NO ADVERTISING, GOVERNMENT OR CORPORATE FUNDING

  • Latest News
  • Pitch a Story
  • Work with a Journalist
  • Join the Blog Squad
  • Afghanistan
  • Africa
  • Asia
  • Baltimore
  • Canada
  • Egypt
  • Europe
  • Latin America
  • Middle East
  • Russia
  • Economy
  • Environment
  • Health Care
  • Military
  • Occupy
  • Organize This
  • Reality Asserts Itself
  • US Politics
  • "Friends of Syria" Push Civil War


    Vijay Prashad: Saudis, Qatar and West arm opposition and recognize Syrian National Council -   April 4, 12
    Members don't see ads. If you are a member, and you're seeing this appeal, click here

    Audio

    Share to Facebook Share to Twitter




    I support the Real News because without The Real News we would have no real news at all. - WWH
    Log in and tell us why you support TRNN

    Bio

    Vijay Prashad is the Edward Said Chair at the American University of Beirut. He is the author of sixteen books, including The Poorer Nations: A Possible History of the Global South (Verso, 2013), Arab Spring, Libyan Winter (AK, 2012) and (co-edited with Paul Amar) Dispatches from the Arab Spring (2013). He writes regularly for The Hindu, Frontline, Jadaliyya, Counterpunch, Himal and Bol.

    Transcript

    PAUL JAY, SENIOR EDITOR, TRNN: Welcome to The Real News Network. I'm Paul Jay in Washington.

    In Istanbul on April 1, the Friends of Syria had their second meeting. This is a group of countries that more or less are on the same page about overthrowing Assad in Syria and more or less are on the same page of supporting the Syrian opposition. Many of the countries pledged millions of dollars to the Syrian opposition, and they also in one of the more controversial decisions decided to recognize the Syrian National Council as the legitimate voice of the Syrian opposition—legitimate representative, I guess, was the exact wording—of the Syrian opposition. This drew some criticism from Arab press.

    Here's an example of a couple of the responses. An editorial in the United Arab Emirates' The National said the meeting "recognised the Syrian National Council as the 'legitimate representative' of the opposition. The label only partially masks the fact that opposition divisions are deepening, rival factions are splintering and no single 'opposition' speaks for the Syrian people. . . . [B]y propping up one group without pressuring it to include other forces, the international community may, unwittingly, be deepening Syria's crisis."

    Another editorial, in the United Arab Emirates paper Al Khaleej, said it seems the internal opposition has the political courage to initiate a program for a political settlement and national reconciliation and block the road to civil war, while the external leadership (and I'm adding this note: that means Syrian National Council) continues with calls for foreign intervention and armed intifada.

    Now joining us to talk about this meeting of Friends of Syria and the situation in the Syrian opposition and geopolitics surrounding it is Vijay Prashad. Vijay is a professor of international studies at Trinity College in Connecticut. Among his many books, he's authored The Darker Nations: A People's History of the Third World and Arab Spring, Libyan Winter. And he joins us now from Hartford. Thanks for joining us, Vijay.

    VIJAY PRASHAD: Thank you so much.

    JAY: So what did you make of these meetings? And then we can talk a little bit about that reaction of the recognition of the Syrian National Council.

    PRASHAD: Well, I mean, the timing of the meeting should be questioned. Of course, it was on April Fools' Day, but that's not the germane problem. The real problem is that just a few days before the Friends of Syria met in Istanbul on April 1, on March 27 the UN and Arab League's envoy, Kofi Annan, former general secretary of the United Nations, released his six-point plan, where he had apparently been given assent by the Assad regime to draw down troops from cities, to create a so-called humanitarian pause, to allow goods and services to enter beleaguered areas, etc. So Annan had just secured an important set of concessions from the Assad regime. In the six-point plan, Anand had said that he was then going to talk—subsequently he was going to talk to the Syrian opposition to get their assent on some kind of drawdown, to open a kind of political process. You know, the clarity of what this was going to look like was not quite there, but this was a significant breakthrough.

    Well, three, four days after this breakthrough, the Friends of Syria met in Istanbul, and they talked about multimillion dollars towards the Syrian opposition, including arms. This is a very significant, rather irresponsible action taken by, mainly, the West and the Gulf Arab states. It was so irresponsible that Anders Fogh Rasmussen, who is the chief of NATO, hastily put out a statement saying that NATO is not interested in any kind of armed action in Syria, and NATO would like to see something like the Anand plan be utilized. And this is the context in which we have to see it.

    Furthermore, it's important to recognize that the Arab League had just met in Baghdad for the first time since 1990, and the Arab League had a very different approach to the Syrian crisis. After the Friends of Syria released their, you know, jubilant statement about providing multimillion dollars of arms toward the Syrian opposition, the Iraqi government, which had just hosted the Arab League meeting, the Iraqi government said that this is irresponsible and this is not the way forward. So, I mean, if there was to be a takeaway from the meeting in Istanbul, one has to see it as an attempt by the West and the Gulf Arab states to prolong the armed conflict in Syria rather than bring it to a close and toward a political dialog between the various parties that are involved in the context.

    JAY: Well, this [incompr.] goes back to, then, these quotes that I read in my introduction, where you have the Syrian National Council externally not—first of all, being recognized by the Friends of Syria and being—seems—on board and pushing themselves for intervention, certainly for arming the opposition, whereas the domestic opposition forces, many of them are actually against this. They wanted a humanitarian corridor opened up for help, but they want some kind of process with the Assad regime and avoid civil war. So the outside players are all pushing war.

    PRASHAD: Yes. I mean, this is very important. And this is a story that I think people have not taken, you know, seriously, which is that when there is a talk of a Syrian opposition, there is a divided opposition. There is a divided opposition inside Syria, and there is a serious divide between the opposition outside Syria and that within.

    The opposition in Syria is facing the full front of battle and of violence, and they are not keen to prolong the armed contest. They realize, it seems to me, that there is a stalemate and that if time is going to continue like this, it is the friend of the Assad regime and not their friend, that in turn they will be obliterated. You know, what they had wanted was to see significant defections in the Syrian army, and they have not seen that. And I think that was a clue to the internal opposition in Syria that political concessions and a political road is the only way forward.

    I think the opposition outside is looking at Syria through a Libyan model. They are hoping for some kind of massive intervention from the West, aided and perhaps funded by the Gulf Arabs, which will give them cover to fly into Damascus on the wings of an F-16 plane. And, you know, that is simply not going to happen. It seems like the West and the Gulf Arabs want the Syrian opposition within the country to be the ones to bleed in order for them to have their own geopolitical agenda fulfilled and not the needs of the Syrian people.

    JAY: Because if the people on the ground in Syria bleed, I guess the plan is some day the Syrian National Council from outside gets to walk in and, as they had originally planned for Iraq, become the new government.

    PRASHAD: Absolutely. I mean, this is the strategy, a tried strategy, a strategy that, you know, didn't really work in Iraq, a strategy which certainly has not worked in Libya, where, you know, just this last week there were six days of bloody fighting in various cities in Libya and over 140 people were killed. Of course, this is not being reported outside Libya, outside the Arab world, that there is this continuing fighting in Libya, there is an unsettled political state, and that NATO's intervention didn't actually create the kind of humanitarian stability that the West so cavalierly promised.

    So you have two examples of a failure of this model, and yet, as if history doesn't teach them anything, they are looking to bewilder the planet into going for this model for a third time. Failed in Iraq, failed in Libya, and they will see it fail again in Syria. And that is the tragedy for the Iraqis, the Libyans, and, of course, now for the Syrian people.

    JAY: Thanks for joining us, Vijay.

    PRASHAD: Thank you so much.

    JAY: Thank you for joining us on The Real News Network.

    End

    DISCLAIMER: Please note that transcripts for The Real News Network are typed from a recording of the program. TRNN cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.


    Comments

    Our automatic spam filter blocks comments with multiple links and multiple users using the same IP address. Please make thoughtful comments with minimal links using only one user name. If you think your comment has been mistakenly removed please email us at contact@therealnews.com

    Comments


    Latest Stories


    University Sit-In Targets World's Largest Private Coal Company
    The Modern History of Venezuela and the Need for a Post-Oil Economy - Edgardo Lander on RAI (6/9)
    Can Johns Hopkins Afford to Pay A Living Wage? (1/2)
    One Percent of Environmentalists Killings Lead to Convictions
    Investigation Finds Former Ukraine President Not Responsible For Sniper Attack on Protestors
    The Modern History of Venezuela from 1973 to the Caracazo Massacre - Edgardo Lander on Reality Asserts Itself (3/9)
    Ukraine Transitional Gov't Moves Militarily To Reclaim Seized Buildings
    IPCC Report Flawed By Narrow Focus on Carbon Emissions
    The Modern History of Venezuela: The Bolivarian Revolution - Edgardo Lander on Reality Asserts Itself (5/9)
    Obama Signs Directives to Reduce the Gender Wage Gap
    Eastern Ukraine Lacks Political Representation in Kiev
    Demystifying the Role of Mitigation in the Most Recent IPCC Report
    Hypersurveillance State Won't Prevent Another Boston Marathon Bombing
    The Modern History of Venezuela from 1973 to the Caracazo Massacre - Edgardo Lander on Reality Asserts Itself (3/9)
    Univ. of Maine Faculty Reinstated After Students Protest Against Cuts
    The Modern History of Venezuela from 1908 to 1973 - Edgardo Lander on Reality Asserts Itself (2/9)
    IMF Will Address Global Inequality, Says Managing Director Christine Lagarde
    Raising Big Banks' Leverage Ratio Good, But Not Nearly Enough
    TRNN Replay: Austerity Road to 19th Century
    Has Palestinian Maneuvering Revived Peace Talks?
    Late Jackson Mayor Lumumba's Son Wins Primary to Replace His Father, Runoff Election Ahead
    Quebecers Reject PQ and Elect a Liberal Government Representing Big Business
    TRNN Debate: Decriminalization vs. Legalization
    The Beginning of the Chavez Era - Edgardo Lander on Reality Asserts Itself (4/9)
    "Off With His Head": Court Upholds Obama's Power to Kill
    Workers at Nation's Top Hospital Strike For Fair Wages
    From Exile to Radicalization in Venezuela - Edgardo Lander on Reality Asserts Itself (1/9)
    Rwanda 20 Years Later: Genocide, Western Plunder of Congo, and President Kagame
    Ukrainian Protesters in the East Demand More Autonomy From Kiev Government
    Hunger Strikers Demand President Obama Halt His Record 2 Million Deportations
    Indian Parliamentary Elections - A Primer With Vijay Prashad
    West Looks to Carve Up Ukraine & Privatize Industries Held by Kleptocrats
    Where Are Israeli-Palestinian Peace Negotiations Headed?
    The Multiple Kingdoms of Saudi Arabia (5/5)
    Do the Afghan Presidential Elections Signify Progress?
    Republican Presidential Hopefuls Pay Homage to Billionaire Casino Tycoon Sheldon Adelson
    Will Extremist Lieberman Become Israel's Next Prime Minister?
    Why do the Saudis Want the US to Attack Iran? (4/5)
    Immigrant Advocates and Families Tell President Obama 'Not One More'
    Elections, Pipelines, and Protests - The Canada Panel
    Chris Hedges on "Israel's War on American Universities"
    Baltimore Residents Decry Lack of Affordable Housing
    Yellen Talks the Talk But Will She Walk the Walk?
    Hopkins Hospital Workers Speak Out against "Poverty Wages"
    Will Venezuela's New Floating Exchange Rate Curb Inflation?
    The European Central Bank's War on Wages is Pushing Europe's Economy to the Brink
    Supreme Court Decision Opens Floodgates for More Campaign Cash
    Charles Keating, the Financier Behind the Savings and Loan Scandal, Dies at 90
    Saudi Arabia and the al-Qaeda Monster (3/5)
    Maryland Residents Voice Opposition to Natural Gas Fracking Export Facility
    Supreme Court Ruling Gives Wealthy Individuals More Influence Over Elections
    What are the Saudis Afraid Of? - Madawi Al-Rasheed (2/5)
    Baltimore's MICA Adjunct Professors Set to Vote on Unionization
    Boycott of Israel Moving to Next Level?
    Hypocrisy Dressed Up as "Realism" Justifies American Alliance with Saudi Dictatorship
    Immigration Reform in the Shadows of Cesar Chavez's Legacy
    Leaked Senate Report Shows Use of Torture As "Ineffective"
    UN Report Says Climate Change Will Threaten Food Production Worldwide
    The Hypocrisy of US Calling for Enforcement of International Law
    How the Ecuadorian Economy Grew in a Global Recession
    'Shadows of Liberty' Trailer
    Kristina Borjesson on Why CBS Shut Down Her investigation into Flight 800 (2/8)
    Glen Ford on Racism in the American Media (3/8)
    Paul Jay on What Drives Corporate Media and What Drive The Real News (4/8)
    Creating a New Media Paradigm After Citizens United (5/8)
    Should The Left Engage with the Mainstream Media? (6/8)
    What Is the Financial Backing For The Real News? (7/8)
    Standing up to Character Assassination (8/8)
    Oligarchs, Fascists and the People's Protest in Ukraine
    TRNN Debate: Is Obamacare In the Interest of Workers?
    Too-Big-To-Fail Advantage Remains Intact For Big Banks
    Obama and the Saudi Agenda
    TRNN Replay: Investigating the Saudi Government's 9/11 Connection and the Path to Disilliusionment - Sen. Graham on Reality Asserts Itself pt 1
    The Iraq War's Real Legacy
    Petitions with 100,000+ Signatures Call for Snowden's Passport to be Reinstated
    We Need to Harness People Power - Andy Shallal on Reality Asserts Itself (4/4)
    BC Pipeline Fight and Quebec Elections - The Canada Panel
    Jonathan Schell - 1943-2014: Board Member of TRNN on Why We Need The Real News
    Teachers on Strike from the UK to Argentina
    Connecticut Poised to Become First State with $10.10 Minimum Wage
    Oil Spill Threatens Wildlife and Local Economy
    DC School Test Scores Up, But Poor Black Kids Are Doing Worse - Andy Shallal on RAI (3/4)
    Obama's Proposal To End NSA Bulk Data Collection Won't Protect Privacy
    How Google, Apple & The Biggest Tech Companies Colluded to Fix Workers' Wages
    An American Should be One that Questions Their Government - Andy Shallal on RAI (2/4)
    What's Driving Putin & Obama's Posturing on Ukraine?
    Hundreds of Students & Faculty Occupy College Campus to Fight Cuts to Public Higher Ed
    Due Process 'Impossible' In Harsh Death Sentencing Of Over 500 Muslim Brotherhood Members
    Has Anglo-American Capitalism Run Out of Steam?
    Being the "Other" in America - Andy Shallal on Reality Asserts Itself (1/4)
    TRNN Debate: Should Baltimore 'Ban The Box'?
    How Fallujah Became the Iraqi Government's New Battleground
    Why I Decided to Blow the Whistle on the NSA
    NASA Climate Predictions Show Serious Threat To Humanity
    Professor Who Teaches Israel-Palestine Conflict Accuses College of Violating His Academic Freedom
    CIA and NSA Wrongdoing Requires Independent Investigation, Says Former Church Committee Staff
    Are Tuition Breaks Enough To Combat High Student Debt And Low Graduation Rates?
    Industries Across the U.S. Are Stealing Wages From Their Lowest Paid Workers
    Who In Ukraine Will Benefit From An IMF Bailout?
    NSA Recording All International Calls From U.S.
    Israel "Making Lives Miserable" for Africans, Hoping They 'Self-Deport' (2/2)
    BP Gets Green Light to Drill in Gulf, But Has Safety Improved?
    Residents Still Not Drinking Tap Water Two Months After West Virginia Spill (1/2)
    Libya's Descent Into Turmoil Three Years After NATO Intervention
    From Pipelines to Peladeau - Canadian Report
    Israel "Making Lives Miserable" for Africans, Hoping They 'Self-Deport' (1/2)
    Congressional Progressive Caucus Budget Strikes Back Against Austerity
    Libya Three Years Later - Chaos and Partition
    Why Was Gaddafi Overthrown?
    Should Ukraine and West Accept De Facto Crimea Joining Russia? (2/2)
    Tony Benn Saw Socialism as the Culmination of Democratization
    Why Didn't Bush/Cheney Attack Iran and Can Obama Make and Sell a Deal? - Gareth Porter on Reality Asserts Itself (3/3)
    After Late Mayor Lumumba is Laid to Rest, What's Next for Jackson, Mississippi? (2/2)
    Crimea Referendum: Self Determination or Big Power Manipulation? (1/2)
    Sen. Graham: President Must Side with Openness About CIA and 9/11
    Manufacturing a Narrative for War - Gareth Porter on Reality Asserts Itself (2/3)
    Protesters Hit the Streets of Brooklyn to Demand $15 Minimum Wage
    Hammer: 'Moral Bankruptcy' Behind Massive GM Recall
    White House Withholds Thousands of Documents from Senate CIA Probe
    I Grew Up Believing in Time Magazine's Version of America - Gareth Porter on RAI (1/3)
    Western European Banks Vulnerable to Ukrainian Sovereign Debt Crisis
    TRNN Debate: What's Driving Inflation in Venezuela? (2/2)
    CIA vs. Senate: Who Is Obama Protecting?
    Will Tipped Workers Get Excluded Again From Minimum Wage Hike?
    TRNN Debate: What's Driving Inflation in Venezuela? (1/2)
    After Late Mayor Lumumba is Laid to Rest, What's Next for Jackson, Mississippi?(1/2)
    TRNN Replay: A Look at Who's Poised to Become No.2 at the Fed
    How Right-Wing Nationalism Rose to Influence in Ukraine (2/2)
    Netanyahu Attacks Boycott As Campaign Enters New Phase
    Moving Towards a Police State - Michael Ratner on Reality Asserts Itself (7/7)
    Fighting Reagan's Secret, Illegal Wars - Michael Ratner on Reality Asserts Itself (6/7)
    Puerto Rican Independence Movement and Cuba Further Radicalized Me - Michael Ratner on RAI (5/7)
    The Butcher of Attica - Michael Ratner on Reality Asserts Itself (4/7)
    MLK and a Radicalizing Moment in American History - Michael Ratner on Reality Asserts Itself (3/7)

    RealNewsNetwork.com, Real News Network, Real News, Real News For Real People, IWT are trademarks and service marks of IWT.TV inc. "The Real News" is the flagship show of IWT and Real News Network.

    All original content on this site is copyright of The Real News Network.  Click here for more

    Problems with this site? Please let us know

    Linux VPS Hosting by Star Dot Hosting