Khaddam: Al-Assad handed over Watban, expelled Uday and Qusay, and refused to receive Aziz

publisher: البوابة albawaba

Publishing date: 2005-12-31

Abdul Halim Khaddam, the former Syrian Vice President, revealed that his country handed over Watan al-Hassan, Saddam Hussein's half-brother, to American forces. It also deported the two sons of the ousted president to Iraq and refused to receive former Foreign Minister Tariq Aziz in an effort to "alleviate American pressure."

Khaddam said in an interview broadcast on Al-Arabiya channel on Saturday evening that the extradition of Watban and the deportation of Uday and Qusay, who were killed during an attack by American forces on a house where they were hiding in Mosul, northern Iraq in July 2003, came in the context of the Syrian leadership’s attempts to reduce American pressure on it.
Khaddam revealed this information in the context of what he described as the failure and confusion of the Syrian leadership while dealing with the pressures that were intensified on it by the United States, which wanted to force Syria not to oppose its policy in Iraq.

He said, "How can there be opposition to American policy when cooperation remained continuous and active between the American and Syrian intelligence services until July 2005? Opposition from here and cooperation with the intelligence services from here!!"
He continued, "The next matter... Why was Watban Al-Hassan handed over? Why? It came within the framework of reducing American pressure and appeasing the Americans. Why did some Arab countries mediate to open dialogue with America? Uday and Qusay discovered their presence and were brought to security and placed on the border and told to go." “And Tariq Aziz refused to receive him.”

He went on to say, "These measures were taken to please the Americans."

However, the former Syrian Vice President considered that the Iraqi scenario, referring to the American war in Iraq, was “absolutely unthinkable” in Syria, considering that the United States “will not use military force against Syria.”
Khaddam added, "However, the state of psychological and political pressure is hindering the country and disturbing because Syria is living in a situation it has not seen since independence." He considered that Syria today lives "in Arab isolation, international isolation, and constant threats, and this constitutes a great concern for the Syrian citizen."

Khaddam added, "There is no way to protect Syria except by strengthening national unity with all parties, even with those with whom we had bloody disputes," referring to the Muslim Brotherhood, between which a confrontation occurred with the Syrian security forces in 1983, which led to the ban on the activity of this organization. Khaddam added, "This matter requires taking bold decisions, including amending the constitution."
He added, "We must not commit the sin of Saddam Hussein, who closed his ears and mind to the Iraqi opposition's call for dialogue. What was the result? (...) Something that no one expected, which is that the Iraqi opposition, which is an ally of Syria and Iran, formed the political cover for the American war on Iraq."

He considered that "we must not give any Syrian citizen an excuse to slip outside the interests of the nation, without saying that the Syrians will deal with the Americans."
He continued, "When the Syrian citizen sees that his leadership worked to achieve national consensus and worked to bring all people into the country and that national unity should be the wall to protect the country, then (...) there will be popular consensus on the regime and people will forget all previous mistakes." He asked, "But when we see dozens of Syrians prohibited from returning to Syria, and if they do return, they will go to prison, does this not fuel hatred? The country is more important than the regime."
Khaddam announced that he proposed to the Syrian president "to pursue a policy of dialogue and not a policy of confrontation" with the United States. He said that he suggested to Assad "to follow a policy of dialogue and not a policy of confrontation" with the United States

Khaddam added that he called for following this policy of dialogue with “a strong adherence to national national constants because I realize that neglecting these constants, or some of them, or a few of them, will lead to a series of concessions.”
Khaddam said that he presented this proposal as part of an “analytical study on the international situation” that he submitted to the Syrian president on August 9, 2000, days after he took the oath as president of Syria after the death of his father, Hafez al-Assad.

Al Arabiya had broadcast excerpts from the interview over the past two days, and on Thursday evening it broadcast it in full
During the interview, Khaddam, who is currently in Paris with his family members, launched a scathing attack on President Bashar al-Assad’s policy towards Lebanon and within the framework of the internal political file.

During the interview, which angered the Syrian Parliament, which demanded that he be tried on charges of “high treason,” he confirmed that President Assad and other Syrian officials had directed threats to former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri months before his assassination in Beirut last February.