Syrians will not be won over by promises of reform from a regime that continues to kill protesters and spread disinformation
AN EXCELLENT COMMENT
guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 19 April 2011
"The Syrian uprising, which began with small-scale protests just a month ago, continues to spread and grow.....
Meanwhile, one thing is very clear. The regime's double-edged strategy of cracking down hard on protesters (200 have reportedly died in the last month), while simultaneously promising reform, is not working.
The protesters seem undeterred by memories of the Hama massacre in 1982, which showed just how brutal this regime can be, and each new attack fuels their anger. Monday's protest in Homs was triggered by the deaths of 17 people in a protest on Sunday – and that protest in turn had been triggered by the death in custody of a prominent tribal figure. Deaths mean funerals, funerals mean protests and protests mean more deaths.
At the same time, the regime's efforts to blame the demonstrations on foreign conspiracies, armed gangs, sectarian elements, militant Salafists and the like, are self-defeating. Disinformation of that kind might have worked years ago when the state had total control over the media, but today its absurdity is far too obvious......
Considering how far Syria lags behind – it doesn't even approach the limited levels of freedom that existed in Mubarak's Egypt – and how often moves towards reform have stalled in the past, there is no real prospect of satisfying the demonstrators while Assad remains in power. As one resident of Syria put it in an article: "You cannot fix a fundamentally dysfunctional regime."
So the protests look set to continue. "From alley to alley, from house to house, we want to overthrow you, Bashar." But the crucial question is how. What, exactly, would it take to get Assad to step down? Might he not decide, like Muammar Gaddafi in Libya and Ali Abdullah Saleh in Yemen, to stay put in his palace come hell or high water?
The Baathist regime may indeed be dying, but its death throes could be long and painful."