Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has said he has decided to carry out political reform. But he gave no details, other than to say he rejected any outside interference in the matter. ...Mr Assad repeated criticism that the UN investigation into the killing of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri was biased against Syria. He said the investigators had reached their conclusions first and looked for the evidence afterwards. And he strongly hinted that he would refuse the commission's request to give evidence in person in the case.
... But there is still no sign of the major changes that seemed possible when President Assad took office in the year 2000, our correspondent says. There has been no sign that the members of the ruling circle are willing to give away much of their power.
Syrian President Bashar Al Assad accused Israel on Saturday of assassinating former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, the cause of whose death 14 months ago remains a mystery. “Of the many assassinations that Israel carried out in a methodical and organised way, the most dangerous thing that Israel did was the assassination of President Yasser Arafat,” Assad told a gathering of Arab lawyers. “This was under the world’s gaze and its silence, and not one state dared to issue a statement or stance towards this, as though nothing happened.”
The Syrian President, Bashar al-Assad, has blamed a "global plot" against the Arab world for his country's deteriorating relations with Lebanon. In a typically combative address at a legal conference in Damascus on Saturday, al-Assad said: "What is happening between Syria and Lebanon is part of a global plot against all Arabs, which has many facets."MIDDLE EAST NEWSLINE:
Iraqi and U.S. troops have launched a major counter-insurgency operation near Syria. Officials said Operation Koa Canyon has sought to capture or kill Sunni insurgents in the western Euphrates River Valley in the Anbar province. They said the operation, which began on Jan. 15. includes 1,000 U.S. soldiers and 300 Iraqi troops.These are all BLATANTLY HOLLOW AND COORDINATED PR MOVES by Assad; they are meant to placate his foes at home and abroad, and to divert attention from his REAL problems: the encroaching Hariri investigation; Khaddam's "government in exile" threat; and our encroaching troops.
The clock is ticking and Assad knows it. Too bad he has not yet accepted the fact that he can no longer control his own fate. If Assad was smart he would work out a deal with us - the USA - allowing him to abdicate and go into exile in return for no prosecution.