Bashar Al-Assad talks reforms, practices mayhem.
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The current gambit for the Assads: Make a show of confidence to garner support for the upcoming reform package that will effectively leave them in charge. This is what Bashar and Asmaa’s first public appearance together since the beginning of the Revolution is meant to invoke. The sales pitch is being made, and the media blitz meant to facilitate it is under way.
But of course, since the plan is to reassert control not lose it, Hama City needs to be brought under control, again.
Meanwhile, Syrian state TV continues to speak of armed gangs, blaming all violence on them.
Bearing all this in mind, and with 31 deaths reported on Friday, what did exactly change in terms of tactics to warrant all this chatter in international quarters regarding Bashar’s intentions to introduce “serious” reforms? Someone must be reading some interesting hasheesh leaves.
It took them a while, as usual, but the Assads seem to have finally landed on a coherent strategy, one that focuses on playing up the reform card through certain acts of showmanship and political theater designed to attract the attention of international media, while the violent crackdown continues in the background.
The shift to this strategy is a sign of weakness, nonetheless, and that’s a message to the protesters to keep the pressures on and keep marching on. It’s all about the will to stay the course now.