What is going on in Libya used as a model for Syria "democratization"? What are the consequences of the overthrow of the government in this country? Who will Russia negotiate with? Alexander Ionov, a member of the committee for Solidarity with the Peoples of Syria and Libya answered these questions in a live broadcast of Pravda.Ru and conveyed a request of Bashar al-Assad to Russia.
"Don't protect me, I am not your president, the Syrian government does not need protection, protect the Syrian people," Assad asked to give this message to Russia.
"Assad positions himself not as a dictator, but as a legitimately elected president who enjoys popular support," said Ionov who personally met with the Syrian president last spring. The expert believes that Assad has every right to this position, since, according to the polls, even those conducted by Western institutions, currently nearly 70 percent of Syrians support him.
"If the Syrian people, and this is more than 20 million, did not want to see him as president after the sanctions imposed by over 100 countries, after the "Friends of Syria," 40 countries that began supporting the opposition financially and by supplying weapons, after the country was flooded with jihadists, they would have removed him," said Ionov. "Furthermore, we must understand that the Syrians are now fighting for us, because all the Wahhabi International fighting in Syria will then rush into Russia through Iran, Azerbaijan and other countries. The training camps in Kosovo and Bulgaria also indicate that Syria is an attempt to ultimately destabilize Russia," he added.
Further, the expert said that Geneva-1 Conference has led to the realization that the crisis in Syria should be settled by political means. But then the opposition got support of the so-called "friends of Syria," where the leading role was played by the United States and Saudi Arabia, and followed by a new round of crisis, which led to the fact that the country was flooded by jihadists from 83 countries. The West tried to resolve the increasing confrontation by force, unlike Russia that was insisting on a peaceful resolution of the conflict. Then, under the mediation of the Russian Federation, an agreement on the elimination of chemical weapons in Syria has been reached, and this defused the tention.
The success of the Geneva-2 Conference will also depend on the political will of the Russian Federation and its diplomatic skills, Ionov believes. It should get Syria out of the crisis impasse precisely that way - peacefully, which was Russia's intention since the inception of the conflict in 2011. The conference, according to experts, would yield positive results if the Syrian opposition "in consultation with its partners from Turkey and the United States does not propose unacceptable conditions."
Russia is preparing for the conference and expressed its willingness to accept all opposition forces intending to negotiate "to understand the mindset of these people and to assess what they want." It is clear that the opposition is not free in its aspirations; it depends on the West of Turkey and the Persian monarchies. Ionov believes that for the U.S. it is not beneficial now to militarize the conflict due to its economic and political crisis (in Libya alone the U.S. has spent $700 billion), while Saudi Arabia may abandon all the agreements with the Russian Federation and the United States and create 48 units to send them to war in Syria," which was stated at the official level.
The expert added that the opposition is very different. On the one hand, this is the Wahhabis, mercenaries with whom it will be impossible to agree, "they have to be fought and the terrorists must be destroyed." There is the Free Syrian Army (FSA), and we can try to negotiate with it. Even more so because the FSA and An-Nusra fight against each other, and that can be used.
"I hope that at Russia's will, thanks to its growing geopolitical popularity, parity agreements will be achieved at Geneva -2. Even the Pope supports these efforts," said Ionov. The expert believes that Bashar al-Assad would attend the conference if asked by Sergei Lavrov (Russian Foreign Minister). But if the opposition puts forward unconstitutional demands about resignation of the legitimate president, then his attendance of the Geneva -2 does not make sense. "The interim government in Syria is possible, but not at the will of John Kerry (U.S. Secretary of State) or the Saudis, but at the will of the Syrian people. Russia will not let them install a puppet government," Ionov argued.
It is also important to prevent the escalation of the conflict, directly drawing in it Israel and Turkey. Israel is continually provoking it, shooting the Golan Heights, breaking the demilitarized zone on land and air. Bashar al-Assad, according to experts, is right in not responding with retaliatory fire to these provocations, as a shot Israeli aircraft would lead to escalation. "It would cause a retaliatory strike by Israel at Syria, then Iran, Turkey, and NATO would get involved, and we would face a huge conflict. A tough response could be possible, but, unfortunately, the UN Security Council cannot perform a peacekeeping mission. Take Libya for example. There is a UN mandate for a no-fly zone, but in reality the country was bombed, a puppet government was installed, and now it is ruled by Al-Qaeda," Ionov said.
If militarization of the conflict is prevented, Russia would not have to send its troops to Syria. However, the expert does not rule this possibility: "Syria is home to about 80,000 Russian citizens, and international law entitles us to send our troops there in the event of a threat to their lives, by analogy with the events in South Ossetia."
Speaking about the current situation in Libya, Ionov said that "Libya has no centralized army, and the Interior Ministry exists only on paper. It is home to 130 tribes, and approximately 80 percent of them do not want to live with the current government. There are cities that live under sharia, that is, there is a governor and his gang, and no other laws are recognized."
Tripoli, for example, is not controlled by troops, but controlled by two gangs that serve as the army and police. "There is complete anarchy there. Premiere Ali Zeidan was recently kidnapped for two hours, was ridiculed, the kidnappers took pictures with him and then released him. What kind of country is this? "asked Ionov. He said that Libya today is identical to Somalia, with arms, drugs and organs trafficking. "Those who started the war in Libya - France, Italy, the United States, have taken all the oil out of the country. The oil industry is now destroyed, the country earns nothing except the illegal arms trade. Even gangs are now crying and wishing they had Gaddafi.
Now one can definitely say that the Russian Federation made a big mistake by supporting the UN Security Council resolution on Libya, he said. He complained that decree 286 of President Dmitry Medvedev imposing economic sanctions on Gaddafi's family and all the members of the then government was still operational.
"You can tell that the current government has a bad attitude towards the Russian Federation. Take, for example, a trial of Russian citizens accused of promoting the Gaddafi regime, they are imprisoned and live like goats in appalling conditions in a Libyan prison. Remember a citizen of Russia who allegedly killed their pilot, which was followed by an attack on the Russian Embassy in Tripoli. Ionov is surprised by the position of MFA that wants to establish relations with this government. "Who do they want to strengthen the ties with? Russia must radically revise its relations with Libya," said Ionov.