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Enemy inside the gates: Syria’s main foe is ‘foreign-sponsored terrorists’

Published time: November 13, 2012 13:57
Syria's president Bashar al-Assad (AFP Photo / Sergei Supinsky)

Today, Western countries are implementing the primitive tool of ‘state-sponsored terrorism’ to influence the internal situation in foreign countries, argues Pavel Zolotarev, deputy director of the Institute for US and Canada Studies at the Russian Academy of Sciences.

Citing the situation in Syria, which has been engaged in a protracted conflict between a rebel opposition and pro-government forces, Zolotarev said that President Assad is not involved in what could be considered a “normal” civil war. Rather, the Syrian president is primarily fighting against foreign terrorists using foreign weapons, he told RT in a telephone interview.

“This is a very dangerous situation,” the analyst said, stressing that sovereign states have the right to change their leaders through “internal political movements and legitimate elections,” without fear of outside interference.

Zolotarev’s remarks closely mirror those of the Syrian president himself, who told RT in an interview in Damascus last week that the Syrian crisis “is about terrorism and the support coming from abroad to terrorists to destabilize Syria.

“This is our war,” the Assad stressed.

Earlier, Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said Russia is holding firm to the position that the Syrian crisis must be resolved by the Syrian people and without the use of force.

"The main criterion is the participants' readiness to act by peaceful means without external interference, through dialogue and negotiations," the diplomat stressed. "In compliance with the agreements recorded in the Geneva communique by the Action Group we will continue contacts with the Syrian government and all opposition groups based on a constructive approach.”

Meanwhile, Victoria Panova, associate professor of the Moscow State Institute of International Relations, told RT that the Syrian opposition movement could not be considered a grassroots movement because the Syrian opposition “would not be able to do anything without the support of the West and some Arab countries.”

Panova personally believes that President Assad “has been a weaker leader than his father,” Hafez Assad, who served as president of Syria from 1971 to 2000, and this allowed a rebel opposition to not only assert itself, but to garner foreign support.

Most disturbing for Panova, however, is not the question as to when or if the Syrian government under Assad falls, but what power structure will fill the void.

“In the event that even greater civil unrest unfolds if Assad is deposed, the West would not be able to take sides in the unrest because it would have been responsible for putting the new regime in power,” she noted.

All of these conditions make for a potentially “volatile situation” in the event that Assad is forcibly ousted from power, she concluded.

It must be mentioned that despite claims that the Syrian opposition is being funded by foreign powers, the opposition is downplaying the level of foreign support it receives.

Mahmud Hamsa, a representative of the Syrian National Council in Russia, says that the West has been under-financing the opposition.

"These statements [on the inefficiency of the Council's activities] are not justified,” Hamsa told reporters in Moscow on Monday. “They provided very little help and now they are blaming everything on the Syrian National Council.”

"A coalition has been formed. We will now see if they are really ready to help," he said.

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