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EDITIONS
Sunday, 11 June, 2000, 12:48 GMT 13:48 UK
Media reaction to Assad's death
Hebrew, English and Arabic papers in Israel
Assad led Israel's Hebrew, English and Arabic papers
Newspapers across the Middle East have added their voices to the messages of condolence pouring in from world leaders following the death of Syrian President Hafez al-Assad.

Lebanon's As-Safir said in its front-page tribute: "The lion of steadfastness... goodbye".

Al-Anwar, alongside a picture of Assad and his son, known in Syria as simply Dr Bashar, said: "From Hafez to Bashar, the march continues."


Assad made Syria a bedrock of Arab determination, a crucial friend to like-minded states and a worthy foe

Daily Star, Beirut

The Beirut-based Daily Star said: "Few people go to their graves having left such sweeping legacies that their country's history can thereafter be divided into two unmistakably different eras - before them and after them.

"Hafez al-Assad was such a man because the Syria he leaves behind bears so little resemblance to the one that he grew up in".

The Daily Star said that during his three decades in power Assad made Syria "a bedrock of Arab determination, a crucial friend to like-minded states and a worthy foe for any that opposed it".
President Assad
Assad 'defined an era' in Syrian history
The Jordan Times paid tribute to a leader which it said had "shaped much of modern Middle Eastern history".

It said his successor will inherit a country with a struggling economy in need of modernisation and plagued by corruption.

But it added that Jordan would support Syria's struggle and work with Assad's successor.


He not only maintained his calm at times of crisis, but also restored calm to the entire Arab world

Iran Dail

The English-language Iran Daily said the Arab community had "lost one of its greatest contemporary politicians".

"Assad was a no-nonsense politician and truly understood all the complications involved. He not only maintained his calm at times of crisis, but also restored calm to the entire Arab world," it said.

"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."

Israel's 'toughest enemy'

A very different tone was evident in the Israeli press.


Assad built a Syrian state in his own image... a closed, tough, ascetic state that was lacking in personal freedoms and fettered in a dictatorial regime

Ha'aretz, Israel
Ha'aretz said "Israel's toughest enemy for the last 30 years passed away yesterday".

It said: "Assad built a Syrian state in his own image... a closed, tough, ascetic state that was lacking in personal freedoms and fettered in a dictatorial regime, which in recent years had reached the brink of bankruptcy."

There is "no way to know which part of Assad's legacy will be adopted by his son, Bashar, or how he intends to overcome the pockets of resistance in Syria and what is the strength of the centres of power that support him", it added.

The Jerusalem Post said: "In terms of Israeli interests, the departure of Hafez al-Assad seems more likely to be beneficial."

It concluded that the future of Syria depends on Bashar and his ability to put together a stable regime and institute basic reforms in domestic and foreign policy.

"In the longer run, Bashar seems more personally flexible and oriented towards the kind of policies that would make peace with Israel a higher priority," it said.

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

Links to more Media reports stories are at the foot of the page.


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