Intl. powers must pressure Syrian opp. to engage in dialogue
Joint UN and Arab League envoy to Syria Kofi Annan has once again warned of the danger of civil war breaking out in Syria, saying that the peace plan must be implemented as soon as possible.
After a closed-door briefing at the UN Security Council, Annan also warned against foreign military intervention in Syria, saying it would only bring about further bloodshed.
He suggested that an international contact group on Syria should be established.
The envoy added that the group should consist of regional and international countries, including Iran, which can play a role in ending the violence in Damascus.
This comes as Syria’s President Bashar al-Asad has appointed a new Prime Minister and tasked him with the formation of a new government in Syria despite the continuous Western pressure on his government.
Syria’s security and political crisis carries on despite the UN efforts to bring about a peaceful political solution.
Press TV has conducted an interview with Talib Ibrahim, political activist, to hear his opinion on this issue. The following is a rough transcription of the interview.
Let me ask Mr. Talib Ibrahim what he thinks about how Syria will deal with this issue. Now some people consider that Mr. Assad still has the confidence to stay in power and he will not step down any time soon but don’t you think that perhaps if there is an international plan or solution in order to reach it peacefully Mr. Assad would have to perhaps step down in order for there to be a chance for national dialogue?
First I would say that the matter of being as a president or not for President Bashar al-Assad this is an internal issue, the Syrian population will decide that through elections.
Some people are talking now about Yemeni scenario to be repeated in Syria. We do not find the scenario suitable for Syria. There are a lot of reasons firstly, even at Yemen. Now Yemen is in great chaos and al-Qaeda is dominating very, very important parts of Yemen. We do not want that to Syria again.
Another issue, President Assad, the majority of Syrian people is supporting President Assad up to now. This is what has been revealed in the last parliamentary elections and now the state is very solid and the regime is very concrete inside Syria. There is no talking about a real split in the army or in the political structure of the regime etc.
In Yemen we found them even the praisers of President Ali Abdullah Saleh left him and they called him to step down. This is not in Syria and now the state in Syria totally is very, very strong, very concrete.
Another issue, international community is supporting Kofi Annan’s plan and there is no condition by Kofi Annan [for president] to step down presidency or to be in presidency.
Russians said and Gennady Gatilov, the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs in Russia, he said that this issue is not being muted between us and between Americans and he said this is a decision of Syrian population or of Syrian nation to decide who will be the president, who will leave or who will stay.
Anyway, the support of Kofi Annan plan means that regime will stay, president will stay but there should be a dialogue between different parties inside Syria. After this dialogue we expect a new parliamentary election and a new presidential election.
After all these series of political resolution we will see who will stay in power and who will leave. This means directly as what I had said. The Syrian population will decide and I think the Syrians they know their choices and they are able to make real decisions with regards to their political regime.
One point that you mentioned was the fact that you need national dialogue which should take place of course with all the significant factions even perhaps inside and outside of Syria but that does not seem possible at the time being.
So do you think the crisis will go on as it is the internal fighting between the government and the armed groups? What do you think?
We have heard Mr. Kofi Annan a few days ago he said he is asking the regional and international powers to use their influence on some parties of the Syrian opposition to stop violence and I think as a result he will ask them to force or to make pressure, to apply pressure on these parties to come to dialogue because dialogue is one of the most important points of Kofi Annan’s plan.
So I think the international community at the end if they want to stop the bloodshed in Syria and if they want to stop violence in Syria there should be a balance in applying pressure on Syrian government and I am sure the Syrian government now wants to remove all kinds of militant features in the streets and I think yes, they have a real and deep commitment in Kofi Annan’s plan but the problem now is in the so-called Free Syrian Army. The problem is in some Takfiri groups, al-Qaeda groups who are working in Syria.
Who can apply pressure on them? I am sure that Saudi Arabia and CIA can apply pressure on these groups and force them to stop violence and to come to the table for international dialogue.
Let us get a response from Talib Ibrahim, sure you heard our guest that he is saying that it is true that we have both sides fighting but he is blaming the government for this and what do you think the government could play a role in stopping this violence?
Firstly let me highlight some issues from the first days of this so-called revolution, it is not a revolution, it is a conspiracy against Syria and against the Syrian role in supporting the resistance and for regional politics. It is not internal issue.
From the first days after one week at Nawa, there were a massacre against the military intelligence, there were more than 20 members of them one week after the events began in Iraq. Twenty members of them were slaughtered like goats in Nawa, we have pictures and we have clips.
Another issue, one year ago at the same time, one year ago in Jisr ash-Shugur 120 members of the security forces were slaughtered and were killed in Jisr ash-Shugur. Who killed those?
The regime did not begin in using force, did not begin in sending its army and its troops to streets and to the villages and to the towns and all around Syria.
Who made those great massacres in Homs, in Baba Amr etc? Who made all of this? This is not a real political position. These are gangs are spreading alongside in all of the country, in every place [of] the country. They are trying to remove the power of the state and to make such as what they call [emirate] etc.
No state in the world can allow this to be. The sectarian war and civil war which others are talking about it is Saudi Arabia began talking about it from the first day. There are a lot of TV channels who are talking day and night about sectarianism and about Alawites and Sunnis etc. and Syrian society we did not hear that before this. This is the first time in my life. I am asking any person and I am trying to know any person, who began that?
This is not a revolution, it is a conspiracy to devastate and to destroy, to undermine the state of Syria and this is not in behalf of Syrian population. No this is in behalf of Saudi Arabia; this is in behalf of Israel and United States.
Israel and United States want to fight Iran and Hezbollah, they want to fight Iran and Hezbollah inside Syria because Syria is supporting Hezbollah. If they want to defeat Hezbollah we must cut the circle in Syria, Saudi Arabia and it is Takfiri and Wahhabi regime they are putting Iran enemy first. They do not talk about Israel as an enemy.
So they want to fight Iran instead of fighting it in Bahrain or in the [Persian] Gulf, they are fighting Iran of course in Syria and Syrian population is paying the price. Please raise your hands from Syria. The choices of Syrian population is to support the resistance, is to fight Israel, to fight United States and to support the president. I am living in Syria and I know the real choices of Syria.
Of course there is opposition, just political opposition we respect it and we are trying to talk but these gangs are something different.
A lot of these people are of course dying still in Syria and you have for example the Houla massacre which has devastated the entire world seemingly. Will Syria accept an international investigation into this massacre?
If you are talking about Houla massacre, the Houla massacre were not done by Syrian army. This is impossible and we have real proof that it was done by some militant groups who are Takfiri groups and there are Syrian investigations. Why we do not trust the Syrian investigation?
Another issue, when some people from the international community, we are talking about Houla, they did not see Houla they did not visit Houla, they have no proof to accuse the Syrian authorities or the Syrian army.
Of course we accept international investigation at that massacre but this investigation must work together side by side with the Syrian authorities because we have real evidence and we know who done that... personally one by one and we have some people witnessed what happened, some people can say what has happened to them, some families and I would tell you something. The majority of families who were slaughtered in Houla are loyalist to the regime; all of them were Shia and Alawites.
Can Syria perhaps be able not to let its crisis spill into Lebanon or do you think that it is only a reflection of the political disagreements that occurred both in Syria and Lebanon?
Firstly the crisis which is now in Syria it has Lebanese roots and the real problem is inside Lebanon. Let al-Hariri groups stop from providing weapons and logistic support to militants in Syria and let prevent them from intervening inside Syria and I think the problem in Lebanon should be resolved.
The problem now in Syria is very dangerous and Lebanon is a part [of] Syria historically and geographically and I think any problem would happen in Syria automatically without any intervention it would spread to all the neighbor countries.