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Al-Assad's speech: Reheated promises salted with threats
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad gives a speech at Damascus University in Syria on Monday.
June 20th, 2011
05:00 PM ET

Al-Assad's speech: Reheated promises salted with threats

(CNN) - Syrian officials had dubbed it as a landmark speech - one that would be the blueprint for reform and begin a national dialogue.

As it turned out, President Bashar al-Assad's hourlong address at Damascus University Monday seemed more a reworking of previous promises to create committees that would study changes to the constitution, with vague hints that opposition parties would be tolerated. And rather than placating the growing opposition to the regime, it appears to have emboldened it.

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