From another world
sees Al-Assad's speech only hardened local and international resistance
The Syrian predicament continues to capture the focus of pundits. For many, the near future carries no political solution in Syria but a continuation of the bloodshed and a looming civil war.
Pundits cited Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad's speech, the first after an absence from public view for more than six months, in which he insisted that what is going on in Syria is not a political crisis but rather a crisis of terrorism, aggression and external funding.
In his article 'Al-Assad's speech -- another opportunity missed' Abdel-Bari Atwan described the speech as "colourless" and "not up to the level of the events in Syria and the entire Arab region."
In the London-based Al-Quds Al-Arabi, Atwan wrote that the Syrians and millions of Arabs expected a clearer and franker speech that addresses the current issues, that answers all the questions in the minds of the Syrian citizen, and that puts forth solutions and outlets for the crisis.
"President Bashar wasted a golden opportunity to address Syrian public opinion in a more scientific, objective, and humane way by admitting the mistakes made and sympathising with the victims and their families," Atwan wrote.
Atwan also stressed that Al-Assad delivered his speech knowing all these facts but totally assured of the support of his Russian, Chinese, and Iranian allies. "That is why he reaffirmed his determination to go ahead with his bloody security solutions that brought Syria to this tragic condition," Atwan affirmed.
In its editorial, the Qatari Al-Raya newspaper described Al-Assad's speech in front of the Syrian parliament as "outside date and time".
The editorial entitled '[Syrian] citizens demand freedom' said that at the time when Al-Assad was delivering his speech and blaming foreign conspiracies targeting Syria, his security forces and thugs were killing Syrian citizens who are demanding freedom and change.
"After around 16 months and tens of thousands killed and injured, the message which the regime wants to deliver is that it will continue its repression of the revolution by force at any cost and that it will not be deterred by any international initiatives," the editorial wrote.
In the London-based Al-Hayat newspaper, Hossam Itani, insisted that the call of the Syrian regime for a political solution via negotiations or engagement in a process to transfer power "seems closer to a used up joke in a comic play".
"If a regime's primary interest ever since it came to power half a century ago has been the annihilation of all forms of political life in its country, how can it sponsor a complex political process that will definitely lead to its relinquishing of power?" Itani wrote.
Itani warns that the Syrian regime is unable "to present a vision to exit the predicament in which it has put the country in, or to accept the political solution" in its simplest forms by recognising the existence of a major crisis sweeping Syria and the growing role of the diverging opposition forces that are supported by vital factions among the Syrian people, from all social classes.
The expulsion of Syrian diplomats from some Western governments following the horrific massacre in the village of Al-Hawla was met with mixed reaction.
According to Walid Choukair, the move will have a very limited impact, in terms of morale, in expressing the international anger at the acts of the regime.
In his article in Al-Hayat, Choukair laments that the move has been "an alternative to the inability to draft a practical, clear stance that exerts pressure in the direction of halting the murders in Syria."
Choukair blamed Western countries for being content to wager that financial and economic sanctions will have their effect in shaking up the Syrian regime. Choukair explains that this means that "there is no deterrent to the continued murder and massacres" until that time.
Meanwhile, in the Saudi-financed Asharq Al-Awsat, Abdallah Al-Otaibi welcomed the diplomatic move as "the correct step even if it has been adopted late, towards isolating the Al-Assad regime politically" but should be bolstered by other measures.
Al-Otaibi added that Arab peace envoy Kofi Anan's plan has proven a failure, and going to the Security Council will be of no avail given the current Russian-Chinese veto.
"So what remains to be done is to take action outside the Security Council to topple the regime," Al-Otaibi advised.
Al-Otaibi supported a measure which Susan Rice, the US ambassador to the UN, termed "the third scenario".
"Any further delays towards adopting this third scenario will leave permanent scars in the Syrian memory, and will strongly impact upon the future of Syria as well as the entire region," Al-Otaibi warned.
Focussing on the Russian stance, Abdel-Rahman Al-Rashed, also in Asharq Al-Awsat, wrote that despite all their efforts to support it and protect it, the Russians will not be able to keep the regime standing on its feet and it will suffer an ugly fall.
"A war consisting of more than 70 per cent of the Syrian people against the regime is now under way. Al-Assad will fall no matter how long it takes," Al-Rashed wrote.
Al-Rashed explained that with their stubborn stance and support of the Syrian regime in the face of the wrath of the Syrian people and Arab and international indignation, the Russians are imperiling Al-Assad just as they did with their ally Muammar Gaddafi last year.
Al-Rashed reminded readers that at one stage during the confrontation, the Libyan dictator was prepared to accept a solution proposed by the government of South Africa that would have allowed him to step down and live in exile with international guarantees.
"It was a political solution that would have preserved Libya. However, Gaddafi was then reassured by Russia's military and political support; he thought that he was leaning on a solid wall. In the end, however, he suffered a horrible fall," Al-Rashed wrote.