For once I listened to the Russian point of view towards Syria, via the noteworthy television interview conducted by veteran US media figure Charlie Rose with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, which was an interview full of fabrications, and I was struck by the truth, not to mention the Russian Foreign Minister’s erroneous reading of the events in Syria, stemming from the flawed Russian stance in support of Bashar al-Assad.
Lavrov, who prompted the longstanding American interviewer to frequently interrupt him and attempt to clarify his points, said that his country’s stance is based on a rejection of intervention in Syria and a refusal to accept the demand for al-Assad to leave, first and foremost because al-Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood are primarily responsible for the armed violence there, with the support of other countries. In other words, Lavrov is saying that the Muslim Brotherhood, along with the Gulf States, France, Britain and America, have become allies of al-Qaeda. This is the kind of rhetoric that we only hear from Walid Moallem or Jihad al-Maqdisi, and it is the talk of those who have completely lost hope and have tied their survival to that of al-Assad. It is not the rhetoric of any rational person or professional politician, especially when we see that nearly thirty thousand Syrians have died at the hands of al-Assad’s forces!
It is strange that Lavrov says his country’s approach to Syria is based on one priority, to stop the killing, because innocent Syrians are being killed and they know that the al-Assad regime is behind the murder. Furthermore, who gave the Russians the right to speak for the Syrians and outline their priorities when the Syrians, for the last 19 months, have been categorically saying “down with al-Assad and down with the regime”? What is worse is that in the interview Lavrov talks about Iranian interference in Syria, but he dismisses it and puts it down to the “power of the media”. Yet what Lavrov seems to have forgotten, or is ignoring, is that the commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards himself talked about Iran’s presence and support in Syria. He said this in front of cameras, not in the form of a written press statement, which shows that the Iranians are more credible than Lavrov when it comes to defending al-Assad!
The wonders of the once-called “Mullah Lavrov” do not stop there, for he went on to blame America and the West for their stances towards Milosevic in Yugoslavia, Saddam Hussein in Iraq and Muammar Gaddafi in Libya, but is there anything worse than a policy of defending the most abhorrent dictators in the world? In the televised interview, Lavrov not only fabricated, he undermined Russia’s policy as a whole, and in a spectacular manner he exposed its weak and flawed defense of al-Assad. The Russian Foreign Minister was not content with tarnishing the reputation of the Syrian revolution, what is worse is that he also accused part of the Free Syrian Army of extending an open invitation to al-Qaeda to participate with them in their battle against al-Assad. This, apart from being untrue, is something we have not heard anyone say before other than al-Assad, and even then not in the crude manner of Lavrov!
In the end, Lavrov’s provocative interview is nothing but a genuine indication that Moscow has become convinced that it will now be difficult for al-Assad to stay in power. If this is not the case, then why would the Russian Foreign Minister resort to such fabrications and distort the facts in such a crude form?