"This Is a Syrian Matter": Here's Charlie Rose's Assad Interview

"This Is a Syrian Matter": Here's Charlie Rose's Assad Interview

If the U.S. attacks Syria, it should "expect everything," Syrian President Bashar al-Assad tells CBS News' Charlie Rose in their Damascus interview, part of which was broadcast this morning.

On her Facebook page, CBS News' Norah O'Donnell has published a series of transcribed excerpts from the interview. In one, Assad and adamantly denies the use of chemical weapons on civilians:

Charlie Rose: "Speaking of reality, what was the reality on August 21st? What happened, in your judgment?"

Assad: "We're not in the area where the where the alleged chemical attack was happened, as it alleged. We're not sure that anything happened because—"

Charlie Rose: "Even at this date, you are not sure that chemical weapons, even though you have seen the video tape, even though you've seen the bodies, even though—"

Assad: "No, I have—"

Charlie Rose: "—your own officials have been there."

Assad: "I haven't finished. Our soldiers in another area were attacked chemically. Our soldiers. They went to the hospital—as casualties because of chemical weapons. But in the area where they said the government used chemical weapons, we only had video and we only have pictures and allegations. We're not there. Our forces—our police, our institutions don't exist. How can you talk about what happened if you don't have evidences? We're not like the American administration. We're not social media administration or government. We are the government that deal with reality—"

In another, he attempts to outline a mainstream, reasonable case against war in Syria:

Charlie Rose: There is an intense discussion going on about all the things we're talking about in Washington. Where there's a strike, it will emanate from the United States' decision to do this. What do you want to say in this very important week in America, and in Washington, to the American people, to members of Congress—to the President of the United States.

Assad: I think the most important part of this now is—let's say the American people. But the polls show that the majority now don't want a war anywhere, not only against Syria. But the Congress is going to vote about this in a few days. And I think the Congress is elected by the people and represent the people and work for their interests.

The first question that they should ask themself, what do wars give America? Things we have till now, nothing. No political gain, no economic gain, no good reputation. United States is at all low, dying, the credibility is at all low— all-time low. So this war is against the interests of the United States. Why?

First of all, because this is the war that is going to support Al Qaeda and the same people that kill Americans in the 11 of September. The second thing that we all want to tell to the Congress, that they should ask and that what we expect, we expect them to ask this administration about the evidence that they have regarding the chemical story and the allegations that they presented.

I would then tell the the president when he have the option 'cause we were disappointed by their behavior recently because we expected this administration different from Bush's administration. They are operating the same doctrine with different accessories. That's it. So we expect if we want to expect something from the—from this administration, it's not to be weak, to be strong to say that we don't have evidence, that we have to obey the international law, that we have to go back to the security council at the United Nations.

He also warns Americans to "expect everything" in the event of a strike—not just Syrian attacks, but attacks from rebel groups as well:

Charlie Rose: "Will there be attacks against American bases in Middle East if there is an airstrike?"

Assad: "You should expect everything. You should expect everything. Not necessarily from the government. It’s not only the government are not the only player in this region. You have different parties, you have different factions, you have different ideology. You have everything in this region now. So you have to expect that."

Charlie Rose: "Tell me what you mean by expect everything?"

Assad: "Expect every action."

Charlie Rose: "Including chemical warfare?"

Assad: "That depends if the if the rebels or the terrorists in this region or any other group have it, it could happen I don't know. I am not fortune teller to tell you what's going to happen."

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Original post by Lacey Donohue on Gawker

Syrian President Chats With Charlie Rose, Denies Everything

Syrian President Chats With Charlie Rose, Denies Everything

Syrian president Bashar al-Assad sat down with Charlie Rose for an extended interview on Sunday morning, his first with an American network since Barbara Walters was beyond charmed with the “mild-mannered” dude in December 2011.

Speaking on Sunday with Bob Schieffer on Face The Nation, Rose discussed his meeting with Assad and says the leader “denied that he had anything to do with the attack.” Not only that but:

“He denied that he knew, in fact, that there was a chemical attack, notwithstanding what has been said and notwithstanding the videotape. He said there’s not evidence yet to make a conclusive judgment.”

However, according to Rose, Assad has made at least one conclusive judgment: he believes Americans should absolutely not intervene in Syria. If an intervention occurs, Assad suggested there might be “some kind of retaliation.”

Excerpts from the interview will air Monday morning on CBS This Morning with the entire interview airing Monday night on The Charlie Rose Show on PBS.

Meanwhile, President Obama will sit down and discuss his Syrian intervention plan with six television networks Monday night. This is following White House chief of staff Denis R. McDonough’s news rounds Sunday morning in which he made the case for authorizing an airstrike against Assad’s forces.

[Image via AP]

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