Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has given three speeches to the Syrian nation since protests against his regime broke out in March. His latest remarks rehashed empty promises of "reform" sometime in the future, and he again blamed foreign "saboteurs" for the unrest and calls for an end to his authoritarian rule.
The Syrian people showed their disbelief in President Assad's words with more demonstrations – even though protestors in cities across the country have been met with relentless brutality by government forces. The Syrian people want action and not words.
According to human rights monitors, more than 1300 people have been killed over the last three months in Syria, the vast majority unarmed civilians; 10,000 have been arrested; and there are widespread reports of horrific human rights abuses perpetrated by security forces.
In an op-ed published in the Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said there is no doubt about the nature of the protests in Syria: "[t]he Syrian people are demanding their long-denied universal rights and rejecting a government that rules through fear, squanders their talents through corruption, and denies them the dignity of having a voice in their own future."
She deplored President Assad's embrace of the repressive tactics of his ally Iran, whose government savagely suppressed massive protests two years ago, when the Iranian people demanded that their votes by counted and their voices heard. "By following Iran's lead," said Secretary Clinton, "President Assad is placing himself and his regime on the wrong side of history. He will learn that legitimacy flows from the consent of the people, and cannot be forged through bullets and billyclubs. . .We condemn the Assad regime's disregard of its citizens and Iran's insidious interference."
For Syria, there is no going back, said Secretary Clinton. Syria is headed "for a new political order – and the Syrian people should be the ones to shape it."
Syria's citizens "want to see a real transition to democracy and a government that honors their universal rights and aspirations," Secretary of State Clinton said."The United States chooses to stand with the Syrian people and their universal rights. . . .They deserve a nation that is unified, democratic and a force for stability and progress. That would be good for Syria, good for the region and good for the world."