'Gaddafi couldn't kill more people than NATO did' – Syrian deputy FM
Even if Gaddafi had lived for another 100 years, he could not have killed even a fraction of the number obliterated by NATO during its intervention in Libya, claims Syria’s deputy Foreign Minister, Faisal al-Mikdad, in an exclusive interview with RT.
The top Syrian diplomat recalled that NATO’s aggression against Libya was carried out under the guise of restoring human rights and protecting civilians.
‘They send money to kill Syrians’
Syria’s deputy FM has demanded that the countries financially and militarily supporting armed religious extremists on his country’s soil assume responsibility for financing terrorism.
Faisal al-Mikdad acknowledges that terrorist groups within Syria are being financed in an unofficial way by Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon and Jordan, and he has appealed to the people of these countries not to support such activities.
“Our appeal to our brothers and sisters in all those countries is not to allow that, because under the UN this is called ‘financing of terrorism’. They send money to kill Syrians. And I believe this should be stopped,” explains al-Mikdad.
Soldiers’ deaths disregarded
The senior diplomat’s comments come as the UN human rights chief warned that Syria is very close to a Libya-style situation, where an uprising against a long-standing leader morphed into a civil war.
Syrian human rights organizations and the UN say that 3,500 people have died in the anti-government protests since their start eight months ago.
However, Syria's deputy FM Faisal al-Mikdad has cast doubt on the wisdom of the West’s approach to the crisis in his country.
“The credibility of some international non-governmental organizations has been lost because they do not take into consideration what is really happening [in Syria]. Not one of these organizations has mentioned that Syria has lost more than 1,150 martyrs from the army and security forces,” the deputy FM says.
Extremists shoot civilians to keep show on road
He confirms that many civilians have been assassinated in the unrest, but “people have to ask the questions, who killed them and why were they killed?”
Faisal al-Mikdad says that criminals detained by police confessed to shooting at peaceful demonstrators and killing them, “to keep the pace of demonstrations going on.”
The deputy FM denies that Syria is in a state of civil war but stresses that those provoking the unrest aim to push the country into civil conflict. Syrian society is very complex, and as Faisal al-Mikdad put it, “we have something from everything.”
Syria historically has three monotheistic religions, with lots of denominations in each one of them. Those well-organized and equipped foreign religious extremists who instigate violence need the people of Syria to fight each other, admits Faisal al-Mikdad.
The Deputy FM stresses that billions of dollars and tens of thousands of small arms have been smuggled into Syria from Turkey, Lebanon, Iraq and other neighboring countries to encourage people to incite disturbances in the country.
Faisal al-Mikdad assures that among the armed protestors there are no civilians fighting for a better life but only radical Islamists, and that the peaceful opposition has been officially recognized by the Syrian government and its views taken into account in order to work together to build a new Syria.
‘We did not expect such violence’
The deputy Syrian FM recognizes that mistakes have been made and time lost in reforming the political landscape within the country.
“These are realities, we have to accept them,” Faisal al-Mikdad says. “What we did not expect was that things would develop in such a violent way that contradicts the spirit of the Syrian people,” he confesses, stressing that social media has not been banned in the country despite the apparently negative role it played in the unrest.
Faisal al-Mikdad insists that all talk of a conflict of the ruling Alawite minority and the Sunni majority is misleading and aimed at disintegration of the country, as every Syrian citizen, despite his religion or nationality, has the right to occupy any official position.
“In Syria we have a political system that defends the sovereignty of the country,” he says.
“In Syria we are under such an attack because we say no to the policies of the US in the region, supporting the subjugation of the region to their interests and serving the major interests of Israel,” proclaims the Syrian deputy FM.
He believes that NATO has not intervened in Syria because the whole region opposes it, after seeing Gaddafi’s Libya bombed out.
The majority of the UN Security Council is against aggression in Syria, with Russia and China even using their veto right to block a Western resolution designed to slap tougher sanctions on Damascus.
“If they [the West] manipulate the situation in the Middle East – they will do it everywhere in the world.”