On the 7th of February, 2017 Syrian President Bashar al-Assad told Belgian media that their country and the EU merely obey ‘the American master’ when it comes to Syria and political decision-making in general.
Once again Assad shows that he is far from the dictator the western media paints him to be.
What Assad shows is that he is a well educated, well spoken, leader of a sovereign Syria that has undergone a massive and brutal US/EU invasion using Wahhabi jihadist forces masked as “moderate rebels.”
Here is the full transcript of the interview (courtesy Middle East Observer)…
Reporter: We’ve been to Aleppo, we’ve seen the destruction…how do you see the way forward for peace nowadays after Astana?
If we want to talk about how to see the peace – it is not related mainly to Astana, it is something much bigger: how can we stop the flowing of the terrorists towards Syria or in Syria? How can we stop the support from regional countries like Turkey, Gulf states, or from Europe like France and UK, or from the US during the Obama administration? If we deal with that title, this is where we can talk about the rest, about the political procedure. Astana is one of the initiative(s) during this war on Syria, and it’s about the dialogue between the Syrians.
Now it’s too early to judge Astana. The first one was positive because it was about the principles of the unity of Syria, about the Syrians deciding their future, how can you implement this communique? That’s the question. And I think we are going to see an Astana 2 and so on. So the peace is two things: fighting terrorists and terrorism, stopping the flowing of terrorists and every kind of logistical support, and second, dialogue between the Syrians to decide the future of their country and the whole political system. These are the headlines about how to see the future of Syria.
Reporter: We have seen many breaches in the ceasefire. Would you consider the ceasefire still upholding or is it dead?
No it’s not dead, it is…and it’s natural in every ceasefire anywhere in the world, in every war in any conflict to have these breaches. It could be sometimes on an individual level, it doesn’t mean there’s (a) policy of breaching of (the) ceasefire by government or any other party, and this is something we can deal with on a daily basis, and sometimes on an hourly basis, but till this moment, the ceasefire is holding.
Reporter: In the fight against (the) terror group Daesh, do you think all means are justified?
It depends on what do we mean by all means, we have to be…
Reporter: Literally all means…
Yeah but I don’t know what the means that are available to tell you yes, all means, so I don’t know what all means, but if you want to talk about military means, yes of course, because the terrorists are attacking the people. I’m not only talking about ISIS. ISIS and al-Nusra and all the al-Qaeda affiliated groups within Syria. When they attack Syrians and killing civilians, and beheading people and destroying properties – private and public – and destroying the infrastructure, everything in this country…our constitutional duty and legal duty as (a) government and as (an) army and as state institutions is to defend the Syrian people. It is not an opinion, it’s a duty. So regarding this, you can use every mean in order to defend the Syrian people.
Reporter: But we have seen the destruction in Aleppo – you have seen the images as well. Was there no other way to do it than in such a…or (sic) way?
Actually since the beginning of the crisis or the war on Syria we used every possible way. We didn’t leave any stone unturned in order to bring people to the negotiating table. But when you talk about the terrorists…when you talk about terrorists, when you talk about al-Qaeda, when you talk about al-Nusra and ISIS, I don’t think anyone in this world would believe that they are ready for dialogue, and they always say they’re not. They have their own ideology, they have their own way-path. They don’t accept anything (that) could be related to (a) civil state or civil country. They don’t. And I think you know as (a) European about this reality. So no, making dialogue with al-Nusra & al-Qaeda is not one of the means, but, if somebody wants to change his course on the individual levels, we are ready to accept him as a government and give him amnesty when he goes back to the normal life and give up his armament.
Reporter: The Belgian government is contributing in the fight against Daesh. There are six F-16 fighter planes in the fight against Daesh. Are you grateful to the Belgian government for that contribution?
Let me be frank with you: when you talk about contribution in the operation against ISIS – actually there was no operation against ISIS. It was (a) cosmetic operation. If you want to talk about (the) American alliance against ISIS, it was only an elusive alliance, because ISIS was expanding during that operation. At the same time that operation is (an) illegal operation, because it happened without consulting with or taking the permission of the Syrian government, which is a legitimate government. And it’s a breaching of our sovereignty. Third, they didn’t prevent any Syrian citizen from being killed by ISIS. So what are we grateful for? To be frank: no.
Reporter: You have stated several times that it is up to the Syrian people, it is up to the constitution to decide who their leadership should be, who their president should be. If the Syrian people would decide for a new leadership, would you consider to step aside?
If the Syrian people choose another president, I don’t have to choose to be aside, I will be aside, I will be outside this position, that’s self-evident, because the constitution would put (a) president, and the constitution would take him out according to the ballot box and the decision of the Syrian people. Ofcourse that’s very natural. Not only because of the ballot box, because if you don’t have public support, you cannot achieve anything in Syria, especially in a war. In a war what you need – the most important thing – is to have public support in order to restore your country, to restore the stability and security. Without it you cannot achieve anything. So yes ofcourse.
Reporter: Mr President, I am 43 years old, if I would have been born in Syria, there would always have been an Assad in executive power. Can you imagine a Syria without a member of the Assad family in executive power?
Of course, we don’t own the country. My family doesn’t own the country to say that only Assad should be in that position. That’s self-evident. And this could be by coincidence, because President (Hafez) Assad didn’t have an heir in the institution to be a successor. He died, I was elected – he didn’t have anything to do with my election when he was president.I didn’t have any position in the government. If he wanted me to be a heir, he would have put me somewhere, given me a responsibility. I didn’t have any responsibility actually. So it’s not as many in the media in the West use to say since my election that he was succeeded by his father or his father put him in that position. So yes Syria (is) owned by the Syrians, and every Syrian citizen has the right to be in that position.
Reporter: Do you think the European Union or even NATO can play a role in like rebuilding the country, in rebuilding Syria?
You cannot play that role while you are destroying Syria because the EU is supporting the terrorists in Syria from the very beginning under different titles: ‘humanitarian’, ‘moderate’, and so on, actually they were supporting al-Nusra and ISIS from the very beginning, they were extremists from the very beginning. So they cannot destroy and build at the same time.
First of all they have to take (a) very clear position regarding the sovereignty of Syria, stopping supporting the terrorists, this is where the Syrian would – I say would – accept those countries to play a role in that regard. But in the meantime if you ask any Syrian the same question they would say they don’t accept those countries that supported the people who destroyed our country, we don’t want them to be here. That’s what I think.
Reporter: Do you think Belgian can play a role in Syria?
Let me talk about the European political position in general. Many in this region believe that the European do not exist politically. They only follow their master the American. So the question should be about the American, and the European will follow and will implement what the American want. They don’t exist as (an) independent state, and Belgian is part of the EU.
Reporter: There is a new administration in Washington with Trump in power. What do you expect from it? Are you looking to work closely together?
President Assad:See Also
What we heard…a statement by Trump during the campaign and after the campaign is promising regarding the priority of fighting the terrorists, and mainly ISIS. That’s what we’ve been asking for during the last six years. So I think this is promising. We have to wait – it is still early to expect anything practical, it could be about the cooperation between the US and Russia that we think is going to be positive for the rest of the world including Syria. So as I said it is still early to judge it.
Reporter: If you look back on the last couple of years, are there any things that you regret?
Every mistake could be a regret by any individual…
Reporter: Have you made mistakes?
As a human…I have to make mistakes to be human, otherwise I’m not a human.
Reporter: What would you consider a mistake?
A mistake (is) when you either take a wrong decision, or make wrong practice. It depends on the situation. But if you want to talk about the crisis as I understand from your question, the three decisions that we take from the very beginning is to fight terrorism, and I think it’s correct; is to make dialogue between Syrians – I think it’s correct; to respond to every political initiative, whether it’s genuine or not, and I think it’s correct; and actually we supported the reconciliation between the Syrians, and I think it’s correct. Anything else could be trivial – you have a lot of things regarding the practice, regarding the institutions, you always have mistakes.
Reporter: If you look back do you think this war was avoidable?
No, because there was bad intention regarding the different countries like Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, France, UK, and the US, in order to destabilise Syria. So it wasn’t about the Syrians. That doesn’t mean that we don’t have many flaws before the war and today, as a country that allow many of those countries to mess with our country. I’m not excluding – I’m not saying it’s only about them, but they were the ones who took the initiative in order to run this war, so I don’t think it was avoidable.
Reporter: You have just had a visit from a Belgian parliamentary delegation with Mr Dewinter and Mr Carcaci, do you consider them as friends?
The most important (thing) about those visit is not to be friends. As a politician you don’t come to Syria to visit your friend, you come to Syria to see what’s going on.
Reporter: Do you see them as political allies?
No because…no, they are not my allies at all – they are coming here not for that reason. They are here in order to see what’s going on. They are the allies of the Belgian people. They came here because the government, the Belgian government, like many European governments, are blind today, they have no relation with this country on every level, so they don’t see what’s going on, they cannot play any role. So now the only eye that you have are the delegations that’s coming from your country, and this is one of them, this is one of the eyes that your government could have, and you could have many other eyes and delegations coming to Syria. So they’re not my allies, they’re not coming here for me, they’re coming here to see the situation, and I’m one of the players in the Syrian conflict. It’s natural to meet with me to hear what’s my point of view.