Speaking in a phone interview with Nedaye Enghelab, the former secretary general of NATO provided comments on Syrian developments and global stances in regard to the country.
Nedaye Enghelab: What are the possibilities of NATO getting involved in war on Syria?
Scheffer: I think we can rule out that possibility. As my successor Andres Fogh Rasmussen done I think yesterday, because NATO as an alliance will not be involved in the horrors taking place in Syria as we speak.
Nedaye Enghelab: What is the reason?
Scheffer: Well, because I do think that when you look at the political landscape in NATO and the policies taken by NATO allies it is difficult to me to imagine that the alliance should be talking about military action. […] If it comes to military action against the Assad regime of course NATO allies will be involved but that is something completely differen t from what we saw over Libya where the NATO command structure was really not involved in coordinating the operation in the skies of Libya. So I think we will not see a repetition of this. Also, because of Russian and Chinese obstruction, which I very much deplore there is not a chance of a consensus.
Nedaye Enghelab: Mr. Obama has said that the Syrian war will be a limited war. What do you think about that?
Scheffer: I do not know, first of all, how limited it will be. I do not even know if a military action will take place at all, because as you know president Obama has felt to seek approval of Congress. I don’t know that if he gets approval by congress, which I expect he will have at the end of the day, he then will make a decision if it will be limited or not limited. But my concern, and that was the reason for my Telegraph comments and the reason you and I now talk is that I’m very much concerned that we are discussing military strikes or not military strikes, the horrible use of chemical weapons. But I do not see and I do not hear anything about a political trajectory, a political way of ending the conflict which has already caused 100,000+ fatalities.
Nedaye Enghelab: The reason that this happened was the saying that the Syrian government has used chemical weapons against its people. At a time when the Syrian military were doing very good in the battlefield and at the same time president Obama said the red line for us is the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government. Don’t you think this might have been done by the rebels or other forces to make the US enter the war?
Scheffer: Well, let me say this as far as I know. But I have not seen evidence. I’m waiting of course for the results of the United Nations’ inspectors, although we know they will not answer the question who did it. I think a rather strong case is building up against al-Assad in the sense that he and his forces have indeed crossed the line of using what is called the weapon of mass destruction. I know that we are not in the point where there is irrefutable proof of this that might come in the next days. All kinds of briefings are going on. But, I mean, let me say it like this, the odds are very much against al-Assad.