Syrian Ambassador to the United Nations Bashar Ja’afari quoted President Obama’s “Yes We Can” campaign slogan Tuesday on CNN while defending his government against charges of using chemical weapons and portraying the outside world as aggressors against what he described as a “peaceful” nation.
“Yes, wrong doings happened in the past,” he said. “Yes, injustices took place in Syria in the past. We need to correct these and we believe in what Obama said as his logo in elections, a change, yes we can, and yes we need. In Syria itself as well as outside of Syria, the whole area needs peace.”
Ja’afari called allegations of chemical weapons use “false and unfounded.” In one exchange with Christiane Amanpour, who repeatedly challenged each of Ja’afari’s claims during the contentious interview, he called the media a weapon of mass destruction itself:
AMANPOUR: That’s how you’ve been justifying it, but here’s the thing. Even your Arab brethren, the Arab League said that the use of weapons is illegal and those that use them and they also believe it has been the Syrian government, they’ve kicked you out of the Arab League, those who use them should be tried like war criminals. I guess I want to know in a final minute or so, how do you sleep at night, Mr. Ja’afari, defending regime government that has caused so much bloodshed and has really crossed the line from any kind of civil war into weapons of mass destruction, into one of the highest crimes of international law. How do you personally sleep at night?
JA’AFARI: I believe that the use of chemical weapons or biological weapons or nuclear weapons is a horrible, appalling crime. Those who perpetrate such a horrible crime, whether they are Israelis or others, should be held accountable to the internationally established mechanisms, not to the bully of the world, the policemen of the world represented by the American intelligence reports or false allegations coming from France or Britain or Saudi Arabia or Israel. We are in favor of a peaceful settlement of all of the conflicts in the area and my country has been a victim of intrusion, interference in its domestic affairs by foreign intelligences. Mainly speaking, don’t forget there is room of operation in Jordan operating right now by the Saudis and the Pentagon, and where they are training and instructing thousands of Syrian mercenaries and foreign mercenaries to invade Syria from the south. The same thing exists in the north within the Turkish territory. Please, we have to look at the picture in its entirety and its comprehensiveness. We are not training for wars or for aggressing anybody else. We haven’t declared war to the United States or to any of our neighbors.
AMANPOUR: Mr. Ja’afari.
JA’AFARI: Yes, we do have a domestic crisis. Yes, wrong doings happened in the past. Yes, injustices took place in Syria in the past. We need to correct these and we believe in what Obama said as his logo in elections, a change, yes we can, and yes we need. In Syria itself as well as outside of Syria, the whole area needs peace. We don’t need further wars. We don’t need further destabilization. After all, all this bloodshed, that would happen sooner or later. All of the victims will be innocent, whether they are Americans, Syrians, Iranians, Turkish and Saudis or Jordanians.
AMANPOUR: Mr. Ja’afari.
JA’AFARI: Our own sons will be the victims.
AMANPOUR: Ambassador Ja’afari, thank you for joining me.