RT: Western leaders are undertaking a last-ditch attempt to pressure the Syrian National Council into participating in the forthcoming talks in Geneva. Do you think they will succeed? Michel Chossudovsky: I think the fundamental issue is to address the nature of the conflict. The Syrian National Council is virtually a defunct organization. They have been meeting in Spain with other opposition groups but in effect we have to ask a question: ‘Is this a civil war between opposing factions within Syrian society or is it in fact a war of aggression?’ I think at the moment what is striking is the fact that there is a merger of the insurgency in Iraq and Syria: it’s the same Al-Qaeda-affiliated organizations, Al-Qaeda in Iraq, and the Levant, which are waging war against both countries. And the question is who is behind them. We know that there are intelligence operations, we know that Saudi Arabia is supporting those rebels and we also know that the United States is now supporting the New Islamic front which was created back in November, which is considered to be some kind of moderate grouping of Islamic organizations. In effect there’s ample evidence to the fact that the Western military allies are supporting various Islamic rebel forces. RT: The Western leaders are becoming very aware of the consequences of what’ll happen, aren’t they? It’s interesting to hear that many are suspecting now Assad might be the lesser of all evils. And yet at today’s Friends of Syria meeting a very different message came from the French Foreign Minister. He said that Assad’s regime is fueling terrorism. What’s your take on that? MC: These are cynical statements. The Western military alliance has been recruiting mujaheddin right from the outset and it’s confirmed by numerous reliable sources, including Israeli Intelligence. These jihadist forces are operatives of the Western military alliance and it’s continuing right from the Afghan-Soviet war. For the West to say that Assad is allied with the terrorists is a red herring. They are still intent upon destabilizing Syria as a nation state and in fact, [...] with the situation in Iraq and Syria, what they want to do now is to redraw the map of the Middle East. RT: But it is contradicted by the fact that the West is holding the conference in Geneva, it wants peace in Syria. MC: Yes, but this peace conference scheduled for the next week in Montreux is an exercise in shadow fake diplomacy. Ultimately, a decision won’t be taken there, they’ll be taken behind closed doors between John Kerry and Sergey Lavrov. But very important, Sergey Lavrov made the statement back in November that the Geneva-2 peace talks should focus on counterterrorism. That raises an issue because they’ll be sitting at the table together and then the question is: ‘Who is behind the terrorists?’ There will be a number of countries there, I suspect Saudi Arabia might be present at those meetings in Montreux. But who are the sponsors of the terrorists, who is feeding them the weapons? Just a few months ago, Senator John McCain had a photo shaking hands with leaders of the terrorist organizations inside Syria. We must understand that the western military alliance also has blood on their hands. It’s not simply an issue of identifying terrorists, we have to identify the people who are behind them. RT: With these interesting signals that are coming from western leaders and western spokespeople, what do you make of Assad’s future? Many say that he has support within Syria… MC: I think Assad has support within Syria because the Syrian people realize that this is a war of aggression with mercenaries coming in and these mercenaries are coordinated by special forces. They understand that. And when you [look at] the massacre that took place recently in Adra, well, the civilian population understood who came to the rescue with Syrian Armed forces against these terrorists. I think it’s shocking to say the least that the massacre in Adra was covered by some, for example, by Russian media, but it was not covered by Western media.