BEIRUT: Progressive Socialist Party leader Walid Jumblatt Monday described Syrian President Bashar Assad’s weekend speech as “detached from reality.”
In his weekly column for the PSP-affiliated Al-Anbaa, Jumblatt said that Assad’s speech was “repetitive ... and entirely detached from reality.”
In the address, which Assad delivered Sunday to regime loyalists at the Damascus Opera House, the embattled president described those fighting him as terrorists and foreign agents.
“The speech repeats what he said in his previous speeches at earlier stages of the crisis, without changing a period, letter or comma.”
“The major difference Assad has not realized is that when he made his first and second speeches the number of deaths had not exceeded 3,000. The number today, according to the U.N. and other international bodies’ estimates, has passed 60,000 deaths.”
Future bloc MP Nuhad Mashnouq also deemed the speech repetitive, telling Future TV Monday night that the Syrian president “repeated what he said before, that what is happening is a conspiracy.”
“Those who are placing bets on the possibility of reaching an understanding or any kind of settlement with this regime are wrong,” Mashnouq continued, adding that Assad’s labeling of rebels as terrorists was unconvincing.
Calling rebels Al-Qaeda “is very old rhetoric that convinces no one and will not lead anywhere,” Mashnouq said.
Kataeb party leader Amin Gemayel also criticized Assad’s speech, saying that “with every speech that ... Assad makes, he steps back a whole phase.”
Gemayel also emphasized the importance of staying out of Syria’s conflict. He told Al-Jadeed TV Sunday that “if we get involved in the Syrian war we will be lost in the stampede. We should allow the Syrian people to decide their own destiny, now that the countdown to the end of this regime has begun.”
Former President Emile Lahoud, however, saluted Assad’s speech as “confident” and a preservation of Syria’s sovereignty.
In a statement from his office, Lahoud said Assad had “illustrated the framework of the plan he has reached to resolve the Syrian crisis in a way that preserves, in form and content, the sovereignty and sacrifices of the Syrian people and the valiant Syrian army.”
In his speech, Assad laid out a plan for reconciliation that would exclude “those who have betrayed Syria,” and demanded rebels halt their operations before the army agrees to a cease-fire.