Peter Scholl-Latour about Syrian conflict and Rebels

Posted: October 17, 2012 in International
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Peter Scholl-Latour is probably one of the best known journalists in Germany – also because of his unconventional positions and interpretations. Some interviews with Mr Peter Scholl-Latour about Syria were already published in recent months.

Meanwhile, the best-selling author has also published his new book with the title “The world out of joint” (Original: Die Welt aus den Fugen). Here is a translation of the recent interview with Peter Scholl-Latour about the Syrian conflict, the current role of Turkey and also about the so-called Syrian rebels, which are not really the kind of rebels which people should like.

In contrary, these Western-backed fighters, terrorists and religious fanatics are even totally worse than the Syrian leadership under the Syrian president Bashar al-Assad was ever accused with.

As stated, the following is the translation of the latest interview with this German expert of Middle Eastern affairs, Mr Peter Scholl-Latour. Sad but true. German mass media and other so-called experts or pseudo-experts that are sold as experts in Middle Eastern affairs do not listen to Mr Peter Scholl-Latour and Mr Todenhöfer. German mass media is still full of propaganda, false information and not credible sources.

These journalists of the German mass media, but also of BBC, CNN, FoxNews, France24 (and others) are already responsible for an illegitimate war (at least), and are now in the preparation of another illegitimate war, while they are indirectly (some are even direct – e.g. CNN) involved in the increase of violence and destabilization within Syria.

In recent days, some German journalists have even demanded the immediate military intervention in Syria, while they are aware of the fact, that this would cost the lives of much more people. Not to mention that demanding a military intervention while knowing the backgrounds, even truth of events, is pretty brazen and finally a crime.

Interview with Peter Scholl-Latour, Source is below.

Scholl-Latour about Syrian conflict, Role of Turkey and the Rebels

Mr. Scholl-Latour, the tensions between Syria and Turkey are constantly increasing. Damascus and Ankara have both imposed reciprocal blockades for their airspace. The Turkish foreign minister threatened, that they would beat back “without hesitation” in case of further border violations by Syria.

Peter Scholl-Latour: Turkey has undergone a radical change in terms of their policy towards Syria which was characterized by close coordination until recently. Even before the recent border incursions, where it is still not confirmed who has really fired the grenades across the border. Assad can have no interest in the situation to even military antagonise Turkey against him. Since the beginning of the recent uprising, the rebels have also received supplies over the Turkish border.

Which aims are followed by Ankara with its interfering in Syria’s conflict?

Peter Scholl-Latour: Furthermore one can only speculate. Sure, the Erdogan government is interested to establish Turkey as a Sunni supremacy in the region. This venture is not without risk for Turkey, because even under Syrian Sunnis they rather have conflicting feelings towards a Turkish supremacy, based on the historical memories of the Ottoman rule. Of course, from the Turkish perspective, there is still a very different, much more urgent problem.

Which one?

Peter Scholl-Latour: The Kurdish problem. The Syrian president had already to accept that he had to grant the Kurds living in the northeast of its state territory, their amount is about 2 million, a similar sovereignty, such as the Kurds have in neighbouring Iraq.

Ankara sees these developments with growing concern, as these sovereign territories could naturally also exert a pull on the Kurds in Turkey. Recently, there were already increased activities of the PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party) in the Turkish Kurdish areas, which was already regarded as defeated.

You have met the president of Syria in Damascus late last year; what were your impressions of Bashar al-Assad?

Peter Scholl-Latour: Right, my interview has taken place on 30.12 2011, at eight o `clock in the morning. Those who met the young President Bashar al-Assad discovered a tall, polite interlocutor who – at the time of this meeting – seemed yet not harassed by fears. That may have changed now, of course.

What was the conversation about?

Peter Scholl-Latour: Regarding the content of the conversation, I will stick to the agreed confidentiality. It was not an interview and the President had not to publish sensational news. However, Assad laid emphasis on interpreting the conflict in Syria as international conflict. Therewith, he is certainly correct.

In this context, one should also not forget that Assad, who was trained in London to become an ophthalmologist, never had political ambitions. He came into the highest office of the state because his brother Basil died in a car accident. So bloody the events in Syria might be, in comparison to his father, the current president of Syria is rather harmless.

You allude to the “Hama massacre” which has taken place in 1982?

Peter Scholl-Latour: Yes, the city of Hama, the former stronghold of the uprising of the Muslim Brotherhood against the Assad regime, I passed the city two days after the massacre. More than 20,000 people were massacred at that time. Not a stone was left standing.

So, a similar situation as now; the majority Sunni population in a revolt against the Alawite minority, which is mainly represented by the Baathist regime?

Peter Scholl-Latour: With a huge difference. Unlike 1982, the insurgents are now equipped massively from abroad. By smuggling arms across the borders of Syria The “freedom fighters” in Syria would have been destroyed a long time ago by the army of Syria, as well as by the Shabiha, the Alawite militia, were there not the help from abroad.

Would al-Assad`s fall also automatically mean the end of the Alawite hegemony in Syria?

Peter Scholl-Latour: Not only that, the Alawites would not only lose their privileges and positions of power, they would also have to face a bloody vendetta.

The Alawites are regarded by extremist Sunnis as heretics. Since the rebels of the “Free Syrian Army” (FSA) in the meantime can not only rely on deserters, but are also supported by jihadists from across the Arab world, especially by Salafist forces (Salafi forces), as well as such groups which are subsumed under the catchall phrase al Qaeda by the West, a massacre cannot be excluded.

Hence the determination of al-Assad to continue the fight?

Peter Scholl-Latour: Exactly. The Syrian president has noticed Gaddafi’s fate. Also a trial in The Hague, flanked by life imprisonment, is indeed not an acceptable alternative, especially as he is also committed to the protection of his extended family clans.

Incidentally, with a deadly attack on Assad, the conflict would not end automatically. The younger brother of the president, the army commander Maher, would oppose the sinking of the Alawites with brutal decisiveness.

In the West, they demand the departure of Assad.

Peter Scholl-Latour: In the West, they have still not learned out of the so-called “Arab Spring”. Probably they are still dreaming of an automatic turn to democracy and market economy in Syria, if Assad is finally gone.

The case will be the opposite. A significant proportion of the insurgents in Syria are committed to radical Islamism, which is supported by the reactionary Gulf monarchies, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, and which will then ultimately also turn against the West. One readily ignores it here, that with al-Assad’s Syria, the last secular state would be lost in the region, with fatal consequences for Christians and other religious minorities.

Of course, which is actually not supposed to be in the interests of the West?

Peter Scholl-Latour: No, certainly not. The Americans, but also the Europeans, have immoderately upgraded (militarily) Saudi Arabia, although the local Wahhabi regime, the Salafists (Salafis), are representing an intolerant and fanatical Islam, financed and supported worldwide.

By this, the West tries to push back the Iranian influence.

Peter Scholl-Latour: Yes, that’s the real reason for the Western front against Assad, and not the desire that freedom and human rights have to be established in Syria.

When the West would be serious about it, the West would have demanded these principles at its ally Saudi Arabia, where conditions are far worse in this regard than in Iran. Even the Saudi occupation of Bahrain has not even caused a frown in the West.

On the contrary, the Federal Republic has upgraded Riyadh with tanks. The conflict’s aim is to stop about the aim to stop the Iranians to get a connection to the Mediterranean, via Iraq, Syria up to Lebanon. That is the reason why Assad should disappear.

In your new book, “The world out of joint”, you not only criticize the close relationship of the West with Saudi Arabia, but also the confrontation with Iran. Does Israel have no good reason to fear Iran, for example, because the Iranian bomb?

Peter Scholl-Latour: The noted Israeli military historian Martin van Creveld said to this: “Israel can live with an Iranian bomb!” I agree with this assessment. In the same way as he, it was also expressed by the former head of Mossad, Meir Dagan, also a man of considerable political weight.

The Israeli General Staff faces the insistence of certain politicians in Jerusalem about a pre-emptive strike against Tehran with great scepticism. If Iran should have the bomb, it will not bomb Tel Aviv. In a moment like this, Israel and the U.S. would nuclear extinguish Iran – and Teheran is not so suicidal.

The threat to use the weapon is a propaganda statement, which is really untenable. It is also in strategic view of things a completely false view.

The nuclear bomb of Iran should be a weapon of deterrence. Incidentally, Iran has also a very effective conventional force; their potential should not be underestimated. Even without a nuclear bomb, Iran is a major power. Would this be not the case, the West would have already intervened a long time ago.

Let`s come back to talk about Syria in the conclusion. What’s next there? Will Assad be able to stay?

Peter Scholl-Latour: It would be foolhardy at this point to make any predictions. Possibly, Syria is faced with a long, bloody civil war, as at that time in Lebanon.

Meanwhile, also the CIA should be aware of the fact that the “Free Syrian Army” (FSA) is increasingly infiltrated by radical jihadists and al-Qaeda groups. Should these elements be able to seize the Syrian chemical weapons, which are in the stocks of the Assad regime, the international terrorism would be taken on a new and terrible dimension. The Assad’s opponents are then likely to be much more dangerous than the Baathist regime in Damascus ever was.



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