Today, just minutes ago, SANA published a short statement that read: The Cabinet passes bills on legislative decrees to end the state of emergency in Syria, abolish Higher State Security Court, bill regulating right to peaceful protest (they have also added a longer statement).
This was all announced as priorities in the speech by president Bashar al-Assad to the newly sworn in cabinet. He ended that part of the speech, on the effect of lifting of the emergency law and the enactment of a bill regulating peaceful protests with these words :
When this package of laws is passed, there will no longer be a need to organize demonstrations in Syria. What will be immediately required of the relevant bodies, particularly the Ministry of Interior, is to implement the laws strictly and rigorously and not to tolerate any act of sabotage.
With these laws, we draw a line between reform and sabotage; and there are clear differences between the demands for reform and the intentions of creating chaos and sabotage. We want the law to be implemented immediately, and we don’t want any sabotage or any undermining of the security of Syrian citizens. The Syrian people are civilized, committed to law and order and do not accept chaos and demagoguery.
I am afraid and can only interpret this, in the light of the statements on insurrection in Homs and salafi-backed armed gangs from the ministry of interior (see my previous post) that the regime intends to discredite further protests as acts of sabotage, undermining of the security of Syrian citizens, chaos and demagoguery. As president Assad himself stated “…there will no longer be a need to organize demonstrations in Syria” after the lifting of state of emergency etc.
The protesters wanted reforms. But this changed, and only because the Syrian regime has handled this in a spectacularly incompetent fashion. From the way they met reform demands with claims of foreign conspiracy and bullets in Daraa and Latakia, to the rambling speech to a group a sycophants, to the use of regime controlled armed gangs fomenting dissent and finally to statements by the minister of interior that the ‘insurrection’ was organised by salafist.
We have past the Rubicon, by far. The government has proven that it is not the people who cannot live with each other (i.e. sectarianism) but the regime that cannot live with the people.