Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Syrian Opposition urges UN Security council intervention | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Beirut, Asharq Al-Awsat- Burhan Ghalioun chairman of the opposition Syrian National Council, believes that the period through which Syria is passing today is “extremely difficult and soaked in blood. By resorting to bombings, the Syrian regime is putting the Syrian people and the Arab countries before one of two options: Either it remains in power or it confronts them with acts of killing and terrorism”. He affirmed that “the bombings that took place in Damascus bear the signature of the Syrian intelligence services. However, these terrorist acts will not deter the people from proceeding with their revolution until the regime is toppled regardless of how precious the sacrifices because we can no longer accept to be blackmailed with terrorism”. Last Friday, two suicide bombings targeted two security buildings leading to 44 people killed and more than 100 wounded.

Ghalioun emphasized that the Syrian opposition is united and rallied around two principles: First, it rejects any dialogue before (Syrian President) Bashar al-Assad’s overthrow and departure. Second, after Al-Assad, Syria will be a pluralistic and democratic state. While denying that he talked about “severing relations with Iran and resistance movements in the region,” Ghalioun affirmed “the relationship with Iran and Hezbollah after the fall of Al-Assad will be a normal one and not a strategic relationship as it is at present. No state or quarter can ask for special relations unless they take a positive stand in support of the freedom of the Syrian people”. In a statement to Asharq Al-Awsat, Ghalioun said that he thinks the Syrian authorities “are confusing the Arab observers so that these do not know who they are and where they are”. He said: “Al-Assad’s regime accepted the Arab initiative grudgingly lest it be referred to the Security Council. It is now seeking to defuse this initiative by exposing the Arab observers who are entrusted with implementing it once to the dangers of mobile bombings, as it did in Damascus two days ago, once by talking about the dangers posed by terrorist bands in order to prevent the members of the mission from entering areas that they wish to inspect, and once by placing them before challenges with unpredictable consequences”. Ghalioun emphasized: “The terrorist operations and bombings bear the signature of the Syrian intelligence services in order to terrorize the Syrians and the Arabs. That is why we are now facing an extremely difficult stage caused by the attempt to abort and foil the Arab initiative. This period will be soaked in blood. They want to tell the Syrian people and the Arab countries you have no choice but to accept this regime or to accept killing and terrorism. Therefore, the Arab countries should realize that this regime does not wish to implement their initiative”. Ghalioun pointed out: “However, the Syrian people are determined to overthrow this regime and not to allow it to survive regardless how precious the sacrifices they have to offer”. He said: “We can no longer accept to be blackmailed with terrorism that the regime of the Al-Assad family has been practicing for more than 40 years. This extortion should be thwarted once and for all. The Arab League should prepare itself to refer its initiative to the international Security Council so that this council would draw up a mechanism for its expeditious implementation. The Arabs should be up to the level of unity and responsibility; they should not fall in the snares of terrorism that the authorities in Damascus have begun to spring and carry out”.

Answering a question on the reason for the flow of initiatives starting with the Arab initiative to the Russian initiative and to the Iraqi initiative, Ghalioun said: “Everything that is being said about initiatives is meant to block the Arab initiative and defuse the situation in favour of the Syrian regime. On our part, we reject everything except the Arab initiative and we insist that this initiative should be referred to the Security Council so that it would gain a higher chance of success and implementation”. Ghalioun added that “the so-called Russian plan submitted to the Security Council is unjust; it equates the victim with the victimizer. We do not accept it. As for what is being said about an Iraqi initiative, this is incorrect. I personally contacted several Iraqi officials who informed me that they do not have an initiative separate from the Arab League initiative that they support”. On the reasons why the leaders of the resistance do not have a united vision – which is generating the resentment of the revolutionaries – Ghalioun talked about “detailed discussions and continuous meetings to unify the position of the resistance. We have begun to put forth principles on which everyone has agreed. First, these principles stress rejection of any dialogue with the Syrian regime, the need to overthrow Bashar al-Assad, and the need for him to go as the basis for any fresh negotiations. Second, Syria in the post-Bashar al-Assad phase should be a pluralistic and democratic state in which the Syrian people decide on internal and external policies”. The leader of the Syrian opposition said “the differences that existed among the members of the national council are trivial differences. We will overcome them in a conference to unify the options and lay down a new framework that will gather the opposition together”.

Burhan Ghalioun answered a question on whether he continues to cling to his past position in which he announced that Syria after Bashar al-Assad will sever its relations with Iran, Hezbollah, and Hamas, in other words, with all the resistance forces in the region. Ghalioun replied: “This is a glaring distortion of the words that I used in a previous statement. My statement was mistranslated. Syria’s future policy will be set by the Syrian people; no one can decide for the people what policy they will follow with the neighbouring countries. However, in my opinion, no country can demand to have a special relationship with Syria unless it supports the Syrian people today. I do not conceal a secret when I say that the relationship with Iran will not be special as it is today. There will be no strategic alliance e with any state of quarter unless it adopts a special positive stand in support of the freedom of the Syrian people to determine their future”. Ghalioun added: “What applies to Iran also applies to Hezbollah in Lebanon. When the Syrian regime changes we will have another kind of relationship with it. We will build this relationship on new bases and in accordance with principles that look after the interests of the Syrian people before anything else. As for the Hamas movement, I did not mention it at all because Hamas it seeking to unite with all the other Palestinian organizations. We will deal with the Palestinians as a whole and not as parts.