Middle East

World media downplay Assad's Syria peace plan

A man watches a TV showing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad making a public address in Damascus
Image caption President Assad's speech was his first public address since June

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's proposed peace plan has found little favour with media commentators.

Middle East papers are forthright in their criticism, with a Saudi daily saying the president has ignored his people.

Chinese press pundits say the prospects for Syria are worrying, and add that Mr Assad needs to find a unified political solution.

Saudi Arabia

Editorial in Al-Watan: "Assad's initiative is nothing but a new attempt to give his regime more time to kill and oppress those demanding liberty. Assad has ignored his people and the International Community's demands to step down to allow a peaceful transfer of power. His speech achieved international accord over the necessity of his departure. We await more coordination among peace-loving countries to help establish stability and security in Syria."

Commentary in Saudi-owned, UK-based Al-Sharq al-Awsat: "His speech was full of pride and arrogance and showed that he is a man who is not in touch with reality and that it is impossible to reach a political settlement with him even if Assad himself has become convinced that things in Syria are not going in his favour."


Qatari English-language newspaper The Peninsula: "Al-Assad appeared in public yesterday after several months, and proposed an action plan for peace which not only offered nothing new, but served to rub salt into the crisis... al-Assad's temerity and arrogance should serve as a wake-up call to the international community. There is no point in pursuing a negotiated settlement. It's time for intervention."

Abu Dhabi-based English-language daily The National: "If the world wants to help Syrians, there is only one way: step up support for the rebels. The al-Assad speech was a sign of desperation."


Al-Ra'y daily: "Assuming that the US's Arab and European supporters will follow suit, Assad thinks that this will give him the upper hand in his battle against the Syrian resistance and unarmed civilians. Assad is either unaware of what is taking place in Syria, or he fears that the breath of freedom will turn the 'slaves' against him... He has chosen to block his ears and continues to bet on non-Syrian alliances."

Commentary in Al-Dustur: "The roadmap he has proposed does not only call for the surrender of the revolutionaries but all the forces backing them... To sum up, Assad does not acknowledge it is a revolution, but a war against terrorist gangs. His speech gives the national coalition substance to disprove the accusation of opposing a political solution."


Article in Today's Zaman: "The present conflict has now turned sectarian, attracting fighters from across the Middle East and North Africa. The days of dictator Bashar al-Assad as Syrian president and his 'yes' men are numbered as their strong ally, Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin, is distancing himself from the Syrian regime."


Editorial in reformist daily E'temad: "After two years of conflict, Bashar al-Assad has offered his proposals to form a new government. If the proposal fails to be implemented, we should anticipate another round of horrific events to happen in this country. Assad's five-point plan does not seem to be readily acceptable to the opposition groups."


State-run Al-Ahram editorial: "Assad has only one option and that is to leave and hold talks to save a unified Syria... Assad and his close circle cannot continue to ignore realities on the ground and 'graffiti on the walls' which scream saying that Syria is sinking into a civil war's swamp. Syria is burning out while Assad is watching and and contributes to its destruction. The only question is will Assad resign to save Syria?"


Article in Shanghai-based Jiefang Ribao: "Even in a post-Bashar era, Syria will have still have no peace domestically and various factional forces will start a new round of fighting to attain their ultimate goals. If efforts for a political resolution to the Syrian problem cannot succeed, Syria will neither reproduce an outcome like Kosovo or Bosnia-Herzegovina, nor will it 'repeat the story of Libya', but will slide step-by-step into warlordism and a 'Somali-ised' abyss. The prospects for Syria are worrying."

Article in Shanghai-based Wenhui Bao: "In new circumstances, where the US and Russia have reached a strategic understanding on the situation in Syria, the waxing and waning of power among Syria's internal factions will become extremely important. In this sense, Syria's fate still rests in the hands of the Syrian people."

Beijing's Xinhua News Agency: "... Bashar's new initiative did not touch on the issue of greatest concern to the opposition, namely, his own fate. Therefore, in view of the Syrian government's huge differences with the opposition, it is unlikely that the two sides will start a political dialogue in the short term..."

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