Assad announces new government: most ministers keep job, new ministers are old corrupt officials now rewarded for loyalty.
All those who keep betting on Assad the Reformer keep losing, as Assad holds on to his favorite title of Disappointment Maker. The new government is actually the old government with some old lower ranking officials now promoted to ministers as reward for loyalty and corruption. None of them has ever spoken of reform, none of them ever practiced it. They are true Assad loyalists indeed.
Meanwhile, and in a desperate attempt to undercut the Friday protests, a number of detainees arrested since the beginning of the Revolution, including 150 men from Banyas and Bayda were released today, many showing signs of severe physical abuse, which is what amounts for reform under Assad rule. Also, army troops are reported to have replaced security officers in the city, and were welcomed by inhabitants.
The fact that such developments keep happening on a Thursday prompted some young activists to refer to the Assad regime as the Thursday Regime.
The Streets of Deraa where quick to react to Assad’s new appointments, by staging nightly protests denouncing Bashar & Co. We also have reports of army units joining the protesters in the city of Ankhel, but we are unable to confirm this at this stage.
In another sign of reform, eyewitnesses report that security officials raided many college classrooms and made a list of absentees. They probably plan to reform them soon.
Meanwhile, the city of Suweida in south Syria witnessed its first sizeable protests since the beginning of the Revolution with few hundreds hitting the street in the morning, and again in the evening. Suweida is the heartland of the Druze community in Syria. With Suweida now on board, every major city and town in Syria can be said to have been hit by protests. Tomorrow should be an interesting day indeed.
In the U.S. a group of Syrian activists met with Senator Lieberman who just issued this statement on Syria. It’s the strongest and clearest statement on Syria from an American policymaker so far.
For those who keep asking what the protesters seek to achieve, and who may not have had time to watch any of the videos posted here, let’s hope the picture below makes things clear:
Sign says: We Want To Topple The Regime. The young man is wearing a shroud. The place is Deraa City. With no signs of weapons around, it’s clear that protesters expect to get killed, but they don’t plan to do any killing
Human Rights Watch: Syria: Rampant Torture of Protesters: Activists and Journalists Also Arrested and Mistreated