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Fayez Roumani, US
"He kept Syria as one nation and the Lebanon as one nation."
 real 28k

Kurt Stottmeier, USA
"If you live by the sword, you die by the sword."
 real 28k

Fares Braizat, UK
"Syria is not a kingdom, it's not a monarchy, it is a republic."
 real 28k

Allen Minitzer, Israel
"I viewed the late President Assad as a spent force."
 real 28k

Seshagiri Rao, India
"Now with the change of the leadership in Syria, it may be the case that Iraq can get an outlet to the Mediterranean."
 real 28k

Ali, UK
"He made us proud to be Syrian."
 real 28k

Ketan Kothari, India
"We have too new players in Middle Eastern politics in the last eight to 10 months."
 real 28k

Mohamed Yacoob, South Africa
"I wouldn't be surprised if there was a coup."
 real 28k

Thursday, 15 June, 2000, 17:34 GMT 18:34 UK
The Middle East after Assad's death

For more than a quarter of a century President Hafez al-Assad was a dominant figure in the politics of the Middle East.

His death at the age of 69 has enormous implications both for Syria, and for the Middle East peace process.

What do you think is the legacy of President Assad? What will his death mean for Syria, for its relationship with Israel and for the wider peace process in the troubled region?

We have been discussing all of these issues now on Talking Point ON AIR, broadast on BBC World Service and BBC News Online.

Select the link below to watch and listen to Talking Point On Air

Read what you have said since the programme

Read and hear a reflection of your comments during the programme

Read what you said before we went ON AIR

Your comments since the programme

Well the dice could role either way - we could have like was earlier mentioned another North Korean success story or we could see a radical change in which democracy meets dynasty...though personally the latter is very much unlikely...
Rithesh Menon, India

Assad can only be judged in terms of what he accomplished for his own people. Did he open up the backward, insular economy he inherited to further the wellbeing of his people? Was Syrian society under his leadership free and open or cruel and repressive? (In connection with these two questions, I note that most of the Syrians posting here are expatriates. The internet is virtually banned at home.)
Did he get along with his immediate neighbours - Jordan, Iraq, Turkey? Were the majority Sunnis treated as well as his own Alawite clan? Has the occupation of Lebanon drained precious resources and corrupted his military?
Tom Watkins, USA


Good riddance! Most people in Lebanon are relieved. He never did anything in this country that didn't serve his ulterior motives

Layla, Tripoli, Lebanon
Good riddance! Most people in Lebanon are relieved. He never did anything in this country that didn't serve his ulterior motives. He manipulated the war in Lebanon for 15 years until he took control of the entire country. Our only solace is that he did not get to enjoy the liberation of the South and never got the Golan Heights back.
Layla, Tripoli, Lebanon

The wisest leader of the Middle East has passed away. Any serious assessment of Assad himself or his presidency has to be taken from a historical and impartial perspective.
Sevag, Yerevan, Armenia

The death of President Assad at this crucial time is a real setback to the on-going peace process. During his presidency, he has positively contributed towards peace in the Middle East. May Allah bless him with peace.
Haider, London, UK

People of the Middle East! Wake up and instead of all this ludicrous orchestrated grief and mourning, fight to choose your presidents and rulers yourself. Fight for a government accountable to the people.
Potkin, Iran


The same cycle of repression will unsurprisingly return only with a younger face

Jamal, Accra, Ghana
Reactions to the death of Assad from the Arab world scream of the usual sycophancy. For a man who executed 20,000 Syrians in Hama, did much to brutally suppress all opposition to his regime, as well as occupying much of Lebanon, it is tragic that many more have not spoken out. The same cycle of repression will unsurprisingly return only with a younger face.
Jamal, Accra, Ghana

Assad may have brought stability to Syria, but at what cost? How many thousands of ordinary citizens had to die in order to maintain his grip on power? I hope and pray that there will now be a chance for lasting peace in the region. Power must be placed into the hands of the people and away from the military and the dictators. Democracy is the only way that peace can move forward.
James, London, UK

President Assad taught the Arabs how to protect their pride and dignity. He made Syria a major player in the region's politics. All Syrians felt safe and strong under his leadership. May his soul rest in peace.
Ayman Haykal, Damascus, Syria

Assad was not a king. His sons, even though they may be well educated and friendly are not princes. A dangerous precedent is set for Gaddafi and Saddam to pass power to their ruthless, uneducated sons. The worst part is that the citizens of these oppressed countries, including myself, can do nothing about it!
Sal Ferrara, Tripoli, Libya


President Assad was the living proof that dictatorship is not the worst option for some countries

Ben, Eindhoven, Netherlands
President Assad was the living proof that dictatorship is not the worst option for some countries. Battles between the different factions in Syria would certainly have killed more people than the number of dead that go on Assad's record. He brought the one thing every country needs - stability.
Ben, Eindhoven, Netherlands

Although he was a dictator, he was still a true Arab leader. We can't deny that he also was a brave military leader who refused to take any action that may have led to the loss of one inch of his country.
Moataz Abou-Eita, Cairo, Egypt

It is worth remembering that under the dictatorship of President Assad, Syria was responsible for sponsoring terrorism against his neighbour Turkey by providing arms and money for the PKK, a brutal Stalinist terror outfit that was responsible for the deaths of thousands of innocent people in Turkey.
Suhail Shafi, Malta

Much can be said about Assad's misdeeds. However, in the final analysis, history will judge him as a fighter for Syria and its interests. Compared to Saddam Hussein, Assad is an angel. He kept his country out of war for over 30 years. Can Saddam say the same thing?
Ali Hussain, Los Angeles, USA


I think every Syrian is proud of being Syrian and having leader such Assad.

Vrej Jiji, Armenia, Yerevan
A great Arab leader and historical person has died. Before giving comments about Assads death, one should live in Syria to understand how great a man he was. Maybe he did nothing for extremist Muslims. But he did every thing for his people. Because of him I think every Syrian is proud of being Syrian and having leader such Assad.
Vrej Jiji, Armenia, Yerevan

It is true. Assad had gave Syria all what it is now. Good or bad. Syria presents a strong part in the region.
Imad, New York, USA

Those who rejoice for the death of any president of state are really insulting the dignity of the whole nation. It is a miserable way of thinking, we mustn't look for the harvest in this occasion, but we, as human beings, should express our condolence, and wishes of peace and stability for all the nations on this planet, irrespective of race, colour, or religion.
Nasif Rafiq Masad, Palestinian in Chile


Assad should be recognised for what he truly was, a dictator who imposed his own will in any way or form to maintain his power.

Firas, Washington DC, USA
Assad should be recognised for what he truly was, a dictator who imposed his own will in any way or form to maintain his power. If that meant a hard line stance against Israel, then he stood it. If that meant killing and torturing his own people, he would have executed them himself.
Firas, Washington DC, USA

I hope for the peace in the region.
Hassen Muhamud

Hafez Assad was a ruthless dictator who oppressed his people and caused misery throughout the Middle East. As a Jew I cannot feel sorry at the passing of this man who wanted nothing more than to push my people into the sea and provided the third column for the debacle of Lebanon. His attempts at `peace' were laughable.
Alexis Rosoff, NY, USA


The death of another dictator - what a great day. Thank you God, thank you

Ahura, Iran
I only hope that this death leads to greater democracy in Syria and doesn't encourage Israel to annex any more of their neighbour's land.
Peter Robinson, England

The death of another dictator - what a great day. Thank you God, thank you.
Ahura, Iran

Assad forged himself a place in history. Although I disagree with almost everything he did, I still send my condolences to the people of Syria and hope that peace will finally be reached with Israel, allowing the region to breath and giving hope for the future.
Abdo, Lebanon

I am surprised that anyone would feel sorry to see President Assad go. The man murdered and imprisoned thousands. How can Tony Blair feel even remotely sorry?
Peter Baugh, Miami, USA

I do not have enough information to comment on what Assad did for his own people, and it may well be the case that he has introduced economic and other reforms. However, his foreign policies were so set in stone, that it was near impossible for Israel to do business with him. Israel took the Golan after Syria invaded in 1967 - I am not saying Israel should not give the whole area back now, but how is Israel supposed to negotiate this when Syria insists on Israel making this extremely important concession as a prerequisite to negotiations
PG, London, UK


Your comments during the programme

I would like to express my deep sorrow and sadness for the death of our late great President Assad because during his ruling period he became an icon and symbol for a leader who does not accept to give one centimetre of our land. He reserved our serenity, dignity and honour. He gave opportunity for everyone, even poor people, to be a doctor, a lecturer and a politician and made us proud to be Syrian.
Ali, London

We mustn't forget there are two powerful blocks in Syria. One is the military and the other is the security and I personally do not see these two blocks accepting a civilian as the head of state and ruling over them. I wouldn't be surprised if there was a coup before the funeral although a coup coming after the funeral would also be on the cards.
Mohammed Yacoob, South Africa

I just want to offer my condolences to Assad's family. May he rest in peace. I believe he was such a strong ruler that he made Syria a force to beware of. May the peace process continue peacefully, and may God be with Dr. Bashar. (For those who know nothing about him, his strength, his honesty, and his love for Syria and the Arab world, I would advise them not to talk about him..)
Rima, Lebanon

We are in a very new situation now, I feel, because we have too new players in Middle Eastern politics in the last eight to 10 months. That is King Abdullah and now Bashar. Both of them are not experienced and both of them have lived for a considerable part of their lives in the west. So unless properly supported by the west, we may head back to square one and head for military conflict and may be nuclear war.
Ketan Kothari, Bombay, India


The old autocrats are ill and dying in the Middle East. Times will have to change and the Arab states like Jordan and Egypt will have to abandon terrorism and make peace with Israel, it is the only way forward.

Lawrence, England
The nations of west Asia, including Syria, are mostly successor states of the now-defunct Ottoman Empire, who have invariably played a submissive role to their colonial masters, Britain and France in the inter-war period and to the USA since the proclamation of the Eisenhower Doctrine at the time of Britain's Suez fiasco. So long as these countries serve the west's interests of pumping cheap oil and of safeguarding west's interests by allowing western military forces to be stationed on their despotism, their lack of democracy, transparency and accountability do not count in the west's eyes. But when leaders such as Assad, Nasser , the Ayatollahs and Saddam Hussain begin fighting for the right of their people, for their land, the western media unleash a propaganda barrage rubbishing them as tyrants, Hitlers and so on. It is amazing how expressions like western-oriented, western-educated are treated as synonyms for freedom, liberal, modern,progressive, developed.
Mohansingh, India

Iraq, with all the UN sanctions has been looking for an outlet to the Mediterranean, and that has not been possible because of the clash of personalities. But now with the change of the leadership in Syria, it may be the case that Iraq can get an outlet to the Mediterranean via Syria. It could make a lot of difference to a lot of things in this world and the United Nations sanctions could be even more difficult to enforce than they are today.
Seshagiri Rao, India

I don't mourn the passing of an evil man, in fact he was an enemy of the Palestinians as well as the Israelis. Peace would be what Arab and Israeli want, but only on just terms which guarantees security and trust on both sides. The old autocrats are ill and dying in the Middle East. Times will have to change and the Arab states like Jordan and Egypt will have to abandon terrorism and make peace with Israel, it is the only way forward.
Lawrence, England

Firstly, my condolences to the Syrian people on their loss in as much as it is a loss for the family of Assad. But for the people of Syria. I really hope the next president will be a more positive force for them and, of course, for us. I viewed the late President Assad as a spent force when it came to making peace with Israel because he couldn't even shake our hand. My big question is whether President Assad's successor will be able to shake our hand.
Allen Minitzer, Israel


Under the leadership of President Hafez Al Assad, Syria has maintained it's economic independence, it's dignity and security. We Syrians owe him our gratittude.

Anas Ghaibeh, Copenhagen
Regarding peace process in the Middle East, I think the world will always miss Assad.
Govinda Raj Poudel, Kathmandu,Nepal

I think Assad's death will improve the opportunity for peace in the Middle East. Assad's son Bashar is to take charge, this will mean authoritarianism is a fundamental part of our political culture. Syria is not a kingdom, it's not a monarchy, it is a republic. If this happens in Syria and Bashar takes over, many other Arab leaders like Saddam Hussain, Gaddaffi will take this as a further step to legitimise the hand over for their sons.
Fares Braizat, Kent, UK

Under the leadership of President Hafez Al Assad, Syria has maintained it's economic independence, it's dignity and security. We Syrians owe him our gratittude.
Anas Ghaibeh, Copenhagen

I'm neither Jewish or particularly pro-Israel, but nevertheless I don't think anything of Assad and I respectfully disagree with my president on the matter. Peace could be achieved any day if Syria was not to claim the Golan Heights. I think they have lost the rights to the Golan Heights because they were waging war on Israel. If you live by the sword, you die by the sword.
Kurt Stottmeier, USA

President Asad's death was a death of a hero. If he had accepted peace on current terms, his fate would have been similar to that of Yasir Arafat who is now begging for land. Similarly if he had not crushed the Muslim brotherhood ruthlessly, Syria could have ended up like another Afghanistan ruled by militia groups.
Shahid Haleemi, Sydney

The uprising in Hama, was started by the militant Islamic extreemists, the Muslim Brotherhood. They were not epresentative of the Syrian people and we Syrians are glad Assad was tough on them. No one knows how many died in Hama , but quotes like 20000 are rediculous! Most of those that died in Hama were rebels and as in all fighting some civilians were killed. It is time for the western media to stop using this uprising against Syria.
Hussein Shanawani, Damascus, Syria

I think President Assad did very well for Syria over 30 years. I have been in the United States for the last 26 years. He brought stability and tranquillity to the region. He kept Syria as one nation and the Lebanon as one nation. They might attack him for that process but were it not for Assad and the Syrian people, Lebanon would now be multi-countries and civil war still in action.
Fayez Roumani, United States

Arabs have lost a great leader. A leader who demonstrated the determination and firmness. He was not like other Arab rulers who plays in the lap of Jews/American. I prey almighty to give him Jannat. We have lost a great muslim leader...At least Arabs should learn from him.
Jawed, Delhi/India


Your comments before we went ON AIR

My deepest condolences to the Syrian nation.
VallaGauhar Farzin Ghajar, Melbourne, Australia

For sure Assad was a big leader who brought stability to Syria. His death has shown a strange trend in the republics in Arab world are now behaving as kingdoms. A revolutionary party that claimed being the representative of the popular masses is now handing over the power to the son of the deceased leader, a practice which would create a new royal family in the region.
Yahya A Latif, Sudan

Hafez Al-Assad was a soldier, a fighter, and one who believed that life has no value without a free, dignified, and united homeland.
Amadeo Mozart, Montreal, Canada

The passing of Hafez Assad is a great loss to the Arab world. But, are the arab countries turning it into Monarchies? Will this open the door to other Arab leadrs to follow in the footsteps of the Jordan, Morrocoo, Bahrain,...etc.? We are at the Arab world need to move a step forward to more democracy.
Sara , Cairo, Egypt


Assad was leader of peace and principle. He has lived the life of a simple man, loved his country and he fought hard to unite the Arab world

Msleiman, Fort Payne, Alabama
Assad was leader of peace and principle. He has lived the life of a simple man, loved his country and he fought hard to unite the Arab world. He will be missed by the Arab world. God bless his soul, and may rest in peace My president Hafez Al Assad, I will miss you and hope your message will continue.
Msleiman, Fort Payne, Alabama

As a Muslim I find the gutless and surprise reaction of the whole Arab leadership utterly nauseating. To mourn the death of such a corrupt, self seeking inhuman despot, who took Syria back to the feudal ages and treated its people with total contempt, is absolutely unbelievable in this day and age. To embrace this hereditary succession is to go beyond the pale and tantamount to accepting a life of bondage and selfdom devoid of all self respect.
M Jung

Hafez Al-Assad,was a true leader, this saddness reminds of the death of King Hassan II, another true leader. I admired Hafez Al-Assad and all he did for the peace in the Middle East, I really pray to Allah(God) that one day all of this continuous turmoil will be resolved,that is my wish in life...May God bless his soul.
Miss Waffa Nasser, Liverpool, England

Assad is the third leader in the Arab scene to pass away within the last two years. King Husswein's and King Hassan's successors have not had their legitimacy challenged. But Bashar Assad, if he becomes the new president of Syria as seems likely, he might not be so lucky.
Mustafa, Ulanbator, Mongolia

Although President Hafez Al-Assad was ruthless he was one of the few Arab leaders who did what they believed in and stood firm both against the Americans and the Israelis unlike other Arab leaders who I don't wish to name gave way and compromised to their shabby deals. I hope future Arab leaders will do what is best for their nations not the best for them. God bless his soul.
Abdishakoor Saeed, London, England

God may bless his soul ...He was a true leader for Syrian nation
James Haddad, New York - USA

Whether Assad was a great or ruthless leader, it will be decided by God and then his people. But one thing must be respected that he did not compromise with Israel on the principles of self respect and dignity of the Syrian Arabs. If there has been no Peace in the Middle East, it is because of the uncompromising and arrogant attitude of Israel, not because of any Arab leader. Israel must learn to co-exist with the Arabs and offer them all concessions in exchange of true Peace. The West and US must stop pressurising the new Arab leaders to accept Peace with Israel without any foundation and honour.
Shahid Parvez, USA

The terror of Homa has returned to his Lord. At this moment let us all take some time to remember the 20,000 or so Assad killed in Homa. May Allah give those souls peace. As for Assad .. the Lord will judge him for his foolishness and cruelty on this world.
Wasim Abdullah, Boston, USA


A man of dignity and resolve and he would be badly missed

Alvin Gordon, Jamaica
I can't say that I agree with Assad's regime or his human rights record. However, he is a man who knows exactly what he means and means what he says. He rightly refused to be forced into a so called peace without the full return of every inch of the Golan Hights . He always wanted Land before peace so they call him a hard-liner. A man of dignity and resolve and he would be badly missed.
Alvin Gordon, Jamaica

Hafez Assad's death is hopefully a turning point for the Syrian people. Isn't it funny how the USA will represent itself there? Will Ms. Albright also go to Cuba when Castro dies?
Ashraf H., USA (Egyptian)

The question is not whether the peace process can continue, it is who shall be involved in the peace process. Peace can still be attained, it's just that that peace may not be universal. Syria should be pressured and implored with to remain in the peace process.
Peter Crawford-Bolton, Gettysburg, UK(in US)


In the midst of this euphoria of liberation, we, in the South of Lebanon, are stunned of Hafez Assad's departure at this critical moment of our region's history. He was one of handful leaders in this world who believed in the will and the might of our people

Khalil El-Saghir, Bint Jbeil, South Lebanon
In the midst of this euphoria of liberation, we, in the South of Lebanon, are stunned of Hafez Assad's departure at this critical moment of our region's history. He was one of handful leaders in this world who believed in the will and the might of our people. He stood behind us when we were left alone in the cold of this world's injustice. And, thank God, he witnessed the fruits of our long struggle for freedom. Looking upon the hills of the Golan Heights and Palestine, you will always be remembered here as an icon of patient, determination, and strength. God's peace be upon you.
Khalil El-Saghir, Bint Jbeil, South Lebanon

Assad was a great leader of the Arab world. His will and determination not to bow under pressure from the Zionist enemies and their stooges who came to him with the prexext of making peace with Syria will always be remembered by the Muslims throughout the Muslim world. The Muslims from around the world mourn his death. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family. We hope that Bashar will carry on his father's legacy. May God bless Assad and the Syrian Nation.
Ubaidulla, Singapore

Assad was a firm and a logical man who cared for his people. He did not accept any pressure from the west to blindly negotiate peace in the region in his life time. As long as Syria's land is in the hand of Israel, we will not see any change in Syria's policy toward peace in the region, and it does not matter who comes to power in Syria.
Karam Adibifar, Brookings, SD, USA

The one and only Arab leader who stood up for what what he believed. Like any strong leader there are those who liked him and others who did not. A great loss to the Arab world. God bless his soul.
Amran Nabil, Toronto, Canada

He was a leader to his people and they loved him, but for us Lebanese he was the oppressor, the invader, he took from us freedom and dignity. May God forgive him and let him rest in peace.
Walid, Colombia

He was a great Syrian Leader, I admire him for standing up for the rights of his people. I also think this presents a golden opportunity to make peace and take Syria into the 21st century. Peace is better than War. Good luck to the next Syrian President.
Mushtaq Ahmed, Miami, Florida, U.S.A


The real power in Syria is the military. It is time to build democracy in Syria and take a tough hard line with Israel. Only Islamic oriented system, capital market integration will open new doors for the masses

Mohammad Ashraf Hassan, Houston, Texas USA
The Arab world lost a great diginified leader. He is the only leader who beat the Isrealis. He was a smart polotician who never changed his stand, we will all miss him.
Rashid Farah, USA

The real power in Syria is the military. It is time to build democracy in Syria and take a tough hard line with Israel. Only Islamic oriented system, capital market integration will open new doors for the masses.
Mohammad Ashraf Hassan, Houston, Texas USA

I believe that the death of President Assad will have many complications. The first being the succession in Syria which may not be as smooth as expected. There are a lot of people in Syria who may think they are more worthy for succession than Dr Bashar, due to their experience in politics or military, and by thus smooth succession may not occur. Second, this instability may cause serious problems not just in Syria but also in neighbouring countries like Lebanon and Palestine.
Mohammed El Batta, Cairo, Egypt

To have a civilian and young president may indeed be considered a promising move for Syria but unfortunately it does not represent a true democratic process from which Arab societies have been deprived for so long. Only time will judge if these facial transformations were a positive development as most western observers tend to believe or a mere continuation of military dictatorships disguised in civilian fatigues.
Maged, Moscow, Russia

I believe that the death of President Assad will have many complications. The first being the succession in Syria which may not be as smooth as expected. There are a lot of people in Syria who may think they are more worthy for succession than Dr Bashar, due to their experience in politics or military, and by thus smooth succession may not occur. Second, this instability may cause serious problems not just in Syria but also in neighbouring countries like Lebanon and Palestine.
Mohammed El Batta, Cairo, Egypt

President Hafez al Assad was one of the greatest leaders of the century. He never sold the freedom of his people. He never compromised land and dignity. He never bowed to demagogues. This is the only way that countries unfaithfully neglected by the Western world can survive.
Getahun, Delft, Netherlands


I find it almost unbelievable that people are expressing regrets at the death of President Assad. He was one of the greatest tyrants of the 20th century

David Lewis, Jerusalem, Israel
I find it almost unbelievable that people are expressing regrets at the death of President Assad. He was one of the greatest tyrants of the 20th century, a mass murderer, a supporter of international terrorism, and a supplier of hard drugs (through his illegal occupation of Lebanon) to many nations - including the USA. President Clinton and others had better think carefully before praising this evil, evil man. History will, and already has recorded his inhumanity and murderous nature.
David Lewis, Jerusalem, Israel

The Arab community has lost one of its greatest contemporary politicians. Syrian President Hafez Al-Assad, who for decades had led the anti-Zionist resistance and firmly ruled out any compromise with the Israelis, passed away yesterday. The late Syrian leader perpetually navigated his ship in the volatile Middle East region like a gallant and skilful captain. Assad is no longer with us, but his brilliant track record will always remain documented as a golden page in the history of the Middle East.
Arvand Owji, Mississauga, Canada

The Arab World lost their last respected leader, to stand up for them, not to sell them out. He wanted peace based on principles of justice in a world full of injustice.
Falah Hadad, USA


Our Great Leader is dead now, but never in our hearts and minds

M Riad Matqualoon, Tallahassee USA
Our great leader is dead now, but never in our hearts and minds. Syria never disowns or forgets Her sincere children like our leader Assad. We should continue what he started in our homeland and what we have achieved under his leadership.
M.Riad Matqualoon, Tallahassee USA


Perhaps the time has now come to break free from the destructive cycle of hatred and retribution which has blighted the Middle East in the 20th Century

Jon, Alexandria VA, USA
The death of Assad marks the departure of another of the Old Guard of the Middle Eastern Arab leadership. As a new, hopefully more enlightened, generation of Arab leaders emerges - free of association with the tragedies of the post-World War Two Arab-Israeli conflict, perhaps the time has now come to break free from the destructive cycle of hatred and retribution which has blighted the Middle East in the 20th Century.
Jon, Alexandria VA, USA


Another dictator has passed away. My only sorrow is that he escaped justice. When will the Arabs stop idolising their oppressors?

Mahmoud Salem, Jackson USA
Another dictator has passed away. My only sorrow is that he escaped justice. He has killed and tortured thousands and deserved a trial by court for his crimes. Do you remember Hama? When will the Arabs stop idolising their oppressors?
Mahmoud Salem, Jackson USA

One might ask, exactly what good did Assad do for his people and the Arab nation, and is his son really a legitimate successor ? Most of us have not even heard his name before. The people of Syria will never live in peace among their fellow Arabs or the Jews, if they continue to allow themselves to be dictated to by self styled Kings.
Sayyid Zeshon, Oxford, England.

It is impossible to comment on any Middle Eastern leader without polarised views being presented. They are either heroes or demagogues depending on the person's viewpoint. I feel that there may be a fighting chance for peace and prosperity for all with the passing of some of the older leaders (King Hussein, Assad etc.) and with the infusion of new fresh blood into the leadership role. If the newer leaders understand why the Middle East with all its natural and human potential can achieve and work towards it, total and everlasting peace can and will inevitably happen.
Srinivas Rangaraj, Canada

Syria now stands at a crossroads, will it enter the 21st Century or stay in the 20th. The choice will lie with not only Bashar, but with the military groupings which are the power behind the throne. Should they bid for power? Or force progress by diluting the power of the President? It is also Syria's chance to build bridges with its old enemies like Turkey, and stop supporting radical groups in the region and work for stability. We will have to wait and see.
Peter Keating, Woodbridge, Suffolk, UK


Slowly we are seeing the passing of the iron-willed leaders in favour of more western oriented heirs

S Millar, Beverly Hills, USA
Passing of a man or a state of mind? Slowly we are seeing the passing of the iron-willed leaders in favour of more western oriented heirs. Hopefully, the changes will bring about economic improvement and capital markets integration (more privatisation and transparency).
S Millar, Beverly Hills, USA

I am not prepared to live under an Assad regime; but, I admire him for standing up for the rights of his people.
Mohansingh, India

Assad's death will improve the opportunity for peace with Israel. As for the succession, if his son Bashar is to be in throne, this will mean authoritarianism is a fundamental aspect of Arab political culture, because Syria is not a kingdom and there are many other prominent figures in Syria who are well qualified to run the state. If Bashar comes into power in Syria, it would legitimise other rulers' moves to hand over to their sons such as Uday in Iraq, Sa`di in Libya and Jamal Mubarak in Egypt.
Fares Braizat , Canterbury - Kent


His son will succeed him, just like another North Korea

Kurt Stottmeier, South Carver, USA
Good riddance of a pseudo- socialistic, ruthless, and petty dictator who's military did nothing else but lose wars and oppress its own people. His son will succeed him, just like another North Korea.
Kurt Stottmeier, South Carver, USA

In a country like Assad's, his death will only bring a negative outcome. He has close friends and relatives who served under him and who can only see reality the way he used to see it. I can only hope a miracle can bring a better leader to the region.
Mekonnen, Nashville, USA

Hafez Al-Assad is responsible for the death of tens of thousands of people. He was a ruthless dictator who kept his country isolated from the rest of the world for the past thirty years. His death will come as a blessing to many Syrians (although they will not show it publicly), and to many Lebanese as well. Assad robbed Lebanon of its resources and terrorised its people. He claimed to be the champion of the Arab world but always played his dirty tricks on someone else's land, keeping himself and his country away from any danger.
Ahmed Dalloul, Montreal, Canada


A great man has died, one who fought to unite Syria

Aldo Craxi, San Fernando, CA, USA
A great man has died, one who fought to unite Syria. He was a hero for his people, irrespective of what his enemies call him. Any intelligent human being will see the vacuum created by his departure. May this great man rest in peace.
Aldo Craxi, San Fernando, CA, USA

A great Arab leader has passed on. He was never one to compromise the rights of the Arab nation in order to be in the West's good graces. He fought for our rights and tried unsuccessfully to keep the Arabs united in the face of Israel's illegitimate occupation of Arab lands. Goodbye my President.
Mohammed, USA

Hafez Assad was respected by all and he will be missed greatly by the Syrians, but Israel will be rejoicing. At last they can now control Syria ,just like they are controlling the rest of the Middle East.
Zakariah, DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA

He was the first enemy of the Palestinian people.
Colonel Abu Ibrahim, Gaza - Palestine

Mr. Assad's legacy was to turn Syria into a stable and reliable political player in a turmoil region, that will be missed. He was a good strategist, did not compromise or betray fundamental Arab aspirations, he was a realist but never a democrat.
Alex Zomaya, London, UK

The death of Hafez Al-Assad is a blessing and a curse for Syria. It is a blessing in as much as he did suppress the Kurds and Sunni peoples of their great country. However, we may yet see Lebanon even further weakened without his support. We may also see Israel take advantage of the novice/heir apparent Bashar. As iron-fisted as he was, Hafez Al-Assad was a good bulwark against Israeli hegemony and Saddam Hussains' lunacy.
Frederick Wilcott, Minden, Nevada, USA

I weep for the Syrian people today, but not because the tyrant Hafez al-Assad has died. I weep because his death did not release his country from the stranglehold of authoritarian tyranny.
Charlene, Canada

Assad is dead, Jews everywhere should celebrate, but be careful. As we saw in North Korea, the death of the father does not necessarily mean the end of the dictatorship. Things may actually get worse now because the son will not want to be seen as a soft touch. Caution, Israel!
Alan Hart, Kyoto, Japan


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10 Jun 00 | Middle East
Syria's President Assad dead


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