French Diplomat: West Doesn’t Want an Extreme Regime in Damascus
Nidal Hmedeh – Paris
Didier Destremau is considered a cornerstone of French diplomacy for 40 years. He worked as a consulate in Saudi Arabia twice, as a consulate in the US, and then returned to France to handle the file of the French hostages in Lebanon.
Later, he worked on a political settlement in this matter, according to former official in the French Intelligence Yves Bonnet.
He also told the Iranian diplomat Wahid Gorgeh about the release of an arrest warrant for him by the French Intelligence, which allowed the latter to resort to the Iranian Embassy in Paris. Al-Ahed Website visited the French diplomat in his house, a few meters away from the Syrian Embassy in Paris.
Is there a specific French strategy in Syria?
I am sure that the offensive speech of former French President Nicolas Sarkozy, the current President Francois Hollande, and the Foreign Minister Roland Fabius, who demanded [Syrian] President Bashar al-Assad to step down, is over and was unrealistic.
Now, fortunately, there is a change in the French tone of speech. We now say al-Assad must leave and we must beware, because we do not know what will happen after that.
Therefore, the speech in France has become more reasonable. We also say that we must find a solution and we must not crush followers of Alawites and Baath. As you may have noticed, we won’t be arming rebels, and we also say that we are with the rebels, but not all of them! We are not with al-Nusra Front that carries the mentality of the global extreme movement, which is similar to those we fight in Mali and the groups that kidnapped French nationals in Niger.
Among the rebels there are Syrians and we want them, but there are global extremists that want to impose their vision on the West, and declare holy Jihad because they are armed and can only prove themselves through arms. France is against these people, and is irritated with these groups that are supported by extreme countries like Qatar and Saudi Arabia. These countries do not want al-Assad in Damascus, while we, in France, do not want to see Damascus a hub of the Eastern strategic region. We do not want it to become an extremist regime.
Does the US have a strategy in Syria?
I believe that there are deliberations backstage. I am sure that the Russians and Americans deliberate under the table, since the two countries have some duties to the international community. Russia wants to be an important country again, and the US, even if it doesn’t admit it, but is also an important country.
Russians do not want to lose their strategic position with the Syrian Baath, and Americans want to remain key players in this region, especially regarding “Israel”, and also do not want to witness an extreme regime in Damascus. We unfortunately, due to the stances we took with Sarkozy and Hollande, lost mediation methods when we blamed Damascus! I believe we attacked Damascus, and if we do not arm the opposition, then we are out of the game!
I hope we enter the crisis with a solution thanks to our presence in Lebanon and our history in Syria. We would like to play an international role, and we delude ourselves that we are still a powerful country. I am trying to urge France with some French MPs and members of government to hold a dialogue table in Paris between the Syrian opposition and the government, and this stance will strengthen France’s place.
Who would want Syria to stay in war?
I do not want to say Turkey, but this crisis has made Turkey a key player in the crisis. Maybe Turkey had secret interests before the crisis to play a role in the Middle and Lower East; an Ottoman role, but maybe not the old-fashioned one, however Turkey has such interests.
Which countries want the war in Syria to continue?
Saudi Arabia wants the phenomena of reverting to the Shiite sect to fall from the international scale in order for the Wahhabists to control. We can say that Saudi Arabia wants mayhem in Syria to continue just for the sake of mayhem and not to impose a Sunni political control. Saudi Arabia is happy with the war in Syria.
Source: al-Ahed News, Translated and Edited by moqawama.org