Syria has moved out of emergency rule after 48 years as President Bashar al-Assad tried Tuesday to appease the pro-democracy movement that has addled him for weeks.

The New York Times reports that Assad’s government is offering concessions with one hand while crushing opposition with the other:

“Since the uprising began, the government has vacillated between crackdown and suggestions of compromise, a formula that proved fatal for strongmen in Tunisia and Egypt. But the combination Tuesday was most remarkable for how divergent it was. It legalized peaceful protests — coded language for those approved by the government — as the Interior Ministry warned in a statement carried by the official news agency that it would bring to bear the full breadth of the law against any other kind.”

The Guardian wrote that by giving ground to his opposition, Assad has begun paving the way for his own fall from power. –KDG

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