Finklelstein on Nasrallah and Nasrallah Selected Videos

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Sayyed Nasrallah Warns of Chemical Attack in Idlib, To Those Betting on STL: Don’t Play with fire

Zeinab Essa  

Hezbollah Secretary General His Eminence Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah delivered on Sunday a speech in which he tackled various Lebanese and regional topics.

Addressing tens of thousands in Hermel at the “Glory and Victory” festival commemorating the 2nd Liberation’s anniversary, Sayyed Nasrallah welcomed and saluted the huge crowd.

From the “Tadamon Stadium” in the northeastern city of Hermel, Sayyed Nasrallah confirmed that “the 2nd Liberation Day is a day for our people, army and resistance.”

“This is another celebration of liberation and victory made by the golden equation of ‘the army, people and resistance’,” he stated, noting that “The celebrations are being held in Hermel because it was directly impacted and threatened by the extremists, at some points experiencing rocket attacks.”

Meanwhile, His Eminence wondered:

“What if Daesh [Arabic Acronym for the terrorist “ISIS/”ISIL”] and similar groups won in Syria and Iraq ? What was the fate of all the countries in the region? What would be the destiny of this whole area, of the Gulf region itself? What would have been the destiny of the Lebanese people and the multitude of Lebanese communities if [Daesh had won?]. What would have been the fate of the Lebanese people had Daesh and Al-Nusra managed to reach Hermel, Zahle and all Lebanese regions?”

He went on to say: “What has happened in our region since more than seven years is very dangerous and huge.”

“Some who had bet on Daesh and al-Nusra are classified as disbelievers by these groups that allow the shedding of their blood,” Sayyed Nasrallah cautioned.

According to the Resistance Leader,

“The people of the Bekaa region along with the resistance were quick to take the decision in confronting  the Takfiri groups. They took a quick decision to confront terrorism inside Lebanese and Syrian territories because the government was confused back then and unable to take a decision.”

Praising the sacrifices of the Resistance men, Sayyed Nasrallah considered that “the human element of youth and their presence is the basis of all battles.”

“If we want today to take the decision to participate in any operation in Syria, we will find that our youth need only a signal,” he elaborated.

In a direct comparison, His Eminence confirmed that “the real crisis in the “Israeli” army lies in the human element and its inability to attract young people.”

“Since 2006, the “Israeli” hasn’t been able to change the spirit of defeat that prevailed in their officers and soldiers,” he added, pointing out that “Last year, 44000 “Israeli” soldiers and officers visited psychiatrists.”

In this context, Sayyed Nasrallah said: “Strategic “Israeli” experts have said that their army is not ready to go to a new war.”

However, he praised the fact, “Fighting for seven years in Syria, we- in Hezbollah- have been fighting and no expression of boredom has come from our environment.

On the Syrian front, Sayyed Nasrallah warned that

“the West is preparing for a chemical play to launch an aggression against Syria while they remain silent when it comes to the crimes committed against the Yemeni children.”

He further revealed that the current data indicates that there exist new preparations for a chemical play in Idilb.

“There are no allies for the US in this world, America is dealing with everyone as tools,” he viewed warning the Kurds to be aware of any moment at which the US may sell them.”

Mentioning some aspects of the American hypocrisy, Sayyed Nasrallah reminded that when Al-Qaeda elements were surrounded in a Syrian area, US planes would rush to rescue them.”

“US intervened to prevent the Lebanese Army from taking part in the battle against Daesh in the outskirts,” he added, noting that “Those who defeated Daesh in Lebanon, Syria and Iraq are the ones who fought there, and not the Americans.”

According to His Eminence,

“From the 2nd liberation in the Bekaa and the first liberation in the South, we can say that there is no here is no place in Lebanon for an occupier nor a future for those who have expansion ambitions as long as our people cling to freedom, liberation, sovereignty and dignity.”

On the ongoing internal debate, Hezbollah Secretary General underscored that “the issue of reestablishing ties with Syria shouldn’t be a precondition to the formation of a government in Lebanon.”

He went on to say

“Some March 14 circles say that the real reason for postponing the formation of the government is that the Special Tribunal for Lebanon [STL] will issue its decision in September.”

His Eminence underscored that

“The STL means nothing to us at all, and what it issues is of no value, whether it is a conviction or an acquittal.”

To those betting on the STL, Sayyed Nasrallah sent a sounding message of three words: ‘Do not play with fire’.

Regarding the government’s formation, His Eminence highlighted that

“We are the largest party in Lebanon, but we have the lowest participation in political power.”

He also warned that Hezbollah’s “enemies are convinced that the war with #Hezbollah is useless and difficult and the solution is to topple it in its environment.”

“Part of the targeting us today is to distort the image of #Hezbollah leaders and officials in its environment,” His Eminence cautioned, noting that “They want to make #Hezbollah responsible for the country’s problems to distort its image in front of the world.”

To the resistance’s people in Bekaa, Sayyed Nasrallah said:

“Do not allow anyone to take you to ignorance and to what leads to any doubt or weakness in this arena that made miracles.”

Source: Al-Ahed

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هاشم صفي الدين في حفل توقيع كتاب ناصر قنديل – فلسفة القوة

وَأَعِدُّوا لَهُم مَّا اسْتَطَعْتُم مِّن قُوَّةٍ وَمِن رِّبَاطِ الْخَيْلِ تُرْهِبُونَ بِهِ عَدُوَّ اللَّهِ وَعَدُوَّكُمْ وَآخَرِينَ مِن دُونِهِمْ لَا تَعْلَمُونَهُمُ اللَّهُ يَعْلَمُهُمْ ۚ وَمَا تُنفِقُوا مِن شَيْءٍ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ يُوَفَّ إِلَيْكُمْ وَأَنتُمْ لَا تُظْلَمُونَ (60) ۞ وَإِن جَنَحُوا لِلسَّلْمِ فَاجْنَحْ لَهَا (للقوة) وَتَوَكَّلْ عَلَى اللَّهِ ۚ إِنَّهُ هُوَ السَّمِيعُ الْعَلِيمُ (61)

 

Comment by UP

The below post was originally Posted on  in reply to Laura Stuart a British citizen who embrased Sunni Islam and Joined Sectarian “Muslim” Brotherhood. Cosequently, Laura was a strong supporter of Hamas, Laura Stuart is one Mavi Marmara Survivors.

She supported the so-called “Arab” spring and the Anglo Zionist conspiracy to change the rgime in both Libya and later in Syria, because she and her American Brotherhod believe that success will never come for the Muslims from deviant sects in Syria, Lenanon and Iran.

Laura, and others, like their brothers in Hamas believed that Palestine shall be liberated by “REAL MUSLIM HEROS” in QATAR and Turkey

ِAccording to Abdalbari Atwan, Hamas realized its grave mistake and is in the process of re-joining  the Axis of Resistance, one upon a time they called “Axis of deviants”

==============================

“Success will never come from deviant”

Posted on March 2, 2012

I am sure Laura have read my comment on her post : What About Syria?

She replied but here on the wrong place. I wonder why”

laura stuart said…

There are some Palestinians amongst my friends who say that Assad has helped them, this is true. But success will never come for the Muslims by expecting a solution from a deviant sect like the Shia.Success for the Palestinians will only come from Allah s.w.t. and the Palestinians of all people should know that there is no solution from any other power.

I am sure she will read my new comment, and  I hope she would comment here under this post

—-

So Laura, they taught you, “success will never come for the Muslims by expecting a solution from a deviant sect like the Shea”. Consequently, success will never come from deviant such as Iran, Syria an Hezbollah, nor from Hamas as long as it is allied with them.
If you believe this BS, Palestine don’t need neither your support nor the support of all those promoting sectarian wars and divisions among Muslim.

At the outset, I would remind you that you ended one of your posts titled by the verses.

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا تَتَّخِذُوا الْيَهُودَ وَالنَّصَارَىٰ أَوْلِيَاءَ ۘبَعْضُهُمْ أَوْلِيَاءُ بَعْضٍ ۚ وَمَن يَتَوَلَّهُم مِّنكُمْ فَإِنَّهُ مِنْهُمْ ۗ إِنَّ اللَّـهَ لَا يَهْدِي الْقَوْمَ الظَّالِمِينَ ﴿٥١﴾[5:51]

O you who have believed, do not take the Jews and the Christians as allies. They are [in fact] allies of one another. And whoever is an ally to them among you – then indeed, he is [one] of them. Indeed, Allah guides not the wrongdoing people.

I shall start from here

O, laura, “you who have believed,” you have to read this verses within its historic context, and with all other verses dealing with Jews and Christians. If you do, you will realize that Allah is instructing you, and your Islamists, not to take your enemies, as allies.
(It happened that some Christians and some Jews were the enemies when the verses was revealed) ,

Therefore, as a Muslem, allies such as Gilad Atzmon and Stuart Littlewood, are bothers in humanity not enemies.

YES “Success for the Palestinians will only come from Allah s.w.t.” but can you tell me from where the success of Vietnam come, the answer is from Allah, unless you believe Allah is only yours, and not the lord of universe, and humans, all humans, the believers and seculars, and unless believe that Quran is addressed only to Muslims not to all Humanity (Al-nas, Al-aalameen)

Having said that, let us move forward. I hope you agree with me that “God does not change what folk until they change what is in themselves” and “If ye help Allah , He will help you and will make your foothold firm”

Let us move forward to see how we could help God so he would help us.
Would you please read the following two verses?

وَأَعِدُّوا لَهُم مَّا اسْتَطَعْتُم مِّن قُوَّةٍ وَمِن رِّبَاطِ الْخَيْلِ تُرْهِبُونَ بِهِ عَدُوَّ اللَّـهِ وَعَدُوَّكُمْ وَآخَرِينَ مِن دُونِهِمْ لَا تَعْلَمُونَهُمُ اللَّـهُ يَعْلَمُهُمْ  وَمَا تُنفِقُوا مِن شَيْءٍ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّـهِ يُوَفَّ إِلَيْكُمْ وَأَنتُمْ لَا تُظْلَمُونَ ﴿٦٠﴾ ۞ وَإِن جَنَحُوا لِلسَّلْمِ فَاجْنَحْ لَهَا وَتَوَكَّلْ  ۞ وَإِن جَنَحُوا لِلسَّلْمِ فَاجْنَحْ لَهَا وَتَوَكَّلْ عَلَى اللَّـهِ  إِنَّهُ هُوَ السَّمِيعُ الْعَلِيمُ ﴿٦١﴾

Go to all Quran translations you will find that the verses is translated like this:

And prepare against them what force you can and horses tied at the frontier, to frighten thereby the enemy of Allah and your enemy and others besides them, whom you do not know (but) Allah knows them; and whatever thing you will spend in Allah’s way, it will be paid back to you fully and you shall not be dealt with unjustly. (60)

‘If they seek peace, then you seek you ‘peace’ and trust in God for He is the One that heareth and knoweth all things.’ (8.61)

Translation, in general, is based on Tafseer books. The above translation of verses (61), reflects how our Muslim leaders, and their puppet “scholars” used and abused the Quran to justify treason and taking our enemies as allies. The verses was used and abused by Sadat and his puppet Shaikh Shaarawi, to justify visiting Jerusalem, and the “Shalom” Camp David treaty, and to justify the so called Arab initiative, and now is used by your Islamist in Egypt, Tunis and Libya, to Justify taking Nato and the west as their allies.

The two Verses should be read together, let me do that using my mind not Sheik Arifi likes “pre-set minds”

And prepare against them what “FORCE” you can and horses tied at the frontier, to frighten thereby the enemy of Allah and your enemy and others besides them, whom you do not know (but) Allah knows them; and whatever thing you will spend in Allah’s way, it will be paid back to you fully and you shall not be dealt with unjustly. (60)

Allah is asking you “who have believed,” to prepare for THEM and others besides them (Your real enemies, not the so-called “deviant sects”, look around you and you will see both THEM and OTHERS BESIDES THEM) what FORCE you can…. to “frighten“ them and others beside them.

In other words, the first verses urges us to acquire power to prevent aggression (Frighten -not terrorize) the enemy and others beside him. In modern terms: Achieve Power Balance.

According to Syrian researcher Professor Mohamad Shahrour IT refers not to Peace in vesres 61, but to FORCE in Verses 60.

And if they incline to peace, then incline to it (FORCE, not PEACE) and trust in Allah; surely He is the Hearing, the Knowing. (61)

In English “it” stands for both feminine, masculine, In Arabic Force is feminine, Peace is masculine, So if Allah is talking about peace, Allah should have used [ له not  لها]

[ قال لها أي اجنح للقوة، ولو قصد الجنوح للسلم  لقال له]

In other words: IF THEY INCLINE TO PEACE, THEN INCLINE TO FORCE, to keep the enemy frightened and prevent WAR.

Back to you Islamist’s claim that “success will never come for the Muslims by expecting a solution from a deviant sect like the Shia”.

As far as I see, only Syria and Iran are doing that, and because they did there enemies, the Zionized western countries, are in a mess, and are seeking the help of those “besides them” I mean Islamists, Arab league, the UN, to divide us. SO, get out of “them” and out of “those besides them”.

Implement your golden rule: By Your Friends You Are Known

I am sure if you zoom out of your “Islamist VEIL” and storm your brain while reading your Quran, by your eyes and your brain, not by the eyes of puppets such as Sheik Arifi, I am sure you would understand the stupidity of Islamist idiots, and realize that the so-called deviant sects, and their Sunni Hamas (I am not sure if they will continue), are the only Muslims, following the the Quran of both Shia and Sunna.

On the opposite side, though the enemy never inclined to Peace, Arabs and Muslims took the verse 61 out of its context and inclined to peace as strategic option (Camp David, Oslo, Wadi Araba, and now indirect talks) and forget the verses 60, and if they care to acquire power, they do it to keep the western military industry running, and to use it against their people, and the so-called “deviant sect” in Syria, may be in Iran.

Sad to say that we Muslims has abandoned Quran, and our enemy is following it. Just look how the US did it after the fall of communism, and  how Israeli did it after Camp David, Oslo and also after its defeat in Lebanon and Gaza. When Arabs and Muslims inclined to peace”, Zionists inclined to acquire more force

BTW, Laura, I am not Shea, not Sunni, by birth I am Sunni, who embraced Islam at his forties

In case you missed it:

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حزب الله فلسفة القوة:ناصر قنديل

قنديل سلّم عون كتابَه الجديد «حزب الله… فلسفة القوّة»

يوليو 20, 2018

استقبل رئيس الجمهورية العماد ميشال عون في قصر بعبدا، أمس رئيس تحرير جريدة «البناء» النائب السابق ناصر قنديل، وأجرى معه جولة أفق تناولت الأوضاع الراهنة والتطورات السياسية الأخيرة…

وخلال اللقاء قدّم النائب السابق قنديل للرئيس عون نسخة من كتابه الجديد «حزب الله… فلسفة القوة»، وسلّمه دعوة للمشاركة في حفل إطلاق الكتاب الذي سيُقام في قصر الأونسكو في بيروت يوم الإثنين 30 تموز الحالي، الساعة الخامسة بعد الظهر، وسيتحدّث خلاله رئيس المجلس التنفيذي لحزب الله السيد هاشم صفي الدين.

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انهيار «لحد 2»

يوليو 7, 2018

روزانا رمّال

بين الحديث عن وساطة روسية وتدخل مباشر مع المسلحين أدى إلىنوب السوري هو إسقاط توجّه إسرائيلي بالسيطرة على الحدود واستبدالها بالجيش الحر الذي عرفت به الأزمة ببداياتها قبل ظهور جبهة النصرة وداعش والجيش الحر الذي شكّل الجزء الثاني الشبيه بـ «جيش لحد» في جنوب لبنان. وهو الجيش المنشق أصلاً عن الجيش السوري. وهو الذي كان من المفترض أن يقلب المشهد ويؤسس أرضية كتائب متعدّدة تجمع مجدداً تحت إطار جيش سورية الجديد بعد إسقاط النظام، كما كان مفترضاً. هذا الجيش الذي انشقّ جزء كبير منه عبر إغراءات مالية لأصحاب رتب رفيعة وانسحابات فردية عاد وتبعثر مع مشروعه الأساسي بعد أن كشف حلفاء الرئيس السوري عن نية الانضمام معه الى الحرب. فكان أن انضم حزب الله وإيران وروسيا وصارت آمال هذا الجيش أبعد.

احتلال الجنوب اللبناني قرابة عشرين عاماً يكاد يكون المثل الأوضح لجهة الاهتمام الإسرائيلي بالحدود في شتى حروبها. والإبقاء على احتلال الجنوب اللبناني باهظ الثمن وقع ضمن تجاذبات داخل الجبهة الإسرائيلية أخذت الكثير من صقورها نحو الانكفاء أو بالحد الأدنى الابتعاد عن فكرة الانسحاب قدر الممكن حتى أُجبر ايهود باراك وزير» الدفاع – الحرب» الإسرائيلي آنذاك للانسحاب تحت ضغط عمليات المقاومة المتتالية التي ضاق بها الجنود الإسرائليون ذرعاً حتى سموا جنوب لبنان «أرض الجحيم».

بالواقع، فإن هذا الجحيم قد بدأ فعلياً لحظة الانسحاب الإسرائيلي الذي كلّف توسيع نفوذ حزب الله من لبنان لسورية وصولاً الى العراق واليمن. الأمر الذي يعني الكثير والذي أكد أن مسألة الحدود هي الأقدر على تقويض الحركات المقاتلة وضبط أي نوع من أنواع المقاومات.

الحدود الشمالية مع سورية رئة «حزب الله». وهي مثال آخر على أهمية الاحتفاظ بمداخلها ومخارجها احتفاظاً بنقاط القوة خلال المعارك. وعرف ان اهتماماً بالغاً من القيادة السورية وحزب الله بنقطة المصنع اللبنانية التي كانت محطّ عناية كبرى لئلا تغلق أثناء الأزمة وكان ذلك.

من الجنوب السوري بداية القصة، ومنها النهاية. من درعا الشرارة ومنها وداع المؤامرة. هكذا يصف السوريون فرحتهم بعودة الجنوب السوري تدريجياً، لكن هذا الجنوب الذي يشكل قلقاً عند الإسرائيليين وحده سيكون محط أنظار الأيام المقبلة في ما يتعلق بوجود إيران فيه إلا أن المؤكد يبقى فرط عقد مشروع إنشاء جيش لحد ثانٍ بشكل نهائي في تلك المنطقة، تماماً كما سقط هذا المشروع بعد عشرين عاماً في جنوب لبنان.

8 أعوام تكفلت بردّ البقعة الجغرافية الواقعة عند حدود الدولة السورية مع الكيان المحتل لهضبة الجولان. ومن الجهة المقابلة تمكّن الجيش السوري من بسط سيطرته على معبر نصيب. وهو معبر تجاري حيوي لكل من الأردن وسورية ولبنان والعراق «جنوب درعا» الذي يضمّ أيضاً محافظتي القنيطرة والسويداء.

الاتفاق الأخير يقضي بتسليم الإرهابيين أسلحتهم مقابل فض النزاع والانسحاب، لكن الأهم في الجزء المتعلّق بمحافظة القنيطرة، حيث يسيطر الإرهابيون التكفيريون سيبقى الأبرز. وهو ما أكدته كاميرات الرصد وتحرّكات الأجهزة العسكرية الإسرائيلية في الساعات الماضية التي عكست قلقاً كبيراً وإرباكاً واضحاً من ردود فعل محدودة تعني الاستسلام لأمر واقع جديد من دون تطوير أو تصعيد المشهد حتى اللحظة، لأن شيئاً لن يكون مطمئناً لجهة فرض الجيش السوري سيطرته من جديد مقابل الوجود الإيراني حزب الله في تلك المنطقة.

الوجود الإيراني والقلق الإسرائيلي منه لا يزال الطرح الأوحد. وهو يخضع لتمسك سوري رسميّ على أساس أنه موجود بموافقة دمشق، خلافاً لقوى عسكرية أخرى ولدول أحضرت طواقمها العسكرية من دون تلك الموافقة.

انهيارات الجنوب السوري التدريجية تغلق صفحات ولادة جيش منشق كان من المقدَّر له الحياة بحراسة منافذ «إسرائيل» مشابهة لتلك التي عاشها جيش انطوان لحد في جنوب لبنان. وكان مقدراً أن تبقى هذه الصيغة سنوات طويلة كما بقي الجنوب اللبناني أسيراً للسلطات الأمنية الإسرائيلية، في ما يُسمّى تأمين المدى الحيوي لـ«إسرائيل» وبسط سيطرتها الأمنية على المنافذ والمعابر الاستراتيجية.

EXCLUSIVE interview with Syria’s President Bashar Assad

 

President Assad’s Al-Alam TV Interview, June 13, 2018.

H.E. President Bashar Al-Assad gave the following interview to the Iranian Al-Alam TV:

Question 1: Mr. President, there are many issues which we will talk about, but in the light of the victories you have achieved, the main focus remains the south of Syria. What’s happening exactly, or what is the nature of what is happening in the south of Syria?

President Assad:  To put it simply, after the liberation of al-Ghouta, it was suggested that we should move south. We were faced with two options, as is the case in all other areas in Syria: reconciliation or liberation by force. At this point, the Russianssuggested the possibility of giving reconciliation an opportunity, similar to what happened in other areas, in order to restore the situation that prevailed before 2011. In other words, for the Syrian Army to be deployed in that area, which is an area of confrontation with the Zionist enemy. And of course the terrorists should leave the area. This proposition suits us. Up till now, there are no concrete results for a simple reason which is Israeli and American interference; for they put pressure on the terrorists in that area in order to prevent reaching any compromise or peaceful resolution. That is how the situation stands now.

Question 2: So, it hasn’t been decided whether to move towards a military operation or towards reconciliation?

President Assad:  No, contacts are still ongoing between the Russians, the Americans, and the Israelis, while nobody is communicating with the terrorists, because they are mere tools, and they implement what their masters decide ultimately. This is what happened, i.e. there was an opportunity to reach reconciliation, but the American and Israeli interference prevented that possibility.

Question 3: Of course, this is the reality there. But on the other hand, there are those who talk about many things taking place in the south. Mr. President, is there a certain deal, what is the price? Is there really a price for concluding this deal in the south? Let me talk frankly about the issue of getting the Iranians to leave the southern region in return for al-Tanf, for example. What did the Americans demand, or let’s say, what was the price the Americans asked to approve the reconciliation process in the south?

President Assad:  For the Americans, there is a general principle they follow in dealing with any problem in the world. The only price they ask for is absolute hegemony, regardless of the issue and the place. Of course, we shall never provide that price; otherwise we wouldn’t have fought this war for years. We have been fighting for the independence of Syrian decision-making, for the Syrian homeland, and for the unity of Syrian territory. As for Iran in particular, let me be very clear: the Syrian-Iranian relationship is a strategic one not subject to a deal in the south or in the north. This relationship, in terms of its implications and results on the ground, is linked to the present and future of the region. Consequently, it is not subject to the price tags of the international bazaar. Neither Syria nor Iran has floated this relationship on the international political bazaar for it to be subject to haggling. The proposition was made by the Israelis with the objective of provoking and embarrassing Iran. At the same time, this comes in line with the international propaganda campaign launched against Iran regarding the nuclear file. It is not a separate issue; for everything happening now is linked to Iran in order to create an international position against it. As for us in Syria, the decision concerning our land is an exclusively Syrian decision. We are fighting the same battle, and when we have a decision concerning Iran, we will talk about it with the Iranians and not with any other party.

Question 4: Of course, we will talk more about Iran and in more detail, but since we are talking about the southern front, let’s explore it further. Practically, in the same context, there is the MOC which hasn’t stopped its operations since the beginning of the war on Syria about eight years ago. It is working and is still active, and is directly linked to the Israelis. But we have noticed recently that it has been reactivated, and there are more communications. Mr. President, does this mean that the Syrian state is practically moving towards a military decisive action in the south regardless of the consequences, whether things reach a stalemate or not? Is a decisive action in the cards for the Syrian leadership?

President Assad:   No, MOC has nothing to do with this decision. MOC has been linked to the presence and the role of the terrorists since the beginning of the war on Syria. That’s why it existed: in order to lead them militarily. Consequently, the continued existence of this operations room means the continuation of the role given to these terrorists, i.e. they are equipped and prepared to carry out more terrorist acts. MOC is linked to the terrorists and not to the role of the Syrian state. Our role has nothing to do with it. Our decision has been clear from the beginning: we will liberate all Syrian lands. As to when to move south, north, east, or west, this is a purely military issue. But regardless of MOC, we have moved towards the south and we are giving the political process a chance. If that doesn’t succeed, we have no other option but to liberate it by force.

Question 5: But there is a confrontation in the south, and the issue is not limited geographically to Syria in the larger political sense. There are the Americans, the Russians, the Iranians, the Israelis, and Hezbollah. All these parties are there in the area. What does that mean? How are you going to deal with this?

President Assad:  You are talking about two axes: one supporting terrorism, and represented by the US, Israel, and some flunkies in the region including some Arab and non-Arab states, and an anti-terrorist axis. The first axis supports terrorism and seeks hegemony, while the second axis seeks independence. So, there can be only one result for this confrontation, i.e. the victory of one of these axes. At least, as far as the anti-terrorist axis is concerned, it will not give up the process of cleaning Syria and the region of terrorism and will not give up on the unity of Syrian territory.

As to the other axis, will it change as a result of the reality on the ground? Let’s wait and see. But in terms of substance and convictions, it will not change, while in terms of the political practices dictated by reality and the facts on the ground, it might.

Question 6: Will the Americans leave al-Tanf?

President Assad:  The Americans say they are ready, but everyone knows that the Americans are historically professional liars in politics. So why should we believe them? Also, we have to wait and see.

Question 7: Mr. President, what’s happening now in Jordan? Is it linked to what’s happening on the southern front in particular, i.e. is it linked to what is being plotted in that region, in your view?

President Assad:  In fact, the only information we have is what we hear in the media. In any case, we wish Jordan stability, not chaos, because the latter will have a negative impact on us.

Question 8: Since we are talking about the south, let’s close this file. Mr. President, what would make the Israeli occupation agree to the return of the Syrian Army to the borders, i.e. a return to the situation which existed at the beginning of 2011, after seven years of repeated Zionist attempts, directly and indirectly, to undermine the Syrian state, the regime in Syria, and stability in Syria. Why would it agree now to the return of the Syrian Army to the borders and to the occupied Golan?

President Assad:  Certainly, neither conviction, morality, nor international law means anything to the Israelis. Since the beginning of the war, particularly when it started to have a clear military nature on the southern front in particular, the Israelis used to shell Syrian forces continuously, and consequently provide direct support to the terrorists. Israeli artillery and aircraft are the terrorists’ artillery and aircraft. That applies to Jabhat al-Nusra of course. Nothing is going to change this Israeli approach. As far as we are concerned, Israel’s approval had no role at all. Despite Israeli support to the terrorists, we have been doing our job, and the Syrian Army is fighting its way towards the southern front, and has liberated a number of areas within the limits of its capabilities. So, with or without its approval, the decision is a Syrian one, and this is a national duty we shall carry out.

Question 9: So, a return of the Syrian Army is better than having resistance in the Golan, for instance?

President Assad:  For the Israelis?

Journalist: Yes.

President Assad:   I think the two options are bad for the Israelis. Both of them are bad. Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah has repeatedly talked about Syria’s relationship with the resistance and a Syrian role in the resistance. So, how would the Israelis choose between two bad things for them?

Question 10: As you said, Mr. President, Israel has financed, supported, and more dangerously was capable of enlisting a large number of Syrians, some of whom were treated inside occupied Palestine. They talked about it. In the future, how would you deal with this large number of Israeli agents? Maybe some of them were misled and Israel might have exploited the financial and living conditions of some; and some have chosen to side with the Israelis. How would you deal with them in the future?

President Assad:  This is true; we cannot put everyone in the same basket. There are different reasons for moving in this wrong direction; and these people have wronged the homeland and every Syrian citizen. Ultimately, they are the children of this homeland, and we all bear responsibility for this problem, not only those who have done wrong. When crime, for instance, becomes widespread in a certain country, the whole society bears responsibility for this crime, not only the security agencies or the criminals themselves. The first thing that should be done is to accommodate these people. Second, we need to address the root causes which led to this case of weak patriotism. The causes here are many and complicated, and the scope of this interview doesn’t allow for all of them to be mentioned.

Question 11: In the same context, while you are talking about restoring the Syrian air defense systems and confronting the Zionist occupation, statements have been made by leaders of the Israeli entity that they will strike at the depth of Syrian territory. How would you deal with that situation, particularly that balance has been achieved recently, i.e. balance between Israeli aggressions and Syrian responses?

President Assad:  Basically, we haven’t stopped responding. First of all, we haven’t stopped fighting terrorists, and at the same time we haven’t stopped responding to Israeli aggression within the capabilities available to us, militarily and technically. Moreover, the more these capabilities improve; the response will be better and higher. But in fact the strongest response to Israel now is to strike the Israeli army existing in Syria which consists practically of the terrorists.

Journalist: You consider them an Israeli army?

President Assad:  Of course, for they are acting clearly and starkly in Israel’s interest. The first acts they carried out were attacks against the air defense systems. What is the link between air defense systems and the terrorists acting as infantry on the ground? This was an Israeli order. It was an Israeli-American order because it is the same thing. So, they are Israel’s army inside Syria; and the first strike against Israel, politically, militarily, and in every other area, is to strike Israel’s terrorists inside Syria, whether they belong to ISIS, al-Nusra, or the other groups linked to the Israeli plan and strategy.

Journalist: If Israel escalates, are you prepared to respond more forcefully?

President Assad:   This is what’s happening. It is escalating, and we are responding. Ultimately, we are fighting the war within the capabilities available to us, and we are doing our best within these capabilities. A response does not need a political decision. I stress that responding or not responding is not a political decision. It is a national decision, and it was taken from day one. But implementing this decision depends on what we can do militarily and not politically.

Question 12: In terms of capabilities, there is one issue in the media which we are always following, i.e. the S300 Russian missiles. Russia says, “We will deliver these missiles”, and then says, “We will not deliver them”, which means that the issue is not clear. What is happening exactly? Why this Russian hesitation, in your view, in delivering the S300 missiles to Syria, while some other countries have been seeking S400, i.e. they are ahead of us in this regard.

President Assad:  You know that military action and military considerations are part of political considerations. Consequently, a statement, even if it is of a military nature, carries at the same time political messages. So, why did the Russians say that they want to send or not send? This is a statement that the Russians should be asked about because it might be part of their political tactics. As to the military aspect of the statement, which concerns Syria, it’s not our custom to talk about the weapon which will be delivered or not delivered. The evidence was that the weapons used in response to the last two aggressions, the tripartite aggression and after that the Israeli aggression, were not announced by Syria. We traditionally do not announce cases of a technical military nature.

Journalist: So, even the nature of the response is not linked to the issue of the S300 missiles?

President Assad:  No. The same applies. Even if the S300 missiles will be provided or not provided, we will not say that they were delivered to Syria. A weapon is used when it must be used.

Journalist: Is there a possibility that you have developed certain weapons?

President Assad:  This remains a possibility. In any case, the result is the same: weapons shouldn’t be talked about until they are used. Weapons announce themselves only when they are used.

Question 13: Mr. President, let’s return to the political aspect, since we are talking about the southern front. Regarding the general situation, in light of all that has been achieved on the Syrian arena today, the most prominent actor is the tripartite alliance, or what is being called the tripartite alliance. I mean Syria, Iran, and Russia. What is the nature of this alliance? Is it a temporary alliance, in the sense that it is linked to fighting terrorism or to certain developments on the Syrian arena? Recently, we have started to see – or let’s say some have focused on certain points in order to show – a certain fracture in this alliance. What is your take on that and what is the actual reality of this alliance?

President Assad:  If we talk first about the Syrian-Iranian part, for 40 years, and in the different conditions that the Middle East region has gone through, this alliance remained solid. So, there is no reason to say that it is temporary or otherwise. The new element in the war on Syria is the Russianelement, and that’s why this tripartite alliance came into existence. Our relationship with Russia is now about seven decades old. Despite the fluctuations and the fall of the Soviet Union, the rule of President Yeltsin, and the deterioration of these relations to a large degree for us, it has never reached the stage of reversing this relationship with Syria. Russia continued to deal with Syria as a friendly state, and we have imported everything from Russia, including weapons, during the different stages of the sanctions imposed on Syria. It is not in the nature of the Russians to build temporary or self-serving alliances or to sell out on relations in order to get deals done. The relationship is definitely a strategic one, but the political statements allowed for these speculations.

These statements also aim at sending messages in different directions. Maybe, sometimes the language or the choice of particular terminology might not be helpful and might take the statement in a different direction at odds with the content of the statement. This happens from time to time. However, these statements shouldn’t be taken out of context: the Russian view of the relationship with Iran is a strategic one. As for Syria, the Russians do not interfere in Syrian affairs. If they have a certain opinion, they raise it with us and say that in the end, the decision is that of the Syrian leadership and the Syrian people. This is a constant principle for Russia. Therefore, the alliance is a strategic one, and if there are differences, such differences happen within the Syrian state, and you see differences within the Iranian state and within the Russian state. It is natural for us to differ on daily tactical details, for why conduct a dialogue if we agree on everything? We meet extensively in order to reach agreement.

Journalist: So, this tripartite alliance is being consolidated.


President Assad:Of course. This is dictated by reality, interest, and international changes that make it necessary for this alliance to be consolidated. As long as the other axis supports terrorism, and as long as we, together with Iran and Russia, feel the danger of terrorism, not only in Syria, but also on all these countries and on the whole world, and as long as Syria, Iran, and Russia realize the importance of abiding by international law, these facts make the existence of this alliance necessary.

Question 14: But there are those who say that Syria will get a price if the Iranians leave Syrian territories. Is there a certain political, moral, or military price in this regard?

President Assad:  As I said in the beginning, as long as this relationship is not floated in the bazaar, they cannot offer a price, and the answer will be clear. That’s why they don’t dare suggest this price. This issue was raised by different countries, including Saudi Arabia for instance, at the beginning of the war, and not only at the beginning, but at different stages. The proposition was that if Syria cut its relationship with Iran, the situation in Syria will be normal. This principle is basically rejected by us.

Journalist: So, there were initiatives, so to speak, made in this regard by Saudi Arabia.

President Assad:  During the war?

Journalist: Yes.

President Assad:  Of course, more than once, and in a clear manner.

Journalist: Directly?

President Assad:  Directly. The relationship with Iran was the basis for every proposition; and Saudi Arabia’s position on this subject is public. I’m not revealing a secret.

Question 15: An issue is raised, whether in Syria, Iran, or Lebanon, about the nature of Iranian presence in Syria. Some call them Iranian advisors. Even the Syrian Foreign Minister used the same term. At the same time, we notice that there are Iranian martyrs. Frankly, Mr. President, what is the nature of Iranian presence in Syria now?

President Assad:  The term adviser is sometimes used in a broad manner, i.e. these advisers have been with us, through the longstanding relationship with Iran, even before the war, because the military relationship is close. When a military formation moves to a fighting position, the adviser becomes a fighter. So, the word can be used in different senses. There are certainly Iranian advisers in Syria, and there are groups of Iranian volunteers who came to Syria, and they are led by Iranian officers. Iran has fought with and defended the Syrian people. It offered blood. That’s why when we say “advisers” this is a generic term, but this doesn’t mean that we are ashamed of any Iranian presence, even if it is official. But we use the word “advisers” because there are no regular Iranian fighting units in Syria.

Journalist: Full formations.

President Assad:   Exactly. There are no battalions, or brigades, or divisions. First, we can’t hide them, and then why should we be ashamed of that? When we invited the Russians legally to come to Syria, we were not ashamed of that. And if there were an Iranian formation, we would announce it, because such relations need agreements between the two states endorsed by parliaments. Such relations cannot be concealed.

Journalist: And you invited Iranian advisers to come?

President Assad:  Of course, from the beginning we invited the Iranians, and then we invited the Russians. We needed the support of these countries, and they answered the call.

Journalist: Mr. President, you said more than once that there are no Iranian bases in Syria.

President Assad: That’s correct.

Journalist: Why there are no Iranian bases, while we notice that there are a number of Russian bases?

President Assad:   There’s nothing that prevents the existence of such bases as long as Iran is an ally as is Russia.

Journalist: This means that if Iran requested the existence of such bases, you would agree?

President Assad: If we ask. We will ask them to agree. I mean that we could ask for the existence of such forces to support us. Iran has never asked and does not have an interest except in fighting terrorism. But the evolution of the war made it necessary to develop the nature of this presence.

This happened as far as the Russians are concerned. In the beginning, Russian support, like Iranian support, was different from what it is today. The support for terrorism has developed internationally and globally when the Syrian Army confronted those terrorists, and with that Russian and Iranian military presence developed. At a certain stage, we found – with the Russians of course – that the existence of air bases was necessary to provide air support to the Syrian Army. And now, if we find, in cooperation, coordination, or dialogue with the Iranians, that there is a need for Iranian military bases, we will not hesitate. But now, Iranian support in its present form is good and effective.

Question 16: Why haven’t you visited Iran so far, although you visited Russia more than once?

President Assad: That’s correct. In fact, there was a scheduled visit to Iran a few months ago, and it was postponed and not cancelled. It was postponed because of an emergency in Syria related to the development of battles. There is certainly no reason which prevents such a visit, and I’ll visit Iran hopefully soon on the earliest opportunity. This is natural, but the issue is logistic, no more, no less.

Question 17: Mr. President, I move to another file. Last week, it was the Jerusalem International Day, and the Palestinian cause is going through its most difficult stages. We are talking about the “deal of the century”, and moving the American Embassy to occupied Jerusalem. What do you have to say about Palestine? Is Syria still capable of supporting the Palestine cause? Basically, wasn’t one of the most important objectives of the war on Syria to get Syria out of the axis of resistance and to prevent it from supporting resistance, whether in Lebanon or Palestine?

President Assad: The Palestine context, since 1948 up till now, has been a complicated one, because the regional context is complicated. Of course, it is complicated because the colonial West, which is particularly supportive of Israel, has always created elements which aim at one single thing. First, to drive to desperation the Arab citizen who is historically attached to the cause of Palestine and who has always considered it a pan-Arab cause that touched him even on the national level.

The other objective has been to distract the Arab peoples together with states or societies in general to marginal causes so that they do not have time to think about Israel. And they have succeeded to a great extent, most recently through the so-called Arab spring which has aimed at destroying the political, military, and psychological infrastructure of Arab societies.

Nevertheless, recent development have proven that the Arab people is still conscientiously attached to the cause of Palestine. As for Syria – since it has been part of these plots to undermine the Arab condition in general – first, for Syria to support the cause of Palestine, it should first of all destroy the Israeli army in Syria. Restoring stability in Syria, striking terrorism, and foiling the Israeli plot in Syria is certainly part of supporting the cause of Palestine. The support might be indirect with direct consequences, but these direct consequences are linked to the internal Palestinian condition. We shouldn’t forget that the Palestinians are divided between groups which resist Israel and are genuinely linked to the cause of Palestine, and other groups which are against the resistance and support surrenderist and defeatist peace, while there are other groups which use resistance as a title in order to achieve their political objectives under the slogan of religion. This is of course the Muslim Brotherhood’s approach.

Question 18: Are you prepared to offer whatever the resistance asks of you, whether in the form of political, military, or any other form of support?

President Assad:  Politically, we haven’t changed. The Palestinian question for us is still as it was ten years ago and decades ago. It hasn’t changed. As to what we can offer, this has to do with two things: first, Syria’s current capabilities; and there’s no doubt that the priority is given now to cleaning Syria of terrorism. Second, it has to do with the Palestinian condition and the parties with which we can deal within the Palestinian arena.

Question 19: Since we are talking about resistance, there is the other side. In addition to some countries which stood beside Syria in fighting terrorism, there was also a role played by the resistance in Lebanon, particularly Hezbollah, which provided a great deal and contributed to fighting terrorism. What do you say, Mr. President, to resistance fighters and families of martyrs and the wounded?

President Assad: When all these groups of resistance get together to defend Syrian soil and Syrian citizens, including the Lebanese resistance and the brothers who came from Iraq some of whom reproached me for not mentioning them by name, I take this opportunity to stress that there are brothers from Iraq to whom we give the same weight of any resistance fighter who came from any other country.

There are also the families of resistance fighters who came from Iran and sacrificed their blood in Syria. We should put all these in the same basket next to the Syrian martyrs, fighters, and their families. To those I say that all the letters, the words, the sentences, and the whole of literature are much less than a single drop of blood. Therefore, words are of a much lesser value than what they have offered. What’s more important is what history will write about them.

In fact, when we talk about writing history, we need to highlight that history needs a strategy and needs tactics, but the fact remains that strategy without implementation on the ground has no value. It remains mere thought which we might include in books and essays. But the reality is that these individuals in these countries, this group of resistance fighters, not politics, write history. I would like to use the answer to this question to express to them all my love, respect, and appreciation, and my reverence to the fighters, the wounded, and martyrs, and to all their families who are courage incarnated and who sent these individuals to Syria to defend it and fight terrorism, so that these families become models of morality and principles for present and future generations.

Question 20: Have you asked Hezbollah to leave Syria? A few days ago His Eminence Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah talked about this issue and said that nobody can get us out of Syria unless the Syrian leadership asked us to do so.

President Assad: The battle is long and ongoing. When we talk about this tripartite alliance – and if we consider it a quadruple alliance when we add Hezbollah, we talk about the tripartite alliance in terms of the states included, but in the end Hezbollah is a basic element in this war – the battle is long, and the need for these military forces will continue for a long time. When there is a need, and when Hezbollah, Iran, or others believe that terrorism has been eliminated, they will tell us that they want to go home. As Sayyed Hasan said, they have families and daily interests, which is normal, but it is still early to talk about this subject.

Question 21: Up till now, there are still areas under the control of terrorism and areas under occupation. At the same time, regretfully, some Arab countries, and here I am talking particularly about Saudi Arabia, announced that it is ready to send forcers to Syria. On the other hand, a few days ago popular tribal units were formed to resist occupation. Are these really popular resistance units? Do they receive support from the Syrian government? Does this mean that the army cannot liberate those areas, and that’s why it is asking for the help of the tribes? What is the nature of this issue?

President Assad: There are different forms of this resistance which appeared a few years ago. In the beginning they were fighting ISIS before they started to fight the occupiers. They were against ISIS in the central and eastern regions, and there were cases where they appeared in other regions which were not given media coverage and about which we hear sometimes through information and indications.

Now, this situation has started to expand. So, it’s not one single case. There are a number of cases which might be individual sometimes, or in the form of small groups not affiliated to an organization. In any case, our position as a state has been from the beginning to support any act of resistance, whether against terrorists or against occupying forces, regardless of their nationality, i.e. American, French, Turkish, or Israeli. We support these resistance forces based on our national role as a government.

Question 22: What about Saudi Arabia and sending Saudi forces to Syria?

President Assad:  First, when we talk about a state, we should assume that such a state can take decisions independently. That’s why we will not talk about the role of Saudi Arabia. You better ask me about the American decision on this issue.

Question 23: On the other hand, there are a number of Arab countries which we talk about and which had a role or contributed to the role or to the destruction of Syria. These countries are now trying to get to Syria through the reconstruction process. What do you say in this regard, particularly that these countries are the ones which have capital and huge financial power? How are you going to deal with that?

President Assad: Reconstruction in Syria is not a cause for concern for us. It needs two factors: first, the human factor which is more important than the financial factor. When a country like Syria possesses the human factor, the financial cost will be less when it comes to reconstruction. This is self-evident, and we possess all these factors despite the fact that many competent and qualified Syrians have immigrated because of the war.

But we still have the capability to start reconstruction. And the evidence is clear now, for the state is moving forward and reconstruction has begun. As to money, the Syrian people have financial capabilities, capital, most of which is not in Syria, but outside Syria. But there is capital waiting for reconstruction to begin, so it will begin investing. On the other hand, there are the friendly countries which have capabilities and have the desire; and we have the desire to have them participate in reconstruction, so that they benefit and we Syrians benefit from this process. In the end, we do not need those countries and we will never allow them to be part of reconstruction.

Journalist: Never?

President Assad: Absolutely.

Journalist: Not even if there was a need in this regard, I mean in terms of financial resources?

President Assad: Financial resources are not everything. As I said, this is available. There are different sources in the world and in Syria for capital.

Question 24: With these tough years, we are talking about the legendary steadfastness of the Syrian Army, the Syrian people, the Armed Forces. If you wanted to talk about two cases, the most difficult case or incident that you have encountered during these years, and on the other hand the best and most beautiful case.

President Assad: It is natural, at the heart of the military battle, for the best and worst cases to be linked to the development of the military battle. If I say that the worst cases were when terrorists used to control a certain area, this is self-evident, but it is related more to specific battles, particularly when the area is strategic or the city is big with a large population. Consequently, the impact will be much greater psychologically and in terms of morale.

But there was an ongoing situation which we are still living and we must think about: when a martyr or a group of martyrs fall, and this is ongoing on a weekly basis for us, we must think that a family lost a dear one who cannot be compensated. He might be compensated by achieving victory at a certain stage, but on the family, psychological and human level, you cannot compensate a dear one lost to a certain family, or maybe a friend. This is a very painful situation which we have lived and continue to live. This will not stop until the war itself stops. But there were painful cases at the beginning of the war, when you see this huge lack of patriotism. They were perhaps a minority, but a large minority, of individuals who were prepared to sell the homeland and trade it together with their principles, if they had ones, in return for money or a certain interest, in addition to a certain percentage of extremism.

On the other hand, there were victories, particularly when victories started in the city of al-Qsair in 2013, and culminated in the city of Aleppo in 2016, that was the beginning of the major victories. That was followed by Deir Ezzor, and today we are living the joy of liberating Damascus and its countryside. This is a situation we have all lived through, and you were with us, and I am sure you feel the same joy.

Question 25: Have you felt tired at a certain moment? Have you felt hesitant at a certain moment, in light of all the decisions you have taken, have you ever, even for a moment, thought of leaving? Haven’t you said to yourself: let me save my family and resign, as some people did at a certain point in time?

President Assad: This question might be raised in a personal manner. When I am faced with a personal situation as an individual, I might feel despair after a few months. I might feel tired or bored or I might want to move to a different situation, or give up. That is possible.

Journalist: As an individual?

President Assad:  Of course, as an individual, but the case you are proposing is not personal, it is national. Imagine yourself in a different condition, perhaps building something on your own. You feel tired, but when you see a large number of people helping you build it and share the same determination, you forget the tiredness.

Now we are in a national situation. We are talking about millions of Syrians. When you see a shell striking and victims falling anywhere in Syria, you feel frustrated. But when you see life being restored to the same area after one hour, your psychological condition changes. When you see that the electricity worker, the oil worker, the teacher, the employee, are moving side by side with fighters, moving without despair and without tiredness, how can you feel tired? This is a collective condition not related to me as a person. It has to do with our human condition when we are together as a society. How do we live? This defines whether you are tired or not. Would the Syrian society have arrived at this stage of despair and surrender, I would certainly have been with it. I would have surrendered because I do not have the necessary elements for steadfastness. This is self-evident.

Journalist: Thank you very much, Mr. President, for giving us this opportunity, and for your candidness in answering these questions. Thank you very much.

 

Dr. Mohamad Abdo Al-Ibrahim

Editor-in-Chief

alibrahim56@hotmail.com

https://www.facebook.com/Mohamad.Abdo.AlIbrahim

http://www.presidentassad.net/

 

  

   President Al-Assad Interview with the Iranian Khabar TV, October 4, 2015.

President Bashar Al-Assad’s Interview with Iranian TV, June 28, 2012

PRESIDENT ASSAD/ IRANIAN TV INTERVIEW (September 17, 2008)

Related video

President Assad’s Interview with Russia Today, May 30, 2018

 

President al-Assad: We will liberate every part of Syria…The Americans should leave; somehow they’re going to leave …Israel is losing the dear ones of al-Nusra and ISIS and that’s why it is panicking

May 31, 2018

Source

Damascus, SANA

President Bashar al-Assad has said that with every move forward for the Syrian Army, and for the political process, and for the whole situation, forward in the positive meaning, towards more stability, our enemies and our opponents, mainly the West led by the United States and their puppets in Europe and the region, with their mercenaries in Syria, they try to make it farther, either by supporting more terrorism, bringing more terrorists to Syria, or by hindering the political process.

In an interview given to RT, President al-Assad added that after the liberation of Aleppo and later Deir Ezzor, and before that Homs, and now Damascus, actually the United States is losing its cards where the main card was al-Nusra that was called “moderate.” But when the scandal started leaking, that al-Nusra is part of Al Qaida that was supposed to be fought by the United States, they looked for another card. This card is the SDF now.

President al-Assad said: We’re going to deal with SDF by two options: the first one, we started now opening doors for negotiations, this is the first option. If not, we’re going to resort to liberating by force, to liberating those areas by force. We don’t have any other options, with the Americans or without the Americans.

The Americans should leave; somehow they’re going to leave. They came to Iraq with no legal basis, and look what happened to them. They have to learn the lesson. Iraq is no exception, and Syria is no exception. People will not accept foreigners in this region anymore, President al-Assad added.

Following is the full text of the interview:

Question 1: Mr. President, thank you very much for inviting us here, for giving us this opportunity, having spent years now traveling to and through Syria reporting from here, it is an honor to finally meet you. But, Mr. President, since time is short, first question: your latest victories in Ghouta, in Yarmouk, they have drastically changed the situation on the ground in Syria. How much near the end of this war are we now in your estimation?

President Assad: First of all, you’re most welcome in Syria. With every move forward in the battlefield, with every victory, with every liberated area, we are moving closer to the end of the conflict, and I always said without external interference it won’t take more than a year to settle the situation in Syria. But at the same time, with every move forward for the Syrian Army, and for the political process, and for the whole situation – forward in the positive meaning, towards more stability – our enemies and our opponents, mainly the West led by the United States and their puppets in Europe and in our region, with their mercenaries in Syria, they try to make it farther, either by supporting more terrorism, bringing more terrorists coming to Syria, or by hindering the political process. So, our challenge is how can we to close this gap between their plans and our plans, and I think we are succeeding in that regard, but at the same time, it’s difficult for anyone to tell you when. But it is getting closer, that’s self-evident.

Question 2: Your latest military victories, they have been – objectively speaking – spectacular; the speed at which rebel defenses that have withstood for years have collapsed. Are you planning on retaking all of Syria by force? We’re talking about Idleb, the borders with Israel, SDF-controlled territories.

President Assad: The war is the worst choice. I think every Syrian agrees upon this fact. But sometimes you only have this choice, especially when you talk about factions like Al Qaida, like ISIS, like al-Nusra, and the like-minded factions – actually most of them have the same ideology; Jaish al-Islam, Ahrar al-Cham, and so on – they’re not ready for any dialogue, they don’t have any political plan; they only have this dark ideological plan, which is to be like any Al Qaida-controlled area anywhere in this world. So, the only option to deal with those factions is force. At the same time, in other areas, we succeeded by implementing reconciliations, especially when the community in those different areas made pressure on those militants to leave those areas. So, I think the best choice is to make reconciliation. This is our plan. But when it doesn’t work, the only method to resort to is the force.

Question 3: With regards to reconciliation, how wise is it to send all of these veteran jihadists with their small arms to Idleb? By now, tens of thousands have gone to Idleb, they have consolidated, they have built defenses. Eventually, as you say, you’ll have to fight them. On the other hand, are you perhaps planning on building an area that is outside of government control?

President Assad: Actually, we always say we’re going to liberate every area, so it’s impossible for us to intentionally leave any area on the Syrian soil outside our control as government. This is natural. And as you know, Idleb was captured by the terrorists in 2015 with the Turkish support. It was mainly captured by al-Nusra and some other supportive factions. Actually, we started the reconciliations before that time, but every reconciliation that happened after that time, after 2015- it was, I think, May 2015- every faction wanted to leave the city or the village, they choose to go to Idleb. This is a very good indication that they have the same ideology, because they choose to go to al-Nusra area, they didn’t choose to go to any other area. So, we didn’t send people to Idleb; they wanted to go there, because they have the same incubator, they have the same atmosphere, way of thinking, and so on.
This is one part, the other part, which is the military aspect of your question; the plan of the terrorists and their masters was to distract the Syrian Army by scattering the different units all over the Syrian soil, which is not good for any army. Our plan was to put them in one area, two areas, three areas. Let’s say, if you have two or three or four frontiers, better than having tens, or maybe more than one hundred frontiers at the same time. So, militarily, it is better. They chose it, but it’s better for us from the military point of view.

Question 4: On the other hand, talking about similar mindsets, Idleb is predominantly… the rebels there overwhelmingly are Sunni. As a Sunni myself, I have a long distant relative who came to Syria to fight against you, to resist you, because he was told that you were targeting… you were killing Sunnis, and that is what many people in Idleb believe. Why is it that so many people in all these different countries, in America, in Russia, these Sunnis, these Muslims, they believe that you are oppressing them?

President Assad: Because the first narrative when it started, internationally – mainly in the West, of course – and within Syria and in some mainstream medias in our region and in the West, their plan was to create this rift within the society. That will make things easier for them; “when you have such a civil, kind of civil war between sects or ethnicities,” and it failed. Now, they keep using the same narrative, at least to encourage some fanatics in different places in the world to come and defend their “brothers” in this area, because that’s how they imagine; they imagine that there is conflict between sects. So, because of their narrow-minded way of thinking, maybe, or their ignorance, they came here just to support their “brothers”. Now, if I’m going to tell you this is right or wrong, your audience doesn’t’ know me, they don’t have any idea maybe about my credibility, but I’ll tell you, you know Syria very well, it’s better to go and see the reality on the ground. Now, if there’s such a narrative, let’s say, in reality, sect killing another sect, Syria should be divided now according to sectarian lines. You should come to this area under our control and see one color or a few colors of the Syrian society, you should go to the other area where you have the terrorists, you should have different colors, and the reality is not like this. Now, in Damascus, in Aleppo, in Homs, in every area under the Syrian government’s control, you’ll see every spectrum of the Syrian society, with no exceptions. So, this reality will debunk this narrative. I mean, how could they live with each other while the government is killing them according to sectarian basis? It doesn’t work.

Question 5: Fair enough, but with regards to negotiations and reconciliation, there have been efforts to start talks to achieve a result in Geneva, in Astana. There has been limited success, but it hasn’t been all that great. Now, let’s be honest, you’re winning, you’re winning on the ground, your forces are advancing, the rebels are in retreat. Why would you negotiate with them now, that they’re losing?

President Assad: Since the very beginning, we said whenever we can save Syrian blood, we have to go forward and deal with any initiative, any kind of initiative, even if they have bad will. Some initiatives have bad will, but in spite of that, we dealt with them. And the reality now, if you go around Syria, the reality, the results that’s been embodied by the reconciliations is proof of what I’m saying. Without this policy, without this intention of saving blood, negotiating, talking to people, we couldn’t have reached these reconciliations.
This is one thing. The other thing, not everyone who fought the government have the same basis; some of them have ideological background, some of them for financial background, some of them they made a mistake in the very beginning, they were forced to go in that direction, and they couldn’t withdraw, so you have to open the doors, and you have to distinguish between different kinds of people. And the most important than this, is the majority of the people who were against the government – apparently – in the different liberated areas, actually, in their hearts they are with the government, because they could tell the difference between having government and having chaos.

Question 6: Well, with regards to talks and, you know, retaking areas by force, let’s take for example SDF-controlled territories in Deir Ezzor. There have been clashes there between troops who are loyal to you and the SDF itself, the United States’ partners, and the United States brought to bear force, to stop troops loyal to you from taking territories. This has happened with al-Tanf as well. How are you going to deal with the United States’ presence, military presence, in Syria?

President Assad: After the liberation of Aleppo and later Deir Ezzor, and before that Homs, and now Damascus, actually the United States is losing its cards. The main card was al-Nusra that was called “moderate.” But when the scandal started leaking, that they are not moderate, they are Al Qaida that was supposed to be fought by the United States, they looked for another card. This card is the SDF now, because when as it seems, as you just mentioned, we are moving forward in the different areas to defeat the terrorists, the only problem left in Syria is the SDF. We’re going to deal with it by two options: the first one, we started now opening doors for negotiations, because the majority of them are Syrians, and supposedly they like their country, they don’t like to be puppets to any foreigners, that’s what we suppose, so we have the same basis. We all don’t trust the Americans for decades, not because of the war, because they always say a thing and do the opposite, they tell daily lies. So, we have one option is to live with each other as Syrians, like forever.
This is the first option. If not, we’re going to resort to liberating by force, to liberating those areas by force. We don’t have any other options, with the Americans or without the Americans. We don’t have any other option. So, this is our land, it’s our right, and it’s our duty to liberate it, and the Americans should leave, somehow they’re going to leave. They came to Iraq with no legal basis, and look what happened to them. They have to learn the lesson. Iraq is no exception, and Syria is no exception. People will not accept foreigners in this region anymore.

Question 7: But with regards to retaking territories, it seems inexplicably whenever you eliminate one threat, say, be in Ghouta, another threat seems to materialize, and this has happened repeatedly. Now, we have the Israeli energy minister who is threatening that his country could, quote, “liquidate you and your government.” Are you afraid, and how do you take that threat?

President Assad: Since we were born – I’m talking about my generation and most of the generations now in Syria – we lived under the threat of the Israeli aggression. This is something in our unconscious feeling, so to say that you’re afraid while living with the same threat for decades, this is nonsense. The Israelis have been assassinating, killing, occupying for decades now, for around seven decades, in this region, but usually they do all this without threatening. Now, why do they threat in this way? This is panic, this is a kind of hysterical feeling, because they are losing the “dear ones,” the dear ones al-Nusra and ISIS, that’s why Israel is panicking recently, and we understand their feeling.

Question 8: Well, Israel is now seemingly striking across Syria, airstrikes, at will. They’re boasting publicly on camera again and again that your defenses, they’re powerless to stop them, that they can do in Syria whatever they want. Is that true, is there anything you can do to stop Israel carrying out its airstrikes in Syria?

President Assad: Actually, the first target of the mercenaries in Syria was the air defense, before attacking any other military base, it was the air defense, and you would be surprised at that time; why do they attack the air defense? The air defense will not deal with the “peaceful demonstrators” as they say or the “moderate forces,” and it cannot deal with extremists anyway. It’s another thing, it’s built to defend the country. This is the other proof that Israel was in direct link with those terrorists in Syria. So, they attacked those bases, and they destroyed a big part of our air defenses. Now, in spite of that, our position, let’s say, our air defense is much stronger than before, thanks to the Russian support, and the recent attacks by the Israelis and by the Americans and British and French proved that we are in a better situation.
Now, my answer to your question, the only option is to improve our air defense, this is the only thing we can do, and we are doing that.

Question 9: Israel says that its strikes are, so far, that they aren’t targeted against you, the President or the government, that they’re targeted at Iran, and they’re to keep Iran – which is your ally – weak in Syria. It’s strange, but Iran being here, they are your allies, it’s no secret, they have helped, but them being here now puts you at threat. Would you ever consider asking Iran to leave?

President Assad: The most important fact regarding this issue, is that we don’t have Iranian troops. We never had, and you cannot hide it, and we’re not ashamed to say that we have, like we invited the Russians, we could have invited the Iranians. We have Iranian officers who work with the Syrian Army as help, but they don’t have troops. And the starkest fact about their lies about this issue, the Iranian issue, that the recent attack a few weeks ago, they said that they attacked Iranian bases and camps, as they said, allegedly, and actually we had tens of Syrian martyrs and wounded soldiers, not a single Iranian. So, how could they say that we have it? So, it’s a lie. We always say that we have Iranian officers, but they work with our army, we don’t have troops.

Question 10: Changing subject now, with regards to chemical attacks. There are now regular alleged chemical attacks happening in Syria. Your government and your allies have said that you had nothing to do with this. Your allies have backed your claims, denying any responsibility, saying they have no knowledge of you carrying out these attacks. The question is: in whose interest is it to gas opposition to you?

President Assad: That is the most part of the answer: in whose interest? That is the question. Is it in our interest? Why, and why no? Because the timing of this alleged strike was after the victory of the Syrian troops in Ghouta, let alone the fact that we don’t have chemical weapons anyway, and let the other fact is that we are not going to use it against our people, because the battle in Syria was about winning the hearts of the civilians, this is the main battle, and we won it. So, how can you use chemical weapons against civilians that you want them to be supportive to you?
This is first. Second, if you want to use it, let’s suppose that you have it and you want to use it, do you use it after you finished the battle, or before, or during? It’s not logical. Second, if you go to that area, it was a very cramped area by armies, by factions, and by civilians. Whenever you use such armaments or weapons in that area, you’re going to harm everyone, something that didn’t happen. And if you go to that area and you ask the civilians, there was no chemical attack by anyone. Even the Western journalists who went there after the Ghouta was liberated, they said “we asked the people and they said we didn’t see any chemical attack.” So, it was a narrative, it was just a pretext in order to attack Syria.

Question 11: Well, it may have been a pretext, but we don’t have proof that, you know, even we have rumors on Twitter, a few videos of… confusing videos showing allegedly the aftermath of an attack, is enough to justify for the United States, its allies, launching cruise missiles at Syria. What if, conveniently, there is another attack, alleged attack? Could there be a lot more missiles aimed at Syria?

President Assad: Of course, it could, because when the Unites States trampled over the international law, on daily basis sometimes in different areas for different reasons, any country in the world could have such an attack. What’s the legal base of this attack, what’s the legal base of their aircrafts, with their alliance, the so-called “anti-terrorist alliance” that supports the terrorists actually, what’s the legal base of that alliance? Nothing. What’s the legal base of the attack in Yemen, in Afghanistan, on the borders with Pakistan, etc.? There is no legal base. So, as long as you don’t have an international law that could be obeyed by the United States and its puppets in the West, there is no guarantee that it won’t happen. That happened a few weeks ago, and it happened last year, in April 2017, and that could happen anytime, exactly, I agree with you.

Question 12: But the response Trump promised was going to be extreme and severe, according to his words early on. The response that we saw, the strike that we saw after the latest alleged chemical attack was, it seems to be much more symbolic, much smaller in scope, and there was unexpectedly again a delay when Trump promised the attack and when it came. Why was there a delay? Did it have something perhaps to do with Russia?

President Assad: It has two aspects, as we saw it. The first one is they told a story, they told a lie, and the public opinion around the world and in the West didn’t buy their story, but they couldn’t withdraw. So, they had to do something, even on a smaller scale. The second issue is related to the Russian position, that time, as you know, that the Russians announced publically that they are going to destroy the bases that are going to be used to launch missiles, and our information – we don’t have evidence, we only have information, and those information are credible information – that they were thinking about a comprehensive attack all over Syria, and that’s why the threat pushed the West to make it on a much smaller scale.

Question 13: Well, with regards to the United States’ relation towards you, President Trump has called you, quote, “Animal Assad.” Do you have a nickname for the US president?

President Assad: This is not my language, so, I cannot use similar language. This is his language. It represents him, and I think there is a very known principle, that what you say is what you are. So, he wanted to represent what he is, and that’s normal. Anyway, it didn’t move anything, and this kind of language shouldn’t move anything for anyone. The only thing that moves you is what people that you trust, people who are level-headed, people who are thoughtful, people who are moral, ethical, that’s what should move anything inside you, whether positive or negative. Somebody like Trump will move nothing for me.

Question 14: With regards to the United States’ presidency, there is an interesting thing, you know, I came up with, thought up of a while ago; there are now in Syria forces from five nuclear powers, five nuclear powers directly engaged in military operations in Syria, be it boots on the grounds or airstrikes. Some of those countries are on different sides. How Syrian is this civil war still?

President Assad: The word “civil war” has been used widely since the beginning of the conflict in Syria, even by our friends, and by our allies by mistake, without understanding the content of this meaning. Syrian “civil war” means there are sectarian lines based on either ethnicities or sects or religions or maybe political opinion or political currents, let’s say, something we don’t have in Syria. In reality, in the area controlled by the government, which is now the majority of Syria, you have all these diversities. So, the word “civil war” is not correct. What we have actually from the very beginning are mercenaries, Syrians, and foreigners being paid by the West in order to topple the government. This is the reality, the mere reality, the very stark reality. Everything else is just masks to cover the real intentions. Talking about political differences, moderates, peaceful demonstration; we don’t have civil war in Syria. If we had civil war for seven years, we should have been divided by now. You cannot have one country, united country, united society, it’s not geographically because now of the Unites States’ puppets and the Turkish puppets. If there were a civil war, then you should have a divided society. Go by yourself, deal with different spectrums of the Syrian society, and you can answer that question in the same way I’m answering it.

Question 15: But with regards to potential escalation. Okay, there are proxy forces from all these five nuclear powers, as well as the other forces engaged in Syria, but you, as the President, again, you must have information. How close have we come during this civil war… during this war to an escalation between these nuclear powers?

President Assad: In reality, we were close to have direct conflict between the Russian forces and the American forces, and fortunately, it has been avoided, not by the wisdom of the American leadership, but by the wisdom of the Russian leadership, because it is not in the interest of anyone, anyone in this world, and first of all the Syrians, to have this conflict. We need the Russian support, but we need at the same time to avoid the American foolishness in order to be able to stabilize our country.

Question 16: And just briefly, one last question. The closer we get to the end, is the danger of an escalation, in your estimation, is it decreasing or is it, on the other hand, increasing?

President Assad: As I said at the very beginning, the more we get closer to the end, the more they want to make it farther. What does it mean? The more stability you have, the more escalation we will have. The more reconciliation you have in one area, the more killing and destruction and trying to capture more areas by the terrorists we’ll have. That’s why within the reconciliation, when we started reconciliations in many areas, the other factions in the same area tried to destroy it, because they have the orders from the outside not to go toward any reconciliation, of course, you have the orders with the pocket of money. So, what you say is correct, but the more escalation we have, the more determined we’ll be to solve the problem, because you don’t have any other choice; either you have a country or you don’t have a country.

Journalist: Mr. President, thank you very much for your insights, and thank you very much for welcoming us here and giving us so much of your time. We wish you all the best, the Syrian people all the best, and a swift conclusion to this awful conflict. Thank you very much, Mr. President.

President Assad: Thank you, thank you for coming to Syria again.

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