In a speech lasting nearly two hours Tuesday, Assad blamed what he called "a foreign conspiracy" for 10 months of public protests against his 11-year rule, vowing to restore order and strike terrorism with an "iron fist." He also slammed some members of the Arab League as serving foreign interests and defended his conduct in dealing with the unrest in Syria. "The foreign conspiracy is no longer a secret to anyone because what was planned behind closed doors is now clear before the people," Assad said in his fourth public speech since the uprising began in March 2011.
"Assad's sharp criticism of the [Arab] League indicates his annulment of any meaning of the mission of Arab observers before they submit a report on their assessment of the situation [in Syria]. As if he was facilitating the call for internationalization [of the Syrian crisis] as demanded by the opposition and some League members and Big Western states," Takieddine said. "The situation in Syria is heading for more violence, more victims and more economic collapse as a result of international and Arab pressures. Internally, the Syrian pound is weak and trade exchange is weak," she added. "The attitude of the Syrian regime, like the attitude of its allies in Lebanon, is a denial of the reality of a real revolution for freedom," Takieddine said.