ANNA-News conducted an interview with Dr. Qadri Jamil (Arabic: قدري جميل), the leader of an alliance of the Syrian opposition. Dr. Qadri Jamil, who is often written as Kadri Jamel, is a Syrian politican, economist and also the leader of the Popular Front for Change and Liberation in Syria.
It is a part of the “internal opposition” in Syria, which is much more to prefer than the dubious external opposition, e.g. the “Syrian National Council” (SNC) with its Islamist background and its support by the West, Israel and Gulf States like Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
If the West would be interested in reform processes and “democracy” in Syria and if the West would think these things are more important than other questionable goals and dubious intentions, Qadri Jamil (Kadri Jamel / قدري جميل) would certainly be a more suitable partner than the Islamists council, the “Syrian National Council” (SNC) abroad or the armed wing, the terrorist “Free Syrian Army” (FSA), which spreads terror and chaos in Syria.
The following is the (slightly abridged) text of the interview, including the interview as a (Russian speaking) video review of ANNA-News.
Marat Musin: How do you assess the recent elections and the situation of the opposition then?
Qadri Jamil: We believe that the elections could have run better. The elections have taken no account of the hopes, which were associated with it. We believe that the elections could have been the beginning of a broader political process, that could led to reconciliation in the country. However, these elections were organized, unfortunately, with old methods. Methods, which are still breathing the spirit of the old constitution and of the eighth article of the old one.
Of course, we must remember that the transition from this old eighth article to the new constitution is a lengthy process and this transition cannot take place suddenly. However, we had hoped that we can at least take a step towards democracy, a genuine democratization of the society. I believe that through these elections, we have again missed an opportunity to move forward, this indicates that the obstructive forces in the state apparatus who are not interested in a real way out of crisis and profound reforms that are on this election come fully into play . They lead a fierce struggle, and this struggle plays objectively only in the hands of the extremists of the other side.
So you have to say that we are actually are fighting on two fronts. There is the one front, which you know, that is filming you. There is also an invisible front, of which hardly anyone speaks, those are the conservative forces which hinder a development, which do not want that Syria makes progress, and in the state apparatus, there are such forces. Are you surprised about this?
Marat Musin: No. Unfortunately, I know this only too well from the days of the Soviet Union and now from the Russian Federation.
Qadri Jamil: Our front has got 5 seats in Parliament, although I am sure that many more from our candidates have come through. But someone has, as you sure recall, said in the last century: “In elections, it does not matter who votes, but the important thing is, who counts the votes”, and those, who count the votes, are beyond our control.
The vote counting is done so far by the state apparatus, which has no right to control the elections; it is Parliament that must control the state apparatus. If the state apparatus, however, brings forward his own candidates in this way, one knows very well, how this will end?
Marat Musin: The executive power subordinates the legislative power.
Qadri Jamil: Exactly. The old, familiar song. Therefore, the truth of the statement is a fact again in Syria, that it is important who counts the votes. Incidentally, this man was Stalin.
Marat Musin: Does this mean that the opposition will start to change their tactics in the fight for reforms?
Qadri Jamil: No, we are continuing our campaign, the struggle for reforms, to bring about change based on the Parliament. Primarily this will be the election law, because this election law has once already created favorable conditions for such results.
That is why we pursue our goal directly, without evasive action: we want to reform the electoral law. Syria now needs a universal, proportional electoral law. (…) This goal generally wins more and more support within the forces loyal to the regime now, but also in society. These elections have shown once more that you cannot with this voting system, with this old law is progressing. The electoral law is the most important key to political reforms.
Marat Musin: Is it known how the position of the President is about this situation, what is his position?
Qadri Jamil: I have no first-hand information, but I know that discussions take place about a new electoral law at the highest level and behind the scenes. We hope that the new Parliament may adopt such a law in the near future. What does that mean? If such a new electoral law is passed, it means that it cannot take so long to elections for the Parliament, and these new elections would then just run more correct and proper.
Marat Musin: You have raised a very sad topic, namely the topic of the destructive role of bureaucracy, which is incapable to answer the current, burning issues and as a result of this, we have problems out of nothing.
Qadri Jamil: It is not only unable, but also not interested.
Marat Musin: Usually there is the talk about corrupt officials who only deal only with the clarification of their personal matters and by this, they are creating many conflicts, which can then, again, get easily manipulated by those outside. To provocation in Al-Houla (al-Hula): what do you think about the actions of the state authority, were the actions appropriate, and what consequences will this provocation for Syria have?
Qadri Jamil: I support the declaration Lavrov to one hundred percent. You will recall, he said, that both the state powers, and the armed rebels, are accountable for this. If you look isolated at the situation in al-Houla (al-Hula), so only the extremists have the responsibility, but it also came to such a situation, in which it was possible that a few hundred armed rebels were able to perform such an enormity.
Who bears the responsibility? That must mean, that the state power have missed something at the political level, they might have ill-judged it, and that is the evidence of the utter failure of their tactics to cope with the crisis, which began one and a half years ago, and which had its starting point in the regime. The regime was of the opinion that it is only possible with the path of violence to get this crisis under control.
In practice it is found, that the use of state violence only worsened the situation and has lead us into a dead end. I’m not totally opposed to the use of state violence, if it is a part of an overall political process, but if you are only limited on that and say, “Once we have solved this problem by the application of state violence, we begin with a political process”, this is certainly absurd.
We’ve been doing this year and a half like that, and what is the result? The force method has actually brought no results, they have undermined the security of citizens and they have also closed the way to overcome the political crisis. This is what we mean when we say that state power has the responsibility – it bears political responsibility for ensuring that the situation is to have this level can build up.
Marat Musin: I agree with you; without political reforms, it is not possibly by applying violence to overcome these problems, but what we have seen in al-Houla (al-Hula) is even worse: in fact, the state power stays inactive, wherever the people are face to face confronted with terror, with a large gang of armed fighters.
And that leads one to wonder, because it either reflects a weakening of state power, or a miscalculation of the situation, namely when it is possible that villages, in the course of planned provocations by abroad, can be conquered so simply.
Qadri Jamil: Or …? Indeed, there is also a third version.
Marat Musin: Or there are in Damascus, similar to the times of our first Chechen war, those forces, that are interested in this kind of conflict.
Qadri Jamil: All that you have to seriously consider. All these versions are worthy of consideration. Perhaps all of this is true and there is an interplay of many factors.
Marat Musin: In other words, this means, that the inaction of state power leads to the point that even a weak “fifth column” can ensure, that we get confronted with extremely difficult conditions.
Qadri Jamil: So you must bring about a turnaround in the political life of the country, a change can be toward a national reconciliation, the extremists of all kinds no longer possible. We need to implement serious reforms, because so far there is only talking about reforms; for the ordinary people, the talk about a declaration about constitutional reform and new laws is only paper.
The ordinary citizen is interested in reform and understands it when he sees the results of such reforms implemented: for example, that would be better security, higher living standards and so on. So far, however, already in the course of eighteen months, the situation, including the political, is only worse. Is that supposed to be solely the result of a conspiracy by outsiders?
I am against to underestimate the external forces and their influence, but the conflict material is located in the interior of the country, the external forces use internal contradictions as levers … and these conflicts need to be solved to give nobody anymore the opportunity to use them.
Marat Musin: By now it has become perfectly clear that the West seeks to control Syria, and even the provocation in Al-Hula, when it is clear who has killed, is commented on with pure cynicism by the West … Is there still time to bring political reforms under way to reform, for example, the law on elections, when we see it, that already ambassadors are recalled and what evidence of the tragedy are always published by Syria; the West, is irrespectively taking step by step to head to a violent intervention in Syria?
Qadri Jamil: Let us clarify once, how could the use of force by the West look like? The Libyan variant, the Iraqi variant? That is already impossible.
Marat Musin: For what reason?
Qadri Jamil: Because of Russia and China. Their vetos are not empty words. I think this is the voice of balance in the region, and also in the case of Syria, it is this balance that comes to bear. So I think, that the Americans and the West know very well, that an external military intervention is impossible, so a military intervention, as it has done in the case of Iraq or Libya … But instead of a direct intervention they now pursue another option – the indirect intervention, and they have entrust it to their subcontractors – Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey. But let us consider this soberly: Are Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey really able to change the situation in Syria?
The balance of power in Syria, does not allow anyone, as I think, to change the situation in one way or the other.. That’s why you come to the conclusion that the Americans and the West want a continuation of the crisis, want more blood to flow, wnat that this inner struggle in Syria continues as long as possible. They want to weaken Syria, to implement the minimum -or the maximum – of their program.
The minimum would be the weakening of Syria’s role in the region. The maximum would be the destruction of Syria as a geopolitical factor. The current variant of the United States and the West is something between these two extremes.
But they themselves are no longer able to intervene directly, only by means of others, and through the support of forces, that already exist within the country. They want to achieve their goals, which would be just as well in front of a military intervention, in this way. These objectives, they have not even indispensable, it is only changed tactics. I think, therefore, if one wants to tackle this problem, you have to be a little smarter than the West and think carefully about this question.
A general political settlement would be important. Therefore, the Russian side, when it comes to the overall national dialogue, always speaks about negotiations, a dialogue, and this is very important. The Americans know that the dialogue will either way begin, but they want that the violence parallel will remain. I am therefore of the opinion that there will such a situation for another year in Syria. The political process, that is underway, will expand and accordingly will the violence decrease. We need to take patience.
Marat Musin: How do you assess Russia’s position, what can Russia do in this situation?
Qadri Jamil: I think that the Russian position is a correct and proper position. Russia is the first time in twenty years, a position which is in line with its national interests. If we take the time from 1991 until the crisis in Libya, I think that the Russian position on the international scene was not in his own best national interest. ..Well, it is good, that this position coincides with the national interest of Syria. The Americans cannot continue this policy in this region indefinitely, because they are themselves weakened by the crisis, and they rely on forces that have no future.
Marat Musin: You know quite well that Ralph Peters has published a map of the reorganization of the Middle East in 2002. The events have shown that just as he has drawn at that time, the fault lines of Iraq have been virtually disintegrated along these fault lines.
Qadri Jamil: De facto, not “de jure”.
Marat Musin: De facto, yes, I agree with you. Nevertheless, we observe an increase of religious and ethnic conflicts, and it is observed that even countries that are quite far away from Syria slip into the vortex of this great transformation, such as Afghanistan and Pakistan. Are these countries currently somehow meddling in the situation in Syria?
Qadri Jamil: I think that Syria is a factor in the region. For the Americans and the West, this region is one – from the Caspian Sea to the Mediterranean, and so have the events in Syria a fundamental importance for the fate of the entire region. The fate of the region, the entire region, will depend on the outcome of the clashes in Syria.
When they spoke of controlled chaos, they meant the whole region. They wanted to make Syria into the detonator. That would mean, the failure of the plans of the Americans and the West in Syria would be a failure in the region. Hence, the international significance of the events in Syria and the struggle that happens in our country.
I also think that they cannot get away this time with this. The balance of power in the world is changing. Also, the balance of power in the country is changing in a positive direction. But you have to continue the fight, do not give up hope. We must fight on all fronts – in the inside as on the outside. In the inside, again in multiple directions. I think the right thing will ultimately triumph.
Marat Musin: God is not with power, but with the truth. What remains is to wish that your vision of overcoming the crisis is true, and a new electoral law is made, new elections take place and that you are successful.
Qadri Jamil: Yes, that there is a new balance of power in a government of national unity and the beginning of a broad political process in Syria, which consolidates all the healthy forces, regardless of whether the current regime are loyal to or in opposition to it – if they are generally against the machinations of the Americans and the West, are against imperialism and against the Zionists.
I think it will be possible to consolidate these forces and it can no longer be allowed to implement plans for fomenting the sectarian conflict in Syria. I think that’s what we will do.
Marat Musin: Thank you very much for your time.