Syria’s embattled city of Aleppo is just about being totally returned to government control. As the liberation of the city draws closer, Western and regional sponsors of the so-called moderate rebels are getting more baffled as to what should be done. After meeting with Syrian opposition delegates in Paris on Saturday, Western diplomats once again called for a new round of talks between representatives of the Damascus government and the foreign-sponsored opposition groups. They asserted that the end of the battle in Aleppo would not mean the end of the battle in Syria. This edition of ‘The Debate’ examines how a Syrian government’s final victory in Aleppo can affect the battle against terrorists across Syria. Our guests on this program were Scott Bennett, a former US army psychological warfare officer in San Francisco, and Richard Millet, a journalist and political commentator from London.
Richard Millet blamed Syrian airstrikes and Russian intervention for “the annihilation of civilians and opposition forces in eastern Aleppo.”
He further noted that there is no hope for authentic democracy and for positive change in Syria as long as President Bashar al-Assad remains in power.
“It's impossible to see that there's going to be any positive way forward while Assad is still there [because] Assad has been responsible for the displacement of a quarter of his own citizens and contribution to the killing of about 400 to 500,000 Syrians,” he opined.
Millet also criticized the role played by Iran, Lebanon’s Hezbollah resistance movement and Russia in Syria.
“It's a tragedy on the ground what's happened to the Syrian people. And this is all on the behest of Iran, Hezbollah, Assad and Russia. All of these countries having their own regional interests in which they want to control and maintain Syria under their own power structures,” he remarked.
The analyst said that the only way to really resolve this problem is for Saudi Arabia and Iran to patch up their differences at the negotiating table, warning unless that happens, there is going to be no peace in the region.
However, Scott Bennett, the other panelist on the show, maintained that the so-called 'Friends of Syria,' Saudi Arabia and Qatar in particular, are seeking to turn Syria into another Libya so that they can easily use the “hellhole” to execute their own agenda which includes weakening Iran’s stance in the region.
“What ‘the Friends of Syria’ want to do to with Bashar al-Assad is exactly what they did to Muammar Gaddafi: castrate him and kill him with a bayonet and turn the country into a Wahhabi, Takfiri, Salafist chaos and fire that is now spreading up into Europe. They want to do the same thing in Syria so that they can continue on into Iran,” he analyzed.
He further praised the Syrian president as “an intelligent and businesslike man” who is admired now by many politicians even inside the US establishment, including President-elect Donald Trump, as a result of his staunch resistance against terrorism.
“They [US politicians] are coming to the realization that Syria and Bashar al-Assad must remain in order to destroy this chaos, forest fire that's been out of control [which] the United States, CIA and the Pentagon have been throwing gasoline on to erupt into future conflicts. So it is ending and that's why they're so desperate,” Bennett concluded.