President Bashar al-Assad gave a televised interview to Egyptian well-known journalist , Hamdi Qindeel , broadcast on Wednesday night.
On a question whether the victory of the Lebanese resistance can be considered a historic juncture, President al-Assad said that every new thing happens to any people is considered historic but the important thing where such a historic juncture would lead us. The invasion of Iraq is a historic juncture with backward direction , destruction and all the negative meanings .Of course what happened in Lebanon is historic juncture , and except for some various opinions in the Arab arena , the peoples have looked to what happened in Lebanon as a historic juncture with positive and right direction and falls generally in the interest of Arab peoples.
The president went on to say that the Arab peoples have that spontaneous feeling which has been gained through experiences of the past decades that even precedes that of the politicians and should be taken into consideration . Ofcourse what happened is historic and would be completed by the investment of its results.
On Syria's vision of the New Middle East and whether it is attainable , the president said that reality imposes what kind of a Middle East , and there are millions of peoples in this reality in the Arab region and there are more than one billion in the Islamic region . The New Middle East will be as its sons want it and this will be determined by the realities and not by the Syrian view point.
On what the foreigners want from the New Middle East, the president said that they want a Middle East to be a world that complys without hesitation with what they want such as a computer which you give data and in turn ,it gives you results , that what they want.
On whether this Middle East would be subjugated to the US. or to Israeli hegemony, the president said that there is a reciprocal relationship , it was clear that there was a large American role in the war as far as the decision of the war and the procrastination with regard to the cease-fire. Such a role serves the issue of the New Middle East , but the steadfastness of the resistance foiled this approach , and the reaction of the Arab street foiled this approach too , and will foil it in the future.
On who are the main players in the New Middle East, the president said that the Arabs should be the main concern , and ofcourse Israel is a main player through aggression and the United States is also a main player since it is a super power and through its unlimited support to Israel . As for Iran , it is a country that has existed in the region from early history , but the Arabs who are absent from the political arena whether in the decision making or in shaping the future of the region.
On the concerns of some people regarding Iran that occupies UAE islands and regarding her role in Iraq, the president said that one should ask the Arab countries about what they are afraid of , but if Iran plays a pivotal role it will fall in the interest of the region .The Arabs have no interest in being weak nations and if the strong countries play just and positive role this would serve stability in the region .As for the Iranian role in Iraq , you should ask the Iraqis , because Iran can not play a role in Iraq without the Iraqis.
The president added that if Iran is feared because of her nuclear project, Iran says that it wants the nuclear project for peaceful means , a right guaranteed by international law. There is nothing to fear from Iran.
On the growing Iranian influence which would consequently lead to the growing of the religious current that would lead to the diminishing of the pan-Arabism that has flourished for decades , the president said that Syria is a secular country and has no problem in cooperating with Iran and the Iranians have no problem in dealing with a pan-Arab state. If one looks to what is happening in Iraq , he will see that the western powers which are propagating secularism , are working to consolidate the non-religious radical current in the Arab world.
On the fear of rulers from the growing religious current in their countries, the president said that if the religious current is not radical ,it would be a good thing because religion is moralities , amity and cooperation and has everything we talk about in our political discourse.
Regarding to whom the victory of the resistance belongs , the president said that the victory is undoubtedly a victory for Lebanon and those who fought are Lebanese people and the Arab countries have the right to rejoice and this victory should be invested in favour of the peace process.
Regarding why Lebanon bore the burden of war alone, the president said that if there was an Arab unanimity in supporting Lebanon during the war the situation would have been different and the Lebanon's burden would be largely eased. Undoubtedly , the United States and Israel went too far in their aggression on Lebanon because of the Arab weakness.
President Assad noted the aggression was planned in advance and this was in light of information leaked by investigations with the network of the Lebanese agents in Israel's interests either that were revealed before the war or during the war . This is a screaming evidence and tangible proof that the war was planned and the targets were present; then there was talks and articles that have appeared in most of the American and British papers talking about this point and saying that the planning has really begun in 2004, and I think the resistance in Lebanon was prepared for something but it was not quite clear until the subject of agents has fully divulged it.
The president said that his speech at the journalists union conference was directed to the Syrian people where we are in a very big turning point a historical juncture and in this case I can't talk in a diplomatic way and in generals, the better way is not to do that but now I want to give facts to the people and every Syrian must know who is conspiring against us and who does not.
Regarding the resistance, the president said I don't want to say what it has done was for the Arabs but rather there was an Arab sympathy and Arab popular support even
The president said I don't talk about the resistance as an interior Lebanese subject but rather as an issue concerning every Arab citizen and you see now Hizbollah flags everywhere.
President Assad confirmed that Hizbollah was not a Syrian or Iranian creation, asserting that it is a Lebanese party and it deals with the subject in a Lebanese way but we are treating the subject from a Syrian point of view that might be different and this is normal and this is a good thing.
About the possibility of positively improving relations between Syria and the Lebanese majority now after this tension, the president said this group did not save an opportunity to strike Syria in a direct way via the investigation into Hariri killing or in other way and these issues have become exposed yet we closed and eye and said we want a good relation with Lebanon and what we care about is Lebanon, the relationship is built between two countries and not two governments definitely.
President Assad continued that there is no problem and as you said the spontaneous reception of the Syrian people to the Lebanese people is a proof that the Syrian people wants good ties with Lebanon .
The President added, “The problem is not with us … we didn’t link anything to Hariri investigation… They link the issue to the investigation… thus, until investigation is over, frankly there will be no good relations.”
On Shebaa Farms, President Assad said, “in one of my speeches I said that Shebaa Farms is Lebanese, but what are the borders of Shebaa? Is there no demarcation? How could we demarcate? They are proposing now to demarcate on the map in the service of Israel… there is no demarcation between two states on the map… demarcation should be done on land through specific coordinates. The issue of borders is a matter between two countries and this was done with Jordan when we demarcated the borders two years ago.”
The President added that the priority is now to liberate Shebaa Farms. The issue of demarcation is an Israeli proposal to drop justification of resistance.
“There is no demarcation for Shebaa Farms before the Israeli troops withdrawal, this is undisputable for us.”
On reports saying that 4 thousand troops from UNIFIL will be deployed along the Syrian-Lebanese borders, the President said that this means creating a hostile situation between Syria and Lebanon, besides, this cancels the sovereignty of Lebanon.
“There is no state in the world that accepts to deploy international troops along its borders unless in case it was at war with another country as is the case in Golan and South Lebanon,” President Assad added.
The president expressed hope that the situation in Lebanon will not turn into a civil war during the coming weeks and months, underling that "Syria paid an expensive price in order to stop the civil war in the past …." we wish that will not happen and this will depend on some political leaderships which still take the orders from outside … any country can't be stable as long as the orders are coming from outside the borders ,there is no factor important than this one , regardless of that, I don’t see any indications of a civil war or division ."
Asked whether Syria will face the Israeli occupation by utilizing the Lebanese resistance experience, President al-Assad said that " we know that there is semi siege imposed on Syria, particularly in the nineteenth, and in return there is a big back up for Israel by the US, so we that means we have changed the army 's task and we are continuously seeking for preparations, at least in the first phase to defend our territories, because Israel is an expansionist state, and if peace will not be achieved, and peace process will not be moved, the war is the natural future in the region and Syria is the first party concerned with the subject.
"The resistance process is a public process and not a state resolution, and people may overtake their government or countries and do this matter, so it moves the peace process, as we hear now in our region and in the West, and if it revives the peace, perhaps it will go ahead towards negotiations, "The President added .
The President added that the victory of Hizbullah was sufficient to teach Israel the lesson and as I said before when the army engages in the battles it must fight to achieve a goal and when things are not completed towards achieving this goal it must not be an issue of passion.
Regarding liberation of the Golan, the President said that this matter is in our hands and up to our determination, but for us as a country it takes a political and military direction, and as I said concerning the subject of resistance; it is a public resolution and no country can say yes we will go towards the resistance …. The people move to resist apart from their country when they decide .
On the question of freedoms value , the President said we have made steps but they are firm ones as well as we have clarity regarding the bases we are following in this process asserting, we don’t' want freedoms that are exploited from the outside and this exists. Regarding the freedoms in the homeland framework, we as a state have to identify the subject as not to enter into the framework of chaos nor that of dependency then in framework of cheating with our interior situation.
" loyalty for the country is by not accepting foreign interferences from or by any embassy and I have always been clear on the subject or via any foreign government directly interfering with us," the president said.
President Assad noted that we passed through many circumstances mainly in the recent year that posed as the most difficult a state might pass by, noting that had not we had the national unity, we would not have been capable of surpassing these circumstances.
Asked about the party law, President Assad said it was a very significant one and it did not stop, but the circumstances must allow us to have room as to accomplish it.
Regarding the issue of peace and war between Syria and Israel and Qatar's role in this respect, the President said that " what we care about is the role of Qatar at the UN Security Council and its international relations …. These relations serve in putting the Arab vision upon the foreign officials who mostly adopt the extremely US or the Israeli proposal . The role of Qatar here is very important through the knowledge of the Syrian viewpoint then covey it to other countries."
Asked if there is any specific suggestion by the Emir of Qatar in this context, the President replied " no …according to Syria there is nothing particular that differs from what presented at Madrid Conference …..We don’t have any additional proposals, Madrid Conference as bases was sufficient and we only can continue on them."
In a commentary on the President al-Assad latest speech as a peace speech, the President said " It is a conditional peace with clear bases, but it is the speech of last opportunities…when I talked about generations, this mean that these doors which are opened now are narrowing, and by time we will not see these doors and the other rejecting part for peace which is' Israel ' has to exploit the subject."
Asked how a new initiative of peace moves in light of the new data and how Syria sees this moving, the President said " any proposal cant work without returning to the concerning parties, this is what I emphasized and wish Arab brothers will consult us on this subject ."
The President said that Syria has always been in the heart of storm and it encountered internal and external conspiracies, adding that the people have protected Syria as a homeland.
“We didn’t depend on any foreign party, we are talking now about stability. We want stability, we live between the war of Iraq and the internal divisions or disputes in Lebanon… the situations are not comfortable, nevertheless what helps us is the popular case… there will be no stability or a stable popular case if the state doesn’t stand by the people,” President Assad added.
On whether Syria has burned its Arab papers, He said “ this has not happened, because the half-men are existing in all stances and places… it is a common word, it may refer to an official, journalist or a writer.”
On the reactions of some Arab newspapers on the Syrian stance and President Assad’s sentence of “half stances, half men” and whether this will have impacts on the Syrian stances, the President said “the reality is not, because those who talked about the sentence is part of the Arab media and this part stands in a position which contradicts our position… they left all what I have said in the speech and resorted to this sentence and their interpretation is incorrect… those countries adopted stances that differ from our stance… or our stance is different from theirs.”
If communications continued between Syria and each of Saudi Arabia and Egypt after President’s Speech or not, President Assad answered yes, communications continued.
“There are always differences in stances between us and other Arab states.. our stance regarding resistance, our stance regarding war, but we should always contact in order for each of us to interpret ate his stance,” He added.
Regarding Syria’s relations with Arab neighboring countries and with Iran and Turkey, President Assad said that a number of Iraqi officials wish to have good relations with Syria but the occupation prevents them from doing this, there are several parties in Lebanon want good relations with Syria, and this is the case in Jordan. But the right thing is that Turkey was the most cooperative side with Syria in the previous stages and still, particularly during international investigation.”
On Germany’s stance after President Assad’s speech, the President said that Germany’s stance didn’t change, and the statement of Germany’s Foreign Minister after canceling the visit to Syria remained positive, they want dialogue with Syria and contacts between us still continuous.
He added that Syria is not isolated and Syrian Foreign Minister went to Finland today, which is currently chairing the EU, and the matters run normally.
On Syria’s isolation, President Assad said, “The issue of isolating Syria has failed. The real thing is that the European isolation was under French- American pressure, the Europeans are now talking frankly that they will not accept this situation, they are enthusiastic for dialogue.
Regarding President’s speech on the positive side of the war in Lebanon that it uncovered the Arab situation or Arab without make-ups, President Assad answered, “When we began talking on war in Iraq and in Lebanon, we have been divided as Arabs. There might by an Arab unity but it is fragile or let us say it is inactive, what is the value of unity when it is ineffective.”
Regarding whether , Syria, and Lebanon , and Palestine are the only ones who should be involved in war and peace, the president said that some of the Arab official act as if the Syria is not existed while in fact Syria should be asked about her vision with regard to the peace process and in this connection came the Turkish foreign minister and Sheikh Hamad , Emir of Qatar and asked us about our position and we laid a vision so that they can move with us .or without us when we are in a position we can not move . Suppose there is a summit on Darfur and we do not ask Sudan about what it wants.
The president added that Syria remains the party that would negotiate , and if negotiations failed , Syria would go to war but we have to determine how could the Arab role move in the right direction so that it could not be harmful.
Regarding Emir of Qatar's recent visit to Damascus, the president said that Qatar is ofcourse the only Arab country at the UN. Security Council and her role is pivotal and on bilateral level , relations have developed greatly in recent years and Qatar enjoys political credibility as far as Syria is concerened.
Regarding the role which should be played by Qatar , the president said that Syria doesn't want Qatar to be Syria , every country is different from the other in various aspects but do not give promises that you cannot meet when need arises. Q atar has been clear with Syria .
With regard to any Qatari role for the convention of an Arab summit , the president said that such a proposal has weakened recently and Syria doesn't want a summit without an aim or content.
On the president saying that the national decision is one that should prevail , while Terry Rod Larsen says that the international resolution should be implemented , the president said that the UN. Security Council should be a council to preserve peace and not be a council to be an American arm to intervene in the internal affairs of others and we blindly follow this council , this will encourage some of the super powers to use the council as a legitimate cover for their aggression.
Regarding the repercussions of the current situation on the Iraq and Palestine , the president said that the victory of the resistance in the year 2000 has influenced the Intifada that out broke in the following months and lasted for years.The resistance in Iraq influenced the resistance in Lebanon and in Palestine and the thing is reciprocal because the resistance in Iraq intensified by 40 percent during the month of war in Lebanon.
On whether the victory of the resistance motivate some parties in Iraq, the president said that on the popular level , we witnessed the march of million Iraqi in support of the resistance.
On the Americans'silence with regard to accusation of Syria's involvement in Iraq, the president said that such accusations have ceased to convince anybody, and the American people know that the failure in Iraq is because of the US. administration.
Regarding Syria's hosting of the Palestinian resistance movements of Hamas and Islamic Jihad , the president said that following the victory of Hamas in the election the Europeans have realized that dealing with such groups is essential.
On why Syria alone bears the burden of hosting the Palestinian groups , the president said that Israel expelled them and so they would remain until they go back to their homeland and not to another country.
Regarding the future situation in Palestine following what happened in Lebanon , the president said that similar to what has been achieved by the resistance, something will happen in the Palestinian territories and one may wonder whether Israel has understood the lesson .
The president said that one should wait for the last Israeli trial balloon to determine how things would go.
As far as the Palestinians are concerned , there are moves to form a government of national unity and that what Syria has always encouraged.
Regarding war and peace in the region , the president said that Syria has always talked about peace as a strategic option, and Syria seeks to restore rights without a high price by peaceful means and the next few months will determine war or peace depending on the Israelis in the first place.