Syrians inspecting the site of a car bomb att
Syrians inspecting the site of a car bomb attSRGC/AFP

The United States wants the bloody civil war in Syria to continue, a leading opposition figure has accused. Waeel Hafez of the National Coalition for Supporting the Syrian Revolution laid out his accusations in an interview with the Al-Shurak newspaper.

Hafez was responding to United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who downplayed the importance of the Syrian National Council (SNC) this week, saying the group “can no longer be viewed as the visible leader of the opposition.”

Clinton also warned of “extremists… attempting to take over what has been a legitimate revolution against a repressive regime for their own purposes.”

Clinton’s comments reveal America’s true interests, Hafez stated. First of all, he said, the U.S. does not want the Syrian conflict to be decided at this time, for fear that Islamist forces would succeed in taking over in the aftermath as they did in Tunisia and Egypt.

Secondly, he continued, the U.S. would like to see more of Syria’s infrastructure destroyed. The more that President Bashar Assad ruins with his bombing campaigns, he said, the more post-war Syria will rely on foreign aid, a situation expected give U.S. ally Israel the gift of relative quiet on its northern border.

Finally, he said, the tragedy in Syria serves as a warning to the rest of the Middle East. The U.S. administration, formerly enthusiastic about the “Arab Spring,” now seeks to prevent the trend of regime change from continuing, and in particular, wants to avoid threats to regimes in the Persian Gulf, he explained. As Syria descends into civil war, he said, it serves as a constant reminder to the rest of the region of the risks of seeking regime change.

While Hafez was critical of Clinton’s latest remarks, he agreed that the SNC cannot be seen as truly representing the Syrian people. The SNC’s ethnic makeup does not reflect that, he said. In addition, he said, the group has failed to win international support and has been accused of corruption.