* ASSAD AS PRESIDENT:
-- The world welcomed the British-trained eye doctor in 2000 as a potential pioneer of reform in autocratic Syria.
-- The soft-spoken Bashar took office after the death of his formidable father Hafez al-Assad, who brooked no dissent and refused to bend in the Arab-Israeli conflict for 30 years.
-- Assad did appoint a cabinet at the end of 2001 packed with Western-trained technocrats in economic portfolios charged with developing a modern financial system to draw foreign investors.
-- The most visible result was a swathe of legislation to ease financial restrictions and establish private banks.
Well, now that we know the "soft-spoken... British-trained eye doctor" appointed a Western-trained cabinet to ease financial restrictions and establish private banks, perhaps Reuters London Editorial Reference Unit writer David Cutler can explain in a bit more detail how:-- In 2003, Assad reshuffled the cabinet citing disappointment with the pace of reform. He made more changes in 2004.
Then again, perhaps not. After all, Reuters wouldn't want to find more of its field correspondents arrested or excommunicated by the soft-spoken eye doctor.more than 300 people have died in violence since the unrest broke out on March 18 in the southern city of Deraa.
In violation of the Reuters Handbook of Journalism, Cutler then parrots an Arab euphemism:
to conceal the perennial Arab bloodlust to destroy Israel and murder its citizens:-- He has said he is willing to resume peace talks with Israel, insisting on a full Israeli withdrawal from the Golan Heights occupied in 1967, while continuing to position Syria as a self declared champion of Arab resistance to the Jewish state.
“We say: We shall never call for, nor accept peace. We shall only accept war and the restoration of the usurped land. We resolved to drench this land with our blood, to oust you, aggressors, and throw you into the sea for good...We must meet as soon as possible and fight a single liberation war on the level of the whole area against Israel.”
-- May 24, 1966, Hafiz al-Assad
"If they [Israel] say you can have the entire Golan back, we will have a peace treaty. But they cannot expect me to give them the peace they expect…. You start with the land; you do not start with peace."
-- February 3, 2010, Bashar al-Assad