IT'S ALL HIS OWN IDEA:

Assad pledges reforms for Syria (BBC, 1/21/06)

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has said he has decided to carry out political reform.

But he gave no details, other than to say he rejected any outside interference in the matter. […]

The speech was regularly interrupted with angry chants of support from the audience of Arab lawyers, but our correspondent says the Syrian leader himself was strangely downbeat.

Unless the reforms include closing the Ba’ath Party and standing for election it’s too little too late.

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