Assad resignation as precondition for Syrian dialogue ‘violates all norms, stops any solution’

Assad resignation as precondition for Syrian dialogue ‘violates all norms, stops any solution’
No state has the right to intervene in a rebellion in another country, and stating who shall and shall not be the president of Syria as a pre-condition is a violation of all legal norms, Jim Brann of the Stop the War Coalition has told RT.

The ongoing violence in Syria is expected to become the hottest topic of the G8 summit in Northern Ireland. However, it is unlikely that world leaders will change their approach to the crisis, believes Jim Brann.

RT:As supporters of both the conflicting sides in the Syrian civil war gather for the G8, do you expect any of them to sway and switch sides?

JB: No, I don’t think so. Russia’s position and somewhat less obviously China’s position is quite clear. And I don’t think that is going to change. I think that [British Prime Minister David] Cameron’s statement yesterday, after meeting [Russian President] Putin, saying that “we had common basis, we had common interest, etc,” is simply not true, therefore there can be no fundamental agreement. 

RT:Many of the world leaders urge the Syrian government and the rebels to find a diplomatic solution to the conflict. And yet, the same people are also arming both sides of the conflict. Is this counter-productive?

JB: Certainly. I mean different parties have different interests. Without giving up those interests you cannot resolve the situation. There is the fundamental question of sovereignty which those who wish to arm the rebels violate because they themselves have set up – concocted you might say - a coalition that wasn’t even concocted in Syria itself. So, the intervention in the internal affairs of Syria is quite blatant. And that’s a fundamental principle.

Nevertheless, it’s of course perfectly possible that the international cooperation could help to solve the problem. But I don’t think that’s what happening. What’s happening is that there is gross intervention, and there is arming of the rebellion and so on.  That has to be fundamentally addressed. 

RT:Does the arming of the rebels or arming of either side - the so-called "balance of powers" - lead to any solution?

JB: No. Although, I must say it’s not in principle. It’s not the same thing to say that there are simply two sides because the fact is that there is the government of Syria and there is international law in these matters. It’s not the right of any other state to intervene in a rebellion in another country. That’s a fundamental principle. And stating who shall and shall not be the president of Syria as a pre-condition violates all the norms - it’s completely unacceptable and it stops any solution. 

RT:Yesterday, David Cameron said he was sure the support won’t reach the extremists. What do you think makes him so confident?

JB: Honestly, I don’ think he is confident. He claims that he can control the process, but the opposition coalition in Syria is extremely weak, it’s extremely fractured and it was actually set up outside of Syria itself. So, if they can’t even find a suitable party to support in Syria – because they think it’s unreliable – how on Earth can they guarantee who gets the weapons that they supply?

Clearly, they are worried because if they supply things like anti-aircraft weapons, they can get handed to parties who would pose a very serious danger. And they know that. I think that’s why Cameron said, for example, that in principle he is willing to supply arms but he hasn’t done so. If he really thought that it was any kind of helpful thing then he would have gone ahead and done it. So, I think that he is not at all sure.