The US and its NATO allies continue to play its ridiculous war games near the Russian western borders, as well as in the Black and Baltic seas, trying to scare Moscow off with a handful of warships, 600 soldiers and six war planes patrolling the Baltic skies.
Apparently they have forgotten that even an invasion of Iraq that put 120 thousand US troops on the ground failed in breaking the resistance of this Arab country, which led to a miserable withdrawal. And now the story repeats itself in Syria, which had until recently been the focus of Washington. The success of the local government in suppressing the Islamist resistance that was brought to Syria by the money of Saudi Arabia and Qatar three years ago has become even more apparent. Today, the political triumph of the Assad regime does need no international support, including the one of the United States.
In celebration of Easter President Bashar Assad visited the ancient Christian city of Maaloula some 60 km from Damascus, that had recently been freed by the Syrian army from jihadists. The President walked around the Saint Sergius and Bacchus monastery, looking at the scale of destruction that had been inflicted by Islamists. During a visit to the monastery of St. Thecla, President Assad said that no terrorism can erase Syrian history and civilization. He congratulated the Syrians on Easter, wishing them peace, security and compassion. On his way back the presidential cortege was welcomed by the residents of Ain Al-Tina. The President got out of the car and met with citizens, confirming that the attempts of the local citizens to protect themselves and their neighbors gave the world an overview of the Syrian society and its culture. Many felt that this public appearance of the Syrian leader was the beginning of his presidential campaign.
The Syrian presidential elections are appointed on June 3 by the members of the Parliament. The Supreme Constitutional Court will be accepting applications from April 22 to May 1. Nobody has announced the possible candidates, but there’s little doubt that Bashar Assad would be a favorite. The UN, which should have been welcoming all peaceful political solutions for the Syrian conflict, has already stated that the forthcoming elections are contradicting the Geneva agreements. “The holding of elections in the current circumstances amidst the ongoing conflict and massive displacement will damage the political process and hamper the prospects for political solution that the country so urgently need” – said the Spokesperson for the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Stephane Dujarric. According to Stephane, this step does not correspond with the Geneva Agreement . He, however, must have forgotten that the Geneva talks were disrupted by the US and its Wahhabi allies. After all, at this stage, Washington is trying to provide all possible support to those forces in Ukraine that had carried out a coup, in order to force those into igniting the flames of a civil war in this country. Hence the US has little to no influence over the Middle Eastern affairs, since all of its resources has already been committed elsewhere (against Russia). Something must have gone terribly wrong with the White House authorities, if they have decided to try to harass a global nuclear power and the main supplier of energy resources to the EU.
But there’s the last resort that the US officials can still use – official statements. A number of Western and Persian Gulf countries have already announced that the upcoming elections will be “a mockery”. These very elections will “undermine the Geneva framework and are a parody of democracy” – said the US State Department spokesperson Jennifer Psaki. Washington and London have promised not to recognize the election results, but this statements can hardly stop Damascus. Today we won’t find a person who is going listen to the US and UK threats, no one pays attention to them, since there’s nothing behind them.
As you must know, Bashar Assad’s presidential term expires on July 17. There is still a war raging on in Syria, although the advantage is now clearly on the side of the government forces. Syrian Information Minister Omran al-Zoubi said that Syria will not tolerate the delay or cancellation of the presidential elections on the pretext of the security issues, domestic or foreign policies. And it’s understandable since this time around there will be a number of candidates from different parties, not a single one that is in charge of the ruling Ba’ath party, hence there will be a more legitimate President in Syria than there’s ever been.
According to the Syrian Constitution, candidates from different parties and movements may participate in the elections. The candidate must reside in the country for at least 10 consecutive years, his parents and his wife (if any) have to be Syrians, he should obtain the support of at least 35 members of the parliament and hold an identity card issued by the authorities. There’s a handful of candidates that can meet these criteria, among them are the representatives of the government and the internal opposition figures, who managed to find a common ground with the members of the regime and didn’t flee the country. Members of the external Syrian opposition who have been residing abroad won’t get a fighting chance since there’s no way for them to obtain the support of 35 members of the parliaments, even if all of their close relatives – ethnic Syrians and they’ve got the US money to spend.
Assad himself has not yet voiced his intentions to run for the presidency, but his supporters have repeatedly stated that nothing is preventing him from this move. “Assad has not said whether he will stand again, but his allies in Russia and in Lebanon’s Hezbollah Shia movement have predicted he will participate and win” – The Guardian wrote. The reasons for such predictions are quite clear – the latest major advancements of the Syrian army . Last week, the Syrian leader said that the conflict has reached a ” turning point “, although the northern and north-eastern border areas are still under the control of the Islamists , some areas of Aleppo are also occupied by militants, and the opposition forces carry out attacks in the direction of Damascus and Homs from their camps in Jordan.
External opposition is extremely concerned with the swiftness with which the government is preparing the country to the presidential elections. Indeed, the opponents of Assad, primarily the conservative Wahhabi monarchies of the Percian Gulf while relying on mercenaries and local radical Islamists started a war to remove him from power. And this is the main point of discord on which they can not agree in Geneva, The National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces (NKSROS) wants Assad out and the representatives of the regime, quite naturally, don’t. Assad’s opponents may say that the Geneva agreement implies the establishment of a transitional government and only then – elections. But the Syrian president can also easily understood: if he doesn’t not hold the elections, after July 17 the country will have no legitimate leader . He will not give up power, especially in time of war, especially when the situation favors him.
In order to create a hostile media environment in the foreign and domestic fields, the opponents of Assad started revisiting the subject of chemical weapons usage. The US State Department stated that it has data about a case of toxic industrial chemicals usage against rebels, that was allegedly carried out on April 11 and 12 in Kfar Zeit, that is under the control of insurgents. Militants accused the government of dropping a chlorine charge on their heads from a helicopter. United States are investigating this case with the help of experts of the OPCW. Damascus claims that a homemade chlorine bomb was made and used by the rebels. At the same time Damascus finilizes the transfer of its military chemical stockpiles under the UN control . They have already neutralized about 80 % of Syrian arsenal, and the rest of it is sealed prior to the shipment for destruction.
Head of the EU diplomacy, Catherine Ashton, echoing the US State Department cries, also believes that holding a presidential elections in Syria is a contradiction to the Geneva agreements on the peaceful settlement of the conflict. The official announcement made by her spokesman goes: “deeply regrets the official declaration by the Syrian authorities that presidential elections will be held in Syria on June 3″ – and then – “any elections in Syria should only take place within the framework of the Geneva communique of 2012″. “Elections organised by the regime outside this framework, conducted in the midst of conflict, only in regime-controlled areas and with millions of Syrians displaced from their homes, would ignore the basic principles of democracy, be devoid of credibility, and undermine all efforts to reach a political solution,” – the statement reads. Ashton calls on all parties to stop the violence, human rights violations and “confirm their intention to participate in the next round of talks in Geneva”.
The presidential elections in Syria that are to be held in June 2014 will be “a mockery of democracy.” This opinion was expressed on April 21 at a regular press briefing by Jay Carney the White House Press Secretary. From his standpoint, the sitting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad “makes a mockery of his own pretensions to be a democratically elected leader.” According to him , Washington continues to consider a “political solution is the only way ” out of the Syrian crisis. Washington continues to seek a way to establish a process in which a political transition of power will be achieved through negotiations. One would think that in Ukraine the US is using the exact same approach, although an agreement of 17 April that was signed in Geneva implies that the interests of all regions are to be observed along with the disarmament of illegal armed groups, which should have stabilized the situation in the country. Double standards again! But when did Washington use different ones?
In a similar manner the United Kingdom rejected the results of the upcoming presidential elections beforehand. “Assad’s plans for elections can only be designed to sustain his dictatorship. They will be conducted against the backdrop of non-stop regime attacks on civilians”- said Mark Simmonds, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs. But what about the terror that is brought upon the civilians by the Islamist gangs financed by the Wahhabi regimes and the West ?
But “Dogs may bark – an Arab proverb says, – but the caravan moves on.” Political analysts in the Arab world and Syria have little doubt that the Arab Baath Socialist Party will name Bashar Assad its candidate. And judging by the opinions expressed by a number of different experts, Assad will get 75 % of votes. And that would basically mean that the Middle Eastern policy of the USA has miserably failed, since it has already lost Iraq, Egypt, Libya, it can not engage in a dialogue with Iran, it is leaving Afghanistan and ignoring its former alliance with Saudi Arabia. The last drop is the legitimisation of the current Syrian government. The loss of the Middle East – that’s the price you pay for President Obama’s adventure against Russia in Ukraine. But that’s not all . Washington will have to retreat further across the Atlantic to the US borders. The end of the American Empire is not far off.
Viktor Titov, PhD in History, a political observer on the Middle East, exclusively for the online magazine New Eastern Outlook.