'Dictatorship has nothing to do with conspiracy against Assad'
The founding member of the left-wing Respect Party, who about three months ago claimed what some called "the most sensational victory in British political history," discusses with RT’s Laura Smith Britain's domestic and foreign policy.RT: What does it take to break the monopoly of three ruling parties, to win an election in British politics?George Galloway: It is an Everest of a challenge because, first of all, the big parties command almost all of the media attention. And the media is a medium through which most people get their political ideas and news. Secondly, because you usually lack a critical credibility factor, people are doubtful that they will be doing other than throwing their vote away by voting for candidates that may be closer to their cup of tea but are unlikely to win it…But if you have this critical mass of derision felt in the country against the three mainstream parties, as I often say, “if a backside could have three cheeks” – these three parties are those three cheeks. The three mainstream parties are such that you couldn’t slip a cigarette paper between them. They all accept that austerity is the medicine, some coddle about the dosage and the timetable of the taking of the medicine. But the all-accept is that the mass of the people must pay the price for the crimes and the mistakes of rich and powerful people.Secondly, all of them support Britain’s rule in going around the world, invading other people’s countries, occupying them and expending billions, in some cases hundreds of billions, of hard-earned money that the people have sweated for – on weapons and war.So if you can come along and say, “We don’t believe the ordinary people should pay the price for this crisis and we don’t believe Britain should be occupying other peoples’ countries, first in the ranks of those pushing for a new invasion and a new occupation, as Mr. Hague (William Hague, British Foreign Minister) is doing over Syria, for example, at the moment.We just reject that. Our paradigm is completely different.RT: Do you think that there is a wider disconnect between politics and the electorate, the people?GG: Yes, people hold the mainstream politicians in contempt. They know that the mainstream politicians, many hundreds of them, almost all of them, were looting the people’s pockets in parliamentary expenses – which was a huge scandal. We have actually systemic failure in Britain. The media is on trial, the bankers are on trial, the politicians have been put on trial and found guilty long ago. I, who’s untouched by the expenses scandal, did not claim any expenses at all, and have a track record of attacking billionaire mogul ownership of the British media. I’m seen as an anti-political voice against the political system. Bingo, we won a jackpot.'Winning both Islamophobia and Islamist extremism in Britain'RT: You said in the past that Muslims like you because you protect them from Islamophobia. Is there a point to Islamophobia in Britain? Are people justified in their fear of Islam?GG: No, like any phobia it is irrational, exaggerated and paranoid. But that is not to say that Islamic extremism does not exist. Of course it exists, and it exists in Britain and it gets more and more oxygen as a result of the policies the British government follows. You cannot make endless war against Muslims and Muslim countries abroad and expect to have no resonance here at home. But actually we’re the antidote to Islamist extremism, because we say to the young Muslims “you’re right to be angry, but be angry with the others who are not Muslim in democratic politics, so that you can affect change rather than blowing yourself and other people up in a terrible act of self-immolation." The truth is al-Qaeda exists. It was invented by the countries now most concerned about it. It was invented on the bankrupt moral principle that the enemy of my enemy is my friend. The Soviet Union was the enemy of the West, so they gave weapons and money and credibility to an Islamist fanatic formation. And they did not read the novel Frankenstein to the end. If they had, they would have known that when you make a monster, it ultimately breaks free of your control. There is no one to blame but themselves for that phenomenon of Islamist extremism. It comes out of a swamp of hatred sown by Western countries in their policies towards Muslim countries. Therefore the best way to solve this problem is to drain this swamp of hatred and bitterness by doing the reverse of what we did to fill it.'What the Syrian conflict really is'RT: There is a rise of Islamists parties, particularly in Arab Spring nations. What challenge do they pose for Syria at the moment?GG: A very large number of people in Syria, whether a majority or not, are terrified of the prospects of victory for the Syrian rebels because there is a substantial Christian population in Syria, for example, which has the most honored position of any Christian group in the Middle East. Even in Israel, by the way.There are minority Islamic sects, which are substantial in number in the state as a whole. There are different ethnic groups, Kurdish for example, terrified of the victory of Jihadist extremists. Undoubtedly, that is one of the reasons why the Syrian government is still holding on amidst massive international conspiracy against them, not because there is a dictatorship. The West actually likes dictatorships in the Arab world. Saudi Arabia is the grimmest dictatorship of the world – and it is the best friend of the West.Also, not because [Syria] is a one-family rule – because of course all these Arab dictatorships are one-family rule, and in Saudi Arabia the family has even given its name to the country. Even Kim Jong-Il did not do that. So it is not because of dislike of dictatorships. It is because the Syrian regime refuses to follow Western orders and has always refused to follow Western orders – that’s why they want to bring [Assad] down.RT: There are mixed signals coming from Assad, that he will step down and that he won’t. What do you think will happen?GG: As far as I know he has no intention of stepping down. There are people who fly kites in the Western media that Russia is going to change its position, China is about to change its position, Assad is about to get on a plane. This is largely disinformation. But undoubtedly the Syrian regime has a massive problem. It has democratic deficit in the country, it is a dictatorship. The era of dictatorships must be coming to an end in the Arab world and should have come to an end long ago. There are many dictatorships in the Arab world who are not targeted by that international conspiracy; indeed, are a vital component of that conspiracy itself.Mrs. Clinton declared the Friends of Democratic Syria, but within three days even she had realized the reusability of that moniker. Because its core included Saudi Arabia and Qatar, where there is no democracy of any kind whatsoever.RT: Do you predict a full-scale slide into civil war and if so – will Britain get involved?GG: I think there is already a civil war in Syria. The massacres that are taking place are almost entirely demarcated by sectarian division. The dichotomy that exists in the country is not just between those who are with the regime or against the regime – though that exists – but between different ethnic and confessional groups. That is a powder keg if ever you wanted to find one.