Syria After Assad

DAMASCUS Syria Times (government-owned), June 15: President Hafez al-Assad has left behind a complete set of rules and principles which will serve as guidance to his son  in leading the country to the shore safely, and realizing his noble goals....Any expectation that a dramatic shift will occur, particularly in the attitude toward the peace process issues, appears groundless.                    
—Fouad Mardoud

BEIRUT Al-Nahar (moderate), June 14: The Lebanese, even the group that opposes the Syrian presence in Lebanon, are optimistic about future relations between Lebanon and Syria....They also hope that a new kind of relationship might emerge, given the fact that [his son] Bashar was brought up in a way that was open to the West.
—Rosana Bou-Mounsif

BEIRUT Al-Mustaqbal (opposition), June 13: What about Hezbollah’s relationship with Syria following Assad? The late Basi al-Assad...had an important role in supporting the party and the Islamic Resistance. Following his death, this relationship was continued with Dr. Bashar al-Assad.
—Qasem Qasir

CAIRO Al-Akhbar (pro-government), June 13: Naturally, the naive Israeli attempts to falsify facts after Assad’s death angered Arabs....Israel should realize that no one in Syria has the right to concede a single inch of Syrian land.
—Galil Dowidar

RAMALLAH Al-Ayyam (pro-Palestinian authority), June 13: Assad died after 30 years of autocratic and totalitarian rule. [He] is no exception to the club of Arab leaders of the second half of the 20th century. They rule, and still rule, the same way he did. However, Assad differed by being the first to come up with the idea of forming a ruling dynasty....We know that Arab a history of dynasties....I admit that we are in a real mess. I also admit that the political culture of the Arabs is schizophrenic. These admissions have little importance at the end of the day. The past is the past and will be repeated in other places in the Arab world.                                                                                
—Hasan Khadhr

RAMALLAH Al-Hayat al-Jadida (pro-Palestinian Authority), June 13: Bashar al-Assad inherits his father’s regime in Syria. Nothing is new, and the Arab world is fine....Bashar was neither the first nor the last to ascend to his father’s throne....This is the rule by which the Arabs abide. This is an Arab democracy that is unique in character.             
—Fuad Abu Hijla

JERUSALEM Jerusalem Post (conservative), June 13: From a Syrian viewpoint, Hafez al-Assad’s death is anything but untimely. Assad was an anachronistic, Cold-War holdover whose outdated ideology and narrow nationalism inflicted immeasurable damage on a country whose time-honored urban merchant class could have generated some prosperity if only allowed more freedom of enterprise....Assad’s economy disgracefully relied on remittances from more than half a million guest workers.
—Amotz Asa-El

TEL AVIV Hatzofeh (National Religious Front-affiliated), June 11: Hafez al-Assad was a murderous dictator for whom democracy was a distant rumor....Compared with Assad, [who] missed every possible opportunity for peace, Rabbi [Meir] Kahane was Mother Teresa.

TEL AVIV Ma’ariv (centrist), June 12: The truth is that in the last decade, Syria has been a backward, poor, and repressive country, run mafia-style by a small Alawite clique. Bashar Assad’s rise to power—as if it were clear that in a 20th-century country power is something that stays in the family—causes concern that Syria is set on continuity, not change. The chance of peace with Syria depends on whether Syria begins to reform and modernize.

TEL AVIV Yediot Aharonot (centrist), June 12: Bashar al-Assad is still a riddle, but it is reasonable to assume that...the apple will not fall far from the tree....The only apparent difference between Bashar and his father is that the little Assad knows how to surf the Web.

AMMAN Al-Dustour (pro-government), June 15: The new regime in Syria will be occupied with domestic files during the remaining months of the present White House administration....The American administration that is packing to leave the White House in a few months appears to have lost the prospect of a major breakthrough [in the peace process].
—Uraib Al-Rantawi
DOHA, Qatar Al-Watan (semi-independent), June 14: If it is true that four or five Arab presidents are currently grooming their sons as future “substitutes,” then why don’t they just transform their countries into monarchies or emirates? There is nothing wrong with monarchies as long as they are constitutional ones. However, these sons should be groomed along democratic grounds similar to what is happening in the United States, for example, Bush the father and Bush the son.
—Mazin Hamad

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