By Eyal Zisser
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Additional resources for Commanding Syria: Bashar al-Asad and the First Years in Power
Thereafter, his candidacy was submitted for approval by a referendum. 9 The referendum was held on July 10, 2000. 59 percent rate of participation). 29 percent. 99 percent, as his father used to attain during his rule, was evidence of the authenticity of the referendum. 11 Bashar took his oath of loyalty before the People’s Assembly on July 17, 2000. e. a sustained commitment to his father’s legacy while introducing imperative changes in the Syrian way of life. ” With this, Bashar warned against demands for fundamental changes in the Syrian reality: Democracy is obligatory, but we must not enact the democracy of others.
In contrast to Basil, Bashar did not actively race horses, but was shown awarding prizes to the winners. 44 The image created was of a vigorous, dynamic young man, with emphasis placed on his efforts to foster modernization and openness in Syria and heighten awareness of computer and Internet use. This aspect was also highlighted in interviews he began granting to the foreign press, during which he repeatedly stressed the need to advance Syria toward the twenty-first century. 45 In a similar vein, he told the editor of the Egyptian weekly al-Usbu‘: “There is a need to ensure the existence of an open Arab medium that makes use of advanced technology to convey our positions.
20 24 Commanding Syria Bashar returned to London in December 2002 for the first time since leaving it upon his brother’s death. The occasion was his first official visit to the British capital as president of Syria. During the visit he frequently recalled his time there as a young resident. He was quoted as saying: “It is wonderful to be in London, a city I know well…. I lived here for two years. ”21 Or: When I lived here I preferred walking from my lodgings on Sloane Street to the hospital where I worked.
Commanding Syria: Bashar al-Asad and the First Years in Power by Eyal Zisser