US State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland says the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad should relinquish power.

“We don’t think there’s going to be peace in Syria until Assad steps down… We will be clear with special envoy Brahimi about our views on this,” Nuland said on Monday.

French President Francois Hollande also said on Monday that there is no political solution for the unrest in Syria unless Bashar al-Assad leaves power.

Damascus says outlaws, saboteurs, and armed terrorists are the driving factor behind the unrest and deadly violence while the opposition accuses the security forces of being behind the killings.

Russia along with China, both permanent members of the Security Council, have so far defied the West’s insistence on military intervention in Syria, blocking efforts at the UN to materialize the objective.

The Syrian government says the chaos is being orchestrated from outside the country, and there are reports that a very large number of the armed militants are foreign nationals.

A number of hostile Arab and Western countries, particularly Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the United States and Britain are providing insurgents with weapons to fight against the Syrian government forces.

Press TV has conducted an interview with Abayomi Azikiwi, editor of Pan-African News Wire, to further explore the issue. What follows is an approximate transcript of the interview.

Press TV: Thank you for joining us here on Press TV. The US and its allies are pumping a lot to keep the insurgents fighting the Assad government. What does Washington ultimately hope to achieve in Syria?

Azikiwe: They have stated publicly on numerous occasions that they will not be satisfied with anything less than a total regime change in Syria.
President Obama’s announcement today during a press conference that he is drawing a red line in regard to Syria making reference to purported existence of biological and chemical weapons in Syria is another fabrication to provide a justification for the continued transfer of US tax payer dollars to these armed opposition groups in Syria.

These armed opposition groups are not interested in negotiating with the Syrian government neither are the backers of these armed opposition groups which are the White House as well as Downing Street in London.

So this is… what we have seen in the past in regard to Afghanistan, in regard to Iraq. The notion that there are so called weapons of mass destruction that are threat to US interests and also to other US allies in the region. A threat that does not exists and of course they do not even bother to change the character of their rationale for a war.

And we believe strongly that if the administration is provided with a rationale for a bombing operation against Syria, it would prove to be disastrous not only for the people in Syria but also for the people throughout the region because it would have implications for not only Syria but for Iraq, for Russia, for Turkey as well as China and the Islamic Republic of Iran.

So we feel that this is just another means of justifying the already existing policy of destabilizing and regime change in Syria.

Press TV: How much of US plans for Syria are in line with what Israel wants? Let’s not forget its role. Or would you say the two are following different ends here though?

Azikiwe: Well, I think that the involvement of Israel may prove diplomatically unsettling for the region. However, the US feels very strongly that it has to look out for the interests of the … Israel.

You can never forget that Israel is occupying Syrian territory in the Golan Heights and there is never a discussion about the arsenal that has largely been supplied by the United States to Israel including technology for the development anywhere between two to three hundred nuclear warheads that is owned and can be utilized by Israel.

So I believe that the interest of the United States and its role in supplying weapons to Israel is not brought into the discourse as far as the corporate media is concerned. And these questions have never been put to the president of the United States to illustrate the double standard that is in existence right now as far as the White House is concerned in relationship to Syria.

So we think that this is just another effort to gain public support, to outflank the Republican Party from the right. This is an election year. The president is in a very difficult and tough race to maintain his presidency…

Press TV: As far as we know any democracy comes through education, rule of law and tolerance and acceptance. How can the US and its allies claim that they are after democracy in Syria while they are practically undermining all these principles?

Azikiwe: Well, what they do, they make it appear as if there is only one side to the Syrian story. They make it appear as if the opposition groups in Syria can do no wrong, that they are actually proponents of a democratic process when there is no evidence whatsoever to suggest such a situation.

In fact there is an incredible amount of information that would prove that to be incorrect, that the armed opposition groups are not interested in dialogue, are not interested in a democratic process. They only want to bring about the overthrow of the Syrian government.

And I think the US is very much involved in the whole process of regime change in Syria because it takes or attempts to take away the attention of the American people and people throughout the world in regard to the economic crisis that exists in this country.

If you look at the performance of the US economy in last several months and over the last quarter, it is quite clear that the economy is not going to improve in the foreseeable future. And that this is a mechanism as far as the electoral politics is concerned to make the Syrian question a major point of discussion as opposed to how you revive the US economy, how you create the tens of millions of jobs that are needed here in the United States in order to reclaim some level of stability inside the United States.

So this is an election year. We have to understand that these type of issues are going to be put before the American people but I know that the American people do not want another war in the Middle East and this is why the administration is only defensive in regard to the situation in Afghanistan and if they began to bomb Syria, I believe that would prove to be a huge mistake for the Obama administration. He would lose even more support … in the Unites States; meaning the African American population, the Latino population, the trade unions, the peace movements and other sectors of the US population will actually turn against him if he proceeds on this same military … align as it relates to Syria and the entire region of Middle East.