Following are excerpts from an interview with Lebanese Druze leader Walid Jumblatt, which aired on Future TV on November 16, 2006.
Walid Jumblatt: How can you live in peace and stability, when you have a neighbor... when you have a neighbor like Bashar Al-Assad, who is full of hatred?
Interviewer: Is the war with Bashar Al-Assad one of life and death?
Walid Jumblatt: He is irresponsible. Yes, it is a battle of life or death. To be or not to be. Samir Qassir was right to say that Lebanon will have no peace as long as there is no democracy in Syria. We will have no peace.
Interviewer: Maybe that's one of the problems. Let's open up the Syrian issue, if it is a question of existence. It's either you or the Syrian regime? This is a weighty question.
Walid Jumblatt: The only thing [Bashar] has in store for his own people, and for the neighboring peoples, is hatred. The arrests of the intellectuals and the members of civil society... They were arrested, and nobody was left. Yesterday, they found the body of Ghazi Kanaan's brother, who was killed in suspicious circumstances. Why?
Interviewer: Maybe he committed suicide, like someone mentally unstable...
Walid Jumblatt: [Bashar] sents to Iraq hundreds and thousands of so-called martyrdom-seekers, or suicide bombers, in order to kill Shiites and Sunnis. Most of those killed were Shiites. Why? In order to divide Iraq? And eventually, according to an Al-Qaeda communique, Bashar sent death squads to us as well. He sent us death squads of the so-called martyrdom-seekers or suicide bombers.
Interviewer: You talked about the squads at the Nahr Al-Bared refugee camp.
Walid Jumblatt: He also sent hundreds, or dozens, of Ahmad Jibril's people to the refugee camps – to Burg Al-Barajneh camps and maybe to the South, to 'Ein Al-Hilweh. Why? Because we will never succeed... As long as he continues with this way of thinking, with his brother-in-law, the angel of death [Assef Shawkat], we will never have balanced relations between the two countries.
They beg the American administration to hold a dialogue with them. Until now, the administration is not interested. But the only goal of the Syrian regime and the Islamic Republic is to have dialogue with America, at the expense of the unity of Iraq and at the expense of stability and prosperity in Lebanon.
The difference between Bashar and Hafez [Al-Assad], is that Hafez, who played an important role, had a certain degree of credibility. My experience and that of the Lebanese with Hafez was bad, seeped in blood, but sometimes, when he said "yes" it was yes, and when he said "no" it was no. Bashar's personality, on the other hand, is full of contradictions. Therefore, I advise the West that if they want to sign a deal with him, they should bear in mind that he is incapable of keeping his word. He is known, among the Arab leaders I have met and in the West, to be someone who does not keep his word.