Transcript: Charlie Rose’s interview with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad – Part II
Part II: Partial transcript of Charlie Rose’s interview with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The interview was broadcasted on Sept. 9, 2013.
Charlie Rose: Speaking of reality, what was the reality on August 21st? What happened in your judgment?
President al-Assad: We’re not in the area where the alleged chemical attack happened. I said alleged. We’re not sure that anything happened.
Charlie Rose: Even at this date, you’re not sure that chemical weapons – even though you have seen the video tape, even though you’ve seen the bodies, even though your own officials have been there.
President al-Assad: I haven’t finished. Our soldiers in another area were attacked chemically. Our soldiers – they went to the hospital as casualties because of chemical weapons, but in the area where they said the government used chemical weapons, we only had video and we only have pictures and allegations. We’re not there; our forces, our police, our institutions don’t exist there. How can you talk about what happened if you don’t have evidence? We’re not like the American administration, we’re not social media administration or government. We are a government that deals with reality. When we have evidence, we’ll announce it.
Charlie Rose: Well, as you know, Secretary Kerry has said there is evidence and that they saw rockets that fired from a region controlled by your forces into a region controlled by the rebels. They have evidence from satellite photographs of that. They have evidence of a message that was intercepted about chemical weapons, and soon thereafter there were other intercepted messages, so Secretary Kerry has presented what he views as conclusive evidence.
Kerry reminds about the big lie that Collin Powell said in front of the world on satellites about the WMD in Iraq
President al-Assad: No, he presented his confidence and his convictions. It’s not about confidence, it’s about evidence. The Russians have completely opposite evidence that the missiles were thrown from an area where the rebels control. This reminds me – what Kerry said – about the big lie that Colin Powell said in front of the world on satellites about the WMD in Iraq before going to war. He said “this is our evidence.” Actually, he gave false evidence. In this case, Kerry didn’t even present any evidence. He talked “we have evidence” and he didn’t present anything. Not yet, nothing so far; not a single shred of evidence.
Charlie Rose: Do you have some remorse for those bodies, those people, it is said to be up to at least a thousand or perhaps 1400, who were in Eastern Ghouta, who died?
President al-Assad: We feel pain for every Syrian victim.
Charlie Rose: What about the victims of this assault from chemical warfare?
President al-Assad: Dead is dead, killing is killing, crime is crime. When you feel pain, you feel pain about their family, about the loss that you have in your country, whether one person was killed or a hundred or a thousand. It’s a loss, it’s a crime, it’s a moral issue. We have family that we sit with, family that loved their dear ones. It’s not about how they are killed, it’s about that they are dead now; this is the bad thing.
Charlie Rose: But has there been any remorse or sadness on behalf of the Syrian people for what happened?
President al-Assad: I think sadness prevails in Syria now. We don’t feel anything else but sadness because we have this killing every day, whether with chemical or any other kind. It’s not about how. We feel with it every day.
Charlie Rose: But this was indiscriminate, and children were killed, and people who said goodbye to their children in the morning didn’t see them and will never see them again, in Ghouta.
President al-Assad: That is the case every day in Syria, that’s why you have to stop the killing. That’s why we have to stop the killing. But what do you mean by “indiscriminate” that you are talking about?
Charlie Rose: Well, the fact that chemical warfare is indiscriminate in who it kills, innocents as well as combatants.
President al-Assad: Yeah, but you’re not talking about evidence, you’re not talking about facts, we are talking about allegations. So, we’re not sure that if there’s chemical weapon used and who used it. We can’t talk about virtual things, we have to talk about facts.
Charlie Rose: It is said that your government delayed the United Nations observers from getting to Ghouta and that you denied and delayed the Red Cross then the Red Crescent from getting there to make observations and to help.
President al-Assad: The opposite happened, your government delayed because we asked for a delegation in March 2013 when the first attack happened in Aleppo in the north of Syria; they delayed it till just a few days before al-Ghouta when they sent those team, and the team itself said in its report that he did everything as he wanted. There was not a single obstacle.
Charlie Rose: But they said they were delayed in getting there, that they wanted to be there earlier.
President al-Assad: No, no, no; there was a conflict, there was fighting, they were shooting. That’s it. We didn’t prevent them from going anywhere. We asked them to come; why to delay them? Even if you want to take the American story, they say we used chemical weapons the same day the team or the investigation team came to Syria; is it logical? It’s not logical. Even if a country or army wanted to use such weapon, they should have waited a few days till the investigation finished its work. It’s not logical, the whole story doesn’t even hold together.
Charlie Rose: We’ll come back to it. If your government did not do it, despite the evidence, who did it?
President al-Assad: We have to be there to get the evidence like what happened in Aleppo when we had evidence. And because the United States didn’t send the team, we sent the evidence to the Russians.
Charlie Rose: But don’t you want to know the answer, if you don’t accept the evidence so far, as to who did this?
President al-Assad: The question is who threw chemicals on the same day on our soldiers. That’s the same question. Technically, not the soldiers. Soldiers don’t throw missiles on themselves. So, either the rebels, the terrorists, or a third party. We don’t have any clue yet. We have to be there to collect the evidences then we can give answer.
Charlie Rose: Well, the argument is made that the rebels don’t have their capability of using chemical weapons, they do not have the rockets and they do not have the supply of chemical weapons that you have, so therefore they could not have done it.
President al-Assad: First of all, they have rockets, and they’ve been throwing rockets on Damascus for months.
Charlie Rose: That carry chemical weapons?
President al-Assad: Rockets in general. They have the means – first. Second, the sarin gas that they’ve been talking about for the last weeks is a very primitive gas. You can have it done in the backyard of a house; it’s a very primitive gas. So, it’s not something complicated.
- Hulu.com: Video of Charlie Rose’s interview with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad – broadcasted on Sept. 9, 2013
- WhatTheFolly.com: Syria: Chemical Weapons
- WhatTheFolly.com: Transcript: Charlie Rose’s interview with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad – Part I
- WhatTheFolly.com: Transcript: Charlie Rose’s interview with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad – Part II
- WhatTheFolly.com: Transcript: Charlie Rose’s interview with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad – Part III
- WhatTheFolly.com: Transcript: Charlie Rose’s interview with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad – Part IV
- WhatTheFolly.com: Transcript: Charlie Rose’s interview with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad – Part V
- WhatTheFolly.com: Transcript: Charlie Rose’s interview with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad – Part VI
- WhatTheFolly.com: Transcript: Charlie Rose’s interview with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad – Part VII
- WhatTheFolly.com: Transcript: Charlie Rose’s interview with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad – Part VIII
- WhatTheFolly.com: Transcript: Charlie Rose’s interview with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad – Part IX
- WhatTheFolly.com: U.S. agrees to work with Russia on U.N. resolution to transfer Syria’s chemical weapons to international control
- WhatTheFolly.com: Russia supports U.S. call for Syria to turn over chemical weapons to international community for dismantling
- WhatTheFolly.com: Senate committee passes resolution authorizing ‘limited’ military strikes against Syria
- WhatTheFolly.com: Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s vote to approve joint resolution to authorize military force against Syria on Sept. 4, 2013
- WhatTheFolly.com: Kerry, Hagel & Dempsey urge Senators to authorize military force in response to Syria’s use of chemical weapons
- WhatTheFolly.com: Moon: U.N. inspectors working “around the clock” to complete preliminary investigation on use of chemical weapons in Syria
- WhatTheFolly.com: Obama seeks congressional authorization for military strike against Syria
- WhatTheFolly.com: U.S. intel report confirms use of chemical weapons in Syria