Democracy Rising

"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable" ~ President John F. Kennedy

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Assad Jokes About Syrian Reform

No need to get excited. The Ba'ath aren't about to give up their grip on power anytime soon.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has said he has decided to carry out political reform.
But he gave no details, other than to say he rejected any outside interference in the matter.
His address, to lawyers in Damascus, follows the early release of five leading political prisoners.

Well after almost 6 years at the helm today's announcement matches the annual rhetoric of reform which has produced nothing. This time he's serious apparently. Here's why there will be no reform:

  • Nobody is pressuring the Ba'ath to reform. Washington's rhetoric is meaningless - Bush cannot exercise much influence against an arch-rival Dictator.

  • The Ba'ath have plundered the nation - there is much corruption within Syrian government. The elite won't want to give up their fortunes.

  • Democracy brings the risk of things getting out of control. Look at Kyrgyzstan - a Dictatorship with some civil rights collapsed like a deck of cards. The people were no longer afraid.

  • Democracy brings accountability. That means there would be a good chance of repercussions for the Hariri assassination/Muslim Brotherhood suppression such as protests and prosecutions


One final point to pick up from the BBC article is this passage:

And he strongly hinted that he would refuse the commission's (UN Hariri murder investigation) request to give evidence in person...Instead, President Assad supported a call for a commission to investigate what he described as the assassination of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, who died in a French hospital just over a year ago.

Ignoring the Lebanese problem won't make it go away. And searching for ghost assassins of long-gone Arab dictators won't gain Assad any respect or support on the streets of Damascus. All such far-out fantasizing proves is that the regime has lost touch with reality and is quite literally clinging to power. That's just one more reason why Syria won't reform.


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