Saturday, March 03, 2012

Israeli Interviews Free Syrian Army Leader

FSA Leader Tells Journalist 'Israel is the West,'
Syrians Needs Israel, Will Not Forget Gestures
I’m going to repeat what I said to you earlier. Syrian society is not religious. It is an extremely diverse population. We not only have Sunnis and Shiites, but we also have Christians, Armenians, Ashuris, and Druze. All of these groups do not want a religious state. There may be countries in the region who are interested in seeing Syria split into different parts. There may even be those who see Syria’s dismemberment as a solution to the Kurdish problem. But we are adamantly opposed to this. We want neither the Muslim Brotherhood nor the Salafis. Syria is not Egypt.

-FSA Leader "Kamal" in an interview with Boaz Bismuth of Israel Hayom.

An astonishing interview in a Paris cafe. Click here to read it.

What wasn't discussed: Russia's interest in maintaining its naval installation in Tartus and $1 billion in annual arms sales to Syria (after the loss of $4 billion a year in arms sales to Libya). References by a Free Syrian Army leader to Israel as a portal to the West and his related suggestions of a peace pact with Israel are encouraging signs; but Russian and Chinese cooperation are keys to getting rid of the Syrian regime. Thus, the vision that would appear to make the most sense in terms of a way forward is that of a democratic, politically neutral Syria, living in peace with all its neighbors, including Israel, looking to both the East and the West for trade, investment, inspiration and ideas. If Washington and Moscow--and Beijing--seriously want to end the Syrian nightmare and create conditions for permanent peace in the region they should put aside contemporary imperial rivalries and embrace the concept of Syrian political neutrality.

Endnote: Regarding plots to dismember Syria, Foreign Confidential™ reported last September that Turkey is "interested in a Syrian breakup. A Kurdish puppet state in northern Syria would serve Turkish interests as it pursues a neo-Ottoman imperialist foreign policy--with the support of the Obama administration, which wants to use Turkey, a full NATO member, as a counter to nuclear-arming Iran." Be that as it may, given Syria's shaky ethnic and religious fault lines, the possibility of a politically neutral, Swiss-style Syrian state comprised of autonomous cantons merits serious study.