Dr. Bashar Jaafari, Syria’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs said that Syria is back as a major regional player after the conclusion of the presidential election and the Syrian people’s overwhelmingly voting for President Assad approving his policies and his alliances.
In an interview with the Lebanese Al Mayadeen news channel that was aired from Damascus on May 29, 2021, while the Syrian people were still celebrating the success of the presidential election, Dr. Jaafari stated a number of facts, one of which that the NATO and stooges war of terror waged on Syria cost those countries trillions of dollars, the previous estimate was around a quarter a trillion with Qatar and Saudi shouldering most of it.
Dr. Bashar Jaafari stressed that this voting and the high approval rate of President Assad is a mandate by the Syrian people to their president to continue with his policies that led to the ultimate victory against the project to takeover their country, Syria, and hand it to a number of warlords led by ISIS and its ilk. Dr. Jaafari emphasized that the flooding of the Syrians in the country and abroad are the major signs that the war against Syria has failed and it’s time for the aggressors to admit their defeat.
The following is the video of the interview with English translation and the full transcript of the interview:
Transcript of the interview:
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad won a new term, elections that came as a surprise in terms of the volume of participation and popular celebration, especially after a decade of war and the intensification of the siege and sanctions that affected the smallest details of the daily citizen, but people said their word, so what is next?
In his speech to the Syrian people yesterday, President al-Assad inaugurated a new phase, what are its features in light of the American media’s recognition of the failure of Washington’s policies and its allies in Syria, how will Damascus deal, also with regard to regional developments that seem to carry major transformations with our guest, the Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister, Dr. Bashar al-Jaafari.
Welcome, Doctor, and thank you for accepting this invitation.
Dr. Bashar al-Jaafari: Good evening and victorious evening, through the Al-Mayadeen channel and from the heart of the event in Damascus.
Question: Thank you, you start with the title of victory, and this pushes me to the question based on what we have seen from the large crowds, whether it is in support of the constitutional entitlement, broad participation, and perhaps the most important celebration of the result that we have witnessed, and I would like to ask you in the political and strategic dimension, what did Damascus gain?
Dr. Al-Jaafari: First of all, let me clarify and focus on a point. The scene of the Syrian elections led the global events in the international media and in world capitals. This scene has emerged in the arena of global events, showing and confirming that what happened is more than elections, in the sense that the capitals and the international media expected that the Syrian elections would be either normal under pressure or failed and also under pressure, but when the elections succeeded in the way that the whole world saw, the picture became completely different for those who love Syria and those who are hostile to Syria.
It has been proven to everyone that these elections are a thermometer – a thermometer that measures the temperature of victory for some and defeat for others. From this standpoint, we must understand that the Syrian elections that took place were a measure of the strategic will of patience for the Syrians first, and for others second.
Question: What do you mean by strategic patience, especially yesterday President Al-Assad said in his direct speech to the Syrian people: The message to the enemies has reached and the national mission has been accomplished?
Dr. Al-Jaafari: This is exactly what I meant by my words with strategic patience. You called this decade (decade of years) the decade of Hell. We call it the decade of fire and the decade of strategic patience as well. This strategic patience culminated in this victory that I talked about, which, as I said, became a measure of the extent of the success of some’s policies and the failure of others’ policies, meaning that these elections were a test of the solidity and seriousness of regional, Arab and international politics fighting over Syrian soil. In the end, all this conflict between the policies has retreated in favor of the Syrian will. Here, the Syrian victory was achieved through the elections.
Q: And if we want to talk about the meaning of the next phase based on the idea of what is this event full of all its details that you have been mentioned to the outside, and we know that the Syrian state does not take the title of its legitimacy from the outside, we hear this in statements over a decade of fire and even in the most difficult years at the security and field level in more than one place in the geography of Syria, but today, based on President Assad choosing a city of Douma to cast his vote in it and say to the West the value of your opinions is zero, your value is ten zeros, and therefore In a practical sense, what is being said here from the words of President Al-Assad and this popular presence?
Dr. Al-Jaafari: President al-Assad’s going to vote in Douma is the culmination of the declaration of victory even before the election results are released. The place itself, the symbolism of the place that has great significance in explaining what happened.
Syria, with its demographic size, its size as an area, and its economic capabilities is not a large country by the well-known scale, but when Syria moves within the geopolitical framework it becomes a major power, no one has mastered the geopolitical game more than the Syrians, throughout history. The West often mistakes us and others when it tries to impose Western globalization as a model for elections in the countries, meaning that Westerners consider their democracies to be the model that everyone should emulate. Well, the largest democracy in the world is India, for example, and yet when elections are held in India you see the British press criticizing the Indian elections.
When elections happen in Africa, they criticize the African elections, in Venezuela, Cuba, Syria, Belarus, Russia, and China the same issue. There is a problem with the Westerners and not with us. They want to impose their electoral globalization on our elections, meaning that they impose their electoral standards on us and say there is one reference in the world for democracy, which is Western reference, this statement cannot be accepted by anyone, neither the Syrians nor non-Syrians and therefore the shocks afflicting the West come from this section because they are no longer fully aware that the globalized slogans they are proposing do not apply to many matters, including elections.
Question: But we are talking about a decade in which there was a process of confusion and distortion, a campaign process, and a challenge to the legitimacy and the position. So is Damascus today really based on the crowds that we witnessed and from what was presented in the electoral process beyond that? I mean, in a practical sense, what is the title of the stage in confronting those on the opposite axis, directly participating in the war in and over Syria? How do you benefit from that?
Dr. Al-Jaafari: First, the Syrian victory is a victory over the terrorist project, first of all, which cost trillions of dollars to its sponsors, and I am not exaggerating. I am speaking and I know the truth of what happened according to my experience when I was working in New York. The first victory is victory over terrorism and the sponsors of terrorism, which are of course the Western countries.
The second victory is that Syria emerged victorious from this unprecedented war as well, victorious by its will, victorious by its people gathering around its leadership, victorious with the strategic patience that we talked about at the beginning.
Thirdly, the third result is that all the maneuvers and conspiracies that took place, whether at the level of some Arab countries or at the level of regional countries, retreated in favor of now searching for a ladder to get down the tree with most of the regional players who were boasting at the beginning of the crisis as you remember. Some used to say two weeks and some were He says two months, right?
We remember the scene at the time, everyone who was betting that the fall of Syria will take two weeks or two months, today they ask for help to get down from the tree they climbed to and admit in their hearts, even in official declarations, that they were defeated in Syria. This talk in the strategic sense is very important, and in the geopolitical sense that I spoke about, it is very important because it not only helps to understand what happened but also helps the experiences of other peoples suffering from the same problem, there is pressure on the Venezuelan people, for example, there is pressure on the Iranian people, on Cuba, on Bolivia, on many countries. This Syrian experience will benefit many other peoples of the world to confront the same conspiracy, albeit to a lesser degree than what happened with us.
Question: This talk is important and useful, especially at the level of confronting an axis that really wants to dominate some countries. But we are talking now, based even on what the Syrian President put forward yesterday in his speech as if we are facing a new phase, is it appropriate for the new phase to remain in the same contexts, especially those in which Western countries attend, in the sense of the Geneva track, the decisions issued by the United Nations and the UN Security Council, with what is presented at the dialogue table with the Syrian state, based on a very high voting rate, and the presence of the people that is still on the ground, are we facing a new stage also in the course of the political settlement work, or not?
Dr. Al-Jaafari: Thank you. The question is very important. I want to remind the viewers that Syria has achieved many accomplishments that countries larger and stronger than them cannot achieve. Let me give you some examples:
We were at the beginning of the crisis and until 2017, almost seven years of the crisis, we used to say in the Security Council and outside the Security Council, in the important capitals and in international meetings that there is terrorism in Syria. The Westerners were insisting that what is in Syria is a moderate opposition, didn’t they call it that? We used to joke about them sometimes and say to them this is a moderate armed opposition genetically modified so that the Chinese, the Chechen, the Saudi, the Libyan, and the Qatari are Syrians in the end.
After seven years of absolute denial of the existence of terrorism in Syria, Mr. Obama comes and personally adopts a unanimous decision against foreign terrorism in Syria and Iraq, is this not a diplomatic victory? This is first.
Secondly, after ten years, the Syrian crisis and the terrorist war on Syria were the reason for the Security Council to adopt 11 resolutions to combat terrorism. Imagine, we moved them from absolute denial to the adoption of 11 resolutions on combating terrorism. Do they have an interest in that? Of course, they have an interest in that, when Obama came and adopted the important decision on combating ISIS in Syria and Iraq, the intention was not to fight ISIS in Syria and Iraq, but rather to justify sending American forces to Syria and Iraq.
They knew what they were doing, but we forced them to admit and acknowledge the existence of terrorism in Syria and Iraq called ISIS, and then, of course, Jabhat al-Nusra, al-Qaeda, and Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham, all of which, by the way, after Westerners refused for years to include them on the Security Council’s list of terrorist entities, we succeeded in including them as terrorist entities. This is also a diplomatic victory. People do not see this angle of the ongoing conflict.
Have we entered a new phase? Of course, we have entered a new phase, the phase of consecrating this victory that we are talking about. Now, Damascus has returned to be the ‘qibla’ to global diplomacy…
Dr. Al-Jaafari: You watch any TV channel today, read any Western newspaper, and hear any Western official you’ll find that the Syrian event is constantly present. There is no news bulletin in Western circles without the name of Syria existing, this talk is constant and certain. At international meetings, although Western agendas are hostile to Syria, Westerners make a fatal mistake in international meetings, especially in the United Nations, when they provoke the truth, as the truth turns back on them. They always lie, then lie, then lie, so the lie turns back on them by those who remind them of the facts.
We in the Security Council, for example, and at the United Nations did not act in a defensive situation at all, since the first day we were in an offensive situation because we knew that we were right and that the project was big.
Why is people’s memory short and they think that the Western conspiracy against us is the first time it occurs? No, it did not happen for the first time. Who created Al Qaeda in Afghanistan in the early 1980s? The same forces, a Western Arab conspired to create al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, then the scene repeated in Iraq, then the scene repeated in Syria, Libya, and elsewhere. We were not surprised by the size of this conspiracy because we knew that the agenda of Western intervention in our internal affairs must pass through this conspiratorial project.
Question: I will develop the question based on what President Al-Assad said. He said among what he said yesterday, addressing the Syrian people: You have turned the scales and torpedoed the rules of the game and confirmed, beyond any doubt, that its rules are set here, made here, and here it is determined with our hands and there is no place for partners except for brothers and friends…
I will postpone the issue of brothers and friends, but when we say the rules here, is it appropriate for the parties at the table now who are presented to reach a formula for a political settlement in Syria to remain the same? Is the formula in which Damascus may present itself, opening the doors to dialogues to reach a political formula with parties who were presented as “opposition”, the names, attendance, place, and even Western support have changed, but now that this event took place – the presidential elections – this big vote of what we have seen on the ground, has Syria’s view of dealing with these parties to reach a conclusion or a political settlement?
Dr. Al-Jaafari: First, we must admit that the scene has changed after 10 years, the political scene has changed. There are many forces that presented themselves as an opposition that disintegrated and collapsed and their shame was revealed as it is said, whether the Istanbul-based opposition, the Riyadh-based opposition, or the Doha-based opposition, there is no doubt that the opposition in its patriotic sense is a necessity of life for every country, but the opposition must be patriotic, not based on Western agendas, nor to live on Western money and Western salaries, nor to live in foreign capitals.
When the opposition is patriotic it serves its country, at the end of the matter, but for the forces that participated in the destruction of their country, the sabotage of their country, working for foreign agendas, and sponsored terrorism, this matter has fallen by virtue of the new phase, so you cannot sit today with someone who used to tell you several years ago that ISIS is a revolutionary movement and part of the Arab Spring, how would you react to this trend? How can you sit with such people and say to them: Come, let’s build the future of Syria. These words are not suitable for the science of politics or any other science. Today, Syria has reached the height of victory and with the conviction of its enemies, as you said at the beginning of the American State Department and the former US ambassador to Damascus, does this talk should go unnoticed? Shouldn’t we be paid for it, as they say?
Dr. Al-Jaafari: In the international general political sense, there is an openness to Damascus and a desire for many to return to Damascus, whether through the reopening of embassies or through certain political contacts. whether through the reopening of embassies or through certain political contacts. This is an indication of the recognition by others that Damascus is not the same Damascus ten years ago, or five years ago.
Question: Will you continue even with the issue of the Constitutional Committee, the same parties, to reach a constitutional amendment? Syria’s next constitution will be the same parties? What formula will not change for Damascus after the electoral scene in Syria?
Dr. Al-Jaafari: This strategic decision is also currently being made in light of the evaluation of the election process. Damascus has not yet reached the mark of the next phase with regard to this particular space.
As for the Constitutional Committee, this committee was not boycotted by Damascus, we are part of it and we will continue with it because it is conducted by our will, it was not imposed on us, the Constitutional Committee is the outcome of the Sochi meeting, the outcome of the Astana meetings, and the outcome of a Syrian-Syrian decision in Sochi, as I told you, the constitutional committee was not imposed on us. It is part of our political will because we know that this path will serve the Syrian agenda and the Syrian national interest, therefore, we have no problem in continuing the path of the Constitutional Committee, this is something, the independence of the Syrian political decision, the Syrian sovereignty, the expulsion of the foreign occupation from the Syrian lands, the restoration of the natural resources and the liberation of what remains of the lands that fall into the hands of the terrorists, these are the big issues, as it is said and not details.
Question: The issue of restoring (occupied) lands is raised and from it, we expand a little bit about what has to do between friends and allies, and I want to conclude with what has to do with the indications of the scene on the ground, are the indications of the scene on the ground from the people that there is a mandate or a referendum on the options, including the presence of the Allies on Syrian soil? We are talking about Hezb Allah, about Iran in addition to Russia and the rest of the supporting countries that supported Damascus in the strategic and military field sense, the option of participating in the resistance in Lebanon on Syrian soil, Iranian aid and support, did the elections also vote for this option? Because it was questioned by many and the main title in the decade of fire that passed on Syria?
Dr. Al-Jaafari: There is no doubt about that. When I said that what happened goes beyond the elections themselves, this is exactly what we meant, voting on the major strategic options for the Syrian state, including its alliances with allies and friends.
This war that took place in Syria in part was a war against Russia, in part it was a war against Iran, in part it was a war against China, and that is why some call it a global war and a world war. In fact, part of it was a war against Russia, against China, against Iran, and against our other allies, against the resistance and against Hezb Allah, Therefore, you remember at the beginning of the crisis the Western conditions were the same thing: Cut your alliance with Iran, cut your alliance with Hezb Allah, do not support the Palestinian resistance, and even the resistance in Iraq during the days of the American-British invasion… etc., You remember the warnings that Colin Powell gave to President Assad in Damascus after the US-British invasion of Iraq, for these stations are all important joints to understand the Syrian scene.
The Syrian public’s vote in the elections went beyond the elections to these facts that they talked about, and that is why people were voting for the coalition, for our relations with our allies and friends, to support the axis of resistance, to maintain our alliance with Hezb Allah.
Question: This talk is important in the conclusions, even in the alliance with Hezb Allah, there is a process of confusion and distortion and it affected the party and the Secretary-General of the party as well as the relationship with Iran and an attempt to introduce the sectarian, sectarian, ethnic and divisive side, etc., to say what you represent, Dr. Al-Jaafari, that there is a popular vote on these alliances and for this option, so this is very important talk?
Dr. Al-Jaafari: Of course, this talk is very important. From the beginning, we did not imagine for a moment that our strategic relations with the axis of resistance would satisfy the Westerners. You clash with the West for a basic reason, which is Israel. The main reason for the clash with Western interests is the Israeli project in the region.
Zionism in Israel is the ISIS of Judaism, even Judaism has its own ISIS and it is represented by Zionism. The ISIS project is unfortunately present in all religious components in the world. There is a form of ISIS among all the divine and non-divine religions. Otherwise, how do you explain the violence that is taking place today in Burma, for example, How do you explain some forms of violence and persecution in an established democratic country like India? That is why the world is tending towards extremism with certain ideological convictions fueled by intelligence agencies and certain forces.
But the main focus for us in the region was, is, and will remain the subject of looking at the stability of the region through resistance, resistance in its great sense, resistance in Palestine, resistance in Lebanon, resistance in Syria, resistance in Iraq, and resistance in all the like-minded countries that share a lot of things with us and it’s around 22 countries. There is a national independence project that is fighting and clashing with another intrusive foreign project, and that is why I spoke at the beginning about geopolitics. Syria has subdued geopolitics, which is very costly, and it has cost us very, in the interest of its national interests. This is exactly what has happened.
Question: But after the ‘Decade of Fire’, Damascus clings to the resistance despite all that happened?
Dr. Al-Jaafari: Exactly, of course, far from the confusion of some and the gossip that goes around here and there, you mentioned the word sectarian, religious, and sectarian, this vocabulary no longer affect the Syrian dictionary because we Syrians are much more aware than others of the size of the manipulation of these terms, the Syrian awareness is one of the reasons for victory. The awareness of the Syrian individual and the Syrian citizen is one of the reasons for our victory. It is very difficult for a Syrian to fall into this nonsense that others fall into.
Question: I stress a point that may seem obvious to the observer who knows Syria well, but after the decade of fire and all that happened in Syria, it is not an ordinary conclusion for Damascus to say that we are committed to the resistance, to see President al-Assad hosting a delegation of Palestinian organizations and factions and to say the door to Damascus is open to all the resistance factions. This is not a simple title after all that has happened.
Based on this point, I want to expand the circle of well-wishers as well who congratulated the Syrian president on winning a second term, how did you evaluate that? And to what extent the span of well-wishers produced an axis without seeing a name for it, when we see the congratulations of the Russian, Chinese, Iranian, the resistance in Lebanon, Venezuela, Cuba, and many other countries will produce an axis now as long as we are talking about a new phase to come? A decade that has passed and a decade that the West is fearing of now?
Dr. Al-Jaafari: You are talking about a group of like-minded countries, similar policies, and similar challenges. These are the countries that I have talked about, and there are approximately 22 countries in the world, all of which suffer in one way or another from the same intrusive Western projects, I do not want to mention the countries, we have mentioned them several times, but these countries are present in all continents, some in Africa and some in Latin America, some in our region and some in Asia, today even in Europe, Belarus today is one of the countries we are talking about, add moreover, the West dared even Russia and China… Today, Russia and China are part of a group of like-minded countries in New York, when we were meeting in New York and we are still, Russia and China are with us in the group, the same challenges, the same projects, the same enemies, the same plans, and therefore there are common denominators between the group of these countries that push us forward towards each other.
If you want to call it the axis of resistance or the axis of countries of similar challenges, like-minded thinking states, call it what you want, but these countries have many common denominators that make them coalesce with each other and defend each other in all forms and with all weapons because the singling out of one of these countries means that all countries will lose in end of the day.
The West controls many mechanisms in international political relations, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and to some extent the Security Council. Half the number of members of the (United Nations) Security Council are member countries in NATO. There are 7 countries in the Security Council that are members of NATO. What Security Council are we talking about? How can this Council maintain international peace and security and whereas exactly half of its members are NATO member states that support the invasion, support the occupation, and support persecution, against the Palestinian cause, with Israel blindly, against resistance? How can this Council carry out its mission entrusted to it under the Charter of preserving International peace and security, this is impossible. Had it not been for Russia and China in the Security Council and their veto power, things would have been much worse, much worse than what it is.
A country like China has used, throughout its history, the right of veto 14 times, 8 of them in favor of Syria, is this not a number we should stop at? What is China’s interest in challenging America, the Westerners, and NATO? 8 times for a country like Syria?
Question: What is China’s interest?
Dr. Al-Jaafari: An important question, isn’t it? The second point: the language of numbers is very important in the work of international politics today. The comparison shows you the extent of Western hatred towards Syria. People know that the Western hatred against Iraq destroyed Iraq, and the Americans and the British occupied Iraq and did what they did to it, Iraq during the 17 years from the 1991 Second Gulf War until the end of the oil-for-food program in 2008, During these 17 years, the Westerners at that time due to the disintegration of the Soviet Union and Russia were weak, Boris Yeltsin and Gorbachev and what you know about what happened, and China did not dare to stand in the face of the West, but during these 17 years, the Security Council formed two committees to investigate the affairs of Iraq. To intervene in the affairs of Iraq, UNSCOM after the Second Gulf War and then UNMOVIC after the US-British invasion, two committees in 17 years. Take the Syrian case, during 9 years the westerners formed 8 committees. Iraq, for 17 years, formed two committees, in the case of Syria, and within 9 years they formed 8 committees. So imagine the size of the hatred and the political targeting of Syria, how deep it is in their minds.
That’s why I said it is a strategic victory, not just an election victory. We passed the elections to go towards the strategic victory.
Question: I want to close the topic of congratulations and ask you about the congratulations by the Lebanese President Michel Aoun. What resonates with you?
Dr. Al-Jaafari: Mr. President (Al-Assad) had previously congratulated Lebanon as a sister country and he congratulated His Excellency President Michel Aoun several times. Why do we consider that the initiative of His Excellency President Michel Aoun to congratulate President Al-Assad is a unique case? It does not have to be a unique case, it is a form of normal relations. But when it comes now and within this perspective that we are talking about, it also has an important dimension, especially after the attempts of some political forces in Lebanon to prevent the Syrians in Lebanon from performing the duty to vote in the elections. This also calls on me to call it a Lebanese participation in the recognition of this victory and this a cause for the pleasure of the Syrians and a cause for the pleasure of the Lebanese, this is how we see it.
Question: Is the congratulations a Lebanese participation in the recognition of the victory?
Dr. Al-Jaafari: The congratulation itself is a participation at the highest level in Lebanon that what happened was an electoral victory, meaning that the issue is not a protocol, it is not only a protocol message like others, the story is more than a protocol, especially between Syria and Lebanon, because even in Syria, the congratulations were on several occasions at the highest level for Lebanon as a state, as I said, and for the Lebanese president.
Also, now and in the past, I do not see the need to limit the issue to the protocol dimension only, it is more than a protocol.
Question: That’s why I asked about it, about the elections and about the reality of Lebanon, and that congratulations also come from the head of the Free Patriotic Movement, former Minister Gebran Bassil, and also congratulations on the Syrian president’s victory in the presidential elections, given the existing sanctions and pressures process. Do these, therefore, have indications?
Dr. Al-Jaafari: This is a cause for our pleasure. We welcome this kind of responsible, informed, and mature steps, whether from Lebanon or from other countries, on the contrary, we do not see it as a protocol step that we understand politically and evaluate politically and we see it as a kind of partnership in the victory.
Question: In all cases a partnership in the victory and beyond, meaning on the regional level, developments in the region, the location of Damascus, and the decision in Damascus. I will discuss it with you for the remainder of the time but after a short break.
Question: You were talking about the effects of a victory and talking about a new phase, but there is also a reality on the ground in the Western position, which is sanctions, siege, and its renewal, and this applies to the United States of America, even if Robert Ford said in the Washington Post that there is a failure of the USA in its policy and the policies of its allies, and they’ve gone over the stage of removing the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, as he said.
How will you deal with these obstacles as long as the main title is the economic reality? What is the role of the allies here?
Dr. Al-Jaafari: The economic reality imposes itself on the Syrian leadership in terms of the need to reduce and remove the so-called sanctions, actually, it is not sanctions, in the legal language of the United Nations they are called unilateral coercive economic measures, sanctions are imposed by the Security Council only; when there are no sanctions imposed by the Security Council it loses the name of sanctions and the term becomes unilateral coercive economic measures.
What the Westerners apply to us are coercive measures and not sanctions, meaning that they are not legitimate, they are not legitimate sanctions, and they are not imposed by international legitimacy. The priority for the Syrian government now is really the economic reality and easing the economic burden on the Syrian citizen through relations with allies, friends, and partners, and Syria is not alone by the way. Many observers believe that Syria is alone and besieged, this is not true. Syria is not alone. We have many friends, allies, and strong allies, great countries with us. Russia and China are not small countries, Iran is with us, even countries as far away as Venezuela, Cuba and Bolivia, and even Zimbabwe and North Korea. There are countries that have stood with us in the Security Council and they are basically affiliated with another camp. There are many countries in the Security Council that have clearly stood with Syria: Indonesia, India, Vietnam, and South Africa, these are important countries, Syria is not alone, bypassing coercive measures or the so-called sanctions, as I told you, it will be the priority of the government in the next phase.
There is an English term called creative solutions, and creative solutions are constantly present. The universe and the globe are not owned by Westerners, and this is what many peoples now rebel against the authority of the West, especially in Africa and Latin America. Perhaps our region is not what it was before when the national tide was strong, there was self-pride and a strong Arab nationalism, Unfortunately, this talk today no longer exists in the way it was before and is in a state of conflict with the Islamist project, as you know, the Al-Akhwani (Muslim Brotherhood), and external forces entered it.
Question: Even with the recent developments in occupied Palestine and the great interaction with the Arab level, do you see that there is no presence at the national (Arab) level?
Dr. Al-Jaafari: I see that the Arab peoples are now preceding their governments on this particular issue. Arab peoples are preceding governments in an effort to protect and defend the rights of Palestinians, and even within Palestine itself. This uprising was distinguished from others in that it gathered Palestinians together and started from the street. There was no political leadership behind the uprising in the beginning when it started in the Silwan and Sheikh Jarrah neighborhoods in Jerusalem. The Palestinian people preceded their political leaderships. Today the Arab street and the Islamic street precede Arab and Islamic governments.
What is important with regard to the issue of the priority of the Syrian government, which is to fight sanctions and reduce them from the shoulders of the citizen, this issue is bound to the second priority, which is the restoration of national wealth, which is plundered and stolen by the American occupation forces, the Turks and their agents in the region. Restoring wealth will be a form of relief from the economic crisis and the economic burden on us.
Question: How will the recovery of these riches be at a time when the matter is presented as being subject to a major settlement and that there is no room for what we have witnessed in the Syrian field in the vast geography in which the restoration of the sovereignty of the Syrian state we can see in northeastern Syria, where the American occupation is, how will it be then? A major settlement? Fieldwork? Or what? As long as you set it as a challenge that can overcome the economic pressure by restoring wealth?
Dr. Al-Jaafari: First, on the right side of history, because according to international legitimacy, the occupation is unacceptable, the theft of wealth is rejected, terrorism is rejected, and we are on the right side of history when we say that we are facing Turkish terrorism, occupation, American occupation and separatist militias supported by the American and Turkish forces, we are not alone in this world. When we introduce any draft resolution on this issue, we get it easily. The Secretary-General of the United Nations himself at the beginning of the covid-19 crisis made a famous statement on March 23, 2020, the Secretary-General of the United Nations clearly said that the economic sanctions deeply affect the ability of countries to fight COVID-19. If the Secretary-General of the United Nations, who is the custodian of international peace and security, said this, meaning that what we are saying is correct. We have an occupation that must end.
Today, Turkey occupies Syrian lands equal to 4 times the area of the Golan, 4 times the area of the Golan, how can the Syrian people view this issue lightly, we cannot look at it lightly? The Turkish today in the eyes of the Syrians is the same as the Israeli, the same as the Israeli absolutely. The Turkish is like the terrorism in Idlib, and the US is the same, the American is occupying, looting, manipulating, and recycling ISIS terrorists. When the whole world sees this scene, it says that the Syrian government is wrong or right? Today the whole world acknowledges that what we suffer from occupations, sanctions, and theft of natural resources are condemned by international law, and no one can stand against us in this.
Question: Is it an incremental act until we see the exit of the American occupation?
Dr. Al-Jaafari: The act of resistance and the persistent political act that the Syrian government will resort to in international forums with our allies, of course, because we are not alone. I reiterate a very important issue: On the geopolitical issue in which we started, Syria is strong because it is not alone.
Question: Today, Damascus regains an influential position at the regional level?
Dr. Al-Jaafari: Of course, of course, of course, Damascus today has returned to play an influential role in the regional scene, of course, and that is why I called it a strategic victory, a victory of strategic patience, which resulted in this fact. Today, Damascus has returned despite all the obstacles that we have talked about and despite all the occupations and theft of wealth, but today Damascus has returned to impose itself as a number that no one can cross.
Question: Is there no contact with Turkey? at all?
Dr. Al-Jaafari: No, except through the Astana meetings, the Astana meetings are what the three countries attend with Syria, with the Syrian government, but there is no dialogue between us and them even in Astana.
Question: But there are those who say that there are supposed to be contexts for communicating with Turkey because there is a dictatorship of geography, and the size of the relationship that is greatly tense, and the Turkish incursion must be as you also describe as the occupation of the vast geography in which Turkish influence and Turkification are on a level other than that: It is assumed that there will be creating a portal for communication for a future stage. Turkey cannot be removed from this long border with Syria, no matter what, how do you respond to this proposition, and in what contexts may we see a place transcending a stage, despite all its complexities, to rebuild a relationship that has good ends?
Dr. Al-Jaafari: The problem does not lie on the Syrian side, what you called a geographical dictatorship, we are well aware of all of this. Security meetings took place between us, but they did not result in anything. As I told you in the Astana meetings, they exist and we are, and the channel of communication between us and them is the Russians and the Iranians. Direct messages and there are indirect messages.
Question: Where is the problem?
Dr. Al-Jaafari: The problem is on the Turkish side. Imagine, for example, today the Turkish regime left no method to harm the Syrian people and it didn’t use it, not only by sponsoring terrorism in Idlib and encouraging separatist movements and armed groups in the north, and more than that, today it cuts off water from the Euphrates and the Tigris. Today, the Tigris River In Baghdad, children walk in it without water. Large parts of the Euphrates River in Syria are devoid of water. There is no water in the river. Is this an expression of good neighborliness?
Where is the geographical dictatorship in the eyes of the Turkish regime? Where is this regime in the tragedy that is now taking place against millions of Syrians in the northeastern region? Water in Syria is not only used for agriculture, but for drinking in Aleppo, Raqqa, and the entire north, and for generating electricity. The harm that Turkey is causing to the Syrian people is absolutely immeasurable, neither in money nor in anything else. Where is the geographical dictatorship?
Where is the Adana Agreement of 1998? Where is the water agreement between us and them under which they committed to supply 500 cubic meters per second?
Question: What is the address provided by Turkey in closing this door from Turkey towards Damascus? What is said in the offering?
Dr. Al-Jaafari: We do not hear logical and rational suggestions from them. Basically, they deny everything we say. They deny all this. They say that they do not help terrorism. They say that they do not interfere in the internal affairs of Syria, but rather support the moderate opposition. They deny even their hostile policies towards Syria and the people of Syria. When you cut off water for millions of Syrians, what do you call this work? Isn’t it a hostile act? Where is the good neighborhood? Where are the international agreements? There are agreements between us and them signed in 1998 to share the water, and they easily ‘lick up’ their signature. Who sponsors terrorism in Idlib? Is it not Turkey that sponsors terrorism? Who operates armed terrorist groups in the north? Who occupies 4 times the area of the Golan? Aren’t the Turkish forces?
Question: Time is completely over, but I would like to ask you about the approach in Damascus to the developments of the (Iranian) nuclear file because there are those who say that the effects of the United States ’return to this agreement and Iran’s freeing from many sanctions will have a direct benefit to Damascus and that will be reflected in the economic side. That’s why we saw a general consulate opening for Iran in Aleppo, the economic capital?
Dr. Al-Jaafari: This is a foregone conclusion. When one of the countries in the axis of resistance relaxes, the others relax. It is natural that the success of one of the parties is the success of others, and when the failure of the Western conspiracy in the (Iranian) nuclear file is the success of the axis of resistance. This is true.
Question: Is there a final word?
Dr. Al-Jaafari: Thank you Al-Mayadin for the opportunity to speak with you about this important event that dominates the Arab, regional and international scene.
Presenter: Thank you very much, Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister, Dr. Bashar al-Jaafari for this presence and all that it provided us in this space.
End of the transcript. – For Arabic transcript check the second page.
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