As its relations with Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Iran blossom, is Syria still keen for a rapprochement with the west?
guardian.co.uk, Thursday 22 October 2009
".....But a couple of things suggest that the Syrian leader is not as keen as some had thought for a rapprochement with the west – or that he has already reached his own limits. Last week the security authorities arrested Haitham Maleh, a leading lawyer and human rights activist, underlining the ease with which opposition figures are thrown into prison.....
Maleh's sudden arrest – apparently because of an interview deemed to contravene the country's draconian emergency laws – is a depressingly familiar phenomenon: Syria's securocrats seem to operate on auto-pilot, oblivious to any effect their moves may have on the wish to be part of the wider world. "Syria is busy welcoming foreign diplomats and talking about peace and development," said Sarah Leah Whitson of Human Rights Watch. "But to its internal critics, it only unfurls the prison mat......."