Syrian President Says He Can Help Broker Peace

We have this good relations with all the parties, including the parties participating in this government and the other who oppose this political process. So that's how we can help. As Syria. Maybe other countries as well.

Sawyer: You are reported to have said, when American congressmen came here before the war in Iraq, "You will ultimately lose." … That you said, "You will win the war but you will sink in a swamp."

Assad: Exactly. That's what I said -- many times to many Americans and to the British officials: There is no doubt you are going to win the war, but after the war, you are going to be sinking in the mud, and nobody can help you. You are going to help us people to extract us from the quagmire, but it's going to be very difficult. And events proved that what we said in Syria was right.

Sawyer: On the current course, what do you think will going to happen next in Iraq?

Assad: Next? Whether it's a budding civil war or a full-blown civil war, it doesn't matter what the definition. It's like domino effect, it's going to affect the whole Middle East in general, and this means it's going to affect the rest of the world.

Sawyer: One of the things that Americans have been told is that Syria wants to fuel the fire and then put the fire out at the same time. And we are told that one of the reasons that there are violent insurgents in Iraq is that they're able to come through 376-mile border and that you give permission for terrorists to come down through the border into Iraq.

Assad: First of all, they have to stop looking for scapegoats and whipping boys, this administration. And there's a logical answer: We cannot stoke the fire and then extinguish it. If you stoke it, it will burn you. So if we have this chaos in Iraq, it will spill over to Syria and to other countries, so saying this, like saying that the Syrian government is working against the Syrian interest, this is impossible.

We have a guard, a special border guard, since 1975, and we supported this guard recently to make more control. But this is not enough. You need Iraqi or American partner on the other side.

Sawyer: But in America they believe that you are all powerful, and you say the word and the border will stop.

Assad: Powerful is different from being omnipotent -- power that you can control everything completely. You cannot control your border with Mexico, can you? You're the greatest power in the world, you cannot control it with Mexico, so how do you want Syria to control its border with Iraq?

'Administration. … Not Interested in Peace at All'

Sawyer: Did you watch the execution of Saddam Hussein?

Assad: Yeah. … I watched it. And, uh, you want to know my opinion? Actually, I can not give you personal opinion, because now I'm speaking formally and I have to be of the opinion of the government. We didn't take any stand against it, but he's a war prisoner. How could the Americans hand him over to another authority, which is not independent? So how could the trial be or called or described as fair and independent? This is a legal point of view.

Sawyer: Some have written in America that rulers in this part of the world look at Saddam Hussein and say, "That could be me, I'm next."

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