On an interview with Germany’s ARD television channel aired today but originally filmed on July 5, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad stated that the United States is now “part of the conflict” in Syria in funding and protecting the armed opposition forces which are, by all definitions, terrorists.
This is far from the first time this accusation has been made by Syrian officials.
However, on June 21, 2012, the accusation was confirmed by anonymous American officials and Arab Intelligence officers cited by the New York Times.
In the interview Assad condemned the NATO-backed regime change in Libya saying, “Describing what happened to al Gadhafi, this is savage, this is crime.”
Unsurprisingly, the Associated Press inserts their revisionist history claiming, “rebels helped by NATO air strikes toppled the regime,” in Libya and that, “Libyan leader Muammar Gadhafi was killed while fleeing advancing opposition fighters.”
In reality, we now know that the rebels had Qatari forces training them and planning their operations for them, that Western forces were on the ground, and that the real story of Gaddafi’s death is far from certain.
According to Assad, the United States is currently partnering with those “terrorists … with weapons, money or public and political support at the United Nations.”
“They offer the umbrella and political support to those gangs to … destabilize Syria,” he added.
Assad also rejected the claims that his troops are responsible for all of the brutal violence in Syria. Instead, he said that “supporters of the government, the victims from the security and the army” outnumber the deaths of individuals in the opposition.
In fact, the rebels are indeed responsible for a great deal of the violence in Syria – just as was the case in Libya – and finally it is getting some coverage in major international news outlets.
He stated that the armed opposition is a group of gangs and “a mixture, an amalgam of Al Qaida (and) other extremists.”
In support of his assertion we can look to the fact that al Qaeda has voiced clear public support of the Syrian opposition.
“[A] majority of the people ask for reforms, political reforms (but) not freedom,” said Assad, adding that he did in fact have the overall support of the Syrian people, while firmly ruling out the possibility of stepping down.
“The president shouldn’t run away from challenge and we have a national challenge now in Syria,” he said.
“But as long as you have terrorism and as long as the dialogue didn’t work, you have to fight the terrorism. You cannot keep just making dialogue while they are killing your people and your army,” Assad said, according to Haaretz.
He stated that the main obstacles to a non-violent solution to the conflict in Syria are the many nations currently supporting the opposition both overt and covertly.
Assad cited Saudi Arabia and Qatar who are sending armaments to the rebels, Turkey which assists with the logistics and cross-border smuggling and the United States which provides the most political support.
Speaking of political support, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton recently called for even more sanctions on Syria as well as a united front from the so-called “Friends of Syria” against Russia and China.
These actions have led Clinton to claim that they have “essentially given Assad a free pass by failing to implement sanctions and continuing to import Syrian oil,” according to CBS.
“What can every nation and group represented here do?” Clinton asked. “I ask you to reach out to Russia and China, and to not only urge but demand that they get off the sidelines and begin to support the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people.”
It will be interesting to see how the Western powers continue to push this intervention effort and what the justification – if there is any – for intervention will end up being.
Personally I think the biggest inhibiting factors are Russia and China and until those get marginalized to at least some extent, there will at least be something holding back the seemingly inevitable intervention.