Walid Jumblatt, is a Lebanese MP. He is a front line politician, leader of the Progressive Socialist Party and also the Druze community in the land of the cedars.This veteran politician plays an important role on the national stage, and is among politicians able to talk about the Syrian crisis. He talked to euronews’ Randa Abou Chacra.
Randa Abou Chacra: “Let’s start with the hottest topic. You said that the bloody attacks in Paris, will cause a feeling of resentment against Arabs and Muslims, in your opinion, will that lead to an escalation of the violence? And how will it happen, what form will it take.”?
Walid Jumblatt: “It will lead to a restriction on Syrian refugees who are fleeing the massacres by the Syrian regime. It will also lead to the rise of the fascist and racist right, Marine Le Pen in France and even the former French President Nicolas Sarkozy. It is close to the issue which provokes the French and European politicians on the right. It will also express itself in different European countries which see themselves forming the core of the fascist right-wing organizations such as in Germany, Sweden and many other countries.
‘The co-called “Islamic State” is trying to push us and push humanity into a conflict which they call a “conflict between civilizations and religions” a theory put forward by the American political scientist Samuel P Huntington in 1992. The problem is that the third generation of Arab immigrants in Western countries, has not been able to adapt, integrate, and to live in harmony with society, because it knows nothing of its origins or of Islam and refuses French secularism or integration in Western countries. “
Euronews: “What do you think are the consequences of the Turkish attack against the Russian military aircraft on the Syrian border?”
Walid Jumblatt: “Turkey can attack a Russian plane in one way or another but can’t take such action without coordinating with NATO. This is not the first time that Turkish airspace was violated. But this time I think it is a conflict somewhere between NATO and Russia, and this increases the tension on the international stage.
‘It all began with the question in Crimea and in Ukraine and now Russia is opposed to Turkey. The answer was obviously violent, but I do not think now, that there will be a revenge attack against a Turkish plane. Russia will take more time to bomb the Turkmens who are of Syrian origin to drive them out of the Latakia region.”
Euronews: “Do you think the Sykes-Picot agreement – signed a century ago drawing up boundaries in the region should be preserved?”
Walid Jumblatt: “That accord is dead. Today is the beginning of a path that will lead to new boundaries being drawn up between minorities. Kurdish and Turkmen minorities, and also between religions and denominations. We are only at the beginning of a long process. But I do not see the Syrian and Iraqi regimes remaining unchanged. “
Euronews: “Recently, you stated that ‘Syria is subject to a conflict between nations and a race to get hold of it, or at least what remains of it, and that we are only at the beginning of this conflict,’ what did you mean?”
Walid Jumblatt: “Bashar al-Assad believed he had the ability to suppress and stifle the Syrian revolution, the revolution of the children of Daraa in 2011, but the attempt failed. The revolution spread everywhere, then it turned into armed conflict. But Bashar was overwhelmed by the events. Syria and its sovereignty are no longer his prerogative. Decisions today are to a large extent in the hands of Iran on one side and Russia on the other. Furthermore, there is the Western coalition that is calling for a transition period between the Syrian regime and the opposition, in my opinion, this solution is impossible to achieve, given the structure of the regime that I know well. For that reason the conflict will be long, too long. “
Euronews:“In your opinion, what is the best solution to the crisis in Syria?”
Walid Jumblatt: “I see no solution, I see no adequate solution. It could have been possible, with a coming together, but today that is no longer acceptable. At the beginning of the revolution, it would have been possible to have a reconciliation followed by free elections and political plurality with presidential elections to replace Bashar. But today that is no longer possible. Because with the tide of blood, to find a way for peaceful change is a pipe dream As I said at the beginning of the interview, we are at the start of a long way in Syria and Iraq as well.”
Euronews: “Let’s talk about the political situation in Lebanon. For a year and a half the country has been without a president. It seems according to rumours the MP Suleiman Frangieh is favorite to be elected. Why is that?”
Walid Jumblatt: “I was among the first to nominate Mr Suleiman Frangieh as presidential candidate. Why was that? For a year and a half we were going round and round with parliamentary sessions that resulted in nothing, so why not him?
‘Finally, Lebanon is politically divided between supporters of the Syrian regime and Iran on one side, and what are called sovereignists other hand, they are supported by countries like the US and Saudi Arabia … etc. To reach a compromise, Suleiman Frangieh was proposed for president and Saad Hariri for prime minister. Why grasp this proposal? Only because institutions are at the stage of complete deterioration, the economic situation is very bad, and so next year promises to be very difficult. “
Euronews: “What is amazing with that choice is that it gives the impression it was was the choice of the Assad regime because Franjieh is close to Bashar.”
Walid Jumblatt:: “ I do not agree, it is neither here nor there. I am responsible for my words and actions. I’ve heard this from those close to me, the so-called sovereignists, and many others. But I think Bashar al-Assad has got bigger difficulties which are more important than occupying himself with the affairs of Lebanon. What would he gain in Lebanon? It has already Hezbollah which is involved in the fighting taking place in Syria. So it does not profit him. Nothing. As I told you at the beginning, the conflict will continue. So we work on a mutual agreement, politics, you know is a compromise.”
Euronews: “In a tweet you sent a message to Russian President Vladimir Putin to tell him that Moukhtara – your seat is in good hands, what were you implying by it?”
Walid Jumblatt: “Sometimes I like to be cynical in my way on twitter. I read somewhere – perhaps it’s true, perhaps not – the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lebanon Jobran Bassil tried to provoke the Russians against me, and my friend Mikhail Bogdanov the Russian Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister replied in a courteous manner, that “Moukhtara is in good hands and Walid Jumblatt will always be our friend.” This is because we have a long relationship between us, with the USSR before and now Russia. As for our foreign affairs minister he is not someone who is incidental in this relationship. “