Maria Finoshina is an international news reporter with Russia Today (RT) who has covered wars in Iraq, Libya, Syria and Ukraine.
Interviewed at length by the Russia Today news channel on 1 July 2011, Colonel Gaddafi's son Saif al-Islam told RT’s Maria Finoshina:
- "The sentence against us is already there – capital punishment – so they (NATO) decided to kill me and to kill my father. And they did kill my brother, and they destroyed my house. So, the decision is made to execute you. So, you take a warrant to arrest me. Three months ago, you decided to kill me and you are after me every day. You are trying to find me and kill me every day, and my father."
Time for Russia to step in
The full 24-minute interview with Saif al-Islam Gaddafi is no longer available but a truncated version can be viewed here.
- "USA looks upon Libya as fast food expecting a fast war and a quick victory," Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, the son of the Libyan leader wanted by the ICC, told RT. "But the West will never get what they want," he added. "Many countries, Iran and North Korea are among them, told us it was our mistake to give up, to have stopped developing long-range missiles and to become friendly with the West. Our example means one should never trust the West and should always be on alert – for them it is fine to change their mind overnight and start bombing Libya," said Saif al-Islam Gaddafi. "One of our biggest mistakes was that we delayed buying new weapons, especially from Russia, and delayed building a strong army. We thought Europeans were our friends; our mistake was to be tolerant with our enemies."
Gaddafi’s son was charged by the International Criminal Court on June 27 for a "state policy aimed at deterring by any means, including lethal force, the demonstrations of civilians against the Gaddafi regime" alongside his father Muammar Gaddafi and his military intelligence chief General Abdullah al-Senussi. However the Libyan leader’s son sees the charge differently.
- "They do not accuse me of policy, they accuse me of killing people, and everybody knows it. For me to be responsible for killing people was a joke. This would have happened anywhere in the world if people in the street moved towards a military site trying to steal ammunition or arms. Of course the military would prevent them!" stated Saif al-Islam Gaddafi. The son of the Libyan leader denied either he or his father had ordered the killing of protestors. "No, nobody ordered to kill them, the guards just fired, that’s it. And they do not need permission to do that."
- "It’s a fake court. Under the table they are trying to negotiate with us a deal. They say if you accept this deal, we will take care of the court. What does that mean? It means this court is controlled by those countries which are attacking us every day! It is just to put psychological and political pressure on us. That’s it. Of course, it won’t work. The court is a joke here in Libya," concluded the son of the Libyan leader.
Saif al-Islam Gaddafi said the West has only one target – Libya:
- "The country is a like a piece of cake for them – it is rich, it has gas, oil and money, so they must kill my father to get the cake. What they don’t understand is that the fighting will not stop if my father goes. Libyans will continue fighting until one day the country will be back to the Libyans," concluded Saif al-Islam Gaddafi.
- "We told them: 'You want elections?' OK – let’s do elections. We will bring observers from Russia, from America, from the African Union, from the European Union, from the United Nations to supervise the elections. And if we win – you should accept the results, if we lose – congratulations. They answered 'no'," Saif al-Islam Gaddafi went on. "Our goal is to march to Tripoli. We have to march to Tripoli and occupy Tripoli. By force. So, you want to fight? OK, we will fight. And you will lose. And soon, because you have no chance. You have 40 ships in front of our coast, you have hundreds of airplanes, you have 17 satellites from America and France, you have everything, but you are losing every day. Why? Because the people are not with you."
- "The Libyans are united not just around my father as a leader but they are united around other moral values. They are fighting for their country, for their people. They know that NATO is here and is bombing not because they want to help us, or because it is so nice to us or because it is so generous towards the Libyan people, but because they have their own interest. And the rebels are with NATO not because they are pro-democracy or fighting for freedom. It has nothing to do with this. They have their own interests. They want to share the cake – they want to share this country," said Saif al-Islam Gaddafi.
The son of the Libyan leader acknowledged that the West won the media war at the outset because it planned to say Gaddafi was in Venezuela, the rebels were occupying Tripoli and the regime was gone.
- "They seeded big chaos in the whole country. We are still now suffering from that chaos. But now the Libyans are winning. The UN Security Council issued its resolution against Libya because of fake media reports saying that the Libyan air force is bombing civilian districts in Tripoli and killing – but go there and show me any evidence of such killings. We told everyone – please, send a fact-finding mission to Libya to find out what’s happened. They said no. We are going to bomb you."
- "Nobody will give up and raise a white flag. And the Libyans will not allow them to do that. And the fight will continue," added Saif al-Islam Gaddafi.
At the end of the interview, Saif al-Islam Gaddafi said it was time for Russia to step in to play a positive role in the escalating conflict and show that it is a superpower.
- "Libya is a great opportunity for Russia to become a superpower. It’s similar to what happened in Egypt when the Soviet Union managed to stop the French and the British. It’s exactly what is happening now in Libya. And from then on the Soviet Union became a super power, because at that time it said: 'You stop aggression against Egypt, or we are going to bomb London and Paris.' It’s the same again."
On 19 October 2013, Maria Finoshina reported from rebel-held areas in Syria where Free Syrian Army (FSA) soldiers admit they won’t be able to claim capital Damascus without foreign support, but they aren’t counting on it anymore as the US and the Gulf states are “liars”. The Russia-US deal has led to cancellation of US airstrikes against the targets of Syrian government and the Arab states holding back on their aid to the opposition forces. But not everybody in the country wants a peaceful solution to the 2.5-year-long civil war as the rebels have accused their foreign backers of not keeping their promises:
- “The security belt that the regime created around Damascus is huge and to target it we need many fighters and advanced weapons, and to be honest we don’t have such kind of weapons,” Oraba Idriss, who defected the government forces to become the 1st Maghaweer brigade commander for the Free Syrian Army, told RT. “But what we can do – is launch operations here and there to release the pressure of the regime.”
Last month's attack on the village of Maaloula, in the south-west of the country, could have been part of that strategy as the ancient, mostly-Christian settlement, remains the only obstacle preventing the fighters from two large Syrian battlegrounds uniting. Maaloula, which is loyal to the Syrian authorities, lies in a valley surrounded by mountains on the way from Homs to Damascus and is surrounded by villages held by the FSA.
FSA fighter, Abu al-Hasan, said the rebels have the road leading to Damascus in their sight, but they “can’t reach it because of Maaloula”. The militants can hold back the government troops, but they seem unable to make their own advances. In order for that to change the opposition needs more money from Gulf countries and American military aid, Abu Mohammad, an FSA fighter, who was injured in Maaloula, claims:
- “If they (the US) strike with just ten rockets the regime of Bashar al-Assad will fall by itself,” he said.
Geneva II Conference
The US had considered “limited military action” on Syrian military bases over August's chemical attacks they blamed on the forces of President Assad, but changed track after Russia pushed Washington to agree on a peaceful way forward. Moscow proposed to hand the Syrian chemical weapons arsenal to international inspectors for destruction, with the initiative receiving full backing from the country’s authorities.
Despite preserving “non-lethal” aid to the rebels such as food and medicine, the Americans pulled its warships back from Mediterranean and put its tomahawks on hold. The joint mission of international experts from the UN and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, which is now working in the country, has finished inspecting of over 50 per cent Syrian chemical sites.
Russia and US continue their joint effort to stage the Geneva II Conference, which is aimed at bringing the sides of the Syrian conflict to the negotiating table and find a diplomatic solution. The international peace efforts became a huge disappointment for the rebels, who began losing faith in their foreign backers:
- “All of them are liars, all of them. I don’t know how I can express it better and we are not hoping anything from them (US and Gulf States). Whatever they say we don’t believe it,” Abu Mohammad stressed.
With army forces struggling to combat fighters hidden in the mountain and militants helpless in the face of government’s tanks, artillery and aviation, Syria is at a deadly impasse, which will only see the conflict’s 100,000 death toll rising. On Saturday, a suicide blast near Damascus killed at least 16 government soldiers, for which the militant Al-Nusra Front is believed to be responsible.
Nobel Peace Prize
In September 2013, the Philsreport blog nominated Maria Finoshina for the Nobel Peace Prize:
- Wow! I was just about to settle down for the night and annihilate Jeremy Bowen for his tutting yesterday at the mere suggestion of Syria not being destroyed by al-Qaeda linked terrorists; now I'm going make sure he never works as a journalist again or has no respect from anyone unless he grows a pair! Whilst he's poncing about the nice parts of Damascus, without even any body armour on saying proof of Assad's evil can be proved by just one old bloke having a bad day on his stall saying so!, RT reporters are in Maaloula right in the middle of government forces trying to take back the town from terrorists who are killing everyone there. Nobel Peace Prize to Maria Finoshina and her crew for sure, for doing by far the most in trying to stop World War III.
Now the vile Bowen is trying to say the Syrian army has set it up in his corporate thirst to start WW3:
- Rebel forces have taken control of the historic Christian town of Maaloula, north of Damascus, with Christians fleeing to the Greek Catholic Cathedral in Damascus for help. More than four million people have been displaced in Syria. Russia has asked Syria to put its chemical weapons stockpiles under international control and then have them destroyed, in an attempt to avoid US military strikes. Jeremy Bowen reports from Damascus.
Jeremy Bowen was tutting when reporting live on BBC News, notice how he calls the terrorists anti Assad al-Qaeda sympathizers!
- Life continues on the streets of Damascus, but the threat of a potential military strike from the US forces hangs over Syria. The US Congress reconvenes on 9 September and there will be a vote on military strike against Syria.
- US Secretary of State John Kerry now says he has the support of at least ten countries over taking "limited" military action following a poison gas attack on Damascus suburbs on August 21, which the US blames on President Bashar al-Assad's regime.
The BBC's Middle East editor, Jeremy Bowen, is one of the few international broadcasters in Damascus:
- "The talk of American intervention and the chance it might happen is going to push this war into new and unknown territory," he says.
- ↑ "Maria Finoshina on Twitter"
- ↑ "Libya will descend into crisis predicts Saif al-Islam"
- ↑ "Saif al-Gaddafi interviewed by Russia Today"
- ↑ "US looks on Libya as McDonald’s – Gaddafi’s son"
- ↑ "‘Liars, all of them’: Syrian rebels slam US, Gulf states following international peace efforts"
- ↑ "Maria Finoshina and all of RT to be nominated for Nobel Peace Prize for stopping WW3"
- ↑ "'Bullets flew around us': RT crew in crossfire of Syrian army vs extremists"
- ↑ "Syria crisis: Christians flee to Damascus cathedral"
- ↑ "Syria: Damascus streets a day before Congress reconvenes"