Dr. Ayed Ahmed is a medical doctor and the chairman of the Arab Cultural Society in the city of Uppsala, Sweden. He is active in organizing the resistance in Sweden against the aggression facing Syria. He has set up a committee called “Hurry to the defense of Syria!”, which unites Arabs of from different political ideologies, religions and sects to work together for the welfare of the Syrian people. We met at his house to discuss the current crisis.
MO: Who are the so called Syrian opposition?
AA: The organized opposition is led by the so called “Syrian National Council” which is in fact run by a fraction of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood which is closely aligned to Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the other kings of the Gulf and the Hariri movement in Lebanon. There are of course other elements, such as pro-Western liberals and a few Wahhabi or Salafi extremists driven by sectarian hatred against what they describe as the “Alawi regime”. In the beginning of the crisis many ordinary people took to the streets to demand reform. This movement was immediately hijacked by outside forces, aided by US and Israel, which yearn for the downfall of the Syrian regime. Their purpose is to weaken the Arab and Islamic resistance in the region, especially Hezbollah, which defeated Israel in 2006. By destroying Syria they hope to isolate Hezbollah.
The opposition is portrayed as “peaceful” and “democratic”. That’s a lie. There are armed gangs in Syria roaming the streets. They are killing soldiers and police officers.
MO: So Saudi Arabia plays a big role in creating the crisis?
AA: Yes, of course. Saudi Arabia is a reactionary regime, a de facto colony of the US, which tries to sabotage any revolutionary, progressive movement in the Arab world. It has always done so. During the Israeli invasion in Lebanon in 2006 the Saudis openly supported Israel. The Saudis are funding the armed groups that are terrorizing the Syrian people as we speak. They are also funding the so called “Syrian National Council”. Another way in which they aide the US and Israeli plot against Syria is through religion, using their media and their clerics to demonize Alawis and Shi’ites in general in order to inflame sectarian tensions.
MO: So you mean there is a political agenda behind the sectarian hatred against the Shia?
AA: Yes, since the revolution in Iran in 1979 the West had found it’s new enemy. First it was Iran and then later Hezbollah. Shi’ism is a revolutionary movement. Look at Imam Ali, how he struggled for the rights of the poor, the proletariat! Look at the revolution of Imam Hussein against the tyrant Yazid! Imam Ali has always been a role model to progressive, anti-capitalist movements. So is Abu Dharr Al-Ghifari, the follower of Imam Ali. He fought against exploitation and poverty. So you see this Wahhabi hatred against Shi’ism is not only religious, it has a social and economic dimension as well. Saudi Arabia wants to have a reactionary, backwards and capitalist Islam and feels threatened by the revolutionary spirit of Shi’ism. The most formidable foe of Zionism in the region is Hezbollah. In order to isolate them morally and politically, to weaken their support base, they use the Saudi clerical establishment to scare people of Shi’ism.
MO: What role does Al-Jazeera have?
AA: Al-Jazeera was created by some elements within the Muslim Brotherhood with pro-Saudi and pro-Wahhabi tendencies. In the beginning they tried to gain confidence by reporting objectively from the Palestinian intifada. They are now using this capital of confidence, this false image, in order to advance the cause of US imperialism and Zionism in the Arab world. Qatar is an American colony with a huge American military base. Al-Jazeera serves the Qatarian government, and thus the US and the Zionist regime, by inciting against Syria. The reporting from Syria is completely biased. You never see or hear from the other side. I mean the majority of the Syrian people who are nationalistic and absolutely opposed to the American and Israeli plans. This man, Al-Qaradawi, has been handpicked by the Qatar regime, to serve their interests. There are many great scholars, thousands, who support peace and stability in Syria. Why don’t we see them? We only see Al-Qaradawi and the likes of him. It’s because he serves them. He is responsible for a great deal of the trouble in Syria.
MO: What is the position of the Sunnis in Syria?
AA: The majority are not opposed to the regime, quite the contrary. More than ninety percent of the populations of Damascus and Aleppo are very much in favor of Bashar al-Assad. And most of them are Sunnis! The religious leaders of the Sunni community support the government. The mufti of Syria, Ahmed Hassoun, actually paid a big prize. His son was killed in cold blood by the so called “democratic” and “peaceful” opposition! Millions have poured into the streets to show their loyalty towards Al-Assad. Al-Jazeera doesn’t show them! When we had a pro-Syrian rally in Stockholm a few days ago a handful of Anti-Assadists showed up. We were five or six hundred, while they were just about twenty people. It’s the same situation in Syria! The opposition is tiny. If you are against Al-Assad all Swedish media outlets will praise you but if you are for Al-Assad you will be completely ignored. In Sweden it is like we don’t exist, even though the majority of the Arabs here support Al-Assad.
MO: What TV-channel do you recommend instead of Al-Jazeera?
AA: I prefer Al-Manar, as a Palestinian I find it the most trustworthy. Al-Manar is always with the resistance, they never side with Zionist occupiers.
MO: What does the crisis in Syria mean to the struggle in Palestine?
AA: It means a lot. Why hasn’t there been any US intervention in Palestine? Our country has been occupied for sixty years with the help of the US government. All of a sudden the US speaks of human rights in Libya and Syria? They enforced a no-fly-zone in Libya. Why isn’t there any talk of a no-fly-zone in Palestine? As a Palestinian I don’t trust the US talk of human rights, it’s only a pretext for imperialism. As always. The US wants to change the Syrian regime in order to crush the Arab and Islamic resistance. They also have a plan to divide Syria into smaller territories.
In the biggest Palestinian refugee camp in Syria, the Yarmouk camp, there have been mass rallies, tens of thousands of Palestinians, in favor of the regime. Many Palestinian organizations reside in Damascus, like the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (Qiyada al-amma), Palestinian Popular Struggle Front and so many others. I’m sure the so called “Syrian National Council” will eventually recognize Israel. Perhaps it has already made a deal in secret.
I’m a democrat, I want to have democratic changes in Syria, and that is also what Al-Assad wants, he has agreed to reforms, but this so called opposition is not the least democratic. They want to establish a dictatorship much worse than anything seen in Syria before. I know them. When I was demonstrating in support of Syria the other day I was harassed by thugs from the so called opposition. They are violent and fanatic, but show a different face to Western media. That is why the Christians in Syria are worried. In fact many Christians participate in our demonstrations.
I was very pleased to see that Russia sent a fleet to the Mediterranean to protect Syria. I hope they will do the right thing. A NATO intervention would be a disaster.