Following are excerpts from an interview with Ahmad 'Issa, commander of the Syrian Suqur Al-Sham Brigades, which aired on the Al-Jazeera network, on June 12, 2013:
Interviewer: Does Suqur Al-Sham, or do you personally, hope for a political role, in the event that the regime is toppled?
Ahmad 'Issa: We do not want to serve as a bridge, to be passed over and then thrown away.
Interviewer: So you do aspire for a political role?
Ahmad 'Issa: Definitely.
We have been providing the minorities with their rights ever since the establishment of the state of Islam, since the beginning of the Caliphate in the days of the Prophet Muhammad, and in the days of the Righteous Caliphs, and to this day. Throughout history, nobody has suffered injustice under the state of Islam – the state of truth and justice.
Interviewer: In some Islamic emirates in the course of history – I could mention the Abbasid caliphate, for example, and Andalusia, Christians and Jews held ministerial posts, and even the position of prime minister. What is your position on a Christian becoming a minister, for example?
Ahmad 'Issa: We will have three preconditions for joining the government. The first is that Islam must be the single source of authority of the state. We are not infringing upon the rights of others – this is our right, because 85% of the Syrians are Sunni Muslims.
We demand that the president and parliament speaker be Sunni Muslims, and that the state's sole source of authority be Islam. Beyond that, you can call it a constitutional state, a parliamentary state, a monarchy, a republic – whatever you like.
Interviewer: You would not object to a Christian becoming a minister, for example?
Ahmad 'Issa: Our only concerns are the head of state and the state's source of authority.
Interviewer: Would you object to a Christian becoming head of state?
Ahmad 'Issa: Yes, we would not accept that.
Interviewer: What is your position with regard to democracy?
Ahmad 'Issa: We are talking about a state of justice and truth. We want the people to be ruled by an infallible law – the law of Allah. We do not want people to be ruled by man-made laws.
Interviewer: What connections do you have to leaders [of the Syrian opposition] abroad?
Ahmad 'Issa: We judge these people on the basis of their actions, not their names, on the basis of what they have contributed to the revolution in Syria.
Interviewer: How can they contribute when they lack any support? They do not even have a place of their own to convene. If they did not have the help of some countries, they would not have a place to convene.
Ahmad 'Issa: He who has nothing cannot give it to others, but if they have nothing to give, we would like to see them in the battlefield, not abroad.
Interviewer: They are presenting themselves as the political leadership of the revolution, but they do not obey them.
Ahmad 'Issa: The leadership must be born from the womb of the revolution.
Interviewer: This gives rise to the question: How come a joint political or military leadership has not emerged from the Syrian revolution? There is no united leadership.
Ahmad 'Issa: Militarily, I consider this lack of organization to be a great blessing. If we had been organized militarily from the beginning, the regime would have been able to annihilate us.
Iran is and will continue to be our greatest enemy. Among the ranks of the Syrian regime, we found Iranians, members of the Mahdi Army in Iraq, and members of the Lebanese army of that evil Nasr-allat [false idol].
Interviewer: What will you attitude be toward Hizbullah in Lebanon?
Ahmad 'Issa: It will be the same as our attitude toward Iran.
Interviewer: Will you fight against Hizbullah?
Ahmad 'Issa: We will fight anyone whose hands have been soiled with Syrian blood. We will fight anyone who has violated the honor of Syrian women. We will not forgive them.
Interviewer: What is your position regarding Israel? How will you deal with this chronic problem – the Palestinian cause?
Ahmad 'Issa: This question is premature. It will be up to the Syrian people. It is not up to me to decide. I am the commander of the Suqur Al-Sham Brigades, not the president of Syria.
Interviewer: Let us return to a crucial issue. If the revolution continues for a long time, will you be willing to conduct a dialogue with the regime, and if so, will there be preconditions?
Ahmad 'Issa: We conducted a dialogue with the regime two years ago, but ever since the bullets started flying – the only dialogue will be through bullets. As I have said before, the only dialogue we will hold with this regime will be through the barrel of the rifle.