Syria: President Assad is ready for the change

The Middle East expert Günter Meyer draws a reality of the conflict in Syria which differs from the Western media reports. He believes neither in a breakthrough in Geneva or a Turkish intervention in Syria.

This interview was published by the Swiss newspaper and as stated, the statements by the expert in affairs of the Middle East, Mr. Günter Meyer, truly differ from the coverage of the situation in Syria by Western media.

But to be honest, that is no real surprise, because some people, after all, rather stick with the truth than with the propaganda and American aims.

The statements of Mr. Meyer are reminiscent of the information from the German journalist Mr. Jürgen Todenhöfer and some can also take it as given that the known Middle East expert, Peter Scholl-Latour, also shares this stance, which differs to the propaganda and one-sided reports in Western media.

Interview with the German Middle East expert Günter Meyer:

Question: Mr. Meyer, a new plan for Syria will be discussed on Saturday in Geneva, which provides a transitional government of national unity for Syria. What opportunities do you see for this initiative?


Mr. Meyer: Not the slightest chance.  The radical opposition (Syrian National Council / SNC and Free Syrian Army / FSA) uncompromisingly demand the resignation of Assad and his inner circle, before they would agree on such a solution.

All who have blood on their hands, should therefore be held accountable. Under these conditions, the new Annan plan has no chance, even if he is diplomatically worded. The regime cannot engage in it. In addition, the proposal is contrary to the requirements of the internal Syrian opposition.


Question: Do you think that an internal political solution is possible under the prevailing circumstances?


Mr. Meyer: After all, parliamentary elections, in which the people had for the first time the choice between several parties, have taken place in May. Although this information can not verify with certainty, they document, however, that there is still a relatively strong support for Assad’s reforms, especially in the cities of Damascus and Aleppo.


Question: The elections and the new government, that was set up by Assad on Tuesday are more than just pro forma reforms?


Mr. Meyer: In the election, various opposition groups were chosen, which have criticized the regime for years, and whose exponents were also in prison. Some of them have now received ministerial posts. I see this as a sign that Assad is ready to some political change. The fact that the radical opposition does not accept this, and that the Western media barely reports about this, is significant.


Question: That may be true, but the country heads directly for a civil war. Viewed objectively, there is no turning back.


Mr. Meyer: There is no turning back, that’s right. This was also made clear in the speech of Assad. When he says: We’re at war, then it means, that he will use all military capabilities. And wants to win.

This means a change, the violent conflicts will significantly exacerbate. Assad is with his back to the wall. The brutality of the regime at the beginning of the riots was obvious. By the currently foreign-backed militarization of the revolution, Assad can paint the threatening specter of Islamist terrorism on the wall.


Question: In other words, Assad is on a confrontation, until the bitter end?


Mr. Meyer: It’s not just about him. Especially the part of the population, which is still behind the regime, demands more protection by the Syrian army from kidnappings, massacres of pro-government civilians, bombing strikes, destruction of infrastructure and other acts of violence by the insurgents.

There is the criticism, that the government is not doing enough against the guerilla-like operating opponents of the government. In addition, many Syrians are afraid of what will come after Assad.

After today’s constellation of the Syrian National Council (SNC), which is dominated by expatriate Muslim Brothers and Salafists, their takeover would mean the end of the secular form of government in Syria. Especially the religious minorities – particularly Christians and Alawites – therefore have every reason to fear persecution and discrimination.


Question: Your general presentation is different from the fast-selling representation in the Western media.


Mr. Meyer: The first casualty in war is always the truth. In Western media, the representation is largely dominated by a one-sided view; which is shaped by the geo-strategic interests of an alliance of United States, the Sunni Gulf states, Turkey and the NATO countries.

The information, that we get, come mainly from the opposition. The other side is hidden automatically. The arguments of the Syrian regime and also by the Russian government are negated. Also the internal Syrian opposition is not noted here by us.  Do not get me wrong, both sides try to manipulate the truth. Who has actually right, is usually very difficult to detect. But this does not justify the largely biased coverage in most media.


Question: What urges the Russian government?


Mr. Meyer: That a president, who has in believes of Russia – and also in the opinions of other Syrian experts – the support of over half the population, should not be discharged from the outside.

No violent intervention from the outside, only internal Syrian negotiations can lead to a peaceful conclusion. Here, the demands of the internal Syrian opposition cover the position of Russia.


Question: On Thursday it was said that the Russians would accept Annan’s transition plan, if necessary. Moscow demands of Assad “long-overdue reforms”.  Is Russia turning away from Assad?


Mr. Meyer: Absolutely not. Reforms are demanded by Russia for months, and there were indeed a number of political reforms which are already implemented. Moscow’s geo-political credibility depends on the fact to stay on the side of its decades-long Syrian allies.


Question: The Russians are worried about the lucrative arms sales to Syria and its base on the Mediterranean. Are these strategic considerations not more likely in the foreground?


Mr. Meyer: Of course, this plays a role. But the Gulf States, Turkey, and the United States act also strategic.


Question: Turkey is currently massively mobilizing on the border. In the region, Ankara has other problems with Kurds and Alevis. The situation comes in handy for Erdogan?


Mr. Meyer: Also concerning Turkey, we have blind spots in the West. The Turkish opposition accuses Erdogan, that he threatens the position of Turkey in the region massively with his goal to spread the Pan-Islamism.

He is also blamed for the deaths of two downed pilots, whom he had taken into account in order to overthrow the not Sunnite, secular leadership in Syria in collaboration with the Saudis and Qatar.

Nevertheless, despite the military muscle games of Erdogan, he cannot be interested in a war with Syria. The Kurds have already announced attacks in Anatolia in the event of a Turkish invasion of Syria. And it would endanger the important economic ties with Iran.



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