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

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

Charlie Rose: There was a report recently that you had talked about, or someone representing you had talked about some kind of deal in which you and your family would leave the country if you were guaranteed safe passage, if you were guaranteed that there would be no criminal prosecution. You’re aware of these reports?

President al-Assad: We had this guarantee from the first day of the crisis.

Charlie Rose: Because of the way you acted?

President al-Assad: No, because of the agenda that I talked about. Some of these agendas wanted me to quit, very simply, so they said “we have all the guarantees if you want to leave, and all the money and everything you want.” Of course, you just ignore that.

Charlie Rose: So, you’ve been offered that opportunity?

President al-Assad: Yeah, but it’s not about me, again, this fight is not my fight, it’s not the fight of the government; it’s the fight of the country, of the Syrian people. That’s how we look at it. It’s not about me.

Charlie Rose: It’s not about you?

President al-Assad: It’s about every Syrian.

Charlie Rose: How will this war end? I referred to this question earlier. What’s the endgame?

President al-Assad: It’s very simple; once the Western countries stop supporting those terrorists and making pressure on their puppet countries and client states like Saudi Arabia and Turkey and others, you’ll have no problem in Syria. It will be solved easily, because those fighters, the Syrian part that you’re talking about, lost its natural incubators in the Syrian society – they don’t have incubators anymore; that’s why they have incubators abroad. They need money from abroad, they need moral support and political support from abroad. They don’t have any grassroots, any incubator. So, when you stop the smuggling, we don’t have problems.

Charlie Rose: Yeah, but at the same time, as I’ve said before, you have support from abroad. There are those who say you will not be able to survive without the support of Russia and Iran. Your government would not be able to survive.

President al-Assad: No, it’s not me, I don’t have support. Not me; all Syria. Every agreement is between every class and every sector in Syria; government, people, trade, military, culture, everything; it’s like the cooperation between your country and any other country in the world. It’s the same cooperation. It’s not about me; it’s not support for the crisis.

Charlie Rose: I mean about your government. You say that the rebels only survive because they have support from Saudi Arabia and Turkey and the United States, and Qatar perhaps, and I’m saying you only survive because you have the support of Russia and Iran and Hezbollah.

External support can never substitute internal support

President al-Assad: No, the external support can never substitute internal support, it can never, for sure. And the example that we have to look at very well is Egypt and Tunisia; they have all the support from the West and from the Gulf and from most of the countries of the world. When they don’t have support within their country, they couldn’t continue more than – how many weeks? – three weeks. So, the only reason we stand here for two years and a half is because we have internal support, public support. So, any external support, if you want to call it support, let’s use this world, is… how to say… it’s going to be additional, but it’s not the base to depend on more than the Syrian support.

Charlie Rose: You and I talked about this before; we remember Hama and your father, Hafez al-Assad. He… ruthlessly… set out to eliminate the Muslim Brotherhood. Are you simply being your father’s son here?

President al-Assad: I don’t know what you mean by ruthlessly, I’ve never heard of soft war. Have you heard about soft war? There’s no soft war. War is war. Any war is ruthless. When you fight terrorists, you fight them like any other war.

Charlie Rose: So, the lessons you have here are the lessons you learned from your father and what he did in Hama, which, it is said, influenced you greatly in terms of your understanding of what you have to do.

President al-Assad: The question: what would you do as an American if the terrorists are invading your country from different areas and started killing tens of thousands of Americans?

Charlie Rose: You refer to them as terrorists, but in fact it is a popular revolution, people believe, against you, that was part of the Arab spring that influenced some of the other countries.

President al-Assad: Revolution should be Syrian, cannot be revolution imported from abroad.

Charlie Rose: It didn’t start from abroad; it started here.

President al-Assad: These people that started here, they support the government now against those rebels, that’s what you don’t know. What you don’t know as an American you don’t know as a reporter. That’s why talking about what happened at the very beginning is completely different from what is happening now – it’s not the same. There’s very high dynamic, things are changing on daily basis. It’s a completely different image. Those people who wanted revolution, they are cooperating with us.

Charlie Rose: I’m asking you again, is it in fact you’re being your father’s son and you believe that the only way to drive out people is to eliminate them the same way your father did?

President al-Assad: In being independent? Yes. In fighting terrorists? Yes. In defending the Syrian people and the country? Yes.

Charlie Rose: When I first interviewed you, there was talk of Bashar al-al-Assad… he’s the hope, he’s the reform. That’s not what they’re saying anymore.

President al-Assad: Who?

Charlie Rose: People who write about you, people who talk about you, people who analyze Syria and your regime.

President al-Assad: Exactly, the hope for an American is different from the hope of a Syrian. For me, I should be the hope of the Syrian, not any other one, not American, neither French, nor anyone in the world. I’m President to help the Syrian people. So, this question should start from the hope of the Syrian people, and if there is any change regarding that hope, we should ask the Syrian people, not anyone else in the world.

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2 Comments on “Transcript: Charlie Rose’s interview with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad – Part VIII

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