Jumblatt hopes his words would erase his offense against Syria

Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblatt told As-Safir newspaper in an interview published on Tuesday that he never asked the US to invade Syria. “It is illogical that I ask for Syria’s invasion. That would simply be crazy,” he said.

“I might have thought of improving the conditions for the Syrian opposition,” Jumblatt said. “Perhaps we were deluded, but I never called for invading Syria. If the Syrian leadership and people understood my rhetoric as a call for invading their country, then I hope my words today would erase that offense against the Syrian people and leadership,” he said.

In January 2006, Jumblatt told US journalist David Ignatius of The Washington Post that as the US “came to Iraq in the name of majority rule, [then] you can do the same thing in Syria.”

The PSP leader also slammed some March 14 members for their ongoing provocations against Damascus, saying there is no need for such attitude, especially since Prime Minister Saad Hariri visited Syria last December. Jumblatt added that the incitements are an attempt to purposefully undermine the PM’s visit.

Jumblatt said that the Lebanese-Syrian historical settlement following Hariri’s Damascus visit should be put into practice through establishing strong security relations between the two countries. Such a step would protect Lebanon from any possible Israeli or non-Israeli assault against Syria.

According to Jumblatt, the settlement should also have a political dimension, which he said would highlight the nature of the Israeli enemy and of friendly Arab states. “Unfortunately, some Muslims and Christians in Lebanon do not see things [eye-to-eye],” he told the daily.

Jumblatt also said that the assassinations of political figures in Lebanon did not stop following the Syrian army’s withdrawal from Lebanon in April 2005. “We have accused the Syrian regime of the political [assassinations], but maybe some wanted to aggravate the situation by taking part in the assassinations, especially since Lebanon’s security situation was already [unstable],” he said.

The country’s security situation is still weak and volatile, said Jumblatt, citing January’s staged abduction of Imam Sheikh Mohammad Abdel Fattah al-Majzoub in Majdal Aanjar. “[The incident] could have caused a civil war,” he said.

Jumblatt also called for a new electoral law, which he said would allow the new political elite to bring about some changes, adding that sectarianism would obstruct such a process. “Lebanon’s main problems are isolation and the return of conservative Islam,” he said.

He touched on the cabinet’s work, saying that the government should prioritize people’s concerns. The PSP leader added that all parties agreed to discuss major issues in the National Dialogue. “I do not know whether or not the National Dialogue sessions will be resumed, but they should be,” he said.

Jumblatt also said that attacks against the Resistance, Syria and Iran are unreasonable, especially since Israel could launch a large-scale assault on Lebanon at any given moment. “[Therefore,] we support the Syrian leadership in the face of the Israeli army regardless of our previous positions,” he said.


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