Discussion on Syrian crisis by IPF in New Delhi
“It is wrong to allege that we used chemical weapons against our own people. We challenge the US or all the critics to show any evidence for it. We have been saying it for long but nobody paid any heed,” said by Dr Riad Kamel Abbas, Syrian Ambassador to India while speaking at a discussion in New Delhi on September 7.
The discussion was organised by India Policy Foundation (IPF). The threats of attack on the country by the US forces were discussed in light of the alleged chemical weapon attack unleashed by the Syrian government on civilians. Some ethnic and sectarian issues were also discussed in the programme.
Dr Abbas said around six month back Syria requested a UN team to visit the country’s defence installation to see if any chemical weapons are there in the country but no heed was paid. He also rejected the very contention that there is sectarian divide in the country and more specifically Shia and Sunni divide. He said it is a grand plan of the US to disintegrate the Arab world. First they create protest and unrest in the name of democracy then they implant armed groups between them and use it as an excuse for the armed attack.
On the questions of interference of organisations like al-Qaeda and Hezbollah, he said, “al-Qaeda is a terror organisation that attacks everyone except Israel while Hezbollah is a resistance organisation and attacks only Israel and is friendly with the rest. So, one is a terror outfit whereas the other is a political outfit,” he said.
Noted Syrian journalist Wael Awwad viewed the planned US attack on Syria as a way to reduce the dependency of Europe on Russian gas. Qatar along with the US is planning a gas pipeline passing through Syria to Europe and that would greatly reduce the dependency of Europeans on Russian gas and the bargaining power of the Russia with European power. In the light of all this it is quite apparent that economic interests are more behind the position taken by the international power and Russia is just doing the same.
Shri AK Mohapatra, a professor at JNU, said Syria is more secular and western than any other nation and this is the reason the Syrians are fighting radical Islam. The recent action by the US is leading to Wahhabism of West Asia. People of the country are of the liberal outlook as their dress and food are very liberal but the US wants to force upon them the radical Islam. Hon. director of IPF Shri Rakesh Sinha expressed concern on the role of United Nations in the crisis and asserted that it has to be made stronger with more teeth so that global problems like Syria can be solved through diplomacy and the US should not act like a supper cop doing moral policing on the planet. —Heena Nanda