Khaddam speaking to Dubai TV about the reality of his country…the experience of the “Brotherhood” in Egypt is a lesson for the Syrians

publisher: دبي ــ البيان Al Bayan Dubai

Publishing date: 2013-03-25


Former Syrian Vice President Abdul-Halim Khaddam affirmed in an interview with Dubai TV at 10:30 PM every Sunday that the experience of the Muslim Brotherhood in governing Egypt is a lesson for Syrians to learn from.

Khaddam stated in a dialogue with the program “Al-Shar’ al-Arabi,” presented by Zina Al-Yaziji, that if Iran succeeds in breaking the Syrian revolution through the regime, it will control the entire region. He dismissed the possibility of dividing Syria into entities, emphasizing that no one has an interest in division.

The following are details from the interview between the former Syrian Vice President and Dubai TV.

Do you still consider yourself the most dangerous enemy of the regime?

Yes, because I realize the serious consequences that the regime has brought upon Syria and its future, as well as the crimes committed against the people.

Fear and terror dominate the outlook on the future. What do you think about the formation of a transitional government, and does it serve the revolution?

This step will not succeed. The opposition that formed the government did not consider that those fighting on the ground should decide the form of governance. Legitimacy comes from elections and national unity through a comprehensive national conference involving all opposition parties, with 85 percent representing the domestic forces bearing the burden.

But the regime obstructs obtaining the legitimacy you speak of, like holding a national conference or elections?

This does not justify a group of individuals coming together and saying to the Syrians, “This is your government.”

Isn’t that better than the foreign intervention you are requesting?

The question is whether the formation of the government will lead to a cessation of bloodshed. What leads to it, honestly, and I repeat, is military intervention. Bashar al-Assad possesses significant military power, including missiles, aircraft, and tanks. His fall is inevitable. He will fall through the revolution, but at a cost. Rapid fall comes through Arab and international military intervention outside the Security Council to enable Syrians to determine their destiny.

A Haven and Lebanon

Some say the regime has a popular base?

The regime is a military machine; it doesn’t have a popular base. The conflict is not among the people. The regime embraced sectarianism as a tool to drag the country into a sectarian conflict, but it will not succeed. Syria will not descend into a civil war.

Have you wasted Syrian blood by betting on something that won’t happen?

No, it will happen. The continuation of the situation in Syria will lead Syrians, who initially fought for their freedom, to turn towards extremism. All extremist forces in the Arab and Islamic worlds will be drawn to jihad in Syria. The West is aware of this. I believe that there are entities in the West that see this and might push for accelerated military intervention.

You have been saying since 2005 that the regime will fall within months. Since 2011, you have been saying the regime will fall. Now you say intervention will happen.

In 2005, I had protection from some major powers and Arab countries. This protection posed obstacles to a genuine movement by the Syrian people. Now the situation is different. Syria has become a series of volcanoes, and their eruptions will not be contained internally but will extend to the region. If Iran manages to crush the Syrian revolution through the regime, it will control the entire region.

We have reached a stage where the Syrian crisis has spread to the surrounding region, specifically in Lebanon. What does the regime gain from escalating the situation in Lebanon, and can it succeed in doing so?

The regime utilizes Lebanon through Hezbollah. However, this utilization has had very negative repercussions, especially as Lebanon has diverse political and religious factions. Therefore, Hezbollah, aligned with the regime, has pushed others to be against it. The crisis in Lebanon has been escalated by Hezbollah’s intervention. The major crime is the influx of weapons arriving by sea to the regime, not 20 rifles coming from northern Lebanon. I believe that there is still some rationality among the Lebanese not to plunge into internal conflict.

Division of Syria

There is a Western-American project to divide the region into sectarian entities. How do you respond to that?

There is no interest for any country in the world in dividing the region. Dividing the region means destabilizing its security. The Middle East is the oil reservoir for the Western world. Security disturbances will affect oil. Additionally, the strategic importance of the region is significant, with its proximity to Europe, Asia, and Africa.

Who is seeking division?

The overwhelming majority rejects division. The regime might consider division, but it knows that its graveyard will be in the region it goes to. It cannot establish an Alawite state because the majority of Alawites reject it, and the revolution will pursue it even if it goes to the ends of the earth. The current reality indicates that there is no interest for any component in division.

There are those who are aware of the regime’s flaws but fear the future. How do you respond?

Those who lost their homes did so because of the regime, not the revolution. Would they accept Bashar to continue? The Iranians, not Assad, lead the regime in Syria. Iran fights and defends its presence not only in Lebanon and Syria.

You said that Iran is the one fighting in Syria. The reality on the ground indicates that there is no side stronger than the other. Do you think the division project is a real possibility in Syria?

There is no balance in support. What comes to the revolution is light and non-quality weapons, while substantial support from Russia and Iran goes to the regime. This imbalance will not determine Syria’s fate. As for the possibility of division, it is impossible.

Settlement and Hama

The regime and the opposition both stand against you. How do you respond?

The regime’s alignment is natural, and the opposition’s assessment is a misreading of reality and the future. No one can exclude anyone. I do not aspire to power, nor do I seek it.

You mentioned that the internal opposition is the basis for any decision. This opposition tells me that we should go for a settlement to save Syrian blood. What do you think?

These individuals are not true opposition members. Ahmed Moaz al-Khatib lost a significant portion of his popularity when he called for dialogue. He was wrong because this matter is not decided by an individual but is a national issue. Let him ask the Syrians: Would any Syrian accept this regime to remain?

When Hama was targeted, and you were part of the regime, was the goal sectarian?

The conflict was political between the Muslim Brotherhood and the regime, not sectarian. The dictator’s thinking uses the means that help him. As for Hafez al-Assad, he is more important than the nation and the sect. The major mistake he made was building the army and security forces from a specific group. This created a problem for the regime that can only be solved by the regime’s fall and the establishment of a civil democratic system.

Personalities and Opinions

What is your opinion of Salah Jadid?

Harsh, and his view of the state is comprehensive.

Salah al-Bitar?

A clean man.

Hikmat al-Shihabi?

He did not carry the regime’s secrets. The one carrying the regime’s secrets was Hafez al-Assad alone, as he did not trust anyone.

Rifat al-Assad?

Part of the Assad family and part of many things that were committed in Syria.

Ghazi Kanaan?

A security officer committed to the instructions he received from his superiors.

Farouk al-Sharaa?

May God be with him.

Assef Shawkat?

He was a partner in the murder crimes in Syria.

Bassel, Bashar, and Maher al-Assad?

Their problem is that they believed they were the children of a president who holds the power of life and death, so they followed his path

The Muslim Brotherhood?

They were an opposition party we allied with before trust was lost. They cannot manage the affairs of Syria because Syria is a diverse country. The experience of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt is a lesson for the Syrians.

Did you discuss the idea of inheritance with Hafez al-Assad?

Yes, and I criticized it. He said he wanted continuity, and I told him that continuity should be for the system. He focused on Basil, but when he passed away, Bashar, who was studying in London and not in Syria as claimed, was summoned.

Arab Street

There are questions from the Arab street. Suran Al-Jaaf asks: Why didn’t you defect during the Hama massacre?

The issue of Hama was political, a conflict between the Muslim Brotherhood and the regime. Therefore, there was no defection. Hafez al-Assad, his partner, and his brother Rifaat al-Assad bear the responsibility for the Hama massacre. Former Defense Minister Mustafa Tlass did not have decision-making power.

Abu al-Sham asks: During your meeting with the Qatari leadership in 1982, what was your opinion on the Hama crisis? According to Abu al-Sham, a member of the leadership present at the meeting said: “We do not want a city with this name.”

This is completely untrue, neither remotely nor closely. The regime will fall, and its files will be opened, and everyone will see my position on internal issues.

Salah Al-Sheikh asks: Why did you hand over power to Hafez al-Assad’s son?

For a simple reason. Because Hafez al-Assad had prepared all the arrangements for his son to assume the presidency.

Was he prepared well?

He committed three fatal mistakes that caused the suffering of the Syrians. First, he turned the regime into an inheritance system. Second, he turned the authority into a dictatorship. Third, he unleashed corruption by allowing his family and close associates to engage in corruption.

Muhsin Al-Amari from Syria asks: Were you a believer in Baathist ideas, or was it a lie?

The Baath Party, in its founding constitution, was a democratic party. But honestly, when the series of military coups began, the officers took on the primary political role.

Do you mourn the Baath Party?

Yes, I mourn it. It’s over.

Are you ready for trial: What would you say about your actions after the fall of the regime?

Any citizen has the right to go to the judiciary and confront me if I have behavioral or political mistakes.