August 22, 2011 Special Dispatch No. 4093

Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad to U.S. President Barack Obama: Your Words Are Worthless

August 22, 2011
Syria | Special Dispatch No. 4093

Following are excerpts from an interview with Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad, which aired on Syria TV on August 21, 211.

"Reforms, as Far as All These Western Colonialist Countries are Concerned… Mean that You Give Them Everything They Want, Giving Up All Your Rights"

Bashar Al-Assad: "What is reassuring today is not the security situation, which, indeed, seems to be improving. What is reassuring is the fact that the scheme was entirely different: They wanted to topple Syria within a few short weeks. What protected the country was the awareness of the Syrian people. This is what we draw confidence from. Therefore, the escalation of events does not constitute a problem." [...]

Interviewer: "Why did the West respond negatively to these reforms?"

Bashar Al-Assad: "If we consider our past experience with the Western governments, we see that their traditional response to anything you do is: This is not enough. [...]

"They tell you that it is not enough because reform is not really their goal. The truth is that they do not want reforms, and some of them even get upset because they want you to refrain from reforms, so that your country will remain backward and will not develop.

"Reforms, as far as all these Western colonialist countries are concerned – and I'm not talking about the entire West, but only about the colonialist countries – mean that you give them everything they want, giving up all your rights. These are reforms as far as they are concerned: Give up the resistance, give up your rights, defend your enemies – all the things with which we are familiar, when it comes to the colonialist countries of the West.

"I say simply: Not in their wildest dreams – not now and not under different circumstances."

"The consequences of Any Action Against Syria would Exceed by Far what They Could Possibly Bear"

Interviewer: "Recently, Obama, by means of his secretary of state – and he was followed by Britain, France, and Germany – called upon you, loud and clear, to step down. What is your response?"

Bashar Al-Assad: "In several meetings with Syrian citizens in recent days, I was asked this question, but in a different way. They didn't ask me what my response was, but why I didn't respond.

"Sometimes one responds, and sometimes one doesn't. We deal with each case in the appropriate manner. When dealing with a friendly country, we sometimes respond in order to make our position clear, especially if we know that this country adopted a position that runs counter to its convictions, due to certain international circumstances.

"When dealing with non-friendly countries, we sometimes respond in order to convey the message that if they plan to take their policies too far, we are ready to go even further. In other cases, we want to convey the message that their words are worthless, by refraining from responding.

"In the case in question, we chose the latter approach, in order to tell them that their words are worthless.

"But since I am talking to Syria TV, which is very dear to every Syrian citizen, and for the sake of transparency, I can say that if I had wanted to discuss this, I would have simply said that this is not something you say to a president for whom being a president is not the main thing, a president who was brought to power not by the U.S. and the West, but by the Syrian people. This is not something you say to a people that rejects a high commissioner, whoever he may be. [...]

"The consequences of any action against Syria would exceed by far what they could possibly bear. The first reason is the geo-political position of Syria. The second reason is the Syrian capabilities, only some of which they are familiar with, and the impact of which they would not be able to bear.

"So we should draw a distinction between psychological warfare and facts, without underestimating this kind of intimidation. [...]

"The Syrian decision is far more important than any international resolution. This is a matter of principle. End of discussion. Security Council or not – we don't care. [...]

"The countries that make threats are themselves in a mess – militarily, economically, politically, and even socially. They are weak, much weaker than in the past. We did not give in to them six years ago, when they were at the peak of their might, so what, are we supposed to give in today?! Absolutely not." [...]

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