Transcript and translation by Basma Qaddour
It is presented by interviewer Elissar Mouallah on the state-run Syrian Television Channel.
Interviewer: Welcome our audiences to file for discussion.
What are the topics of our file today??
Many international developments have happened…What are their effects on Syria?
What are the remnant constants of war on Syria?
These are our topics.
They are just two questions, but answers will include a lot of topics.
My guests are:
Arab intellectual and writer Dr. Ibrahim Alloush.
Canadian journalist Mark Taliano, who will be with us via Skype.
Welcome Dr. Alloush.
Dr. Ibrahim: Thank you.
Interviewer: Welcome Mark.
Taliano: Thank you.
Interviewer: I will start with Dr. Ibrahim. The main topic of our file today is that there are many international developments that have happened. We want to talk particularly on the important developments after the recent Syrian presidential elections. How do you classify these developments, and what are these developments?
Dr. Ibrahim: The main development is the percentage of Syrians who participated in the elections despite the fact that there are many areas outside the control of the state in which there are millions of Syrians. These areas banned people from voting.. Some countries, such as Germany and Turkey banned millions of Syrians expatriates from voting. Therefore, this development will have effects not only at local level, but also at regional and international levels.
International and regional powers have to deal with the fact that this is the choice of the Syrian people. But it is not that easy. What we see is a type of change in US Administration’s way in dealing with the Syrian file. Although this change has not completely crystallized yet…. We have to wait the outcomes of the meeting which will be held on the 28th of this month where known powers such as America, Britain, France, Germany, plus Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan. But for the first time , Turkey and Qatar are invited for this meeting.. This is a dangerous indicator since we see a type of authorization at the same time of the US Administration ‘s military withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan and the pull of its antimissile batteries from the Gulf region and Jordan . We saw this type of authorization in Afghanistan where Erdogan was ordered to deploy further Turkish forces into Afghanistan to increase its involvement in Afghanistan and Pakistan with the aim of covering the US withdrawal . As you know that Turkey is a member of NATO.
This type of authorization might be repeated . The indicator of inviting Turkey and Qatar to a meeting on Syria that will be held on the sidelines of a summit on fighting terrorism on the 28th of this month has a dangerous meaning in Syria. We can notice here another dangerous indicator at local level regarding the attempts of rebranding Al-Jolani and the so-called Jabhat Al-Nusra in the US media via Britains. There are leaks about the meeting held between British MI6 officer and Al-Jolani. James Jeffrey, the former US representative for Syria had not denied the fact that US is not against Al-Jolani and it doesn’t hold those who are dealing with him accountable. Jeffrey’s remarks are documented In an interview with the US Frontline website.
Concerning the indicators for Syria, the US withdrawal from Iraq means the US withdrawal from Syria since the logistical depth for the US existence in Syria is in Iraq. But at the same time we have to notice the reactivation of ISIS terrorists in Badeya region and keeping US forces in the region under the pretext of fighting them under international cover…
The other point that I want to talk about it is the continuity of depriving Syria from its resources under several pretexts. Today there is a problem, for example , wheat crop is little due to drought, so production is less than aspirations despite the efforts that were exerted to increase wheat yields.
The other problem is that 70% of wheat yields are outside the control of the Syrian state. Therefore, there is the equation of depending on agent .As the master wants to withdraw , there are the ways of the fourth generation warfare that will lead to the spread of terrorism .
ISIS terrorists in the Syrian Badeya region declared that they have a plan to increase their terrorist attacks against Syrian army and its allies and in cities in Syria, Iraq and Egypt. This declaration was issued upon orders by the master of ISIS terrorists because this terrorist group is revived after it was claimed that it was defeated.
ISIS terrorists are being transported from camps in Hasakah and other places to be used in the Syrian Badeya through the illegal US base in Al-Tanf area. This is US plan.
Meanwhile, there is an electronic war. Yesterday 33 websites were blocked and some of them have nothing to do with political issues .
Thus, the US withdrawal in its traditional meaning will happen, but this means that other ways ae to be used , mainly depending on US allies such as Turkey besides terrorism and electronic war.
We saw what happened in Iran where terrorism escalated inside Iran at the same time of talks that were held to return to nuclear deal. So, the track of the US Administration’s democratics ,which is similar to Obama’s track, is based on not engaging in direct war but rather weakening and destabilizing the other.
There is another point that we have to talk about it regarding the European and Arab allies of the United States, and the restoration of ties with Syria.
Interviewer : Let us ask Mr. Mark about this idea. You have listened to what Dr. Ibrahim said, so pls let us know your comment. But before that I am curious to ask you the following question: You are journalist and writer and you have visited Syria for several times and you have written articles on Syria since the start of the war on it. You also wrote a book entitled “Voices From Syria” which is recently translated into Arabic by Dr. Ibrahim and Miss. Basma Qaddour. and we will talk about it later. Why are you interested in explaining what is going on in Syria in details?
Mr. Mark :Sorry, I did not hear the translation of your question into English.
Interviewer: My questions is : What is the reason of your interest in Syria?
Mr. Mark: Translation please !!
Interviewer: There is a technical problem in translation. We will continue our discussion with Dr. Ibrahim until solving the problem.
Mr. Mark: I am sorry, I can not hear the translation.
Interviewer: OK Mr. Mark. I am sorry. We will talk with you after we solve the technical problem in translation. Let us go back to our discussion with Dr. Ibrahim. “Voices from Syria” book includes a lot of information and it documents what has happened in Syria since the start of the war on it and until now. It clarifies the reasons behind what the US and the western countries have done in Syria. So, would you please summarize the idea of the book and tell us what is importance of it ??
Dr. Ibrahim: Actually Mr. Mark Taliano collected testimonies from Syrians and from some western people, who are living in Syria, This smart idea aims to refute the fake news being circulated about the events in Syria . Mr. Mark met Syrians and had recorded their testimonies.
Mr. Mark has not just depended on what he had recorded. He used other sources such as interviews available on internet to support the testimonies he mentioned in his book. The point is that the Syrians, who are watching the Syrian TV, hear the real stories of Syrians; however, the foreigners have no ideas about these stories.
The other point I want to say is that during the translation of the book I read names of people from Australia to Canada , who are defending Syria, although they are not allowed in their media outlets to talks about Syria. So we discovered a new group of Syria’s friends . Moreover, Mr. Mark talked about political economy. and political geography of the aggression on Syria.
Mr. Mark connected the aggression on Syria with the interests of transnational companies., and how they fight independent states all over the world. Nowadays the conflict is between the trend of hegemony which is being practiced by imperialism and the independent states and movements.
Mr. Mark explains what is behind the trend of hegemony .There are big interests for big companies that have hegemony over political systems in the West. These big companies have global tools such as NATO and some international institutions as well as the armies of mercenaries. And he shows through documents and WikiLeaks a piece of information that might shock the foreign readers concerning the direct support for ISIS terrorists . How have 200.000 or 250.000 terrorists come to Syria amid the high prices of flight tickets? Who has covered the cost of their travel?
It is important thing when a foreigner sees documents which reveals that all types of ISIS terrorists are created by the West and they have been conveyed to Syria under western protection as a document in a book shows . A leaked e-mail written by US official says that AQ [ Al-Qaeda] is on our side in Syria. By the way, this official occupies now a position of an advisor for the Biden Administration.
Interviewer: Now the technical problem is solved.
Mr. Mark I would like to ask you about the reason of your interest in conveying the reality of events that is taking place in Syria? Why do you consider this as an important matter?
Mr. Mark: Well, what Mr. Ibrahim is saying is true. There are invisible evil lobbies that control Western governments. Media cartels which some people call mainstream media, are controlled by these big monopolies , institutional investors. Consequently, the mainstream media presents to domestic population, war propaganda and pretends that it is true .
So, Western populations have very little knowledge of what is actually happening. Even though, Western open-source documents and Western generals and Western politicians have admitted the truth. The truth has been admitted by someone who ran to be President of the United States, Tulsi Gabbard, that our government supports ISIS and Al-Qaeda. Former US ambassador to Syria just admitted working with Al-Qaeda and Al-Joulani in Idlib.
So, the admissions are there, Defence Intelligence Agency admissions are there. Military officer Myles Caggins, Senator Richard Black, General Wesley Clark, even the former president admitted that our allies are supporting the sectarian aggression. But the mainstream media suppresses it, hides it and it pretends that it doesn’t exist.
Now, if Western domestic audiences become aware of the fact that our government supports Al-Qaeda and ISIS and their affiliates to destroy Syria, more of them would denounce their governments’ criminal, hypocritical, mass-murdering foreign policies.
Interviewer: In order to follow your idea Mr. Mark. You talked at the beginning of your discussion about what’s happening in Syria about an idea, on which Dr. Ibrahim the translator of the book talked about it too. The idea is that the enemies of Syria have become clear to the Syrian people and to other peoples in the region and even to other parties. Here we are talking about enemies.
But you mention in the book there are friends of Syria who might be unknown even to Syrians! The Syrians might be not familiar with the fact that there is a big media front in the West and you are one of them,…You have done a great job for years. I want to shed light on this front. who are you? Why do you write? What are your sources of information ?
Mr. Mark: The reason that it is important to me is that Canada is part of a miitary alliance, it is a NATO member.. .it supports neo-Nazis as well.
Quote from “Voices from Syria” Book: We initially recount the story of Syria as told by Syrians, unfiltered by mainstream media propaganda. We see and hear the trauma lived by defiant, heroic Syrians, and we discover that this ancient, holy land will surely survive the current barbarian invasion to rise again as a beacon of civilization, hope, and dignity.
Interviewer: We have a technical problem in communication with Mr. Mark via Skype. I will continue my discussion with you Dr. Ibrahim. What I wanted to focus on during my discussion with Mr. Mark is that we have recently noticed a lot of attempts by western academics and journalists to communicate with Syrian journalists with the aim of getting information about what has happened in Syria. Can we consider this as a development?
Dr. Ibrahim: We have to distinguish between two things.. In the West and in other counties in the world – here I should stress that we should not only focus on the West because the world is not only limited to it- there have been voices standing by the right since the very beginning. These voices have not only stood by Syria but also by Palestine and Iraq and Vietnam. They stand by just causes. In 1970s there were voices supporting Vietnam inside the US, and they were against the war.
In fact, The idea of the united west and the united east is untrue because it is based on the idea of conflict between civilizations . The West is not alike and the east is not alike too. In the east, there are countries supporting reactionary regimes and Takfiri terrorism, and there are other countries, like Syria, that do not do that.
Actually, Mr. Mark and those who are with him belong to the group that supports just causes in Syria and all over the world. The other group, which you are talking about, is related to the changes of stances not only towards Syria.
For example, you can notice that during the recent Israeli aggression on Gaza and the events that took place in Palestine, more than 250 journalists working for mainstream media , who are described by Mr. Mark as media cartels which is true, signed petition to reconsider the way of covering the events.
This is an indicator for the fact that there are changes in the stances of elites in the deep- state inside the US that want to review a new approach to deal with the issues of the Middle East. Pragmatically, Takfiri terrorism has failed , so there should be another way and it will be a Zionist way too , not anti-Zionism .
Interviewer: A different way to reach the same goal.
Dr. Ibrahim: I reiterate that the huge participation of Syrian people in the recent presidential elections will impose a new fact , and they have to accept it. The Syrian people said that this is our stance. So they will try to find a way to contain the results of their failed policies in Syria and in other countries.
Here there is another dimension related to Iran. You can see how the stance changed from the withdrawal from Iranian nuclear deal and the current efforts to go back to it.
These topics are connected with each other. I mean, how the US deals with the Axis of Resistance, Iran and Palestine in an attempt to find a new approach , which is among the choices of the ruling elites in US. A new approach does not mean a friendly approach .
The democratics in US administration have more malevolent thoughts. From my viewpoint, what George Bush did through invading Iraq led to the foundation of Iraqi resistance, however what Barak Obama did caused more destruction in the Arab world . Obama went to Cairo University and talked about Palestinian state and there were reactions with thoughts.
Therefore, we have to be cautious about dealing with the new Zionist approach and the previous one. We are always ready.
Interviewer: Mr. Mark, you say in your articles and opinions that despite all efforts you exerted as intellectuals and journalists to explain the reality of events in Syria, you could not make a real change in the western understanding of what is happening in the region in general and in Syria in particular.
You also talked about the involvement of your country’s government in other western governments in supporting terrorist war against the region, Do the results of your efforts scare you? What can you do??
Mr. Mark:I think that the establishment narrative will change due to the reality on the ground. It is evident to the world, for example, that President Assad is very popular in Syria and he has the support of Syrians.
Syria and Syrians are defeating terrorists. There is increasing evidence that Syria and the resistance is becoming stronger . Messaging of people, such as myself, and Eva Bartlett and Vanessa Beeley, Prof. Anderson have been consistently correct.
And the establishment is faced with certain realities on the ground in Syria. Syria’s victory pushed those institutions to face the reality. Our voices have been amplified so far. The truth and the primary source documentation will become more important now as Syria and its allies in the Axis of Resistance increasingly grow in strength.
Interviewer: Mr. Mark, you repeated the idea that Syria is winning and Syria will win. I read this sentence for several times in your book and in your articles.Why do you believe that Syria is winning? And in your opinion what is the thing that should be done to go ahead with this twin? And how can Syrians get benefit from the results of this win?
Mr. Mark: Well, the Syrian victory, and that includes the Presidential elections and the celebrations, is a victory over criminals and imperialists.. That is a victory for international law in a sense, and also victory over this evil I was referencing earlier. There are invisible lobbies that control Western governments.
Those secret lobbies seek permanent of warfare. So Syria’s win is a win for all of us in all countries. In Canada for example, the same sinister lobbies are destroying our country as well, they are impoverishing us, giving us totalitarian rule. Democracy no longer exists in Canada. Syria’s victory is for positive forces, for peace and prosperity, and it impacts positively all Canadians as well.
Interviewer: Well, please Mr. Mark stay with us, and I want you kindly to comment on a point, which I will talk about it now with Dr. Ibrahim. And Miss. Basma Qaddour, who is a journalist and Head of News Department at Syria Times newspaper, will join us via telephone call. She talks in the book about the crimes of the illegal US-led coalition in Syria.
She says in the book: The U.S Coalition and its proxies have a long and sordid history of committing massacres against civilians in Syria. From May 2014 till April 2019, the US-led coalition carried out 34,502 strikes on Syria, and it claimed that it killed at least 1300 civilians by mistake!
Miss. Basma compiled a list of crimes committed by the coalition in the 2019 only, and the number of victims. Here, Dr. Ibrahim I want to go back to a point you mentioned previously on the US withdrawal. Most of my guests believe that will never be a real withdrawal of the US forces, from the region.
You, Mr. Ibrahim, has said that the US and its agents occupy 90% of oil wells in Syria and 50% of gas fields. Do you think that the US will leave these wells and fields? And for what? Do you think that the US withdrawal will be among the future developments?
Dr. Ibrahim: My take is that the goal of the intensified airstrikes that have been carried out by the US- led coalition in Syria and Iraq and have left casualties is to make the targeted areas empty of their residents and to destroy the infrastructures. This is a demographic displacement project that aims to change the identity of the region.
The other thing is the game which is being played by the US through repeatedly saying that it will withdraw its forces . The goal of such media statements is to reduce the operations of resistance against occupation forces. The US has played this game in Iraq and it works on making local and regional preparations, including the project of the New Sham.
It is not the matter of whether the US withdrawal will happen or not. The US opens doors for many choices among them the possibility of its forcible withdrawal as it did in Vietnam. But during this period it establishes local militias and weaken the adversary with the aim of receiving a demand from a party to keep the forces.
If Biden coordinates with Erdogan to play a role from Afghanistan to Syria and Libya, there will be then a different equation under the umbrella of NATO. He orchestrates the operation remotely in cooperation with local and regional allies. What is going on now in the Syrian Al-Jazeera region is an attempt to attract the Tribes that protest against the separatist “Syrian Democratic Forces” militia., which is an agent to US.
The efforts being exerted to attract Tribes is similar to the Sahawat, which the US created in Iraq. The failure of this project will lead to the US withdrawal. It s a big mistake to say that the US withdrawal will happen definitely or it will never happen as there are many developments and there are unstable system of powers as well as new factors such as the increasing power of the Axis of Resistance and the return to Iranian nuclear deal.
Iran’s insistence on not connecting the Iranian deal with regional files is positive factor that will help force US to withdraw its military forces from Syria and Iraq because it cannot tell Tehran to accept the presence of US forces in Syria and Iraq in exchange for lifting sanctions on Iran. However the existence of Turkish occupation forces in Syria and the SDF militia is negative factor.
Interviewer: Miss. Basma has joined us now via telephone. Welcome and thanks a lot for your efforts in documenting facts and translating the book. I would like to ask you the same question I asked Mr. Mark although you are Syrian. What are the sources of your documentations? And what are their benefits?
Miss. Basma: Thank you Elissar and good evening to you and your guests and audiences.I am happy to join you in this file. To be honest, what has motivated me to write about the crimes of the US-led coalition in Syria is the fact that the coalition’s statements say not single word about the victims of its airstrikes since the US will shoulder responsibility for killing civilians . And this is not being told to the western people.
Interviewer: I agree with you. Actually information being issued by Syrian official sources and even reports of the state-run Syrian media outlets are blocked and are not allowed to be widely circulated. In the West. I will ask you Dr. Ibrahim and Mr. Mark about this point. You Miss. Basma is director of news website in English language, what is the effect of the information you publish? What is the number of your followers?
Miss. Basma: Regardless of the effects of the news we publish and the number of follower, we are doing our job and duty . There should be fronts or platforms at media, popular and political levels to confront fake news. Our task or my task is not to force the other to accept my viewpoint . I just present information about what happened with the aim of provoking the other to check them and to make a comparison between what is being circulated by Syrian media outlets and the western ones.
Interviewer: I asked Mr. Mark about the reason for the increase in the number of western academic and journalists, who want to talk with Syrian journalists about what has happened in Syria. Have you noticed this during your work in the website?
Miss. Basma: Yes, I have noticed that. Even via my Facebook account. When I publish what is happening in Syria, I receive questions about the events in comments, and some followers tell me that the western media says the opposite. Other western followers share our posts. The western people connect the word Syria with destruction and oppression., so, when you publish a photo of Syria, they start to ask themselves: Is this Syria?
Interviewer: My last question to you is that we have talked a lot about fake news that have been fabricated about the events in Syria and even official sources have presented documents on the chemical attacks hoax, do you think that these efforts will lead measures against the media outlets that fabricated fake news?
Miss Basma : Although we are confronting big mainstream media and the social media is under the control of certain parties, this measure could be adopted in the future as western people share the reality. The problem is that even the western people, who share our posts, are threatened with dismissal, of killing, if they share news that contradict what the western media publish on Syria. The most important thing for us is to convey the reality to the world.
Interviewer: Thank you Miss Basma for you participation in the discussion and for your efforts in your work. Now, I will ask Mr. Mark. When you write about crimes perpetrated by certain governments or parties, do you think that there will be popular trial for the criminals? Can you build on what you say, or you just convey information?
Mr. Mark: I think : I think that there should be Nuremberg trials for war crimes… The Western media is complicit, so if we would have Nuremberg trials, we could provide very clear proofs.
Interviewer: It seems that there is a problem in sound. Can you hear me Mr. Mark??
Mr. Mark: Yes, I can hear you now? so if we would have Nuremberg trials, we could provide very clear proofs. And that will be helpful. I think that the imperialists should be asked about their crimes. Caesar economic embargo, they all supported terrorism, and Supreme war crimes .
Interviewer: Mr Mark, in your book there are documents from foreign sources that unveil the crimes and theft and lies about chemical attacks. Do you think that if your peoples are convinced with the reality of events in Syria they can have effects on your governments?
Mr. Mark: I would hope so, especially now that the truth is becoming more self-evident ..I did a second edition with Ms. Qaddour and Dr.Ibrahim because it confirms the information in the first edition, and now Syria is winning, the more Syria wins, the more of truth will be revealed.
So, there is a chance that people would be more receptive to the truth especially since this warfare, these war preparations are also destroying our country. We have lost democracy, these evil lobbies they are behind the war on Syria are turning inward . So people may become more open to embrace the truth for their own sake as well as for Syria.
Interviewer: Thank you very much for Mr. Mark.
Interviewer: Dr. Ibrahim, as for Nuremberg trials, which Mr. Mark talked about, would you please explain what that mean?
Dr. Ibrahim: The trials were conducted by allies after World War II in which officers and Germans were tried as war criminals These trials are controversial issues, but they are considered a model for holding the aggressor accountable for his crimes after the end of the war.
Interviewer: Is it possible to implement such type of trials ? As you know the US fabricated the story of Caesar and attacks to impose sanctions from which were are suffering now in Syria.
Dr. Ibrahim: As for Caesar act, it is very important to talk about it and what Mr. Mark Taliano wrote on this subject and the reasons why this act fell legally and logically, and how unknown eyewitness talk about unknown things, and how lawyers were hired by Qatar and other countries to defend the act.
The other thing I want to talk about briefly is the chemical attacks and you can read about the reality of the White Hemlets in the book of Mr. Mark. It is clear that the Biden Administration will go ahead with using the chemical attacks card besides terrorism and electronic war. The US insists on using this card for political and legal blackmail.
This is very clear despite all the evidence, and most importantly, that it was necessary to conduct the Nuremberg trials in Iraq because the deception of weapons of mass destruction for which Iraq was destroyed and two million Iraqis were killed is based on a deception of the same type .
The US has involved in 150 interventions in 200 years from Africa to southeast Asia and to Arab world. The last thing I want to say is that the immediate effect of what our friends say in the West on public opinion is not the most important thing,.. The most important thing is that there are people defending the truth and sometimes pay the price. The hope is that the truth will reach the widest possible number and that people will interact with it by withdrawing support from their governments and perhaps by moving against their governments because of the crimes they committed.
All we can say to our friends is thank you. We know that you are doing your work conscientiously and that you could have stood in the side of the countries that pay money, but you chose the difficult path and we salute you and respect you.
Interviewer: Thank you Dr. Ibrahim, Mr. Mark and Miss. Basma. And thanks to our audiences for watching us.