By Joseph A. Kechichian
The Syrian Baath party may yet surprise everyone by embarking on genuine reforms that will end single-party rule and adopt parliamentary democracy, which will allow citizens to enjoy basic freedoms they surely deserve.
At a time when Iranian ambitions in the Arab world were threatened by the forthcoming regime change in Syria, Tehran reminded Damascus that it was an Arab country, and while it stood to lose significant influence with Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Palestine, it nevertheless calculated that the Al Assad government could no longer be rescued.
"Today in the world," he stressed a few days ago, "there is no place for authoritarian administrations, one-party rule, closed regimes," warning that such governments could be "replaced by force" if necessary.
Ghalioun, who heads the Sorbonne University Centre for Contemporary Oriental Studies in Paris, must now tame 94 opposition principals. It must be emphasised that the choice heralded putative French support, which will need to be significantly altered, because President Nicolas Sarkozy's preferred policies accomplished little.
-Dr Joseph A. Kechichian is a commentator and author of several books on Gulf affairs