What is happening in Syria now, the forces of the new colonialism are trying to portray as a "revolution of the people against the regime." But it cannot be called anything other than counter-revolution, because this process is intended to plunge Syria into the Middle Ages. Evidence of this is the killing of teachers and qualified national personnel, barbaric executions with cutting off heads, as well as the destruction of houses, schools, hospitals, and infrastructure on which the lives of millions of people depend.
Syrian President expressed an interesting and unexpected thought - the revolution is still happening in the country. But this is not the pseudo-revolution that the enemies are talking about. This is the true revolution of the people and the army against the terrorists.
Indeed, it can be said that the Syrian people, led by their national leader Bashar Al-Assad, heir to the 1963 revolution of the year, rebel against the new colonial plans of the West, implemented with the help of hired terrorists.
Below is the text of the interview.
Question: We are in crisis. Usually, always during crises, in particular, during this particular crisis, the words that the Motherland belongs to everyone often sound. However, today Syria does not contain all its sons. What happened?
President Al-Assad: I would like to greet you in my office. I am pleased with this meeting on the occasion of the 50 anniversary of the creation of the newspaper Al-Saura. This anniversary is dear to every Syrian patriot, regardless of his party affiliation. Welcome!
We sometimes view the homeland as a group of people on a geographical area. In fact, Motherland means belonging to a particular culture, and this is what constitutes the essence of our being. When we are committed to one thing, we have one homeland for all. I will explain what it means.
When the colonialists left Syria, they did not leave us alone. They all time sought to regain their control over us, but by other, new means, including the incitement of hatred and an attempt to split our society.
The most dangerous thing is not the division of territory, but the split of society. When we live on the same land, but are committed to different cultures, this means that there are several homelands, since each cultural component will have its own homeland. Then it turns out that there is not a place for everyone in the homeland.
In this sense, the colonialists managed to achieve certain success and create isolated groups that reject others and consider their approach to be the only correct one. This did not happen overnight, but in stages. The first of these stages was during the collapse of the Umayyad dynasty, and after it - the Abbasids. In modern stories this manifested itself when Palestine was captured.
Those split lines that we see today formed with the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood movement and expanded after independence was gained by a number of Arab countries, including Syria.
The Muslim Brotherhood played a negative role in many countries, including ours. They provoked a split between Arabism and Islam and sought to create a separate homeland for Muslims and a homeland for nationalists.
The colonialists continued to impose their policies. In Lebanon, a war was unleashed, the purpose of which was to create a separate homeland for Muslims and a separate one for Christians.
The most dangerous phenomenon was the creation of the Al-Qaida organization as a response to the Islamic Revolution in Iran. This revolution supports the Palestinian issue, which is central to the Arabs.
The colonialists sought to stir up discord between Sunnis and Shiites and undermine the relationship between Arabs and Persians. Subsequently, the events of September 11 took place, and after the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq, there were even more differences between takfirists and representatives of Islamic denominations.
In other words, when there is widespread discord within the country, the homeland is narrowing down, and there is no place for everyone in it. But I will say that Syria remains the Homeland for all. We managed to resist the discord thanks to the conscience of our people.
The presence of foci of Takfirism is a temporary phenomenon that must be dealt with, since the expansion of such foci turns Syria into a homeland that cannot accommodate all of its sons.
Question: We celebrate the 50 anniversary of the creation of the newspaper Al-Saura. You said from the very beginning that what is happening in Syria is not a revolution. I remind you that Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, at the first meeting with the delegation of the Syrian opposition in Moscow, told its representatives: "If you consider yourself to be oppositionists, then why are you looking for the support of foreign forces?" There is a historical truth that no power can withstand the people's revolution, and I am convinced that this is true. What are you, Mr. President, based on, saying that this is not a revolution?
President Al-Assad: Each true revolution is exclusively internal in nature and has no relation to foreign forces. Examples of this are the revolutions in Russia, France, Iran.
Genuine revolution has a national essence and is associated with internal factors. What happened in Syria, from the very beginning, was based on obvious external factors. Foreign countries began to make statements, indicating to us what we should do in Syria. This is the first.
Secondly, the 1963 revolution of the year in Syria was aimed at strengthening the Motherland, society and man. Thousands of schools were built for all children, electrification was carried out all over the country, many jobs were created. The revolution had the support of workers, peasants, artisans. The revolution created an ideologically stable army, which withstood in the most difficult conditions and showed unprecedented stamina, having won the 1973 war of the year. Today, the army proves that it is built on the basis of revolutionary and spiritual values.
True Syrians hold moderate political, religious and cultural views, since the Syrian people are the result of a mixture of different civilizations that have existed for many millennia. Foreign forces are trying to undermine the essence of the Syrians.
Foci of religious extremism, which arose in Syria and in a number of other countries, have emerged because the West seeks to encourage takfirists, who ultimately serve his interests.
Question: Mr. President, the concepts and forms of the revolution have changed. Is it possible to look at what is happening in Syria as a revolution in accordance with new concepts?
President Al-Assad: Everything in the world is changing, but there are permanent values that remain unchanged. Therefore, religions do not change, although they face changing factors.
Mechanisms change, various details change, but the essence and principles do not change. You will be trapped if you want to call it a revolution.
If we want to call what is happening in Syria revolution, then we must consider the actions of Israel against the Palestinians "Israeli revolution against Palestinian oppression." Or should we call the American invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan a revolution?
In the West, trying to turn over all the principles, distort the facts, to portray the events in Syria as a revolution.
Question: And yet, Mr. President, some people abroad view the events in Syria as a revolution and continue to insist on it. Even in Syrian society, there are those who see it as a revolution. How do you like it?
President Al-Assad: Even the Western media hostile to Syria no longer call it a revolution. They started talking about terrorism, but according to the American scenario they are trying to divide the terrorists into "good" and "bad." Obviously, most Syrians, both at home and abroad, are able to understand what is happening.
Those who speak of a revolution in Syria are certainly committed to extremist, takfirist ideas. They are blind and do not want to see the truth. They do not want to see the details, since it is not in their interests. But these are only small groups.
We do not care about the opinion of anyone abroad. We are interested in the opinions of those who live in Syria and directly influence what is happening in it. The Syrian people are steadfast in battle and are seeking victories.
Question: All, even external forces, now recognize that the conflict is not intra-Syrian, that tens of thousands of foreign citizens are fighting in Syria, according to not only Syrian, but also Western statistics. How do you explain the fact that in this short time Syria has become a "land of jihad"?
President Al-Assad: Syria has not become a land of jihad. Jihad is conducted for the good of the people, the creation and development of the Motherland, for justice and equality. What is happening in Syria is contrary to the concept of jihad. We can replace the word "jihad" with the word "terrorism". Syria has become a land of terrorism. This has many different reasons, in particular, terrorism is growing in the fertile soil for it, which is called chaos. In chaos, terrorism grows automatically. This was observed in Afghanistan and Iraq.
In addition, there are foreign countries that support terrorism for various reasons. One of them is that it can lead to a weakening of Syria and its role in the international arena, as well as to a decrease in the cultural and intellectual potential of the people and undermining national unity. In addition, these external forces are willing to destroy the country's infrastructure, weaken its economy. The enemies would be very happy to see all these negative results in Syria.
There is another reason why Western countries support terrorists. They expect that these takfirist terrorist groups that pose a danger to themselves will be destroyed in Syria, and, moreover, the state will be weakened.
Question: However, Mr. President, not all who are fighting in Syria are foreigners. We saw how a Syrian eats the heart of his compatriot. What led us to this?
President Al-Assad: At many meetings where a conversation about a crisis comes in, we say that above all this is a crisis of morality. Those who are experiencing a moral crisis are ready to justify interference in the internal affairs of their country. They are controlled by money, they are subject to hatred and turn into mercenaries. They have no patriotic principles. Those who lose morality lose their human essence. I will not say that they turn into animals, since even an animal does not eat the flesh of its own kind. At the same time, religious principles are lost. And, hiding behind religion, they cut off the heads of their brothers, eat their hearts. In fact, this does not correspond to any religion.
Question: Let us return to the words of jihad in its true, positive sense. But, Mr. President, the more common is the notion of jihad as a struggle and murder. What to do?
President Al-Assad: Need to go back to the Qur'an. The words of Allah are very clear: Islam is a religion of tolerance and mercy. These words are found dozens of times in the Quran. The Islamic religion is based on love, forgiveness, it rejects murder. The Prophet Muhammad said that for Allah it would be easier for the world to disappear than to kill a man. The Prophet taught love, tolerance, humanism. Taking an example from the Prophet is, first of all, to recall his behavior in life, before he became a Prophet, and after that. His behavior has always been based on human morality.
And what religious extremists do is completely contrary to the behavior of the Prophet.
Question: Who is responsible for deviating from the principles of the Qur'an and the behavior of the Prophet?
President Al-Assad: When a thief, a criminal or an extremist appears in society, the society as a whole is responsible for this, but first of all it is the state. The state is also responsible for the religious sector, but with it the religious institutions, such as the ministry of waqfs, as well as Sharia madrassas and faculties in institutions. All of them must make efforts to convey to people the true principles of religion and to oppose extremist views so that they do not penetrate the heads of our children.
Question: Some say that the state bears the greatest responsibility in this matter, that extremist ideas arose before the eyes of the authorities who did not follow what was taught in religious schools, and also that some had built mosques in order to avoid paying taxes.
President Al-Assad: Many of those I met said like that. They argued that the creation of religious schools was a mistake, and what was happening was its result. This opinion is not true. On the contrary, during the crisis we did not have any problems as a result of the actions of any religious institutions. Their representatives have shown consciousness and understand the root of the problems.
Most of those who left the mosques at the demonstration shouting "Allah Akbar" do not know anything about religion. And some of them were in mosques not for prayer, but in order to provoke unrest.
Religious institutions that have been around for decades have played an important role. This was especially evident in the 80-ies, when a problem arose with the Muslim Brotherhood, who, because of the weakness of religious consciousness in society, managed to convince a part of the people of the need to fight against a secular state, which allegedly opposes religion. Therefore, we must pay special attention to the religious sector, in particular, education.
Question: Mr. President, inter-religious strife has existed in Lebanon for decades. The same discord appeared in Iraq after the occupation. Could we not have assumed that if this happens in neighboring countries, then it may arise in our country? What have we done to counter this phenomenon?
President Al-Assad: Of course, this is obvious. If it were not for this understanding, we would not oppose Western foreign policy, which leads to chaos. This was proved in the future.
One such example is our rejection of the war in Iraq. Despite all the American threats and promises, we opposed this war. We are fundamentally against any aggression against a brotherly or friendly country. We not only feared for Iraq, but also knew that this war would have disastrous consequences. Before that, we opposed the war in Afghanistan.
After the September 11 events, US officials who came to Syria claimed that they would strike at the terrorists, wherever they were. They believed that we would endorse these words, since Syria was the first state that, even in 1985, called for a clear definition of the concept of terrorism and the creation of an international coalition to fight it. Then no one paid due attention to the Syrian proposal, since they had not yet felt the effects of terrorism in their countries.
I told the Americans that the war in Afghanistan would lead to increased terrorism and its further spread. Terrorism is like a cancer, if you do not fight it, it will spread further. But it must be eradicated not only by war, but with the help of culture, education, and also by economic means.
Americans repeated their mistake in Afghanistan in Iraq. We warned them that the situation in Iraq would turn into interfaith strife, which could lead to a fragmentation of the country. This is exactly what we are seeing now.
In 1976, we entered Lebanon not only to protect it, but also to protect ATS from the effects of the war in that neighboring country. That is, we defended not only Lebanon, but also Syria.
We cannot isolate ourselves from what is happening in neighboring countries. For years, we have sought to prevent the consequences of the events in Iraq that have affected Syria. You can partially mitigate these effects or delay them for some time, but it is impossible to prevent all these effects at all times.
After 2004, non-Syrian extremist foci first appeared, but after that, hotbeds of extremism began to appear in Syria.
Question: From the very beginning of the crisis, and perhaps even before it, attempts were made to stir up interfaith contradictions in Syria. Now that more than 2 years have passed, a lot is said that Hezbollah took part in the Syrian events to help a particular denomination. What would you answer to this?
President Al-Assad: In this region, the colonialists used all means. Direct or indirect occupation, threats, attempts to influence the culture and much more. But Syria stood in the face of all these plans.
After the events that occurred in some Arab countries, they felt that the time had come to attack the Syria and the resistance forces in the region.
For some forces, Israel ceased to be an enemy, and they began to be seen as an enemy of the resistance forces to Israel. They sought to influence the consciousness of the Syrian people, but failed because the Syrian people are committed to defending the interests of their country and the resistance forces. Our goal and our path are clear, we will do what is in the interests of our country.
Question: Did we need help from Hezbollah?
President Al-Assad: You are not the first to ask me this question. My answer is clear. The Syrian army is fighting in many provinces of the country. If we needed the help of a third party, we could have asked for it. But as for the city of Al-Xayr, the situation in it was connected not only with the intra Syrian issue, but also affected the resistance forces. Al-Xayr is not as strategic as they say.
Question: However, the West spoke of this battle as if it were a “battle of battles”?
President Al-Assad: That's for sure. Because this battle concerned the common cause of Syria and the resistance forces. This area is a border area, this is the rear of the resistance. The resistance forces cannot be powerful without the rear, and this rear is Syria. And this area is important for Syria’s relations with Lebanon and with the resistance forces.
These forces participated in battles that concerned them in the same way as Syria. We do not hide it and are not ashamed.
I said that if we needed to attract other forces, then why only in Al-Ksayra, and not in Damascus, Aleppo or other cities? We have an army, there are national defense forces that fight along with the army. No third party could provide the number we need.
Question: Despite all that you have done, some members of the opposition, in particular those who are abroad, claim that the state has inflamed an interfaith conflict in their own interests.
President Al-Assad: The role of the state in creating interfaith discord would mean its participation in the split of Syrian society and the fragmentation of the country. Does this correspond to the fact that we are fighting in different provinces in order to unite Syria? Both the demographic situation in Syria and the special operations conducted by the army show that this assumption is wrong. Interfaith discord is against the interests of the state. Each country is interested in maintaining its unity, which is in question as a result of interfaith conflicts.
It is logical that a state that adheres to patriotic principles strives for the unity of society and protects itself.
Question: In the West, there are accusations that when the protests began, you showed dexterity and told religious minorities that they were under threat. Therefore, they rallied around you. Such an assumption means that the president is responsible for a split in society.
President Al-Assad: If this were so, then a civil war would immediately begin, and the state would be destroyed. We reject such logic. We do not recognize the concept of minority and majority. A state can resist, not with the help of a minority, but with the help of a majority that is not of a national, confessional or religious nature. This is the people.
The state has resisted, and this means that the majority of the people support it. As for this assumption, you may notice that the projects of the West are based on this approach. At the time of French colonialism, Syria was divided according to the minority principle - the territory of the Alawites, the territory of the Druze, and so on.
Our ancestors 90 years ago realized the danger of such an approach. We cannot be less conscious than they are. This experience was passed by Syria, and this approach will not have success, as well as the goals of takfiristov and "Muslim Brotherhood."
Question: However, some blame the state for creating grounds for interfaith hostility. These accusations come not only from extremists and their supporters. Sometimes we hear them from some intellectuals who call themselves secular people.
President Al-Assad: Unfortunately yes. We hear many confessional statements not only from takfirists and extremists. Sometimes they come from those who call themselves secular people. Today there are two groups that speak the language of interfaith discord. The first is those who consider themselves secular. Previously, we have repeatedly said that the concept of "secular" means not that we are against faith, but that we are for freedom of religion.
The second group is illiterate people who assert that they are believers, but who do not know the very essence of faith. Both groups are united by the fact that they do not know what the essence of the faith is; this leads to inter-confessional hostility, since confessional affiliation for these people has replaced faith, and this is a dangerous and destructive phenomenon.
But the largest group of believers is those who realize the truth, who do not speak the language of interfaith strife. They understand that such discord is against religion.
Question: We are among all these erroneous concepts and activities that are alien to our society. We see such crimes as, for example, murder, inciting inter-confessional hostility, attempts to divide the country. Can we say that we are living through a stage in which we are losing Arab national ideas, and they are being replaced by ideas of extremism and Takfirism?
President Al-Assad: The Arab national idea is under three threats. The first is a complete renunciation of it and the acceptance of Western values. The second is the way back to extremism. The third is in the activities of the governments of some Arab countries, which led to the fact that some Arabs turned out to be from the idea of Arabism.
All of this has dealt a sensitive blow to the Arab national project. But it cannot be said that he failed. This is manifested in the mood of the masses. It has not changed, despite the influence of some forces. Arabs will not allow the collapse of their ideas.
Question: Mr. President, from the very beginning of the events in Syria, Turkey offered to cooperate with the Muslim Brotherhood. The Syrian side rejected this idea. We are currently on our way to Geneva-2, and Syria has announced that it will participate in an international conference without preconditions. Will we engage in dialogue with the Muslim Brotherhood?
President Al-Assad: We are ready to cooperate with any Syrian side. We had a dialogue with the Muslim Brotherhood after they attacked Syria in the 80s. We conduct a dialogue, based on the fact that it contributes to the return of the opposite side to the correct, patriotic position.
If this party wants to talk about Islam, then it must return to the true principles of Islam. This dialogue did not stop, there were several attempts to lead it. But each time we understood that the Muslim Brotherhood would not abandon the logic of hypocrisy. They also will not give up their only goal - to gain power. Their goal has never been to protect the homeland or faith.
On the other hand, we are not conducting a dialogue with them as a political party, because the creation of parties on a religious basis is an idea that we reject. This is clearly stated in the new Constitution and in the law on political parties.
But in no case should we take it in such a way that we oppose faith. Absolutely not. On the contrary, we support religion. But religion is more than everyday issues of human life. Religion is not associated only with any limited group. Religion aims to strengthen moral values, and when they are strong, it contributes to strengthening politics, the army, the economy and the prosperity of the motherland.
Religion is above politics. When we put religion at the heart of a political party, we limit it. Therefore, we are against this principle. Because of all this, we do not recognize the Muslim Brotherhood as a party. They became terrorists who killed thousands of Syrians, and we do not forget that.
Many of those who committed the murders are now abroad. They have not changed. If we conduct a dialogue with them, knowing in advance what their inclinations are, knowing that their ideology will not change, then this will be a surprise for patriots and people who are moderate in their faith. However, some representatives of the Muslim Brotherhood conducted a dialogue with us in the 80-s and returned to Syria as private individuals. They stayed with their convictions, we respect that, we have no problems with them, as they returned to participate in creation, and not in destruction.
More importantly, the results of any dialogue with any party must be approved by a popular referendum. A people can vote only for those results of the dialogue that they consider right for their homeland.
Question: On the issue of "Muslim Brothers". How do you look at what is happening in Egypt now?
President Al-Assad: What is happening today in Egypt is the failure of politicizing Islam. That is, the fall of that system, in the correctness of which the Muslim Brotherhood tried to convince people. I repeat that we do not accept Islam falling to the level of politics, since religion is superior to politics.
The experience of the Muslim Brotherhood was defeated very quickly, because it was initially erroneous. And that which is based on erroneous principles, sooner or later will fail. Those who use religion for political purposes or in the interests of a group of people will inevitably fall anywhere in the world.
Question: Did the Muslim Brotherhood deceive the Egyptian people? Or did he wake up and realize the truth about the Muslim Brotherhood?
President Al-Assad: When it comes to countries such as Egypt, Iraq, Syria, we are talking about states located in a strategically important part of the world. These states are deeply rooted in history, over many millennia. The peoples of such countries are conscious, they can not be deceived, because they have a rich history and culture. You can fool some people for a certain time, but you can't fool all people all the time.
If we talk about the people of Egypt, then he is the heir of an ancient civilization, the bearer of the idea of Arab patriotism. A year ago, they considered the new government acceptable compared to the previous one. But a year later the situation cleared up, and the Muslim Brotherhood made the Egyptians see the light of their activities. The people realized the lie that this force spread from the very beginning of the popular revolution in Egypt. As a people deeply rooted in history, the Egyptians quickly exposed the Muslim Brotherhood.
Question: And it happened in record time — in one year?
President Al-Assad: Of course. This happened because of the actions of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Question: Can we say on this basis that the experience of the Muslim Brotherhood has failed?
President Al-Assad: We saw that he was unsuccessful, even before it began. Such power is unsuccessful because it does not correspond to human nature. The Muslim Brotherhood project is hypocritical, aimed at inciting hatred in the Arab world.
"Muslim Brotherhood" were the first to start sowing religious discord in Syria back in the 70s. At that time we did not talk about confessional affiliation of people. They were the first to speak about it, and thus was the beginning of confessional discord. This should not be in developed societies, so we see that their project was a failure before it began.
Question: Some people believe that one of the reasons for what is happening on the streets of Egypt is the announcement of Mursi to end relations with Syria. Reuters reported, citing sources in the Egyptian army, that the position of the military began to change precisely after Mursi’s statements during a rally in support of the Syrian opposition.
President Al-Assad: I do not want to speak on behalf of the Egyptians. But a few weeks before Mursi broke off relations with Syria, there was a contact between the two countries, as Walid Al-Muallem, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Emigrant Affairs, spoke about. This means that in Egypt there are those who reject such a decision as erroneous. Representatives of the intelligentsia, Egyptian journalists also condemned this decision, since the strategic relations between Syria and Egypt are very old. Ever since the days of the pharaohs, thousands of years ago, people have realized the importance of strategic relations between Syria and Egypt in the political and military spheres. Therefore, back in 1280 BC, the battle of the Egyptians against the Hittites took place at Kadish, where Homs and Al-Ksayr are located today. The Egyptians were aware of the importance of Syria, since it was like a continuation of Egypt. At that time, the war ended without winners, and one of the world's oldest treaties between the Hittites and the pharaohs was concluded. It turns out that the pharaohs were aware of the need for relations with Syria and are not aware of the man living in the 21 century? This is shameful.
Question: You talked about the dialogue, prepared the ground for it, put forward a political program, began to take effective steps to implement it, took a certain position on the conference in Geneva. Dialogue remains a major political issue. I want to ask, what do you think about humanism, mercy and forgiveness? In the same framework - and the issue of reconciliation. Many people ask, can we forgive both domestic and foreign opponents?
President Al-Assad: As for the internal aspect of this problem, it is most important for me. We sometimes mix several different concepts. There are those who destroyed, but did not kill. There are those who wore weaponbut did not kill. There are those who aided the terrorists, but did not commit the killings. There are different people.
As a state, we can forgive those who did not kill, because they harmed public law. The state is responsible for this and can forgive them, provided that they return to the correct, patriotic positions.
But with regard to proven killings - this is a matter of personal law. The state has no right to forgive on behalf of any citizen, to forgive, instead of the close ones, the dead. This is the right of the Syrian citizens themselves.
However, I personally heard from many families who have fallen the following words: "If the blood of our relatives leads to the resolution of the problem, then we forgive their killers."
When we hear such words from people who have lost their loved ones, then we should all learn from them. To resolve crises, mercy and forgiveness are necessary, but they must be popular, not official. Mercy is power. This is a sign of patriotism, when a citizen puts public interests above personal rights. All must proceed from this principle.
A family that has lost loved ones, like any other family, must think first about the Homeland, then about personal emotions. Thus, we must think in the inner and outer levels.
As for the external level, it is more of a political nature. In foreign policy, we, first of all, do not think about emotions, but about the interests of our country. There are principles, but there are interests. We must look for a connection between them. Worst of all, when principles contradict interests. This means that either one or the other is erroneous.
When it comes to mercy and forgiveness, these are humanitarian, religious concepts. These are positive concepts, they work for the good, if they help in relations with this or that country. Ultimately, this is in the good of the motherland. Why then do not go on this path? After all, the main goal of any state is, first of all, to defend its interests. If this goal is realized, then it corresponds to the principles and interests. And then we have to go in that direction.
We have received many politicians from many states that were hostile to us. But our goal has always been to achieve the interests of our country.
Question: Mr. President, the citizens of Syria are mostly worried about two problems: firstly, terrorism and bloodshed on the streets, and secondly, domestic difficulties, which are increasingly aggravated. My question is about economics. What can you say about the rumors that a sharp appreciation of the dollar against the Syrian pound has caused many problems that hit the country? What can Syrian citizens say about this?
President Al-Assad: In order to be objective, we must proceed from elementary, basic principles. They lie in the fact that the welfare of citizens requires welfare in the economy. And prosperity in the economy, in turn, requires security. Obviously, when security is undermined, a favorable situation in the economy is impossible. Therefore, the state of security directly affects the economy, whether we would like it or not. This happens regardless of the activity of any government, even if we would attract the best personnel to work.
At the same time, it is obvious that the countries that tried to strike at Syria did it first with the word “revolution”, but their attempts failed because they did not find popular support. Then they began to influence through terrorism, but they were opposed by the army and the people, so he failed. Now they are acting on an economic level in order to take revenge on citizens who have sided with the Motherland. Citizens pay a high price for this position.
Thus, in order to strike at Syria, the enemies struck in parallel with the security and the economy.
At the moment we must be aware that we can reduce the harm from these blows. But at such times there are speculators, which exacerbate the suffering of the people.
There is another factor, subjective. It lies in the actions of some officials who make mistakes, and the wrong decision of any of the officials also increases the suffering of citizens. We must solve both the first and second questions.
In addition, we must correctly understand what policy to pursue at one stage or another. Some people make mistakes when considering someone's policies or actions based on the same criteria as before the crisis. Such estimates are biased. We are now in other conditions. We have certain needs that have become different than before the crisis. This puts pressure on the economy, on the exchange rate.
We must change our way of life, adapt to new conditions, until we achieve the main thing - the restoration of security. Therefore, the settlement of the crisis must be achieved above all else. We need to know that our economic difficulties will not end until we resolve the security situation.
Everyone suffers from this, regardless of political views. Even those who supported the so-called “revolution” experience all the difficulties. They began to realize that they themselves had suffered, like everyone else. Unfortunately, sometimes a person must live to a state of poverty in order to become aware of this.
In spite of everything, the economy remains in a stable condition. We must expose those who profit from the crisis and call them to account. Society and the state should cooperate in this area at the moment.
One of the problems of our society is that we shift the responsibility on each other. With regard to relations between the state and society - if there is no cooperation between the responsible persons and citizens, then our suffering will be aggravated. Therefore it is necessary to put forward new ideas. Everybody must take part in this in order to overcome the current difficulties that have been imposed on us. We all need to take the initiative in our own hands to put forward these ideas, we must actively look for and find a way out of the situation, otherwise the crisis will fall upon us with all its weight.
If we cooperate, if we strike a blow to terrorism in the shortest possible time, then I have no reason to worry about the economy. She will recover and become even stronger than before. After all, our people are active. We are a civilized country. We do not import progress from abroad. We build our country using our own experience and potential, despite the moments of retreats.
Therefore, we will be able to recover our economy after the crisis. All we need at the moment is safe.
Question: What can you say about the oil and gas resources that are in our territorial waters? This is indicated by many Syrian and international experts.
President Al-Assad: What is said about our resources is true. According to preliminary oil and gas exploration, we have very large gas fields, in particular, in the sea shelf. We know that the coasts of Egypt, Palestine and Syria have a large amount of natural resources, especially in the northern part of the Syrian territorial waters.
It is possible that one of the causes of the crisis in Syria is its wealth, which supposedly should not remain in the hands of a resisting state. This issue has not been discussed with Syria, but the logic makes it to make just such an assumption, and we cannot consider this as a secondary reason. Perhaps this is the main reason, but for now it remains at the level of reasoning.
Question: I want to touch on the problem of everyday life of citizens on the other hand. Already twice during the crisis, the government announced wage increases. The first increase was expected and necessary, and the second caused many to be surprised that the state can do it in these conditions, despite all the difficulties. This revives the hope that there will be a recovery phase after the crisis. Have the steps really started in this direction?
President Al-Assad: We suffer the most from destruction. One of the most important tasks for the Syrian economy is the restoration of the destroyed. From that moment on we began to develop plans, some of which are already being implemented.
An obstacle to this is the state of security. Many laws were approved, but their implementation requires the improvement of security conditions so that people begin to rebuild what was destroyed, so that employees can travel to their workplaces.
Regarding another important issue that you raised - on wage increase - I will say the following. The state continues to pay wages, provide services, even if in a smaller volume than before the crisis. Although we are in such a situation, as a result of which even stronger countries than Syria could collapse. This in itself is an important achievement.
But I always assume that we have a lot of positive things, but our aspirations are even more ambitious. I always say that we can do better if we rally even closer together.
Question: There is another question regarding the daily life of people. Some people impose responsibility on the state for the fact that there was no control over the situation at the borders, that many markets and their prices were out of control. Did all this happen because the crisis came as a surprise to us? Or is it that some state institutions were weak?
President Al-Assad: Of course, before the crisis, we had a lot of negative points, a lot was not enough. There were many flaws in the work of state bodies. I have always talked about this. There were also such negative phenomena as corruption and negligence.
I have always said that it is necessary to look for suitable shots. These difficulties were originally. The crisis simply revealed these errors with even greater force, and this is natural.
We must distinguish between the internal problems of the state and the lack of the role of the state. There are internal factors, there are gangs, as in some countries, there are problems with security. But all this is different from the situation when there is a war with external forces.
We are now at war. This state today protects the Syrians. The truth is that this war is fought by external forces with the help of internal tools. But in the end, it is a war from the outside.
The score you are talking about is not appropriate for this situation. The situation is completely different. The role of the state, its weight is based primarily on the idea that the state adheres to its principles. Has the Syrian state changed its principles? No, it has not changed them either in domestic or in foreign policy.
The position regarding the support of resistance remained the same as it was. The attitude to the problem of Palestine remains the same. The state maintained its commitment to the interests of the widest sections of society — workers and peasants. It continues to provide jobs within its capabilities, it provides all the necessary services to citizens. The implementation of new infrastructure projects has begun, in spite of all the destruction.
The state has not changed, but we are in a state of war. Naturally, in such conditions we can observe a lot of mistakes.
Question: State institutions are being destroyed. Some interpret this in such a way that it is a way to weaken the Syrian state.
President Al-Assad: This is one of the targets of the opponents - striking infrastructure facilities, undermining security, the economy. As a result, they seek complete chaos in society, so that Syria becomes a weak state. But we still have not reached such a stage. The proof is that in many areas normal life continues on its own. The economy continues to grow despite the difficulties. No one expected that they could be overcome easily. But these are real difficulties. Every worker, every employee is exposed to danger, but people continue to go to work.
It can be said that the Syrian people have proved that they are full of vital energy. There is a terrorist attack, but after a while life returns to normal. We have not seen this before in Syria; we, the Syrians, did not previously know about it. We are a lively, active people who go to work, even waiting for a terrorist act to happen, that a suicide bomber can blow himself up at any moment. All this suggests that intimidating the Syrians will not succeed.
I think that the enemies used all possible moral, material, psychological and other methods. They have only one way left - direct intervention. But they will not be able to achieve their goals this way for various reasons. I said that to start a war is not what to end it. No one can stop the war. No one knows when it will end. And this is a very serious matter. Therefore, among the enemies there are fluctuations on this issue, so most states reject this path. If we overcome this stage, showing consciousness and perseverance, then no one and nothing will intimidate us.
Question: So, Mr. President, are you optimistic in this situation?
President Al-Assad: If I had not been optimistic, I would not have stood with the people. If the people did not have optimism, he would not have survived.
Despair is the beginning of the defeat and its foundation. First of all, psychological damage occurs. It would have come if it were not for the optimism that people have.
I meet people, and they all say that the crisis is coming to an end. They claim that God keeps Syria, and therefore nothing is scary. They repeat what Al-Buti said: in Syria, there are harbingers of victory. They have faith in the religious aspect, and there is a patriotic belief that the crisis will end.
Question: Mr. President, our newspaper celebrates the 50 anniversary since its first release. We appeal to you on behalf of all employees, we want to hear from you a few words in connection with this anniversary. I want to tell you that we have employees who set an example of hard work. They are motivated by patriotism, they are faithful to their work. They linger until midnight, they pass through roadblocks, they are often at risk. This can be said about all employees who, due to their loyalty to the Motherland, overcome all these difficulties. What would you say to our employees?
President Al-Assad: What you said about your newspaper employees can be said about all the national media workers. This is another confirmation that the Syrian people show resilience, that it has great potential. I wish you would convey my warm welcome to all employees.
Your newspaper is one of the oldest national newspapers, celebrating its 50 anniversary. Its release began after the 8 revolution of Martha 1963 of the year. We said that she gave Syria a lot over the decades.
Today, this anniversary is taking place against the background of a real revolution. But not the “revolution” that the enemies are talking about today, but against the background of the revolution of the people and the army against terrorism. This is the real revolution.
I want this anniversary to be the beginning of a new stage for the newspaper, so that it reflects not one revolution, but two: the 1963 revolution and the 2013 revolution.