Archive for the ‘Britain’ Category

Margaret Thatcher’s criminal legacy

April 11, 2013
 

 
Tue Apr 9, 2013 6:33PM GMT
 
Such fulsome praise may be expected coming from so many war criminals. But it is instructive of how history is written by the victors and criminals in high office. Obama, Cameron, Hollande and Merkel should all be arraigned and prosecuted for war crimes in Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Pakistan, Somalia and Mali, among other places. Kissinger has long evaded justice for over four decades for his role in the US genocide in Southeast Asia during the so-called
Vietnam War in which over three million people were obliterated in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia.”

Hours after the death of former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher, the history books are being re-written and the beatification of the Iron Lady is well underway.

Current British premier David Cameron praised Lady Thatcher for having “saved Britain” and for making the has-been colonial power “great again”.

Tributes poured forth from French and German leaders, Francoise Hollande and Angela Merkel, while US President Barack Obama said America had lost a “special friend”.

Former American secretary of state Henry Kissinger and former Russian leader Mikhail Gorbachev also lamented the loss of “an historic world figure”. Polish ex-president Lech Walesa hailed Margaret Thatcher for having brought down the Soviet Union and Communism.

Such fulsome praise may be expected coming from so many war criminals. But it is instructive of how history is written by the victors and criminals in high office. Obama, Cameron, Hollande and Merkel should all be arraigned and prosecuted for war crimes in Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Pakistan, Somalia and Mali, among other places. Kissinger has long evaded justice for over four decades for his role in the US genocide in Southeast Asia during the so-called Vietnam War in which over three million people were obliterated in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia.

The British state is to give Thatcher, who died this week aged 87, a full military-honours funeral. The praise, eulogies, wreaths and ceremonies are all self-indictments of association with one of the most ruthless and criminal political figures in modern times.

So, here is a people’s history of Thatcher’s legacy.

She will be remembered for colluding with the most reactionary elements of Rupert Murdoch’s squalid media empire to launch a war over the Malvinas Islands in 1982, a war that caused hundreds of lives and involved the gratuitous sinking of an Argentine warship, the Belgrano,
by a British submarine.

By declaring war, rather than conducting political negotiations with Argentina over Britain’s ongoing colonial possession of the Malvinas, Thatcher salvaged her waning public support in Britain, and the bloodletting helped catapult her into a second term of office in Downing Street. Her political “greatness” that so many Western leaders now eulogize was therefore paid in part by the lives of Argentine and British soldiers, and by bequeathing an ongoing source of conflict in the South Atlantic.

It wasn’t just foreigners that Thatcher declared war on. Armed with her snake-oil economic policies of privatisation, deregulation, unleashing finance capitalism, pump-priming the rich with tax awards subsidised by the ordinary working population, Thatcher declared war on the British people themselves. She famously proclaimed that “there was no such thing as society” and went on to oversee an explosion in the gap between rich and poor and the demolition of social conditions in Britain. That legacy has been amplified by both successive Conservative and Labour governments and is central to today’s social meltdown in Britain – more than two decades after Thatcher resigned. Laughably, David Cameron, a protégé of Thatcher, claims that she “saved” Britain. The truth is Thatcher accelerated the sinking of British capitalism and society at large. What she ordered for the Belgrano has in a very real way come to be realised for British society at large.

During her second term of office in the mid-1980s, the Iron Lady declared war on the “enemy within”. She was referring to Britain’s strongly unionised coal-mining industry. Imagine declaring war on your own population. That is a measure of her pathological intolerance towards others who did not happen to share her obnoxious ideological views – ideological views that have since become exposed as intellectually and morally bankrupt.

For over a year around 1984, her Orwellian mindset and policies starved mining communities in the North of England into submission. Her use of paramilitary police violence also broke the resolve and legitimate rights of these communities. Miners’ leader Arthur Scargill would later be vindicated in the eyes of ordinary people, if not in the eyes of the mainstream media. Britain’s coalmines were systematically shut down, thousands of workers would be made unemployed, and entire communities were thrown on the social scrap heap. All this violence and misery was the price for Thatcher’s ideological war against working people and their political rights.

The class war that Thatcher unleashed in Britain is still raging. The rich have become richer, the poor decidedly more numerous and poorer. The decimation of workers’ rights and the unfettered power given to finance capital were hallmarks of Thatcher’s legacy and are to this day hallmarks of Britain’s current social decay. But that destructive legacy goes well beyond Britain. The rightwing nihilistic capitalism that Thatcher gave vent to was and became a zeitgeist for North America, Europe and globally. The economic malaise that is currently plaguing the world can be traced directly to such ideologues as Margaret Thatcher and former US President Ronald Reagan.

A final word on Thatcher’s real legacy, as opposed to the fakery from fellow war criminals, is her role in Ireland’s conflict. Her epitaph of “Iron Lady” is often said with admiration or even sneaking regard for her supposed virtues of determination and strength. In truth, her “iron” character was simply malevolent, as can be seen from her policies towards the Irish struggle for independence from Britain. In 1981, 10 Irish republican prisoners, led by a young Belfast man by the name of Bobby Sands, died from hunger strikes. The men died after more than 50 days of refusing prison food because they were demanding to be treated as political prisoners, not as criminals. Thatcher refused to yield to their demands, denouncing them as criminals and callously claiming that they “took their own lives”. No matter that Bobby Sands had been elected by tens of thousands of Irish voters to the British House of Parliament during his hunger strike. He was merely a criminal who deserved to die, according to the cold, unfeeling Thatcher.

As a result of Thatcher’s intransigence to negotiate Irish rights, the violence in the North of Ireland would escalate over the next decade, claiming thousands of lives. As with Las Malvinas dispute with Argentina, Thatcher deliberately took the military option and, with that, countless lives, rather than engage in reasoned, mutual dialogue. Her arrogance and obduracy blinded her to any other possibility.

As the violence gyrated in Ireland, Thatcher would also embrace the criminal policy of colluding with pro-British death squads. Armed,funded and directed by British intelligence, these death squads would in subsequent years kill hundreds of innocent people – with the knowledge and tacit approval of Lady Thatcher. It was a policy of British state terrorism in action, sanctioned by Thatcher. One of those victims was Belfast lawyer Pat Finucane, who was murdered in February 1989. He was shot 12 times in the head in front of his wife and children by a British death squad, after the killers smashed their way into the Finucane home on a Sunday afternoon.

Thus whether in her dealings with Las Malvinas row with Argentina, the British working people or Irish republicans, Margaret Thatcher was an intolerant militarist who always resorted to demagoguery, violence and starvation to get her political way. She was a criminal fascist who is
now proclaimed to be a national hero.

Reports this week say that Thatcher died with Alzheimer’s, the brain-degenerating disease in which the patient loses their faculty for memory. Western leaders, it seems, would also like to erase public memory of Thatcher’s criminal legacy.

FC/JR

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian  
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this Blog!

"Push for Assad’s ouster in Syria weakened"

March 25, 2013

FLC

“… Foes of Syrian President Bashar Assad are distracted by fragmentation within their ranks, foreign meddling and new finger-pointing over chemical weapons as the regime more firmly entrenches itself, giving no sign of stepping down any time soon… 

On Thursday, a U.S. official cited strong indications that chemical weapons were not used in an attack Tuesday in northern Aleppo province, but could not rule out the possibility. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the matter involved intelligence-gathering. At the same time, the U.N. said it would investigate whether chemical weapons were used and specifically is looking at the regime’s claim that rebel forces launched the deadly agents….

The chemical weapons quandary is the newest of several issues that have distracted the Syrian opposition and international community, while Assad digs in even deeper against disjointed plans on how to oust him….
 

The Assad regime is receiving arms and other military assistance from Iran, Russia and Lebanese Hezbollah. Ford also cited indirect help from Iraq and Iraqi fighters that “is absolutely prolonging the conflict,” although Baghdad denies being involved on either side of the Syrian war. 

House delegate Eni Faleomavaega, a nonvoting Democrat from American Samoa,(Long tradition of expertise on Syria!) described the foreign aid to the regime more bluntly. “It’s all military hardware that Assad needs to continue his killing spree,” Faleomavaega said…. 

Disarray within the opposition forces also has stymied the move to unseat Assad, although rebels control territory in Syria’s north and east. Ford described the opposition as divided into political and military wings, and “both are not entirely unified.”…”

 

US, NATO Prepare Syria Intervention: US Official

March 25, 2013
Local Editor
 
A top US commander in Europe said that the US military and NATO are drawing up plans for direct military intervention in Syria.

Adm. James Stavridis, head of the Pentagon’s European Command told a Senate hearing last Tuesday that the US military is “looking at a variety of options” and is “prepared if called upon to be engaged.”
Adm. James Stavridis
Declaring that there was “no end in sight to a vicious civil war,” Stavridis told the panel that “the option of assisting the opposition forces in Syria in ways that would break the deadlock are being actively explored by NATO members,” the Washington Post reported.
The admiral addressed the Senate Armed Service Committee, saying that US and NATO discussions have included providing “lethal support” to the anti-government militias and using direct military force to impose “no-fly zones” in Syria and enforce “arms embargoes” against the Syrian government.

Both Britain and France have called for an emergency meeting of European Union foreign ministers this week on their demand for lifting an EU arms embargo that bars member states from directly shipping weapons to the Western-backed armed opposition.

British Prime Minister David Cameron and French President François Hollande have indicated that they were prepared to act unilaterally if the EU fails to bow to their demand.

For its part, Germany voiced opposition to the lifting of the ban, warning that it will escalate the bloodshed, risk arming Al Qaeda-linked forces, and potentially spread violence throughout the region.

Washington, meanwhile, has signaled its support for British and French moves to directly arm the anti-government militias.

Last Monday, US Secretary of State John Kerry declared that “the United States does not stand in the way of other countries that made a decision to provide arms, whether it’s France or Britain or others.”

Source: Newspapers
25-03-2013 – 17:36 Last updated 25-03-2013 – 17:36

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‘The Saudi regime is more barbaric than you think’ (and the West showers it with praise!)

March 19, 2013

Via FLC

“…One of the letters I sent went to Lord Nicholas Philips, a former president of Britain’s Supreme Court, asking him to petition the Saudi government for a stay and a retrial. Lord Philips is important because he had met with the Saudi minister of justice and, according to the official Saudi press, praised the Saudi justice system last April while receiving a Saudi delegation. That visit was an apparent attempt to convince the British chief justice to allow the signing of a prisoner-exchange agreement with Saudi Arabia. That agreement will allow the return of Saud bin Abdulaziz bin Nasir Al Saud, a Saudi prince who murdered his lover and manservant in a London hotel.I believe the Saudi monarchy, which has been pushing for a prisoner exchange agreement with Britain to free the prince, would have accepted pardoning these seven young men if their death was an obstacle to freeing their murderous son. I was banking that Philips would adopt the cause of saving these lives. …”

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1st British Extremist Killed in Syria, 80 More Joined Rebels

March 5, 2013
 
 
Local Editor

The first British-born rebel killed in Syria has been revealed as Ibrahim al-Mazwagi, a 21-year-old extremist who graduated from Hertfordshire University last year.

To his friends, he was a sociable member of the university’s American football team, but to rebels in Syria, he was one of about 80 British men who are believed to have joined the fight against Bashar al-Assad in the last two years.
According to the Facebook page set up in his honor, the north Londoner had fought in Libya in 2011 before heading to fight alongside his so-called “brothers” in Syria last August.
Announcing his death, a message on the page read: “He took part of [sic] a major operation against the [Syrian President Bashar] al-Assad regime forces yesterday and passed in the ensuing battles.”

This comes as the British Foreign Secretary William Hague confirmed that London is ready to arm Syrian militants in case the conflict continues to escalate.


Meanwhile, fears rise that London could be already planning an escalation by secret arming and training of the militants.

In this context, the French newspaper Le Figaru quoted a French military source as saying on Saturday that the US, Britain and French special forces have been training Syrian terrorists at a military base north of the Jordanian capital of Amman for the past months.
Source: News Agencies, Edited by moqawama.org

 

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian  
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this Blog!

President al-Assad interview with the Sunday Times newspaper with translation

March 5, 2013
 
 

PRESIDENT ASSAD’S INTERVIEW WITH SUNDAY TIMES

Posted on March 3, 2013 by

President Al-Assad’s Interview with The Sunday Times

Mar 03, 2013

Sunday Times: Mr. President your recent offer of political dialogue was qualified with a firm rejection of the very groups you would have to pacify to stop the violence: the armed rebels and the Syrian National Coalition, the main opposition alliance.
So in effect you are only extending an olive branch to the loyal opposition, mostly internal, that renounce the armed struggle, and who effectively recognizes the legitimacy of your leadership, who are you willing to talk to, really?

President Assad: First of all, let me correct some of the misconceptions that have been circulating and that are found in your question in order to make my answer accurate.

Sunday Times: Okay.

President Assad: Firstly, when I announced the plan, I said that it was for those who interested in dialogue, because you cannot make a plan that is based on dialogue with somebody who does not believe in dialogue. So, I was very clear regarding this.
Secondly, this open dialogue should not be between exclusive groups but between all Syrians of every level. The dialogue is about the future of Syria. We are twenty three million Syrians and all of us have the right to participate in shaping the country’s future. Some may look at it as a dialogue between the government and certain groups in the opposition – whether inside or outside, external or internal -actually this is a very shallow way of looking at the dialogue. It is much more comprehensive. It is about every Syrian and about every aspect of Syrian life. Syria’s future cannot be determined simply by who leads it but by the ambitions and aspirations of all its people.

The other aspect of the dialogue is that it opens the door for militants to surrender their weapons and we have granted many amnesties to facilitate this. This is the only way to make a dialogue with those groups. This has already started, even before the plan, and some have surrendered their weapons and they live now their normal life. But this plan makes the whole process more methodical, announced and clear.

If you want to talk about the opposition, there is another misconception in the West. They put all the entities even if they are not homogeneous in one basket – as if everything against the government is opposition. We have to be clear about this. We have opposition that are political entities and we have armed terrorists. We can engage in dialogue with the opposition but we cannot engage in dialogue with terrorists; we fight terrorism. Another phrase that is often mentioned is the ‘internal opposition inside Syria’ or ‘internal opposition as loyal to the government.’ Opposition groups should be loyal and patriotic to Syria – internal and external opposition is not about the geographic position; it is about their roots, resources and representation. Have these roots been planted in Syria and represent Syrian people and Syrian interests or the interests of foreign government? So, this is how we look at the dialogue, this is how we started and how we are going to continue.

Sunday Times: Most have rejected it, at least if we talk about the opposition externally who are now the body that is being hailed as the opposition and where the entire world is basically behind them. So, most of them have rejected it with the opposition describing your offer as a “waste of time,” and some have said that it is “empty rhetoric” based on lack of trust and which British Secretary William Hague described it as “beyond hypocritical” and the Americans said you were “detached from reality.”

President Assad: I will not comment on what so-called Syrian bodies outside Syria have said. These bodies are not independent. As Syrians, we are independent and we need to respond to independent bodies and this is not the case. So let’s look at the other claims.
Firstly, detached from reality: Syria has been fighting adversaries and foes for two years; you cannot do that if you do not have public support. People will not support you if you are detached from their reality. A recent survey in the UK shows that a good proportion British people want “to keep out of Syria” and they do not believe that the British government should send military supplies to the rebels in Syria.

In spite of this, the British government continues to push the EU to lift its arms embargo on Syria to start arming militants with heavy weapons. That is what I call detached from reality–when you are detached from your own public opinion! And they go further in saying that they want to send “military aid” that they describe as “non-lethal.” The intelligence, communication and financial assistance being provided is very lethal. The events of 11th of September were not committed by lethal aids. It was the application of non-lethal technology and training which caused the atrocities.

The British government wants to send military aid to moderate groups in Syria, knowing all too well that such moderate groups do not exist in Syria; we all know that we are now fighting Al-Qaeda or Jabhat al-Nusra which is an offshoot of Al-Qaeda, and other groups of people indoctrinated with extreme ideologies. This is beyond hypocritical! What is beyond hypocrisy is when you talk about freedom of expression and ban Syrian TV channels from the European broadcasting satellites; when you shed tears for somebody killed in Syria by terrorist acts while preventing the Security Council from issuing a statement denouncing the suicide bombing that happened last week in Damascus, and you were here, where three hundred Syrians were either killed or injured, including women and children – all of them were civilians. Beyond hypocrisy when you preach about human rights and you go into Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya and kill hundreds of thousands in illegal wars. Beyond hypocrisy is when you talk about democracy and your closest allies are the worst autocratic regimes in the world that belong to the medieval centuries. This is hypocrisy!

Sunday Times: But you always refer to the people fighting here as terrorists, do you accept that while some are from the Jabhat al-Nusra and those affiliated to Al-Qaeda but there are others such as the FSA or under the umbrella of the FSA? That some of them are the defectors and some of them are just ordinary people who started some of the uprising. These are not terrorists; these are people fighting for what they believe to be the right way at the moment.

President Assad: When we say that we are fighting Al-Qaeda, we mean that the main terrorist group and the most dangerous is Al-Qaeda. I have stated in many interviews and speeches that this is not the only group in Syria. The spectrum ranges from petty criminals, drugs dealers, groups that are killing and kidnapping just for money to mercenaries and militants; these clearly do not have any political agenda or any ideological motivations. The so-called “Free Army” is not an entity as the West would like your readers to believe. It is hundreds of small groups – as defined by international bodies working with Annan and Al-Ibrahimi – there is no entity, there is no leadership, there is no hierarchy; it is a group of different gangs working for different reasons. The Free Syrian Army is just the headline, the umbrella that is used to legitimize these groups.

This does not mean that at the beginning of the conflict there was no spontaneous movement; there were people who wanted to make change in Syria and I have acknowledged that publically many times. That’s why I have said the dialogue is not for the conflict itself; the dialogue is for the future of Syria because many of the groups still wanting change are now against the terrorists. They still oppose the government but they do not carry weapons. Having legitimate needs does not make your weapons legitimate.

Sunday Times: Your 3-staged plan: the first one you speak of is the cessation of violence. Obviously there is the army and the fighters on the other side. Now, within the army you have a hierarchy, so if you want to say cease-fire, there is a commander that can control that, but when you offer cessation of violence or fire how can you assume the same for the rebels when you talk about them being so many groups, fragmented and not under one leadership. So, that’s one of the points of your plan. So, this suggests that this basically an impossible request. You speak of referendum but with so many displaced externally and internally, many of whom are the backbone of the opposition; those displaced at least. So, a referendum without them would not be fair, and the third part is that parliamentary elections and all this hopefully before 2014; it is a very tall list to be achieved before 2014. So, what are really the conditions that you are attaching to the dialogue and to make it happen, and aren’t some of the conditions that you are really suggesting or offering impossible to achieve?

President Assad: That depends on how we look at the situation. First of all, let’s say that the main article in the whole plan is the dialogue; this dialogue will put a timetable for everything and the procedures or details of this plan. The first article in my plan was the cessation of violence. If we cannot stop this violence, how can we achieve the other articles like the referendum and elections and so on? But saying that you cannot stop the violence is not a reason to do nothing. Yes there are many groups as I have said with no leadership, but we know that their real leadership are those countries that are funding and supplying their weapons and armaments – mainly Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

If outside parties genuinely want to help the process they should be pressuring those countries to stop supplying the terrorists. As with any other sovereign state, we will not negotiate with terrorists.

Sunday Times: Critics say real and genuine negotiations may be the cause of your downfall and that of your government or regime, and that you know this, hence you offer practically impossible scenarios for dialogue and negotiations?

President Assad: Actually, I don’t know this, I know the opposite. To be logical and realistic, if this is the case, then these foes, adversaries or opponents should push for the dialogue because in their view it will bring my downfall. But actually they are doing the opposite. They are preventing the so-called ‘opposition bodies outside Syria’ to participate in the dialogue because I think they believe in the opposite; they know that this dialogue will not bring my downfall, but will actually make Syria stronger. This is the first aspect.
The second aspect is that the whole dialogue is about Syria, about terrorism, and about the future of Syria. This is not about positions and personalities. So, they shouldn’t distract people by talking about the dialogue and what it will or will not bring to the President. I did not do it for myself. At the end, this is contradictory; what they say is contradicting what they do.

Sunday Times: You said that if they push for dialogue, it could bring your downfall?

President Assad: No, I said according to what they say if it brings my downfall, why don’t they come to the dialogue? They say that the dialogue will bring the downfall of the President and I am inviting them to the dialogue. Why don’t they then come to the dialogue to bring my downfall? This is self-evident. That’s why I said they are contradicting themselves.

Sunday Times: Mr. President, John Kerry, a man you know well, has started a tour that will take him this week end to Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey, where he will be talking to them about ways to ‘ease you out.’ In London and Berlin earlier this week, he said that President Assad must go and he also said that one of his first moves is to draft diplomatic proposals to persuade you to give up power. Would you invite him to Damascus for talks? What would you say to him? What is your message to him now given what he said this week and what he plans to say to his allies when he visits them over the weekend? And if possible from your knowledge of him how would you describe Kerry from your knowledge of him in the past?

AssadPresident Assad: I would rather describe policies rather than describing people. So, it is still early to judge him. It is only a few weeks since he became Secretary of State. First of all, the point that you have mentioned is related to internal Syrian matters or Syrian issue. Any Syrian subject would not be raised with any foreigners. We only discuss it with Syrians within Syria. So, I am not going to discuss it with anyone who is coming from abroad. We have friends and we discuss our issues with friends, we listen to their advice but at the end it is our decision as Syrians to think or to make what’s good for our country.
If anyone wants to ‘genuinely’ – I stress the word genuinely – help Syria and help the cessation of violence in our country, he can do only one thing; he can go to Turkey and sit with Erdogan and tell to him stop smuggling terrorists into Syria, stop sending armaments, stop providing logistical support to those terrorists. He can go to Saudi Arabia and Qatar and tell them stop financing the terrorists in Syria. This is the only thing anyone can do dealing with the external part of our problem, but no one from outside Syria can deal with the internal part of this problem.

Sunday Times: So, what is your message to Kerry?

President Assad: It is very clear: to understand what I said now. I mean, not a message to Kerry but to anyone who is talking about the Syrian issue: only Syrian people can tell the President: stay or leave, come or go. I am just saying this clearly in order not to waste the time of others to know where to focus.

Sunday Times: What role if any do you see for Britain in any peace process for Syria? Have there been any informal contacts with the British? What is your reaction to Cameron’s support for the opposition? What would you say if you were sitting with him now, especially that Britain is calling for the arming of the rebels?

President Assad: There is no contact between Syria and Britain for a long time. If we want to talk about the role, you cannot separate the role from the credibility. And we cannot separate the credibility from the history of that country. To be frank, now I am talking to a British journalist and a British audience, to be frank, Britain has played a famously (in our region) an unconstructive role in different issues for decades, some say for centuries. I am telling you now the perception in our region.

The problem with this government is that their shallow and immature rhetoric only highlight this tradition of bullying and hegemony. I am being frank. How can we expect to ask Britain to play a role while it is determined to militarize the problem? How can you ask them to play a role in making the situation better and more stable, how can we expect them to make the violence less while they want to send military supplies to the terrorists and don’t try to ease the dialogue between the Syrians. This is not logical. I think that they are working against us and working against the interest of the UK itself. This government is acting in a naïve, confused and unrealistic manner. If they want to play a role, they have to change this; they have to act in a more reasonable and responsible way, till then we do not expect from an arsonist to be a firefighter!

Sunday Times: In 2011 you said you wouldn’t waste your time talking about the body leading opposition, now we are talking about the external body, in fact you hardly recognized there was such a thing, what changed your mind or views recently? What talks, if any are already going on with the rebels who are a major component and factor in this crisis? Especially given that your Foreign Minister Muallem said earlier this week when he was in Russia that the government is open to talks with the armed opposition can you clarify?

President Assad: Actually, I did not change my mind. Again, this plan is not for them; it is for every Syrian who accepts the dialogue. So, making this initiative is not a change of mind. Secondly, since day one in this crisis nearly two years ago, we have said we are ready for dialogue; nothing has changed. We have a very consistent position towards the dialogue. Some may understand that I changed my mind because I did not recognize the first entity, but then I recognized the second. I recognized neither, more importantly the Syrian people do not recognize them or take them seriously. When you have a product that fails in the market, they withdraw the product, change the name, change the packing and they rerelease it again – but it is still faulty. The first and second bodies are the same products with different packaging. Regarding what our minister said, it is very clear.

Part of the initiative is that we are ready to negotiate with anyone including militants who surrender their arms. We are not going to deal with terrorists who are determined to carry weapons, to terrorize people, to kill civilians, to attack public places or private enterprises and destroy the country.

Sunday Times: Mr. President, the world looks at Syria and sees a country being destroyed, with at least 70,000 killed, more than 3 million displaced and sectarian divisions being deepened. Many people around the world blame you. What do you say to them? Are you to blame for what’s happened in the country you are leading?

President Assad: You have noted those figures as though they were numbers from a spreadsheet. To some players they are being used to push forward their political agenda; unfortunately that is a reality. Regardless of their accuracy, for us Syrians, each one of those numbers represents a Syrian man, woman or child. When you talk about thousands of victims, we see thousands of families who have lost loved ones and who unfortunately will grieve for many years to come. Nobody can feel this pain more than us.

Looking at the issue of political agendas, we have to ask better questions. How were these numbers verified? How many represent foreign fighters? How many were combatants aged between 20 and 30? How many were civilians – innocent women and children? The situation on the ground makes it almost impossible to get accurate answers to these important questions. We all know how death tolls and human casualties have been manipulated in the past to pave the way for humanitarian intervention. The Libyan government recently announced that the death toll before the invasion of Libya was exaggerated; they said five thousand victims from each side while the number was talking at that time of tens of thousands.

The British and the Americans who were physically inside Iraq during the war were unable to provide precise numbers about the victims that have been killed from their invasion. Suddenly, the same sources have very precise numbers about what is happening in Syria! This is ironic; I will tell you very simply that these numbers do not exist in reality; it is part of their virtual reality that they want to create to push forward their agenda for military intervention under the title of humanitarian intervention.

Sunday Times: If I may just on this note a little bit. Even if the number is exaggerated and not definitely precise, these are numbers corroborated by Syrian groups, however they are still thousands that were killed. Some are militants but some are civilians. Some are being killed through the military offensive, for example artillery or plane attacks in certain areas. So even if we do not argue the actual number, the same applies, they still blame yourself for those civilians, if you want, that are being killed through the military offensive, do you accept that?

President Assad: Firstly, we cannot talk about the numbers without their names. People who are killed have names. Secondly, why did they die? Where and how were they killed? Who killed them? Armed gangs, terrorist groups, criminals, kidnappers, the army, who?

Sunday Times: It is a mix.

President Assad: It is a mix, but it seems that you are implying that one person is responsible for the current situation and all the human casualties. From day one the situation in Syria has been influenced by military and political dynamics, which are both very fast moving. In such situations you have catalysts and barriers. To assume any one party is responsible for all barriers and another party responsible for all the catalysts is absurd. Too many innocent civilians have died, too many Syrians are suffering. As I have already said nobody is more pained by this than us Syrians, which is why we are pushing for a national dialogue. I’m not in the blame business, but if you are talking of responsibility, then clearly I have a constitutional responsibility to keep Syria and her people safe from terrorists and radical groups.

Sunday Times: What is the role of Al-Qaeda and other jihadists and what threats do they pose to the region and Europe? Are you worried Syria turning into something similar to Chechnya in the past? Are you concerned about the fate of minorities if you were loose this war or of a sectarian war akin to that of Iraq?

President Assad: The role of Al-Qaeda in Syria is like the role of Al-Qaeda anywhere else in this world; killing, beheading, torturing and preventing children from going to school because as you know Al-Qaeda’s ideologies flourish where there is ignorance. Ideologically, they try to infiltrate the society with their dark, extremist ideologies and they are succeeding. If you want to worry about anything in Syria, it is not the ‘minorities.’ This is a very shallow description because Syria is a melting pot of religions, sects, ethnicities and ideologies that collectively make up a homogeneous mixture, irrelevant of the portions or percentages. We should be worrying about the majority of moderate Syrians who, if we do not fight this extremism, could become the minority – at which point Syria will cease to exist.

If you worry about Syria in that sense, you have to worry about the Middle East because we are the last bastion of secularism in the region. If you worry about the Middle East, the whole world should be worried about its stability. This is the reality as we see it.

Sunday Times: How threatening is Al-Qaeda now?

President Assad: Threatening by ideology more than the killing. The killing is dangerous, of course, but what is irreversible is the ideology; that is dangerous and we have been warning of this for many years even before the conflict; we have been dealing with these ideologies since the late seventies. We were the first in the region to deal with such terrorists who have been assuming the mantle of Islam. We have consistently been warning of this, especially in the last decade during the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq. The West is only reacting to the situation, not acting. We need to act by dealing with the ideology first. A war on terror without dealing with the ideology will lead you nowhere and will only make things worse. So, it is threatening and it is dangerous, not just to Syria but to the whole region.

Sunday Times: US officials recently, in particular yesterday, are quoted as saying that US decision not to arm rebels could be revised. If this was to happen what in your view will the consequences in Syria and in the region? What is your warning against this? Now, they are talking about directly equipping the rebels with armament vehicles, training and body armaments.

President Assad: You know the crime is not only about the victim and the criminal, but also the accomplice providing support, whether it is moral or logistical support. I have said many times that Syria lies at the fault line geographically, politically, socially and ideologically. So, playing with this fault line will have serious repercussions all over the Middle East. Is the situation better in Libya today? In Mali? In Tunisia? In Egypt? Any intervention will not make things better; it will only make them worse. Europe and the United States and others are going to pay the price sooner or later with the instability in this region; they do not foresee it.
 
Sunday Times: What is your message to Israel following its air strikes on Syria? Will you retaliate? How will you respond to any future attacks by Israel especially that Israel has said that we will do it again if it has to?

President Assad: Every time Syria did retaliate, but in its own way, not tit for tat. We retaliated in our own way and only the Israelis know what we mean.

Sunday Times: Can you expand?

President Assad: Yes. Retaliation does not mean missile for missile or bullet for bullet. Our own way does not have to be announced; only the Israelis will know what I mean.
Sunday Times: Can you tell us how?

President Assad: We do not announce that.

Sunday Times: I met a seven year old boy in Jordan.

President Assad: A Syrian boy?

Sunday Times: A Syrian boy who had lost an arm and a leg to a missile strike in Herak. Five children in his family had been killed in that explosion. As a father, what can you say to that little boy? Why have so many innocent civilians died in air strikes, army shelling and sometimes, I quote, ‘Shabiha shootings?’

President Assad: What is his name?

Sunday Times: I have his name…I will bring it to you later.

President Assad: As I said every victim in this crisis has a name, every casualty has a family. Like 5 year-old Saber who whilst having breakfast with his family at home lost his leg, his mother and other members of his family. Like 4 year-old Rayan who watched his two brothers slaughtered for taking him to a rally. None of these families have any political affiliations. Children are the most fragile link in any society and unfortunately they often pay the heaviest price in any conflict. As a father of young children, I know the meaning of having a child harmed by something very simple; so what if they are harmed badly or if we lose a child, it is the worst thing any family can face. Whenever you have conflicts, you have these painful stories that affect any society. This is the most important and the strongest incentive for us to fight terrorism. Genuine humanitarians who feel the pain that we feel about our children and our losses should encourage their governments to prevent smuggling armaments and terrorists and to prevent the terrorists from acquiring any military supplies from any country.

Sunday Times: Mr. President, when you lie in bed at night, do you hear the explosions in Damascus? Do you, in common with many other Syrians, worry about the safety of your family? Do you worry that there may come a point where your own safety is in jeopardy?
 
President Assad: I see it completely differently. Can anybody be safe, or their family be safe, if the country is in danger? In reality NO! If your country is not safe, you cannot be safe. So instead of worrying about yourself and your family, you should be worried about every citizen and every family in your country. So it’s a mutual relationship.

Sunday Times: You’ll know of the international concerns about Syria’s chemical weapons. Would your army ever use them as a last resort against your opponents? Reports suggest they have been moved several times, if so why? Do you share the international concern that they may fall into the hands of Islamist rebels? What is the worst that could happen?

President Assad: Everything that has been referred to in the media or by official rhetoric regarding Syrian chemical weapons is speculation. We have never, and will never, discuss our armaments with anyone. What the world should worry about is chemical materials reaching the hands of terrorists. Video material has already been broadcast showing toxic material being tried on animals with threats to the Syrian people that they will die in the same way. We have shared this material with other countries. This is what the world should be focusing on rather than wasting efforts to create elusive headlines on Syrian chemical weapons to justify any intervention in Syria.

Sunday Times: I know you are not saying whether they are safe or not. There is concern if they are safe or no one can get to them.

President Assad: This is constructive ambiguity. No country will talk about their capabilities.

Sunday Times: A lot has been talked about this as well: what are the roles of Hezbollah, Iran and Russia in the war on the ground? Are you aware of Hezbollah fighters in Syria and what are they doing? What weapons are your allies Iran and Russia supplying? What other support are they providing?


President Assad: The Russian position is very clear regarding armaments – they supply Syria with defensive armaments in line with international law. Hezbollah, Iran and Russia support Syria in her fight against terrorism. Russia has been very constructive, Iran has been very supportive and Hezbollah’s role is to defend Lebanon not Syria. We are a country of 23 million people with a strong National Army and Police Force. We are in no need of foreign fighters to defend our country. What we should be asking is, what about the role of other countries, – Qatar, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, France, the UK, the US, – that support terrorism in Syria directly or indirectly, militarily or politically.

Sunday Times: Mr. President, may I ask you about your own position? Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov recently said that Lakhdar Ibrahimi complained of wanting to see more flexibility from your regime and that while you never seem to say ‘no’ you never seem to say ‘yes’. Do you think that there can be a negotiated settlement while you remain President, which is a lot of people are asking?

President Assad: Do not expect a politician to only say yes or no in the absolute meaning; it is not multiple choice questions to check the correct answer. You can expect from any politician a vision and our vision is very clear. We have a plan and whoever wants to deal with us, can deal with us through our plan. This is very clear in order not to waste time. This question reflects what has been circulating in the Western media about personalizing the problem in Syria and suggesting that the entire conflict is about the president and his future. If this argument is correct, then my departure will stop the fighting. Clearly this is absurd and recent precedents in Libya, Yemen and Egypt bear witness to this. Their motive is to try to evade the crux of the issue, which is dialogue, reform and combating terrorism. The legacy of their interventions in our region have been chaos, destruction and disaster. So, how can they justify any future intervention? They cannot. So, they focus on blaming the president and pushing for his departure; questioning his credibility; is he living in a bubble or not? is he detached from reality or not? So, the focus of the conflict becomes about the president.

Sunday Times: Some foreign officials have called for you to stand for war crimes at the International Criminal Court as the person ultimately responsible for the army’s actions? Do you fear prosecution by the ICC? Or the possibility of future prosecution and trial in Syria?

Brahimi, Ban Ki-MoonPresident Assad: Whenever an issue that is related to the UN is raised, you are raising the question of credibility. We all know especially after the collapse of the Soviet Union – for the last twenty years – that the UN and all its organizations are the victims of hegemony instead of being the bastions of justice. They became politicized tools in order to create instability and to attack sovereign countries, which is against the UN’s charter. So, the question that we have to raise now is: are they going to take the American and the British leaders who attacked Iraq in 2003 and claimed more than half a million lives in Iraq, let alone orphans, handicapped and deformed people? Are they going to take the American, British French and others who went to Libya without a UN resolution last year and claimed again hundreds of lives? They are not going to do it. The answer is very clear. You know that sending mercenaries to any country is a war crime according Nuremberg principles and according to the London Charter of 1945. Are they going to put Erdogan in front of this court because he sent mercenaries? Are they going to do the same with the Saudis and the Qataris? If we have answers to these questions, then we can talk about peace organizations and about credibility.

My answer is very brief: when people defend their country, they do not take into consideration anything else.

Sunday Times: Hindsight is a wonderful thing Mr. President. If you could wind the clock back two years would you have handled anything differently? Do you believe that there are things that could or should have been done in another way? What mistakes do you believe have been made by your followers that you would change?

President Assad: You can ask this question to a President if he is the only one responsible for all the context of the event. In our case in Syria, we know there are many external players. So you have to apply hindsight to every player. You have to ask Erdogan, with hindsight would you send terrorists to kill Syrians, would you afford logistical support to them? You should ask the Qatari and Saudis whether in hindsight, would you send money to terrorists and to Al-Qaeda offshoots or any other terrorist organization to kill Syrians? We should ask the same question to the European and American officials, in hindsight would you offer a political umbrella to those terrorists killing innocent civilians in Syria?

In Syria, we took two decisions. The first is to make dialogue; the second is to fight terrorism. If you ask any Syrian, in hindsight would you say no to dialogue and yes to terrorism? I do not think any sane person will agree with you. So I think in hindsight, we started with dialogue and we are going to continue with dialogue. In hindsight, we said we are going to fight terrorism and we are going to continue to fight terrorism.

Sunday Times: Do you ever think about living in exile if it came to that? And would you go abroad if it increases the chances of peace in Syria?

President Assad: Again, it is not about the president. I don’t think any patriotic person or citizen would think of living outside his country.

Sunday Times: You will never leave?

President Assad: No patriotic person will think about living outside his country. I am like any other patriotic Syrian.

Sunday Times: How shaken you were you by the bomb that killed some of your most senior generals last summer, including your brother-in-law?

President Assad: You mentioned my brother-in-law but it is not a family affair. When high-ranking officials are being assassinated it is a national affair. Such a crime will make you more determined to fight terrorism. It is not about how you feel, but more about what you do. We are more determined in fighting terrorism.

Sunday Times: Finally, Mr. President, may I ask about my colleague, Marie Colvin, who was killed in the shelling of an opposition media center at Baba Amr on February 22 last year. Was she targeted, as some have suggested, because she condemned the destruction on American and British televisions? Or was she just unlucky? Did you hear about her death at the time and if so what was your reaction?

President Assad: Of course, I heard about the story through the media. When a journalist goes into conflict zones, as you are doing now, to cover a story and convey it to the world, I think this is very courageous work. Every decent person, official or government should support journalists in these efforts because that will help shed light on events on the ground and expose propaganda where it exists. Unfortunately in most conflicts a journalist has paid the ultimate price. It is always sad when a journalist is killed because they are not with either side or even part of the problem, they only want to cover the story. There is a media war on Syria preventing the truth from being told to the outside world.

14 Syrian journalists who have also been killed since the beginning of the crisis and not all of them on the ground. Some have been targeted at home after hours, kidnapped, tortured and then murdered. Others are still missing. More than one Syrian television station has been attacked by terrorists and their bombs. There is currently a ban on the broadcast of Syrian TV channels on European satellite systems. It is also well known how rebels have used journalists for their own interests. There was the case of the British journalist who managed to escape.

Sunday Times: Alex Thompson?

President Assad: Yes. He was lead into a death trap by the terrorists in order to accuse the Syrian Army of his death. That’s why it is important to enter countries legally, to have a visa. This was not the case for Marie Colvin. We don’t know why and it’s not clear. If you enter illegally, you cannot expect the state to be responsible. Contrary to popular belief, since the beginning of the crisis, hundreds of journalists from all over the world, including you, have gained visas to enter Syria and have been reporting freely from inside Syria with no interferences in their work and no barriers to fulfill their missions.
Sunday Times: Thank you.
President Assad: Thank you.
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صنداي تايمز: سيادة الرئيس، عرضكم الذي قدمتموه مؤخراً بإجراء حوار سياسي ترافق مع رفض الحكومة السورية للمجموعات التي يترتب عليكم تهدئتها من أجل وقف العنف، مثل المجموعات المسلحة و”الائتلاف الوطني السوري”، أي التحالف الرئيسي للمعارضة، وبالتالي فإنكم تقدمون غصن زيتون فقط للمعارضة الموالية، ومعظمها داخلية، والتي تتخلى عن الصراع المسلح وتعترف فعلياً بشرعية قيادتكم. من الجهات التي تبدون استعدادكم فعلاً للتحدث إليها؟
الرئيس الأسد: كي يكون جوابي دقيقاً، دعيني أولاً أصحح بعض المفاهيم الخاطئة التي يتم تداولها، والتي وردت في سؤالك.
الرئيس الأسد: أولاً، عندما أعلنت الخطة، قلت إن هذه الخطة موجهة للمهتمين بالحوار، لأننا لا نستطيع وضع خطة تستند إلى الحوار مع جهات لا تؤمن به. وهكذا، فقد كنت واضحاً تماماً فيما يتعلق بهذه المسألة.
ثانياً، هذا الحوار المفتوح لا ينبغي أن يكون بين مجموعات حصرية بل بين جميع السوريين وعلى كل المستويات لأنه يدور حول مستقبل سورية. نحن ثلاثة وعشرون مليون سوري، ولنا جميعاً الحق بالمشاركة في صياغة مستقبل البلاد، وليس كما يعتبر البعض بأنه حوار بين الحكومة ومجموعات معينة في المعارضة، سواء كانت في الداخل أو في الخارج. إن استعمال تعابير “داخلية” و”خارجية” يمثّل تصوراً سطحياً للمسألة. الحوار أكثر شمولية، وهو يتعلق بكل سوري ويدور حول جميع أوجه الحياة في سورية. لا يمكن تحديد مستقبل سورية ببساطة بمن يقودها، بل بطموحات وتطلعات جميع أفراد شعبها.
الجانب الآخر للحوار هو أنه يفتح الباب للمسلحين لتسليم أسلحتهم، وقد أصدرنا أكثر من عفو لتسهيل هذا الأمر. هذه هي الطريقة الوحيدة لإجراء الحوار مع تلك المجموعات. وهذا ما كنا قد بدأناه، حتى قبل طرح الخطة، وقد سلّم البعض أسلحتهم وعادوا إلى ممارسة حياتهم الطبيعية.
إذا أردت الحديث عن المعارضة، ثمة مفهوم خاطئ آخر في الغرب، وهو أنهم يضعون كل الكيانات، حتى لو لم تكن متجانسة، في سلة واحدة، كما لو أن كل من يعمل ضد الحكومة معارض. ينبغي أن نكون واضحين حيال هذه القضية، ثمة معارضة تتكوّن من كيانات سياسية، وهناك إرهابيون مسلحون. يمكننا الانخراط في حوار مع المعارضة، لكن لا يمكننا الانخراط في حوار مع الإرهابيين. نحن هنا نحارب الإرهاب.
ثمة عبارة أخرى تُذكر بشكل متكرر وهي “معارضة الداخل” أو “المعارضة الداخلية”، ويصفونها “بالمعارضة الموالية للحكومة”، في الواقع فإن مجموعات المعارضة ينبغي أن تكون وطنية وموالية لسورية. إن المعارضة الداخلية والخارجية لا تتعلق بالموقع الجغرافي، بل بجذورها، وبمواردها وتمثيلها. هل غُرست هذه الجذور في سورية وهل تمثل الشعب السوري والمصالح السورية أو مصالح حكومات أجنبية؟ وبالتالي، هكذا ننظر إلى الحوار، هكذا بدأنا وهكذا سنستمر.

صنداي تايمز: لقد رفضت معظم مجموعات المعارضة هذا الطرح، على الأقل المعارضة الخارجية، وهي الطرف الذي يتم الحديث عنه على أنه المعارضة، والعالم بأسره يقف وراءها. معظمهم رفضوا مبادرتكم، ووصفوها بأنها “مضيعة للوقت”، وقال البعض بأنها مجرد “كلام سياسي لا فحوى له” استناداً إلى حالة انعدام الثقة؛ ووصفها وزير الخارجية البريطاني وليم هيغ بأنها “تتجاوز حدود النفاق”، وقال الأميركيون بأنك “منفصل عن الواقع”.
الامبراطوريه التي يغيب عنها الشرف

الرئيس الأسد: لن أعلّق على ما تقوله هذه الكيانات التي تُسمّى سوريّة لأنها غير مستقلة بقرارها. كسوريين، نحن مستقلّون ونرد على الأطراف المستقلّة، وهو ما لا ينطبق على هذه الكيانات. ولذلك لننظر في المزاعم الأخرى. إذا أردنا التحدث عن الانفصال عن الواقع، فإن سورية تحارب الخصوم والأعداء منذ سنتين، ولا يمكن فعل ذلك دون دعم شعبي، ولن يدعمك الناس إذا كنت منفصلاً عن واقعهم. ومن جانب آخر، أظهرت استطلاعات رأي أجريت مؤخراً في المملكة المتحدة أن نسبة كبيرة من البريطانيين يريدون من بلادهم عدم التدخل في شؤون سورية، وهم يعتقدون بأنه لا ينبغي على الحكومة البريطانية أن ترسل دعماً عسكرياً لما يسمونه “المتمردين” في سورية. ورغم ذلك، فإن الحكومة البريطانية تستمر في دفع الاتحاد الأوروبي لرفع حظر توريد السلاح المفروض على سورية وذلك للشروع بتزويد المجموعات المسلحة بأسلحة ثقيلة. هذا ما أسميه انفصالاً عن الواقع، أي عندما تكون منفصلاً عن الرأي العام في بلادك!

ويمضون أبعد من ذلك عندما يقولون بأنهم سيرسلون “مساعدات عسكرية” يصفونها بـ “غير المميتة”. إن المساعدات الاستخبارية، وأجهزة الاتصالات والمساعدات المالية المقدمة مميتة جداً. وخير مثال على ذلك أحداث الحادي عشر من أيلول التي لم تُرتكب بأدوات مميتة. إن تطبيقات التكنولوجيا غير المميتة والمساعدات المالية هي التي تسببت بتلك الفظاعات. الحكومة البريطانية تريد إرسال مساعدات عسكرية إلى المجموعات المعتدلة في سورية، وهي تعرف تمام المعرفة بأنه لا وجود للمجموعات المعتدلة في سورية. جميعنا نعلم أن المجموعات التي نحاربها الآن هي القاعدة أو جبهة النصرة، وهي تابعة للقاعدة، ومجموعات أخرى تتبنى أيديولوجيا متطرفة. هذا ما يمكن وصفه بأنه يتجاوز حدود النفاق!
ما يتجاوز حدود النفاق أيضاً هو الحديث عن حرية التعبير وفي نفس الوقت يتم حظر القنوات التلفزيونية الفضائية السورية من الأقمار الصناعية الأوروبية. وعندما يتم ذرف الدموع على من يُقتل في سورية في أعمال إرهابية وفي نفس الوقت يُمنع مجلس الأمن من إصدار بيان يدين التفجيرات التي حدثت الخميس 21/2/2013 في دمشق، وقد كنتِ هنا، حيث قتل أو جرح ثلاثمئة سوري، بينهم أطفال ونساء، وجميعهم من المدنيين. ما يتجاوز حدود النفاق هو الحديث عن حقوق الإنسان وفي نفس الوقت الذهاب إلى العراق وأفغانستان وليبيا وقتل مئات آلاف الناس في حروب غير شرعية، والتحدث عن الديمقراطية بينما أوثق حلفائك هي الأنظمة الأكثر أحادية وسلطوية في العالم والتي تنتمي إلى القرون الوسطى. هذا هو النفاق.
صنداي تايمز: لكنكم تشيرون دائماً إلى الأشخاص الذين يقاتلون هنا بأنهم إرهابيون، هل تقبلون بأن البعض ليسوا إرهابيين بل أشخاص يقاتلون من أجل ما يعتقدون بأنه الطريق الصحيح في هذه المرحلة؟
الرئيس الأسد: بالطبع، عندما نقول بأننا نحارب القاعدة، فإننا نعني بأن المجموعة الإرهابية الرئيسية والأكثر خطورة هي القاعدة. لقد قلت في العديد من خطاباتي ومقابلاتي بأن هذه المجموعة ليست الوحيدة في سورية، طيف هذه المجموعات يتسع ليشمل صغار المجرمين، ومهربي المخدرات، ومجموعات تقتل وتخطف من أجل المال فقط إضافة إلى المرتزقة والمسلحين؛ ومن الواضح أن هؤلاء لا يمتلكون أي أجندة سياسية أو دوافع أيديولوجية.
ما يسمى “الجيش الحر” ليس كياناً كما يريد الغرب لقرائكم أن يعتقدوا، إنه يتكون من مئات المجموعات – كما عرّفته الجهات الدولية التي عملت مع أنان والإبراهيمي – ليس لديهم قيادة ولا تراتبية، إنه مجموعة من العصابات المختلفة التي تعمل لأسباب مختلفة. إن ما يسمونه “الجيش الحر” مجرد عنوان أو مظلّة تستعمل لإضفاء الشرعية على هذه المجموعات.
هذا لا يعني أنه في بداية الصراع لم يكن هناك تحركات عفوية، كان هناك أشخاص يريدون إحداث تغيير في سورية، وقد أقررتُ بذلك علناً عدة مرات. ولهذا قلت إن الحوار ليس من أجل الصراع نفسه، بل من أجل مستقبل سورية، لأن العديد من تلك المجموعات التي طالبت بالتغيير باتت الآن ضد الإرهابيين، هي لا تزال تعارض الحكومة، لكنها لا تحمل السلاح. بالنتيجة فإن وجود احتياجات مشروعة لا يجعل السلاح مشروعاً.

صنداي تايمز: في خطتكم ذات المراحل الثلاث: المرحلة الأولى تتحدث عن وقف العنف، كيف يمكنكم افتراض حدوث ذلك بالنسبة للمجموعات المسلحة وأنتم تقولون بأن هناك مجموعات كثيرة جداً مجزأة ولا تخضع لقيادة واحدة.
هذه إحدى نقاط خطتكم، وبالتالي فهو طلب مستحيل. تتحدثون عن استفتاء، لكن مع وجود عدد كبير من المهجّرين داخلياً وخارجياً، والعديد منهم يشكّلون العمود الفقري للمعارضة، على الأقل المهجرون منهم، فإن استفتاءً بدونهم لن يكون عادلاً. المرحلة الثالثة تتعلق بالانتخابات البرلمانية، وينبغي أن يحدث كل هذا قبل عام 2014. إنها قائمة طويلة جداً من الأشياء التي ينبغي أن تحدث قبل العام المقبل. إذاً ما الشروط التي تضعونها للحوار ولجعل هذه الخطوات تحدث؛ ثم أليس بعض الشروط التي تربطونها بالحوار مستحيلة التحقق؟

الرئيس الأسد: هذا يعتمد على طريقتنا في النظر إلى الوضع. أولاً، لنقل إن البند الرئيسي في الخطة هو الحوار، والحوار هو الذي يضع الجدول الزمني لكل شيء آخر، وللإجراءات والتفاصيل المتعلقة بهذه الخطة. البند الأول في خطتي كان وقف العنف، إذا لم نستطع وقف العنف، فكيف يمكن أن نمضي إلى الإجراءات الأخرى مثل إجراء الاستفتاء والانتخابات؟، ورغم ذلك فإن القول بعدم إمكانية وقف العنف ليس مبرراً لعدم فعل شيء.
من جهة أخرى، كما قلت، نعم هناك العديد من المجموعات وليس لها قيادة واحدة، لكننا نعرف أن قيادتها الحقيقية هي تلك البلدان التي تموّلها وترسل لها الأسلحة، وهي بشكل رئيسي تركيا وقطر والسعودية. إذا أرادت الأطراف الخارجية فعلاً المساعدة في هذه العملية، ينبغي أن تضغط على تلك البلدان للتوقف عن تزويد أولئك الإرهابيين بالمال والسلاح. وبالنتيجة فإننا، كأي دولة ذات سيادة، لن نتفاوض مع الإرهابيين.
صنداي تايمز: يقول منتقدوك إن المفاوضات الحقيقية قد تفضي إلى سقوطك، وسقوط حكومتك أو نظامك، وأنك تعرف هذا، ولهذا السبب فإنك تقدّم سيناريوهات مستحيلة عملياً للحوار والمفاوضات؟.
الرئيس الأسد: أنا لا أعرف هذا، بل أعرف العكس. منطقياً وواقعياً، إذا كان هذا هو الحال، ينبغي على أولئك الخصوم أو الأعداء أن يدفعوا من أجل الحوار لأنه سيؤدي إلى سقوطي. لكنهم في الواقع يفعلون العكس. إنهم يمنعون ما يسمى “كيانات المعارضة الموجودة خارج سورية” من المشاركة في الحوار لأنهم يعتقدون أن العكس هو الصحيح، إنهم يعرفون أن هذا الحوار لن يؤدي إلى سقوطي، بل سيجعل سورية أقوى. هذا هو الجانب الأول.
الجانب الثاني هو أن الحوار بمجمله يتعلق بسورية وبمستقبلها وبالإرهاب، إنه لا يتعلق بالمناصب والشخصيات، وبالتالي لا ينبغي أن يصرفوا انتباه الناس بالتحدث عما سيحققه أو لن يحققه هذا الحوار للرئيس. بالنهاية هو من أجل سورية كما قلت منذ قليل وليس من أجلي أنا. في المحصلة كلامهم هذا ينطوي على تناقض، بمعنى أن ما يقولونه يتناقض مع ما يفعلونه.
صنداي تايمز: قلت إن دفعهم من أجل الحوار قد يؤدي إلى سقوطك؟
الرئيس الأسد: لا، ما قلته هو أنه طبقاً لما يقولونه هم، إذا كان الحوار سيفضي إلى سقوطي فلماذا لا يشاركون فيه؟ هم يقولون إنه سيؤدي إلى سقوط الرئيس، وأنا أدعوهم إلى الحوار، فلماذا لا يأتون إليه ليسقطوني؟ هذا بديهي، ولهذا قلت بأنهم يناقضون أنفسهم.
صنداي تايمز: سيادة الرئيس، جون كيري وهو رجل تعرفه جيداً، هل تدعوه إلى دمشق لإجراء محادثات معه، وماذا ستقول له؟ ما رسالتك له الآن بالنظر إلى ما قاله هذا الأسبوع ولما ينوي قوله لحلفائه عندما يزورهم في نهاية الاسبوع؟ وكيف يمكن أن تصف كيري من خلال معرفتك به في الماضي؟
الرئيس الأسد: أنا أفضّل وصف السياسات وليس الأشخاص. وبكل الأحوال ما زال من المبكر الحكم عليه، فلم يمضِ على استلامه منصبه كوزير للخارجية بضعة أسابيع.
وفيما يتعلق ببقية السؤال، فإن ما ذكرتِه يتعلق بمسائل أو قضايا سورية داخلية، ولن يُطرح أي موضوع سوري مع أي أشخاص أجانب. نناقش هذه المسائل فقط مع السوريين داخل سورية، وبالتالي فلن أناقشها مع أي شخص يأتي من الخارج. لدينا أصدقاء ونناقش قضايانا مع أصدقائنا ونصغي لنصائحهم، لكن في المحصلة القرار قرارنا كسوريين ونتخذه وفقاً لما نعتقد أنه الأفضل لبلادنا. لكن إذا كان أي شخص يرغب “بصدق”، وأشدّد على كلمة “بصدق”، أن يساعد سورية، وأن يساعد في وقف العنف في بلادنا يمكنه القيام بشيء واحد وهو الذهاب إلى تركيا والجلوس مع أردوغان وأن يقول له: توقّف عن تهريب الإرهابيين إلى سورية.. توقّف عن إرسال الأسلحة وتوفير الدعم اللوجستي لأولئك الإرهابيين. ويمكنه الذهاب إلى قطر والسعودية وأن يقول لهم توقّفوا عن تمويل الإرهابيين في سورية. هذا هو الأمر الوحيد الذي يمكن لأي شخص فعله في التعامل مع الجزء الخارجي لمشكلتنا، لكن لا يمكن لأي شخص من خارج سورية أن يتعامل مع الجزء الداخلي من هذه المشكلة.
صنداي تايمز: ما هو الدور، إذا كان هناك أي دور، الذي يمكن لبريطانيا أن تلعبه في أي عملية سلام من أجل سورية. هل كان هناك أي اتصالات غير رسمية مع البريطانيين؟ وما هو رد فعلكم على دعم السيد كاميرون للمعارضة؟ وماذا كنت ستقول له لو كنت جالساً معه، خصوصاً وأن بريطانيا تدعو إلى تسليح المتمردين؟
الرئيس الأسد: ليس هناك أي اتصالات بين سورية وبريطانيا منذ وقت طويل. أما التحدث عن دور فلا يمكن فصل الدور عن المصداقية، ولا يمكننا فصل المصداقية عن تاريخ ذلك البلد. بصراحة، وأنا الآن أتحدث إلى صحفية بريطانية وإلى الجمهور البريطاني، اشتهرت بريطانيا (في منطقتنا) بلعب دور غير بناء في مختلف القضايا وعلى مدى عقود، وبعضهم يقول قرون. أنا أتحدث الآن عن التصور العام في منطقتنا. ومشكلة حكومة كاميرون أن خطابها السطحي وغير الناضج يبرز فقط هذا الإرث من الهيمنة. أقول هذا بصراحة. كيف يمكن توقُّع أن نطلب من بريطانيا أن تلعب دورا في حين أنها مصممة على عسكرة المشكلة؟ كيف يمكن أن نطلب منهم أن يلعبوا دوراً في جعل الوضع أفضل وأكثر استقراراً، وكيف يمكن أن نتوقع منهم تخفيف حدة العنف، في حين أنهم يريدون إرسال المعدات العسكرية للإرهابيين ولا يحاولون تسهيل الحوار بين السوريين؟ هذا غير منطقي. أعتقد أنهم يعملون ضدّنا وفي الوقت ذاته ضد مصالح المملكة المتحدة نفسها. هذه الحكومة تتصرف بطريقة ساذجة ومشوَّشة وغير واقعية. إذا أرادوا أن يلعبوا دوراً فعليهم تغيير هذا والتصرف بطريقة أكثر عقلانية ومسؤولية. وإلى أن يفعلوا ذلك، لا نتوقع من مشعل الحرائق أن يكون رجل إطفاء.
صنداي تايمز: في العام 2011، قلت إنك لن تضيع وقتك بالتحدث إلى الكيان الذي يقود المعارضة، أتحدث الآن عن الكيانات الخارجية للمعارضة. وفي الواقع فإنكم بالكاد اعترفتم بوجود مثل تلك المعارضة. ما الذي غيّر رأيكم مؤخراً؟ وأي نوع من المحادثات تجرونها مع مجموعات المعارضة التي تعتبر مكوّناً وعاملاً رئيسياً في هذه الأزمة، خصوصاً بالنظر إلى ما قاله وزير خارجيتكم، وليد المعلم، في مطلع هذا الأسبوع عندما كان في روسيا بأن الحكومة مستعدة للتحدث إلى المعارضة المسلحة؟ هل لكم أن توضحوا ذلك؟
الرئيس الأسد: في الواقع لم أغيّر رأيي. مرة أخرى، هذه الخطة غير موجّهة لهم، إنها موجهة لكل سوري يقبل الحوار. لذلك فإن إطلاق هذه المبادرة لا يشكّل تغييراً في رؤيتنا. هذا أولاً.
ثانياً، ومنذ اليوم الأول من هذه الأزمة، قبل حوالي عامين، قلنا إننا مستعدون للحوار، وبالتالي لم يتغير شيء، لدينا موقف ثابت من الحوار. قد يفهم البعض بأني غيّرت رأيي لأنني لم أعترف بالكيان الأول للمعارضة ومن ثم اعترفت بالكيان الثاني. في الواقع فإني لم أعترف بأي منهما؛ والأهم من ذلك أن الشعب السوري لا يعترف بهم ولا يأخذهم على محمل الجد. عندما يفشل مُنتَج معين في السوق فإنهم يسحبون المنتج، يغيّرون اسمه ويغلفونه بشكل مختلف ومن ثم يطرحونه مجدداً في السوق، لكنه لا يزال على عيبه، الكيانان الأول والثاني هما نفس المنتج، لكن الغلاف مختلف.
فيما يتعلق بما قاله وزير خارجيتنا، فقد كان واضحاً جداً. جزء من خطتنا هو أننا مستعدون للتفاوض مع أي شخص، بما في ذلك المقاتلون الذين يسلّمون سلاحهم. لن نتعامل مع الإرهابيين المصممين على الاستمرار في حمل السلاح، وإرهاب الناس، وقتل المدنيين، ومهاجمة الأماكن العامة والمؤسسات الخاصة وتدمير البلاد.
صنداي تايمز: سيادة الرئيس، العالم ينظر إلى سورية ويرى أن البلاد تتعرض للتدمير, العديد من الناس في سائر أنحاء العالم يحمّلونك المسؤولية، ماذا تقول لهم؟ هل أنت مسؤول عما حدث للبلد الذي تقوده؟
الرئيس الأسد: تذكرين هذه الأرقام كما لو كانت مجرد أرقام إحصائية، فيما يستعمل بعض اللاعبين هذه الأرقام لدفع أجنداتهم السياسية، للأسف، هذا هو الواقع. وبصرف النظر عن دقة هذه الأرقام، فكل رقم منها يمثّل رجلاً أو امرأة أو طفلاً سورياً. عندما تتحدثين عن آلاف الضحايا، نحن نرى آلافاً من العائلات التي فقدت أحباءها والتي ستحزن عليهم لسنوات وسنوات، لا يمكن لأحد أن يشعر بالألم كما نشعر به نحن.
وإذا نظرنا إلى موضوع الأجندات السياسية، ينبغي أن نطرح أسئلة أكثر أهمية في ظل الوضع على الأرض والذي يجعل من المستحيل الحصول على أجوبة دقيقة، وأول هذه الأسئلة هو كيف تم التحقق من هذه الأرقام؟ وما هي نسبة المقاتلين الأجانب فيها؟ وما عدد المقاتلين الذين تتراوح أعمارهم بين 20 و 30 عاماً؟ وكم عدد المدنيين – النساء والأطفال الأبرياء؟
من جهة أخرى، نعلم جميعاً كيف تم التلاعب بعدد القتلى والضحايا في الماضي لتمهيد الطريق للتدخل الإنساني في عدد من الدول. ونذكر هنا أن الحكومة الليبية أعلنت مؤخراً أنه كان هناك مبالغة كبيرة في عدد الأشخاص الذين كانوا قد قتلوا قبل غزو ليبيا، قالوا إن 5000 شخص قتلوا من كل جانب في حين أن الأرقام التي كان يتم الحديث عنها في ذلك الوقت كانت بعشرات الآلاف. وفي مثل آخر، فإن البريطانيين والأميركيين الذين كانوا موجودين فعلياً في العراق خلال الحرب قالوا إنهم لا يمتلكون حتى الآن أرقاماً دقيقة حول عدد الضحايا العراقيين الذين قتلوا بسبب غزوهم لهذا البلد. وفجأة نجد أن نفس المصادر لديها أرقام دقيقة جداً حول ما يحدث في سورية. هذه مفارقة غريبة.
أقول لكِ ببساطة إن هذا الرقم لا وجود له في الواقع. إنه جزء من الواقع الافتراضي الذي يريدون خلقه لدفع أجندتهم في التدخل العسكري تحت عنوان التدخل الإنساني.
صنداي تايمز: إذا سمحت لي، فيما يتعلق بهذه النقطة حتى لو كانت الأرقام مبالغاً بها وليست دقيقة، فهي أرقام أكّدتها مجموعات سورية. رغم ذلك هناك آلاف الأشخاص الذين قتلوا، بعضهم مقاتلون لكن بعضهم أيضاً مدنيون، وبعضهم قُتل نتيجة الهجمات العسكرية، على سبيل المثال، بسبب القصف المدفعي أو الغارات الجوية على بعض المناطق. إذاً، حتى إذا لم نجادل بالأرقام الفعلية، إلاّ أنهم رغم ذلك يحمّلونك المسؤولية عن مقتل أولئك المدنيين الذين قتلوا بسبب الهجمات العسكرية. هل تقبلون بذلك؟
الرئيس الأسد: أولاً، لا نستطيع التحدث عن الأرقام دون التحدّث عن الأسماء، الناس الذين قتلوا لهم أسماء. ثانياً، لماذا قُتل هؤلاء؟ أين وكيف قتلوا؟ من قتلهم؟ عصابات مسلحة، مجموعات إرهابية، مجرمون، مختطِفون، الجيش، من؟
صنداي تايمز: إنه خليط من كل هذه العمليات.
الرئيس الأسد: نعم إنه خليط، لكن سؤالك يعني ضمنياً أن هناك شخصاً واحداً يتحمل المسؤولية عن الوضع الراهن وعن جميع هؤلاء الضحايا. والحقيقة هي أنه منذ اليوم الأول والوضع في سورية يتأثر بالديناميكيات العسكرية والسياسية، وكلاهما يتحرك بسرعة، وفي مثل هذه الأوضاع، هناك محفِّزات وعوائق. إن افتراض أن طرفاً واحداً مسؤول عن جميع العوائق وأن طرفاً آخر مسؤول عن جميع المحفزات أمر مناف للعقل والمنطق.
أنا لست في وارد توزيع اللوم هنا، لكن إذا كنت تتحدثين عن المسؤولية، فإن الأمر الواضح هو أن لدي مسؤولية دستورية تقضي بالمحافظة على سورية والسوريين من المجموعات الإرهابية والمتطرفة.
صنداي تايمز: ما هو دور القاعدة والجهاديين الآخرين، وما هو التهديد الذي يشكلونه لسورية والمنطقة وأوروبا؟ هل أنت قلق من أن تتحول سورية إلى ما يشبه ما حدث بالشيشان في الماضي؟ هل أنت قلق حيال مصير الأقليات إذا خسرتم هذه الحرب، أو نشوب حرب طائفية شبيهة بما حدث في العراق؟
الرئيس الأسد: دور القاعدة في سورية كدورها في كل مكان من هذا العالم: القتل، وقطع الرؤوس، والتعذيب ومنع الأطفال من الذهاب إلى مدارسهم؛ لأن أيديولوجيا القاعدة، كما تعلمين، تزدهر حيث يسود الجهل. إنهم يحاولون اختراق المجتمع بأيديولوجيتهم الظلامية المتطرفة، وهم ينجحون في ذلك.
أما إذا أردنا التحدث عن القلق حيال أي شيء في سورية، فنحن لسنا قلقين على “الأقليات”، هذا وصف سطحي لأن سورية هي مزيج من الأديان، والطوائف، والعرقيات والأيديولوجيات التي تشكّل معاً خليطاً منسجماً ومتناغماً بصرف النظر عن الحصص أو النسب المئوية.
ينبغي أن نقلق على غالبية الشعب السوري المعتدل بطبيعته والتي ستصبح أقلية إذا لم نحارب هذا التطرف – وعندها ستتوقف سورية عن الوجود.
وإذا كان هناك قلق على سورية بهذا المعنى، ينبغي الشعور بالقلق على الشرق الأوسط، لأننا المعقل الأخير للعلمانية في المنطقة. وإذا كان ثمة قلق على الشرق الأوسط، ينبغي على العالم بأسره أن يكون قلقاً على استقراره. هذا هو الواقع كما نراه.
صنداي تايمز: ما مدى التهديد الذي تشكله القاعدة الآن؟
الرئيس الأسد: التهديد الذي تشكله بأيديولوجيا أكبر من التهديد بعمليات القتل التي ترتكبها. القتل خطير بالطبع، لكن المسار الذي لا يمكن عكسه هو مسار الأيديولوجيا، هذا هو الأمر الخطير، وقد دأبنا على التحذير من ذلك منذ سنوات، حتى قبل الصراع. لقد كان علينا التعامل مع تلك الأيديولوجيات منذ أواخر السبعينيات، كنا أول من تصدى لأولئك الإرهابيين في المنطقة، أولئك الذين كانوا يرتدون عباءة الإسلام.
إن القاعدة وأيديولوجيتها تشكل تهديداً وخطراً ليس فقط على سورية بل على المنطقة بأسرها. صنداي تايمز: نُقل عن المسؤولين الأميركيين مؤخراً، وخصوصاً بالأمس، أن القرار الأميركي بعدم تسليح المتمردين يمكن أن يتم تعديله. إذا حدث ذلك، فما تداعياته من وجهة نظركم في سورية وفي المنطقة؟ وما هو التحذير الذي توجهونه ضد هذه الخطوة؟ إنهم يتحدثون الآن عن تزويد المتمردين بالعربات المصفحة والتدريب والسترات الواقية.
الرئيس الأسد: تعرفين أن الجريمة لا تتعلق فقط بالضحية والمجرم، بل بالمتواطئ والشريك الذي يقدم الدعم، سواء كان الدعم معنوياً أو لوجستياً. لقد قلت مراراً إن سورية هي بمثابة خط تماس جغرافياً وسياسياً، واجتماعياً، وأيديولوجياً، ولذلك فإن اللعب بهذا الخط سيكون له تداعيات خطيرة في سائر أنحاء الشرق الأوسط.
وفي الوقت ذاته، هل الوضع أفضل في ليبيا اليوم؟ في مالي؟ في تونس؟ في مصر؟ إن أي تدخل لن يجعل الأمور أفضل، بل سيجعلها أسوأ. وعندما يتزعزع استقرار هذه المنطقة، فإن أوروبا والولايات المتحدة والمتواطئين الآخرين سيدفعون الثمن عاجلاً أو آجلاً. إنهم لا يستشرفون ما سيحدث في المستقبل.
صنداي تايمز: ما هي رسالتك إلى إسرائيل بعد غاراتها الجوية التي شنتها على سورية؟ هل ستردّون؟ وكيف ستردون على أي هجمات مستقبلية تشنها القوات الإسرائيلية، خصوصاً وأن حكومتها قالت إنها ستفعل ذلك مرة أخرى إذا دعت الحاجة؟
الرئيس الأسد: لقد ردّت سورية في كل مرة، لكن بطريقتها، وليس بالمثل، والإسرائيليون وحدهم يعرفون ما نقصده، أي كيف كان ردّنا.
الرد لا يعني صاروخاً بصاروخ أو رصاصة برصاصة. لا ينبغي أن يكون ردنا معلناً بالضرورة؛ والإسرائيليون وحدهم يعرفون ما أعنيه. صنداي تايمز: لكن لا تستطيع أن تخبرنا كيف؟. الرئيس الأسد: نحن لا نعلن ذلك.
صنداي تايمز: قابت صبي سوري في السابعة من عمره في الأردن كان قد فقد ذراعه وساقه في هجوم صاروخي في الحراك. قُتل خمسة أطفال من أسرته في ذلك الانفجار. كأب، ما الذي يمكن أن تقوله لذاك الصبي؟ ولماذا قُتل كل هذا العدد من المدنيين الأبرياء، سواء في الغارات الجوية أو في عمليات القصف التي يقوم بها الجيش وأحياناً بإطلاق النار من قبل ما يسمى بالشبيحة؟
الرئيس الأسد: ما اسم ذلك الصبي؟
صنداي تايمز: الحقيقة كان لدي اسمه … لكن .. يمكن أن أحضره لكم لاحقاً.
الرئيس الأسد: كما قلت، لكل ضحية في هذه الأزمة اسم، ولكل ضحية أسرة. الطفل صابر مثلاً، وعمره 5 سنوات، فقد ساقه وهو يتناول الفطور مع أسرته في بيته، وفقد والدته وأفراد أسرته الآخرين. ريّان طفل عمره 4 سنوات شهد ذبح شقيقيه لأنهم شاركوا بمسيرة جميعاً. ليس لأي من هذه الأسر أي انتماء سياسي.
الأطفال هم الرابطة الأكثر هشاشة في أي مجتمع، وللأسف فهم في كثير من الأحيان يدفعون أبهظ الأثمان في أي صراع. كأب لدي أطفال صغار، أعرف معنى أن يتعرض الأطفال للأذى من شيء بسيط، فكيف إذا تعرض لأذى كبير أو إذا فقد المرء طفلاً، إنه أسوأ شيء يمكن لأي عائلة أن تواجهه.
في كل الصراعات، هناك هذه القصص المؤلمة التي تصيب أي مجتمع. لكن هذا هو الدافع الأكبر والأقوى بالنسبة لنا في محاربة الإرهاب. الإنسانيون الحقيقيون، الذين يشعرون بالألم الذي نشعره حول أطفالنا وحالات الفقدان التي تصيبنا، عليهم أن يشجعوا حكوماتهم على منع تهريب الأسلحة والإرهابيين ومنع الإرهابيين من الحصول على أي معدات عسكرية من أي بلد.
صنداي تايمز: سيادة الرئيس، عندما تستلقي في سريرك في الليل، هل تسمع الانفجارات في دمشق؟ وكحال السوريين الآخرين، هل تشعر بالقلق على عائلتك؟ هل تقلق من أن سلامتك الشخصية قد تتعرض للخطر؟
الرئيس الأسد: أنا أرى الأمور بشكل مختلف تماماً… هل يمكن لأي شخص أن يكون آمناً شخصياً أو أن تكون عائلته آمنة إذا كان البلد في خطر؟ إذا لم يكن البلد آمناً، لا يمكن أن يكون الفرد آمناً. لذلك، وبدلاً من أن تشعر بالقلق على نفسك أو عائلتك ينبغي القلق على كل مواطن وكل عائلة في بلدك. إنها علاقة متبادلة.
صنداي تايمز: تعلمون المخاوف لدى المجتمع الدولي حيال الأسلحة الكيميائية في سورية. هل يمكن لجيشكم أن يستعملها كخيار أخير ضد خصومكم؟ وتشير التقارير إلى أنه تم نقل هذه الأسلحة من مكان إلى آخر عدة مرات. إذا كان ذلك قد حدث، فلماذا؟ هل تشاطرون المجتمع الدولي قلقه حول إمكانية وقوعها في أيدي المتمردين الإسلاميين أو المجموعات المرتبطة بالقاعدة على سبيل المثال، ما هو أسوأ ما يمكن أن يحدث لهذه الأسلحة؟
الرئيس الأسد: كل ما ذُكر فيما يتعلق بالأسلحة الكيميائية في سورية في وسائل الإعلام أو في أحاديث السياسيين لا يعدو كونه تخمينات، نحن لم نناقش، ولن نناقش أبداً، مسائل تتعلق بأسلحتنا مع أحد.
ما ينبغي للعالم أن يقلق بشأنه الآن هو وصول المواد الكيميائية إلى أيدي الإرهابيين، وقد تم نشر مقاطع فيديو تظهر اختبار مواد سامة على حيوانات أمام الكاميرا وتهديدات للسوريين بأنهم سيموتون بنفس الطريقة. لقد تبادلنا هذه المقاطع مع بلدان أخرى، وهذا ما ينبغي للعالم أن يركّز عليه بدلاً من فبركة عناوين مضللة حول الأسلحة الكيميائية السورية لتبرير أي تدخل في سورية.
صنداي تايمز: أعلم أنك لا تقول إن هذه الأسلحة آمنة أو غير آمنة. لكن ثمة مخاوف حول ما إذا كانت آمنة أو ما إذا كان لا أحد يستطيع الوصول إليها.
الرئيس الأسد: ما من بلد يتحدث عن قدراته.
صنداي تايمز: أمر آخر يكثر الحديث عنه أيضاً: ما هو دور حزب الله وإيران وروسيا؟ وهل تعرفون بوجود أي مقاتلين من حزب الله في سورية وماذا يفعلون؟ وما هي الأسلحة التي يزودكم بها حلفاؤكم الإيرانيون والروس، وما هي أشكال الدعم الأخرى التي يقدمونها لكم؟ الرئيس الأسد: الموقف الروسي واضح جداً فيما يتعلق بالأسلحة – إنهم يزودون سورية بأسلحة دفاعية وبشكل يتوافق مع القانون الدولي.
حزب الله، وإيران وروسيا يدعمون الشعب السوري في حربه ضد الإرهاب.. دور روسيا بنّاء جداً، ودور إيران داعم جداً ودور حزب الله هو الدفاع عن لبنان وليس الدفاع عن سورية. نحن بلد عدد سكانه 23 مليون نسمة ولدينا جيش وطني وقوات شرطة قوية، لسنا بحاجة إلى مقاتلين أجانب يدافعون عن بلدنا.
السؤال الذي ينبغي أن يُطرح هو حول دور البلدان الأخرى – قطر، وتركيا والسعودية، وفرنسا، وبريطانيا، والولايات المتحدة – التي تدعم الإرهاب في سورية بشكل مباشر أو غير مباشر، عسكرياً أو سياسياً.
صنداي تايمز: سيادة الرئيس، هل لي أن أسألك عن موقفك أنت؟ وزير الخارجية الروسي سيرغي لافروف قال مؤخراً إن الأخضر الإبراهيمي اشتكى من أنه يريد أن يرى قدراً أكبر من المرونة من نظامكم وأنه في حين أنكم لا تقولون لا، يبدو أنكم أيضاً لا تقولون نعم. هل تعتقدون أنه يمكن التوصل إلى تسوية تفاوضية تظل بموجبها رئيساً، وهو ما يتساءل عنه كثيرون؟
الرئيس الأسد: لا تتوقعي من سياسي أن يقول فقط نعم أو لا بالمعنى المطلق، إنه ليس اختباراً متعدد الخيارات بحيث تشيرين إلى الجواب الصحيح أو الخاطئ. يمكن أن تتوقعي من السياسي أن يقدم رؤية، ورؤيتنا واضحة جداً، لدينا خطة، وكل من يريد أن يتعامل معنا يمكنه فعل ذلك من خلال خطتنا، هذا واضح جداً كي لا يكون هناك إضاعة للوقت.
هذا السؤال يعكس ما يتم تداوله في وسائل الإعلام الغربية حول شخصنة المشكلة برمتها في سورية، والإيحاء بأن الصراع برمته يتعلق بالرئيس ومستقبله.
إذا كانت هذه الحجة صحيحة، فإن رحيلي سيوقف القتال. من الواضح أن هذا مناف للعقل والمنطق، والسوابق الحديثة العهد في ليبيا، واليمن، ومصر تشهد على ذلك. دافعهم هو تجنب جوهر القضية وهو الحوار والإصلاح ومحاربة الإرهاب. إن إرث تدخلاتهم في منطقتنا يتمثل في الفوضى والدمار والكوارث. إذاً كيف يمكنهم أن يبرروا أي تدخل لهم في المستقبل. هم لا يستطيعون ولذلك فإنهم يركزون على تحميل المسؤولية للرئيس ويدفعون من أجل رحيله؛ والتشكيك في مصداقيته؛ وما إذا كان يعيش في فقاعة أم لا؛ وما إذا كان منفصلاً عن الواقع أم لا. وهكذا فإن محور الصراع يصبح الرئيس.
صنداي تايمز: بعض المسؤولين الأجانب دعوا إلى محاكمتكم بتهم ارتكاب جرائم حرب في محكمة الجنايات الدولية بوصفكم الشخص المسؤول عن أعمال الجيش، هل تخشون المحاكمة من قبل محكمة الجنايات الدولية، أو احتمال الملاحقة القضائية في المستقبل والمحاكمة في سورية؟
الرئيس الأسد: عندما تُطرح أي قضية تتعلق بالأمم المتحدة، فإنك تثيرين قضية المصداقية، وجميعنا نعرف، وخصوصاً بعد انهيار الاتحاد السوفييتي، وعلى مدى السنوات العشرين الماضية، بأن الأمم المتحدة وكل المنظمات التابعة لها بلا استثناء هي ضحية الهيمنة بدلاً من أن تكون معقلاً للعدالة. لقد أصبحت أدواتً مسيّسة لزعزعة الاستقرار ومهاجمة البلدان ذات السيادة، وهو ما يتعارض مع ميثاق الأمم المتحدة نفسه.
السؤال الذي ينبغي طرحه الآن هو: هل سيحاكمون القادة البريطانيين والأميركيين الذين هاجموا العراق عام 2003 وتسببوا بمقتل أكثر من نصف مليون شخص، ناهيك عن الأيتام والمشوهين والمعاقين؟ هل سيحاكمون الأميركيين والفرنسيين وغيرهم ممن هاجموا ليبيا دون قرار من الأمم المتحدة في العام الماضي، وتسببوا أيضاً في مقتل مئات أو ربما آلاف الأشخاص؟ هم لن يفعلوا ذلك.. الجواب في غاية الوضوح.
من جانب آخر، تعرفين أن إرسال المرتزقة إلى أي بلد يعتبر جريمة حرب طبقاً لمبادئ نورمبيرغ وطبقاً لميثاق لندن لعام 1945، وبناء عليه هل سيحيلون أردوغان إلى هذه المحكمة لأنه أرسل المرتزقة إلى سورية؟ وهل سيفعلون الشيء ذاته مع القطريين والسعوديين؟ إذا حصلنا على أجوبة هذه الأسئلة، عندها يمكننا التحدث عن منظمات السلام وعن المصداقية.
جوابي مختصر جداً وهو أنه عندما يدافع الناس عن بلادهم فإنهم لا يأخذون في الاعتبار أي أمر آخر.
صنداي تايمز: النظر إلى الوراء والحكم على الماضي بمنظور الحاضر أمر رائع سيادة الرئيس. إذا أتيح لك إعادة عقارب الساعة عامين إلى الوراء، هل كنت ستتعامل مع أي شيء بطريقة مختلفة؟ هل تعتقد أن هناك أشياء كان ينبغي معالجتها بطريقة مختلفة؟ وما هي الأخطاء التي تعتقد أن بعض أنصارك ارتكبوها وكنت ترغب بتغييرها؟
الرئيس الأسد: يمكن أن تطرحي هذا السؤال على رئيس إذا كان هو المسؤول الوحيد عن كل سياق الأحداث. في حالتنا في سورية، نعرف أن هناك الكثير من اللاعبين الخارجيين، وبالتالي يجب تطبيق الحكم على الماضي من منظور الحاضر على كل لاعب من هؤلاء. يجب سؤال أردوغان على سبيل المثال: هل كنت سترسل إرهابيين لقتل السوريين؟ هل كنت ستقدم دعماً لوجستياً لهم؟ ويجب سؤال السعوديين والقطريين: هل كنتم سترسلون الأموال للإرهابيين وللقاعدة أو لأي منظمات إرهابية أخرى لقتل السوريين؟ وينبغي طرح نفس السؤال على المسؤولين الأوروبيين والأميركيين: هل كنتم ستوفرون مظلة سياسية لأولئك الإرهابيين الذين يقتلون المدنيين الأبرياء في سورية؟
في سورية، اتخذنا قرارين: القرار الأول إطلاق الحوار والقرار الثاني محاربة الإرهاب. إذا طلبتِ من أي سوري أن يحكم على الماضي بمنظور الحاضر وسألته ما إذا كان سيقول لا للحوار ونعم للإرهاب، لا أعتقد أن أي شخص عاقل سيوافقك الرأي. لذلك، أعتقد أنه إذا حكمنا على الماضي بمنظور الحاضر نجد أننا بدأنا بالحوار وسنستمر في الحوار، وقلنا بأننا سنحارب الإرهاب وسنستمر في محاربته.
صنداي تايمز: هل تفكر على الإطلاق بإمكانية العيش في المنفى، إذا وصلت الأمور إلى ذلك الاحتمال؟ وهل ستخرج من البلاد إذا كان ذلك يزيد من فرص السلام في سورية؟
الرئيس الأسد: مرة أخرى، الأمر لا يتعلق بالرئيس. ما من مواطن أو شخص وطني يمكن أن يفكر بالعيش خارج بلاده.
صنداي تايمز: لن تغادر أبداً؟
الرئيس الأسد: ما من شخص وطني يمكن أن يفكر بالعيش خارج بلاده. وأنا حالي كحال أي سوري وطني.
صنداي تايمز: ما مدى الصدمة التي تسبب بها الانفجار الذي أودى بحياة بعض كبار ضباطك، بمن فيهم صهرك؟
الرئيس الأسد: أنت تذكرين صهري، لكن هذه ليست مسألة عائلية، فعندما يتم اغتيال مسؤولين رفيعي المستوى فإن المسألة مسألة وطنية وليست عائلية. إن جريمة كتلك تجعلنا أكثر تصميماً على محاربة الإرهاب. الأمر لا يتعلق بالمشاعر بقدر ما يتعلق بما ينبغي فعله.
صنداي تايمز: أخيراً سيادة الرئيس هل لي أن أسألك عن زميلتي ماري كولفن التي قتلت خلال عملية قصف لمركز إعلامي معارض في بابا عمرو في 22 شباط من العام الماضي؟ هل تم استهدافها، كما أشار البعض، لأنها أدانت الدمار على التلفزيون البريطاني والأمريكي؟ أم إنها كانت ببساطة سيئة الحظ؟ هل سمعت بمقتلها حينذاك، وإذا كنت قد سمعت ماذا كان رد فعلك؟
الرئيس الأسد: بالطبع، سمعت بقصتها من وسائل الإعلام. عندما يذهب صحفي إلى مناطق صراع، كما تفعلين أنت الآن، لتغطية الأحداث ونقلها إلى العالم، أعتقد أن هذا عمل شجاع جداً. وكل شخص أو مسؤول عاقل وكل حكومة ينبغي أن تدعم الصحفيين في جهودهم لأن ذلك سيساعد في تسليط الضوء على الأحداث على الأرض وفضح البروباغاندا أينما وجدت. للأسف، ففي معظم الصراعات هناك صحفيون يدفعون حياتهم ثمناً لذلك. من المحزن دائماً عندما يقتل صحفي، لأنه ليس مع هذا الطرف أو ذاك، وليس حتى طرف في المشكلة.. إنهم هناك فقط لتغطية الأحداث.
ثمة حرب إعلامية على سورية تمنع إيصال الحقيقة إلى العالم الخارجي. لدينا 14 صحفياً سورياً قتلوا منذ بداية الأزمة، ولم يقتلوا جميعاً في الميدان، بعضهم استُهدف في منزله، واختُطف وعُذِّب ثم قُتل. بعضهم لا يزال مفقوداً. هوجمت أكثر من محطة تلفزيون سورية من قبل الإرهابيين وقنابلهم. والآن ثمة حظر على بث القنوات التلفزيونية السورية على أنظمة الأقمار الصناعية الأوروبية.
ومن المعروف أيضاً كيف أن المتمردين استغلوا الصحفيين أحياناً لمصلحتهم، وأفضل مثال على ذلك الصحفي البريطاني الذي تمكن من الهرب منهم.
صنداي تايمز: تقصد أليكس طومسون؟
الرئيس الأسد: نعم، لقد تم استدراجه إلى فخ من قبل الإرهابيين كي يتم اتهام الجيش السوري بقتله. ولهذا من المهم دخول البلاد بشكل قانوني، والحصول على تأشيرة دخول. لم يكن هذا هو الحال في حالة ماري كولفن. لا نعرف لماذا، والأمر ليس واضحاً. إذا دخلت إلى البلاد بشكل غير قانوني، لا يمكن أن تتوقعي من الدولة أن تكون مسؤولة عما يحدث.
على عكس الاعتقاد السائد، فمنذ بداية الأزمة حصل مئات الصحفيين من سائر أنحاء العالم، بمن فيهم أنت، على تأشيرات دخول وهم يغطون الأحداث ويرسلون تقاريرهم بحرية من داخل سورية دون أي تدخل في عملهم ودون أي عوائق تحول دون إنجاز مهامهم.
صنداي تايمز: شكراً جزيلاً.
الرئيس الأسد: شكراً لك.
 
 سانا

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this Blog!

Queen Victoria And The British Crown Win The Prize

February 22, 2013
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By Daniel Mabsout,

Which is the most criminal state among states? In answer to this questions the United States got the highest record . But remember the British Crown and remember England . The United State is an off spring of England . There is no USA , it is Native land colonized by Europeans, mostly English Puritans. The British Crown and the Puritans have together broken the records of crime and of genocide . England is the most criminal country on earth ; starting by starving the Irish people by depriving them of their potato crop . One million victims and another million had to flee Ireland . More than 85 million Indians starved to death plus more than one million killed in the war between India and Pakistan after the British partitioned the country . The colonization of the New continent caused the death of more than 18 million indigenous , starved , killed by assault or biological war in a genocide that lasted more than 500 years .The white Buffalo that constituted a basic element in the way of life of the indigenous was exterminated so that the Natives starve to death. What remained of the Natives died in Christian residential schools from abuse. The colonization of Australia was not less brutal; almost one million lost lives among aboriginals .The slave trade should not be forgotten where English tradesmen had a big role in exterminating what is believed to be more than a hundred million black Africans . This not to speak of the colonization of Africa , here the numbers are not clear but massacres were committed in many instances . If one wants to add to all this the usurping of Palestine, the wars on Iraq and Afghanistan that are still going on and have not stopped, one can reach impressing numbers . Historians have not yet finished the data and are still collecting the numbers of the victims of the British genocide of Indians and they are not through yet . The crimes of England will take years to be documented , England being the most ferocious country that ever exitsed on earth with policies of extermination and exploitation that have no par in history and that are still going on . In Pakistan , in Palestine the seeds of partition and conflict sown by the British are still reaping killings and deaths . It is England which is leading the list definitely at its head the insatiable blood thirsty Queen that needs more blood every day for her sustenance and the maintenance of the British Brutish Crown.

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian  
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this Blog!

Toppling Iran: the Zionists’ craziest fantasy

February 12, 2013

But who will help them act it out?

by Stuart Littlewood 

“We put a lot of energy with France and Germany into agreeing at the end of July strong additional European Union sanctions on Iran which will begin to bite over the coming months…”
– UK Foreign Secretary William Hague, 5 October 2010


Getting two devoted fans of Israel like UK Foreign Secretary William Hague and his junior minister Alistair Burt to explain their hostility towards Iran was never going to be easy.
Mr Hague had said the ransacking of the British embassy in Tehran in November 2011 was carried out “with regime consent”. Orchestration by the Iranian authorities is automatically denied but the incident was obviously in retaliation to Britain’s ratcheting  up sanctions intended to cripple the Iranian economy, a repetition of our ‘dirty tricks’ of 60 years ago

Why, exactly, were we doing it again, I wanted to know. Had we so quickly forgotten the devastating effect of sanctions on civil society, especially children, not only in Iran in the 1950s but against the Iraqis in the 1990s before the brave “coalition of the willing” reduced their country to rubble and ruination? But never mind, they were just collateral damage in the West’s great scheme of things.
For more than a year I’ve been putting questions like these to the Foreign Secretary through my MP. What proof is there that Iran’s nuclear technology has a military dimension (and please spare us the usual faked intelligence and sexed-up dossiers)? Shouldn’t he be more concerned about Israel’s nuclear arsenal, the deranged leadership in Tel Aviv and the threat the Zionist State poses to the region and beyond?

Doesn’t Israel’s refusal to sign up to the Non-Proliferation Treaty or engage constructively on the issue of its nuclear and other WMD make it a leading candidate for sanctions, quite apart from its brutal oppression and occupation of the Holy Land?

In any case, what threat is Iran to Britain? And who gave Hague permission to wage economic warfare against a friendly people – in our name? We remember only too well how Cameron, Hague and Burt voted enthusiastically for the Iraq war, an appalling lack of judgement based on a pack of lies that anyone exercising average diligence could see through. It should have disqualified them from holding high office ever again. The military adventure cost well over a million lives, caused utter misery, wrecked much of Iraq’s heritage and generated intense hatred worldwide.

Mr Hague’s job, I suggested to my MP Henry Bellingham, is to make friends not enemies.
“It is our Government that has played a decisive role in securing toughest ever EU sanctions on Iran including the embargo on their oil that we called for in opposition and that many said was well nigh impossible.” –UK Foreign Secretary William Hague to the Conservative Friends of Israel, October 2012

Has Iran wronged Britain? Quite the opposite.

It is illuminating to recall the depths to which “the allies” will stoop. The British Government has menaced Iran ever since it took a major shareholding in Anglo-Persian Oil in 1914 and swindled the host country out of its fair share of the profits. In 1951 Anglo-Iranian Oil (as renamed in 1935) declared £40 million profit after tax but gave Iran only £7 million. At the same time Arabian American Oil was sharing profits with the Saudis on a 50/50 basis. Whereupon Iran, after many years of fruitless negotiation for a square deal, nationalised its oil to achieve longed-for economic and political independence and combat poverty.

Britain’s Tory government at the time responded with crippling oil sanctions and froze Iran’s sterling assets in order to bring the democratic administration of Dr Mossadegh to its knees, thus creating the cruel circumstances that eventually led to the Islamic Revolution of 1979.

The CIA, in cahoots with Britain’s MI5, played an ugly game of provocation, mayhem and deception.  The Shah was persuaded to sign two decrees, one dismissing Mossadegh and the other nominating the CIA’s choice, General Zahedi, as prime minister. These decrees, in direct violation of the Iranian constitution, were written by the CIA. After the planned coup initially failed the Shah fled to Rome. When it was judged safe to do so he returned in 1953. Mossadeq was arrested, tried, convicted of treason by the Shah’s military court and sentenced to death.

Dr. Mohammad Mossadegh said

“My greatest sin is that I nationalised Iran’s oil industry and discarded the system of political and economic exploitation by the world’s greatest empire… With God’s blessing and the will of the people, I fought this savage and dreadful system of international espionage and colonialism.  I am well aware that my fate must serve as an example in the future throughout the Middle East in breaking the chains of slavery and servitude to colonial interests.”


The sentence was later commuted to three years’ solitary in a military prison, followed by house arrest until he died.  His supporters were rounded up, imprisoned, tortured or executed.

Foreign oil companies were allowed to form a consortium to restore the flow of Iranian oil, and the US and Britain were rewarded with the lion’s share (40% to Anglo-Iranian). The consortium agreed to share profits on a 50-50 basis with Iran but refused to open its books for inspection by Iranian auditors or allow Iranians to sit on the board. Anglo-Iranian changed its name to British Petroleum in 1954.

A grateful US massively funded the Shah’s government, including his army and secret police force, SAVAK. The whole sordid enterprise came unstuck with the 1979 Revolution. The US is still hated today for reinstating the Shah and his vicious SAVAK, and for snuffing out the Iranians’ democratic system of government, which the Revolution unfortunately didn’t restore. Britain, as instigator and junior partner in the wretched affair is similarly despised.

On top of that, Iran is still resentful at the way the West, especially the US, helped Iraq develop its chemical weapons and armed forces, and how the international community failed to punish Iraq for using those chemical WMD against Iran in the Iran-Iraq war. In that conflict the US, and eventually Britain, were in league with Saddam enabling him to more easily acquire or develop such weapons. At least 100,000 Iranians fell victim.

David Cameron (b. 1966) wasn’t even a twinkle in his father’s eye when Britain last crushed Iran’s economy, and he was probably carousing with his Bullingdon Club pals at Oxford while Iranians were dying in their thousands from Saddam’s poison gases. Hague (b. 1961) seems similarly oblivious to the dirty tricks previous British foreign secretaries pulled on Iran. Obama (b. 1961?) was a community organiser in Chicago while the Iranians were being gassed by chemicals his country supplied to Saddam. Amazing how all three so effortlessly assume the mantle and mindset of their twisted predecessors.

Britain’s present-day Tory dominated Government, instead of straining every sinew to develop trade and co-operation – the civilised way to influence other nations – is spoiling for another fight and seems eager to send our young men (and women) to die in Iran for… well, for what? Israel? America? Another Zionist fantasy?

There is no reason to suppose the evil of the 1950s isn’t still stalking the corridors of power. And just for the record, did Mr Hague make any effort to see Iranian leaders before inflicting his economic terror plan on their people and taking us all a fatal step nearer the war that Washington’s neo-cons have been cooking up for some time?

Questions but few answers

The Foreign Office maintained its silent routine so, in the end, I asked my MP to table written parliamentary questions (which require written answers). These were ’edited’ to conform with parliamentary rules and consequently lost some of their sting…

Mr Bellingham: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what plans he has to re-establish direct diplomatic links with Iran at the highest level.

Alistair Burt: The UK has not broken off diplomatic relations with Iran, but they are at the lowest level. The UK will not establish direct diplomatic links at the highest level until it is satisfied that Iran will guarantee the security of its staff and property in line with Iran’s international obligations.

Mr Bellingham: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what plans he has for the UK to develop trade links with Iran for the purpose of fostering a better relationship between the two countries.

Alistair Burt: The UK believes that the dual track strategy of engagement through negotiations and pressure through sanctions is the best way to resolve the Iranian nuclear issue. Until this happens, the UK has no plans to develop trade with Iran.

Mr Bellingham: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many times Ministers in his Department have made official visits to Iran in the last 30 years.

Alistair Burt: There have been a number of ministerial visits to Iran over the last 30 years including seven from Foreign and Commonwealth Office Ministers. The last visit by a UK Minister was in 2005. There have been no ministerial visits since then because of the state of the bilateral relationship and Iran’s refusal to address the international community’s concerns about its nuclear programme.
I was hoping to hear if any senior British minister has been to Iran since 1979 apart from Jack Straw. Burt doesn’t identify the minister who visited in 2005. The suspicion is that no top level face-to-face contact was made before 2001 or after 2003.

Burt admits that business-hungry Britain has no plans to develop trade with Iran, probably the most important country in the Middle East. Many British businesses that enjoyed good relations there in the past will be annoyed at this idiocy.

UK asked Israel to join the NPT “as a non-nuclear weapons state”?

As International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors have yet to produce clear evidence that Iran’s nuclear programme has a military purpose the focus should be on Israel’s undeclared and unsafeguarded nukes. The racist regime demonstrates everyday contempt for its obligations under the UN Charter and other solemn agreements and is happy to launch air strikes and butcher women and children at the drop of a hat.

Henry Bellingham tabled my Israel question in this form:

Mr Bellingham: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps he is taking to encourage Israel to (a) sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and (b) open its nuclear programme to international inspection.

Alistair Burt: The British Government supports fully the universalisation of the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT). We have called on Israel and other non-signatories to join the NPT as non-nuclear weapons states. We have also called on them to agree a full scope Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). In 2009 the IAEA concluded that nuclear material, facilities or other items to which safeguards were applied in Israel remained in use for peaceful activities. The UK accepts these conclusions. We have a regular dialogue with the Israeli Government on civil nuclear and counter proliferation issues.

The answer is telling. Mr Burt includes Israel with the “non-nuclear weapons states” when most observers know it possesses 200 to 400. His pretence that Israel’s nuclear activities are for peaceful purposes, is contradicted by the IAEA’s report ‘Israeli nuclear capabilities’ http://www.iaea.org/About/Policy/GC/GC54/GC54Documents/English/gc54-14_en.pdf. 

Apparently the safeguards for Israel relate to a 1955 agreement with the USA on the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. Israel has not concluded an Additional Protocol therefore the Agency’s assessment does not include nuclear facilities that would be covered by a comprehensive safeguards regime. In other words the IAEA can only check what Israel chooses to declare for peaceful purposes, and any military applications are unverifiable. This is far from satisfactory and in September 2009 the IAEA adopted a resolution expressing “concern about the Israeli nuclear capabilities” and calling on Israel “to accede to the NPT and place all its nuclear facilities under comprehensive IAEA safeguards”.
Has anyone heard Hague, Cameron or Burt supporting the IAEA’s perfectly reasonable request in the same loud voice as they bully Iran?

Predictably the United States, in the person of Hillary Rodham Clinton, rejected the Agency’s call because it “focused exclusively on Israel while disregarding non-compliance by Iran with its safeguards obligations”.

The EU (via Catherine Ashton) was also dismissive because it would “not be conducive to a good atmosphere” and “could only hamper the ability of the IAEA to contribute positively to the establishment of a WMD-free zone in the Middle East”.
You couldn’t make it up… and Israel’s off the hook again.

Deal with the real threat

The Foreign Office website insists that Iran’s peaceful nuclear programme “may also have a military purpose… We are particularly concerned about the enrichment of uranium to 20% without a credible civilian use for it…” They complain that Iran hasn’t cooperated fully and provided access for IAEA inspections. Iran also signed but then failed to implement an Additional Protocol, which would have given the IAEA authority to properly assess its nuclear activities. And the IAEA says this lack of cooperation means it can’t confirm that all Iran’s nuclear materials are for peaceful activities.

Sounds familiar? No Additional Protocol, no comprehensive safeguards, no proper assessment and no verification that it’s all for peaceful purposes… It’s the same problem the IAEA has with Israel.
At least 90% uranium enrichment is needed for nuclear weapons. 20% is required for research and medical purposes. The fear, of course, is that if Iran stockpiles enough 20% material it could convert this relatively quickly to weapons-grade. The IAEA stresses the need for Iran to restore international confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of its nuclear programme and admits it is still wrestling with lack of information, lack of clarification, and suspicions about undisclosed nuclear activities that might be linked to military projects. There is considerable speculation, for instance, about Iran’s extensive activities at Parchin over the past year. The IAEA is still denied access.

“It is our assessment and that of our allies that Iran is keeping open the option to develop nuclear weapons…and is steadily developing the capability to produce such weapons should it choose to do so,” Mr Hague told the House of Commons a year ago. “A nuclear-armed Iran would have devastating consequences for the Middle East and could shatter the Non-Proliferation Treaty…”
If the British government truly supported the “universalisation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty”, as Mr Burt claims, Hague would be just as busy organizing sanctions against the real and present danger posed by Israel, which has already driven a coach and horses through the NPT.
Western leaders believe that the Iranian regime will only satisfy every nuclear ‘obligation’ if it is made to fear for its survival. On the other hand, one can imagine how Iran is far more likely to toe the line if its Number 1 enemy, Israel, is made to do the same. So the ball is really in the West’s court… although that truth isn’t in the script.

The Foreign Office says the UK has held regular talks with Iran since 2012 and these are ongoing. How is this possible? The embassy in Tehran is now closed, all British diplomats have been withdrawn and all Iranian diplomats were expelled from the UK over a year ago. Sweden now represents British interests in Iran while Iran’s interests in the UK are represented by the Sultanate of Oman. Nation speaks unto nation through third parties.

By kicking the Iranian ambassador and his staff out of London Mr Hague slammed the door on diplomacy. His argument that “this does not amount to the severing of diplomatic relations in their entirety” is poppycock. Burt has said that right now there are no direct links at top level. Just how useful is this new-style diplomacy, conducted “at the lowest level” and through intermediaries, when economic war is being waged and we’re nearing the brink of shooting war? And how does he propose to re-build diplomatic trust when the time comes?

It seems unlikely that proper diplomatic relations were established in the first place. In 2001 Jack Straw was the first British foreign secretary to visit Tehran in the 22 years since the Revolution, a deplorable dereliction of duty not only to the British people but all who wished for peace. The Israelis made a big fuss, complaining that his trip was “sticking a knife in Israel’s back”.

So the big questions remain: what exactly is Britain’s quarrel with Iran? That country, like most of its neighbours, is nervous about Israel’s unsafeguarded nukes and other WMD.  The international community including Britain has failed to act. Why has Hague taken it upon himself to lead the charge and goad a once-friendly nation into becoming an implacable enemy? And why have our diplomatic efforts in Tehran over the last 33 years been so half-baked?

Are Hague’s actions in defence of our realm? Or is it a private quarrel pursued by Zionists and their stooges?

“Take Iran. All the evidence points in the same direction: that country’s leadership is intent on developing a nuclear weapons capability. There are no ifs, buts, maybes, I’ve read the reports, I have had the briefings: they are stockpiling enough uranium to make a nuclear weapon over time. Of course, that’s a huge threat to the world but it’s a particular threat to Israel. We support tough engagement with Iran, but it is time to ratchet up the pressure. And time is, frankly, short.
“That’s why since we came into power we have wasted no time in securing tougher sanctions. We backed tough sanctions in the United Nations  – and we championed and led, at meeting after meeting, even tougher sanctions at the European level. Iran needs to know if they continue on this course they will feel international pressure and international isolation.” – David Cameron, UK prime minister, 2010.

The people of the West helped them act out their fantasies in the Holy Land, Iraq and Syria with tragic consequences. Will they help again – i.e. provide more cannon-fodder and treasure – against Iran? I’ll wager that common sense, common decency and weariness with unjust, never-ending wars won’t allow it this time. 

                     Armageddon is cancelled. Sorry.

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian
 
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this Blog!

Britamgate: Staging False Flag Attacks in Syria

February 6, 2013
On January 22 a telling leak cropped up in the Internet. British defense contractor’s BRITAM server was hacked and megabytes of classified internal files of the firm were released to the public. Now the case is acquiring a Britamgate scale due to the publication on Prison Planet. What is the story behind the leakage? Why this scandal is likely to turn around the situation in Syria?
| 4 February 2013
 
Let’s brief the files. The key finding is a mail dated December 24, 2012 sent by Britam Defence’s Business Development Director David Goulding to Dynamic Director of the firm Phillip Doughty, who is a former SAS officer:
JPEG - 45.5 kb

Phil
We’ve got a new offer. It’s about Syria again. Qataris propose an attractive deal and swear that the idea is approved by Washington.
We’ll have to deliver a CW to Homs, a Soviet origin g-shell from Libya similar to those that Assad should have.
They want us to deploy our Ukrainian personnel that should speak Russian and make a video record.
Frankly, I don’t think it’s a good idea but the sums proposed are enormous. Your opinion?
Kind regards David

To clarify the things, CW is a standard abbreviation for Chemical Weapons; ‘g-shell’ is a bomb consisting of an explosive projectile filled with toxic gas.

Taking into account the memorable Barack Obama’s warning that the ‘use or even transportation of chemical weapons by the Assad regime would represent a “red line” that would precipitate military intervention’, a message he reiterated last month after the election to the second term, the plotted operation, if carried out, would provide an ideal pretext for the foreign intervention into Syria. Israel has voiced the same warnings last week.

JPEG - 45.9 kb

Who would perpetrate the video-recorded delivery of CWs to Homs? The text of mail clearly indicates that they would use Britam’s Ukrainian personnel for forging videos. Scrolling down one of the hacked files, we found out the private data of 58 Ukrainian citizens working for Britam Defence Ltd in Iraq. Several employees might not be enlisted as the folder /Iraq/People/ contained the photocopies of passports of several other Ukrainians. There are also some Serbs/Croatians and Georgians in the list who also might be filmed as ‘Russians’.

Since the end of December 2012 Western, Israeli and Gulf sources have been playing up ‘rumors’ about ‘Russian troops fighting for Assad’ and ‘Russian forces taking Syrian C&B weapons under control’. The Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Seyassah has recently published a couple of ‘Western intelligence reports’ stating that ‘Assad had already transferred chemical weapons to the terrorists’. On January 15 the US Foreign Policy journal made public a ‘secret State Department cable’ concluding that ‘the Syrian military likely used chemical weapons against its own people in a deadly attack last month’.

Most likely the public opinion is being prepared for the ‘breathtaking videos’ depicting Russian-uniformed or Russian-speaking ‘soldiers’ allegedly committing atrocities against civilians in the Syrian cities or applying toxic gases there.

In this context we should not forget the reports circulating since last year that the rebel fighters in Syria had been given gas masks and were willing to stage a chemical weapons attack which would then be blamed on the Assad regime to grease the skids for NATO military intervention.
The information about Western and Middle East special services recruiting militants with Slavic features to play a role of Russian ‘mercenaries’ allegedly captured by Syrian opposition fighters was released by the Russian media in the middle of January. They quoted a well-informed source as saying that ‘actors’ are being selected in Russia, Belarus and Ukraine. They all must handle guns and able to operate anti-aircraft systems. According to the script, they should recognize in front of the cameras that they were recruited by the Russian special services with the aim of supporting the army of Bashar Assad. Also, they ought to say that they have allegedly been delivered to Syria by Russian warships.

According to the source, all this will be filmed in Turkey or Jordan, where fake demolished Syrian towns have already been built in the form of large-scale theatrical scenery. The same-type sceneries in Qatar were reportedly used during the information warfare against Libya in 2011.

Summing up these facts we can conclude that a provocation in Syria is the only option left for the war-mongers. Having exhaustive information on the real situation in Syria and being aware of inability of the corrupted rebel group to make any significant change in Damascus, they have nothing to do but hire a second-rate British PSC for another round of dirty job. We have no doubt that numerous tragic ‘revelations’ of atrocities committed by ‘pro-Assad army’ that were repeatedly hitting YouTube for the last two years, were also ‘ordered’ for enormous fee to the former British ‘berets’. The latest leakage deserves thorough investigation and consideration on the top international political level. It is high time for a BRITAMGATE to be boxed.

All documents could be found on this link

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian  
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Afghanistan security better before British troops arrival: Karzai

February 5, 2013

 
Karzai questions NATO troosp fight against terrorism in AfghanistanAfghan president Hamid Karzai who is currently in United Kingdom to attend a tripartite summit with Asif Ali Zardari and British prime minister David Cameron questioned the international troops fight against terrorism in Afghanistan and said security situation in southern Helmand province of Afghanistan was better before British troops were deployed.
 
Karzai also expressed doubts regarding foreign troops fight in the right part of the country for the past 10 years and questionned whether western forces were pulling out because they had realised the mission was a mistake, or if they believed they had successfully broken up the country’s terrorist groups.
 
In an interview with the Guardian and ITN before the summit president Karzai said, “They feel fulfilled with regard to the objective of fighting terrorism and weakening al-Qaeda, or they feel that they were fighting in the wrong place in the first place, so they should discontinue doing that and leave.”
 
President Karzai without blaming international troops for the security problems said Helmand had been more peaceful before the arrival of British and US troops in 2006.
 
Karzai said Afghans are more concerned regarding reconstruction of Afghanistan which was ruined during three decades of war rather than assuming if the west believed their mission had failed.
He said, “Whatever happened was the past and now we are looking forward.”
 
In a bid to encourage a peace deal with the militants groups in Afghanistan president Karzai said he is expected to use the summit hosted by Mr Cameron to press Pakistan to release more Taliban prisoners, including a former second in command.
 
As NATO troops are scheduled to leave Afghanistan next year Britain hopes that closer ties between them will help the search for a settlement with the Taliban
 

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