Transcript: Charlie Rose’s interview with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad – Part IV

Part IV: Partial transcript of Charlie Rose’s interview with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The interview was broadcasted on Sept. 9, 2013.

Charlie Rose: You’d do anything to prevent the region from having another crazy war?

President al-Assad: The region, yes.

Charlie Rose: You realize the consequences for you if there is a strike?

President al-Assad: It’s not about me. It’s about the region.

Charlie Rose: It’s about your country, it’s about your people.

President al-Assad: Of course, my country and me, we are part of this region, we’re not separated. We cannot discuss it as Syria or as me; it should be as part, as a whole, as comprehensive. That’s how we have to look at it.

Charlie Rose: Some ask why would you do it? It’s a stupid thing to do if you’re going to bring a strike down on your head by using chemical weapons. Others say you’d do it because A: you’re desperate, or the alternative, you do it because you want other people to fear you, because these are such fearful weapons that if the world knows you have them, and specifically your opponents in Syria, the rebels, then you have gotten away with it and they will live in fear, and that therefore, the President has to do something.

President al-Assad: You cannot be desperate when the army is making advances. That should have happened – if we take into consideration that this presumption is correct and this is reality – you use it when you’re in a desperate situation. So, our position is much better than before. So, this is not correct.

Charlie Rose: You think you’re winning the war.

President al-Assad: “Winning” is a subjective word, but we are making advancement. This is the correct word, because winning for some people is when you finish completely.

Charlie Rose: Then the argument is made that if you’re winning, it is because of the recent help you have got from Iran and from Hezbollah and additional supplies that have come to your side. People from outside Syria supporting you in the effort against the rebels.

President al-Assad: Iran doesn’t have any soldier in Syria, so how could Iran help me?

Charlie Rose: Supplies, weaponry?

President al-Assad: That’s all before the crisis. We always have this kind of cooperation.

Charlie Rose: Hezbollah, Hezbollah fighters have been here.

President al-Assad: Hezbollah fighters are on the borders with Lebanon where the terrorists attacked them. On the borders with Lebanon, this is where Hezbollah retaliated, and this is where we have cooperation, and that’s good.

Charlie Rose: Hezbollah forces are in Syria today?

President al-Assad: On the border area with Lebanon where they want to protect themselves and cooperate with us, but they don’t exist all over Syria. They cannot exist all over Syria anyway, for many reasons, but they exist on the borders.

Charlie Rose: What advice are you getting from the Russians?

President al-Assad: About?

Charlie Rose: About this war, about how to end this war.

Every friend of Syria is looking for peaceful solution

President al-Assad: Every friend of Syria is looking for peaceful solution, and we are convinced about that. We have this advice, and without this advice we are convinced about it.

Charlie Rose: Do you have a plan to end the war?

President al-Assad: Of course.

Charlie Rose: Which is?

President al-Assad: At the very beginning, it was fully political. When you have these terrorists, the first part of the same plan which is political should start with stopping the smuggling of terrorists coming from abroad, stopping the logistic support, the money, all kinds of support coming to these terrorists. This is the first part. Second, we can have national dialogue where different Syrian parties sit and discuss the future of Syria. Third, you can have interim government or transitional government. Then you have final elections, parliamentary elections, and you’re going to have presidential elections.

Charlie Rose: But the question is: would you meet with rebels today to discuss a negotiated settlement?

President al-Assad: In the initiative that we issued at the beginning of this year we said every party with no exceptions as long as they give up their armaments.

Charlie Rose: But you’ll meet with the rebels and anybody who’s fighting against you if they give up their weapons?

President al-Assad: We don’t have a problem.

Charlie Rose: Then they will say “you are not giving up your weapons, why should we give up our weapons?”

President al-Assad: Does a government give up its weapons? Have you heard about that before?

Charlie Rose: No, but rebels don’t normally give up their weapons either during the negotiations; they do that after a successful…

President al-Assad: The armament of the government is legal armament. Any other armament is not legal. So how can you compare? It’s completely different.

Charlie Rose: There’s an intense discussion going on about all the things we’re talking about in Washington, where if there’s a strike, it will emanate from the United States’ decision to do this. What do you want to say, in this very important week, in America, and in Washington, to the American people, the members of Congress, to the President of the United States?

President al-Assad: I think the most important part of this now is, let’s say the American people, but the polls show that the majority now don’t want a war, anywhere, not only against Syria, but the Congress is going to vote about this in a few days, and I think the Congress is elected by people, it represents the people, and works for their interest. The first question that they should ask themselves: what do wars give America, since Vietnam till now? Nothing. No political gain, no economic gain, no good reputation. The United States’ credibility is at an all-time low. So, this war is against the interest of the Untied States. Why? First, this war is going to support Al-Qaeda and the same people that killed Americans in the 11th of September. The second thing that we want to tell Congress, that they should ask and that what we expect them to ask this administration about the evidence that they have regarding the chemical story and allegations that they presented.

I wouldn’t tell the President or any other official, because we are disappointed by their behavior recently, because we expected this administration to be different from Bush’s administration. They are adopting the same doctrine with different accessories. That’s it. So if we want to expect something from this administration, it is not to be weak, to be strong to say that “we don’t have evidence,” that “we have to obey the international law”, that “we have to go back to the Security Council and the United Nations”.

Charlie Rose: The question remains; what can you say to the President who believes chemical weapons were used by your government; that this will not happen again.

President al-Assad: I will tell him very simply: present what you have as evidence to the public, be transparent.

Charlie Rose: And if he does? If he presents that evidence?

President al-Assad: This is where we can discuss the evidence, but he doesn’t have it. He didn’t present it because he doesn’t have it, Kerry doesn’t have it. No one in your administration has it. If they had it, they would have presented it to you as media from the first day.

Charlie Rose: They have presented it to the Congress.

President al-Assad: Nothing. Nothing was presented.

Charlie Rose: They’ve shown the Congress what they have, and the evidence they have, from satellite intercepted messages and the like.

President al-Assad: Nothing has been presented so far.

Charlie Rose: They have presented it to the Congress, sir.

President al-Assad: You are a reporter. Get this evidence and show it to the public in your country.

Charlie Rose: They’re presenting it to the public representative. You don’t show your evidence and what you’re doing and your plans to people within your own council. They’re showing it to the people’s representative who have to vote on an authorization to strike, and if they don’t find the evidence sufficient…

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One Comment on “Transcript: Charlie Rose’s interview with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad – Part IV

  1. Pingback: Syria: Chemical Weapons | What The Folly?!

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