The Syrian people are not against their government, they are defending their country from foreign invaders - interview
Thierry Meyssan: The Western media made this conflict in Syria very personal. The Foreign Minister of France no longer says Syria's president or Bashar al-Assad. He simply calls the head of an independent state “Bashar”. Perhaps, in this case we need to say “François” instead of “François Hollande”. Syria's government is actively defending the country from the inflow of foreign Wahhabi. Over the past two years they have managed to increase their presence in Syria's territory to 200-250 thousand people. Just imagine something like this by comparing the number of that group to the total number of the local population. Today they comprise 1% of the population, which in the scale of France, for example, means that 650 thousand foreign well-trained and experienced gunmen cross the country's border with the goal of destroying the country! Nobody could stand up to that. But Syria is a strong country and it is continuing to defend itself. There are very few powerful countries in that region and that is why they are trying to destroy Syria.
A very small part of the Syrian army is engaged in the “antiterrorist” operation. On the whole, it is no more than 25% of all enlisted military personnel. Three quarters of the army is still engaged in guarding the external perimeter; in other words, they are trying to protect the borders from NATO and Israel. If the supply of foreign fighters and weapons to Syria were stopped, the war would stop within one month. If not, it could last for decades.
The Syrian people are not against their government. I don't want to say that the entire population loves its leaders, but there are dissatisfied people in any country. Now, regardless of what people think about Bashar al-Assad, they are convinced that they are defending their own country from foreign invaders. There are always traitors in any country. There were traitors in Russia as well during World War II, but nobody has told the Russians that that was a civil war!
The army consists of local guys, who are fighting for their land. Initially, we were told about cases of mass deserting. But I must stress once again that those cases did not exceed a 5% level. Those young men have chosen their side. And now there are no more deserters! The people have mobilized to defend their country!
The Voice of Russia: How would you compare Syria and Libya?
Thierry Meyssan: Prior to coming to Syria I was in Libya. I was a member of the Libyan government during the last five weeks of Jamahiriya existence. So, I naturally am very well familiar with the issue. First, Libya. It was a purely nominal state. That was Muammar Gaddafi's wish, which he clearly described in his “Green Book”. That work was inspired by the heritage of the French socialists of the XIX century as well as other thought movements. In reality, perhaps such a nominal government is convenient in peacetime, but it is absolutely not meant for the fight against imperialism.
In addition, during the fight Gaddafi had negotiations with various representatives of the aggressors' camp. We knew very well that he met with the representatives of the US, France as well as Israel. That is why Russia was not able to help him. The Russian Federation set the foundation for the resistance to the violence in the UN Security Council, but it was unable to significantly support an ally, which turned out to be untrustworthy. This, unfortunately, explains the death of Libya as a state.
Muammar Gaddafi was a great statesman who fought against colonialism. But his policy was errant, which led to his loss of all serious allies.
Speaking of Bashar al-Assad, I must say that this is a leader of a completely different kind. He is very rational, is known for his remarkable composure and is consistent in his actions. Perhaps, he is somewhat lacking in intuition, but in any case, he has the qualities that fit the current situation the best way. He is the right man in the right place! Do you know that he is a revolutionary and democratic leader, which contradicts what is persistently said about him? Hugo Chavez, for example, said that Fidel remained his political ideal role model, but the ruler who was closest to him in his style of behavior and who continued Castro's work was Bashar al-Assad.
He inherited a dictatorship and in the course of a whole decade he changed it step by step. He gave education to the people, as well as the means to move to the democratic system of government. Every time he took a step forward, he was threatened. They wanted to prevent him from reforming his country. But despite the war, Bashar al-Assad continues his reforms.