Assad Officials Dismiss Protests

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Assad Officials Dismiss Protests

Postby shayeyp6shx » 09 Dec 2011, 17:01

“I just received a note from the committee advising on the new constitution!” said the portly, white-haired minister, announcing only that one new provision bans “discrimination between political parties.” Such creaky political theater spoke volumes about the way President Bashar al-Assad’s government has been handling the crisis engulfing Syria since March. Rather than responding to the motivations and demands behind the antigovernment uprising, opponents and political analysts say, the government has stubbornly clung to the narrative that it is besieged by a foreign plot. The government offers meager crumbs of political change, they say, avoiding the sweeping reforms that might defuse public anger and ease its international isolation. At the same time, its violent efforts to combat the uprising have pushed a once peaceful opposition to take up arms, analysts here said. “Nine months into this crisis the government has nothing to offer except a military, security solution,” said Hassan Abdel Azim, a 79-year-old war horse among Syrian dissidents, sitting in his cramped office, decorated only with a photograph of the Egyptian Arab nationalist leader, Gamal Abdel Nasser. Senior government officials — including Mr. Assad — and their supporters reel off a strikingly uniform explanation for the uprisings, blaming foreign agents and denying official responsibility for the violence. “Most of the people that have been killed are supporters of the government, not the vice versa,” Mr. Assad said in an interview with ABC News broadcast on Wednesday. In the interview, Mr. Assad denied ordering a crackdown. “We don’t kill our people,” he said. “No government in the world kills its people, unless it’s led by a crazy person.” Virtually Doudoune Moncler Pas Cher no one in the Syrian government links the uprisings to the sentiment inspiring revolutions across the Arab world, to a public fed up with the status quo. Instead, they say the United States and Israel, allied with certain quisling Arab governments, are plotting to destroy Syria, to silence its lone, independent Arab voice and to weaken its regional ally, Iran. To achieve this aim, they are arming and financing Muslim fundamentalist mercenaries who enter Syria from abroad, Syrian officials say. “Syria is one of the last secular regimes in the Arab world, and they are targeting Syria,” said Buthaina Shaaban, a presidential political and media adviser, warning that the West would rue the day that it enabled Islamist regimes. Doudoune Moncler She rejected the idea that any true Syrian could rise against the government, saying, “Colonialism has always found agents inside the country.” But that view does not seem to explain events unfolding on the streets. The seemingly routine flow of life in central Damascus could leave the impression that there is no crisis, or that the security approach is effective. Yet beneath the mundane, unease grips the capital as fear of civil war supplants hopes for a peaceful transition to democracy. Damascus residents describe the restive suburbs as severed from the city by government checkpoints, and while the security forces control those areas by day, the night belongs to the rebels. A request to visit the suburbs was denied “for your own safety” by a Syrian government official. Protesters hold “flying demonstrations” inside the city, trying to subvert the security forces, with a few people gathering briefly to be filmed shouting antigovernment slogans. Damascenes say that they have become so accustomed to hearing slogans chanted in the background, given the almost daily pro-government rallies organized by the government, that it takes a few minutes to register that people are cursing Mr. Assad. By the time they seek the source, the protesters have faded away. Yet security forces seem omnipresent, usually materializing in minutes. Government critics say myriad supporters have been recruited into the shabiha, or thugs, as the loyalist forces are known.
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