|Only a national model can resolve Syria crisis: Assad||
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad says the only way to resolve Syria’s current crisis is through a national model.
“What happened in Libya is not the model to resolve (the) Syria (crisis), and no plan or model except a national model will work in Syria,” Assad said in an exclusive interview with Iran’s IRIB Channel 4 broadcast on Thursday night, Press TV reported.
He criticized the West for its “colonialist nature” and for seeking to undermine Syria’s regional role due to the country’s unwavering support for the Palestinian resistance.
The Western approach works in such a way that today they resort to occupation as a means to impose their views, and the West is using a similar method to attempt to block Iran’s access to nuclear technology, Assad noted.
“The colonialist nature of the West has not changed,” he asserted. “From the colonialist standpoint, regional countries should not act according to their national interests, and if any country acts 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 expertise. They are more afraid of Iran’s expertise in the nuclear field than an alleged nuclear bomb,” the Syrian president underlined.
Assad also stated that “some regional states have been subjected to pressure 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].”
Emphasizing his country’s determination to continue its support of the resistance despite all the pressure, the Syrian leader said, “We cannot discontinue our support for the resistance, unless nations (request we) halt this support and consequently relinquish their own rights, which is a remote possibility. Our policies are based on popular support and not the Western approach.”
He described the Syrian armed opposition as “gangs of mercenaries and criminals,” insisting that they are run by paramilitary forces. He then stated that “for terrorists and the governments that sponsor them, reforms are not important. They are seeking (to create) unrest. Therefore, if we had implemented the reforms at that time or now, what was supposed to occur would have taken place because the issue (plot) had been devised abroad and has nothing to do with reforms. The forces that claimed the problem was (the lack of) reforms, or some of these forces, did not benefit from the reforms.”
He said political reforms in the country were delayed because the process, which originally began in 2000, coincided with a number of regional and global events that put extra pressure on Syria, namely the Palestinian Intifada in 2000, the September 11 incidents in 2001 and the ensuing US-led wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Israel’s war against Lebanon in 2006, and the Zionist regime’s war on Gaza in 2009.
In response to a question about the double standards of some Arab countries and the Arab League in regard to the crises in Bahrain and Syria, the Syrian president stated that after attending all the conferences for the heads of Arab states over 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,” Assad insisted. “Most conferences of Arab leaders were scenes of quarrels.”
“The Arab League issued the cover for the (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 a question about the international monitors in Syria, Assad welcomed the move as “a measure that the West was forced to accept,” noting that their intention was to intimidate the Syrian government and trick it into responding unwisely. He described the first report by the observers as positive, but said that he “expected more from them.”
He added that Damascus expected the observers to report what they witnessed about terrorist operations. “There have been over 5000 incidents of ceasefire violations by terrorist groups for them to speak about. Then we could say that they (the observers) are impartial.” Assad also noted that the Syrian authorities are in daily contact with the international observers and are cooperating with them.
Assad expressed support for the Kofi Annan plan to end the unrest but insisted that Western countries and a number of their Arab allies in the region “consider the failure of the Annan plan to be in their interests as a way to accuse Syria of causing it to fail.”
In response to a question about the existence of a plan to wage a military attack on Syria, Assad said he had “no information about such a plan,” though some countries “are making efforts to steer the situation toward 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 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 terrorist group in the Syrian crisis, the Syrian president stated that a number of its members have been arrested in Syria and confessed to their crimes. He also said the United States is behind Al-Qaeda’s terrorist actions. “Who invented Al-Qaeda? Did Afghanistan or Pakistan invent it or the United States, with money from Arab states?”
During former US President Ronald Reagan’s time in office in the 1980s, the US called Al-Qaeda 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,” Assad stated.
“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 said.
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