Syrian Reactions to the President’s Speech

These are comments by Syrians and one Israeli living abroad who heard the President’s speech:

  • I just got a call from some of my hard core syrian friends. This is what one said: “Finally, i respect bashar. He has showed that he is a real man. He has spared the country bloodshed. Any sign of weakness, it would have been the start of the end. Bouthaina was a disaster. She raised expectations of reform way too high. reform? what reform? This public deserves nothing more than what we have. all the modern and reform minded people are dreamers. they live abroad and think that Syria can becomes a london/paris/ny if we just reform. it is either civil war or the status quo”. i ask: but wouldn’t investments suffer now? his answer: investments? what investments? who is really investing in syria anyway? kentucky fried chicken? we can do without it. those that dont like it can leave to their fancy foreign capitals or beirut. they are welcome in the summer to enjoy the food and arghile and go back to their democracy”.
  • Your friend is part of the 25 percent of hardcore supporters. I hope you understand that this not the view of the majority 65 percent. The majority are supporters but in a more logical way. They believe in Bashar as a reformer. Loosing that image will still get him your friend as a supporter (part of the 25 percent) but will get him to loose the more important 65 percent. And by the way, your Iraq/Lebanon analysis of a sectarian sunnis in Syria is totally wrong.
  • i always expect a grand speech a historic speech a vision for a better future. alas he is alawys vague and cirumvent. why did sharaa say “expect announcments that will please the people”? why did bouthina insiists that the emergency law will certainly be lifted? why did he not make any major announcement?!?!? what about the multiparty system they have been promising ?what about the elections they have been promising? why did he not go over any of that?
  • The regime just committed suicide by a thousand cuts. Somebody has decided that either all Syrians are dumb and we can continue to trick them forever or that civil war is much better than giving the people more power. The logical conclusion that more and more people will reach.. “الشعب يريد إسقاط النظام ” . And, you can forget about dardari being the PM. It will most likely be something like mubarak did. Head of mukhabarat.
  • Horrible.. he looked very weak and distraught. he basically paved the road for more bloodshed.. and i was foolish enough to have some hopes… Syrians are doomed to this mentality of hoping for the savior character. Check our mythology for more information.
  • I was disappointed. Like many previous speeches in the past decade: Yes, we need reform, we are going to legislate reform.WHAT reform, WHEN? I’ll tell you later.What after another decade?In my opinion he has to move within days not months or years, or it will be too late. The World is watching.
  • Bashar and the Ba’ath are not going to come down easily. Look at the map of the ME. People can be disappointed and I am one of them. However, he did the sensible thing for the survival of Syria and the regime. Reforms under televised popular pressure are not genuine reforms. He might be seen as showing the ugly face of the regime but I will judge him from now on by how much action and reform he will put outside pressure, and of course on his human rights records. He took notice and he should act to bring about much needed reforms, but you can’t ask him to do political suicide.
  • I’m not sure why you choose to link the survival of the regime with the survival of Syria, the well being of the regime does not equate to the well being of Syria, just look at the past decade or so, the regime was very strong and Syria was getting weaker by the day. Everyone was expecting Bashar to lead a revolution against the regime, and boy did he come up short on that one.
  • If the youth in my country do not like the government, they can vote for someone else. Israel is a democracy. There is complete freedom of speech in Israel.  When the average Syrian has half the education, rights and prosperity of the average Arab Israeli, let me know. When 12% of the population rule over the other 88%, how is that not apartheid? The Alawite minority has put in place an apartheid state in Syria.
  • A region that has produced Moses, Jesus and Mohammed will never know peace, modernity or democracy. So long as your religion and sect defines you and your political views, you cannot claim to live in a true modern society. So long as the religion you are born into becomes your identity, we are doomed as people. I grew up in a household and with a dad who grew up in that religious upbringing that defines us all. He soon revolted against it and by the time we were born he saw it a source of all evil (ues elie…you remind with him). I am disgusted by all this. I am saddened that the religious of suuni/shia/alawi/christian/jewish can destroy the standards of living of so many people that get one f……ing single chance on this planet……….what a waste………….. ok i am done for today.
  • Yes sir God and his many incarnations and constructions are at heart of our ailments.
  • Personally, I felt all along that Bashar is incapable of reform. He is inexperienced and weak. Today, he decided to go along with the gang in his immediate family. His rule is purely a family affair. No Sharaa, no Buthaina, no battikh. Today, he has become the declared leader of the gang. He stands naked. All past propaganda tricks are gone. He’ll survive this round. He is ready to order the tanks to crush the people. Corruption, steeling the country’s oil revenues, abu Ghraibs dungeons, the security thugs…… will go on with vengeance. What happens in a year, two, or three is any one’s guess. The geopolitical situation could very well determine the fortunes of this lot.
  • i hope that the speech has put away the myth of bashar as a reformer who is blocked by the old guard. he is a bona fide baathist at the core. he is not a qurdaha baathist but one educated from the finest of damascene schools and society. he showed that he can wear the two hats with ease. he can talk art, ipod, ipad2 and read books to the kids at night and can just as easily wear his army uniform and carry a stick if he has to.
  • This explains why we are not living in Syria. We are the lucky ones and I count my blessings everyday.

Christian Science Monitor
President Assads defiant speech stuns Syrians who call for more protests

The Syria Revolution 2011 Facebook page called on protesters to take to the streets immediately following Assad’s speech. “Go down into the streets now and announce the uprising – control all the cities and declare civil disobedience from this moment onward,” it declared.

The question now is whether the opposition will redouble its efforts by escalating the unrest that has left dozens dead and shaken the country. A litmus test may occur in Friday, Islam’s holy day and usually a focal point for street demonstrations following noon prayers.

31 March 2011
The Korea Herald
(c) 2011 The Korea Herald

PARIS (Reuters) ― French President Nicolas Sarkozy has stolen the international limelight with his bravura intervention in Libya but he may find it trickier to deal with the gathering crisis in Syria.

It was Sarkozy after all who ended Syria’s international isolation when he feted President Bashar al-Assad in a visit to Paris in 2008. Assad was given the seat of honour at Bastille Day celebration, marking the moment at which Assad’s Baathist regime was accepted back into the international community.

Nobody sees France or any other Western power wanting to start another military campaign. Yet Sarkozy has set a precedent that puts him under pressure to take an equally firm hand on the crackdown on pro-democracy protests in the former French colony.

More than 60 people have been killed in towns across Syria as demonstrations have spread in recent days, prompting Assad to send the army out on the street as he faces the gravest crisis in his 11-year rule.

Sarkozy ― who grabbed control of the world response to the Libyan crisis to reassert France’s influence in North Africa after its clumsy handling of revolts in Tunisia and Egypt ― must come up with a smart strategy on Syria or lose his new kudos, analysts say.

“He can’t go out on several fronts at once, and the front where he is engaged is starting to show the difficulties of such an operation,” said North Africa expert Christian Bouquet at the University of Bordeaux III.

Syria poses new dilemma for Sarkozy

Comments (52)

atassi said:

U.S. says Assad speech fell short, lacked substance
52 words
30 March 2011
Reuters News
(c) 2011 Reuters Limited

WASHINGTON, March 30 (Reuters) – Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s speech on Wednesday fell short of the kind of reforms that the Syrian people wanted and lacked substance, U.S. State Department spokesman Mark Toner told reporters.


March 30th, 2011, 2:20 pm


SOURI said:

Well, it is not the U.S. State Department’s business how do we reform Syria. If they like Wahhabis so much they can issue immigrant visas for them and take them to the US.

March 30th, 2011, 2:41 pm


Sam Booz said:

People now have no choice but to pressure the regime through civil protests.the problem is that some people on both sides may choose to use violence. I think Bashar did very poorly and lost the support of many people today, and the people’s assembly acted like an assembly of clowns.This is a reminder that Syria is still a third world country with a growing danger of a major divide taking a violent turn. The least the regime should have done is set political prisoners free and stop firing at unarmed protestors,anything less will bring Syria closer to Libya and open the door to foreign intervention. As for any hopes of a major reform I say: not in my lifetime. Asad received support from Clinton,many Arab regimes and his followers and decided that he can play a waiting game for few more years but I am not sure his calculations are accurate this time.

March 30th, 2011, 2:55 pm


Ziadsoury said:

Listen to this women..

March 30th, 2011, 2:56 pm


atassi said:

Souria Baladna ..
Syria is our Country too and SHE IS NOT exclusively anyone…
Allah, Souria and Freedom”
لا تزايدونا على حبنا وحرصنا على وطننا

March 30th, 2011, 3:13 pm


Jad said:

Oum Abdullah is a typical example of the majority of the poor conservative and not well educated society point of view that need to be addressed and treated with promoting education, social justice, fighting corruption, freedom of information and freedom of speech

It’s heartbreaking listening to what she is saying about her friends and her situation, however, reality tell us that poverty is all times problem and does exist everywhere and not only in Syria. Allover the world, democratic or not poor people blame the rich for their situation, we can’t fix this problem but with social justice, fighting corruption and taxation the gap can be shorten.

Conservatism-Women rights:
Asking Sheikh for our problems is the core of the problem, Alsheikh is not the right person to ask on any issue other than religion matters and even in that, very few Shyoukh are worth asking.
Our Women must be protected and empowered by education and law to make them be more active in our society and economy.

Blaming Iran, AKA, Shia for the country unrest is not promising and need to be addressed and corrected not to let go and hide under the table.

Believing every rumour and exaggerating it and make up stories is big part of our situation today that can be solved by freedom of information and the transparency not by avoiding the issue as we are seeing in the media on both sides.

I know this is not the subject but this women is pure example of our country many ills.

March 30th, 2011, 3:56 pm


Majed said:

I have mixed feelings about the speech. On one hand, it wasn’t anywhere near the unrealistic expectations some officials alluded to, namely Bouthaina and Sharaa. But on the other hand, the speech was a display of strength and confidence, following a strong show of support by the Syrian people for the President a day earlier. As much as I would like to see reforms, doing so immediately following this suspicious and unpopular uprising could be interpreted as a sign of weakness that could weaken Syria’s resolve and embolden its enemies. There is no denying that the President is popular in Syria and throughout most of the Arab world; so why should he not capitalize on his popularity and turn this into an opportunity to consolidate and regroup. Why should he appease those with questionable agendas who are looking to even the score and embarrass Syria? I still think the President is a reformist. He has been slowly introducing economic reforms, and will, in due time, bring in gradual political reforms, perhaps starting this year. However, he is not willing to do it under pressure, or be black mailed into it by Syria’s enemies who are obviously trying to rob Syria out of its political gains from the recent revolutions in the “moderate Arab” camp who sided with Israel and the U.S against Syria and the Palestinian cause. Let’s face it, Syria has been vindicated since the Arab uprising, as those “moderate Arabs” and their masters suffered unprecedented humiliation. By giving in under the current environment, Syria will look indistinguishable from those who sold out to Israel and U.S, thus greatly diluting its hard earned gains.

March 30th, 2011, 3:59 pm


why-discuss said:

Sarkozy may find himself blamed for the massacre that are occuring and will occur whether perpetrated by the pro-gaddafi or the rebels sooner or later in Libya. I hope he does NOT come with some similar smart idea for Syria!

March 30th, 2011, 4:20 pm


Nabu said:

The people of Syria want a defiant leader, a leader with balls and that’s the image he showed in the speech.

The people of Syria want a leader that doesn’t order things twice, not a weak and that’s the image he showed in the speech.

Today’s speech was a gamble, I will admit. A gamble because the minority of the people who are not scared to say things they think will not like it and they’ll get again to the street. But the reaction will be strong and that’s the image he now wants to show on the ground. The govt knows it’s coming, and it will tackle it. The liberty seekers will be cornered everywhere just like he cornered them in Hama.

Whatever he said, he is backed for every word he mentioned inside and outside Syria. He thought about it, he took his time and he thinks this is the best for the long run for him, his image, his community and for Syria.

March 30th, 2011, 4:24 pm


Ziadsoury said:


You nailed it. Education, Education and Education. Perception is a reality. According to her and many more Syrians, they only shower once a month. We in the west sometimes wash twice a day. We take that privilege for granted.

She is desperate to be heard. She is calling a show in the gulf to speak up because she knows if she does that in Syria, she and her family most likely will be arrested and called an enemy of the state. Her ills are what need to be addressed.

March 30th, 2011, 4:28 pm


why-discuss said:

Syria: Assad speech offers little new
Jim Muir By Jim Muir BBC News, Beirut

…….None of which would do much to persuade activists that the promised reforms will be solid and will genuinely alter the realities they have been living for decades of iron-fist rule.

They now face the dilemma of whether to escalate their protests, at the risk of triggering a predictably harsh response from a regime that has mobilised its defences in all their forms, or to ease off and wait to see if the promised reforms materialise.

March 30th, 2011, 4:40 pm


NK said:

Al Jazeera report about Daraa today was not promising, the army refused to allow reporters into the city (for their own safety) and ordered them to turn back and head to Damascus.

March 30th, 2011, 4:41 pm


Off the Wall said:

I have nothing to say, really, really nothing to say.

March 30th, 2011, 5:12 pm


jad said:

Dear OTW,
Welcome to the club 🙁

March 30th, 2011, 5:18 pm


Paul said:

Let me understand one thing: what could one have really expected Bashar to say? That from today on Syria is a democratic country? That people will obey traffic laws? That corruption will be over in a pass of magic? That the price of arghile will be lowered?

In the circumstances i think he acted in the best possible way. Not in desperation but recognizing that change is needed. If he really understands where the wind is blowing he’ll do it slowly but surely. If not it will happen much faster and painfully.

March 30th, 2011, 5:18 pm


SOURI said:

It is time to get Wahhabism out of Syria. No Wahhabi terrorists anymore in Syria. You had your chance and you missed it.

Everything is set perfectly to eradicate Wahhabism from Syria. The Islamists have not joined them, they are isolated. They have failed even to defeat the security forces in their own areas.

Once this fuss is over and the new reforms begin to be implemented, I expect the Syrian regime to launch a very harsh campaign against the Wahhabis. The campaign won’t start now because the Wahhabis have the advantage of being covered in the media as “freedom revolutionists.” If the regime cracks down on them now, this will stir global media and may even antagonize the Syrian Islamists against the regime.

The regime now will continue dealing with the Wahhabis with the same self-restraint we have seen so far. However, when things calm down, I would run as far as I can away from Syria if I were a Wahhabi.

Not all people who participated in this revolution are Wahhabis, but anybody who knows the Syrian society and has been following the media knows that Wahhabis are the backbone of this revolution. This is why they are going to pay the price.

March 30th, 2011, 5:42 pm


NK said:

The Facebook page has more disturbing videos, claiming they’re taken earlier today in Latakia…

March 30th, 2011, 5:55 pm


SOURI said:

The new Syria should look something like this:

-No Wahhabis or MB.
-More open parliamentary elections with participation from new political parties, including some parties with Islamist background.
-More press freedom.
-New anti-corruption measures.

The Islamist parties must have local bases only, that is, they must not be allowed to have nationwide presence. The Syrian regime knows well how to play this game of divide and conquer because they have played it in Lebanon for a long time.

One thing I am not optimistic about is press freedom. The Syrian regime will probably give more freedom of press to the Islamists, but I am not sure if it will give the same freedom to the anti-Islamists. I am not sure if the regime will be able to defy the Islamists in matters of culture again.

One scenario I can imagine is that the regime will accommodate the Islamists until it defeats the Wahhabis. After the Wahhabis are defeated, the regime may have some leverage to stand up to the Islamists again.

March 30th, 2011, 5:56 pm


Syria Almighty said:

May anyone who is a Wahabi know that their end is near. They only have 2 choices. They can leave our country and go live in their extremist paradise in Saudi Arabia, or they can stay and fight a losing battle. The Syrian people have spoken. The millions of Syrians who took to the streets to support our president have given them this ultimatum. If they were smart, they would leave. However, I may be asking too much of these barbarians to possess even a semblance of intelligence.

March 30th, 2011, 6:08 pm


A Syrian Youth said:

What a speech! While I had a little bit of hope left, that hope has shattered into little pieces! The speech he gave today could have taken place 4, 5 or even 10 years ago when he took power. I was actually late to a meeting today because I was watching his speech live and waiting for him to say the words “We will lift emergency law tonight,” or “I ordered the release of all political prisoners,” or “An anti corruption committee has been formed,” or even stand one moment of silence for the lives lost……..But of course those words were never delivered. Instead, all I remember from that sorry speech was a guy interrupting him at one point and saying the following in Arabic, “The Arab world is too small for you, you should rule the world!” When I heard this, I wanted to cry and laugh at the same time, but thankfully I laughed. How can that gentleman represent the people in the people’s assembly? How does this guy represent the Syrian youth, how does he represent me!!??? With all honesty I am more angry with the interruptions to his speech by those pathetic and lifeless puppets that I am at his speech itself!

As to how I feel about the speech, what a shame! How embarrassing! What year are we in? 1970? What in the world was he talking about? I was honestly lost at one point! He all of a sudden becomes a philosopher and psychologist when giving a speech! I don’t want either, I want a “reformer” that stands with his people!

One might ask, what about the tens of thousands that demonstrated in his support? My answer:

1- When you use the tactic “Me or Chaos” for 40 years, people will obviously lose any hopes in making any changes, so they will demonstrate for Bashar like you saw, and loudly, because their lives are on the line, a boogie man called sectarian war is out to get them, they are told.

2- I remember when I was in high school, our advisor, who also happens to be in the secret police, loads us into buses, and takes us out for the pro government rallies to celebrate an anniversary of a “victory over Israel,” “or the Birth of the Baath Party.” I do have to mention though, we never got to celebrate his birthday, which was quite a shame……and we chanted long live the president for hours. Yes I chanted too! They load buses with people from villages and surrounding cities to add numbers, that is a fact.

3- People are still scared I feel. They are scared of getting shot by a “stray” bullet on the streets.

4- Bashar; the first family, they are youthful. They are a beautiful family I have to say. This has created a false hope amongst Syrians that Bashar is a youthful reformer. In his speech, he actually answered one of the main questions Syrians had for 11 years; “Is the old guard blocking his reforms?” He bluntly asked himself this question during his speech and answered it to further shatter the little hope that was left. He has failed miserably in delivering what was hoped for!

March 30th, 2011, 6:42 pm


Akbar Palace said:

Rights for Palestinians but Not for Syrians NewZ

It is time to get Wahhabism out of Syria. No Wahhabi terrorists anymore in Syria. You had your chance and you missed it.


How does one determine who a “Wahhabi” is? Is there an accent, skin colour, or certain mannerisms? Shirley you can’t be Syrious?

March 30th, 2011, 7:24 pm


SOURI said:

One important sentence that caught my attention in Bashar’s speech was his talk about “measures to protect national unity that have not been announced yet.” What does he mean by that?


Wahhabis are very easy to identify. They are clearly distinct from other Islamists. The Syrian regime does not need to identify them now. They already have lists of them and they know them very well.

March 30th, 2011, 7:30 pm


Ziadsoury said:

See guys the president shut you up.

March 30th, 2011, 7:52 pm


Norman said:

I came across this from The Arab American medical association, it might explain our problem of MY WAY OR THE HIGHWAY.

United We Stand… in a True Democracy

Whenever more than one person plan to accomplish any task no matter what, it is bound to have more than one way to do it. No two minds are alike and differences in opinion are expected regardless how compatible or how synergized a group is.

However, what matters is how leaders react in face of the other opinion and what consequences might come out from taking these disagreements beyond what they are. History books are filled with countless acts of incongruities that lead to major disasters.

Unfortunately, even with this matter disparities exist. The higher societies are on the civilization totem pole, the more different their response is towards the other side.

Civilized societies with an acceptable level of democracy (since true democracy only exists in Utopia) no matter how passionate they are about their point of view, and regardless how strong they feel about their opinion, and no matter how loud and aggressive they will voice their dismay with the final decision; at the end of the day come together as one and work on the plan as it is determined by the majority.

Some societies are still operating in the “I, Myself and Me” mode where “everything should be done my way and if you don’t like it then I am taking my toys and leaving the sand box” or “I will sabotage the whole thing if I am not leading it”. Sadly, many of our Arab societies fall within this category and if the recent events sweeping the Arab World from Tripoli to Baghdad taught us anything, it is that we are still fixated on the absolute “I and then the flood”.

We as Arab Americans are not immune to this. We let our differences dictate how we function. Even sometimes when the cause is so noble, we allow disagreements to diminish any chance of success. This is neither a secret nor an overstatement. We all know what an effective power we can be if we speak with one voice. Others have mastered this and are reaping the benefits for ages while we still ponder whether we should get involved or not to or “what’s in it for me”.

NAAMA should and must speak with one voice. We can still have our agreements, our differences, our arguments and screaming matches, it is a sign of healthy democracy, but at the end of the day, we should join as one united for the ultimate goal.

There is no other way around it; otherwise we will not exist as individual “I”s.


The President’s Blog is a correspondence by Dr. Mouhanad Hammami, President of the National Arab American Medical Association (NAAMA) for 2011. NAAMA is a non-profit professional, educational and humanitarian organization for Arab American physicians, dentists, pharmacists and other licensed healthcare professionals. For more infromation on NAAMA visit

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March 30th, 2011, 8:01 pm


syrian polytheist said:



March 30th, 2011, 8:03 pm


Souri said:

The Alawite minority has put in place an apartheid state in Syria? what a nonsense, the majority surronding the syrian president are not Alwaite, The christian enjoyed a stable peaceful life in syria, most of the MP and the ministers are sunnis, A substantial part of the society are benifiting from the regime. We should not be dragged in to a civial sectarian war.

March 30th, 2011, 8:05 pm


SOURI said:

الأسد وخوفه من مواجهة الإسلاميين

This is all from the past now. Bashar today used like 10 verses from the Quran in his speech. He has become a sheikh.

March 30th, 2011, 8:08 pm


jad said:

موضحاً أن حزمة الإصلاحات المعلن منها مثل قانون الأحزاب والطوارئ وغير المعلن ويتعلق بتعزيز الوحدة الوطنية ومكافحة الفساد والإعلام وزيادة فرص العمل سيتم الكشف عنها خلال شهر على أن يوضع جدول زمني لكل منها على حدة، وتكون من أولويات الحكومة الجديدة.”

I didn’t read anything about “ONE MONTH” did anybody hear that in the speech?

“علمت «الوطن» أن هناك ورشاً تعمل ليلاً ونهاراً لصياغة القوانين ومسودات القوانين لتنفيذ رؤى الرئيس بشار الأسد الإصلاحية.
وقالت مصادر متابعة لملف الإصلاح في سورية لـ«الوطن»: إنه من أولى مهام الحكومة الجديدة سيكون وضع رؤية الرئيس بشار الأسد الإصلاحية موضع التنفيذ والعمل على إحالة القوانين ومشاريع القوانين على اللجان المختصة تمهيداً لإحالتها على الرئيس الأسد الذي بدوره سيطرحها على مجلس الشعب لتصدر بمراسيم.
وأضافت المصادر: إن كل ما تحدث عنه الرئيس الأسد أمس سيكون برنامج عمل الحكومة المقبلة وإن هناك الكثير من الإجراءات الاقتصادية والخدمية والسياسية هي الآن في مراحلها النهائية وستدرسها الحكومة الجديدة بسرعة تمهيداً لإرسالها للرئيس الأسد.”

Did the President mention any of these stuff?

March 30th, 2011, 8:08 pm


Jawad said:

Souri, how can I contact you by email?

March 30th, 2011, 8:16 pm


Jawad said:

Souri, how do I contact you by email?

March 30th, 2011, 8:19 pm


NK said:


Listen to this, the time is 36:00 and up to 40:00

The time frame in the speech is as we say “شطاط مطاط” he said one month but they took it way out of context !!

March 30th, 2011, 8:40 pm


Zarzour said:

If the regime is just buying time we may witness more unrest and blood shed. Those who convinced Bashar to wait may be starting to make a plan -B “just incase”. It looks like the much publicized image of a reformer is fading away. For the life of me I do not see what Syria’s president is waiting for, assuming that he IS still calling the shots.his aides fully know that the US is worried about the alternative if the regime is toppled. Very few people believe that a forced regime change is possible,sadly enough the other possibility,in the absence of reform,is a bloody conflict which nobody wants with the exception of Israel.

March 30th, 2011, 8:41 pm


SOURI said:

A civil war won quickly by the regime won’t be bad if the alternative was chaos, division of Syria, and Islamist rule.

However, the civil war scenario looks unlikely now that the revolution has failed to gain momentum among the Syrians.

JAWAD, what do you want from me? You are not going to send me threat messages, are you?

March 30th, 2011, 9:11 pm


Ziad said:

Part of the disappointment was the delivery mode. It was cerebral and delivered in the style of a lecture. Any allusion to plans for reform went unnoticed, and probably the whole content went over the head of most Syrians.

After the great buildup of tension, and hints from Shara’ & Sha’ban, people expected a speech delivered with great oratory skills with instant reforms counted in bullet form, and may be the event to be followed by celebratory haflat & fireworks.

It was a major tactical blunder that might very well seals the fate of the regime.

March 30th, 2011, 9:17 pm


SOURI said:

There is another SOURI posting here. I did not write comment #27.

March 30th, 2011, 9:29 pm


Edward said:

So let me get this straight, Bashar orders his troops to open fire on protesters infuriated by the security forces imprisoning school kids thereby causing a massacre. His propaganda machine clumsily tries to cover it up, blaming anything from Palestinians to Jund el Sham to U.F.O’s. When that backfires and protests spread he goes into panic mode and Bothaina and Shara offer unprecedented concessions. A day later there are mass pro-regime protests, made up largely of unwilling civil servants and school kids. Bashar gets his mojo back is emboldened by this “genuine” show of support for his regime and thinks screw concessions and then proceeds to spectacularly backtrack in a disappointing speech full of hubris and thinly veiled threats. Shortly after, his security men massacre half a dozen protesters in Lattakia for rejecting that very same speech. Suddenly and clumsily he alienates those few remaining Syrians who were willing to give him the benefit of the doubt, and throws the country onto a path of escalation and imminent conflict. A conflict he believes he can win through his security forces and armed thugs, as well as “supporters”, but at what price? Mass bloodshed and a total loss of credibility, a price he and his regime seem willing to pay in order to cling on to power. What we have here is another Gaddafi, your average run of the mill brutal tyrant, who will cling onto power at any cost.

March 30th, 2011, 9:32 pm


Revlon said:

#5 Dear Jad: Your response to Mr Ziadsouri is sectarian.
Non-religon is a religion.

You said: “Alsheikh is not the right person to ask on any issue other than religion matters”
The woman asked:
“would those who were killed in Dar3a be regarded as Martyr’s”
“Would a certain verse in Quran, about the corrupt, be applicable to the regime”

I say:
First, her questions were at the heart of religion!
Second, the rest of what she said was not questions! It was a plea to all Syrians to rise against the regime. She cited poverty, corruption, and oppression as her motives! These realities exist irrespective of religion, education, or gender!

You said: “and even in that, very few Shyoukh are worth asking”

I say: I hate to pre-judge who you think they are! But, please allow me to! The “few”, that you are alluding to are those, who share views with the regime. The system’s Shyookh!

You said: “Asking Sheikh for our problems is the core of the problem”

I say: To whom would you recommend that she could adress her grievances?
To Jr or M. Asad?
To Her nearest Baath party branch?
To Her pariliament representative?
To Her nearest Mukhabarat branch
To National progressive front
To Women’s union?
All of the above are now acknowledging the existence of her grievences! Where have they been for the last 40 years.
Would you recommend going to a Doctor who had not been prescribing the right medicine for fourty years? I would not! Sane people wouldn’s either.

You said: “Our Women must be protected and empowered by education and law to make them be more active in our society and economy”

I say:
You have implied that asking sheikh, raising a religious question, and speaking local dialect ,would brand this woman as un-empowered and un-educated.
Please reverse, the scenario now! Had this same woman praised Jr.’s policies, addressed the same question, on Syrian medium, to the Syrian Mufti! Would you have dared making the same statement?

You said: “Conservatism-Women rights.
Our Women must be protected and empowered by education and law, to make them more active in our society, and economy”

I say:
You statement implies that religion and conservatism are associated with under-education and under-empowering of women.
This is insulting to me as a highly educated moslem
and to my mother who is illiterate.
Wisdom and common sense are God given gifts.
My mother, now 70, would have made far more sensible and wiser choices than all of the regime’s army of geopolitical, legal, economical, and security experts.
Active women need to be protected from the regime, not their respectful, conservative society.
Activist, highly educated, women have been in the driving seat of this revolution.
Tal Al-Mallou7i, Suhair Atasi, and their enlightened and educated compatriots have been de-empowered by the regime,
Not by their cherished conservative society
Not by lacking education!

March 30th, 2011, 9:34 pm


jad said:

Before you wrote back to me your ‘lovely’ comment #37, do you know anything about Safa tv?
If you know, then I’m not going to reply to you at all, if not, go check what is the Safa and Wsal channels are, what do they represent and what is their message.
Then come back to me and write that my comment calling for education, justice system, empowering women, rejection of radicalism and fighting corruption is “sectarian”
All what you wrote is according to your own ‘imply’ to religion, I wasn’t even thinking of that, it’s your own mistake to misunderstood what I wrote not mine, you need to get over your own close mind not me, welcome to the free of speech site.
Thank you.

March 30th, 2011, 9:56 pm


SOURI said:

It is good that you referred to these two channels.

Anybody who wants to become pro-Assad must watch Safa channel, Wisal channel, and read for Ali al-Ahmad.

If you watch and read all this stuff and you still don’t care, then you must be Wahhabi or Islamist yourself.

March 30th, 2011, 10:11 pm


Equus said:

For all who keeps lingering about the emergency law. Look at the Egyptians..they toppled Mubarak on Feb. 11th and YET the emergency law is NOT lifted with no specific date in sight despite the extreme pressure from the US. So why the media wants Assad to lift his in 24 hours.
British students are asking for education funds did David Cameron hand them the money on a silver platter or 250 people got arrested.

Even the Israeli news says that Saudi Arabia has to do with the uprising in Syria so we all know where is this going and you’ll be so short sighted not to see. Bashar is ophthalmologist, he can fix you.
The aggregation of multiple diversified religious sectors is what makes Syria so unique. Reform will come slowly but surely.

Thanks to Bush democracy Christians were expelled from Iraq did he offer his home key to receive them? The cosmetic democracy put the famous shoes reporter three years in jail. That is democracy!! Yet, better, Bradley Manning told the truth, he is being tortured in American jail. The double standard makes the guts puke.

March 30th, 2011, 10:12 pm


Revlon said:

Dear Jad:
My comment addressed points that you made!
Your rebuttal failed to acknowledge or debate any of mine.
Thank you for your response.

March 30th, 2011, 10:14 pm


SOURI said:

Bashar has been trying to reform education, but I am not sure if he has been trying as hard to reform the legal system. At least there is nothing in the media that indicates major reforms in the legal system.

Bashar said there were going to be new methods to fight corruption. He must also introduce new and serious reforms to secure the independence of the judicial system. So many people complain about corruption in the Syrian legal system. Bashar must address this issue more deeply and seriously because it has been fueling anger against the regime.

I am sure that corruption is decreasing in Syria and it is going to decrease even more as wages increase and as the government starts to provide many of its services electronically. However, I am not sure (or I don’t know) if the judicial system is going to become more independent or not.

March 30th, 2011, 10:40 pm


NK said:

There’s no point talking about the judicial system when you have emergency law in place, or do you still think emergency law will be lifted anytime soon ?

And for the love of God, where did you get your info that corruption in Syria is decreasing ? corruption today is far worse than it was when Bashar inherited the kingdom 11 years ago.

March 30th, 2011, 10:56 pm


Love said:

I did not expect a different speech. What is he going to say? I will turn Syria into the way you want by magic? We should be naïve to think this way!
The president, is a reformer. He wants to change the country into a better one in every way…., but there are a lot of different interests in his “own surrounding” left from the time of his father or so, who are afraid that a change might not be in their favour. Then the rest of the people…are they trying to change?
It is easy to ask for things, to want things. Are the people who want the change, trying to reform their own country into a better one when they are getting the possibility to start with very basic and little things???? No!
Now, I am not talking politics! I am talking about a regular basic, and normal common sensed person! Years ago, you would walk in Damascus eating an ice cream, you would want to throw the tissue paper you wiped your hands with into the garbagge bin hanged on a pole or tree. The tissue would have come out from the bottom of the bin! Why? Because people distroy the bin, and have fun with friends by doing that at night for example and when others are not watching….. now there are new ones, and they are everywhere; each 100 meters you’ll find a bin….the bottom should be more resistant as they are not broken yet!
Fences are being removed from parks to give an open perspective, new plants are being planted “..and sometimes stepped over or pulled out by kids or adults”, there is a bin on both side of sitting benches in parks….with all this….you’ll find waste just close to the bin on the floor, in front of the bench, in the back of it, and everywhere you walk. I have walked into building entrances which are owned by well educated and wealthy people….still, those people themselves, or their kids who will be punished if they do so in their own houses continue with spilling things around in the streets. Don’t say, this has nothing to do with our problem! This is our problem!!! Why don’t we carry the daily, normal, basic things we are asked to do at home outside our door steps and to the streets????
A clean country looks far better and more civilized than a dirty one…the government is reforming….the population is not!!
Then, there is the traffic; when there is a huge sign..: “pedestrians have the preference” is there any car who would let people pass?? unless appearing in front of the car by desperation because of not getting the pass noone would….. the traffic police is seeing that without doing anything…instead chatting with someone who might have passed him some money for not giving him a ticket!!! How would you expect the whole country to change into a better one in every way????
First you change…then ask others to!

March 31st, 2011, 1:50 am


extra said:

Dear Revlon@#37- Sorry, but your statement ‘non-religion is a religion’ is not correct. It needs to be clarified because the sectarian aspects of the Syrian situation are complex, and such a misconception may tend to obscure possible solutions.
If I don’t play football, it doesn’t mean that I play a type of football labelled ‘non-football’, it means that I don’t play football. Same for religion- atheists don’t believe in a ‘non-god’, they don’t believe in any god. This doesn’t mean that they don’t respect the beliefs of those who do believe in a god, they just don’t share those beliefs.
The last thing Syria needs at this difficult time is religious extremism. A secular state allows room for all religions- and also for those who don’t believe in the supernatural.

March 31st, 2011, 3:12 am


Revlon said:

#46 Dear Extra,
You said “non-religion is a religion’ is not correct”
I believe it is,if you regard it as a choice!
I and others embrace religion as a belief and a way of life.
Those who do not (atheists, agnostics, polytheists) also embrace their own beliefs, including not believing in any God!
Not believing in any God is a willful, mental, cognitive process! It is a choice one makes!

You said “If I don’t play football, it doesn’t mean that I play a type of football labelled ‘non-football’, it means that I don’t play football..

This is how I read your football analogy!
Playing football is a willful, mental choice concerning one of the many aspects of one’s way of life!
Not playing football is also a willful, mental choice concerning one of the many aspects of one’s way of life!

You said:
“This doesn’t mean that they don’t respect the beliefs of those who do believe in a god, they just don’t share those beliefs.

I say: Nowhere in my response did I mention that non-believers do not respect those who do! My comment to Mr Jad was in a context.

“The last thing Syria needs at this difficult time is religious extremism. A secular state allows room for all religions- and also for those who don’t believe in the supernatural”

I wholeheatrtedly agree with you. I neither advocated nor implied anywhere in my comment, religious extremism.
I believe in moderation in everything.

Nations are best governed by majorities, that transcend all ways of thinking.
Rights of those who believe differently from that majority need to be protected!

Thank you for your critical comment.

March 31st, 2011, 4:20 am


Mr.President said:

Most of what I keep reading “ let us blame it on Assad Jr. All problems of Syria are his fault ”. The Islamists, on this site and outside, insists that Syria’s problems are the result of the president’s spiritual belief. Why do we care if he even worships the devil? How could it be that a leader with a different spirituality can better solve issues? The truth is that Assad Jr. did try to reform. He was really limited by many social, outdated religious and international factors.
All of us know that many Syrians will not accept giving up their subsidies, give up the-do-nothing-government jobs, pay their fair share of taxes, abandon sectarianism… these issues can possibly bring upon a civil war and could break the country.

Why can’t the demonstrators and opposition begin by drafting and circulating, on the Internet, a new family law . A family law that calls for civil marriages, full punishment for Honor killing, equal rights for women/minorities, make marriage dowry system illegal,… Have the demonstrators go to the street for the purpose of replacing existing non democratic Sharia Law. I think Syrian government will be delighted to support such demonstrations. Syrians can help the Syrian government reform.

March 31st, 2011, 6:05 am


Shami said:

:these issues can possibly bring upon a civil war and could break the country

Explain how is that possible in Syria ?do you see damascus fighting homs ,latakkia vs jabla,or aleppo vs hama,daraa vs deir ?
It’s only the paranoid mini-sectarians that are scared from democratic change.
The existence of the syrian people is independant from dictatorship’s.
The dictatorships are damned not the people.

March 31st, 2011, 8:23 am


nafdik said:

Mr President,

Nobody is saying that Assad is the root of all evil. Nor did anybody say that the problem is his spirituality.

Egypt, Tunis and Libya were ruled by dictators who had the same religion as the majority.

Here is what most people believe:

– The leader of the country should be selected by the people through a fair and free process

What is wrong with this statement?

March 31st, 2011, 8:23 am


jad said:

Mr. President.

“Why can’t the demonstrators and opposition begin by drafting and circulating, on the Internet, a new family law . A family law that calls for civil marriages, full punishment for Honor killing, equal rights for women/minorities, make marriage dowry system illegal,… Have the demonstrators go to the street for the purpose of replacing existing non democratic Sharia Law. I think Syrian government will be delighted to support such demonstrations. Syrians can help the Syrian government reform.”

Because they don’t want to do that, which is in my opinion a mistake.
If you call for such things you are, ‘Secular AKA KAFER’, ‘infidel’,’Non democratic’ and AGAINST THE REVOLUTION.
Many of the people writing on that site are either using empty slogans about’freedom’ without any idea of what they want, many of them are also calling for revenge, and some of them are calling for chaos. They are using the most horrible way of all, Blood and Graphics to use people’s emotion to get them in. Intelligence and dialog doesn’t exist there.
The goal is not what you describe, it wont work for the majority of those supporting the revolution FB site.

March 31st, 2011, 10:42 am


Syria: the boldness of Bashar al-Assad said:

[…] For hardcore regime supporters, it's an attitude they can understand and admire. One of them, quoted in Joshuah Landis's Syria Comment blog, […]

April 1st, 2011, 4:10 am


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