Thursday, March 24, 2011

Syrian Government's Proposed Reforms:Talk is Cheap

The Syrian regime had an epiphany after  massacring dozens of it own citizens in Daraa: keep it up and you may not be around too much longer. So, grudgingly, Bouthaina Shaaban is trotted out to declare sweeping reforms! maybe... or maybe they will just consider thinking about thinking about reforms. She admits that perhaps the people of Daraa have legitimate grievances but then goes on to immediately delegitimize them by saying that the demonstrations are the work of foreigners trying to destabilize Syria.  I guess no one in the regime watches the satellite channels.  Don't they realize that every other Arab autocrat in trouble has trotted out the same lame excuse and no one believed them?

There is a distinct smell of insincerity about the whole thing.  Why was it Shaaban who offered these concessions? Why not the president? Why are some of the offers of reform so ambivalent?  Is this just a stalling tactic to buy time and let the passions simmer down?  I remain skeptical.  This regime has had absolute power for  two generations, imposing its will on the people and tolerating absolutely no dissent.  This is their modus operandi, they know no other way of doing things. 

There has been enough bloodshed already. Talk is cheap; if the regime does not start implementing its declared reform agenda, it will loose the last shred of legitimacy it still has.   

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