Syria is bracing itself for one step short of a revolution. Almsot every ministerial post is to change hands, with old faces like Farouq Ash-Sharaa (Foreign Minister) and Mehdi Dakhlallah (Information Minister) making way for reformists.
Dakhlallah in particular has come under fire for his lacklustre performance in the Western media. He’s to be replaced by an ambassador – a good choice considering the inherent skill of most ambassadors to communicate well. London envoy Sami Khyiami or UAE ambassador Saadallah Agha are lined up for the job.
Sharaa has also been blamed for the current crisis – reformists were angry at his provocative UN speech.
Prime Minister Naji Al-Otari is also on the way out – likely to be replaced by non-Baathist Abdullah al-Dardari, a close aide of Bashar.
And of course, Syria has been without an Interior Minister sicne the suicide of Ghazi Kannan.
Bashar’s been criticised for the slow pace of economic and politicial reforms, and for not being in full control. His coup d’etat began at this summer’s Baath Party Conference – and it looks like this week will the second stage. It has been suggested that the changes were delayed until a respite in international pressure, so that it doesn’t look like Bush is dictating the reforms.