Monday, January 7, 2013

My Dear Brothers… I Understood You… Who Are You?

The Syrian Opera House is probably the most significant part of President Bashar al-Assad’s latest speech. A venue very fitting for a staged performance by Syria’s strongman as he put on a well-scripted show to say nothing new and offer no substance to a people suffering through the worst political and military crisis in its history.

The speech, if anything, offers a glimpse into the fading power of the once feared ruler and his bankrupt regime. Assad offered a new vision that exposed his blindness to the reality on the ground in his country. His offer for his government’s version of dialogue exposed a serious blockage in any chance of talks with the opposition that controls major portions of the nation including key cities such as Aleppo and the capital Damascus. His threats of fighting terrorism and the cliché breathless cheers of the handpicked crowd offering him their souls yet again exposed the reality that the President needs a stage with props and theater blocking to show he is still in charge because real events prove the exact opposite.

But, President Assad spoke on Sunday; one must give him credit for attempting, perhaps for the last time, to influence ongoing talks inside and outside Syria and tame ongoing battles all around the country. Had he discussed the hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees and their hardships in more than just a passing mention, maybe he would have come across more sincere. Had he shed a tear on the tens of thousands of lost lives as a result of his stubborn stance and unwillingness to admit that change is the only way of resolving the raging war in his country, he might have gained a new supporter or two among his people or elsewhere. Had he shown remorse or had he hinted at the necessity for him to step down or admit the legitimacy of the Syrian opposition, he could have attracted some extra ears for his future speeches, if any of those exist in his stars.

Nay… President Assad offered nothing but an image of himself that resembles to a great extent that of other Arab dictators in the last moments of their rule, and the first signs of their fall. Although he did not use their same exact words, Assad was repeating Zein Elabedin Ben Ali’s infamous “I understood you” where he really meant I have no clue what the Tunisian people really want. Assad was also repeating the empty slogan of Hosni Mubarak: “My Dear Brothers” which at the end meant you are not my brothers at all. Assad’s performance resembles a toned down version of Gaddafi’s melodramatic “Who Are You?” In this case, he tried to undermine the Syrian opposition by calling the rebels “murderous criminals” and “terrorists.”

Assad offered his vision for ending the impasse in Syria in three stages. From the worldwide cold reaction his speech received so far, it seems that not many are holding their breath for any serious results.

My vision is that, like the Arab leaders who tried and failed before him, Assad in this stage of the game is only capable of delivering speeches and at highly secured locations. Sunday’s might mark the first speech of the Assad fall. If he truly follows in the footsteps of other fallen Arabs, he might get lucky to deliver a couple of more speeches before his time as President is forever up!


Keep the conversation going...

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't let the door hit you in the a** on your way out of Syria, Assad. 60,000 people have died in Syria due to Assad. It is horrifying to think of the conditions the people of Syria are enduring while their dictator gloats. Yalla, yalla, leave now Assad, the world despises you.

January 9, 2013 at 8:58 PM  

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