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Tahrir al-Sham's shuffle makes Assad Regime stronger: Islamic scholar

Interviews | 2017-08-30 10:34:34
Tahrir al-Sham's shuffle makes Assad Regime stronger: Islamic scholar
   Sheikh Hassan al-Dagheem
 By Ahmed Primo

(Zaman Al Wasl)- The expert in Islamic groups Sheikh Hassan al-Dagheem accused Hayat Tahrir al-Sham of dodging, deception and lack of desire for dialogue and rapprochement, and continued deceit after its leaders repeatedly ignored their promises .

On Monday, he issued a statement detailing the invitation of Tahrir al-Sham to him and to political and revolutionary figures who opposed it recently.

He concluded his lengthy statement on the details of his visit to Syria, which was meant to meet with the leaders of Tahrir al-Sham. He concluded by announcing that he would stop communicating with the Golani group as he put it, and open the door for direct dialogue with the members of Tahrir al-Sham without allowing their leadership to control their fate.

Regarding al-Dagheem visit and the statement that followed and other topics, Zaman al-Wasl interviewed Sheikh Hassan al-Dagheem. To the text of the dialogue:

Z: You mentioned in your statement that you received an invitation from the leadership of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham for dialogue about the revolution and the arrangement of cards in the liberated areas. Do you think that the initiative of "Civil Administration" presented by Tahrir al-Sham is the reason for this invitation especially that your stand from it since it was working in the name of al-Nusra Front is well known and clear?

D: Yes, we received an official invitation from Hayat Tahrir al-Sham to enter talks in the arena and the issue of civil administration and others. After Tahrir al-Sham took over the arena and dismantled "movement Ahrar al-Sham Movement and expelled it from Bab al-Hawa crossing. It found itself in front of social and political responsibilities especially what is being said about the closure of the crossings and the pressures of the International Community, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham proposed the so-called "civil administration" project.

We know that Hayat Tahrir al-Sham fluctuates in its policies once it is affiliated with al-Qaeda and inother times it dismantles form al-Qaeda .Once it is merged with other factions or monopolize this merger, and now they use the "Civil Administration" card.

The call made by Tahrir al-Sham to me and to known figures known to oppose it is intended to legitimize the subject of "civil administration".

Z: You mentioned in your statement that Tahrir al-Sham requested or preferred the presence of certain opposition figures such as Ahmad Abazid, Osama Abu Zeid, Abbas Sharifa and other opponents to it in their approach and policy, what is their justification according to you?

D: As stated in my answer to the first question, Tahrir al-Sham wanted by inviting individuals with ideas and political and ideological orientations that differ from its ideology to legitimizing the "civil administration." If the project is confined to its cadres and loyal figures, it will be said that this project is Tahrir al-Sham or Fath al-Sham in another color. Hence, Tahrir al-Sham invited the figures you mentioned and other ones so it can say the "civil administration" is diverse.

Z: You have referred to the conditions to be presented to the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham during the meeting that was scheduled between you, can you inform us of those conditions especially those that you did not mention in your statement?

D: We did not have any preconditions for dialogue, and we wanted to sit down for dialogue without any preconditions. However, to enable and sustain this dialogue, we have prepared the necessary conditions to put forward during the dialogue, including stopping the aggression and oppression against the Syrian revolution factions. In addition to compensating those affected by the internal fighting between factions and guaranteeing the right of peaceful civil demonstration in their areas of control against the violations of Tahrir al-Sham.

Z: You may have heard the speech of the Commander-in-Chief of the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham Hashim Sheikh Abu Jaber last Friday in which he said that Tahrir al-Sham is ready to resolve itself provided that all the military factions operating in the north of Syria do the same and meet under one command. Do you think the Sheikh and Tahrir al-Sham are generally serious about it, or is it within the media propaganda?

D: It always says this but unfortunately they do not prepare this to the political level. For example, if we told Tahrir al-Sham to resolve itself and a military council is formed, to whom this council will follow, should not be followed by a legitimate political entity, the coalition or the Interim Government or High Negotiation Committee? 

They want to form a unified military force and an internal government without being recruited by the institutions created by the revolution, and here we are in two things, either that this new body is not recognized, or it becomes a rival to other institutions, it is a new body and a new frustration for the revolution.

Z: You announced at the end of your statement halt of communication with the “Golani Group” then you said later that your door is open for direct dialogue with the cadres and elements of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham without allowing their leadership to control their fate. In your words, does this mean that there is more than one current in Tahrir al-Sham. If yes, what are the trends according to your vision?

D: Of course, when we discovered the not so unfamiliar dodging and maneuvering of the leadership of Tahrir al-Sham and we know that there are a large number of cadres who were forced to work with Tahrir al-Sham because there areas were captured by it. The sons of Deir al-Zour and the rebels of the East strip and Badiye were forced to work with Tahrir al-Sham as well as those who withdrew from the northern countryside of Aleppo and joined Hayat in addition to others who entered the body either for fear or hope or benefit.

It is necessary not to contact these through “Golani” but to open lines of communication with the third, fourth and fifth lines of this body to alert the elements to the level of danger to the situation that would be in the event that Tahrir al-Sham keep imposing itself on the internal arena.

Z: Finally, according to your knowledge of the developments in the arena, and the recent statements that we have heard and read about from the West about Assad, what is the expected scenario of the Syrian revolution in general and Idlib in particular?

D: There is no doubt that the international stands and the hypocrisy of the International Community tend to rehabilitate the chemical regime and Bashar al-Assad under the theory of political reality, and of course this is rejected by all the actors in our revolution, and the place of this regime is prison and fair trial. This needs the unification of our military and popular ranks and mobilization of our political cards wisely and firmly.
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