In a recent speech televised on Press TV this Tuesday, Syrian President al-Assad highlighted the dubious plans of foreign invaders who are attempting to increase the country’s domestic crisis.
He defended the government’s ban on some foreign media, saying that their fabrications forced some control.
Press TV has conducted an interview with Nader Mokhtari, columnist & commentator, to further discuss the issue.
The following is a transcript of the interview.
Press TV: The [Assad speech] appeared to be, from what I gathered, much more stern and very confident sounding Syrian president. And also, it seemed hostile to these Arab countries and, of course, the Arab League which is comprised of the Arab countries.
Mokhtari: Yes, indeed. In his last speeches he’s been holding back. And this was very much a speech with the gloves off. He did criticize the Arab League. But those familiar with his speeches realized that he was taking a swipe against Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
He said that they’re saying we are undemocratic and we are despots, and yet they are aiding and abetting despotic regimes to break Syria. And this is quite strange because the stance that’s adopted smacks of newfound strength at a time where indeed the corporate media all across the world has all but written Assad off.
But the Assads’ have a habit of surprising the Middle East. His father also had tended to be a bit of a comeback kid.
But I must admit that his self-confidence today in his speech was something we hadn’t seen ever since the trouble started over there. And his comments on Saudi Arabia and Qatar were quite clear.
I can’t say they were quite threats, but he said that peaceful protests are not being allowed in Saudi Arabia, for instance; he pointed out, he said [there are] Arab countries where peaceful protests are not allowed, and yet they tell us to accept the killing of our people.
And that was very poignant, meaning that if you are with the US or with Israel, you can do what you like with your people; but if you’re not with them and they come and kill your people, you’re not allowed to do anything.
However, his stature was a lot more self-assured. I don’t know what’s going on behind the scenes but he did seem an awful lot more confident than he has done for quite some time.
Press TV: Let’s look at what you refer to as this newfound strength. What do you attribute it to? Is it the fact that, as he mentioned time and again in his speech, that the truth is now revealed? He’s talked about pretty much what he’s asserted throughout the unrest: armed gangs and terrorists, and how this has now come into the picture in terms of the world seeing it?
Mokhtari: I believe that there are developments although I don’t have a crystal ball. I believe that the next step following this speech would be taking away the covers from what’s been going on in the region and what’s been going on behind the troubles in Syria.
As I said, his confidence has amazed me.
I believe Damascus has made the connection and is able to use this connection in order to clear its path.
But, the Syrian president made it clear that he is all for reform. He said I’m willing to meet all oppositions.
Press TV: He said to the opposition, he said, ‘what opposition?’ What did he mean when he said that? -Because it seemed like he was discounting all of them, and there’s a number of groups from what I understand.
Mokhtari: He did say ‘what opposition?’ But following that he said “what opposition? The opposition who kills Syrian people? They’re not opposition,” he said. “They’re terrorists,” to put the quote.
He said, “I’m willing to meet all peaceful opposition and I’m willing to build not only a new Syria, but a new state.” And that was curious!
He’s pointing at a new political path ahead of the country. But he said he would not accept, again, ‘armed gangs backed by foreign conspirators to take over Syria because that would not be a people’s revolution, it would be an armed takeover’.