The dialogue of Mr. Abdul Halim Khaddam with “Tharwa”

publisher: ثروة tharwa

Publishing date: 2007-11-10


Khaddam: We aim to build a modern civil and democratic state regardless of religion, sect, or gender.

I challenge Bashar al-Assad to present to the public a single file related to corruption involving me or any of my children.

I have no objection for any Syrian citizen to approach the judiciary after Syria’s liberation with allegations against me.

The Front has a strong presence among Alawite leaders inside, but we do not work on revealing names, so as not to expose them to significant harm.

The Front does not have a sectarian depth, and it will not have one. It considers national unity a crucial issue in liberating Syria.

The main reason for the Lebanese crisis comes from outside Lebanon, from the alliance between the ruling regimes in Syria and Iran.


If you allow us to talk about you for a moment. You were in power for many years, and some accuse you of exposing the corruption of the Assad and Makhlouf families while neglecting yourself and your children, and the wealth you live with.

I hope you get to know this side of the story, so you realize that this campaign is part of the regime’s efforts against me after I announced my position in late 2005.

I challenged Bashar al-Assad to present to the public a single file related to corruption involving me, any of my children, or any relative associated with me. If the claims of some are true, let them bring forth the files they have. Spreading rumors and defamation reveals the intentions of those behind them.

I demanded Bashar al-Assad to agree to the formation of a committee to investigate corruption cases, chaired by the President of the Court of Cassation in Egypt, the Secretary-General of the Arab Lawyers’ Union, the Head of the Egyptian Bar Association, and a member from the United Nations’ anti-corruption committee.

None of my children have any activity related to the state or its institutions, and most of their activities are outside of Syria. The youngest among them entered the job market over twenty years ago. Additionally, my financial situation was good even before assuming power. I had practiced law for a long time, and I inherited from both my parents and my wife. I challenge anyone to present a file that contains any wrongdoing on my part or that of my children.

When you left power, many individuals affiliated with the regime, including members of the People’s Assembly, accused you of burying nuclear waste in the desert and selling the army spoiled meat. How do you view these accusations?

You know that my departure from the regime shook it, and the reaction was a targeted campaign of accusations and defamation both in the People’s Assembly and outside of it, in addition to accusing me of having a connection with a foreign state to plot aggression against Syria. I was also referred to the military court, and all Syrians know my history well, and I am proud of this history and everything I’ve done for my country.

Firstly, let me share with you the story of the alleged chemical waste incident from around 20 years ago.

A customs patrol at the port of Tartus discovered radioactive materials, and they traced them back to a merchant who owned ships from the city of Arwad, named Mohammed Tabalo. He was assisted in his operations by an officer in military intelligence named Ahmed Aboud. When this operation was discovered, Ahmed Aboud spread a rumor through military intelligence branches that the goods belonged to Abdul Halim Khaddam’s sons. The rumor quickly spread like wildfire.

I requested President Hafez al-Assad to form an investigation committee. A committee of 5 ministers, the General Customs Director, and the heads of the Inspection and Monitoring Authority was formed. They went to Tartus and conducted a detailed investigation that included port and customs authorities, customs clearance agents, security agency branch heads, and one of the branch heads of the security agencies provided the committee with a recording of a call between Mohammed Tabalo and one of my sons. Tabalo asked my son to help him transport goods out of Syria to another Arab country, and my son used harsh language to insult him and then hung up the phone.

The committee presented its report to President Hafez al-Assad, who requested my presence at his home. After I arrived, he told me that my children had no involvement in this operation and that they were wronged. The intention was to defame you. I responded that I was aware of that, and I knew who had spread the rumor, a security officer. A junior officer from his department came to me and informed me that this officer was the one who had spread the rumor. President Hafez al-Assad asked me for his name, and I told him I couldn’t provide his name because you wouldn’t be able to protect me. He was surprised by my answer and asked, “How can you say that?” I replied, “The security in the country is stronger than both you and me.”

After the discovery of the goods, the customs authorities reloaded them onto the ship that brought them and returned them to Italy, unloading them in the port from which they originated. Therefore, they were not buried on Syrian soil. All these facts are recorded in the files of the Tartus port and customs.

I made efforts with the Cypriot government through Mr. Suleiman Haddad, our ambassador in Bonn, who had strong connections with officials in Cyprus since he worked in our embassy there. This was to retrieve Mohammed Tabalo, who had fled to Cyprus, and hand him over to Syrian authorities. In fact, he was apprehended, and the Political Security Directorate conducted an investigation with him, which was then referred to the Economic Security Court, and he was sentenced, as I believe, to ten years in prison.

I challenged the ruling authorities in Damascus to publish the investigation file conducted by the Political Security Directorate and the judicial file of this crime, but they did not. They raised this issue even though they knew that every word they uttered was a lie. However, their aim was to defame me. This is the story of the radioactive materials (which were actually paint barrels). Nonetheless, I challenge anyone to prove otherwise.

Secondly, as for the issue of spoiled meat, it is part of the campaign of defamation. Why didn’t they refer the case to the judiciary at the time? You know that the regime has no means of defending itself except repression and defamation. Additionally, none of my children have had any dealings, as I mentioned, with government institutions, including the military.

Honestly, are you ready to submit your case to the Syrian judiciary after Syria is liberated from the oppressive regime?

I have no objection for any Syrian citizen to approach the judiciary after Syria is liberated and make claims against me. I’m not worried about that because I know who I am, who my family is, and what we have done to serve the country, as most Syrians know.

The Salvation Front has decided to transfer its operations to inside Syria. How has the Front been functioning since the conference ended, and how do you assess its work?

The National Salvation Front in Syria has made significant progress in its efforts to achieve change. At this stage, it is focusing its efforts on two main directions. First, mobilizing support from within the country in preparation for a comprehensive popular movement. Second, exposing the regime’s actions and working to lift the Arab and international cover over it, in addition to striving for cooperation among all opposition forces.

We’ve heard many accusations directed at the Salvation Front, especially after its recent conference, that it excludes Alawites from its ranks and forms a purely Sunni coalition. What is your opinion on this view?

The National Salvation Front in Syria encompasses various national, leftist, Islamic, and liberal forces and currents. Many of these organizations have a national makeup that includes Alawites. Rest assured that the Front has a solid presence among Alawite leaders internally. However, we don’t disclose names to prevent them from being subjected to significant harm.

The Front does not have a sectarian depth, and it will not. National unity is a primary issue for the liberation, progress, and advancement of Syria. No one within the Front operates from a sectarian perspective that weakens national unity. Alawite sectarianism is a vital component of the Syrian people.

The National Salvation Front in Syria is working towards building a modern civil democratic state where citizens are equal in rights and responsibilities, regardless of their religion, sect, or gender.

In the midst of this enduring crisis in Lebanon, and given your extensive political experience, how do you see a way out of the crisis and reaching elections that satisfy everyone, without leading to internal strife, God forbid?

The crisis in Lebanon, with its key elements, is not a crisis among the Lebanese themselves, nor is its cause a disagreement over a presidential candidate. The Lebanese system is a democratic one where different forces differ over presidential candidates, just as they differ over candidates for parliamentary elections. This has been the case since Lebanon’s independence in 1943.

The major problem is that the main cause of the crisis comes from outside Lebanon, from the alliance between the ruling regimes in Syria and Iran. This alliance seeks a president who serves their strategic interests and aids in obstructing the international tribunal investigating the assassination of Rafik Hariri. Within this context, Bashar al-Assad’s approach aims to disrupt the presidential elections to create a vacuum in Lebanon and an internal strife that he believes will undermine the international tribunal’s influence and restore his authority in Lebanon. Therefore, he uses his allies and intelligence agencies’ agents to obstruct the presidential elections.

A final word at the end of this interview

My hope is that the Lebanese leaders who engage with Bashar al-Assad will prioritize their national interests and contribute to holding presidential elections while safeguarding Lebanon’s security, stability, and unity through agreement on a national program and a president for the republic.