Assad Interview: 'West Is More Confident in Al-Qaida than Me'

Syrian President Bashar Assad: "The Russians understand the reality here much better." Zoom
REUTERS

Syrian President Bashar Assad: "The Russians understand the reality here much better."

In an interview with SPIEGEL, Syrian President Assad continues to describe the rebels as terrorists, accuses the West of lies and maintains that he is only seeking to defend his country. The leader also admits mistakes.

In an interview to be published in the Monday issue of SPIEGEL, Syrian President Bashar Assad speaks out about inspections of his country's chemical weapons, possible new elections and the role of Germany, the United States and Russia in his country's crisis. He also continues to vehemently deny any role in chemical weapons attacks on civilians and the armed opposition.

"We did not use chemical weapons," he tells the magazine. "This is a misstatement. So is the picture you paint of me as a man who kills his own people."

He also expresses doubts about the United Nations report on the Aug. 21 chemical weapons attack. "No one can say with certainty that rockets were used," he says. Instead, he accuses the rebels themselves of using Sarin gas.

Addressing the chemical weapons inspections now beginning in Syria, he says: "We're very transparent. The experts can go to every site. They are going to have all the data from our government." Until the weapons are destroyed, they will remain "under full control," he adds.

'I Would Like to See Envoys from Germany'

Assad also criticizes the international community. "It seems to me that the West is more confident in al-Qaida than me," he says. As for US President Barack Obama, he says: "The only thing he has is lies." In contrast, he describes the Russians as "our real friends," adding that they "understand the reality here much better."

Assad also suggests that Germany could act as a mediator in the conflict. "I would like to see envoys from Germany come to Syria to discuss the reality," he says.

The Syrian president also admits that his army has cooperated with Hezbollah in fighting that has taken place in areas on the border with Lebanon.

Asked if he believes a solution to the Syrian crisis could still be negotiated, he counters, "With the militants? No. Because by its very definition, a political opposition doesn't have an army."

Assad also raises the prospect of early elections before his term as president expires in August 2014. "I'm not in a position to say right now whether I will run or not," he says. "If I no longer know that I have the will of the people behind me, then I will not run."

He also concedes, "There were personal mistakes made by individuals. Every human makes mistakes. A president also makes mistakes." One can't just say "they did everything and we did nothing, 100 percent and zero percent," he adds. Reality has "shades of gray."

Finally, addressing the potential outcome of the Syrian conflict, Assad says: "We don't have any other option than to believe in our victory." The Syrian leader says he also doesn't have any fears about his own well-being. "If I were afraid," he says, "I would have left Syria a long time ago."

SPIEGEL International will publish the full interview in English on Monday.

Article...
  • For reasons of data protection and privacy, your IP address will only be stored if you are a registered user of Facebook and you are currently logged in to the service. For more detailed information, please click on the "i" symbol.
  • Post to other social networks

Comments
Discuss this issue with other readers!
2 total posts
Show all comments
    Page 1    
1. Der Spiegel Assad Interview
stephenreal 10/06/2013
The West has no real compunctions against laying waste to Assad's regime. He is a very bad man. Yet as some good friends on the other side of pond simply state in a very realpolitik way: "What comes after that?" Now that my friend is a very good question. There have to be better options for the West to manage this humanitarian disaster.
2. optional
danm 10/07/2013
Stephen is exactly correct. What comes next? If the Syrian people could provide a credible alternative to Assad then we would support it. But without the leadership of the Syrian people there is no point in our young people dying to put extremist muslims in charge and let things go from bad to worse.
Show all comments
    Page 1    
Keep track of the news

Stay informed with our free news services:

All news from SPIEGEL International
Twitter | RSS
All news from World section
RSS

SPIEGEL ONLINE 2013
All Rights Reserved
Reproduction only allowed with the permission of SPIEGELnet GmbH



Photo Gallery
Photo Gallery: Worries about Extremists in Syria

Photo Gallery
Photo Gallery: An Entire Life in a Suitcase for Syrian Refugees

European Partners
Presseurop

Politiken

Corriere della Sera

Garlasco Acquittals Overturned

Anti-Europe Fever


Facebook
Twitter