Following are excerpts from an interview with Syrian MP Muhammad Habash, which aired on Al-Manar TV on August 20, 2007
Muhammad Habash: Saudi Arabia bears much of the responsibility for the catastrophe that befell Iraq. Let's not forget that the American forces did not come to Iraq from Mars. Iran did not open its gates to them, and neither did Syria. The Turkish parliament decided to forbid the use of its bases in order to occupy Iraq. But America found its way, via Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. Afterwards, when a catastrophe took place on Iraqi soil, the Saudi brothers sealed their borders hermetically. They did not receive a single Iraqi refugee, except under the well-known rigid terms of the American embassies. Syria, on the other hand, embraced 1.5 to 2 million Iraqi refugees.
There is a feeling of great frustration with the Saudi position towards the resistance, especially in Lebanon. There is a feeling in Syria that official Saudi elements directly intervened in Syria's domestic affairs, and began sending warning to Syrian clerics about a Shiite expansion in Syria. This was detrimental to Syrian national unity.
Saudi Arabia bears a great deal of the responsibility for the problem in Iraq – not only with regard to the entry of the American forces, but also with regard to the infiltrators. Why should Syria be held accountable for 500 armed Saudis who entered Iraq? Why should Syria be held accountable for 100 or 200 Saudis who went to Nahr Al-Bared? Why shouldn't the responsibility lie with those who produced these terrorists, and disseminated this culture? Let's not forget that Saudi Arabia used to send these people with Saudi money to Afghanistan. The Saudi airline would give any young man flying one way from Jedda to Peshawar a 90% discount. When they became a phenomenon, we began calling them the "Arab Afghans," and throwing them into jail. Who produced this culture? Let us talk honestly and candidly. If they are now coming to flight in Iraq or Lebanon, and Syria is accused of being a "transit country" – let's talk about the country of origin.
The people who accuse others of heresy, most of whom come from Saudi Arabia, did not go to Palestine, unfortunately, to help the resistance forces. Sometimes we find them in Afghanistan, sometimes in Iraq, and other times in Chechnya. They even attacked in America, Britain, and other places. This indicates that the cultural compass in Saudi Arabia is distorted. A generation of resistance fighters emerges from Saudi Arabia – but in the wrong direction, towards an enemy that is not real.