The title of one of Shakespeare’s plays, Much Ado About Nothing, describes very well the essence of Bashar al-Assad’s speech today. There was no need to spend 100 minutes -that seemed rather 1.000- just to repeat the same speech already done three times since the start of the revolts.
Al-Assad used again a defiant tone. He did not acknowledge any legitimacy in the opposition demands. He promised to “hit the terrorists with an iron fist“, and resorted to one of the most classical tactics in the region: to blame mysterious foreign conspiracies.
The Syrian “raïs” also made some vague pledges of political reforms: a Constitutional referendum, multiparty elections and an inclusive government with “all political forces”. Not so different from previous speeches. Since he took power more than a decade ago, he has delivered he has engaged often in this king of “nice talk”, never followed by any real action.
Bashar is either delusional or he thinks that the international community is stupid. His promises of reform have no credibility whatsoever. If he was sincere in his offer, he would to stop the repression. It is an easy gesture of good will. But he has been unable to show any mercy in the last ten years and ten months.
The only news about the speech is that al-Assad digs in. Unfortunately, it looks like Syria will continue to descend into a long and bloody civil war.