Assad Blames Protests on ‘Conspiracy’ and Satellite TV

In an address to the Syrian parliament today, President Bashar al-Assad blamed foreign conspirators and satellite television for inciting the protests that have disrupted the country for the past two weeks. While there had been speculations that Assad would lift the emergency laws that have been in place for forty years as well as restraints on the media, Assad offered none of the reforms that protesters were hoping for.

According to the Guardian, Assad said that there is “there is chaos in the country under the pretext of reform” and spoke of “conspirators” promoting an “Israeli agenda.” He criticized “satellite channels, propaganda and a sectarian divide” as responsible for the unrest in Syria and said that, while reforms could be considered, Syria’s economic conditions and the stability of the country must first be improved. He did not offer any sense of when any such reforms might occur or in what way.

The speech was ‘well-received’ in Assad’s constituency, says the Guardian; the New York Times added that there were “choreographed cries of support and applause” during the speech. More details from the New York Times:

Smiling and looking relaxed, Mr. Assad spoke of “the plots that are being hatched against our country” and said they represented a “test of our unity.”

“We are for reform and we are for meeting the people’s demands,” Mr. Assad said, referring to legislative changes under consideration for years but not carried out because of what he called a series of regional crises. “The first priority was to the stability of Syria, to maintain stability,” he said.

He added: “We are not in favor of chaos and destruction.”

He acknowledged that “Syrian people have demands that have not been met,” but said that those grievances were “used as a cover to dupe the people to go to the streets.” He added that “some of them had good intentions.”

“It is not a secret now that Syria is being subject to a conspiracy,” he said. “The timing and shape depends on what is happening in other Arab countries.”

According to the BBC, analysts say that there are “divergent views” within Syria about how Assad is handling the crisis, with one group favoring the suppressing of dissent, as another calls for more dialogue. The Guardian, referring to Syrians responding to Assad’s address in homes and cafés, offered an “overwhelmingly negative” reaction to the speech:

“The speech was nonsense and has given security forces the green light to continue its oppression on our people,” said one man speaking by telephone from the city. “Assad is using fear of sectarianism as a tool to incite Syrians’ anger against the people here,” he added.

Even supporters of Assad may be at a loss after the speech. “Many Ba’athists were congratulating me today on the removal of the emergency law,” said one Christian businessman. “But now they are empty handed as they face the Syrian people.”

Activists in Damascus are reportedly considering holding more protests on Friday.


Previous Care2 Coverage

Syria’s President Fires Entire Cabinet; Expected to Lift Emergency Laws

Obama: Talking to the American People Like Adults

Chaos in Yemen and Syria: Weapons Factory Explodes, Troops Fire on Protesters [VIDEO]

Libya and the US: What the President Said

Syrian Government Blames Protests on Foreigners, Faces Crisis

Uprisings in Syria and Jordan Create New Concerns For the US

Protests in Syria Spread to Damascus and Beyond As Troops Open Fire

Photo by Ricardo Stuckert/ABr (Agência Brasil [1]) [CC-BY-2.5-br (], via Wikimedia Commons


Marilyn L.
Marilyn L7 years ago

Once more an Assad wants to blame Israel in part for Syria's lack of stability. Is Israel and these other so-called conspiritors also the cause of the abusive power he and his fathered hold over Syrians? Are they to blame for the death of protestors? Papa Assad was a cruel, cruel man, it seems the apple didn't fall to far from the tree.

Wayne M.
Wayne M7 years ago

Basher el-Assad succeeded his father as President. The current dictators in Libya and North Korea are grooming their son's to succeed them as did Saddam Hussein in Iraq. Mubarak in Egypt and Papa-Doc Duvalier in Haiti (and as did the father of the current dictator in North Korea for that matter). IN the old days, these kinds of leaders took the title of "King" or "Emperor"-- and while these current tyrants may pretend to use institutions of democracy, they are, in fact, absolute monarchs.

John Doucette
John Doucette7 years ago

I guess repressing your own people so you can live the billionaire lifestyle doesn't count for why your people are protesting.

Karen & Edward O.
Karen and Ed O7 years ago

Oh, boy, here we go again. Another nut case who blames everything else but his own tyranical governing.

Well said, Ian Donelson!

Susan C.
Susan C7 years ago

The Assad Baathi regime is based on torture.

The U.S. renditioned Maher Arar, a Canadian of Syrian origin, for torture. Another Canadian, Abdullah Almalki was arrested when he briefly returned to his homeland to visit his grandmother. The Canadian government was complicit in the harrowing torture he was subjected to.

Torture is a major reason why the Assad regime has to go - no 'foreign agitators' needed.

Robert Orlando
Past Member 7 years ago

Of course, i'm sure it has nothing to do with his oppressive policies. Why is the media so intent on making excuses for continued oppression in Syria, Bahrain, Egypt, etc.. Yet, when it comes to Libya, we immediately start bombing? What is so special about Libya and not Syria and the rest?
It is because Syria and the rest of the oppressive regimes are "corporate amerika" friendly and they all have "independent, privately-owned central banking systems! And, Libya is neither "corporate amerika friendly", nor has it a privately-run central bank.
I would bet money, that once Libya falls, one of the 1st things done will be to create a privately-owned central banking system.

Frederick Rhodes
Frederick Rhodes7 years ago

Maybe the Internet has developed a mind of its own and is sending disruptive propaganda to cause humans to kill each other to save planet Earth.

Robert O.
Robert O7 years ago

Sure blame everybody else for the problem instead of the real culprit: the person they see in the mirror. If they want to blame anybody it should be themselves and their oppressive, dictatorial, autocratic regimes that stifle progress, freedom and silence the people by force.

Ian Donelson
Ian Donelson7 years ago

Same old song and dance. These guys must have a Authoritarian handbook.