■ Syria: Government issues draft constitution and calls for referendum as pressure mounts
Amidst increasing human casualties in what has virtually become a civil war, the regime of President Bashar Al Assad - which protesters are demanding to step aside - has issued a draft Constitution which it is proposing to put to referendum later this week. The draft Charter proposes to abolish the one party state dominated by the Baath party for the last forty years, and to establish a multi-party system. Multi- party elections will then be held within four months of the referendum vote. The Opposition has rejected the proposal as a half baked solution. Within the wider International Community, the US has called the idea “laughable” while the International Community - with the exception of Russia and China - has formally joined voices with the Syrian Opposition, calling on the regime to step down. As it becomes increasingly apparent that his departure is a non- negotiable solution to end the crises, it remains to be seen whether President Bashar will give in to the domestic, and now, mounting international pressure. Over the last 11 months, Syria has been caught in the turmoil generated by the Arab Spring which has already claimed long estalished regimes in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Yemen.