Thursday, March 16, 2006

Khaddam interviewed by Elaph on March 15, 2006


The following Elaph interview with Abdul Halim Khaddam has been translated by Mideastwire.com. Khaddam talks about his visits with Jumblatt, Hizbullah, taking MEPI money, Why France isn't supporting him, Bashar's most recent speech, and how Bashar is trying to polarize Lebanese politics.

Khaddam: Assad is acting like a school kid
2006-03-15 00:00:00
Andre Mahawij reported in Elaph, a pan-Arab website on March 15 that: “The former deputy to the Syrian President, Abed al Halim Khaddam has renewed his severe criticism of Bashar al-Assad’s approach of managing Syrian affairs. He found that there is no intent to conduct internal reform or a real direction to treat the country’s crisis. He said that Dr. al-Assad’s speech at the party conference indicates that he is unaware of what [his] words mean and how they may affect the interests of the country.

"Khaddam predicts that Syria’s isolation will increase and that President al-Assad does not act in his political speeches like a President but rather like a student in high school who goes out to protest. On the Lebanese file, Khaddam saw in the discussion that Elaph had with him in Brussels that President al-Assad’s speech raises concern on the relationship with Lebanon because he predicted the results of the [Lebanese] national dialogue and connected it to his policies. Khaddam considers that some sides ... connection with Tehran and Syria ... places some suspicions on the results [of the national dialogue]. Khaddam praised the Resistance [Hezbollah] in liberating the south [of Lebanon] and said it is nationalistic but it has no right to be a part of a foreign country’s strategy.

"On Syria’s recognition of Lebanon and establishing relations with it, Khaddam said that drawing the borders is necessary and natural for the interest of the two countries. This issue is raised between Syria and its neighboring countries and it is natural to say that diplomatic representation is a normal thing in relations between countries.

“This is the text of the discussion with Khaddam in Brussels”

“E: Has Walid Jumblatt visited you? If so, was there an agreement between you two on collaborative moves on the Lebanese and Syrian arena?

“K: ‘I received Jumblatt before and after his visit to the United States of America and we laid out the developments on the Lebanese and Syrian arenas and our points of views met on collaborating for Lebanon and Syria.’

“E: From your political dealing in the last years with the Lebanese sides, do you consider that the current national dialogue could be 100 percent Lebanese? And do you consider recognizing the Resistance as purely nationalistic when its source of weapons and funding is from abroad? Do you believe that the Resistance is connected to the interests of the Syrian and Iranian regimes?

“K: ‘All Lebanese and all those who want security and stability in Lebanon wish the success of the Lebanese leaders in agreeing on all the issues at the national dialogue. There is no doubt that the dialoguers can make the conference 100 percent Lebanese if they consider its stability and security the priority over everything else. Assad’s speech at the party conference held recently in Damascus, however, is of concern because he defined in advance the results of the dialogue and linked them to his policies.

"He also divided the members of the dialoguers into two teams; a national team that is an ally and they represent the majorities and a minority team in Lebanon that receives instructions from abroad and is working against Lebanese interests. President Bashar also confirmed his continuous support for his allies and this speech sheds light on suspicions as to the results because of the connection of some sides with the policies of Tehran-Syria and on top of these are Nabih Berri and Hassan Nasrallah…

"As for the resistance, it is in its nature nationalistic and it did liberate the south of Lebanon and yes it did receive aid but that does not render it to be un-nationalistic. All resistance movements in the world received foreign aid but the minute the resistance becomes a part of [other] strategies that differ from its initial strategy that it was formed for, [well] then it looses it nationalistic trait and becomes a part of other strategies….the Resistance has no right to be a part of the strategies of the Syrian and Iranian regimes.’

“E: There are many demands to normalize the relationship between Lebanon and Syria. Why does the Baath party not want to recognize its separation from Lebanon, consider it an independent country and have diplomatic relations, the drawing of borders and direct dealing with the government instead of trying to directly influence Lebanese decisions and in the best of cases by going through parties that support it?

“K: ‘Syria since its independence had recognized the Lebanese country and its sovereignty and that was confirmed by the participation of the two countries in the Arab league charter and consequently recognizing it from a political and legal perspective. In light of this, recognitions were signed by a number of agreements between the two countries since independence. The Baath party also has this view as it deals with all Arab countries on this basis…as for using some Lebanese parties for its interest, this is not true. If it used it, then it happened for very narrow interests not for the interests of the Syrian country. As for securing the countries interests, it takes place through the relations between their enterprises.’

“E: Please comment on the last speech that President Assad made at the party Arab conference. On the internal side, do you signs of reform or opening up that might avoid the last confrontation between Syria and the international community? On the Lebanese front, do you see a continuity of the same threatening tone directed at this country?

“K: ‘Dr, Assad’s speech indicates that he is unaware of what [his] words mean and how they may affect the interests of the country and he is starting a speech war with the United States. There was no indication in his speech that showed reform or serious direction to treat the country's crisis that is economic in addition to the citizens suffering due to his security authorities. There is no doubt that his policies are going to increase Syria’s isolation and pressure from the international community. He does not act, in his political speeches, like a President but rather like a student in high school going out to protest.’

“E: [Do you have] Any information about the continuation of pursuing free voices and arresting political activists in Syria? And how do you explain the support of parties and syndicates such as the Arab syndicate of lawyers or some other international organizations for the Syrian regime?

“K: ‘The regime in its suppressing nature continues to let the security authorities abuse the citizens. I ask the security authorities to stop getting involved in arresting citizens and torturing them because they will hold this against you. As for support that some Arab parties are giving, well this is imagined support because we all know about the crisis that these parties are living in in their respective countries and their inability to develop and their unawareness as to the community's needs. The same goes for the syndicates that are run by some party members that are isolated from political life in their countries and none of these syndicates can be a part of a legislative institute in its own country. As for suppressing our movement, the regime is incapable of that because we express peoples suffering and let them know about freedom, progress, renaissance and living with dignity.’

“E: It appears that the attempts to put together a Syrian opposition is not moving. What have you achieved up till know around what you promised on forming a big political bloc or an exile government and are these steps coming soon?

“K: ‘Some forces are working very seriously to form an open front to all national forces and people who want to save Syria and establish a new democratic regime that includes general and individual freedom and raises the living conditions for all its citizens.’

“E: American aid to the Syrian opposition did not receive a wide welcome. How do you describe the American role in the development operation in Syria? Do you believe that there are common interests between the opposition and the American administration on this front or do each of you have different calculations?

“K: ‘Change in Syria is the responsibility of the Syrians alone…’

“E: Some countries including France are not welcoming, at the present time, a change in the Baath regime in Syria. Is this true? Are there any regulations on your opposing political work based in France? Are there any reasons which may prompt you to move your activities to another country?

“K: ‘Change in Syria is a national Syrian issue and has nothing to do with this country or that. My political activities do not conflict with the rules of this hosting country.’ - Elaph, United Kingdom

13 Comments:

At 3/16/2006 08:59:00 PM, Blogger majedkhaldoon said...

junblat met with khaddam before and after his visit to USA, obviously there was a message which was sent from khaddam to bush, and there was a response that was delivered to khaddam, this include plan and suggestion, also include conditions from the american side, in preparations to the anticipated visit by khaddam to
uSA, which will take place next april,there has been reports of arms transfer to opposition members, inside syria.Anan phone to Assad,encouraging cooperation between syria,and the hariri investigation committee, this followed behind doors meeting, it clearly is a threat to Assad, syria expects that time is on their side, but what is left is a short time,short enough,it may not have time to avoid trouble, june is coming soon.

 
At 3/16/2006 09:00:00 PM, Blogger dede said...

This post has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 3/16/2006 09:15:00 PM, Blogger norman said...

Khaddam was nothing when he was in power and did nothing to improve Syria ,he and his freinds used Syria as their own area to get commition of all contracts that took place there ,Syria if anything needs new faces not old faces with better clthes.

 
At 3/17/2006 05:05:00 AM, Blogger syrianb said...

This post has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 3/17/2006 05:07:00 AM, Blogger syrianb said...

I hope that the opposition has become more realistic ,they have to accept a foreigner support.

 
At 3/17/2006 06:02:00 AM, Blogger t_desco said...

U.S. General Praises Syria for Border Tightening

WASHINGTON — The top U.S. military commander for the Middle East offered rare words of praise Thursday for Syria, saying Damascus has taken steps to stop the movement of foreign fighters over its border into Iraq.

Army Gen. John P. Abizaid said Syria had begun taking action on long-standing complaints by the United States about foreign fighters, one of several issues dividing the two countries.

Abizaid, the chief of U.S. Central Command, was asked by Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) at a Senate hearing whether Syria raised the same level of concern as Iran in relation to U.S. efforts in Iraq.

"No, I'd say that the flow of foreign fighters across the Syrian border has decreased, and that's clear from our intelligence," Abizaid responded. "We know that. We know that the Syrians have moved against the foreign fighters.

"Why have they? Because the foreign fighters represent a threat to Syria, and they certainly don't want to have these organizations and groups operating within their own country that are ultimately going to be a threat to their own government," Abizaid continued. "So, out of self-interest, the Syrians have reacted in a way that has slowed the flow of foreign fighters."
Los Angeles Times

(my emphasis)

Hear, hear!

 
At 3/17/2006 08:17:00 AM, Blogger Atassi said...

INTERVIEW-Syria
opponent sees Romania-style revolt
By Paul Taylor
607 words
17 March 2006
07:33
Reuters News
English
(c) 2006 Reuters Limited
BRUSSELS, March 17 (Reuters) - Syrian President Bashar al-Assad faces the same fate in the coming months as Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceaucescu suffered in 1989, according to Syria's former vice-president, who broke with Assad last year.

Taking time out from late-night negotiations with a coalition of opposition movements from Islamists to communists in a smoke-filled Brussels hotel conference room, Abdel-Halim Khaddam predicted a popular revolt to oust Assad soon.

"Poverty is very widespread, corruption is extremely widespread also, security is very tight. People are not allowed freedom of speech and the economic situation is at its worst.

"All those factors combined resemble a lot the position of Romania which led to the uprising," the former foreign minister and ruling Baath party official said.

Like the men who ruled Romania after Ceausescu and his wife were toppled, summarily tried and shot in 1989, Khaddam has re-invented himself as a democrat in the belief that the Syrian people will turn to reformists from within the ruling party to govern them after a revolution.

"There is a big part of reformists within the Baath party who totally support my actions. They will be active partners in the regime change and there will be no massacre," said the diminutive, soft-spoken political veteran, who was in government for 35 years until he fell out with Assad last year.

FAMILY INTERESTS

Khaddam said the young president, who inherited power when his father Hafez al-Assad died in 2000, has skewed policy-making in favour of a tiny family inner circle.

"What's actually happening is he's letting the interest of the family around him be the priority behind taking those decisions. What I mean is himself, his brother (Maher al-Assad), his brother-in-law (intelligence chief Asef Shawkat) and the very close family.

"The interest of this family is what is leading to the Syrian decisions," he said.

The opposition is counting on a United Nations investigation into the assassination last year of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri to deal a decisive blow to Assad.

Muslim Brotherhood leader Ali Bayanouni, the other major figure among the 17 men around the table in Brussels, told Reuters he expected the U.N. probe, which has so far implicated Syrian security officials, to accuse the president directly.

"The regime is headed primarily by the president himself. So if the head of the regime fell or broke up, definitely the whole regime would fall," Khaddam said.

Asked when he expected an uprising, he said: "This year. I'm sure, inshallah (God willing). In a few months. Bashar al-Assad is making a lot of mistakes and he's digging himself into a hole."

Khaddam and Bayanouni make strange bedfellows, and other opposition politicians say their alliance shows just how serious the opposition is about uniting to oust Assad.

Khaddam was foreign minister in 1982 when Syrian security forces crushed an Islamist uprising in the town of Hama, killing at least 10,000 people and possibly twice that number.

The former vice-president now says he deeply regrets those events, but is careful to blame both sides for the slaughter.

Bayanouni, who oozes moderation and says his movement would welcome sharing power with a reformed Baath party, said Khaddam had atoned for the past and "joined the side of the people to support democratic change".

 
At 3/17/2006 10:51:00 AM, Blogger EngineeringChange said...

You should all check out a paper that has just come out that scrutinizes America's undeniable support of Israel. This 'unwavering' support is in my view America's Post biggest Post WWII foreign policy mistake. It is written by a Harvard and Chicago Professors:

Edited Version

Full pdf Version

 
At 3/17/2006 12:14:00 PM, Blogger magdi said...

THE ARAB WORLD IN THE WORLD PRESS
http://wakeup.to/computer

 
At 3/17/2006 12:28:00 PM, Blogger Metaz K. M. Aldendeshe said...

Thanks for EC for the link to the paper, not read yet, a Jew written it but good to archive for future reference.

Here is a link from [Pravda] an awesome article you all should read. Will bring this subject matter for discussion later. We have a lot of facts that this will confirm.

Widen your knowledge base beyond this crap about an avid Baathist who robbed me personally from my property and livelihood for 43 years so he and his kids, and Shahabi friends can live in luxury on stolen Syrian assets in the countries they spent 5 decades decrying as Imperialists, colonialists, and calling me IKTAI.

What I like to hear from these criminals is how they intent on paying off for all their crimes and when they will divest the assets they stole to pay the Syrians they robbed.

Shihabi and Khaddam, your asses are grass.

http://english.pravda.ru/science/19/94/377/16560_giants.html


Finally, too busy to deal with the “Port” sale deal, but will humiliate these Arabs and rub it in their faces in couple of months if time available (campaign idea in the work by our European partners, the Syrian Nationalist Gods).

( 9 + Trillion as of now. Hell, why bother counting in the first place, M3 gone and soon M2 and M1. Keep sending the cash you Bedouins, we need it in America, how else we can maintain our high living standards without the cash you steal from impoverished Moslems and carted to us to spend). WE LOVE ARABS.

AHDAFUNA, WAHDA, HURRIEH, ISHTIRAKIEH,
ONE ETERNAL ARAB NATION, WITH ONE ETERNAL MESSEGE.
BAATHIYE…BAATHIYE….BAATHIYE….

Remember those slogans Billionaire Khaddam (translated the server in Arabic)!! I know that was just your cover for the peasants and workers to give you support. Your true slogan that you all these 5 decades were shouting is:

Ahdafuna, Champselese, Brussels, 5th Ave.
One big bank account with one eternally filled stolen Syrian cash.
Gucci, Estrada, Swiss Account.


The Agha

 
At 3/17/2006 01:40:00 PM, Blogger Metaz K. M. Aldendeshe said...

Thanks for EC for the link to the paper, not read yet, a Jew written it but good to archive for future reference.

Here is a link from [Pravda] an awesome article you all should read. Will bring this subject matter for discussion later. We have a lot of facts that this will confirm.

Widen your knowledge base beyond this crap about an avid Baathist who robbed me personally from my property and livelihood for 43 years so he and his kids, and Shahabi friends can live in luxury on stolen Syrian assets in the countries they spent 5 decades decrying as Imperialists, colonialists, and calling me IKTAI.

What I like to hear from these criminals is how they intent on paying off for all their crimes and when they will divest the assets they stole to pay the Syrians they robbed.

Shihabi and Khaddam, your asses are grass.

http://english.pravda.ru/science/19/94/377/16560_giants.html


Finally, too busy to deal with the “Port” sale deal, but will humiliate these Arabs and rub it in their faces in couple of months if time available (campaign idea in the work by our European partners, the Syrian Nationalist Gods).

( 9 + Trillion as of now. Hell, why bother counting in the first place, M3 gone and soon M2 and M1. Keep sending the cash you Bedouins, we need it in America, how else we can maintain our high living standards without the cash you steal from impoverished Moslems and carted to us to spend). WE LOVE ARABS.

AHDAFUNA, WAHDA, HURRIEH, ISHTIRAKIEH,
ONE ETERNAL ARAB NATION, WITH ONE ETERNAL MESSEGE.
BAATHIYE…BAATHIYE….BAATHIYE….

Remember those slogans Billionaire Khaddam (translated the server in Arabic)!! I know that was just your cover for the peasants and workers to give you support. Your true slogan that you all these 5 decades were shouting is:

Ahdafuna, Champselese, Brussels, 5th Ave.
One big bank account with one eternally filled stolen Syrian cash.
Gucci, Estrada, Swiss Account.


The Agha

 
At 3/17/2006 01:48:00 PM, Blogger Syrian Republican Party said...

"....Bayanouni, who oozes moderation and says his movement would welcome sharing power with a reformed Baath party, said Khaddam had atoned for the past and "joined the side of the people to support democratic change.......".

Oh Ya, love it when god sent and empowerd politicians speak of "attonment"

That raises few questions, first how much did this criminal Khaddam attoned "PAID" Bayanooni. Second, when he will attone to the rest of the Syrian people that he stole their assets.

 
At 3/17/2006 07:09:00 PM, Blogger Joe M said...

josh, please cover this article in your next post. it is necessary.
http://www.lrb.co.uk/v28/n06/mear01_.html

 

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