In his usual shallow and sarcastic way, As'ad Abu Khalil, on his blog "Then Angry Arab," posted the following comment:
So Bashshar Al-Asad in his last speech said that Syria needs a new law governing demonstrations because there is no law dealing with demonstrations. He then said that when his reforms are implemented, there would no reason for demonstrations at all. I kid you not. So I say: why formulate a new law for demonstrations then? Huh?
This is typical of Abu Khalil's silly and irresponsible responses to events seriously affecting the nation. Of course, Abu Khalil does not wish to objectively and comprehensively analyze the important speech given by President Bashar al Assad on Saturday, as this would require actual analytical thinking of an important event, something that does not interest the Angry Arab. Instead, he has a score to settle and a grudge to satisfy with the Syrian regime, which leads him to limit his response to the most recent events in Syria to mere sarcastic nonsense and peddling of US/"Israeli"/Saudi propaganda. The actual full quote of the portion addressing the right to demonstrate from Assad's speech is the following:
"أن القانون الأخير الذي اقترح ضمن حزمة القوانين التي اقترحتها اللجنة هو قانون السماح بالتظاهر لأن الدستور السوري يسمح بالتظاهر ولكن لا يوجد لدينا قانون لكي ينظم عملية التظاهر.. وهذا الإجراء عملياً.. هو تحد لأن الشرطة لم تهيأ في سورية لمثل هذه المواضيع فلابد من تهيئة جهاز الشرطة بشكل أساسي ودعمه بالعناصر والمعدات وربما بالهيكلية.. إعادة النظر بالهيكلية لكي تتماشى مع الإصلاحات الجديدة فمن مهام الشرطة أن تقوم بحماية المتظاهرين وبنفس الوقت حماية الأشخاص الآخرين والاملاك الخاصة والعامة من أي محاولة للتخريب أو للعبث بأمن المواطنين. "
Translate: The next law among the package of laws recommended by the committee is the law permitting demonstrations because the Syrian constition allows demonstrations but we do not have a law that organizes the process of demonstrating, which is a practical procedure. It is a challenge because the police in Syria is not equipped for such matters. The police service must therefore be essentially prepared and supported with personnel, equipment and perhaps structure. [There must be] a review of the structure such that it compliments the new reforms, for it is the duty of the police to protect the demonstrators and at the same time protect other persons and private and public property from any attempt at destruction or undermining the security of the citizens.
President Assad then goes on to say:
طبعاً عندما تصدر هذه الحزمة لا يعود هناك حجة لتنظيم التظاهرات في سورية والمطلوب مباشرة من قبل الأجهزة المعنية وخاصة وزارة الداخلية أن تطبق القوانين بحزم كامل ولا يوجد أي تساهل مع أي عملية تخريب.
Translate: Of course after this package [of laws] is issued there will no longer be an excuse for the organization of the demonstrations in Syria and what is directly required is for the relevant agencies, especially the Ministry of Interior, to apply the laws fully and firmly without there being any leniency toward acts of destruction.
A proper reading of the above is that President Assad is tying these new laws to the situation on the ground today. He explains the need to have a proper system that can organize demonstrations, so that demonstrations in the way they are taking place today would no longer be needed. Thus, the second part should be understood as saying that once we pass these new laws, there will no longer be an excuse to organize demonstrations in the manner they are being organized during these latest events. And in that way we can properly separate between demands for reform and acts of destruction. However, because there currently is no law or system organizing the process of demonstrations, people are forced to go out on their own and demonstrate without obtaining permits and without being able to rely on proper agencies to protect and secure the demonstrations. Once a new procedure for demonstrating is introduced, there will no longer be a justification for hasty, chaotic demonstrations where it becomes difficult to differentiate between genuine, peaceful protesters, and those seeking solely to cause trouble and engage in destructive behavior.