Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Assad Speaks; Blames Conspirators For Protests

Once again, a dictator in the Middle East goes to the well worn playbook. When all else fails and the people are on the verge of rising up to overthrow a despotic regime, claim that there's a conspiracy to topple the regime and surround yourself with sycophants and make it appear that support for your regime is far greater than it truly is.

That's exactly what Bashar al-Assad has done. After several days of waiting for Assad to address the Syrian people, he ended up speaking in front of the rubber stamp parliament, who cheered their adoration for Assad. You would just have to ignore that the only people who can be in the parliament are those who are loyal to the regime and that the only sanctioned protests and demonstrations can be those who are supportive of the regime.

Assad claimed that conspirators are to blame for the situation in the country.
Syrian President Bashar Assad blamed a wave of protests on "conspirators" who are trying to destroy the country by sowing sectarian strife.

Assad was giving his first address to the nation since the protests erupted in this tightly controlled Arab country.

As he entered Parliament for Wednesday's speech, legislators chanted "God, Syria and Bashar only!" and "Our souls, our blood we sacrifice for you Bashar."

The speech is seen as a crucial test for his leadership and one that may determine Syria's future.

Assad said it was an "exceptional time" and a "test for our unity," adding that Syria was not isolated from events elsewhere in the Arab world, with the leaders of Tunisia and Egypt forced from power, fighting in Libya and protests elsewhere.

The majority of Syria's population are Sunni Muslims, many of whom resent the power and wealth amassed by the elite of the Alawite minority to which Assad belongs.

He said some Syrians who had demonstrated against his rule had legitimate demands and said the government supported the idea of reform.

"We cannot say that everyone who went out (in the streets) is a conspirator. Let us be clear about that," Assad said.

He said a minority of people in the southern city of Deraa, center of recent protests, had tried to spark chaos in the country.
There's little chance that Assad would relinquish the kinds of power that he currently wields. It's the power that enabled him, and his father before him, to retain power despite being members of the minority Alawite sect.

Assad has no intention of lifting the emergency law anytime soon. His thugs have murdered at least 60, if not many more, of protesters since they began taking to the streets.

It's not just a conspiracy against Assad and Syria, but an Israeli conspiracy.
"Syria is a target of a big plot from outside, both internally and externally. If there is something happening it is using the cover of accusing Syria of popular response .If there are reformers we will support them. Those people have a mixed and confused intellectual ways," Assad said.

He said the objective of the conspirators, who make up a minority, was to "fragment and bring down Syria" and "enforce an Israeli agenda."

The Syrian leader claimed that protests were a mix of a genuine need for reform and instigators influenced by foreign plots that were responsible for the killings and destruction.
Like I said - it's just another chapter from the same playbook that despots and dictators in the Middle East have used since 1948.

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