Ali Sadreddin al-Bayanuni enjoys the highest authority among the oppositionists; he is one of the founders and a long-term leader of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood – an organization that has got old scores to settle with the current regime. Now, al-Bayanuni is the Deputy Supreme Spiritual Leader of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood. Until recently he was the spiritual leader of this oldest organization of the Syrian opposition - he held that position for many years. In an interview with the Voice of Russia he touched upon today’s expectations of the opposition. It is worth noting that this is his first interview with Russian media.
Moscow often expresses its concern over religious minorities in Syria, in particular with Christians. How would you comment on it as one of the leaders and founders of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood?
Ali Sadreddin al-Bayanuni: We would not like the Russian leadership to be worried for no purpose. Religious minorities in Syria will not be affected. The Muslim Brotherhood, for instance, are aiming to build a civil society in Syria. Our goal is to establish a state that will respect the rights of all citizens, regardless of their nationality and religion.
What is the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood’s attitude to the fact that the UN Security Council has extended the mission of international observers in Syria for another month?
Frankly speaking, the Syrian opposition has no confidence either in the UN observers, or in the Kofi Annan plan. All these plans are only providing the regime with more time. The solution is being delayed. In the meantime, people are constantly dying, to our great regret.
And what are the Syrian opposition’s expectations?
The Syrian opposition relies on its own strength. Our people have proved that they would go on fighting for the revolution in Syria until they have reached their goals.
But the presence of the observers in certain areas clearly contributes to the reduction of tensions. Is that not so?
Yes, it is so. Therefore, we do not protest against the observers. On the contrary, we have welcomed the launch of the UN observers’ mission in Syria from the very beginning. But we do not count on the UN assistance. And we do not believe that the observers will stop the violence. During the last few months people have seen a lot of killings happening in different places despite the presence of the UN representatives.
Then, perhaps, you are counting on foreign military intervention, just like it was in Libya?
We consider the international community responsible for the killings going on in Syria. And we demand to stop it, and protect the Syrian people. And it does not matter for us whether it will be done with the participation of the UN Security Council or without it.
The conflict in Syria cannot continue without foreign interference as it does. Just look at Iran and Russia that are supporting the Syrian regime – isn't that interference? By putting a veto on the Security Council’s resolution concerning sanctions against the regime, Russia allows the regime to continue using force against people. It is the same as to tighten a hangman's rope on the neck of a drowning man.
You have not responded directly to the question: do you want a repetition of the “Libyan scenario” in Syria? As a matter of fact, the opposition cannot cope with the regime without assistance. According to your words, you are not counting on UN mediation. What solution do you suggest?
No, we don't want to repeat the “Libyan scenario” in Syria. The Free Syrian Army is able to cope with this regime on its own. Look, since the beginning of Ramadan the opposition has already achieved considerable success. Isn't it impressive that fights are already taking place in the capital? And having organized the explosion on July 18, the opposition managed to destroy the brain center of the government’s Anti-crisis Committee by killing its leaders. Isn’t it a turning point in our struggle? Unfortunately, the Syrian army did not support the people from the very beginning as it happened in Egypt, for example. But cases of desertion from the army are becoming more frequent. We can cope on our own, I assure you. The time of the Syrian regime is running out. It is living out its last days.