TEHRAN (Tasnim1) – London-based political analyst and Islamic scholar believes2 that since Turkey has “removed its ambitions on Syria” and chosen to help stabilise the Middle East region, the ongoing peace talks in the Kazakh capital of Astana can yield good results.
“As long as Turkey has removed its ambitions on Syria and on building up its neo-Ottoman Empire, and instead has chosen to focus on encouraging and being a stabilising influence in the region, then these talks can be successful,” Shabbir Hassanally said in an interview with the Tasnim News Agency.
Following is the full text of the interview3:
Tasnim: On January 23-24, Astana hosted Syrian peace talks organised by Iran, Russia, and Turkey, with the presence of representatives of the Syrian government and opposition groups. At the end of the talks, Tehran, Moscow, and Ankara agreed on the establishment of a trilateral mechanism to support the ceasefire in Damascus. The second round of the talks will be held in the Kazakh capital of Astana on February 16-17. Also, Syria’s warring sides will resume their talks in the Swiss city of Geneva on February 20. The upcoming negotiations will be held under United Nations auspices. The Geneva talks were initially planned to take place on February 8, but the United Nations Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura said he had rescheduled them to take further advantage of the fruits of the Astana discussions. What is your take on the meetings? Do you believe the ongoing crisis in the Arab country can be resolved through a political process? Will the peace talks be able to end the suffering of the Syrian people? Please explain.
Hassanally: I do believe that the Syrian crisis can and indeed will ultimately be resolved through dialogue. Some key elements need to be considered, however. These include neutralising the interference of external parties who have a vested interest in harming Syria, and who have been funding the terrorists who have wrought havoc in Syria for the past 5-6 years.
At the same time, those from the weak minded terrorists who were taken in by these external parties – and let us name them – Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey (and Turkey is interesting here), the US, France, UK, and off course the elephant in the room the Zionist Entity.
The situation in Syria is one that needs resolution by the Syrian people. If they have a squabble within their family, then the only role that an outsider should have is to moderate and inject calm into the situation. Any external party should not take one side against another. All parties need to be allowed to voice their legitimate issues, and then a solution – one that protects Syria and the Syrian people – needs to be found. The key point here is without anyone using terror (where terror is defined as the use of force to achieve a political objective) to achieve any goal.
Turkey, as I said earlier is interesting here. Turkey had indeed played a part in at the very least facilitating the DAESH Takfiri terrorists through the procurement of their stolen Syrian oil, and through enabling them in a plethora of ways (too many to enumerate here). However, it would seem that Turkey has seen the writing on the wall, and has decided to listen to the advice of both Iran and Russia about Syria (or so it would appear).
As long as Turkey has removed its ambitions on Syria and on building up its neo-Ottoman Empire, and instead has chosen to focus on encouraging and being a stabilising influence in the region, then these talks can be successful. Even if Turkey is being deliberately deceptive and is playing what can only be described as a very dangerous game, this is still not a guarantee of the failure of the Syria Talks – though it can make them significantly more complicated and arduous.
Other external actors in this dance – chief amongst them being the Zionist Entity and the Takfiri Entity (Saudi Arabia) – need to be kept far away from these talks. These two entities (amongst others) have supported those who have being working to destroy Syria, and this needs to be understood. This becomes more dangerous when the talks move to the United Nations in Geneva and are no longer talks adjudicated by Iran, Russia and Turkey as the ones in Astana are.
The United Nations has been an abysmal failure and indeed has been an enabler of the Zionist and Takfiri sedition and crimes against Syria. The United Nations through naivety and manipulation by some of its more vocal members – such as the UK, France, US and others – has been instrumental in the destruction of Syria. Right till the end, the UN and various other so-called Human Rights groups – including the well-known groups of HRW and Amnesty International that consult for the UN, were spewing (and indeed continue to this day) their lies and untruths about the events in Syria and specifically Aleppo.
When these talks move to the United Nations in Geneva, the influence of these groups will be far greater. This carries the risk of encouraging the gullible and easily-played members of the Syrian opposition, who have worked tirelessly for the various external powers and who have even the most tacit of alliances with the Takfiri groups of Jabhat an-Nusra and DAESH, to push for more and more unreasonable demands, demands that are not from the people of Syria, but rather are from the external entities that have their sights set on Syria and its strategic value; as well as its key position within the Resistance Axis.
So yes, the talks can work to resolve this situation, and that would be the ideal scenario. However, there has to be honesty and justice on all sides, and external players who have proven they have sinister designs on Syria should not be permitted to play a part. Syria is wounded and hurt; it is now the duty of the honourable nations of the world to ensure that insult is not added to an already painful injury.
Tasnim: What concessions the government of Syria and representatives of armed opposition may offer to restore peace and calm in the country? How do you see Turkey’s role in the upcoming talks as a previous backer of the rebels in Syria?
Hassanally: I believe that where reforms are required within Syrian society, they need to be discussed, a referendum organised and its results acted upon. This needs to be done without external influence from those who have worked against Syria and Syrian people.
In any country, any society, there are always differences of opinion on many matters; however, the manner in which these need to be solved doesn’t involve any weapons or harm. Rather, this requires discussion and debate. The party that has an opinion regarding which it is unable to rationally and coherently convince another party is already in trouble since it cannot stand behind its stances.
The priority must be the return of Syria to peace, calm and the rule of law and order. Nothing can be achieved while chaos reigns supreme. External players who have harmed Syria need to be kept out of the discussions. The case of Turkey, which supported and enabled the carnage in Syria, and even went so far as to murder journalists – such as Serena Shim – who spoke about Syria’s involvement and the involvement of the World Health Organization trucks taking terrorists from Turkish territory to Syria, specifically the area around Kobani (Ayn al-Arab), is interesting.
Turkey made a gamble concerning Syria; it listened to the musings of Saudi Arabia and Qatar, as well as its regional ally the Zionist Entity. Based on that information it made many fundamental strategic mistakes. However, at this time, Turkey has realised that continuing the campaign against Syria, especially after the liberation of Aleppo, is futile.
Turkey has also realised that its internal problem with the Kurdish groups, as well as its adventures in Northern Iraq under the pretence of fighting DAESH are failing catastrophically. It gambled that Europe would open its arms and accept her as one of its own. It gambled that its alliance and friendship with the oppressive Zionist Entity would give it brownie points in the eyes of the US and Europe.
However, it has now realised that this is not the case. Europe has firmly closed its doors, and let’s be honest, any real talk of Turkey being a part of the (now failing) European Empire are merely wishful thinking.
Turkey opined that its friendship with the Zionists from a military perspective would ensure its place as a military force to be reckoned with. Even with all of the military support and training. With the chemical weapons provided to the Takfiri terrorists in Syria, that were used against the people of Syria, it still was unable to support and save its Takfiri allies in the various battles in Syria. Nor has it been able to kerb the rising tide of Takfiri related crimes in its country.
As a result, given that its gambles and strategies have all failed, it is now attempting to hang on the coat-tails of the Resistance Bloc and Russia who have shown their real metal against the Takfiri phenomenon and indeed have broken its back.
That is not to say that the Sultan Erdogan has given up his hopes of re-creating his Empire, I believe he is buying time and examining the situation intending to discern how best to move forward. For the moment, his move seems to be to placate the Resistance Axis, whether he will continue in this direction going forward – well only time will tell. With the Sultan, the wind can change very swiftly.
At this time, Turkey has been a champion of the idea of “Safe Zones” in Syria – essentially no-fly zones, an idea touted by and supported by both the Takfiri Entity, the Zionist Entity and the American Empire. The Syrian government, however – as well as many Syrian people – oppose the idea of these Safe Zones. Russia has also asked for more clarity on the notion and scope of the Safe Zones (but thus far nothing of substance has been forthcoming).
Erdogan proposed this idea of Safe Zones in a meeting with the Takfiri Entity and its lackeys in Bahrain on February 13, 2017.
To conclude, while Turkey can be a force for good, and can assert a stabilising influence in the region, this relies heavily on the motives and designs of the Turkey regime. Thus far, while currently, there is a de facto alliance for peace between Syria, Iran, Russia and Turkey; this alliance is extremely fragile – at least where Turkey is concerned – and the other parties in this quartet should regard Turkey with extreme caution.
Tasnim: Measures taken by Washington up to now indicate that it has been seeking to destabilise the Arab country by arming the terrorists there and provoking them to mount operations in the country. Washington is, in fact, orchestrating plots against the successful anti-terror cooperation among Tehran, Moscow, and Damascus. What is your take on that? Don’t you think that Washington’s support for Takfiri groups in Syria is the reason behind the exclusion of the US in the upcoming peace talks in Kazakhstan?
Hassanally: America, for all its rhetoric about Human Rights, Democracy and so on, falls flat on its proverbial face when it comes to realising any of that rhetoric – at least using definitions accepted by the entire world. America itself is under siege from the Zionists within and without. Ever facet of the American Empire is controlled and influenced by the Zionist Lobbies – from health care to military spending, from education to sanitation.
America works across the world to protect and secure the Zionist Entity – its reason for going after countries that are independent or potentially independent – such as Syria, Iraq, Iran, Yemen and so on are very clear. Syria poses a strategic threat to the Zionist Entity. Syria is a key piece in the Resistance Axis. A stable and secure Syria is a threat to the aspirations and adventures of the Zionist Entity. As a result, America – the bulldog of the Zionists and Neocons – works to destabilise Syria and any country that dares to show independence and speak against the Zionist crimes against the people of Palestine.
At the same time, the American Empire supports and allies itself with those whose values are fundamentally opposed to those of the American Empire – at least on the surface.
Entities such as the Takfiri Entity (Saudi Arabia), a country that has no real culture or history, that is built – like the Zionist occupation – on the ethnic cleansing of a people; that doesn’t let its women drive that can’t even spell election, and that is run by illiterate criminals pre-occupied with licentious activities and debauched practices; who crucify and behead anyone who speaks remotely against them; who arrest and torture and imprison for decades anyone who merely makes a “tweet”.
When America shows itself as allied to the Takfiri Entity – at least with the Zionist Entity – there is a demographic sympathy, but with the Takfiri Entity, the hypocrisy of the Empire is exposed and laid bare for all to see. Like Imam Khamenei said in a recent speech “Thank you, Mr Trump, for showing us all the true face of America, what we’ve been saying for decades, you have confirmed” (paraphrased).
Now, America, following its complete defeat in Syria, its humiliation at being on the wrong side of history (yet again), has no place in brokering an agreement on Syria. It has shown that it is not impartial and non-partisan in this scenario. Rather American has actively worked and supported its allies in the creation not only of DAESH, but of Jabhat an-Nusra, FSA, and the countless other groups that have wrought havoc on Syria and Iraq and the region as a whole.
America has no right to have a place at the table in Astana. It simply is not worthy. America itself honours no deal, so what makes it qualified to attempt to broker one?! America was instrumental in the destruction of Syria, and what now it thinks it can play a part in its reconstruction and rehabilitation? No. Those days are over. The days of the unipolar American Empire only world are gone. As a wise man once said – the Empire has no clothes.
The global situation is no longer unipolar. Rather it is multi-polar; with Russia as the other world superpower, but without a doubt, the Islamic Republic of Iran is a key regional superpower. One might argue that with the convergence of the Resistance Axis, through its baptism of fire in Syria and Iraq, the Axis of Resistance is indeed a global superpower and a counter-balance to the corruption and strife instigated by the Zionist-occupied American Empire.
Tasnim: What is your comment about the stances of US President Donald Trump on the Syrian crisis and the future of US-Russia relations under his presidency?
Hassanally: Given that Donald Trump has spoken against DAESH, and that he wishes to destroy DAESH, this is a sweet sentiment. However, there is always the risk with the American Empire, given that it is so entirely occupied by the Zionist, Takfiri and Neocon lobbies, that even if Mr Trump was sincere in his speech against DAESH, and his desire to work with Russia against DAESH, it is highly unlikely that he will be able to achieve this.
Mr Trump first has to clean his backyard. He needs to remove the Takfiri, Zionist and Neocon cancers from his administration and the government as a whole. He needs to exorcise the Evil Trinity and cast it out that it no longer controls and manipulates as it has.
The stance of the American Empire – until it is cleansed – will remain more or less the same. There may be some covert overtures in one direction or another, and this is nice I’m sure until the American government is truly independent until it truly becomes a government of the people, by the people and for the people, no real change can be expected.
As for US-Russia relations, I do not expect much to change. I certainly do not believe that American would be stupid enough to push for a war with Russia – or indeed anyone. A lot of war-talk and sabre rattling will take place no doubt (and indeed already is). However, that is all it is, talk primarily. America at this time cannot afford a war, emotionally, physically or financially. America in this period cannot engage in a full-on hot war. It is far too burned out and war-weary to do so.
I do however believe that there will be an increase in soft war tactics. There will be attempts at coloured revolutions. The intelligence apparatus of the US, along with other groups such as the British and Zionist espionage outfits will work harder to destabilise and overthrow governments that they deem “unfriendly”. There will be an increase in these tactics. But given that they have always been at play, what’s new?!
Russia for its part is resurgent. It has a renewed global respect; its victories with the Resistance Bloc in Syria have given it a great deal of kudos amongst the world population. It’s demeanour in dealing with some of the more childish and pathetic moves of the American Administration, especially the last move by the Obama Administration at the end of last year, under the false guise of “hacking allegations” some Russian diplomats and their families were deported from the US.
Also, Russia, in dealing with the assassination of its ambassador, Andrei Karlov in Turkey, it adopted a restrained position, rather than what has been the typical American position of lashing out.
There is little that the Trump administration can do against Russia at this time. Certainly, there will be a lot of rhetoric, noise, this sanction and that sanction. However, the reality is that with the current global economic climate, such manoeuvres tend to harm the perpetrator more than the intended target.
As I’ve said before, the American Administration at this time is really in a struggle for its existence and independence. It needs to remove the yoke of Zionist, Takfiri and Neocon control from itself and free itself from these cancers; it needs to exorcise these three demons if it truly wishes to be free. Until then, it will move from mistake to mistake, quagmire to quagmire, disaster to disaster.
Tasnim: How do you see Iran’s role in Syria’s future?
Hassanally: Iran is a remarkably stable country. Iran not only is stable itself, but it also exudes stability and calm. Through its wise leadership, its reliance on divine values, its focus on morality and decency, and its adherence to the Pure Islam. The Islamic Republic of Iran is a force for good in the region and indeed the world.
All those, even the enemies of Iran, know that Iran is honest and honourable. When the Leader says something, he means it. He is not “political” or “diplomatic”. This is what sets Iran aside from the rest of the nations of the world. Honesty. Decency. Honor. Love.
Iran for Syria is a close, reliable and honest friend. Iran could have stayed away; it could have consulted with Hezbollah and advised them to leave Syria to its own devices. Iran could have stayed out of Iraq and not supported the people of Iraq against the Takfiri project.
Iran could have asked for massive concessions, riches, resources and so on in return for its support for both Syria and Iraq. It did not. Iran helped these countries against the Takfiri threats and will continue to do so because it is honourable, it is the right thing to do.
Does Iran have its interests? Of course, it does. However, Iran is not a hegemon; it does not impose its will on its citizens or anyone else.
For this reason – amongst others – Syria will not have a friend more honourable than Iran. Syria does not need to worry or second guess Iran when it offers assistance; it does not have to examine everything for hidden clauses and strings that may be attached. Rather, what is good for Syria is good for Iran, and indeed what is good for the region and the world is what is good for Iran.
Even for America. Should it want to sincerely free itself of Zionist, Takfiri and Neocon occupation, if it is sincere, then it will – I’m sure – find a friend in Iran and indeed in the Resistance Bloc as a whole.
Indeed, this is evidenced by the letters from the Leader of the Islamic Revolution, Imam Khamenei to the youth of Europe and North American and the positive, encouraging advice he gave to them.
I believe that Iran can help Syria with reconstruction, and more importantly with implementing a resistance economy; as it has itself. In doing so; Syria will be protecting itself from future plots and campaigns by the Zionist/Takfiri/Neocon Axis; as well as securing the future for all its people.
Iran and Syria are natural allies and are connected through the Axis of Resistance and their loyalty to the Resistance cause. Both are also Muslim countries. Iran and Syria are two countries that can and will and have been friends, real friends, who help in times of need without question, and who give positive and decent advice, to ensure that each friend is always moving towards that perfection that all humanity seeks.
- Tasnmin News Agency, Islamic Republic of Iran
- This was an interview conducted by Tasmin News Agency on February 16, 2017. The full published version can be found at “Analyst Optimistic about Syria Peace Talks in Astana“