierarchy, so if you want to say cease-fire, there is a commander that can control that, but when you offer cessation of violence or fire how can you assume the same for the rebels when you talk about them being so many groups, fragmented and not under one leadership. So, that’s one of the points of your plan. So, this suggests that this basically an impossible request. You speak of referendum but with so many displaced externally and internally, many of whom are the backbone of the opposition; those displaced at least. So, a referendum without them would not be fair, and the third part is that parliamentary elections and all this hopefully before 2014; it is a very tall list to be achieved before 2014. So, what are really the conditions that you are attaching to the dialogue and to make it happen, and aren’t some of the conditions that you are really suggesting or offering impossible to achieve?

President Assad: That depends on how we look at the situation. First of all, let’s say that the main article in the whole plan is the dialogue; this dialogue will put a timetable for everything and the procedures or details of this plan. The first article in my plan was the cessation of violence. If we cannot stop this violence, how can we achieve the other articles like the referendum and elections and so on? But saying that you cannot stop the violence is not a reason to do nothing. Yes there are many groups as I have said with no leadership, but we know that their real leadership are those countries that are funding and supplying their weapons and armaments – mainly Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.
If outside parties genuinely want to help the process they should be pressuring those countries to stop supplying the terrorists. As with any other sovereign state, we will not negotiate with terrorists.

Sunday Times: Critics say real and genuine negotiations may be the cause of your downfall and that of your government or regime, and that you know this, hence you offer practically impossible scenarios for dialogue and negotiations?
President Assad: Actually, I don’t know this, I know the opposite. To be logical and realistic, if this is the case, then these foes, adversaries or opponents should push for the dialogue because in their view it will bring my downfall. But actually they are doing the opposite. They are preventing the so-called ‘opposition bodies outside Syria’ to participate in the dialogue because I think they believe in the opposite; they know that this dialogue will not bring my downfall, but will actually make Syria stronger. This is the first aspect.
The second aspect is that the whole dialogue is about Syria, about terrorism, and about the future of Syria. This is not about positions and personalities. So, they shouldn’t distract people by talking about the dialogue and what it will or will not bring to the President. I did not do it for myself. At the end, this is contradictory; what they say is contradicting what they do.

Sunday Times: You said that if they push for dialogue, it could bring your downfall?

President Assad: No, I said according to what they say if it brings my downfall, why don’t they come to the dialogue? They say that the dialogue will bring the downfall of the President and I am inviting them to the dialogue. Why don’t they then come to the dialogue to bring my downfall? This is self-evident. That’s why I said they are contradicting themselves.

Sunday Times: Mr. President, John Kerry, a man you know well, has started a tour that will take him this week end to Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey, where he will be talking to them about ways to ‘ease you out.’ In London and Berlin earlier this week, he said that President Assad must go and he also said that one of his first moves is to draft diplomatic proposals to persuade you to give up power. Would you invite him to Damascus for talks? What would you say to him? What is your message to him now given what he said this week and what he plans to say to his allies when he visits them over the weekend? And if possible from your knowledge of him how would you describe Kerry from your knowledge of him in the past?

President Assad: I would rather describe policies rather than describing people. So, it is still early to judge him. It is only a few weeks since he became Secretary of State. First of all, the point that you have mentioned is related to internal Syrian matters or Syrian issue. Any Syrian subject would not be raised with any foreigners. We only discuss it with Syrians within Syria. So, I am not going to discuss it with anyone who is coming from abroad. We have friends and we discuss our issues with friends, we listen to their advice but at the end it is our decision as Syrians to think or to make what’s good for our country. If anyone wants to ‘genuinely’ – I stress the word genuinely – help Syria and help the cessation of violence in our country, he can do only one thing; he can go to Turkey and sit with Erdogan and tell to him stop smuggling terrorists into Syria, stop sending armaments, stop providing logistical support to those terrorists. He can go to Saudi Arabia and Qatar and tell them stop financing the terrorists in Syria. This is the only thing anyone can do dealing with the external part of our problem, but no one from outside Syria can deal with the internal part of this problem.
Sunday Times: So, what is your message to Kerry?

President Assad: It is very clear: to understand what I said now. I mean, not a message to Kerry but to anyone who is talking about the Syrian issue: only Syrian people can tell the President: stay or leave, come or go. I am just saying this clearly in order not to waste the time of others to know where to focus.

Sunday Times: What role if any do you see for Britain in any peace process for Syria? Have there been any informal contacts with the British? What is your reaction to Cameron’s support for the opposition? What would you say if you were sitting with him now, especially that Britain is calling for the arming of the rebels?

President Assad: There is no contact between Syria and Britain for a long time. If we want to talk about the role, you cannot separate the role from the credibility. And we cannot separate the credibility from the history of that country. To be frank, now I am talking to a British journalist and a British audience, to be frank, Britain has played a famously (in our region) an unconstructive role in different issues for decades, some say for centuries. I am telling you now the perception in our region. The problem with this government is that their shallow and immature rhetoric only highlight this tradition of bullying and hegemony. I am being frank. How can we expect to ask Britain to play a role while it is determined to militarize the problem? How can you ask them to play a role in making the situation better and more stable, how can we expect them to make the violence less while they want to send military supplies to the terrorists and don’t try to ease the dialogue between the Syrians. This is not logical. I think that they are working against us and working against the interest of the UK itself. This government is acting in a naïve, confused and unrealistic manner. If they want to play a role, they have to change this; they have to act in a more reasonable and responsible way, till then we do not expect from an arsonist to be a firefighter!

Sunday Times: Thank you Mr. President.

Sunday Times: In 2011 you said you wouldn’t waste your time talking about the body leading opposition, now we are talking about the external body, in fact you hardly recognized there was such a thing, what changed your mind or views recently? What talks, if any are already going on with the rebels who are a major component and factor in this crisis? Especially given that your Foreign Minister Muallem said earlier this week when he was in Russia that the government is open to talks with the armed opposition can you clarify?

President Assad: Actually, I did not change my mind. Again, this plan is not for them; it is for every Syrian who accepts the dialogue. So, making this initiative is not a change of mind.
Secondly, since day one in this crisis nearly two years ago, we have said we are ready for dialogue; nothing has changed. We have a very consistent position towards the dialogue. Some may understand that I changed my mind because I did not recognize the first entity, but then I recognized the second. I recognized neither, more importantly the Syrian people do not recognize them or take them seriously. When you have a product that fails in the market, they withdraw the product, change the name, change the packing and they rerelease it again – but it is still faulty. The first and second bodies are the same products with different packaging.
Regarding what our minister said, it is very clear. Part of the initiative is that we are ready to negotiate with anyone including militants who surrender their arms. We are not going to deal with terrorists who are determined to carry weapons, to terrorize people, to kill civilians, to attack public places or private enterprises and destroy the country.

Sunday Times: Mr. President, the world looks at Syria and sees a country being destroyed, with at least 70, 000 killed, more than 3 million displaced and sectarian divisions being deepened. Many people around the world blame you. What do you say to them? Are you to blame for what’s happened in the country you are leading?

President Assad: You have noted those figures as though they were numbers from a spreadsheet. To some players they are being used to push forward their political agenda; unfortunately that is a reality. Regardless of their accuracy, for us Syrians, each one of those numbers represents a Syrian man, woman or child. When you talk about thousands of victims, we see thousands of families who have lost loved ones and who unfortunately will grieve for many years to come. Nobody can feel this pain more than us.
Looking at the issue of political agendas, we have to ask better questions. How were these numbers verified? How many represent foreign fighters? How many were combatants aged between 20 and 30? How many were civilians – innocent women and children? The situation on the ground makes it almost impossible to get accurate answers to these important questions.
We all know how death tolls and human casualties have been manipulated in the past to pave the way for humanitarian intervention. The Libyan government recently announced that the death toll before the invasion of Libya was exaggerated; they said five thousand victims from each side while the number was talking at that time of tens of thousands. The British and the Americans who were physically inside Iraq during the war were unable to provide precise numbers about the victims that have been killed from their invasion. Suddenly, the same sources have very precise numbers about what is happening in Syria! This is ironic; I will tell you very simply that these numbers do not exist in reality; it is part of their virtual reality that they want to create to push forward their agenda for military intervention under the title of humanitarian intervention.

Sunday Times: If I may just on this note a little bit. Even if the number is exaggerated and not definitely precise, these are numbers corroborated by Syrian groups, however they are still thousands that were killed. Some are militants but some are civilians. Some are being killed through the military offensive, for example artillery or plane attacks in certain areas. So even if we do not argue the actual number, the same applies, they still blame yourself for those civilians, if you want, that are being killed through the military offensive, do you accept that?
President Assad: Firstly, we cannot talk about the numbers without their names. People who are killed have names. Secondly, why did they die? Where and how were they killed? Who killed them? Armed gangs, terrorist groups, criminals, kidnappers, the army, who?

Sunday Times: It is a mix.

President Assad: It is a mix, but it seems that you are implying that one person is responsible for the current situation and all the human casualties. From day one the situation in Syria has been influenced by military and political dynamics, which are both very fast moving. In such situations you have catalysts and barriers. To assume any one party is responsible for all barriers and another party responsible for all the catalysts is absurd.
Too many innocent civilians have died, too many Syrians are suffering. As I have already said nobody is more pained by this than us Syrians, which is why we are pushing for a national dialogue. I’m not in the blame business, but if you are talking of responsibility, then clearly I have a constitutional responsibility to keep Syria and her people safe from terrorists and radical groups

Sunday Times: What is the role of Al-Qaeda and other jihadists and what threats do they pose to the region and Europe? Are you worried Syria turning into something similar to Chechnya in the past? Are you concerned about the fate of minorities if you were loose this war or of a sectarian war akin to that of Iraq?

President Assad: The role of Al-Qaeda in Syria is like the role of Al-Qaeda anywhere else in this world; killing, beheading, torturing and preventing children from going to school because as you know Al-Qaeda’s ideologies flourish where there is ignorance. Ideologically, they try to infiltrate the society with their dark, extremist ideologies and they are succeeding.
If you want to worry about anything in Syria, it is not the ‘minorities.’ This is a very shallow description because Syria is a melting pot of religions, sects, ethnicities and ideologies that collectively make up a homogeneous mixture, irrelevant of the portions or percentages.
We should be worrying about the majority of moderate Syrians who, if we do not fight this extremism, could become the minority – at which point Syria will cease to exist.
If you worry about Syria in that sense, you have to worry about the Middle East because we are the last bastion of secularism in the region. If you worry about the Middle East, the whole world should be worried about its stability. This is the reality as we see it.

Sunday Times: How threatening is Al-Qaeda now?
President Assad: Threatening by ideology more than the killing. The killing is dangerous, of course, but what is irreversible is the ideology; that is dangerous and we have been warning of this for many years even before the conflict; we have been dealing with these ideologies since the late seventies. We were the first in the region to deal with such terrorists who have been assuming the mantle of Islam.
We have consistently been warning of this, especially in the last decade during the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq. The West is only reacting to the situation not acting. We need to act by dealing with the ideology first. A war on terror without dealing with the ideology will lead you nowhere and will only make things worse. So, it is threatening and it is dangerous, not just to Syria but to the whole region.

Sunday Times: US officials recently, in particular yesterday, are quoted as saying that US decision not to arm rebels could be revised. If this was to happen what in your view will the consequences in Syria and in the region? What is your warning against this? Now, they are talking about directly equipping the rebels with armament vehicles, training and body armaments.

President Assad: You know the crime is not only about the victim and the criminal, but also the accomplice providing support, whether it is moral or logistical support.
I have said many times that Syria lies at the fault line geographically, politically, socially and ideologically. So, playing with this fault line will have serious repercussions all over the Middle East. Is the situation better in Libya today? In Mali? In Tunisia? In Egypt? Any intervention will not make things better; it will only make them worse. Europe and the United States and others are going to pay the price sooner or later with the instability in this region; they do not foresee it.

Sunday Times: What is your message to Israel following its air strikes on Syria? Will you retaliate? How will you respond to any future attacks by Israel especially that Israel has said that we will do it again if it has to?

President Assad: Every time Syria did retaliate, but in its own way, not tit for tat. We retaliated in our own way and only the Israelis know what we mean.

Sunday Times: Can you expand?

President Assad: Yes. Retaliation does not mean missile for missile or bullet for bullet. Our own way does not have to be announced; only the Israelis will know what I mean.

Sunday Times: Can you tell us how?
President Assad: We do not announce that.

Sunday Times: I met a seven year old boy in Jordan.

President Assad: A Syrian boy?

Sunday Times: A Syrian boy who had lost an arm and a leg to a missile strike in Herak. Five children in his family had been killed in that explosion. As a father, what can you say to that little boy? Why have so many innocent civilians died in air strikes, army shelling and sometimes, I quote, ‘Shabiha shootings?’

President Assad: What is his name?

Sunday Times: I have his name…I will bring it to you later.

President Assad: As I said every victim in this crisis has a name, every casualty has a family. Like 5 year-old Saber who whilst having breakfast with his family at home lost his leg, his mother and other members of his family. Like 4 year-old Rayan who watched his two brothers slaughtered for taking him to a rally. None of these families have any political affiliations.
Children are the most fragile link in any society and unfortunately they often pay the heaviest price in any conflict. As a father of young children, I know the meaning of having a child harmed by something very simple; so what if they are harmed badly or if we lose a child, it is the worst thing any family can face.
Whenever you have conflicts, you have these painful stories that affect any society. This is the most important and the strongest incentive for us to fight terrorism. Genuine humanitarians who feel the pain that we feel about our children and our losses should encourage their governments to prevent smuggling armaments and terrorists and to prevent the terrorists from acquiring any military supplies from any country.

Sunday Times: Mr. President, when you lie in bed at night, do you hear the explosions in Damascus? Do you, in common with many other Syrians, worry about the safety of your family? Do you worry that there may come a point where your own safety is in jeopardy?

President Assad: I see it completely differently. Can anybody be safe, or their family be safe, if the country is in danger? In reality NO! If your country is not safe, you cannot be safe. So instead of worrying about yourself and your family, you should be worried about every citizen and every family in your country. So it’s a mutual relationship.

Sunday Times: You’ll know of the international concerns about Syria’s chemical weapons. Would your army ever use them as a last resort against your opponents? Reports suggest they have been moved several times, if so why? Do you share the international concern that they may fall into the hands of Islamist rebels? What is the worst that could happen?

President Assad: Everything that has been referred to in the media or by official rhetoric regarding Syrian chemical weapons is speculation. We have never, and will never, discuss our armaments with anyone.
What the world should worry about is chemical materials reaching the hands of terrorists. Video material has already been broadcast showing toxic material being tried on animals with threats to the Syrian people that they will die in the same way. We have shared this material with other countries. This is what the world should be focusing on rather than wasting efforts to create elusive headlines on Syrian chemical weapons to justify any intervention in Syria.

Sunday Times: I know you are not saying whether they are safe or not. There is concern if they are safe or no one can get to them.

President Assad: This is constructive ambiguity. No country will talk about their capabilities.

Sunday Times: A lot has been talked about this as well: what are the roles of Hezbollah, Iran and Russia in the war on the ground? Are you aware of Hezbollah fighters in Syria and what are they doing? What weapons are your allies Iran and Russia supplying? What other support are they providing?

President Assad: The Russian position is very clear regarding armaments – they supply Syria with defensive armaments in line with international law.
Hezbollah, Iran and Russia support Syria in her fight against terrorism. Russia has been very constructive, Iran has been very supportive and Hezbollah’s role is to defend Lebanon not Syria. We are a country of 23 million people with a strong National Army and Police Force. We are in no need of foreign fighters to defend our country.
What we should be asking is, what about the role of other countries, – Qatar, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, France, the UK, the US, – that support terrorism in Syria directly or indirectly, militarily or politically.

Sunday Times: Mr. President, may I ask you about your own position? Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov recently said that Lakhdar Ibrahimi complained of wanting to see more flexibility from your regime and that while you never seem to say ‘no’ you never seem to say ‘yes’. Do you think that there can be a negotiated settlement while you remain President, which is a lot of people are asking?
President Assad: Do not expect a politician to only say yes or no in the absolute meaning; it is not multiple choice questions to check the correct answer. You can expect from any politician a vision and our vision is very clear. We have a plan and whoever wants to deal with us, can deal with us through our plan. This is very clear in order not to waste time.
This question reflects what has been circulating in the Western media about personalizing the problem in Syria and suggesting that the entire conflict is about the president and his future.
If this argument is correct, then my departure will stop the fighting. Clearly this is absurd and recent precedents in Libya, Yemen and Egypt bear witness to this. Their motive is to try to evade the crux of the issue, which is dialogue, reform and combating terrorism. The legacy of their interventions in our region have been chaos, destruction and disaster.
So, how can they justify any future intervention? They cannot. So, they focus on blaming the president and pushing for his departure; questioning his credibility; is he living in a bubble or not? is he detached from reality or not? So, the focus of the conflict becomes about the president.

Sunday Times: Some foreign officials have called for you to stand for war crimes at the International Criminal Court as the person ultimately responsible for the army’s actions? Do you fear prosecution by the ICC? Or the possibility of future prosecution and trial in Syria?

President Assad: Whenever an issue that is related to the UN is raised, you are raising the question of credibility. We all know especially after the collapse of the Soviet Union – for the last twenty years – that the UN and all its organizations are the victims of hegemony instead of being the bastions of justice. They became politicized tools in order to create instability and to attack sovereign countries, which is against the UN’s charter. So, the question that we have to raise now is: are they going to take the American and the British leaders who attacked Iraq in 2003 and claimed more than half a million lives in Iraq, let alone orphans, handicapped and deformed people? Are they going to take the American, British French and others who went to Libya without a UN resolution last year and claimed again hundreds of lives? They are not going to do it. The answer is very clear.
You know that sending mercenaries to any country is a war crime according Nuremberg principles and according to the London Charter of 1945. Are they going to put Erdogan in front of this court because he sent mercenaries? Are they going to do the same with the Saudis and the Qataris? If we have answers to these questions, then we can talk about peace organisations and about credibility.
My answer is very brief: when people defend their country, they do not take into consideration anything else.

Sunday Times: Hindsight is a wonderful thing Mr. President. If you could wind the clock back two years would you have handled anything differently? Do you believe that there are things that could or should have been done in another way? What mistakes do you believe have been made by your followers that you would change?
President Assad: You can ask this question to a President if he is the only one responsible for all the context of the event. In our case in Syria, we know there are many external players. So you have to apply hindsight to every player. You have to ask Erdogan, with hindsight would you send terrorists to kill Syrians, would you afford logistical support to them? You should ask the Qatari and Saudis whether in hindsight, would you send money to terrorists and to Al-Qaeda offshoots or any other terrorist organization to kill Syrians? We should ask the same question to the European and American officials, in hindsight would you offer a political umbrella to those terrorists killing innocent civilians in Syria?
In Syria, we took two decisions. The first is to make dialogue; the second is to fight terrorism. If you ask any Syrian, in hindsight would you say no to dialogue and yes to terrorism? I do not think any sane person will agree with you. So I think in hindsight, we started with dialogue and we are going to continue with dialogue. In hindsight, we said we are going to fight terrorism and we are going to continue to fight terrorism.

Sunday Times: Do you ever think about living in exile if it came to that? And would you go abroad if it increases the chances of peace in Syria?

President Assad: Again, it is not about the president. I don’t think any patriotic person or citizen would think of living outside his country.

Sunday Times: You will never leave?

President Assad: No patriotic person will think about living outside his country. I am like any other patriotic Syrian.

Sunday Times: How shaken you were you by the bomb that killed some of your most senior generals last summer, including your brother-in-law?

President Assad: You mentioned my brother-in-law but it is not a family affair. When high-ranking officials are being assassinated it is a national affair. Such a crime will make you more determined to fight terrorism. It is not about how you feel, but more about what you do. We are more determined in fighting terrorism.

Sunday Times: Finally, Mr. President, may I ask about my colleague, Marie Colvin, who was killed in the shelling of an opposition media center at Baba Amr on February 22 last year. Was she targeted, as some have suggested, because she condemned the destruction on American and British televisions? Or was she just unlucky? Did you hear about her death at the time and if so what was your reaction?

President Assad: Of course, I heard about the story through the media. When a journalist goes into conflict zones, as you are doing now, to cover a story and convey it to the world, I think this is very courageous work. Every decent person, official or government should support journalists in these efforts because that will help shed light on events on the ground and expose propaganda where it exists. Unfortunately in most conflicts a journalist has paid the ultimate price. It is always sad when a journalist is killed because they are not with either side or even part of the problem, they only want to cover the story.
There is a media war on Syria preventing the truth from being told to the outside world. 14 Syrian journalists who have also been killed since the beginning of the crisis and not all of them on the ground. Some have been targeted at home after hours, kidnapped, tortured and then murdered. Others are still missing. More than one Syrian television station has been attacked by terrorists and their bombs. There is currently a ban on the broadcast of Syrian TV channels on European satellite systems.
It is also well known how rebels have used journalists for their own interests. There was the case of the British journalist who managed to escape.

Sunday Times: Alex Thompson?

President Assad: Yes. He was lead into a death trap by the terrorists in order to accuse the Syrian Army of his death. That’s why it is important to enter countries legally, to have a visa. This was not the case for Marie Colvin. We don’t know why and it’s not clear. If you enter illegally, you cannot expect the state to be responsible.
Contrary to popular belief, since the beginning of the crisis, hundreds of journalists from all over the world, including you, have gained visas to enter Syria and have been reporting freely from inside Syria with no interferences in their work and no barriers to fulfill their missions.

Sunday Times: Thank you.

President Assad:Thank you.


مقابلة أجرتها صحيفة صنداي تايمز البريطانية مع الرئيس الأسد

مقابلة أجرتها صحيفة صنداي تايمز البريطانية مع الرئيس الأسد

المقابلة الكاملة لصحيفة صنداي تايمز البريطانية مع الرئيس الأسد

مقابلة أجرتها صحيفة صنداي تايمز البريطانية مع الرئيس الأسد

مقابلة أجرتها صحيفة صنداي تايمز البريطانية مع الرئيس الأسد

صنداي تايمز: سيادة الرئيس، عرضكم الذي قدمتموه مؤخراً بإجراء حوار سياسي ترافق مع رفض الحكومة السورية للمجموعات التي يترتب عليكم تهدئتها من أجل وقف العنف، مثل المجموعات المسلحة و”الائتلاف الوطني السوري”، أي التحالف الرئيسي للمعارضة، وبالتالي فإنكم تقدمون غصن زيتون فقط للمعارضة الموالية، ومعظمها داخلية، والتي تتخلى عن الصراع المسلح وتعترف فعلياً بشرعية قيادتكم. من الجهات التي تبدون استعدادكم فعلاً للتحدث إليها؟

الرئيس الأسد: كي يكون جوابي دقيقاً، دعيني أولاً أصحح بعض المفاهيم الخاطئة التي يتم تداولها، والتي وردت في سؤالك.

الرئيس الأسد: أولاً، عندما أعلنت الخطة، قلت إن هذه الخطة موجهة للمهتمين بالحوار، لأننا لا نستطيع وضع خطة تستند إلى الحوار مع جهات لا تؤمن به. وهكذا، فقد كنت واضحاً تماماً فيما يتعلق بهذه المسألة.

ثانياً، هذا الحوار المفتوح لا ينبغي أن يكون بين مجموعات حصرية بل بين جميع السوريين وعلى كل المستويات لأنه يدور حول مستقبل سورية. نحن ثلاثة وعشرون مليون سوري، ولنا جميعاً الحق بالمشاركة في صياغة مستقبل البلاد، وليس كما يعتبر البعض بأنه حوار بين الحكومة ومجموعات معينة في المعارضة، سواء كانت في الداخل أو في الخارج. إن استعمال تعابير “داخلية” و”خارجية” يمثّل تصوراً سطحياً للمسألة. الحوار أكثر شمولية، وهو يتعلق بكل سوري ويدور حول جميع أوجه الحياة في سورية. لا يمكن تحديد مستقبل سورية ببساطة بمن يقودها، بل بطموحات وتطلعات جميع أفراد شعبها.

الجانب الآخر للحوار هو أنه يفتح الباب للمسلحين لتسليم أسلحتهم، وقد أصدرنا أكثر من عفو لتسهيل هذا الأمر. هذه هي الطريقة الوحيدة لإجراء الحوار مع تلك المجموعات. وهذا ما كنا قد بدأناه، حتى قبل طرح الخطة، وقد سلّم البعض أسلحتهم وعادوا إلى ممارسة حياتهم الطبيعية.

إذا أردت الحديث عن المعارضة، ثمة مفهوم خاطئ آخر في الغرب، وهو أنهم يضعون كل الكيانات، حتى لو لم تكن متجانسة، في سلة واحدة، كما لو أن كل من يعمل ضد الحكومة معارض. ينبغي أن نكون واضحين حيال هذه القضية، ثمة معارضة تتكوّن من كيانات سياسية، وهناك إرهابيون مسلحون. يمكننا الانخراط في حوار مع المعارضة، لكن لا يمكننا الانخراط في حوار مع الإرهابيين. نحن هنا نحارب الإرهاب.

ثمة عبارة أخرى تُذكر بشكل متكرر وهي “معارضة الداخل” أو “المعارضة الداخلية”، ويصفونها “بالمعارضة الموالية للحكومة”، في الواقع فإن مجموعات المعارضة ينبغي أن تكون وطنية وموالية لسورية. إن المعارضة الداخلية والخارجية لا تتعلق بالموقع الجغرافي، بل بجذورها، وبمواردها وتمثيلها. هل غُرست هذه الجذور في سورية وهل تمثل الشعب السوري والمصالح السورية أو مصالح حكومات أجنبية؟ وبالتالي، هكذا ننظر إلى الحوار، هكذا بدأنا وهكذا سنستمر.

صنداي تايمز: لقد رفضت معظم مجموعات المعارضة هذا الطرح، على الأقل المعارضة الخارجية، وهي الطرف الذي يتم الحديث عنه على أنه المعارضة، والعالم بأسره يقف وراءها. معظمهم رفضوا مبادرتكم، ووصفوها بأنها “مضيعة للوقت”، وقال البعض بأنها مجرد “كلام سياسي لا فحوى له” استناداً إلى حالة انعدام الثقة؛ ووصفها وزير الخارجية البريطاني وليم هيغ بأنها “تتجاوز حدود النفاق”، وقال الأميركيون بأنك “منفصل عن الواقع”.

الرئيس الأسد: لن أعلّق على ما تقوله هذه الكيانات التي تُسمّى سوريّة لأنها غير مستقلة بقرارها. كسوريين، نحن مستقلّون ونرد على الأطراف المستقلّة، وهو ما لا ينطبق على هذه الكيانات. ولذلك لننظر في المزاعم الأخرى. إذا أردنا التحدث عن الانفصال عن الواقع، فإن سورية تحارب الخصوم والأعداء منذ سنتين، ولا يمكن فعل ذلك دون دعم شعبي، ولن يدعمك الناس إذا كنت منفصلاً عن واقعهم. ومن جانب آخر، أظهرت استطلاعات رأي أجريت مؤخراً في المملكة المتحدة أن نسبة كبيرة من البريطانيين يريدون من بلادهم عدم التدخل في شؤون سورية، وهم يعتقدون بأنه لا ينبغي على الحكومة البريطانية أن ترسل دعماً عسكرياً لما يسمونه “المتمردين” في سورية. ورغم ذلك، فإن الحكومة البريطانية تستمر في دفع الاتحاد الأوروبي لرفع حظر توريد السلاح المفروض على سورية وذلك للشروع بتزويد المجموعات المسلحة بأسلحة ثقيلة. هذا ما أسميه انفصالاً عن الواقع، أي عندما تكون منفصلاً عن الرأي العام في بلادك!

ويمضون أبعد من ذلك عندما يقولون بأنهم سيرسلون “مساعدات عسكرية” يصفونها بـ “غير المميتة”. إن المساعدات الاستخبارية، وأجهزة الاتصالات والمساعدات المالية المقدمة مميتة جداً. وخير مثال على ذلك أحداث الحادي عشر من أيلول التي لم تُرتكب بأدوات مميتة. إن تطبيقات التكنولوجيا غير المميتة والمساعدات المالية هي التي تسببت بتلك الفظاعات. الحكومة البريطانية تريد إرسال مساعدات عسكرية إلى المجموعات المعتدلة في سورية، وهي تعرف تمام المعرفة بأنه لا وجود للمجموعات المعتدلة في سورية. جميعنا نعلم أن المجموعات التي نحاربها الآن هي القاعدة أو جبهة النصرة، وهي تابعة للقاعدة، ومجموعات أخرى تتبنى أيديولوجيا متطرفة. هذا ما يمكن وصفه بأنه يتجاوز حدود النفاق!

ما يتجاوز حدود النفاق أيضاً هو الحديث عن حرية التعبير وفي نفس الوقت يتم حظر القنوات التلفزيونية الفضائية السورية من الأقمار الصناعية الأوروبية. وعندما يتم ذرف الدموع على من يُقتل في سورية في أعمال إرهابية وفي نفس الوقت يُمنع مجلس الأمن من إصدار بيان يدين التفجيرات التي حدثت الخميس 21/2/2013 في دمشق، وقد كنتِ هنا، حيث قتل أو جرح ثلاثمئة سوري، بينهم أطفال ونساء، وجميعهم من المدنيين. ما يتجاوز حدود النفاق هو الحديث عن حقوق الإنسان وفي نفس الوقت الذهاب إلى العراق وأفغانستان وليبيا وقتل مئات آلاف الناس في حروب غير شرعية، والتحدث عن الديمقراطية بينما أوثق حلفائك هي الأنظمة الأكثر أحادية وسلطوية في العالم والتي تنتمي إلى القرون الوسطى. هذا هو النفاق.

صنداي تايمز: لكنكم تشيرون دائماً إلى الأشخاص الذين يقاتلون هنا بأنهم إرهابيون، هل تقبلون بأن البعض ليسوا إرهابيين بل أشخاص يقاتلون من أجل ما يعتقدون بأنه الطريق الصحيح في هذه المرحلة؟

الرئيس الأسد: بالطبع، عندما نقول بأننا نحارب القاعدة، فإننا نعني بأن المجموعة الإرهابية الرئيسية والأكثر خطورة هي القاعدة. لقد قلت في العديد من خطاباتي ومقابلاتي بأن هذه المجموعة ليست الوحيدة في سورية، طيف هذه المجموعات يتسع ليشمل صغار المجرمين، ومهربي المخدرات، ومجموعات تقتل وتخطف من أجل المال فقط إضافة إلى المرتزقة والمسلحين؛ ومن الواضح أن هؤلاء لا يمتلكون أي أجندة سياسية أو دوافع أيديولوجية.

ما يسمى “الجيش الحر” ليس كياناً كما يريد الغرب لقرائكم أن يعتقدوا، إنه يتكون من مئات المجموعات – كما عرّفته الجهات الدولية التي عملت مع أنان والإبراهيمي – ليس لديهم قيادة ولا تراتبية، إنه مجموعة من العصابات المختلفة التي تعمل لأسباب مختلفة. إن ما يسمونه “الجيش الحر” مجرد عنوان أو مظلّة تستعمل لإضفاء الشرعية على هذه المجموعات.

هذا لا يعني أنه في بداية الصراع لم يكن هناك تحركات عفوية، كان هناك أشخاص يريدون إحداث تغيير في سورية، وقد أقررتُ بذلك علناً عدة مرات. ولهذا قلت إن الحوار ليس من أجل الصراع نفسه، بل من أجل مستقبل سورية، لأن العديد من تلك المجموعات التي طالبت بالتغيير باتت الآن ضد الإرهابيين، هي لا تزال تعارض الحكومة، لكنها لا تحمل السلاح. بالنتيجة فإن وجود احتياجات مشروعة لا يجعل السلاح مشروعاً.

صنداي تايمز: في خطتكم ذات المراحل الثلاث: المرحلة الأولى تتحدث عن وقف العنف، كيف يمكنكم افتراض حدوث ذلك بالنسبة للمجموعات المسلحة وأنتم تقولون بأن هناك مجموعات كثيرة جداً مجزأة ولا تخضع لقيادة واحدة.

هذه إحدى نقاط خطتكم، وبالتالي فهو طلب مستحيل. تتحدثون عن استفتاء، لكن مع وجود عدد كبير من المهجّرين داخلياً وخارجياً، والعديد منهم يشكّلون العمود الفقري للمعارضة، على الأقل المهجرون منهم، فإن استفتاءً بدونهم لن يكون عادلاً. المرحلة الثالثة تتعلق بالانتخابات البرلمانية، وينبغي أن يحدث كل هذا قبل عام 2014. إنها قائمة طويلة جداً من الأشياء التي ينبغي أن تحدث قبل العام المقبل. إذاً ما الشروط التي تضعونها للحوار ولجعل هذه الخطوات تحدث؛ ثم أليس بعض الشروط التي تربطونها بالحوار مستحيلة التحقق؟

الرئيس الأسد: هذا يعتمد على طريقتنا في النظر إلى الوضع. أولاً، لنقل إن البند الرئيسي في الخطة هو الحوار، والحوار هو الذي يضع الجدول الزمني لكل شيء آخر، وللإجراءات والتفاصيل المتعلقة بهذه الخطة. البند الأول في خطتي كان وقف العنف، إذا لم نستطع وقف العنف، فكيف يمكن أن نمضي إلى الإجراءات الأخرى مثل إجراء الاستفتاء والانتخابات؟، ورغم ذلك فإن القول بعدم إمكانية وقف العنف ليس مبرراً لعدم فعل شيء.

من جهة أخرى، كما قلت، نعم هناك العديد من المجموعات وليس لها قيادة واحدة، لكننا نعرف أن قيادتها الحقيقية هي تلك البلدان التي تموّلها وترسل لها الأسلحة، وهي بشكل رئيسي تركيا وقطر والسعودية. إذا أرادت الأطراف الخارجية فعلاً المساعدة في هذه العملية، ينبغي أن تضغط على تلك البلدان للتوقف عن تزويد أولئك الإرهابيين بالمال والسلاح. وبالنتيجة فإننا، كأي دولة ذات سيادة، لن نتفاوض مع الإرهابيين.

صنداي تايمز: يقول منتقدوك إن المفاوضات الحقيقية قد تفضي إلى سقوطك، وسقوط حكومتك أو نظامك، وأنك تعرف هذا، ولهذا السبب فإنك تقدّم سيناريوهات مستحيلة عملياً للحوار والمفاوضات؟.

الرئيس الأسد: أنا لا أعرف هذا، بل أعرف العكس. منطقياً وواقعياً، إذا كان هذا هو الحال، ينبغي على أولئك الخصوم أو الأعداء أن يدفعوا من أجل الحوار لأنه سيؤدي إلى سقوطي. لكنهم في الواقع يفعلون العكس. إنهم يمنعون ما يسمى “كيانات المعارضة الموجودة خارج سورية” من المشاركة في الحوار لأنهم يعتقدون أن العكس هو الصحيح، إنهم يعرفون أن هذا الحوار لن يؤدي إلى سقوطي، بل سيجعل سورية أقوى. هذا هو الجانب الأول.

الجانب الثاني هو أن الحوار بمجمله يتعلق بسورية وبمستقبلها وبالإرهاب، إنه لا يتعلق بالمناصب والشخصيات، وبالتالي لا ينبغي أن يصرفوا انتباه الناس بالتحدث عما سيحققه أو لن يحققه هذا الحوار للرئيس. بالنهاية هو من أجل سورية كما قلت منذ قليل وليس من أجلي أنا. في المحصلة كلامهم هذا ينطوي على تناقض، بمعنى أن ما يقولونه يتناقض مع ما يفعلونه.

صنداي تايمز: قلت إن دفعهم من أجل الحوار قد يؤدي إلى سقوطك؟

الرئيس الأسد: لا، ما قلته هو أنه طبقاً لما يقولونه هم، إذا كان الحوار سيفضي إلى سقوطي فلماذا لا يشاركون فيه؟ هم يقولون إنه سيؤدي إلى سقوط الرئيس، وأنا أدعوهم إلى الحوار، فلماذا لا يأتون إليه ليسقطوني؟ هذا بديهي، ولهذا قلت بأنهم يناقضون أنفسهم.

صنداي تايمز: سيادة الرئيس، جون كيري وهو رجل تعرفه جيداً، هل تدعوه إلى دمشق لإجراء محادثات معه، وماذا ستقول له؟ ما رسالتك له الآن بالنظر إلى ما قاله هذا الأسبوع ولما ينوي قوله لحلفائه عندما يزورهم في نهاية الاسبوع؟ وكيف يمكن أن تصف كيري من خلال معرفتك به في الماضي؟

الرئيس الأسد: أنا أفضّل وصف السياسات وليس الأشخاص. وبكل الأحوال ما زال من المبكر الحكم عليه، فلم يمضِ على استلامه منصبه كوزير للخارجية بضعة أسابيع.

وفيما يتعلق ببقية السؤال، فإن ما ذكرتِه يتعلق بمسائل أو قضايا سورية داخلية، ولن يُطرح أي موضوع سوري مع أي أشخاص أجانب. نناقش هذه المسائل فقط مع السوريين داخل سورية، وبالتالي فلن أناقشها مع أي شخص يأتي من الخارج. لدينا أصدقاء ونناقش قضايانا مع أصدقائنا ونصغي لنصائحهم، لكن في المحصلة القرار قرارنا كسوريين ونتخذه وفقاً لما نعتقد أنه الأفضل لبلادنا. لكن إذا كان أي شخص يرغب “بصدق”، وأشدّد على كلمة “بصدق”، أن يساعد سورية، وأن يساعد في وقف العنف في بلادنا يمكنه القيام بشيء واحد وهو الذهاب إلى تركيا والجلوس مع أردوغان وأن يقول له: توقّف عن تهريب الإرهابيين إلى سورية.. توقّف عن إرسال الأسلحة وتوفير الدعم اللوجستي لأولئك الإرهابيين. ويمكنه الذهاب إلى قطر والسعودية وأن يقول لهم توقّفوا عن تمويل الإرهابيين في سورية. هذا هو الأمر الوحيد الذي يمكن لأي شخص فعله في التعامل مع الجزء الخارجي لمشكلتنا، لكن لا يمكن لأي شخص من خارج سورية أن يتعامل مع الجزء الداخلي من هذه المشكلة.

صنداي تايمز: ما هو الدور، إذا كان هناك أي دور، الذي يمكن لبريطانيا أن تلعبه في أي عملية سلام من أجل سورية. هل كان هناك أي اتصالات غير رسمية مع البريطانيين؟ وما هو رد فعلكم على دعم السيد كاميرون للمعارضة؟ وماذا كنت ستقول له لو كنت جالساً معه، خصوصاً وأن بريطانيا تدعو إلى تسليح المتمردين؟

الرئيس الأسد: ليس هناك أي اتصالات بين سورية وبريطانيا منذ وقت طويل. أما التحدث عن دور فلا يمكن فصل الدور عن المصداقية، ولا يمكننا فصل المصداقية عن تاريخ ذلك البلد. بصراحة، وأنا الآن أتحدث إلى صحفية بريطانية وإلى الجمهور البريطاني، اشتهرت بريطانيا (في منطقتنا) بلعب دور غير بناء في مختلف القضايا وعلى مدى عقود، وبعضهم يقول قرون. أنا أتحدث الآن عن التصور العام في منطقتنا. ومشكلة حكومة كاميرون أن خطابها السطحي وغير الناضج يبرز فقط هذا الإرث من الهيمنة. أقول هذا بصراحة. كيف يمكن توقُّع أن نطلب من بريطانيا أن تلعب دورا في حين أنها مصممة على عسكرة المشكلة؟ كيف يمكن أن نطلب منهم أن يلعبوا دوراً في جعل الوضع أفضل وأكثر استقراراً، وكيف يمكن أن نتوقع منهم تخفيف حدة العنف، في حين أنهم يريدون إرسال المعدات العسكرية للإرهابيين ولا يحاولون تسهيل الحوار بين السوريين؟ هذا غير منطقي. أعتقد أنهم يعملون ضدّنا وفي الوقت ذاته ضد مصالح المملكة المتحدة نفسها. هذه الحكومة تتصرف بطريقة ساذجة ومشوَّشة وغير واقعية. إذا أرادوا أن يلعبوا دوراً فعليهم تغيير هذا والتصرف بطريقة أكثر عقلانية ومسؤولية. وإلى أن يفعلوا ذلك، لا نتوقع من مشعل الحرائق أن يكون رجل إطفاء.

صنداي تايمز: في العام 2011، قلت إنك لن تضيع وقتك بالتحدث إلى الكيان الذي يقود المعارضة، أتحدث الآن عن الكيانات الخارجية للمعارضة. وفي الواقع فإنكم بالكاد اعترفتم بوجود مثل تلك المعارضة. ما الذي غيّر رأيكم مؤخراً؟ وأي نوع من المحادثات تجرونها مع مجموعات المعارضة التي تعتبر مكوّناً وعاملاً رئيسياً في هذه الأزمة، خصوصاً بالنظر إلى ما قاله وزير خارجيتكم، وليد المعلم، في مطلع هذا الأسبوع عندما كان في روسيا بأن الحكومة مستعدة للتحدث إلى المعارضة المسلحة؟ هل لكم أن توضحوا ذلك؟

الرئيس الأسد: في الواقع لم أغيّر رأيي. مرة أخرى، هذه الخطة غير موجّهة لهم، إنها موجهة لكل سوري يقبل الحوار. لذلك فإن إطلاق هذه المبادرة لا يشكّل تغييراً في رؤيتنا. هذا أولاً.

ثانياً، ومنذ اليوم الأول من هذه الأزمة، قبل حوالي عامين، قلنا إننا مستعدون للحوار، وبالتالي لم يتغير شيء، لدينا موقف ثابت من الحوار. قد يفهم البعض بأني غيّرت رأيي لأنني لم أعترف بالكيان الأول للمعارضة ومن ثم اعترفت بالكيان الثاني. في الواقع فإني لم أعترف بأي منهما؛ والأهم من ذلك أن الشعب السوري لا يعترف بهم ولا يأخذهم على محمل الجد. عندما يفشل مُنتَج معين في السوق فإنهم يسحبون المنتج، يغيّرون اسمه ويغلفونه بشكل مختلف ومن ثم يطرحونه مجدداً في السوق، لكنه لا يزال على عيبه، الكيانان الأول والثاني هما نفس المنتج، لكن الغلاف مختلف.

فيما يتعلق بما قاله وزير خارجيتنا، فقد كان واضحاً جداً. جزء من خطتنا هو أننا مستعدون للتفاوض مع أي شخص، بما في ذلك المقاتلون الذين يسلّمون سلاحهم. لن نتعامل مع الإرهابيين المصممين على الاستمرار في حمل السلاح، وإرهاب الناس، وقتل المدنيين، ومهاجمة الأماكن العامة والمؤسسات الخاصة وتدمير البلاد.

صنداي تايمز: سيادة الرئيس، العالم ينظر إلى سورية ويرى أن البلاد تتعرض للتدمير, العديد من الناس في سائر أنحاء العالم يحمّلونك المسؤولية، ماذا تقول لهم؟ هل أنت مسؤول عما حدث للبلد الذي تقوده؟

الرئيس الأسد: تذكرين هذه الأرقام كما لو كانت مجرد أرقام إحصائية، فيما يستعمل بعض اللاعبين هذه الأرقام لدفع أجنداتهم السياسية، للأسف، هذا هو الواقع. وبصرف النظر عن دقة هذه الأرقام، فكل رقم منها يمثّل رجلاً أو امرأة أو طفلاً سورياً. عندما تتحدثين عن آلاف الضحايا، نحن نرى آلافاً من العائلات التي فقدت أحباءها والتي ستحزن عليهم لسنوات وسنوات، لا يمكن لأحد أن يشعر بالألم كما نشعر به نحن.

وإذا نظرنا إلى موضوع الأجندات السياسية، ينبغي أن نطرح أسئلة أكثر أهمية في ظل الوضع على الأرض والذي يجعل من المستحيل الحصول على أجوبة دقيقة، وأول هذه الأسئلة هو كيف تم التحقق من هذه الأرقام؟ وما هي نسبة المقاتلين الأجانب فيها؟ وما عدد المقاتلين الذين تتراوح أعمارهم بين 20 و 30 عاماً؟ وكم عدد المدنيين – النساء والأطفال الأبرياء؟

من جهة أخرى، نعلم جميعاً كيف تم التلاعب بعدد القتلى والضحايا في الماضي لتمهيد الطريق للتدخل الإنساني في عدد من الدول. ونذكر هنا أن الحكومة الليبية أعلنت مؤخراً أنه كان هناك مبالغة كبيرة في عدد الأشخاص الذين كانوا قد قتلوا قبل غزو ليبيا، قالوا إن 5000 شخص قتلوا من كل جانب في حين أن الأرقام التي كان يتم الحديث عنها في ذلك الوقت كانت بعشرات الآلاف. وفي مثل آخر، فإن البريطانيين والأميركيين الذين كانوا موجودين فعلياً في العراق خلال الحرب قالوا إنهم لا يمتلكون حتى الآن أرقاماً دقيقة حول عدد الضحايا العراقيين الذين قتلوا بسبب غزوهم لهذا البلد. وفجأة نجد أن نفس المصادر لديها أرقام دقيقة جداً حول ما يحدث في سورية. هذه مفارقة غريبة.

أقول لكِ ببساطة إن هذا الرقم لا وجود له في الواقع. إنه جزء من الواقع الافتراضي الذي يريدون خلقه لدفع أجندتهم في التدخل العسكري تحت عنوان التدخل الإنساني.

صنداي تايمز: إذا سمحت لي، فيما يتعلق بهذه النقطة حتى لو كانت الأرقام مبالغاً بها وليست دقيقة، فهي أرقام أكّدتها مجموعات سورية. رغم ذلك هناك آلاف الأشخاص الذين قتلوا، بعضهم مقاتلون لكن بعضهم أيضاً مدنيون، وبعضهم قُتل نتيجة الهجمات العسكرية، على سبيل المثال، بسبب القصف المدفعي أو الغارات الجوية على بعض المناطق. إذاً، حتى إذا لم نجادل بالأرقام الفعلية، إلاّ أنهم رغم ذلك يحمّلونك المسؤولية عن مقتل أولئك المدنيين الذين قتلوا بسبب الهجمات العسكرية. هل تقبلون بذلك؟

الرئيس الأسد: أولاً، لا نستطيع التحدث عن الأرقام دون التحدّث عن الأسماء، الناس الذين قتلوا لهم أسماء. ثانياً، لماذا قُتل هؤلاء؟ أين وكيف قتلوا؟ من قتلهم؟ عصابات مسلحة، مجموعات إرهابية، مجرمون، مختطِفون، الجيش، من؟

صنداي تايمز: إنه خليط من كل هذه العمليات.

الرئيس الأسد: نعم إنه خليط، لكن سؤالك يعني ضمنياً أن هناك شخصاً واحداً يتحمل المسؤولية عن الوضع الراهن وعن جميع هؤلاء الضحايا. والحقيقة هي أنه منذ اليوم الأول والوضع في سورية يتأثر بالديناميكيات العسكرية والسياسية، وكلاهما يتحرك بسرعة، وفي مثل هذه الأوضاع، هناك محفِّزات وعوائق. إن افتراض أن طرفاً واحداً مسؤول عن جميع العوائق وأن طرفاً آخر مسؤول عن جميع المحفزات أمر مناف للعقل والمنطق.

أنا لست في وارد توزيع اللوم هنا، لكن إذا كنت تتحدثين عن المسؤولية، فإن الأمر الواضح هو أن لدي مسؤولية دستورية تقضي بالمحافظة على سورية والسوريين من المجموعات الإرهابية والمتطرفة.

صنداي تايمز: ما هو دور القاعدة والجهاديين الآخرين، وما هو التهديد الذي يشكلونه لسورية والمنطقة وأوروبا؟ هل أنت قلق من أن تتحول سورية إلى ما يشبه ما حدث بالشيشان في الماضي؟ هل أنت قلق حيال مصير الأقليات إذا خسرتم هذه الحرب، أو نشوب حرب طائفية شبيهة بما حدث في العراق؟

الرئيس الأسد: دور القاعدة في سورية كدورها في كل مكان من هذا العالم: القتل، وقطع الرؤوس، والتعذيب ومنع الأطفال من الذهاب إلى مدارسهم؛ لأن أيديولوجيا القاعدة، كما تعلمين، تزدهر حيث يسود الجهل. إنهم يحاولون اختراق المجتمع بأيديولوجيتهم الظلامية المتطرفة، وهم ينجحون في ذلك.

أما إذا أردنا التحدث عن القلق حيال أي شيء في سورية، فنحن لسنا قلقين على “الأقليات”، هذا وصف سطحي لأن سورية هي مزيج من الأديان، والطوائف، والعرقيات والأيديولوجيات التي تشكّل معاً خليطاً منسجماً ومتناغماً بصرف النظر عن الحصص أو النسب المئوية.

ينبغي أن نقلق على غالبية الشعب السوري المعتدل بطبيعته والتي ستصبح أقلية إذا لم نحارب هذا التطرف – وعندها ستتوقف سورية عن الوجود.

وإذا كان هناك قلق على سورية بهذا المعنى، ينبغي الشعور بالقلق على الشرق الأوسط، لأننا المعقل الأخير للعلمانية في المنطقة. وإذا كان ثمة قلق على الشرق الأوسط، ينبغي على العالم بأسره أن يكون قلقاً على استقراره. هذا هو الواقع كما نراه.

صنداي تايمز: ما مدى التهديد الذي تشكله القاعدة الآن؟

الرئيس الأسد: التهديد الذي تشكله بأيديولوجيا أكبر من التهديد بعمليات القتل التي ترتكبها. القتل خطير بالطبع، لكن المسار الذي لا يمكن عكسه هو مسار الأيديولوجيا، هذا هو الأمر الخطير، وقد دأبنا على التحذير من ذلك منذ سنوات، حتى قبل الصراع. لقد كان علينا التعامل مع تلك الأيديولوجيات منذ أواخر السبعينيات، كنا أول من تصدى لأولئك الإرهابيين في المنطقة، أولئك الذين كانوا يرتدون عباءة الإسلام.

إن القاعدة وأيديولوجيتها تشكل تهديداً وخطراً ليس فقط على سورية بل على المنطقة بأسرها. صنداي تايمز: نُقل عن المسؤولين الأميركيين مؤخراً، وخصوصاً بالأمس، أن القرار الأميركي بعدم تسليح المتمردين يمكن أن يتم تعديله. إذا حدث ذلك، فما تداعياته من وجهة نظركم في سورية وفي المنطقة؟ وما هو التحذير الذي توجهونه ضد هذه الخطوة؟ إنهم يتحدثون الآن عن تزويد المتمردين بالعربات المصفحة والتدريب والسترات الواقية.

الرئيس الأسد: تعرفين أن الجريمة لا تتعلق فقط بالضحية والمجرم، بل بالمتواطئ والشريك الذي يقدم الدعم، سواء كان الدعم معنوياً أو لوجستياً. لقد قلت مراراً إن سورية هي بمثابة خط تماس جغرافياً وسياسياً، واجتماعياً، وأيديولوجياً، ولذلك فإن اللعب بهذا الخط سيكون له تداعيات خطيرة في سائر أنحاء الشرق الأوسط.

وفي الوقت ذاته، هل الوضع أفضل في ليبيا اليوم؟ في مالي؟ في تونس؟ في مصر؟ إن أي تدخل لن يجعل الأمور أفضل، بل سيجعلها أسوأ. وعندما يتزعزع استقرار هذه المنطقة، فإن أوروبا والولايات المتحدة والمتواطئين الآخرين سيدفعون الثمن عاجلاً أو آجلاً. إنهم لا يستشرفون ما سيحدث في المستقبل.

صنداي تايمز: ما هي رسالتك إلى إسرائيل بعد غاراتها الجوية التي شنتها على سورية؟ هل ستردّون؟ وكيف ستردون على أي هجمات مستقبلية تشنها القوات الإسرائيلية، خصوصاً وأن حكومتها قالت إنها ستفعل ذلك مرة أخرى إذا دعت الحاجة؟

الرئيس الأسد: لقد ردّت سورية في كل مرة، لكن بطريقتها، وليس بالمثل، والإسرائيليون وحدهم يعرفون ما نقصده، أي كيف كان ردّنا.

الرد لا يعني صاروخاً بصاروخ أو رصاصة برصاصة. لا ينبغي أن يكون ردنا معلناً بالضرورة؛ والإسرائيليون وحدهم يعرفون ما أعنيه. صنداي تايمز: لكن لا تستطيع أن تخبرنا كيف؟. الرئيس الأسد: نحن لا نعلن ذلك.

صنداي تايمز: قابت صبي سوري في السابعة من عمره في الأردن كان قد فقد ذراعه وساقه في هجوم صاروخي في الحراك. قُتل خمسة أطفال من أسرته في ذلك الانفجار. كأب، ما الذي يمكن أن تقوله لذاك الصبي؟ ولماذا قُتل كل هذا العدد من المدنيين الأبرياء، سواء في الغارات الجوية أو في عمليات القصف التي يقوم بها الجيش وأحياناً بإطلاق النار من قبل ما يسمى بالشبيحة؟

الرئيس الأسد: ما اسم ذلك الصبي؟

صنداي تايمز: الحقيقة كان لدي اسمه … لكن .. يمكن أن أحضره لكم لاحقاً.

الرئيس الأسد: كما قلت، لكل ضحية في هذه الأزمة اسم، ولكل ضحية أسرة. الطفل صابر مثلاً، وعمره 5 سنوات، فقد ساقه وهو يتناول الفطور مع أسرته في بيته، وفقد والدته وأفراد أسرته الآخرين. ريّان طفل عمره 4 سنوات شهد ذبح شقيقيه لأنهم شاركوا بمسيرة جميعاً. ليس لأي من هذه الأسر أي انتماء سياسي.

الأطفال هم الرابطة الأكثر هشاشة في أي مجتمع، وللأسف فهم في كثير من الأحيان يدفعون أبهظ الأثمان في أي صراع. كأب لدي أطفال صغار، أعرف معنى أن يتعرض الأطفال للأذى من شيء بسيط، فكيف إذا تعرض لأذى كبير أو إذا فقد المرء طفلاً، إنه أسوأ شيء يمكن لأي عائلة أن تواجهه.

في كل الصراعات، هناك هذه القصص المؤلمة التي تصيب أي مجتمع. لكن هذا هو الدافع الأكبر والأقوى بالنسبة لنا في محاربة الإرهاب. الإنسانيون الحقيقيون، الذين يشعرون بالألم الذي نشعره حول أطفالنا وحالات الفقدان التي تصيبنا، عليهم أن يشجعوا حكوماتهم على منع تهريب الأسلحة والإرهابيين ومنع الإرهابيين من الحصول على أي معدات عسكرية من أي بلد.

صنداي تايمز: سيادة الرئيس، عندما تستلقي في سريرك في الليل، هل تسمع الانفجارات في دمشق؟ وكحال السوريين الآخرين، هل تشعر بالقلق على عائلتك؟ هل تقلق من أن سلامتك الشخصية قد تتعرض للخطر؟

الرئيس الأسد: أنا أرى الأمور بشكل مختلف تماماً… هل يمكن لأي شخص أن يكون آمناً شخصياً أو أن تكون عائلته آمنة إذا كان البلد في خطر؟ إذا لم يكن البلد آمناً، لا يمكن أن يكون الفرد آمناً. لذلك، وبدلاً من أن تشعر بالقلق على نفسك أو عائلتك ينبغي القلق على كل مواطن وكل عائلة في بلدك. إنها علاقة متبادلة.

صنداي تايمز: تعلمون المخاوف لدى المجتمع الدولي حيال الأسلحة الكيميائية في سورية. هل يمكن لجيشكم أن يستعملها كخيار أخير ضد خصومكم؟ وتشير التقارير إلى أنه تم نقل هذه الأسلحة من مكان إلى آخر عدة مرات. إذا كان ذلك قد حدث، فلماذا؟ هل تشاطرون المجتمع الدولي قلقه حول إمكانية وقوعها في أيدي المتمردين الإسلاميين أو المجموعات المرتبطة بالقاعدة على سبيل المثال، ما هو أسوأ ما يمكن أن يحدث لهذه الأسلحة؟

الرئيس الأسد: كل ما ذُكر فيما يتعلق بالأسلحة الكيميائية في سورية في وسائل الإعلام أو في أحاديث السياسيين لا يعدو كونه تخمينات، نحن لم نناقش، ولن نناقش أبداً، مسائل تتعلق بأسلحتنا مع أحد.

ما ينبغي للعالم أن يقلق بشأنه الآن هو وصول المواد الكيميائية إلى أيدي الإرهابيين، وقد تم نشر مقاطع فيديو تظهر اختبار مواد سامة على حيوانات أمام الكاميرا وتهديدات للسوريين بأنهم سيموتون بنفس الطريقة. لقد تبادلنا هذه المقاطع مع بلدان أخرى، وهذا ما ينبغي للعالم أن يركّز عليه بدلاً من فبركة عناوين مضللة حول الأسلحة الكيميائية السورية لتبرير أي تدخل في سورية.

صنداي تايمز: أعلم أنك لا تقول إن هذه الأسلحة آمنة أو غير آمنة. لكن ثمة مخاوف حول ما إذا كانت آمنة أو ما إذا كان لا أحد يستطيع الوصول إليها.

الرئيس الأسد: ما من بلد يتحدث عن قدراته.

صنداي تايمز: أمر آخر يكثر الحديث عنه أيضاً: ما هو دور حزب الله وإيران وروسيا؟ وهل تعرفون بوجود أي مقاتلين من حزب الله في سورية وماذا يفعلون؟ وما هي الأسلحة التي يزودكم بها حلفاؤكم الإيرانيون والروس، وما هي أشكال الدعم الأخرى التي يقدمونها لكم؟ الرئيس الأسد: الموقف الروسي واضح جداً فيما يتعلق بالأسلحة – إنهم يزودون سورية بأسلحة دفاعية وبشكل يتوافق مع القانون الدولي.

حزب الله، وإيران وروسيا يدعمون الشعب السوري في حربه ضد الإرهاب.. دور روسيا بنّاء جداً، ودور إيران داعم جداً ودور حزب الله هو الدفاع عن لبنان وليس الدفاع عن سورية. نحن بلد عدد سكانه 23 مليون نسمة ولدينا جيش وطني وقوات شرطة قوية، لسنا بحاجة إلى مقاتلين أجانب يدافعون عن بلدنا.

السؤال الذي ينبغي أن يُطرح هو حول دور البلدان الأخرى – قطر، وتركيا والسعودية، وفرنسا، وبريطانيا، والولايات المتحدة – التي تدعم الإرهاب في سورية بشكل مباشر أو غير مباشر، عسكرياً أو سياسياً.

صنداي تايمز: سيادة الرئيس، هل لي أن أسألك عن موقفك أنت؟ وزير الخارجية الروسي سيرغي لافروف قال مؤخراً إن الأخضر الإبراهيمي اشتكى من أنه يريد أن يرى قدراً أكبر من المرونة من نظامكم وأنه في حين أنكم لا تقولون لا، يبدو أنكم أيضاً لا تقولون نعم. هل تعتقدون أنه يمكن التوصل إلى تسوية تفاوضية تظل بموجبها رئيساً، وهو ما يتساءل عنه كثيرون؟

الرئيس الأسد: لا تتوقعي من سياسي أن يقول فقط نعم أو لا بالمعنى المطلق، إنه ليس اختباراً متعدد الخيارات بحيث تشيرين إلى الجواب الصحيح أو الخاطئ. يمكن أن تتوقعي من السياسي أن يقدم رؤية، ورؤيتنا واضحة جداً، لدينا خطة، وكل من يريد أن يتعامل معنا يمكنه فعل ذلك من خلال خطتنا، هذا واضح جداً كي لا يكون هناك إضاعة للوقت.

هذا السؤال يعكس ما يتم تداوله في وسائل الإعلام الغربية حول شخصنة المشكلة برمتها في سورية، والإيحاء بأن الصراع برمته يتعلق بالرئيس ومستقبله.

إذا كانت هذه الحجة صحيحة، فإن رحيلي سيوقف القتال. من الواضح أن هذا مناف للعقل والمنطق، والسوابق الحديثة العهد في ليبيا، واليمن، ومصر تشهد على ذلك. دافعهم هو تجنب جوهر القضية وهو الحوار والإصلاح ومحاربة الإرهاب. إن إرث تدخلاتهم في منطقتنا يتمثل في الفوضى والدمار والكوارث. إذاً كيف يمكنهم أن يبرروا أي تدخل لهم في المستقبل. هم لا يستطيعون ولذلك فإنهم يركزون على تحميل المسؤولية للرئيس ويدفعون من أجل رحيله؛ والتشكيك في مصداقيته؛ وما إذا كان يعيش في فقاعة أم لا؛ وما إذا كان منفصلاً عن الواقع أم لا. وهكذا فإن محور الصراع يصبح الرئيس.

صنداي تايمز: بعض المسؤولين الأجانب دعوا إلى محاكمتكم بتهم ارتكاب جرائم حرب في محكمة الجنايات الدولية بوصفكم الشخص المسؤول عن أعمال الجيش، هل تخشون المحاكمة من قبل محكمة الجنايات الدولية، أو احتمال الملاحقة القضائية في المستقبل والمحاكمة في سورية؟

الرئيس الأسد: عندما تُطرح أي قضية تتعلق بالأمم المتحدة، فإنك تثيرين قضية المصداقية، وجميعنا نعرف، وخصوصاً بعد انهيار الاتحاد السوفييتي، وعلى مدى السنوات العشرين الماضية، بأن الأمم المتحدة وكل المنظمات التابعة لها بلا استثناء هي ضحية الهيمنة بدلاً من أن تكون معقلاً للعدالة. لقد أصبحت أدواتً مسيّسة لزعزعة الاستقرار ومهاجمة البلدان ذات السيادة، وهو ما يتعارض مع ميثاق الأمم المتحدة نفسه.

السؤال الذي ينبغي طرحه الآن هو: هل سيحاكمون القادة البريطانيين والأميركيين الذين هاجموا العراق عام 2003 وتسببوا بمقتل أكثر من نصف مليون شخص، ناهيك عن الأيتام والمشوهين والمعاقين؟ هل سيحاكمون الأميركيين والفرنسيين وغيرهم ممن هاجموا ليبيا دون قرار من الأمم المتحدة في العام الماضي، وتسببوا أيضاً في مقتل مئات أو ربما آلاف الأشخاص؟ هم لن يفعلوا ذلك.. الجواب في غاية الوضوح.

من جانب آخر، تعرفين أن إرسال المرتزقة إلى أي بلد يعتبر جريمة حرب طبقاً لمبادئ نورمبيرغ وطبقاً لميثاق لندن لعام 1945، وبناء عليه هل سيحيلون أردوغان إلى هذه المحكمة لأنه أرسل المرتزقة إلى سورية؟ وهل سيفعلون الشيء ذاته مع القطريين والسعوديين؟ إذا حصلنا على أجوبة هذه الأسئلة، عندها يمكننا التحدث عن منظمات السلام وعن المصداقية.

جوابي مختصر جداً وهو أنه عندما يدافع الناس عن بلادهم فإنهم لا يأخذون في الاعتبار أي أمر آخر.

صنداي تايمز: النظر إلى الوراء والحكم على الماضي بمنظور الحاضر أمر رائع سيادة الرئيس. إذا أتيح لك إعادة عقارب الساعة عامين إلى الوراء، هل كنت ستتعامل مع أي شيء بطريقة مختلفة؟ هل تعتقد أن هناك أشياء كان ينبغي معالجتها بطريقة مختلفة؟ وما هي الأخطاء التي تعتقد أن بعض أنصارك ارتكبوها وكنت ترغب بتغييرها؟

الرئيس الأسد: يمكن أن تطرحي هذا السؤال على رئيس إذا كان هو المسؤول الوحيد عن كل سياق الأحداث. في حالتنا في سورية، نعرف أن هناك الكثير من اللاعبين الخارجيين، وبالتالي يجب تطبيق الحكم على الماضي من منظور الحاضر على كل لاعب من هؤلاء. يجب سؤال أردوغان على سبيل المثال: هل كنت سترسل إرهابيين لقتل السوريين؟ هل كنت ستقدم دعماً لوجستياً لهم؟ ويجب سؤال السعوديين والقطريين: هل كنتم سترسلون الأموال للإرهابيين وللقاعدة أو لأي منظمات إرهابية أخرى لقتل السوريين؟ وينبغي طرح نفس السؤال على المسؤولين الأوروبيين والأميركيين: هل كنتم ستوفرون مظلة سياسية لأولئك الإرهابيين الذين يقتلون المدنيين الأبرياء في سورية؟

في سورية، اتخذنا قرارين: القرار الأول إطلاق الحوار والقرار الثاني محاربة الإرهاب. إذا طلبتِ من أي سوري أن يحكم على الماضي بمنظور الحاضر وسألته ما إذا كان سيقول لا للحوار ونعم للإرهاب، لا أعتقد أن أي شخص عاقل سيوافقك الرأي. لذلك، أعتقد أنه إذا حكمنا على الماضي بمنظور الحاضر نجد أننا بدأنا بالحوار وسنستمر في الحوار، وقلنا بأننا سنحارب الإرهاب وسنستمر في محاربته.

صنداي تايمز: هل تفكر على الإطلاق بإمكانية العيش في المنفى، إذا وصلت الأمور إلى ذلك الاحتمال؟ وهل ستخرج من البلاد إذا كان ذلك يزيد من فرص السلام في سورية؟

الرئيس الأسد: مرة أخرى، الأمر لا يتعلق بالرئيس. ما من مواطن أو شخص وطني يمكن أن يفكر بالعيش خارج بلاده.

صنداي تايمز: لن تغادر أبداً؟

الرئيس الأسد: ما من شخص وطني يمكن أن يفكر بالعيش خارج بلاده. وأنا حالي كحال أي سوري وطني.

صنداي تايمز: ما مدى الصدمة التي تسبب بها الانفجار الذي أودى بحياة بعض كبار ضباطك، بمن فيهم صهرك؟

الرئيس الأسد: أنت تذكرين صهري، لكن هذه ليست مسألة عائلية، فعندما يتم اغتيال مسؤولين رفيعي المستوى فإن المسألة مسألة وطنية وليست عائلية. إن جريمة كتلك تجعلنا أكثر تصميماً على محاربة الإرهاب. الأمر لا يتعلق بالمشاعر بقدر ما يتعلق بما ينبغي فعله.

صنداي تايمز: أخيراً سيادة الرئيس هل لي أن أسألك عن زميلتي ماري كولفن التي قتلت خلال عملية قصف لمركز إعلامي معارض في بابا عمرو في 22 شباط من العام الماضي؟ هل تم استهدافها، كما أشار البعض، لأنها أدانت الدمار على التلفزيون البريطاني والأمريكي؟ أم إنها كانت ببساطة سيئة الحظ؟ هل سمعت بمقتلها حينذاك، وإذا كنت قد سمعت ماذا كان رد فعلك؟

الرئيس الأسد: بالطبع، سمعت بقصتها من وسائل الإعلام. عندما يذهب صحفي إلى مناطق صراع، كما تفعلين أنت الآن، لتغطية الأحداث ونقلها إلى العالم، أعتقد أن هذا عمل شجاع جداً. وكل شخص أو مسؤول عاقل وكل حكومة ينبغي أن تدعم الصحفيين في جهودهم لأن ذلك سيساعد في تسليط الضوء على الأحداث على الأرض وفضح البروباغاندا أينما وجدت. للأسف، ففي معظم الصراعات هناك صحفيون يدفعون حياتهم ثمناً لذلك. من المحزن دائماً عندما يقتل صحفي، لأنه ليس مع هذا الطرف أو ذاك، وليس حتى طرف في المشكلة.. إنهم هناك فقط لتغطية الأحداث.

ثمة حرب إعلامية على سورية تمنع إيصال الحقيقة إلى العالم الخارجي. لدينا 14 صحفياً سورياً قتلوا منذ بداية الأزمة، ولم يقتلوا جميعاً في الميدان، بعضهم استُهدف في منزله، واختُطف وعُذِّب ثم قُتل. بعضهم لا يزال مفقوداً. هوجمت أكثر من محطة تلفزيون سورية من قبل الإرهابيين وقنابلهم. والآن ثمة حظر على بث القنوات التلفزيونية السورية على أنظمة الأقمار الصناعية الأوروبية.

ومن المعروف أيضاً كيف أن المتمردين استغلوا الصحفيين أحياناً لمصلحتهم، وأفضل مثال على ذلك الصحفي البريطاني الذي تمكن من الهرب منهم.

صنداي تايمز: تقصد أليكس طومسون؟

الرئيس الأسد: نعم، لقد تم استدراجه إلى فخ من قبل الإرهابيين كي يتم اتهام الجيش السوري بقتله. ولهذا من المهم دخول البلاد بشكل قانوني، والحصول على تأشيرة دخول. لم يكن هذا هو الحال في حالة ماري كولفن. لا نعرف لماذا، والأمر ليس واضحاً. إذا دخلت إلى البلاد بشكل غير قانوني، لا يمكن أن تتوقعي من الدولة أن تكون مسؤولة عما يحدث.

على عكس الاعتقاد السائد، فمنذ بداية الأزمة حصل مئات الصحفيين من سائر أنحاء العالم، بمن فيهم أنت، على تأشيرات دخول وهم يغطون الأحداث ويرسلون تقاريرهم بحرية من داخل سورية دون أي تدخل في عملهم ودون أي عوائق تحول دون إنجاز مهامهم.

صنداي تايمز: شكراً جزيلاً.

الرئيس الأسد: شكراً لك.

مقابلة أجرتها صحيفة صنداي تايمز البريطانية مع الرئيس الأسد

مقابلة أجرتها صحيفة صنداي تايمز البريطانية مع الرئيس الأسد

سانا: تجمع السوريين في بريطانيا يدعو أبناء الوطن إلى الإلتفاف حول مبادرة الرئيس الأسد

تجمع السوريين في بريطانيا يدعو أبناء الوطن إلى الإلتفاف حول مبادرة الرئيس الأسد

تجمع السوريين في بريطانيا يدعو أبناء الوطن إلى الإلتفاف حول مبادرة الرئيس الأسد


تجمع السوريين في بريطانيا يدعو أبناء الوطن إلى الإلتفاف حول مبادرة الرئيس الأسد

من جهته، رحب تجمع السوريين في بريطانيا بالمبادرة التي أطلقها السيد الرئيس بشار الأسد في كلمته اول امس لإنهاء الأزمة في سورية داعيا ابناء سورية في الداخل والخارج إلى الإلتفاف حولها لإعادة الإستقرار إلى البلاد والأمان للشعب السوري.

ونقلت /يو بي اي/ عن التجمع قوله في بيان إن “مبادرة الرئيس الاسد تمثل مشروعاً وطنياً متكاملاً للخروج من هذه الأزمة مع الحفاظ على السيادة الوطنية ووحدة الشعب والتراب السوريين وندعو جميع السوريين في الداخل والخارج الى ان يلتفوا حولها من أجل إعادة الإستقرار لسورية والوئام لشعبها ومن ثم الشروع في خوض معركة الإصلاح مع المحافظة على الثوابت الوطنية والقومية لسورية”.

وأعرب التجمع عن استغرابه لردود الفعل الرافضة لهذه المبادرة والتي جاء بعضها متسرعاً وخاصة من قبل الإتحاد الأوروبي وبريطانيا والولايات المتحدة واعتبرها إمعاناً في محاولات إطالة الأزمة وعدم الإستقرار في سورية والمنطقة وإصراراً على إجهاض أي مبادرات سياسية لحل الازمة ومحاولات لفرض التمثيل الزائف على الشعب السوري وتدخلاً سافراً وغير قانوني في السيادة الوطنية لسورية ومصادرةَ لحق شعبها في تحديد مصيره ومستقبله.

وأضاف البيان “أن هذه الدول تنسى أو تتناسى حقيقة المخاطر المتأتية عن إطالة حالة العنف السائدة في سورية والتي أضحى دور التنظيمات التكفيرية والمتطرفة فيها واضحا وتغض الطرف عن انتشار تنظيم القاعدة وتوابعه في سورية وعن دور حلفائها الإقليميين في تسهيل دخول هذه التنظيمات إلى سورية ودعمها عسكرياً ومادياً وإعلامياً وتسخر في الوقت نفسه إقتصادها وجيوشها لمحاربة هذه التنظيمات الإرهابية في شتى أنحاء العالم”.

وقال إن المجتمع الدولي الذي تقوده الولايات المتحدة وما يسمى //مجموعة أصدقاء الشعب السوري // لم تقدم أكثر من الشعارات الطنانة والوعود الفارغة وتجاهل حقيقة الدعم الذي تقدمه دول إقليمية وعربية تحديداً الى ا لجماعات الأصولية التكفيرية للإمعان في ضرب البنية التحتية لسورية وسرقة تراثها وتهريبه للخارج وبعلم هذا المجتمع.

بيان عن المبادرة التي طرحها السيد الرئيس بشار الأسد لإنهاء الأزمة في سورية

بيان عن المبادرة التي طرحها السيد الرئيس بشار الأسد لإنهاء الأزمة في سورية

تجمع السوريين في بريطانيا

تجمع السوريين في بريطانيا


نحن تجمع السوريين في بريطانيا نعبر عن ترحيبنا بالمبادرة التي طرحها السيد الرئيس بشار الأسد لإنهاء الأزمة في سورية، ونرى أنها تمثل مشروعاً وطنياً متكاملاً للخروج من هذه الأزمة مع الحفاظ على السيادة الوطنية ووحدة الشعب والتراب السوريين.


التجمع يعرب في هذا السياق عن إستغرابه لردود الفعل الرافضة لهذه المبادرة، والتي جاء بعضها متسرعاً وخاصة من قبل الإتحاد الأوروبي وبريطانيا والولايات المتحدة، من حيث أننا نرى فيها إمعاناً في محاولات إطالة الأزمة وعدم الإستقرار في سورية والمنطقة، وإصراراً على إجهاض أية مبادرات سياسية للتسوية، بإستثناء المطالبة المستمرة بتنحية الرئيس الاسد عن موقعه ودوره، ومحاولات فرض التمثيل الزائف على الشعب السوري، وهذا ما نعتبره تدخلاً سافراً وغير قانوني في السيادة الوطنية لسورية، ومصادرةَ لحق شعبها في تحديد مصيره ومستقبله.


إن هذه الدول تنسى أو تتناسى حقيقة المخاطر المتأتية عن إطالة حالة العنف السائدة في سورية، والتي أضحى دور التنظيمات التكفيرية والمتطرفة فيها حاسماً ومهيمناً، وإنه لمن المؤسف لهذه الدول أن تغض الطرف عن انتشار تنظيم القاعدة و توابعه في سورية، وعن دور حلفائها الإقليميين في تسهيل دخول هذه التنظيمات إلى سورية ودعمها عسكرياً ومادياً وإعلامياً، وهي في نفس الوقت تسخر إقتصادها وجيوشها لمحاربة هذه التنظيمات الإرهابية في شتى أنحاء العالم.


و نسأل ما الذي فعله المجتمع الدولي نفسه الذي تقوده الولايات المتحدة و ما يسمى “مجموعة اصدقاء الشعب السوري” من أجل إنهاء الأزمة، التي تقترب من إكمال عامها الثاني، أكئر من الشعارات الطنانة والوعود الفارغة و تجاهل حقيقة الدعم الذي تقدمه دول إقليمية و عربية تحديداً للجماعات الاصولية التكفيرية للإمعان في ضرب البنية التحتية لسورية وسرقة تراثها وتهريبه للخارج وبعلم هذا “المجتمع”  ودول “المجموعة”.


إن تجمع السوريين في بريطانيا يدعو جميع السوريين في الداخل و الخارج لأن يلتفوا حول مبادرة الرئيس الأسد الوطنية الإنقاذية والسيادية، من أجل إعادة الإستقرار لسورية والوئام لشعبها، ومن ثمة الشروع في خوض معركة الإصلاح، مع المحافظة على الثوابت الوطنية والقومية لسورية.


 كما ندعو دول العالم أجمع للمساعدة على تطبيق هذه المبادرة وعدم عرقلتها، لما نرى فيها من مصلحة للشعب السوري وشعوب العالم، وإرساءً للإستقرار والسلم الدوليين، خاصة وأن الحكومة السورية ستجتمع لوضع آلياح اقتراح حل الأزمة بموجب مبادرة الرئيس الأسد.


عشتم و عاشت سورية


تجمع السوريين في بريطانيا

President al-Assad : Out of Womb of Pain, Hope Should Be Begotten, from Suffering Important Solutions Rise

President al-Assad : Out of Womb of Pain, Hope Should Be Begotten, from Suffering Important Solutions Rise

Jan 06, 2013


DAMASCUS, (SANA)- President Bashar al-Assad on Sunday delivered a speech at the Opera House in Damascus in which he touched upon the latest developments in Syria and the region.

The following in the full text of President al-Assad’s speech:

Mr. Primer, Ministers,

Heads and members of the leaderships of popular organizations and trade unions,

Sisters and brothers,

Today I look at your faces and the faces of the people of our country as they are covered with sorrow and pain. I look into the eyes of Syria’s children and I don’t see an innocent laugh shinning, nor do I see toys that draw a smile on their faces. I watch the hands of elderly people and see them open to prayer for the safety of a son, a daughter or a grandson.

We meet today with suffering prevailing over Syria’s land leaving no room for joy in any corner of the homeland. Safety and security have been absent from the country’s streets and alleys.

We meet today and there are mothers who lost their sons, families who lost their breadwinners, children who became orphans and brothers who have been parted from each other, being martyred, displaced or missing.

If pain is pervading like a dark cloud over the country, the emotional state, though sublime, is not enough to compensate for the loss of the loved ones or the restoration of security and peace to the country or for providing bread, water, fuel and medicine nationwide.

Out of the womb of pain, hope should be begotten and from the depth of suffering the most important solutions rise. As the dark cloud in the sky conceals sunlight, it also carries in its layers rain, purity and hope of welfare and giving.

These feelings of agony, sadness, challenge and determination constitute a huge energy that will not get Syria out of its crisis unless it turns this energy into a comprehensive national dynamic that saves the homeland from a campaign, unprecedented in the history of the region, targeting it. This national dynamic is the only balm for the deep wounds which affected our society and were about to divide it as it is the only way that is able to preserve Syria geographically and make it stronger politically.


Each citizen is responsible and able to provide something even if it is simple or limited in his/her view, because the homeland is for everyone; we all defend it, each according to his/her capacity and capability, because ideas are forms of defense, stances are forms of defense, construction is a form of defense and protecting people’s properties is a form of defense.

Since the attack is launched against the homeland with all its human and material constituents, the mindful citizen has certainly known that passivity, waiting for time or others to solve the problem is a sort of pushing the country towards the abyss, and not contributing solutions is a kind of taking the homeland backwards with no progress towards overcoming what the homeland is going through.

Because many have fallen into the trap of what has been cast as a conflict between a government and an opposition, i.e. a conflict over office and power, they have kept at a distance and remained silent and neutral. Consequently, it is our duty all to readjust our vision in the direction of the homeland. The conflict is one between the homeland and its enemies, between the people and killers, between the citizens’ bread, water and warmth on the one hand and those who are depriving them of them all on the other, between a state of safety that we used to pride ourselves on, and spreading fear and panic in people’s lives.

They have killed civilians and the innocent in order to kill light and brightness in our country. They have assassinated qualified and distinguished people in order to spread their ignorance over our minds. They have sabotaged the infrastructure built with the people’s money to make suffering pervade into our lives. They deprived children of their schools to devastate the future of the country and express their ignorance. They cut off power supplies, communication lines and fuel supplies, leaving the elderly and children suffering from the cold weather without medicine in confirmation of their savagery. They destroyed wheat silos and robbed the wheat and flour stocks, to make a loaf of bread like a dream for citizens and to starve people. So, is this a conflict for power and office or is it a conflict between the homeland and its enemies? Is it a struggle for power, or is it revenge against the Syrian people who did not give those terrorist killers the key word for dismembering Syria and its society. They are the enemies of the people; and the enemies of the people are the enemies of God; and the enemies of God will be burnt by hellfire on the day of judgment.


At the beginning they wanted it a fake revolution but the Syrian people rebelled against them; then they tried to impose it secretly through money, the media and arms; and when they failed, they moved to the second phase through dropping the masks of a “peaceful revolution” and unveiled the cover of the weapons they were using secretly to use them openly, starting their attempts to occupy certain cities in order to attack other cities. Their brutality didn’t intimidate our people, thanks to their awareness and steadfastness; so our people rejected them and unveiled their lies. Therefore they decided to take revenge on the people through spreading terrorism indiscriminately everywhere.

They call it a revolution, but in fact it has nothing to do with revolutions. A revolution needs thinkers. A revolution is built on thought. Where are their thinkers? A revolution needs leaders. Who is its leader? Revolutions are built on science and thought not on ignorance, on pushing the country ahead not taking it centuries back, on spreading light not cutting power lines. A revolution is usually done by the people not by importing foreigners to rebel against the people. A revolution is in the interest of people not against the interests of people. Is this a revolution? Are those revolutionaries? They are a bunch of criminals.

Takfiris were working at the back rows through bombings and mass killing, leaving the armed gangs at the front line, but the unity of the Syrian people and army forced them to move to fighting at the front lines where they led the rudder of a ship of blood, killing and mutilation. Because takfiri thought is alien to our country, they had to import it from abroad, whether through terrorists or thought. Thus, takfiris, terrorists, al-Qaeda members calling themselves Jihadis streamed from everywhere to command the combat operations on the ground. The gunmen, having failed, retreated to the backlines as aides in acts of kidnapping, pillaging and sabotage, as servants, and at best, guides who spy on their fellow citizens to serve criminals takfiris who only speak the language of slaughtering and mangling.


We are fighting those, most of whom are non-Syrians, who came for twisted concepts and fake terms they call Jihad, but nothing can be farther from Jihad and Islam. Most of them are terrorists instilled with al-Qaeda thought, and I believe that most of you know how this kind of terrorism was fostered three decades ago in Afghanistan by the West and with Arabs’ money. After the mission of these terrorists ended with the disintegration of the Soviet Union and its departure from Afghanistan, terrorism broke loose and started hitting everywhere in the Arab world, the Islamic world and then moved to the West. They tried to get rid of it through Afghanistan War and in the aftermath of Iraq’s War, but this terrorism was unyielding and pervasive, and started to infiltrate Western societies. So, the events in the Arab world, especially in Syria, presented the Western powers with an opportunity to transfer as many terrorists as possible to Syria to turn it into the land of Jihad, hence dispensing with two troublesome rivals at the same time through getting rid of the terrorists and weakening Syria which is a nuisance for the West.

An organization specialized in terrorism issued a month or so ago a report on the decrease in terrorist acts in general, especially in the Middle and East Asia, which is true, because most of the terrorists came to Syria from these countries and some even come from the Western countries. Those terrorists’ infiltration into any society is a security threat, but it is possible to vanquish them when we have the will to do so. The most dangerous still is a social and intellectual infiltration. When this kind of thought infiltrates into a society, it becomes deformed unless this issue is seriously tackled regardless of the crisis in Syria. We have to be above differences. Otherwise, we would bequeath blood to our sons and grandsons. Syria, as we know it, won’t be there, not necessarily geographically speaking, but Syria as a society, because this thought incites sedition and destroys geography and the political meaning of any society which it invades. This is a great responsibility, and we have to unite in order to shoulder it.

The crisis has other dimensions, not only internal ones as it became clear to
all who want to see. Regionally, there are parties who seek to divide Syria, others to weaken it, and some parties are providing the criminals with funds and weapons, while others are providing them with support and training. We were not surprised at what some neighboring countries have done to weaken and control the Syrian people, and the countries who sought a place in a history they don’t have, writing it instead with the blood of innocent Syrians, but Syria and the Syrian people are strong, and they vow that they will not forget.


Syria has always been, and will remain, a free and sovereign country that won’t accept submission and tutelage. That is why it has been a nuisance for the West, so they sought to take advantage of internal events to drive Syria out of the political equation in the region to get rid of this irksome problem and to strike at the culture of resistance and turn us into subordinates. But the West is not the entire international community, as there are world countries, namely Russia, China and the BRICS countries, and many other countries which won’t agree to meddling in the internal affairs of countries and destabilizing the region based on their principles, interests and care for the people’s freedom in determining their destiny. To those countries I extend my thanks, namely to Russia, China and Iran, and to all those who stood by the Syrian people to determine their own destiny.

In light of this, there cannot be talk about a solution unless we take into consideration these factors: the internal, the regional and the international. Any measure that does not change these factors is not a real solution and has no impact. Let’s start with the internal front: if some tended to see the disagreement in the beginning as one between loyalists and the opposition, this disagreement in a civilized world should be over the way to build the homeland not destroy it, over developing it rather than taking it decades back. When part of the people becomes tied to foreign powers, the conflict becomes between the homeland and outside powers, between the country’s independence and hegemony over it, between staying free being politically occupied; and hence the issue becomes defending the homeland and all of us unify against the outside aggression which is aided by some internal tools.

So, when we say external opposition or any such words we don’t mean the place
where these people live; rather we mean the place where they set their hearts and minds, their affiliation and bondage, and most importantly their funding. This is what we mean by outside, whether they live inside or outside, as there are people living outside but they defend their country.

It is not a matter of loyalists against opposition, nor an army vis-à-vis gangs and criminals. We are in a state of war in the full sense of the word. We are repelling a fierce outside aggression in a new disguise, which is more lethal and dangerous than a traditional war, because they do not employ their tools to strike us; instead, they have us implement their projects, and target Syria using a bunch of Syrians and a lot of foreigners.


Such war is confronted through defending the homeland in parallel with a reform that is necessary to all of us, which may not change the reality of war, yet it strengthens us and reinforces our unity in the face of the war. Some may believe that herein lies the solution or that reforms will solve the problem, which is not true. Reforms is an influential factor but it is not all the solution.

Reform without security is like security without reform. Neither will be successful without the other. Those who keep parroting that Syria has opted for a security solution do not see or hear. We have repeatedly said that reforms and politics go in one hand and eliminating terrorism in the other.

And to those who twist facts we say: when someone is attacked and he defends himself, do we say that he defended himself or he chose the security solution? Why when a state defends its people and when people defend their homeland, they say that they have opted for the security solution?

Defending the homeland is a duty that isn’t up for discussion and is a legal, constitutional and religious duty and is the only choice. The security solution is no choice. Here there is one choice, which is self-defense. If we chose the political solution and sought it since the first days, this doesn’t mean not to defend ourselves, and if we chose the political solution since the first days, this means that we need a partner that is capable and willing to move in a political process and enter a dialogue process on the national level. If we chose the political solution and didn’t see a partner, that doesn’t mean that we didn’t desire one; this means that we didn’t see a partner during the past stage. To be clearer, for instance, if someone wants to get married and sought a partner but didn’t find someone to desire and accept them, this doesn’t mean that he doesn’t want to be married. Therefore, any proposition that the state in Syria chose the security solution is incorrect and wasn’t proposed at any time; and no state official announced that we chose the security solution.

When you’re under attack and you defend yourself, it’s called self-defense, not choosing a security solution. We didn’t choose war; war was imposed on Syria, and when the state defends the people and we defend ourselves, no reasonable person can call that choosing a security solution. Defending the homeland is a duty and an only choice, ad accepting the political solution doesn’t mean not defending ourselves, but also accepting the political solutions means the existence of a political partner that is capable of dialogue and willing to engage in it.

We never rejected the political solution as we have adopted it since day one based on dialogue as its main pillar as we lend our hands to those who have a national political project that moves Syria forward. But who do we conduct dialogue with? With those who are carrying extremist thinking, and do not believe except in blood, killing and terrorism.

Should we conduct dialogue with gangs that receive their orders from abroad and follow a foreigner who orders them to reject dialogue because it believes that dialogue will foil his schemes aiming at weakening and undermining Syria?


The leaders of some regional countries know that if Syria came out of the crisis, it will undermine their political future after they were involved and drowned their peoples with lies, spent their countries’ potentials in supporting terrorism and involved in the bloodshed and the killing of the innocent.

As for the west, the descendant of colonialism and owner of the first seal in the policy of division and despicable sectarian strife, it is the one who closed the door of dialogue not us, because it’s used to giving orders to the submissive, and we’re used to sovereignty, independence and freedom of decision, because it’s addicted to hirelings and the subjugated and because we’re raised on dignity and pride, and so shall we remain. So, how can it hold dialogue with us, and why would it hold dialogue with is? Therefore, those who talk about the political solution only and ignore these facts are either ignorant of the facts or are weak. They delivers their country and the people of the country as a tender morsel to criminals and those who stand behind them, selling their people and the blood of their martyrs for free, which we will not allow.

Some speak of the political solution only, and some speak of combating terrorism only, and this discourse is imprecise, as the solution should be comprehensive and must contain several axes: the political axis, combating terrorism, and the third axis that is very important which is the social solution. We have examples in Homs and Daraa in particular where the situation improved significantly because of this social solution, as patriotic people with a patriotic sense and national affiliation and morals made initiatives between the state and some of those who were misled among gunmen and terrorists, producing very important results in reality. These people don’t belong to parties nor do they have a political program; they only have national affiliation; and this type of initiative is very important, particularly since any crisis in any country, even if it were a normal crime, will exacerbate; therefore, we must always return to the social roots.

I salute those who made national achievements, each according to his/her capability. I know some of those and met with them directly and there are some others whom I heard of. There are unknown soldiers to whom we extend greetings and say that we count a lot on their initiatives.


It might seem from all we have went through that there is no one for us to have dialogue with, but this is incorrect. We will always extend our hands for dialogue. We will have dialogue with all those who don’t agree with us in politics and who have stances contrary to ours providing that those stances are not based on affecting the national principles and basics.

We will have dialogue with parties and individuals who did not sell the homeland to strangers, and with those who dropped weapons to have the genuine Arab Syrian blood running back in their veins. We will be real honest partners with every honest patriotic citizen who works for Syria’s interest and for its security and stability.

Accordingly and out of our firm principles, on top being the sovereignty of the state and the independence of its decision, and based on the principles and goals of the UN Charter and the international law which all stress on the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of countries and non-interference in their internal affairs, and out of our belief in the necessity of having a Syrian-led dialogue among the people of Syria and restoring the atmosphere of security and stability, the political solution in Syria will be as follows:

Stage 1:

First: the concerned regional and international countries commit themselves to putting an end to funding, arming and harboring armed elements. On parallel, armed elements stop their terrorist operations, which will facilitate the return of displaced Syrians to their original residential places safely.

Immediately afterwards, the Armed Forces halt the military operations but preserve the right to respond in case the homeland, citizens and public and private facilities came under any attack.

Second: Finding a mechanism to make sure that all are committed to the aforementioned item, particularly with regard to border control.

Third: The current government immediately starts making intensive contacts with all the spectrums of the Syrian society with all its parties and bodies to conduct open discussion to pave the way for holding a national dialogue conference in which all the forces seeking a solution in Syria take part, whether they are inside or outside the country.


Stage 2:

First: The current government calls for holding a comprehensive national dialogue conference to reach a national pact that adheres to Syria’s sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity as well as to rejecting interference in its affairs and discarding terrorism and violence in all its forms.

The government’s call upon the parties and the spectrums of the society is aimed at setting the criteria for this conference which is to be held later.

As for the pact, it will draw the political future for Syria and propose the constitutional and judicial system and the political and economic features, as it will also include agreement on new laws for the parties, elections and local administration, etc.

Second: The pact will be put to referendum.

Third: An expanded government will be formed to represent the components of Syrian society, which will be assigned with implementing the provisions of the national pact.

Fourth: The new constitution will be put to referendum, and after it is approved the expanded government will adopt the laws agreed on at the dialogue conference according the new constitution, including the elections law. Afterwards, new parliamentary elections are held.

We may put the word ‘if’ as far as everything related to the constitution and laws is concerned because everything will be contingent on reaching agreement regarding the contribution and laws in the dialogue conference, which will be then presented by the government once they are agreed on.


Stage 3:

First: A new government will be formed according to the constitution existing at the time.

Second: A general conference for national reconciliation will be held and a general amnesty will be granted to those detained due to the events while preserving the civil rights of plaintiffs.

Third: Working on infrastructure rehabilitation and reconstruction and giving and compensating those affected by the events.

As for the amnesty, the civil rights of the complainants will be preserved as the state can waive its right but has no right to waive the rights of the plaintiffs.

I believe though that when we have reached that stage, it will be an amnesty granted not only by the state but also by those who have rights. Then we will have practically reached the national reconciliation when everybody would forgive everybody else.

These main features of the political solution as we view it are only titles that need details. The government will be in charge of this issue as it will be tasked with drawing out the details and expanding on these titles so as to later present this vision in the form of an initiative in the coming few days and follow up on all these stages according to the aforementioned items.

Let us put each issue in its context, since we are living now in an age of falsification and misinterpretation. It’s not us who are interpreting things, but this is the general case, that is to interpret things contrary to their meanings. Therefore, let us place things in their context and correct the ideas and terms being proposed.

First, regarding this vision, some will be worried and feel concerned, considering it a step backwards in terms of security, but I reassure everyone that when it comes to combating terrorism, we will not stop as long as there is a single terrorist in Syria. What we started, we won’t stop. Anything we do in this initiative doesn’t mean at all that we will neglect combating terrorism; to the contrary, the more we make progress in combating terrorism, the more there’s a chance for the success of this vision.

Second, this vision, whether they want to call it an initiative or a vision or ideas, is directed to all those who want dialogue and all those who want to see a political solution in the near future in Syria. It isn’t directed to those who don’t want dialogue and thus we’ll hear as of today much rejection by parties you know well, and we tell them in advance: why reject something that isn’t addressed to you in the first place. So they don’t need to waste their time.

Third, any initiative proposed by any party, figure or country must be based on the Syrian vision; meaning that no initiative can replace what we view as a solution to the crisis in Syria. In clearer language, any initiative is an initiative to help what the Syrians will do and doesn’t replace that. After posing the ideas by the government, any initiative that comes from abroad must be based on these ideas and assist them. There’s no need to waste our time and others’ time with initiatives that deviate from this context.

At the same time, if we wonder how foreign initiatives can help us, there are two axes: the political work axis, and the counter-terrorism axis. In the first axis, we don’t need help, and we as Syrians are capable of carrying out an integrated political process, and those who want to help Syria in a practical actual and honest manner and want to succeed can focus on the issue of stopping the entry of gunmen, weapons and funds to Syria. This is a message to everyone working from abroad to know where to focus. We don’t want someone to come to Syria and tell us what to do in a political process. A country that is thousands of years old knows how to manage its affairs.

The fourth point, supporting helpful foreign initiatives doesn’t mean in any way accepting its interpretation if it doesn’t match our vision. We don’t accept any interpretation of these initiatives except in a manner that serves Syrian interest. In this framework I’m talking about the Geneva initiative which Syria supported but had an ambiguous article which is the transitional stage article.

Of course, it isn’t explained for a simple reason, because when we speak of a transitional stage then the first thing we ask is transition from where to where, or from what to what. Is it a transition from a free, independent country to a country under occupation, for example? Do we make a transition from a country that has a state to a country without a state and a state of utter chaos? Or do we make a transition from independent national decision to handing this decision to foreigners?

Of course, opponents want all three together, and for us in such circumstances, a transitional stage is transition from instability to stability, and any other interpretation doesn’t concern us. In other situations if there hadn’t been a crisis, a natural transition would be from a state to a better state. This comes in the context of the development process, and any transition in terms of any transitional stage must be through constitutional means. For us, what we’re doing now, these ideas; for us this is the transitional stage.

Fifth, any initiative we accepted, we did so because it is based on the principle of sovereignty and the people’s decision. Indeed, the initiatives that were proposed and we dealt with, focus on this point from the beginning. Therefore, things agreed upon within Syria or outside it must be by the people’s decision. Thus, even the national pact which could be approved by the national dialogue conference will not pass without a referendum. This means that there must be a popular referendum on anything, particularly in these difficult conditions. We told everyone we met that anything or any idea that comes from outside or inside my pass through popular referendum, not through the president, government, dialogue or any other thing.

This constitutes a type of guarantee to always take steps that actually express popular consensus and national interest. If we understand these simple and clear words, then all those who come to Syria and leave it know that Syria accepts advice but doesn’t accept dictations and accepts help but doesn’t’ accept tyranny.

Based on all that, all you could have heard or did hear in the past of terms, ideas, opinions, initiatives and statements via the media and from officials don’t concern us if they’re terms of a “spring” origin. They are soap bubbles as the “spring” is but a soap bubble which will disappear.
Any interpretation of any issue that deviates from Syrian sovereignty for us is but mere dreams. They have the right to dream and they can live in their dreaming fantasy world, but they can’t make us live in their realistic world, and we won’t make any initiative or action except based on Syrian reality and on the interest and desire of the people.

Sisters and brothers,

The homeland is above all, and Syria is above all. We can strengthen Syria through political initiatives and defending every single grain of its soil. Syrians abound with forgiveness and tolerance, but pride and patriotism run in their veins. The majority of people have risen against terrorism. Some have helped through providing the competent authorities with valuable information which enabled them to abort terrorist attacks against citizens. Others have risen against terrorists and deprived them of a support base, whether through defending their areas or even taking to the streets in protest against gunmen, many even fell martyr while doing so, and others have defended the cities, districts and infrastructure hand in hand with the armed forces.

I will mention one example of a small village in the farthest north of Syria in al-Hasaka province named Raas al-Ein where the valiant young men of this village, which lies directly on the Turkish border, confronted over several days repeated terrorist attacks and were able to force out the terrorists who came from Turkey. So, we give our salute to this village.

There are others who argued, convinced, forgave and were forgiven through national reconciliation initiatives on the local level, which blocked the road before the terrorists and shifted the general situation from escalation to calm.

Those citizens have demonstrated deep awareness. The aspired-to security does not come through fence-sitting, watching, escaping or groveling to the outside. If we are not fine in our country, we won’t be so anywhere outside it. The homeland is not for those who dwell in it, but for those who defend it. The homeland is not for those who enjoyed its blessings and shade but were not there when it called for them.

The homeland is for those who rose from all walks of life and affiliations when their homeland needed them, even though they were wronged at times. This is the time for giving and their giving has been without bounds. Some were honored with martyrdom, and their blood had punctured the fake ‘Spring’ and shielded the people from deceit that was about to bear fruit in the beginning. Their blood has punctured what the West falsely dubbed Spring, but was a vindictive fire that sought to torch whatever came its way through an abominable sectarianism, blind hatred and loathsome partitioning. It was a Spring only for those who planned it and tried to make it a reality, which is now collapsing.

The blood of martyrs protected and will protect the homeland and the region, and will protect our territorial integrity and reinforce accord among us, while at the same time purify our society of disloyalty and treason, and keep us from moral, human and cultural downfall, which is the strongest victory. When the homeland triumphs, it does not forget those who sacrificed for its sake.

I’d like to extend my salutation to those who deserve it most: the Syrian Arab army who are shedding blood and sweat for Syria which they see uppermost. Greetings to our armed forces who are fighting the fiercest of wars and are determined to restore security and stability to the homeland through uprooting terrorism.

The armed forces have wrote down the epics of heroism thanks to their cohesion, steadfastness and national unity which reflected those of the people, thus doing citizens proud and keeping them safe. Glory to every soldier who is completing the mission of his colleagues who passed away.

I salute every single citizen who did his national duty through standing by the armed forces, each from his position. Those are the pride of Syria whose names will go down in history, for they are writing history with their blood and valor.

Sisters and brothers,

I know as you all know that what the homeland is going through is painful and difficult, and I feel the pain which is felt by most of the Syrian people over the loss of loved ones and the martyrdom of sons and relatives as the fire of the grudge has reached everyone, the pure coffins of the martyrs have entered the houses of many and I am one of them because I come from the people and will remain so. Offices of state and government are transient but the homeland is everlasting. The tears of bereaved mothers will refresh the pure souls of their departed loved ones and burn the criminals, who stole the laugh of our children and here they are trying to steal their future in a safe, strong and stable country.

Syria will remain as it is and will return, God willing, stronger. There is no ceding rights or giving in on principles. Those who placed their bets on weakening Syria so that it might forget the Golan and its occupied lands are mistaken. The Golan is ours and Palestine is our cause for which we offered every precious thing, blood and martyrs. We will remain the supporters of resistance against the one enemy. Resistance is a culture, not individuals. Resistance is a thought and practice not concessions and seizing opportunities.

The people and state who bore the brunt of standing with the Palestinian people in their just cause for decades, despite all the challenges and costs that every Syrian citizen has paid materially and emotionally in terms of pressures and threats, cannot be but in the same place towards Palestinians.

Any attempt to implicate the Palestinians in the Syrian events is aimed at deflecting attention from the main enemy, and is stillborn. The Palestinians in Syria are doing their duty towards their second homeland like any Syrian. We are responsible, as Syrian people and state, for doing our duty towards them as towards any Syrian citizen. I salute every honest Palestinian who valued the Syrian stances and did not treat Syria as a hotel which he leaves when conditions get a little tight.

Sisters and brothers,

In spite of what has been planned against Syria and what has been done to us by those who are near before those who are far, they could never change us. Patriotism runs in our blood and Syria is the most precious of all. Your steadfastness over two years tells the whole world that Syria is impervious to collapse and the Syrian people impervious to humiliation. Steadfastness and challenge is deeply rooted in the Syrian body which we have inherited over generations. We will always be like that. Hand in hand we will move ahead despite all the wounds, taking Syria to a brighter and stronger future. We will move forward and we will not be frightened by their bullets or panicked by their hatred because we have rights and God is always with the right.

Syria: Opposition Using Children in Conflict Boys Report Serving as Fighters, Guards, and Lookouts

Syria: Opposition Using Children in Conflict Boys Report Serving as Fighters, Guards, and Lookouts

(New York, November 29, 2012) – Armed opposition groups fighting in Syria are using children for combat and other military purposes, Human Rights Watch said today. Children as young as 14 have served in at least three opposition brigades, transporting weapons and supplies and acting as lookouts, Human Rights Watch found, and children as young as 16 have carried arms and taken combat roles against government forces. Opposition commanders should make public commitments to end this practice, and to prohibit the use of anyone under 18 for military purposes – even if they volunteer, Human Rights Watch said.

Syria: Opposition Using Children in Conflict Boys Report Serving as Fighters, Guards, and Lookouts

Opposition Using Children in Conflict
Boys Report Serving as Fighters, Guards, and Lookouts

Human Rights Watch interviewed five boys between the ages of 14 and 16 who said they had worked with the armed opposition in Homs, Daraa, and Khirbet al-Jawz, a small Idlib town near the Turkish border. Three of the boys, all age 16, said they carried weapons. One said he received military training and participated in attack missions. Two boys – ages 14 and 15 – said they, together with other boys, supported opposition brigades by conducting reconnaissance or transporting weapons and supplies. In addition, Human Rights Watch interviewed three Syrian parents who said their sons under 18 had remained in Syria to fight.

“All eyes are on the Syrian opposition to prove they’re trying to protect children from bullets and bombs, rather than placing them in danger,” said Priyanka Motaparthy, children’s rights researcher at Human Rights Watch. “One of the best ways opposition military commanders can protect children is to make a strong, public commitment against use of children in their forces, and to verify boys’ ages before allowing them to enlist.”

In some cases, boys interviewed said that they had volunteered to fight along with older siblings or family members. In other cases, they said opposition soldiers asked them to participate. In all cases, the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict, to which Syria became party in 2003, states that, “Armed groups, distinct from the armed forces of a State, should not under any circumstances, recruit or use in hostilities persons under the age of 18 years.”

The Syria Violations Documenting Center, a Syrian opposition monitoring group, has documented the deaths of at least 17 children who fought with the FSA. Many others have been severely injured, and some permanently disabled.

Ongoing initiatives to have armed opposition groups adopt and enforce codes of conduct that promote respect for human rights and international humanitarian law should include provisions making clear that children should not participate in the armed conflict, Human Rights Watch said.

“Majid,” a 16-year-old boy from Khalidiya, Homs, told Human Rights Watch that he participated in combat missions in Syria. “I used to carry a Kalashnikov…. I used to shoot checkpoints … to capture [them] and take the weapons.” Majid added that his battalion, which he said had more than 2,000 fighters, gave him combat training. “They taught us how to shoot, how to dismantle and put together a weapon, how to target,” he told Human Rights Watch. He volunteered along with his older brother and other relatives, he said.

“Haitham” and “Qassim,” two sixteen-year-old boys from Daraa province currently living in Jordan, told Human Rights Watch that they had voluntarily joined a local brigade, though they did not participate in attacks and had not received training. “The FSA just gave us weapons, there wasn’t any training,” Qassim said, referring to the Free Syrian Army. “We had Kalashnikovs, but we had only 30 bullets. I did reconnaissance, [and] we would guard the village at night. When someone came, we would inform the others…. [But] we didn’t go on missions because we were too young.”

“[The FSA] is accepting people from 16 and up,” Haitham told Human Rights Watch. “They’re under a lot of pressure [to win battles].” Majid from Homs also indicated that the FSA accepted children, despite their age. “The job you have depends on you,” he said. “If you have a brave heart, they’ll send you to fight checkpoints.” He added that while he held a combat post for several months, his commanders eventually told him to leave the unit because of his age. “They said we need older guys – you’re too young,” he said.

“Raed,” 14, told Human Rights Watch that he transported weapons, food, and other supplies for opposition fighters in Khirbet al-Jawz, near the Turkish border. Raed and his brother had camped out on the border when their town in northern Syria came under attack. He told Human Rights Watch that fighters asked him to assist them by carrying supplies across the border:

We would help the FSA by bringing them … supplies from Turkey, weapons. We would bring bullets and Russiyets [Kalashnikovs]. All of the kids were helping like this. We were 10 boys between 14 and 18 years old. I know the guys in the FSA and they asked me to help in this way. I did this for four or five months.

In June 2012, government forces began shooting at the border area where Raed and his brother were sleeping, near a group of FSA fighters. “[My] grandparents were at home, but we slept at the border with the FSA,” he told Human Rights Watch. “The day I got shot was the first time that I slept at the border. When I was shot, I was running, and I was shot from behind. The army was about 100 meters away.” Raed received medical treatment in Turkey, but he suffered permanent damage from his injury. “The bullet hit my nerves,” he said. “I feel my leg but I can’t move it. I’ve had four surgeries and have three surgeries left…. I don’t know if I will walk again.”

“Karim,” 15, told Human Rights Watch that before he left Homs in June or July, he and his friends used to climb trees to scout for the Free Syrian Army. “I used to go into the trees,” he said. “I would hide there to see the situation on the ground. We used to help the FSA this way.”

International law sets 18 as the minimum age for participation in direct hostilities. Under the International Criminal Court’s Rome Statute, it is a war crime for armed forces or groups to conscript or enlist children under 15, or to use them “to participate actively in hostilities.” According to definitive interpretations of the statute, active participation in hostilities does not only cover children’s direct participation in combat, but includes activities linked to combat such as scouting, spying, sabotage, and the use of children as decoys, couriers, or at military checkpoints. The prohibition on active participation also includes use of children in “direct” support functions, such as carrying supplies to the front line.

In August, the United Nations Commission of Inquiry on Syria issued a report in which it “note[d] with concern reports that children under 18 are fighting and performing auxiliary roles for anti-Government armed groups.” It added that, “The commission received assurances from Colonel Riad al-Asaad that an FSA policy not to use children in combat is in place. There is evidence to suggest, however, that this policy is not uniformly being adhered to by the FSA and other anti-Government armed groups.”

“Even when children volunteer to fight, commanders have a responsibility to protect them by turning them away,” Motaparthy said. “Children are easily influenced by older relatives and friends, but their participation in armed hostilities places them in grave danger of being killed, permanently disabled, or severely traumatized.”

Countries financing or supplying arms to opposition groups should urge the FSA to prohibit the use of those under 18 for military purposes, whether as active combatants or in support roles, Human Rights Watch said.

Human Rights Watch found that refugee boys in neighboring countries remain vulnerable to recruitment and participation. In three group interviews with Syrian refugees, older men, including FSA fighters on leave, asked children in the group what army they supported and showed Human Rights Watch photographs or videos of children carrying weapons and chanting FSA rallying cries. On at least two occasions while interviewing refugees, Human Rights Watch witnessed men encouraging boys to join the armed opposition. Human Rights Watch also reviewed several YouTube videos, including videos on FSA brigades’ Facebook pages or YouTube channels, featuring former child combatant “martyrs” or children who say they hope to be martyred.

“We’ve watched men urge boys to support the FSA and join the fight,” Motaparthy said. “Particularly when their older family members fight with armed opposition groups, or have been killed by regime forces, boys can face pressure to pick up weapons and fight back, sometimes even at very young ages.”

Boys who served the armed opposition groups interviewed by Human Rights Watch came from particularly vulnerable segments of the Syrian population. Three of the five boys interviewed said they did not know how to read, and four had worked full-time before participating in FSA activities. None were attending school at the time they joined the FSA, as even those who formerly attended stopped because schools had closed in their community or because their families deemed the security risk too great.

Some of the boys interviewed by Human Rights Watch outside Syria said they had left Syria only to bring their female relatives to safety, while others said they had left temporarily but planned to return. Majid said that while he had been discharged from his battalion because of his age, he had come to Jordan only to drop off his female family members. He planned to travel to Daraa with a friend to try to enlist in a different unit. “Maybe it’ll be different [and they will accept me] there,” he said.

Haitham and Qassim said they also planned to return to Syria and continue fighting. “[My unit had] a weapons shortage,” Qassim said. “I am waiting for a call telling me they have more weapons, then I will return.” Raed said that he and his older brother accompanied their family to a refugee camp in Turkey, but then returned to Syria and joined the FSA, with whom he worked until he was shot in the leg.

“The FSA comes to the [Zaatari] camp and spreads the message that it is not acceptable to stay in the camp while others are fighting in Syria,” one international organization representative working with Syrian refugees in Jordan told Human Rights Watch. While Syrian refugees have been allowed access to school in host communities, and schools have been established in refugee camps, space remains limited.

“Many older children are choosing not to go to school,” Motaparthy said. “They have missed as many as two years of school inside Syria and they say they don’t see the value any longer. Humanitarian groups working with refugees should work to prevent recruitment in the camps and communities and ensure that all children have access to education.”

بريطانيا ترحّب بتعيين ممثل للإئتلاف السوري بلندن وتقول إنها لن تعترف به كحكومة منفى

 بريطانيا ترحّب بتعيين ممثل للإئتلاف السوري بلندن وتقول إنها لن تعترف به كحكومة منفى

بريطانيا ترحّب بتعيين ممثل للإئتلاف السوري بلندن وتقول إنها لن تعترف به كحكومة منفى

لندن, بريطانيا, 27 تشرين الثاني-نوفمبر / يو بي أي

رحّب متحدث باسم وزارة الخارجية البريطانية بتعيين وليد سفور ممثلاً سياسياً لـ “الائتلاف الوطني لقوى الثورة والمعارضة السورية” في المملكة المتحدة، وأكد أنه لن يستخدم السفارة السورية في لندن، مشيراً الى أن حكومته لن تعترف بالائتلاف كحكومة منفى.

وقال متحدث باسم وزارة الخارجية البريطانية ليونايتد برس إنترناشونال اليوم الثلاثاء، “نتطلع للعمل مع سفور مع مواصلة دعمنا للإئتلاف المعارض، وهو معروف بصورة جيدة من قبل مسؤولي وزارة الخارجية الذين انخرطوا معه في السنوات الأخيرة من خلال عمله في مجال حقوق الإنسان، والتقاه جون ويلكس، ممثل الحكومة البريطانية الخاص لدى المعارضة السورية، أمس (الاثنين) وهنّأه على تعيينه”

وحول السماح لممثل “الائتلاف الوطني لقوى الثورة والمعارضة السورية” باستخدام السفارة السورية في لندن، قال المتحدث إن “السفارة السورية مغلقة الآن ولا يوجد تمثيل دبلوماسي سوري في المملكة المتحدة، لكننا لم نقطع العلاقات الدبلوماسية مع سوريا وسفارتها في لندن لا تزال مصونة بموجب معاهدة فيينا للعلاقات الدبلوماسية”.

وأضاف المتحدث باسم وزارة الخارجية البريطانية “لن يكون من حق الائتلاف الوطني لقوى الثورة والمعارضة السورية استخدام السفارة السورية في لندن، ولن نعترف به كحكومة منفى، وسنستمر في التعامل مع نظام الأسد حيث تملي الضرورة القصوى، مثل الحالات القنصلية، لكننا نعتبر أن الإئتلاف المعارض يعكس التطلعات المشروعة للشعب السوري”.

وقال إن “اتصالاتنا الرئيسية ستكون الآن مع الائتلاف الوطني السوري”.
وكان “الائتلاف الوطني لقوى الثورة والمعارضة السورية” أعلن في بيان أمس الإثنين تعيين رئيس “اللجنة السورية لحقوق الإنسان” الذي ينتمي إلى جماعة الأخوان المسلمين، وليد سفور، “سفيراً” له في لندن.

ويُعد سفور، المقيم في بريطانيا منذ سنوات طويلة، ثاني “سفير” يعينه “الائتلاف الوطني” المعارض في أوروبا، بعد تسميته منذر ماخوس “سفيراً” له في باريس.

The West views the Muslim Brotherhood as a “fellow traveller” in Syria and as a terrorist – in Gaza

Dmitry Babich
Nov 21, 2012

The announcement by the United Kingdom’s foreign minister William Hague of the UK’s decision to recognize the National Coalition of Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people is a risky move.

The problem is not just that this risky move takes place at a moment when violence in Gaza escalates and the announced truce fails. The problem is that the hasty summary recognition of radical Syrian opposition reflects the main dichotomy of the Western governments’ attitude to the processes taking place in the Middle East. How long can the West – willingly or unwillingly – help the Muslim Brotherhood in some countries of the region (Syria and Egypt), while opposing it in some others (in Gaza and the West Bank in the first place)?

The “Brotherhood” in Egypt, Gaza and… Syria?

There is very little doubt that the Muslim Brotherhood is one of the main driving forces behind the anti-Assad rebellion in Syria. Even the ill-fated rebellion in the city of Hama in the 1980s, brutally suppressed by the father of the current Syrian president, Hafez al-Assad, was started by a kidnapping of a group of government soldiers by the Syrian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood. The Brotherhood was strongly represented in the Syrian National Council, hailed by Western powers since the start of the Syrian uprising and now still given a substantial quota of seats inside the new National Coalition, fully recognized by France and now also by Britain. The French daily Le Figaro estimated the presence of the Muslim Brotherhood in SNC at 70 percent.

Meanwhile, the much-maligned Hamas movement on the Palestinian territories was founded in 1987 by Sheik Ahmed Yassin as an “offshoot of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood” (a quote from The New York Times). It is more than likely that the activists of the Hamas organization, whom the United States and most of the governments of the EU member states view as a “terrorist group” and on whom they put most of the blame for the bloodshed in Gaza, enjoy full support of their “brothers in faith” in Egypt and Syria. Those same brothers, whom Western powers (Britain and France with even more enthusiasm than the US) help to come to absolute power in their countries.

Yes, the full amount of the Brotherhood’s influence in the Syrian anti-Assad movement is not yet known. Yes, there are some tensions between the Muslim Brotherhood’s fighters in Syria and some even more radical anti-Western Salafist fighters, who recently refused to join the Western-backed National Coalition of Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces. But these details do not make the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood a civilized democratic force. Instead, they only underwrite the danger that the Syrian “brotherhood” poses to the Syrian religious minorities (Christians and non-Sunni Muslims in the first place), Western countries, Russia and ultimately all the countries of the world. The “brothers” could possibly make an exception for Saudi Arabia and Qatar, their current sponsors, but even that may not be for long. History knows many cases when the egalitarian fervor of certain revolutionaries ultimately turned against a revolution’s rich sponsors.

Little vitriol for islamists and a lot – for Russia 

The reaction to the events in Syria and Gaza on the part of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Egypt and the newly radicalized Turkey is logical and predictable. There is nothing surprising about Turkey calling the activities of Israel “terrorist” (after all, Israel was a friend of a different, more secular Turkey in the 1980s and 1990s). There is nothing surprising about the Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi, himself a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, showing open support for the fighters of Hamas in Gaza and calling Israel’s operation “an aggression.” What is surprising is the reaction to the unfolding events in the Western capitals, in London and Paris in particular. Are British and French diplomats unable to see a solid wall of Islamist states being created in North Africa and the Middle East? Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and now Syria falling to Islamists, with the Palestinian Autonomy possibly following suit? After all, it is none other than The New York Times that reports a dramatic increase in Hamas’ popularity in the West Bank, with the authority of the Ramallah-based head of Palestinian authority, Mahmoud Abbas, shrinking.

In fact, the lessening of power of Mr. Abbas and his Fatah movement (formerly the backbone of the pro-Soviet Palestine Liberation Organization) fits the dangerous general trend, so enthusiastically applauded in the US and Europe during the last two years. That trend is the replacement of the authoritarian (and often formerly pro-Soviet) secular regimes by the leaner, meaner Islamist regimes. These Islamist regimes come to power thanks to the support of the Western governments, willingly or unwillingly blinded by “free ballots” on quickly militarized “new territories” of what the Islamists hope one day to see as the “new Caliphate.” In many cases (in Libya and now possibly in Syria) Western governments help Islamists come to power by direct military interventions or at least a massive supply of arms. Not surprisingly, the Islamists do not show any gratitude to the West (or any desire to have more free ballots) once they establish themselves in power. (The murder of the American ambassador in Libya, anti-American actions in Egypt and the new “ice age” in Israeli-Egyptian and Israeli-Turkish relations are just the first manifestations of a growing trend.)

And what is even more surprising is the fact that the mainstream Western press does not save for those Islamists even a tiny bit of the vitriol that it expends on Russia and China for their skepticism about the pro-rebel foreign intervention in Syria and the “Arab Spring” in general. There is no remorse or modesty and, in fact, very little memory. After all, Moscow warned about the “bloodbath” in Iraq, the “chaos” in Libya and the Islamist presence in Syrian opposition long before the Western mainstream media discovered these things for itself.

Rafeef Ziadah – Shades of Anger

Allow me to speak my Arab tongue

before they occupy my language as well.

Allow me to speak my mother tongue

before they colonise her memory as well.

I am an Arab woman of color.

and we come in all shades of anger.

All my grandfather ever wanted to do

was wake up at dawn and watch my grandmather kneel and pray

in a village hidden between Jaffa and Haifa

my mother was born under an olive tree

on a soil they say is no longer mine

but I will cross their barriers, their check points

their damn apartheid walls and return to my homeland

I am an Arab woman of colour and we come in all shades of anger.

And did you hear my sister screaming yesterday

as she gave birth at a check point

with Israeli soldiers looking between her legs

for their next demographic threat

called her baby girl “Janeen”.

And did you hear Amni Mona screaming

behind their prison bars as they teargassed her cell

“We’re returning to Palestine!”

I am an Arab woman of colour and we come in all shades of anger.

But you tell me, this womb inside me

will only bring you your next terrorist

beard wearing, gun waving, towelhead, sand nigger

You tell me, I send my children out to die

but those are your copters, your F16′s in our sky

And let’s talk about this terrorism business for a second

Wasn’t it the CIA that killed Allende and Lumumba

and who trained Osama in the first place

My grandparents didn’t run around like clowns

with the white capes and the white hoods on their heads lynching black people

I am an Arab woman of colour and we come in all shades of anger.

“So who is that brown woman screaming in the demonstration?”

Sorry, should I not scream?

I forgot to be your every orientalist dream

Jinnee in a bottle, belly dancer, harem girl, soft spoken Arab woman

Yes master, no master.

Thank you for the peanut butter sandwiches

raining down on us from your F16′s master

Yes my liberators are here to kill my children

and call them “collateral damage”

I am an Arab woman of colour and we come in all shades of anger.

So let me just tell you this womb inside me

will only bring you your next rebel

She will have a rock in one hand and a Palestinian flag in the other

I am an Arab woman of color

Beware! Beware my anger…

A tribute to Damascus

A tribute to Damascus

A tribute to Damascus


“Go back as far as you will into the vague past, there was always a Damascus. To Damascus years are only moments, decades are only flitting trifles of time. She measures time not by days, months and years, but by the empires she has seen rise and prosper and crumble to ruin. She is a type of immortality. She saw Greece rise and flourish two thousand years, and die. In her old age she saw Rome built, she saw it oversahdow the world with its power; she saw it perish. [...] Damascus has seen all that has ever occurred on earth, and still she lives. She has looked upon the dry bones of a thousand empires, and will see the tombs of a thousand more before she dies. Though another claims the name, old Damascus is by right the Eternal City.”

- Mark Twain