Western powers seek the removal of the Syrian government as Damascus will resist NATO, US and Israeli interests in the Middle East as long as President Bashar al-Assad is in power, says an analyst.
The comment comes amid escalating tensions between the US and Russia over the Syrian crisis as Washington renews its call for regime change in Damascus, despite Moscow’s assertions against any foreign interference in Syria.
“We’re going to continue to press forward in the [UN] Security Council. We’re going to continue to press the Russians…I believe - and I’ve said it before and obviously I can’t put a timeline on it - that this [Syrian] regime cannot survive,” said US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during a Monday press conference in East al-Quds (Jerusalem).
Press TV has conducted an interview with Omar Nashabi, an expert in judicial affairs and crime, to further talk over the issue.
The video also offers the opinions of two additional guests: political analyst, Sukant Chandan and author and journalist, Mark Glenn.
The following is an approximate transcript of the interview.
The foreign minister of Russia Sergey Lavrov said that the US and its allies are now saying that they won’t extend the UN mission in Syria, of course if Moscow does not support the Security Council draft resolution. Would you also interpret this approach as blackmail or as Russia says using the UN monitors there as bargaining chips?
Well, I think it would be useful to go back to the beginning of the mission of Kofi Annan and the start of the monitoring program. I think there were some interesting voices back then. When the monitors started working in Syria, there was a clear problem on the part of some Western powers that believed that the mission of the monitors is not going to be successful.
So therefore they talked about the failure of the mission in the first week when it first started functioning on the ground. So therefore it doesn’t come as a surprise. This was just to buy some time and now they feel that they want to move to a Security Council resolution under Chapter 7 because during that time they were able to smuggle more weapons and more money into Syria and therefore mobilize more of their small armed groups inside Syria.
And today the battle is taking place in some areas inside the capital Damascus and that is a very serious indication of the climax that is an advanced climax, a situation that is in very tense escalation that is the most important escalation since the beginning of the trouble in Syria.
Now I think that the position of Russia and the position of China and also today the position of Iran in calling for dialogue is in line with the UN charter and everybody must be reminded of that. The UN charter does not call for the removal of regimes or armed resolutions of conflicts.
I mean the call of the UN charter is for a political solution for problems such as the problems that Syria is going through. This is the call from the Islamic Republic in Iran calling for dialogue and the Islamic Republic is ready to invite groups from the opposition to Tehran to come and sit in Tehran with the regime and talk things over and see what kind of concessions must be made on both sides in order to reach a peaceful solution because with this situation escalating and the battles in the streets and destruction everybody knows and Lavrov made it very clear that Assad will not fall.
So therefore he will remain in power and destruction will continue until what? Until all the institutions in Syria are destroyed and then NATO would be satisfied and is this what is going on? Is it the destruction of a country because that country took a strong stand against Israel? I feel that this is the bottom line.
Let’s look at the UN Security Council draft resolution that’s being put forward now by these states. Mr. Nashabi, this resolution of course, as you know, includes sanctions. It does not of course call for a direct military intervention of any sort but is it a prelude to a military intervention?
Right now in that resolution Britain and its allies have found that the solution in asking the government to withdraw troops, they say, and heavy weapons from population centers within ten days. Now how practical is that option going to be, the options of asking the Syrian government to do that and to impose sanctions on it.
If a political solution here- a diplomatic solution can work, how practical is it going to be? How is it going to work? What is the solution that you could describe for us here?
I think that there is something very important that we need to clarify; it is not the wording of the resolution itself and the demands of the resolution. It is the fact that they wanted it to be passed under Chapter 7 of the UN charter. What does that mean?
It means that, under Chapter 7, if the Syrian authorities or the concerned groups do not comply with what is mentioned in the resolution, then the United Nations could use force and therefore could allow the NATO forces or could create an armed group under the United Nations flag to enforce the resolution.
Therefore when some analysts say that this resolution will actually lead to war, well it is based on the fact that, as Lavrov also emphasized today, they want to pass it under Chapter 7 and that is where the analysis comes from.
I think it is not completely justified because the Assad regime has done some steps, has cooperated, first of all, with the monitors,; has cooperated with the demands of the United Nations.
OK, they were not fully enforced on the ground but yet I said on this program before that I think practically it is very difficult for an army to deal with rogue armed groups shooting at it and weapons being smuggled from outside into the country. It is very difficult for an army to deal with this situation without resorting to violence and to oppressive measures.
However that is not fully justified at this point. I just want to say that President Assad did some constitutional reforms; there were some elections in Syria.
OK, also the elections were criticized; they were not perfect. Yet the step, the initiative is an important initiative forward. He appointed a new government and in that government there is a minister that is with a portfolio that is a specific portfolio for dialogue- Minister Haddad whose son has been killed actually during the conflict and who is part of the opposition.
So therefore there are members of the opposition in the current government in Syria. These steps, these four or five steps that were undertaken by President Assad, what do they say? They say that President Assad is ready to make some changes, is ready to listen, is ready to sit on a dialogue table and find a solution for Syria in order to preserve the country but he has been faced constantly by a massive attack, a diplomatic attack by the West, especially by the United States, France, the UK and Turkey.
As if it is something that they are using the United Nations; they are using this whole discussion but the bottom line is they want to destroy Syria; they want to weaken Syria; they want to remove this regime and put a regime that is pro-NATO, pro-Western interests in the region because Syria under Assad is a problem for NATO’s interests and for American interests and Israeli interests in the region.