Bashar Al-Assad delivered his fourth speech today repeating the same lines we’ve gotten used to: There is a conspiracy against Syria; Foreign elements are manipulating some youths into carrying out their agendas; The regime will overcome adversity; and the country’s progress is hinged on the return of security to troubled areas. Assad levied heavy charges at the Arab League, or some “negative forces within it.” Most of what he said in the 105 minute speech was repetition of his three previous speeches, however it is important to analyze the content in light of the Arab League’s efforts to end the conflict in Syria.
Assad started his speech by declaring that the masks of those conspiring against Syria have fallen. He said that more than sixty TV stations are engaged in a disinformation campaign about the reality of the situation in the country. He referred to his interview with Barbara Walters as an example of media manipulation. Assad said that his regime never imposed a ban on media and the journalists were roaming freely but that restrictions had to be imposed after some reporters fabricated stories. He also detailed the reforms his government has carried out but the bulk of the speech addressed the international conspiracy against Syria.
Assad said that some Arab countries, which don’t understand democracy, approached him and demanded that he enacts reforms. Those countries were caught unprepared when he unveiled his reform program, and therefore turned to the Arab League and started using it as a weapon against Syria. Assad said that he came up with the idea of sending monitors to Syria but did not comment on their report just days ago. The Arab League special committee on Syria met in Cairo last Sunday to discuss a preliminary report by its monitors in Syria. The report stated the regime violence continued and that the army was not withdrawn. The report also confirmed activists’ claims that some detainees have been moved to areas inaccessible by the monitors. It also said that weapons are being smuggled into Syria from neighboring countries.