Syrians have re-elected Bashar al Assad for a fourth consecutive term as their President. Western nations like Britain, the United States, and France have sought to undermine the elections, rejecting the results in advance, dubbing them “illegitimate” and “undemocratic”.
These same nations prevented Syrians from casting ballots at their Syrian consulates and have sought to overthrow the Syrian government of Bashar al Assad since 2001 by funding terrorist groups, supporting an exiled Syrian opposition group, and have attempted to force their imperialist agenda upon the Syrian people.
Nevertheless, despite ten years of war and suffering brought on by economic sanctions from the West, Syrians have rejected regime change and colonialism.
President Assad won 95.1% of the vote with an impressive turnout of 78.6%. Syrians took to the streets all over the country to celebrate.
This is not a victory just for them but for the entire Axis of Resistance which stands together with Syria and helps defend its sovereignty from imperialist aggression.
Syrians have taken to the polls and reelected Bashar Al Assad as president of the Syrian Arab Republic for a fourth consecutive term with an extraordinary turnout and landslide victory.
The West has actively sought to undermine the election and the will of the Syrian people. So what does this victory mean for Syria’s 10-year resistance against regime change, and against imperialism, and what tactics did Western nations resort to in order to discredit and sabotage the Syrian presidential elections? On the 26th of May, 2021 Syrians took to the polls to vote in the second presidential election since the start of the war on Syria in 2011.
A month earlier 14 candidates had been approved to run for President by the People’s Assembly.
Bashar Al Assad, a candidate for the Ba’ath Party, won in a landslide victory of 95.2%, the turnout was an astonishing 78.6%, which is very high under any circumstances, especially for a country under siege.
After the results of the elections were announced on May 27 Syrians went out to celebrate, taking to the streets in droves.
People all over Syria came out to celebrate with scenes of victory in Omayyad Square in Damascus, scores of people poured out onto the streets of the Port City of Tartus on the Mediterranean Sea, with similar scenes all over the nation., with a turnout rate of 78.6%.
A turnout rate of 78.6% is quite a remarkable feat considering in European elections the turnout rate is usually somewhere between 50 and 60%.
The turnout rate in the 2020 presidential election in the US was a record-breaking 67%.
The head of the Syrian parliament, Hammouda Sabbagh, announced the results of the election with around 14 million Syrians coming out to vote, which, given the situation, with so many Syrians displaced by the war and the country still in turmoil, is very impressive.
Even before a single vote had been cast, Western nations were already attempting to undermine the Syrian presidential elections; several of them outright rejected the results in advance and proceeded to call the elections undemocratic.
They claimed that the elections were illegitimate because they allegedly left many Syrians excluded. Ironically, these very same countries themselves prevented Syrians living abroad from even voting in the first place, for example, in Canada and Germany, Syrians were prevented from casting ballots at the Syrian consulate.
These very same countries that pretend to be liberal democracies turn around and deny Syrians the right to participate in their own presidential elections and prevent them from exercising their right to vote, which is a pivotal part of any supposed democracy.
The accusation that Syrians were purposely excluded was not just repeated by Western countries, but also by the opposition and opposition figures.
This is preposterous given that it was the opposition who boycotted the electoral process, refusing to participate in the northern city of Idlib, which is home to thousands of foreign-backed terrorists.
Of course, it is not possible to participate in the election under such circumstances.
The same rings true for the areas controlled by the American occupation and Kurdish forces in the northeast regions and Deir ez-Zor where they are busy plundering Syria’s oil, of course.
We are keeping the oil
- We’re keeping the oil, we have the oil. The oil is secure. We left troops behind only for the oil.
Former US President, Donald J Trump
Media coverage of the elections has been abysmal. We have witnessed a concerted campaign by the corporate mainstream media to smear Syrians and their elections and to openly lie about the will of the Syrian people.
Not one mainstream outlet in the West has even had any Syrian officials on to comment about the election, only opposition figures.
The media have also resorted to talking about the staged Douma gas attack in 2018. This alleged gas attack was used as a pretext by the United States, Britain, and France, to illegally bomb Syria.
It was subsequently proven that this gas attack never actually took place but was a false flag operation designed to demonize the Syrian government just as the Syrian Army made its final push to take back the surrounding areas in the Damascus countryside.
Leaked documents published by WikiLeaks show that this gas attack never happened. The inspectors sent by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, the OPCW, to investigate on the ground, reported only trace quantities of chlorine, physical symptoms, inconsistent with a gas attack and ballistics, showing the alleged gas canister to have been manually placed at the site.
The inspectors concluded that given the lack of evidence, no gas attack had occurred and expressed concern after their findings had been removed from the published report.
The OPCW’s leadership doctored the reports of the fact-finding mission, removing key evidence in an attempt to cover up the truth and proceeding to smear its own scientists who blew the whistle.
During this latest election in Syria, President Bashar Al Asad, went to Douma to cast his ballot. The mainstream media used this as an opportunity to revive the lies surrounding this staged gas attack, and to attempt to smear the Syrian government and President Al Assad once more.
Suffering a direct consequence of sanctions
Right now in Syria, many people are suffering due to the terrible economic situation and havoc brought on by sanctions imposed by the United States and the European Union.
Universally, in almost every article and television report on the topic of Syrian elections, the mainstream media talks of the economic turmoil that Syrians are living through without ever mentioning that this suffering, the long breadlines, the wait of almost two days just for fuel, is a direct consequence of Western sanctions.
The media talk about Syrians living in poverty to illustrate the people’s purported dissatisfaction with Al Assad, giving the impression that it is the fault of the Syrian government.
First of all, this has nothing to do with elections. Second, this is not only untrue, but more importantly, it is a whitewashing of Western crimes.
Syrians are suffering and starving right now, precisely because of the West’s foreign policy and imperialism, yet this is rarely mentioned, if at all. If one wants a real example of propaganda, one needs to look no further than how the Western media reports on all matters related to Syria.
It is frankly astonishing how anyone can make a report about the Syrian elections, and not mention a simple basic truth; that the majority of Syrians support Bashar Al Asad. If these so-called liberal democracies in Europe and North America care so much about democracy and the will of the people, why do they ignore this fact?
It is incredible how not one report or article mentions this, the media call the elections a sham, but they talk about everything else without actually explaining why.
They obfuscate and change the subject by mentioning the economic turmoil, but don’t tell you that this is the fault of Western sanctions and they try to make it sound like it’s Al Assad’s fault or the Syrian government is to blame.
They talk about democracy but don’t tell you that the majority of Syrians support Al Assad nor do they show any of the images of countless Syrians, taking to the streets in a show of support and celebrating his victory. They lie; they deny reality and deceive to manufacture consent for regime change. That is what you call propaganda.
- The British government, along with the Americans and others called the elections in Syria “undemocratic” and “illegitimate”, they outright rejected the results before the elections even took place. Could you give us an insight into what the motivation behind this may be?
In a word, revenge. Western powers, Britain and America in particular, are bitter because they failed in their 10-year long campaign to change the government in Syria, and therefore very bitterly disappointed because the recent election underlined their failure, and (managed) to cement the position of President Assad in power. So, what we heard was, if I can put it this way, the sound of sour grapes.
Peter Ford, Former British Ambassador to Syria
Having been posted in Damascus and spent several years there, what is your understanding of the legislative and the electoral process in Syria?
Well, I don’t think there can be any doubt that a majority of Syrian people do not share the West’s wish to get rid of President Assad. On the contrary, the president is indisputably seen by a majority of Syrians as representative of stability, they do not, the Syrian people without a shadow of a doubt, not want to make a leap into the dark by getting rid of the President that they know when there is no alternative prospect who could unite the country, take the country forward in the next steps.
Rather than the reverse, I’m quite sure that the majority, an authentic majority, of the Syrian people have confidence in their president.
They may grumble about the conduct of the government, rising prices, corruption, alleged maladministration, that sort of thing.
Which country is free from such grumbling? Certainly not my own, the UK, and indeed I believe that the level of support for this President is authentic, well, well above the estimated 40% level of support, enjoyed in the opinion polls by Boris Johnson and his government.
I believe that the Conservatives, or Labour, would be absolutely over the moon to have the level of support that President Assad has.
Peter Ford, Former British Ambassador to Syria
When you say that Syrians don’t want to take a leap into what is essentially the unknown, what do you think the alternative is, what is the alternative that the West is proposing to President Assad?
The West is always careful not to sell out, not to sell out any alternative, because they know full well that the only realistic alternative would be in a radical Islamic regime. They are totally irresponsible in wishing for what they call euphemistically a transition which translated means regime change.
That phrase has had a lot of bad publicity so they call it transition. They don’t ever say the transition to what. And there is no Nelson Mandela, waiting in the wings, in Syria. In fact, most Syrian people could not put a name on any Syrian opposition leader; I would be hard-pressed myself and I’m a so-called expert.
There are no plausible rival, alternative, political leaders to the president. There are warlords. There are warlords, such as those who rule in Idlib province, who would undoubtedly after fighting among themselves, inherit the crown in Damascus if the Western powers had their way.
Peter Ford, Former British Ambassador to Syria
In the early days of Tony Blair’s government, the United Kingdom and other countries were actually on good terms with President Al Asad, what do you make of the current stance of the last 10 years from those in British politics and media who insist that Syrians are not deciding their own future and who’ve done this complete 180-degree about-face?
Well, a lot of the things that have happened since those heady days in the early 2000s When Bashar Al Assad was having tea with Her Majesty the Queen in Buckingham Palace and was being seen as the new icon of hope who is moving forward with the liberalization of the economy in a way that was applauded in the West, and, and indeed it was partly those efforts that liberalization by causing some suffering for the working classes in Syria, and privileging of the middle class, with this so-called liberalization, it was, this was one of the reasons for the discontent, which precipitated the uprisings. So things, obviously, moved on and what Britain, in particular, cannot stomach is the fact that Syria has worked more and more closely with Russia and Iran.
And therefore, victory for Syria, victory for President Assad would be seen as a victory for the leadership of Russia and Iran, This is something that the British government cannot stomach, so you have to see relations with Syria in the context of British relations with Russia and Iran; poor old Syria is just the victim in the middle.
- Peter Ford, Former British Ambassador to Syria
What do you think Assad will do during his next term, what will be the next move with all these governments that are trying to remove him and topple him, how do you see the rest of the war playing out?
Well, as I mentioned earlier, I think one of the options the president must be looking at is whether to make a move on Idlib now that its hands are less tied than they were. Although this is a difficult moment internationally in one way because of the ongoing negotiations between the United States and Iran over nuclear and sanctions and I can see some argument for not rocking the boat in Syria before that matter is settled. But in due course, I’m quite convinced that the Syrian Government will move to re-pacify the North East. I can see increasing pressure on the US presence in northeast Syria. The tribes of that area, the Arab tribes of that area are mostly very pro-Assad. They will not tolerate the Kurdish which the American forces are imposing on them.
But above all, I think the President will have his work cut out to cope with this continuing economic warfare.
There is no doubt that it’s the Western sanctions, which are the biggest obstacle to Syrian reconstruction, and not just reconstruction, but even getting back a normal ordinary life, with the availability of fuel and bread. I’m sure that will be the President’s number one priority.
Peter Ford, Former British Ambassador to Syria
The countries that have rejected the election results in Syria, dubbing the elections undemocratic, have been trying to push an agenda to topple the Syrian government now for over 10 years.
They have no genuine interest in the will of the Syrian people. They are most concerned with enacting their foreign policy objectives, ensuring profits for their multinational corporations, and then expanding their empires.
This notion of calling foreign leaders illegitimate or calling elections undemocratic is a tactic often used by the West when talking about countries they have an imperialist agenda in. We have seen the United States, Britain, and the European Union, do the same thing with Venezuela’s presidential and parliamentary elections in 2020.
We have seen the West do the exact same to Evo Morales in Bolivia, in late 2019 When he was overthrown by right-wing groups, supported by the West. And in the case of Venezuela, this notion of legitimacy has also been used by the Bank of England as a ruse to steal over a billion US dollars in gold, belonging to the Venezuelan people.
The West loves to pretend that it has the moral high ground; they speak about Syria, Venezuela, and others as if they are colonies under their rule. This is a colonial mindset.
Who are these countries to talk about rejecting the results of the Syrian elections? The results of the Syrian elections are for the Syrian people to decide and Syrians only, not some men in Whitehall, Washington DC, or Paris.
It is incredible that the United States has the gall to lecture other countries about democracy when its own citizens are disenfranchised from voting, African Americans are still treated like second-class citizens, and Native Americans, completely removed from any political capacity, wiped out through centuries of genocide.
How can the United Kingdom lecture anyone about democracy when its judiciary is controlled by the United States, when it gives immunity to American spies who killed British citizens, or when Julian Assange is rotting away in Belmarsh prison for exposing the war crimes of the US Empire? Where is the respect for an independent press?
The United States and Britain together have colonized and plundered the world for centuries. To this date, they continue to overthrow the democratically elected governments of Latin America, Central America, Middle East Africa, and Asia.
They are the last people on earth who ought to be giving lectures about democracy. The fact of the matter is there has been a cold, calculated attempt to overthrow the Syrian government for decades.
We know from General Wesley Clark, that a neocon plan for regime change has been put in place during the Bush years, with Syria on the list of targets.
We have seen the cables from the US embassy in Damascus, already in 2006 about how best to exploit the weaknesses of Bashar Al Assad, in order to destabilize Syria.
The United States created al Qaeda during the Cold War, then with Britain proceeded to help create ISIS, through the invasion of Iraq in 2003. With their allies, such as Israel and Turkey, they have provided weapons logistics and assistance to terrorist groups inside Syria.
And then the media tries to whitewash them as moderate rebels. Since the start of the so-called Arab Spring or uprising in 2011, they have been trying to topple the Syrian government and turn the whole country into another failed puppet state, as they have done to so many others.
Through their imperialist greed they have completely, and utterly, destroyed Syria. These actors do not have Syria’s best interests at heart, nor do they care about the will of the Syrian people, quite the opposite.
What Syrians have done through these elections is reaffirmed their sovereignty, cementing their stance against imperialism, and against colonialism, the election results are not just a victory for President Assad, they are a victory for the Syrian people.
Syrians have shown their resolve and their spirit to be unbreakable, even after 10 years of war and all the suffering that has come with it. They have been unrelenting in their resistance.
Once again, they are showing the world that they will not allow others to dictate their political, economic, and social affairs. Syrians will not allow foreign-backed terrorists and militias, or any other governments, to come in and tell them how to run their country.
Syrians want a stable secular Syria under Bashar Al Asad, which stands with the Axis of Resistance, which stands with Palestinians, which stands against imperialism and guarantees a multi-ethnic, multi-religious, harmonious, and peaceful society for all Syrians.
No matter what the media says, no matter how much propaganda they produce, and how much they tried to sell regime change, Syrians are saying they will not be coerced or bullied into conforming to Western foreign policy objectives.
Syrian matters are for Syrians, only, to decide. If President Bashar Al Assad did not have the support of the Syrian people, he could never have remained in power and withstood 10 years of war against him, and withstood 10 years of the United States, Britain, Israel, and so many other countries and their terrorist groups trying to get rid of him. No one could.
It’s unconscionable to think that anyone could survive such a state of affairs without the backing of their own people; Syrians have shown that they support the president, and their government, both during wartime and in their elections.
To deny this is simply to deny reality. This is not about one’s opinion or what one thinks, this is about understanding the truth on the ground.
We also have to look at this election through the lens of resistance. What Syrians do every day, what they have done for years, is resist imperialism through all means necessary.
This huge electoral turnout and landslide victory also symbolizes a victory for the Axis of Resistance, as a whole.
When we talk about the Axis of Resistance we’re talking about the nations that the West has tried to break and intimidate, such as Syria, Iran, Palestine, Venezuela, Cuba Yemen, Lebanon, Iraq, and North Korea.
We have seen during this vicious war against Syria how the whole world rallied behind the US Empire, and joined them in the regime change project, very few nations stood by Syria’s side and remained with the Syrian people.
Iran and Russia have helped Syria to stay afloat, and to resist this onslaught; when Syria was in its darkest hour and on the verge of falling into the hands of Daesh, they answered the call for aid, they stepped in to provide and help to prevent the unthinkable from happening, they’ve stood steadfast with the Syrian people, respecting their will and protecting your sovereignty from foreign aggression, both militarily and politically.
The entire apparatus of the mainstream media continues to repeat the same lies about Syria, in a multitude of languages and mediums, there is complete uniformity and hegemony between the corporate media and the foreign policy objectives of Western governments; inextricably intertwined, these two institutions work in tandem and everything they have reported on Syria for the last 10 years, has been almost entirely propaganda, and the Syrian presidential election of 2021 is no exception.