Assad family biographer: Bashar is a changed man

In radio interview, Patrick Seale says Syrian president is completely in tune with situation in Syria, urges Israel to make peace with neighbor.

Assad 311 (B) (photo credit: Michael Luongo/Bloomberg)
Assad 311 (B)
(photo credit: Michael Luongo/Bloomberg)
Syrian President Bashar Assad has transformed from the person the world is used to seeing, Patrick Seale, the official biographer of the Assad family, told Army Radio on Sunday morning.
Seale said Assad has become very serious and determined as reflected in a speech he gave Sunday over a set of reforms the Syrian government plans to implement amid rising unrest in the country.
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Seale noted that Assad sounded committed and focused, and that he seemed completely aware of the severity of the situation in Syria.
Seale, who has written several books on the Middle East, including Asad: The Struggle for the Middle East , on Syria's ruling family, said it was particularly significant that Assad addressed the unemployment problem in Syria which, the biographer said, was the catalyst for a wave of recent protests in the country.
Assad actually gave the new government instructions and a deadline by which to complete them, the biographer said, referring to a promise by the president to lift a nearly five-decade-old emergency law by next week.
Seale said there was no doubt most of the demonstrators killed in recent protests were shot at by government forces.
Asked whether what is happening in Syria is in Israel's favor, Seale said it was time for Israel to reconsider its security strategy and that peace with Syria and the Palestinians is necessary to ensure a better future for Israel.