Following are excerpts from an interview with Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad, which aired on TRT Arabic TV on October 7, 2010.
Interviewer: Until when and to what extent will Syria continue to support the resistance in Lebanon and in Palestine? After all, you are paying a price for this. You face international pressure due to your support of the resistance movements – Hizbullah in Lebanon and the Palestinian factions. To what extent will this Syrian support continue?
Bashar Al-Assad: As long as our stolen rights [are not restored] – whether we are talking about lands, sovereignty, threats, and so on – we will continue on this course. We have no choice. It is not as if we have dozens of options and we chose this one, and it is not because we like war and fighting. Nobody loves war and fighting unless he has lost his mind. But do we have any other option? At a time when UN resolutions are not implemented, when international politics are devoid of any moral consideration, when power prevails over logic in the world, there is no choice but to conduct resistance.
Interviewer: American and European relations with Syria notwithstanding, from time to time, these countries accuse Syria of not respecting human rights, and accuse you of not keeping your promises regarding democratic reform. What is Syria’s position with regard to these accusations?
Bashar Al-Assad: First of all, there is no room for comparison. We don’t have any Guantanamo or Abu Ghreib prisons. We did not occupy countries, killing millions, and turning millions into refugees, cripples, widows, orphans, and so on. They have no right to talk about these matters. In any case, I did not promise them anything, and the process of reform in Syria has nothing whatsoever to do with them. When I delivered my speech at my swearing-in ceremony in Syria, I talked about my vision for Syria, not about promises. The word “promise” did not appear in my speech, to be precise.
At any rate, whether we call it a promise or a vision, I presented it within Syria. The perspective was 100% Syrian, and no country in the world has anything to do with the reform process in Syria. We don’t care what they think. We don’t care about their criticism or their praise. Even their praise constitutes intervention in our domestic affairs.