Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad used his third televised appearance in the three months since anti-regime protests first erupted to deliver a monotonous, rambling and technocratic speech to a handpicked audience at Damascus University on Monday and while the autocratic leader promised a national dialogue, the offer is unlikely to damper the violent dissent rocking his country. There was little new in his more than hour-long address
Like many of the syrian farming communities near Lebanon’s northern border, Aarida, as seen from the Lebanese village of Buqaya, offers a bucolic scene worthy of a postcard.
To the untrained ear, Syrian President Bashar Assad’s Tuesday offer of amnesty for “all members of political movements” may sound resoundingly generous. But his opponents know that anything sugarcoated offered by the Syrian regime has had a violent and bitter follow-through.
The late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat used to be called “the great survivor.” Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad may be succeeding to the title. Many observers had expected Barack Obama to use a much-anticipated speech on the Middle East to call for Assad to step down, much as Washington has demanded that Muammar Gaddafi relinquish power in Libya.
The last time Syrians took on their ruling Ba’athist regime it was 1982. The protesters then were Islamists from the Muslim Brotherhood.
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Once upon a time, Syria erected a formidable barrier of fear that kept its citizens in check for decades. Today, however, authoritarian Baathist rule isn’t looking all that insurmountable anymore
Today was not a good Friday for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Across Syria, tens of thousands of people once again streamed into the streets
The regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has been pursuing a divide-and-conquer strategy against dissent, using specific carrots-and-sticks to appease and repress the country’s complicated collection of tribal, ethnic and religious interests.
It’s not as if President Bashar al-Assad didn’t have time to go through a few revisions of his much anticipated, much delayed speech before he finally delivered it to Syria’s pliant parliamentarians on Wednesday. It fell well short of the expectations of many, but the MPs gushed over their 45-year-old leader, rising to their feet several times to cheer and chant “with our souls and with our blood we will sacrifice for you Bashar!” and “God, Syria, Bashar only!” At least a dozen stood to shout their support during his speech, or spout sycophantic poetry though some of the TV shots seemed to have been set up to capture these ostensibly spontaneous events before they happened.