Are Syria's Concessions Enough to Quell Unrest?

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BY CHRISTINA HARTMAN You're watching multisource world news analysis from Newsy Amid the worst unrest...
BY CHRISTINA HARTMAN You're watching multisource world news analysis from Newsy Amid the worst unrest it’s seen in decades - the government of Syria has resigned. That as President Bashar al Assad is widely expected to lift the country’s emergency law -- in place for almost 50 years. That’s the latest of the moves intended to appease protesters who’ve taken to the streets in recent weeks. Mr. Assad remains the national authority - but Al Jazeera reports protesters don’t expect the cabinet resignation to be the last concession. “This is expected to be a step in a series of steps people are expecting the president to announce to bring reform to Syria. And as officials here have been promising, to meet the demands of the protesters.” Other concessions already offered up, Mr. al-Assad has said he’d release some political prisoners, allow greater media freedom, and permit political parties. But a Middle East expert tells RT, he only intends to do the “bare minimum” to placate unrest -- and that might not end up being enough. “But we’ve seen that in other places before. Yes Syria is unique; it’s not exactly the same as Egypt or Tunisia, but too little to late actually seems to fuel the momentum of the demonstrators who feel insulted by the idea that you just have to tell them, there, there, go away. We’ll look after it, we’ll make some changes, but we know what’s best.” The BBC’s Jim Muir agrees, and he casts doubt on Mr. Assad’s ability to survive the upheaval. “No two Arab countries are the same, though they suffer from similar malaises. But if President Assad's Syria does manage to foster enough peaceful internal change and reform to defuse a popular uprising, it will be a first.” France 24 notes - Assad has his supporters - who turned out en masse Tuesday for a PRO-government counter-rally. “This fits with the fact that Assad enjoys a certain amount of popularity for opening up Syria economically. Cell phones, satellite television, high tech goods that changed people’s lives. these didn’t exist under the Syria under his father, who died in 2000.” Contrast that to Fox News’ Leland Vittert - on the ground in Syria - who points out video of those pro-government supporters was put out by state TV. Vittert casts a more skeptical light on Mr. Assad’s sincerity. “The other issue is to try and get independent journalists into Syria. We had a presidential advisor come out on television and say, all journalist are welcome, we'll grant visas immediately, apply. So far the promise has not been fulfilled by the Syrian government.” Mr. Assad is expected to deliver a televised address Wednesday. The Guardian’s Simon Tisdall says it’ll be his, quote, “day of reckoning.” “Whatever the reasons, and they are many, Assad faces a great reckoning when he steps up to speak. It could be a moment of unparalleled opportunity. Or it could prove to be a fatal next phase in his inexorable fall from grace.” Follow Newsy_Videos on Twitter Get more multisource video news analysis from Newsy Transcript by Newsy
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