News / Middle East

Syrian President Begins Third Term

Syria's President Bashar al-Assad reviews a guard of honor before his swearing-in for a new seven-year term at the presidential palace in Damascus, July 16, 2014, in this picture released by Syria's national news agency SANA.
Syria's President Bashar al-Assad reviews a guard of honor before his swearing-in for a new seven-year term at the presidential palace in Damascus, July 16, 2014, in this picture released by Syria's national news agency SANA.
Edward Yeranian

Syrian President Bashar al Assad took the oath of office Wednesday for a third seven year term in office, amid a three-year-old civil war across much of the country.

Unlike his two previous ceremonies, President Assad took the oath of office at the presidential palace, rather than in front of parliament.  Several analysts suggest the move was made for security reasons.

Assad succeeded his father as president in 2000 and has weathered a brutal and bitter conflict for the past three years.  The Syrian president struck a tone of confidence, blasting his enemies inside and outside the country.

He insists Arab and Western countries that have supported his opponents, whom he calls “terrorists,” will soon pay a price for that support.

Assad also thanked his close allies, Russia, China, Iran and Lebanon's Hezbollah group for helping his government.  He said his allies support the principle of non-interference in the domestic affairs of a U.N. member state, which is part of the U.N. Charter.

The embattled Syrian president also thanked those he called the “honorable” Syrian people for voting for him, insisting it was their response to the Arab Spring slogan that the people “want the downfall of the regime.”  

Assad complained the fighting in Syria had devastated the country's economy, ruining its once vibrant tourism business, despoiling its infrastructure, including electricity stations, gas pipelines and oil fields in the north and east of the country.  “But,” he said,”if the price Syria has paid is high, then our achievements in the future will be even higher.”

Syria scholar Joshua Landis heads the University of Oklahoma Middle East studies department.  He says Assad sounded confident, because things have been going his way lately.

"His military campaigns have been by and large successful, whether it is in the Qalamoun region in shutting off the Lebanese back door to rebels, whether it is in retaking Homs, surrounding neighborhoods in Damascus and Aleppo.  He is well on his way to retaking Aleppo, Syria's northern capital.  So, he has struck a tone of confidence,” said Landis.

But Institute for Near East and Gulf Military Analysis chief Riad Kahwaji told VOA Assad was living in a world that is “delusional.”

“[Assad] is still talking about Syria as if nothing is really happening.  He does not acknowledge that there is a civil war happening ... does not want to acknowledge that a large chunk of the country is out of control, out of his control, and that he is in virtual isolation and that more than half of the Syria [electorate] did not even have the chance to vote or have a say in this last election,” said Kahwaji.

American University of Beirut political scientist Hilal Khashan said Assad was profiting from the “protracted conflict in his country and that he “seems to enjoy it” because it “keeps him in power.”  Khashan argued the Syria conflict was “not likely to end any time soon,” and Assad may well be in power for a long time to come. 

You May Like

Could Nemtsov Threaten Putin in Death as in Life?

Dynamic and debonair opposition leader had supported liberal economic reforms, criticized Russian president's aggression in Ukraine More

Oil Smuggling Highlights Challenges in Shutting Down IS Finances

Pentagon spokesman says Islamic State 'certainly continues to get revenue from the oil industry black market' but that airstrikes have made a dent More

India Focuses on Infrastructure, Investment to Propel Economy

Government expects economy to grow at 8 to 8.5 percent in next fiscal year More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Sunny Enwerem from: Lagos Nigeria
July 16, 2014 11:10 AM
From Red Line to Red Carpet ,now who would believe in western support for freedom?? Too bad for the FSA and a disappointment to those that say Assad is closer to his ouster! Guess a country is only a superpower when it has a leader that stands on a good will and not waiting on his congress that will obviously politicize the matter while saving his term without war only to leave a greater war for upcoming leaders.

by: meanbill from: USA
July 16, 2014 10:28 AM
NO MATTER what the western propaganda says, Assad is a super Syrian patriot, with the overwhelming support of the Syrian people...... (and only God knows why), the US, EU, and NATO, and the Sunni Muslim monarchies, decided to arm and train tens of thousands of "foreign" Sunni Muslim fighters in Jordan and Turkey, to wage war on the Shia Muslim led governments of Syria, and Iraq.... not knowing it'd stoke sectarian violence, killings, destruction and war, in most of the Islamic Middle Eastern countries?

The US, EU, and NATO, and the Sunni Muslim monarchies, have stoked these sectarian atrocities and wars in Syria and Iraq, and now spreading to the bordering countries, by arming and training "foreign" Sunni Muslim fighters in Jordan and Turkey, (not to bring freedom or democracy to the people of Syria or Iraq), but just to wage war, and kill those of different religions, in Syria and Iraq. why they did it?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More