Saturday May 05, 201211:14 PM GMT
Syria ceasefire is one-sided, retired Lebanese general says
Sat May 5, 2012 11:13PM
Interview with Hisham Jaber, retired Lebanese Army general and strategist
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UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan’s so-called ceasefire, which is part of his six-point peace plan for Syria, has been one-sided from the beginning, according to political analyst Hisham Jaber.

Jaber, who is a retired Lebanese Army general and strategist, made the remarks in an interview with Press TV.

Following is a rush transcript of the interview:

Press TV: Do you think that the gradual stationing of United Nations observers has made any change in Syria since the beginning of the crisis inside the country?

Jaber: Let me start from the beginning. The decision to send observers was based on the resolution of Security Council -- 2042, 43 -- and it said ceasefire. I do not think ceasefire is the right word to describe this.

If you remember the Resolution 1701, which stopped the military operation between Israel and Lebanon, said to stop military operation, it did not say ceasefire because America did not want to recognize the resistance and give it legality.

Now they came with the expression ceasefire. Ceasefire means between two parties recognized by the international society and by the United Nations, even though Syria did not protest about this expression and did accept what they said, so-called ceasefire.

From the beginning we have not been personally and many observers they have not been very optimistic about the success of the Kofi Annan plan because you have two sides. One side... the government, has only one decision maker and could be responsible before the United Nations and the international community. What about the other side?

Press TV: They did blame both sides for breaching the ceasefire. So it seems the United Nations is being... neutral... in this.

Jaber: Yes. What I am trying to say that you have in one side a government has only one side and one decision maker. On the other side, we have many groups of insurgents who do not have at all one leadership.

What is the so-called Free Syrian Army? If we suppose that it will obey, respect the ceasefire, what about several groups of insurgents who do not belong to the opposition in Syria, like al-Qaeda and other groups of insurgents, who came from Iraq, from Lebanon, from Libya, to make terrorist operations against Syria.

Press TV: Do you think that the West will probably not want to play a role in the United Nations peace plan, Mr. Kofi Annan’s plan, and prefer to play it in a different way, perhaps through summits like Istanbul and through their cooperation with Turkey and Qatar and Saudi Arabia?

Jaber: I can’t really, I am not sure that if they do not want the Western maybe they want to use other nationality. But the mission is very critical, is very dangerous, and in my opinion it is not a matter of numbers, if they are 300, 600, or 1000.

The important thing is the good will... Second, their mission, when they send them, is... controversial and paradox.

On one hand, they want to be free and they want to go wherever they want without any permission from the Syrian government. On the other hand, they want the Syrian government to be responsible about their security. They are working in a very dangerous area and their mission is very critical.

Second, and when we say ceasefire you have on the one hand, as we said, the regime and army, and on the other hand the opposition. What about the insurgents who does not belong to the insurgents? We may call them the third party, which may not obey to this ceasefire, and no control on it from any side.

For example, as we said, many groups of insurgents moved from Lebanon, moved from Iraq, from Jordan, and some of them they belong to al-Qaeda. The United States of America did not deny the presence of al-Qaeda in Syria and al-Qaeda itself did not deny its presence. It is very complex and complicated

Press TV: Does the West, do these countries, I mean the United States, France, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, do they approve of al-Qaeda elements or do they want things to move in their own way through the so-called Free Syrian Army and other armed groups and so on. Do you think that the issue of al-Qaeda just got out of hand?

Jaber: No. Al-Qaeda, really it’s not clear. Of course, al-Qaeda work by itself, does not belong officially to any regime, but everybody knows that al-Qaeda received some support, especially financial support, from many countries, especially some Arab countries, indirectly, maybe from private sectors... I do not want to say from the government.

If we really want to stop the fire in Syria, we have to ask those countries to put the maximum pressure on the groups of insurgents, whether it is the Free Syrian Army or the other insurgents, in order to accept and to respect the ceasefire, and, as we said, the Syrian side is one single leadership and decision maker and the opposition is different.

Press TV: A final question for you Mr. Jaber. There was lately a ship that was confiscated by the Lebanese Army off Lebanese shores and it seemed to have weapons being smuggled, allegedly being smuggled, into Syria. Is this some kind of a plan and who do you think is behind this?

Jaber: First of all, it is not the first ship which made traffic of weapons to Syria, but it is the first ship which has been captured. The question is: Did the UNIFIL not see before any ship and now the Lebanese Navy discovered this and the UNIFIL said it did cooperate with the Lebanese Navy.

The important thing is the content, the kind of weapons on this ship, which is very sophisticated, and we know they had missiles against aircraft and missiles against armor, and they had many kinds of sophisticated explosives like C4, dynamite, etc.

Press TV: Do you know where the source of these weapons is? Where did they come from?

Jaber: We learned, but it is not official, that they came from Libya, and Libya does not mean the government of Libya give it to them. The smuggle and traffic is going on for economic reasons, not for political reasons. Of course, it needs political cover to do it, and we have to wait until the investigation to determine.

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