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A poll foretold

Farce of Syrian presidential elections follows the tragedy of its civil war.

Published: June 6, 2014 12:15 am

The Syrian presidential election held on Tuesday, which incumbent Bashar al-Assad won by an overwhelming majority, is another testament to how intractable the country’s crisis has become. The results of this election were a foregone conclusion, given that the ragtag coalition of Syrian rebels had boycotted it, and polling was held only in government-controlled areas. Without any serious international effort to mediate the civil war, or nudge its principal actors towards a power-sharing agreement, this election will merely encourage Assad and his foes to dig their heels in.

Just as Iran and Russia continue to back the Assad regime, the US has been tacitly supporting its allies, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, as they funnel money and arms to the rebels. If there has been some handwringing in the West recently over supporting the Syrian opposition, it is a belated realisation of the folly of letting weapons end up in the hands of the jihadist groups that are part of it, like the Jabhat al-Nusra and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. The progressive militarisation of this crisis over three years has relegated the possibilities of a political solution. Lakhdar Brahimi, the latest international diplomat to throw in the towel after serving 19 months as the UN Secretary General’s special representative to Syria, has said that his “greatest fear” was the world simply becoming “accustomed to the stream of bad news emanating from Syria”.

But it is still not too late for the international community to broker a peace deal between Assad and the rebels. The UN’s immediate priority must be to remove the last remaining consignments of chemical weapons from the country. The freeze that has set in between Russia and the US over Crimea must not spill over to Syria: the civil war has killed and displaced far too many for political calculations to continue ignoring this humanitarian catastrophe.

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  1. W
    Jun 6, 2014 at 5:38 am
    I am surprised of the heading you chose for the editorial ignoring the sentiments of millions of Syrians who voted inside and as an expats in many countries of which 12 denied Syrian expats from voting , so the public opinion in those respective country does not belie the propaa machine by them against Syria .We as Syrian Expats facing this horrendous crimes committed against us by those countries you mentioned in your editorial and this is sufficient proof of their hatred toward the will of the Syrian people .We are suffering because of the war imposed on us with Al Qaeda supported groups more than 100000 mercenaries from 83 nationalities are looting ,killing ,decapitating heads ,eating human flesh and destroying the Syrian civilization .The West now is awaken to the danger and facing a big challenge to tackle this consequences of their own creation ..We should respect the will of the people and that is the least we expect from a renown paper which should investigate more to expose the role of those countries sabotaged peace and stability and raging a foreign war by mercenaries on Syria .The message is clear from the election :we Syrians like many democratic countries aspire for democracy ,stability , prosperity and security and we must desist other governments from intervening in the internal affairs of other country under the pretext of promoting democratic values