Mikdad to the Independent: U.S Can't Control Terrorist Groups it is Arming

DAMASCUS, (ST) - Syria’s Deputy Foreign and Expatriates Minister Faisal al-Mikdad has stressed that Syria is convinced the US cannot control the terrorist groups it is arming and will be unable to get them to declare a ceasefire that would be central to any successful peace talks.

Interviewed in Damascus by the Independent's Correspondent Patrick Cockburn, Mikdad  said he is certain the West’s strategy will fail.

The Deputy Foreign Minister pointed out that the Americans “provide arms and money but they have absolutely no control. Nobody will listen. The US has been trying to unify this opposition for two years and you can see the results: more disintegration.”

Mikdad said events have been moving in the Syrian government’s favour, as its forces are on the offensive, having won a crucial battle at al-Qseir in Homs countryside near the Lebanese border. “The armed forces will send a clear message to armed groups, saying: "The Syrian army is coming for you,” he said.

He pointed out that six months earlier Damascus had been resounding with the sound of artillery fire while now it is much quieter.

On the Geneva II peace conference, Mikdad said Syria had always been ready and willing to attend without preconditions, stressing that the US and its allies are mistaken if they think that by making the armed groups a bit stronger on the battlefield, they can force the government to give more concessions.

 “I think they are stupid and absolutely mistaken, because more arms means more killing.” Mikdad said.

He derided any idea that the British and French stance is humanitarian or sincere, attributing it in both cases to revived colonialist ambitions.

"Britain and France as front men for the US administration, which is “behind everything in the region”, Mikdad said. He stressed that Saudi Arabia and Qatar likewise act as proxies for the US: “They can’t do anything without written instructions from Washington.”

Mikdad added that Syria is facing fundamentalist jihadists who represent as much of a long-term threat to the West as they do to Syria, stressing that thousands of Islamic fundamentalists have joined the armed groups without provoking an international outcry.

Mikdad affirmed that Iran hasn't a single soldier or member of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps in Syria, but he said that the Iranians are generous with economic and financial assistance. “They are sending food, oil and financial support,” he said.

As for chemical weapons, he said: “supposing we had them” , Syria would never deploy them against its own people. He reiterated Syria's  call on the UN to investigate the use of poison-gas by terrorists.

Mikdad stressed that the Syrian "opposition" had every incentive to fake evidence about alleged chemical weapons use by the government in order to provoke foreign military intervention. “They know that President Obama said that this was a red line,” he said.

H Mustafa