Abdul Halim Khaddam calls for external military intervention to overthrow the Bashar al-Assad regime.

publisher: مونتي كارلو الدوليةة mc-doualiya.com/

Publishing date: 2011-11-03


Abdul Halim Khaddam expressed his belief that the Syrian regime will not commit to implementing the Arab League initiative, despite Iran’s approval of it. The former vice president of Syria emphasized in his dialogue with Kamal Tarabieh that external military intervention alone is capable of protecting the Syrian people from the killing machine and hastening the downfall of the Assad regime

Syria has officially accepted all the provisions of the peace plan presented by the Arab League. What is your opinion on this matter?

First, I would like to emphasize that the regime will continue what it is doing, and this is a maneuver on its part. Second, the issue is not whether the regime accepts or rejects the plan; the problem lies in the fact that the Arab League’s project does not respond to the aspirations of the Syrian people and does not resolve the crisis.

The Syrian people cannot bear the continuation of this regime because it has committed all kinds of crimes. How can the Syrians be asked to accept a regime, along with its security and political institutions, that is slaughtering them and destroying the nation?

But the Arab League’s plan, as it has been reported, states that Syria has accepted it, including a cessation of all violence, the release of all detainees, and the withdrawal of the army. Does this mean there is a “clipping” of the regime’s claws?

If you “clip” the wolf’s claws, they grow back. This regime is built on foundations that it cannot change. The Syrians want a democratic system through which they can realize themselves and feel that they have a state. The state today does not belong to the Syrian people; it belongs to the ruling family, the group that revolves around them, and those who engage in killing and looting the country’s resources. Therefore, the major flaw in the Arab League’s plan lies in its starting point, which is the continuity of the regime, its institutions, and its leader. This does not solve the problem but rather complicates it, and it will lead to a new phase of violence in Syria.

There have been reports that you have prepared a political and organizational initiative described as supporting the Syrian opposition from within. Do you have an initiative in this regard?

There is an initiative from a group of patriotic Syrians who do not have partisan backgrounds. Contacts have been made, and an agreement has been reached to hold a meeting on Saturday to discuss an action plan.

Do you have a specific plan that you will present in this initiative?

Yes, we have a political program to mobilize public opinion, both Arab and international, to support the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people. We have a media program and a program to form relief working groups and collect donations from Syrians and non-Syrians to support the revolution on one hand and to support the displaced people who have fled for their lives on the other hand.

The internal program involves harnessing all the energies of the Syrian people to support the revolution, in addition to ensuring the unity of the revolution and preventing any disputes among its parties due to the fragmentation within the Syrian opposition.

Are you coordinating with the other factions of the Syrian opposition, both inside and outside, such as the Syrian National Council?

There is no coordination with the Syrian National Council because the council took a wrong step. It was formed by two sides: one from the “Muslim Brotherhood” and another from some independents, and this has put the Syrian opposition in an unhealthy position. Therefore, we will call on all parties of the Syrian opposition to engage in dialogue to reach a common vision for the situation in Syria. We will not stop at any disagreements and will not exclude anyone from our dialogue except those who collaborate with the regime and insist on dialogue with it.

Do you consider that the Syrian National Council has made mistakes, including cooperating with the Muslim Brotherhood?

No. I said that the council consists of two elements: one from the Muslim Brotherhood and one from some independents. The opposition in the Syrian people is not like that; the Syrian people have different currents, including Muslim Brotherhood, independents, party members, and various factions. The Syrian National Council made a mistake when it claimed to represent the Syrian people both inside and outside. The Syrian people are only represented through democratic frameworks, and if that is not possible, a national conference should be held from both inside and outside to unify visions and ways to support the revolution, not to exploit it. That’s why my remarks were directed at the presence of the Muslim Brotherhood in the Syrian National Council.

Have you previously allied with the Muslim Brotherhood in the Salvation Front?

Yes. The objection here is not to the Muslim Brotherhood but rather to the formation of the council.

You say that you are one of the key figures in the opposition abroad. What can you do to unify or contribute to the unification of this fragmented opposition between inside and outside and between various conferences?

Yes, this is one of the primary goals of forming the National Support Body for the Revolution.

Is this the body you mentioned you were establishing with the group?

The National Support Body, which we have decided to establish, has as one of its primary objectives to work on unifying the visions of the opposition and overcoming all differences because Syria is greater than all of us, and the Syrian people need the unity of all opposition factions. We will reach out to everyone and make every effort, regardless of the cost, to achieve this format.

Even with the factions that have not contacted you for coordination from among the opposition?

Yes. We do not view things from a partisan or political perspective. We view things from a national perspective.

But in the absence of genuine international pressure on President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, and with the regime’s military, security, and party’s resilience, do you really believe that the regime is cornered and can be overthrown, and how?

The regime is cornered because the army has started to disintegrate, and it cannot sustain this situation for long. I am confident that there are large groups within the army that will defect from the regime, including important figures from the Alawite community. Everyone now feels the danger to Syria.

Has the need for this regime, at the very least for regional stability, come to an end?

Is there regional stability? Do you see any regional stability? If there is no stability in Syria, how can we imagine that there is regional stability? If the regime continues, the natural result will be Syrians taking up arms, and if arms are taken up, the equation will change because Syria will then become a haven for all extremists.

This is what President Bashar al-Assad says. He says that Syria could become like Afghanistan.

No, he is saying, “I will turn Syria into Afghanistan.” He knows that he cannot do that. How can any area in Syria become a base for extremism? But when the regime remains and oppression continues, it strengthens people’s desire to defend themselves, and as a result, as happened in Iraq, extremist groups will come to Syria, and then the fire will spread throughout the entire region.

You talked about taking up arms in Syria, where will the weapons come from?

Weapons are available in Syria and can be obtained from the army or purchased from the army.

Is there a possibility of achieving the desires of the Syrian opposition to overthrow this regime without foreign intervention?

Without foreign intervention, it will be costly.

Are you in favor of foreign intervention?

Yes, I am in favor of foreign intervention for national reasons.

Abdul Halim Khaddam calls for foreign intervention in Syria?

Yes, I call for international military intervention in Syria, similar to Libya, to protect the Syrian people and enable them to achieve their national aspirations.

Military intervention, does it respond to the aspirations of the entire Syrian people? There are key factions of the Syrian opposition inside and outside the country that reject foreign intervention?

I confirm that the majority of the Syrian people inside the country want intervention due to their suffering. Many have contacted me and thanked me for my stance, saying that we request intervention from any party to get rid of this regime that has committed what no colonial regime in any country in the world has ever committed. I lived through the French mandate in Syria from my childhood to my youth, and no one was killed in a protest by the French army or arrested for their political stance.

Are you in contact with Western circles to discuss the issue of military intervention in Syria?

Not yet. But after the formation of the organization, there will be contacts with all international parties to urge them to realize the danger of continuing this situation. Who does the continuation of this situation serve? First and foremost, it serves Iran, which has, through Syria, taken control of Lebanon, the Palestinian issue, and Iraq. Iran has encouraged its dormant cells in the Gulf. Is the region supposed to be handed over to Iran? Can the international community bear that? Can the Arab world bear that? We are not calling for a war against Iran. We are against Iran’s strategic policy in the region.