As Part II of my segment on the Full Barbara Walters interview with Bashar Al-Assad, which was, to our intellectual misfortune, not aired on national television in its full length, I will provide the highlights of the interview, summarizing key points and, more specifically, those that have been largely overlooked by analysts, the media, and the international community.
When Barbara Walters asked Bashar al-Assad why he believed the United Nations was not a credible institution, he responded with the following:
“They never implemented any of the resolutions that are related to the Arab World, to the Palestinians, the Syrian land. If they talk about human rights, what about the Palestinians suffering in the occupied territory. What about my land and my people that left their land because it is occupied by Israel?”
Barbara Walters then asked Assad about Turkey and the Arab League’s more aggressive approach to Syria, more specifically, the recent sanctions they slapped against Syria.
“Turkey and the Arab League have a hidden agenda. They don’t care about the demonstrations, the Syrian people, democracy,” Bashar responded.
“We still have good relations with neighboring countries.”
“Does the Arab League want to destroy you?” Walters replied.
“You have to ask them. I don’t know their will to be frank.”
“Will you allow outside monitors to come into your country, and to allow them to go to cities like Homs?”
“Under what circumstances?”
“To be in line with our sovereignty.”
“What does that mean?”
“To do everything in cooperation with the Syrian government: how to move, how to prepare, how to protect them. We asked for monitors before they (the Arab League) did. They didn’t want to discuss with us. If they don’t want to discuss, then no.”
“Can outside foreign reporters come? They have not been allowed.”
“No – they were allowed, and you are here.”
“I am here and I have a correspondent here with me.”
“But you’ve been here for two days now. Did anybody tell you where to go and where not to go? Nobody. You are free to go wherever you want.”
Author’s Note: This is the end of Part II. Part III will be coming shortly and will be comprised mainly of the segment of the interview during which Bashar speaks about his wife, his father, his brother, and his children.