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[Dehai-WN] Asharq-e.com/: Syria: Al-Assad channels Gaddafi

From: Berhane Habtemariam <Berhane.Habtemariam_at_gmx.de_at_dehai.org>
Date: Fri, 13 Jan 2012 00:42:58 +0100

Syria: Al-Assad channels Gaddafi


Asharq Al-Awsat


London, Beirut, Asharq Al-Awsat - For the first time since becoming
president, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad gave up talking to his people
from behind closed halls and came out into the street to address them face
to face. Al-Assad Junior in the last 12 years gave his speeches either at
the People's Assembly or at Damascus University with his audience limited to
Baath Party leaders and state officials.

It became evident yesterday that Al-Assad's appearance at Umayyad Square in
central Damascus accompanied by his wife Asma and two of his young children
"was preplanned precisely by the Syrian regime's organs" according to
activists' assertions to Asharq Al-Awsat. "A demonstration of support was
mobilized by issuing instructions to all the government's departments
forcing the employees to take part in the assembly the preparations for
which were started early in the morning." Groups of participants, among them
girls, surrounded the main platform from where Al-Assad delivered his speech
which, according to an activist, made the masses in Umayyad Square split
into two: "The first were the state institutions' staff and employees who
were forced to come and the second were the (Shabiha) who rallied around
Al-Assad and cheered him."

Many Syrians mocked Al-Assad's appearance and speech and compared it to
Muammar Gaddafi, who just months before the Libyan revolution's victory,
stood on the roof of one of the buildings overlooking the Green Square and
delivered a fiery speech asserting continuation of the confrontation with
those he called the "misguided rats."

Muhammad, a member of the Damascus Countryside Coordination Committee, told
Asharq Al-Awsat that "Al-Assad's appearance at this specific time at the
center of a demonstration of support is irrefutable evidence that the Syrian
regime is in the last stage of its collapse." He pointed out that "this is
the first time that Al-Assad appears with his supporters and this is a sign
of the quandary the ruling circle in Damascus has reached." He expressed his
belief that "the Syrian regime has made the decision for a confrontation
after embroiling the country in a crisis that is difficult to resolve
because of its stupid policies and barbaric practices against the Syrian
people." He added that "the president's appearance among the people is just
one of the signs of the confrontation that the regime is going to follow in
a more ferocious way than before" and stressed that "Al-Assad chose to
appear according to a planned scenario by the security organs and yet he did
not dare to stand before his people for more than few minutes and in the
presence of an extensive security protection."

A Syrian activist asked: "Why Al-Assad did not appear in Homs, where his
elements are killing children and torturing people?" He told Asharq
Al-Awsat: "Why did he choose Damascus and Umayyad Square that is blockaded
by the security forces?" He concluded that "Al-Assad has only a small square
left for him and few Shabiha who are protecting and standing with him for
their own interest because the people are against him in all the cities. The
Syrian revolution has triumphed and Al-Assad's regime is in its death throes
like a dying person."

While the official Syrian media celebrated Al-Assad's appearance claiming he
"surprised his supporters" and underlined "the victory over the conspiracy
against Syria", Syrian oppositionists launched on the "Facebook" website
mocking attacks on him. One of them said "Al-Assad is imitating Hasan
Nasrallah when he appears suddenly before his supporters to address them"
and pointed out that "not wearing a tie was an imitation of [Iranian
President] Ahmadinejad, the only ally."

Another activist wrote: "We will wait for Al-Assad to appear carrying an
umbrella and saying I am here, like Gaddafi did." A third oppositionist
advised the Syria n president "to start broadcasting his speeches by audio
only because his whereabouts in the next stage will not be known and the
Syrian people will hunt him and try him and his criminal family."

"Shabiha forever. We are your soldiers, O Al-Assad." Chanted the Syrian
president's supporters massed in Umayyad Square in a demonstration called
for by economic activists through "SMS" messages and on "Facebook" pages. It
was noticed that the Syrian screens carried the voices of the masses in the
square declaring loyalty to President Al-Assad and his cousin the
businessman Rami Makhluf who does not occupy any official post in addition
to voicing their loyalty to Iran and Hezbollah through the slogans changed
by the participants.

Activists considered Al-Assad's appearance in Umayyad Square with his family
and the masses' reiteration of the Shabiha's chants, the drinking of blood,
and slogans underlining the loyalty to Rami Makhluf "an admission by the
regime that it is a familial gangs one" according to an activist who wrote
this on his "Facebook" page while activist Bakr said "Al-Assad is repeating
Gaddafi's scenario when he appeared in Green Square." Ahmad suggested to
Al-Assad to appear spontaneously among his people in Al-Khalidiyah and Baba
Amru or among those participating in the funeral of the 18 martyrs in Dayr
al-Zur yesterday."


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Received on Thu Jan 12 2012 - 18:42:56 EST
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