This is no doubt true, but in another sense -- the regime is focused intently on how best to suppress the people of Daraa, and all those in a country of 22-million who seek an alternative to the right-wing dictatorship.
At least one prominent dissident, Mazen Darwish, was arrested shortly after Assad's speech, and other activists in the capital were reportedly detained.
There is mass popular opposition to the repression and corruption of the Assad regime. At the same time, the imperialist powers, particularly the United States and France, the former colonial overlord in Syria, are at work seeking to hijack the anti-Assad movement and install a more pliable stooge regime.
Speaking in Tel Aviv on Thursday, US Defense Secretary Robert Gates said, "I would say that what the Syrian government is confronting is in fact the same challenge that faces so many governments across the region, and that is the unmet political and economic grievances of their people. Some are dealing with it better than others. I've just come from Egypt, where the Egyptian army stood on the sidelines and allowed people to demonstrate and in fact empowered a revolution. The Syrians might take a lesson from that."
These remarks amount to inciting a military revolt against Assad, with the implied promise that the United States would quickly reward such a palace coup, providing it results in a foreign policy more to the liking of Washington, as well as a further opening up of the Syrian economy to foreign capital.