Journalist Neil Clark told RT western imperial
ambitions have come at the expense of Syria's popular will.
RT: London and Paris have said they'll raise the topic of lifting an EU arms embargo in Brussels on Monday, hoping for direct weapons deliveries to the rebels. Do you think their wish will be granted?
Neil Clark: It's back to 2011, isn't it? It's Libya mark two, because back in February/March 2011, it was the same scenario, wasn't it? What we have is, we get together some opposition puppets if you like, knock their heads together, call them the government of Libya and now Syria, and then we work to end the arms embargoes. And very soon you'll be hearing talk, I expect, of no-fly zones. This is all part of the plan to topple President Bashar al-Assad, and of course things haven't gone to plan for the Western powers, have they, because President Assad is still in power. It wasn't meant to have gone this way, so now they are going back to what they did last year.
RT: If Western states begin official arms supplies, wouldn't nations that back the Syrian government have the right to do the same?
NC: Oh, absolutely, but this hypocrisy has been absolutely glaring. We had [British Foreign Secretary]William Hague, and then we had French leaders and the Americans claiming that Iran is backing Syria. And of course we have the furore with the Turkish bringing down a Syrian plane, which they claim was carrying Russian guns to Syria, and of course we never saw those. So the hypocrisy for the Western powers is absolutely glaring; It's okay for us to arm the rebels in Syria, but for anyone else to arm the Syrians, it's not allowed.
RT: Britain says it wants a political transition plan from the new Syrian opposition coalition before it recognizes them as legitimate. Why is it that Western allies other than France haven't jumped on the bandwagon and recognized this new coalition?
NC: I think the Americans are a bit concerned at the moment. [President] Obama is caught between two stools here. After what happened in Libya, he's a bit concerned the weapons will get into the hands of people who may turn and use them against the US a year from now as they've done there.
I think the French are the most aggressive of the lot, even more aggressive than Britain. [French President] Mr. Hollande is trying to recreate the French empire I'm afraid. I mean, 40 years ago the great Charles De Gaulle, and now we have the grotesque spectacle of so-called Socialist Francois Hollande actually trying to recreate the French empire following on from [former President] Sarkozy. The French line is absolutely appalling what they're doing here; they have absolutely no right at all to say who the government of Syria is. It's up to the Syrian people to decide that. And I expect Britain will follow unfortunately on Monday of next week.
RT: The new opposition coalition’s founding document expressly rejects any talks with the regime. With that in mind, how can the alliance expect to achieve peace?
NC: They don't want peace. What they want is the violent removal of President Assad. That's been clear form the start. We've already got a democratic framework in Syria. We had the constitutional vote back in February; 87 percent of Syrians voted for it. We had elections in May There has been every possibility of change in Syria through the ballot box, but the West doesn't want that because they know that President Assad is too popular. The Ba'ath probably has majority support inside Syria. So they can't go down that root, and therefore they need violent regime change…because that's the only way they are going to get what they want, which is a puppet regime in Damascus.
RT: If they want that regime change, would Turkey be the country to actually spearhead the military operation bearing in mind it’s now in talks with NATO to set up missiles on its border with Syria?
NC: It's very likely that would happen because the likes of Britain, France and the US wouldn't want themselves to be taking the lead in this. They would like a Muslim country, preferably Turkey, to take the lead, otherwise people are just going to say this is a Western operation, which it is. And of course Turkey has changed its policy on Syria. In the last 18 months it's moved towards the Qatari/Saudi/Gulf bloc. So I think the West would much prefer for this sort of intervention, when it comes, to come through Turkey. I think what we're going to get next week is more talk about no-fly zones, which is interesting because we've got Gaza going on; we've got the Israeli air force bombing Gaza. And of course there's no call for no-fly zones there from William Hague and Francois Hollande, but of course there will be for Syria?
RT: So if removing Assad will cause even more volatility and instability in the region, it would be better off to keep him there at the moment, wouldn't it?
NC: Well, it's up to the Syrian people. My line on this is, the Syrian people must decide this. The majority of people want the government to stay. We had a rebel commander a few weeks ago bemoaning the fact that in Aleppo and other cities, 70 percent of the people in Syria are behind the government. This is why President Assad is still in power. So you have this grotesque spectacle of western powers shouting from the rooftops they are keen on democracy but they don't want to allow the people's will in Syria to prevail. They want to impose by force a puppet government, and what would happen is a Libya mark two. If Assad is toppled, we would have more chaos in Syria, more death and destruction, but the west doesn't really care about that, it doesn't care about what is happening in Libya at the moment. What it cares about is a new government in Damascus which would privatize the entire economy and cut links with Iran and Hezbollah and allow the move against Iran to take place, because it is all about paving the way for war against Iran.