Syria has been experiencing unrest since mid-March 2011. Many people, including security forces, have been killed in the turmoil.
While the West and the Syrian opposition accuse the government of the killings, Damascus blames ''outlaws, saboteurs and armed terrorist groups'' for the unrest, insisting that it is being orchestrated from abroad.
Press TV has talked with author and historian Webster Griffin Tarpley to further discuss the issue.
The video also offers the opinions of two additional guests: Ammar Waqqaf, with the Syrian Social Club, and political analyst Jihad Mouracadeh.
The following is an approximate transcript of the interview.
Mr. Tarpley, US Congressman Joseph Lieberman has visited the northern Lebanese region. He has met with al-Mustaqbal MPs and also Syrian refugees there. What basically are these visits about?
Well, Lieberman of course is a leading warmonger, he is one of the three amigos with John McCain and Lindsey Graham and this is the constant chorus for immediate war whatever the issue or whatever the part of the world may be.
Lieberman has said that the Obama regime is now inching closer to an attack on Syria; there are some indications, we have some changes in the National Security Council, some warmongers have moved up, some people who were not so sure have moved down and we have also got an article in the Washington Post
a couple of days ago, trying to build the case that the Syrian alleged chemical weapons stocks of nerve gas and … have to be seized.
So, if Syria seems to be in danger of disintegrating, the US and NATO forces would rush in and seize areas perhaps as large as a province. But I think we should focus on this northern Lebanon story. I see here the hand of NATO not the Syrian government at all, this is NATO.
We have had Geoffrey Feltman, the US undersecretary or assistant secretary for the Middle East in negotiations with people in the Lebanese government. The United States would like to get a base in northern Lebanon, they liked to have Tripoli and they would like to have a military airfield.
There is an underused airport near Tripoli which would be perfect for this purpose; that would then allow them to pursue aggressive designs vis-à-vis Syria, it would also allow them to counteract the Russian naval base at [the Syrian port of] Tartus.
So it seems to me we have got a situation where because of the election in Syria with the 51 percent turnout, because of the fact that the opposition, the Syrian Free Army, is obviously terrorists, right? They are using terrorist tactics. Because of the Syrian Nation Council’s breaking up continued squabbling there, the rebellion that NATO would like to stoke inside Syria is going nowhere. So they try to expand it, they try to get Turkey to come in, it has not worked. Nobody else [is] coming in. So I think they would like to spread it to Lebanon and see if new options for destabilization open up that way.
Dr. Tarpley, would you agree there that we should view the opposition - in our guest’s words there - and the Syrian government on equal terms when we say, well the opposition should be armed because the Syrian government is being supported, that that justifies giving arms to the opposition?
Tell us your view on that and also if you agree that the United States is actually not giving arms to al-Qaeda?
I would say first of all the principle that the Syrian ragtag, terrorist-ridden, divided opposition is somehow equal to the Syrian government, that is a principle that leads straight to anarchy and the collapse of civilization as we have known it.
There can be no such proposition in international law; that is I think absolutely antithetical to the interest of humanity.
Now, the US of course has been arming these rebels such as they are, from the very beginning. The US has been arming them from the very beginning and precisely to this area of Tripoli, right?
Baniays was mentioned, Homs, Hama. Why are those places rising in rebellion? Because that is where the ratline goes through for the NATO arms deliveries from Cyprus and other places and indeed MILAN missiles, very modern NATO, Metis missiles, have been delivered maybe not Kornet but similarly.
Now, let’s also look at the big picture. Last week at Saint Petersburg, [Russian] Prime Minister Medvedev made a remarkable statement saying that the Western desire to meddle in the affairs of sovereign states leads to regional wars and then he said quite possibly to nuclear war.
That is what we are looking at here. This is a very serious matter, it is not Libya; the great powers are immediately implicated in this.
We have just had an official of the Russian Foreign Ministry quoted in the Chinese news agency, stressing again that there are circles in the West who believe that this idea of intervening, invading countries, is a live option.
The NATO summit of course claims that they are not going to do it. Rasmussen and the US ambassador to NATO Daalder say, ‘No, who? Us? We are not going to invade anybody,’ but I think what the Russians are saying seems to reflect Russian intelligence that there is such a proposal or plan that is being readied.
Dr. Tarpley, basically, let’s see, is Syria now in a situation that Assad should go? Is that the only solution?
Our guest there is saying that there is no democracy in Syria, but does that mean that countries like Qatar or Saudi Arabia which are also lacking of course in democratic norms should get involved in bringing democracy there?
Certainly there is more democracy in Syria now than there was before the recent election which now has a multiparty, the multiparty election which these oppositionists chose to boycott because they knew they would lose big.
We have the following situation, we have the new television channel, the Sky News, for Arabia and this is Rupert Murdoch who has been pronounced by the British parliament unworthy to hold a broadcasting license and we have got some Sheikh from Abu Dhabi in the Emirates who are of course all absolute monarchies, no democracy there, and they are putting out the line.
Rupert Murdoch and his friend in Dubai are pushing the line that Assad is worse than Hitler.
Well, as a historian, I will be pleased to debate anybody they put up that the NATO destabilization of Syria is practically identical to what Hitler did to Czechoslovakia.
So, I do not know about worse than Hitler but strikingly similar to Hitler, we can say, is NATO and not Assad.