Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Syria's Assad Rearranges Deck Chairs While Trying To Quell Protests

Bashar al-Assad is no different than any other thug and dictator in the Middle East. He wants to stay in power despite growing home-grown opposition taking to the streets demanding political and social change.

So, what is a dictator to do under such circumstances? Well, for starters, Assad took his father's advice (the Hama rules) and started killing protesters. When that didn't exactly work out and the protests spread, he got his thugs to rally in support of his regime as he does the dictatorial 2-step by resigning his cabinet and shuffling the deck chairs.

With protests against his regime spreading, the show in Damascus is meant to divert attention from the protests and the real dissent against the regime. Assad figures that if he can show he's got support media attention will look elsewhere while he reasserts power and authority against those protesting.
Employees and members of unions controlled by Assad's Baath Party, which has been in power for nearly 50 years, said they had been ordered to attend the rallies, where there was a heavy presence of security police.
All gatherings and demonstrations are banned in Syria, other than those sponsored by the government.
It was expected that Assad would make announcements in the next 24 hours (well, 48 hours from yesterday), but no real change has been made to the emergency law that lets Assad do pretty much whatever he wants. Nor, has Assad actually gone on television to address the nation about whatever he intends to do next. That may suggest that there's some dissent within his inner circle, but that too may be a result of rearranging his cabinet to better suit what he prepares to do next.

Don't accept the fact that his cabinet resigned at face value. They were tossed under the bus precisely because they were expendable to Assad. They were fired.

And while the UN, US, and NATO are engaged in enforcing a no-fly zone over Libya because Khadafi was busy killing his own citizens to remain in power, there's no move to accord the protesters in Syria the same kind of protection. For the moment, France is urging Syria to reform.

Perhaps most hilariously, Syria still wants to gain a seat on the UN's Human Rights Council.

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