Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Syria - Update

Bouthaina Shaaban, the advisor to Syria's Assad, has said in a recent interview with the New York Times that the country is now past the danger phase and that the recent troubles can be seen as an opportunity for the country in spite of the sanctions that have now started taking effect. What is interesting is that the New York Times journalist who interviewed her was given permission to enter Syria for only a few hours before having to leave the country. Foreign journalists are not allowed into Syria, and al Jazeera's correspondent Dorothy Parvez has been incarcerated for over a week now. There are several other members of the foreign press that are also being held by the Assad regime, and it is unclear when they will be released or for what reason they are being held.

It is interesting to note that Shaaban is now making an appearance. She last appeared at the start of the protests and back then I noticed how visibly shaken and overwhelmed she appeared. Yet throughout the revolution she has not been seen at all and her re-emergence might mean that the regime now thinks it is over the worst. I say might, because although there are now thousands of people incarcerated, and over 500 people killed, the wave of protests that swept through Syria might be far from over. As in other Arab countries, we should look to Friday to see what happens. Until then, treat anything that the regime says with extreme suspicion.

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