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‘Syrians want to go on living in secular, tolerant state’

Published time: June 12, 2013 14:38
A handout picture released by the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) on May 21, 2013, shows people gathering in a market in in the northwestern province of Idlib. (AFP/SANA)

The people didn’t see Syria as perfect before the civil war, but it was a secular, tolerant state, which will be lost if Islamist rebels prevail, European MP Nick Griffin, who in Damascus with a fact-finding delegation, told RT.

Two suicide blasts rocked the Syrian capital Damascus this Tuesday, killing at least 14 people and wounding 31 more. The attacks come after the Syrian army retook the strategic town of Qusair from the rebels last week in what some see as a turning point in the war.

There are now jitters in Washington over the recent gains by Assad troops, which, according to AP, could approve sending weapons to the rebels as early as this week, with a no-fly zone also among the options.

British National Party leader and European MP Nick Griffin has called the involvement in Syria “a criminal action” on the part of the US.

He also warned that by arming the Islamists, the Obama administration will provide arms to the same people, who launched the 9/11 attack on America.  

RT: Damascus has been rocked by blasts today, but you've been describing life there 'normal'.  Why is that?


Nick Griffin: Well, ‘normal’ in terms of when you walk around the streets there’s ordinary people, there’s families, there’s people, who are strict Muslims and others, who are secular. Getting on with their lives and trying to ignore the bomb blasts, which go off occasionally. I’ve seen the same thing in Northern Ireland. People get used to this. Life continues. Certainly, in Damascus this is a state under attack, it’s not a state in crisis.   

RT: You say you want to highlight the risk of the British government supporting the Syrian opposition. What are those risks, as you see it?

NG: Fundamentally, it’s a question of blowback. You remember what happened in Afghanistan when the West, the CIA, the British state armed AL-Qaeda to fight the Soviet Union. And then of course, once the Soviet Union was finished the jihadis didn’t go away, they turned their attention elsewhere. And what we’ve got now, they’re managing to turn huge parts – fortunately shrinking parts of presence in Syria – into a giant terrorist training camp. The majority of people fighting in Syria against the Syrian government are foreign terrorists, tens of thousands of them, including hundreds from the EU, some of them even in Britain. When the war is over here they’re going to come back to Britain, come back to Western Europe and continue their jihad, but this time we’ll be the targets.   

RT: Do you expect the US to go ahead with weapons supplies to the opposition, given the army gains we've seen?

NG:
I fear that the US will go ahead with weapon supplies. There are a number of people a number of organizations and countries involved in this criminal drive to destroy secular Syria. One of them is the US government, not ordinary American people. They’re working out a plan which was produced at the start of the century by a group calling itself the Project for New American Century and they wanted to secure energy supplies for the US and also to contain Russia. That’s what this attack on Syria is the latest of this criminal action by the US. They’re not the only ones to blame, but they’re a significant part of it. So I fear they’ll probably want to go ahead and arm these rebels, even though in doing so they’re arming the same people as attacked the US on 9/11.   

RT: You're there with other pan-European politicians. What's their assessment of Syria right now? Are they hopeful diplomacy can succeed at this stage?

NG: In particular, the most important others are members of the Flemish Belgian parliament. I think we’re all pretty much in agreement, with what we’ve seen. We’ve also been able to talk with ordinary Syrians at all sorts of different levels. Something that comes out from all those people who we speak to is that Syria wasn’t perfect, but it was a secular and tolerant state where no one even cared if someone was Sunni or Shia or Christian or Jewish. They go on with it and that’s the thing, which is going to be destroyed if this carries on. And everyone I was there with, I think, gets this point and agrees with me and the vast majority of people in Britain, that we shouldn’t be involved in other peoples’ quarrels.

The Syrians have problems to sort out. Those are problems of a question for Syria to sort out through ballot box, not through foreign terrorists and foreign military intervention.