Thursday, April 21, 2011

Lifting Emergency Law In Syria Will Not Overcome Regime's Torturous Present

Syria's Bashar al-Assad is trying to make a show of his move to lift a longstanding emergency law in the hopes that this further defuses opposition protests.

Don't count on it.

The regime stays in power through the ongoing use of force, intimidation, coercion, and proxies.

Students are organizing yet another set of protests for tomorrow after demonstrating today against the regime:

Protesters are under no illusion over Assad's continued hold on power and that the changes to his cabinet and the lifting of the emergency law are nothing more than lip service to real and sustained changes for the betterment of the country. Indeed, even as the emergency law was "lifted", the regime was warning that further protests would be dealt with harshly:
Assad then gives speech No. 2 a few days ago. In a subtle attempt to emphasise his supposed position of power, and his self-perceived popularity, he avoids addressing the Syrian people directly and instead lectures his newly appointed cabinet on national TV. He ironically directs the cabinet to be more responsive to the demands of Syrian citizens, and asks the cabinet to set a concrete time line for ending 50-year-old emergency laws in the country. Once again, missing the mark by about two weeks, Assad attempts to make "concessions," that are too little too late. This speech, once again, fails to placate the quickly escalating demands of the rapidly maturing revolution.

On Tuesday, the government announced that the emergency law in the country was finally revoked. With the same breath, the interior minister threatened that though the emergency law - which had previously outlawed demonstrations - was no longer in effect, demonstrators who still insisted on protesting would be severely punished. In a demonstration of the brutality of the regime, just hours before the emergency law was lifted, the peaceful sit-in of thousands of protesters in Homs was violently crushed, with at least two demonstrators killed by security forces.

The regime's insidious mix of carrot-and-stick tactics with violent repression methods has made it resoundingly clear that the regime has little faith in the intelligence and self-determination of the Syrian people. The government seems to think that hollow concessions, followed by violent threats, will either serve to convince the people of Syria that the regime is in fact reasonable and has its interest at heart, while simultaneously scaring off more determined Syrians with the threat of violent reprisals.
Actions speak louder than words, and right now Assad is using force to hammer home the point that he's not going to reform his government and that he will continue to hold on to power no matter the consequences.

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