High Noon: Bashar El Assad's Third Post-'Revolution 2011' Speech

This is his third speech since the start of the revolution 2011, different from the exuded confidence during the first and the measured confidence of the second. This speech is about a situation that has been deteriorating daily and El Assad seemed to be fully aware of this. The Main points:

- A realistic assessment of the situation: but there is no going back, Syria must look to the future.
- A will to make the amnesty more inclusive without threatening the security of the people and the state, and there will be no concessions for the extremists who willingly kill and vandalise.
- The reforms will be articulated by the national dialogue process that is going on.  The national dialogue basis is the muhafazat because of the mosaic of the Syrian society.
- There is need for electoral reform and constitutional reform, the first must come first.
- Electoral reform will likely be decided soon, before the august elections.  And by the end of the year the consitutional reform will be initiated.  
- Bashar nearly shocked when he mentioned the state of the Syrian economy and thanked all the people who are keeping their money in Syrian pounds even as little as 1000 pounds.
- Not once did he mention the sects or religions, he spoke in terms of the rich mosaic of the Syrian society.  He spoke only once of the painful events of the 1980s to illustrate that there is no going back for Syria.  This can be interpreted in two different ways and El Assad speaks in this way when he is under duress.  It can mean that reforms are coming but it can also mean that some people are trying to drag Syrians again in this hole but they won't succeed, the second interpretation conveys more firmness, albeit a veiled one.

The applause was spontaneous at least on two occasions.  When he spoke about himself and his family and when he spoke about the connection between the people of Syria, a connection he felt during his many meetings with people from across the country.

Some would say that there was nothing new.  I would say that this speech was intended internally.  What we saw today is Bashar delivering in a very somber mood (he cracked only one joke) a realistic assessment of the situation and the steps that has been taken and will be undertaken in the future to remedy the situation.  This speech was in no way intended for the people who are calling him to step down.

This is significant because it means that the regime stands united.  Either they survive together or they are going down together.  I would say that there is a real connection there between the prsesident and his men.  The people who are betting on cracks in the regime stand no chance to seeing any cracks soon.

I think the speech was measured and grave but the only thing that worries me is that Bashar seemed uneasy and unassuming again as during his first years in office.  He appeared more than ever as the face of the regime. But the people who are directing their anger against him are hitting the wrong target.  It doesn't mean that he is powerless, it doesn't diminish him, it means that he took this responsibility against his will and that he will assume it until the end" All this means also that if he is to step down, nothing will change.  But if it is the entire regime the Syrian revolution 2011 want to bring down, then my understanding is that they will bring down the whole country and we will have an Iraq like scenario.  So either the people behind the Syrian revolution 2011 are naive or they are deceiving us.  Increasingly Bashar El Assad and his family are becoming the scapegoats for the discontent with the regime.  And the plan is 'sacrifice the scapegoat' and everything will turn out to be fine. This is a bad plan for Syria. This regime has been part of Syria for the last 40 years, so either the regime and those who want change (the real revolutionaries, not The Syrian Revolution 2011) work out something together or things will turn bad. The second option seems to be the goal of the Syrian revolution 2011.


HS said...

Should you draw a parallel with the events of 1968 in France , the unrest in Syria lasting for more than 3 months , you can understand it is very tiring for a president ( even the most experienced one ).

Should you draw a parallel with the riots in Los Angeles in 1993 where in all, 53 people died and thousands more were injured in only six days, you can understand how difficult it is to control riots.

PS: I posted a link in your friend's blog

Sophia said...


Not many people read what is linked to there. It is an echo chamber. But thanks.

Jad said...

I read everything :)

I actually with sadness agree with you on the 'scapegoat' Syrians and the whole world are looking for scapegoats and when they find one, any one, they will use it, rightly or wrongly, it doesn't matter, what matters is to please the crowds...it's the public hysteria allover this bloody mad world.

Sophia said...


I know you read everything. Your opinions are always informed

Jad said...

Thank you :)

Did you read the latest post on SC, I honestly can't believe that they publish such thing as a main reading material. It's sad.

This is important, Jumblat opinion is a reflection of the political weather:

جنبلاط: الأميركيّون يريدون الانتقام من سوريا عبرنا

Anonymous said...

Interesting post and comments HERE, on the fact the medias have no interest in Tal while they had on Amina...

William Scott Scherk said...

I have been studying the Damascus University speech -- analyzing the reform components within the timelines. This is government policy, after all, and the only framework on the table so far.

I copied the English text from SANA, and turned that text into a synthesized speech file. For those who haven't been able to understand the full speech in Arabic, or for those that want an audio version and a clean reference of the speech, I put up the files here.

I have a separate long and boring technical comment to follow later on the draft party law. I hope to have some discussion on reform details deriving from the policy speech by the president -- especially the intersection of media/parties law.

I am glad you have a reform spirit, Sophia and at least some hope for a rational solution to the crisis in Syria! I appreciate your gracious welcome. We may not agree, but we can certainly communicate our disagreement without the kind of cant and insult and boorishness sometimes found at Syria Comment.

I am also a big fan of Jad -- he is in my top ten Must Read and Think About posters at the Landis blog. Yes, I disagree with several of his postures and reactions, but his heart and sincerity rings true.

I think there is an almost desperate need for conciliation and mutual empathy and concern between the 'sides' on Syrian issues.

Jad, if free expression were possible in Syria at this moment, you would have a salon and a name and a group to associate with and an agenda of reform and conciliation and mutual aid with other free-speaking Syrians.

I know we all long for the peace that comes with freedom and the freedom that comes with peace.

The only possible outcome for Syria is peace. Even if, by horrible mischance and machination, war escalates within Syria, the only possible result is peace.

Sophia and Jad and other worthy voices here are reformists indeed and should claim that title and proudly stand behind any reform they have longed for and expect to result.

In Tunisia and Egypt they are at different stages on the road to peace, freedom, and reconciliation of differences. The destination is in sight. It is a slog, a momentous restructuring. The plan is universal, however, in its basics -- and those universal basics are the bottom line also in Syria, the destination.

I would so love to hear Jad and Sophia and other patriots here sketch out and paint in the details of the restructuring in Syria that they recommend and champion as Reformists . . .

Sophia said...



Well I already have some reform proposals:

1. Make any sectarian comment a crime and enshrine the secular nature of the state in the constitution.

2. Make a new electoral law for a multiparty democracy based only on secular parties.

3. As long as Syria has occupied territory, it needs an army. Make the unpopular draft a platform for forming the new technocrats of tomorrow's Syria.

4. Strenghten civil society. A strong civil society is the best antidote against MB.

Since March 29th 2006