Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad reiterates that the sole way to resolve Syria’s current crisis would be through a “national model.”
“What took place in Libya is not the model to settle Syria [crisis] and no plan or model except a ‘national model’ will work in Syria,” said President Assad in an exclusive televised interview Thursday night with IRIB’s channel 4.
He rapped the West and its “colonialist character” for seeking to undermine Syria’s regional role due to the country’s unwavering support for the Palestinian resistance.
Assad emphasized that the Western approach works in such way that today they resort to occupation as a means to impose their views, adding that the West subscribes to a similar method to block Iran’s access to nuclear technology.
“The colonialist nature of the West has not changed,” he asserted. “From the colonialist standpoint, regional countries should not move according to their national interests and if any country moves against their (Western) values and interests, they say no, like what happened in the case of Iran’s nuclear program.”
“Western states are opposed to Iran’s access to nuclear knowhow; they are more fearful of Iran’s expertise in the nuclear field than what they claim to be a nuclear bomb,” The Syrian president underlined.
President Assad also reiterated that “some regional states have been subjected to pressures due to Syria’s stance on Palestine, Lebanon, Iraq and the resistance, and are thus attempting to undermine or eliminate the Syrian role [in the region].”
Stressing his country’s determination to continue support for the resistance despite all the pressures, the Syrian leader said, “We cannot discontinue our support for the resistance, unless nations halt such backing and consequently give up their own rights, which is a remote possibility. Our policies are based on popular support and not according to the Western approach.”
The Syrian president went on to describe the Syrian armed opposition as “gangs of mercenaries and criminals,” insisting that they are driven by paramilitary forces. He then reiterated that “for terrorists and the governments that sponsor them, reforms are not important, since the very forces that claimed (a lack of) reforms were the problem; never benefited from them... all they wanted was (continued) unrest.”
He further explained that the reason that political reforms in the country were delayed was that the process, which originally began in 2000, according to Assad, coincided with a number of regional and global events that put extra pressures on Syria, namely the Palestinian intifada in 2000, the September 11 incidents in 2001 and the ensuing US-led wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the 2006 military aggression against Lebanon by the Israeli regime, as well as the 2009 massive Israeli attack against Gaza.
In response to a question about the double standards displayed by some Arab countries as well as the Arab League, regarding the crises in Bahrain and Syria, the Syrian president underlined that following his participation in all conferences for the heads of Arab states in the past decade, he concluded that the Arab League “was not permitted to play a positive role with respect to problems in Arab countries.”
“All of the plans pursued (by the Arab League) were to the detriment of Arabs,” President Assad insisted. “Most conferences of Arab leaders were scenes of quarrels.”
“The Arab League issued the cover for (NATO-led) Libya bombings,” he said. “Syria was the only country that opposed the move and therefore we had to pay the price for this policy; consequently, immediately following our decision (to oppose the Libya bombings), they (the West) acted through the Arab League to put the attack on Syria on their agenda. This has been the Arab League reality in the past, as it is at present.”
In response to another question concerning the presence and performance of international monitors in Syria, President Assad welcomed the move as “a measure that the West was forced to accept,” noting that their intention was to intimidate the Syrian government to react (adversely). He, however, described the first report by the observers as positive, but said that he “expected more from them.”
He added that Damascus clearly expected the observers to report what they witnessed about terrorist operations. “There are over 5,000 incidents of ceasefire violations by terrorist groups for them to speak about; then we can say that they (observers) are impartial.” President Assad noted, however, that Syrian authorities are in daily contact with international observers and maintain a “good cooperation” with them.
The Syrian President went on to express support for the Kofi Annan Plan to bring the unrest in his country under control, but insisted that Western countries and a number of their Arab allies in the region “consider the failure of the Annan Plan to their interest as a way to accuse Syria of leading to its failure.”
In response to a question about the existence of a plan to wage a military attack on Syria, Assad said he had “no information on such a plan,” though some countries “are making efforts to guide the situation towards a military attack.”
“The West expresses support for the Annan Plan on the one hand, while on the other hand, they seek a plan to overthrow [the government]. This is the same [approach of] double standards and political hypocrisy,” he said. “Westerners speak of human rights but give Israel weapons to kill Palestinians. This Western hypocrisy has not changed and will not change.”
On the role of the shadowy al-Qaeda terror group in the Syrian crisis, the Syrian president stated that a number of the terror network’s members have been arrested in Syria and confessed to their crimes. He further suggested that the US is behind al-Qaeda terror actions. “Who invented al-Qaeda? Did Afghanistan or Pakistan invent it or the US, with the money from Arab states?”
Assad explained that at the time of former US President Ronald Reagan in 1980’s, the US referred to al-Qaeda as freedom fighters, “but years later they changed their label to ‘terrorist.’ Now, some of them (al-Qaeda members) have come back to collaborate with the Americans and [the US] now says we have good radicals and bad radicals.”
“If al-Qaeda attacks a country that the US doesn’t like, they are good, but if they attack the interests of Americans or their allies in a certain region, then they are bad; this is the American logic,” he stressed.
Syria has been experiencing unrest since March 2011 and many people, including hundreds of security forces, have been killed in the violence.
While the West and the Syrian opposition say the government is responsible for the killings, Damascus blames ''outlaws, saboteurs and armed terrorist groups'' for the unrest, insisting that it is being orchestrated from abroad. .
The anti-Damascus Western governments have also been calling for the overthrow of President Assad.
Russia and China, however, have strongly opposed the Western demands.