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

    Leaving Scalia Replacement to 2017 Would Mean Unusually Long Vacancy

    History of high court shows Obama not in unique situation during final year of presidency

    US Fact Checkers Debunk Some Republican Candidate Claims 

    Slim evidence for several claims made by Republican presidential candidates at their last debate ahead of next Saturday's key nominating election in South Carolina

    Uganda Presidential Debate a Small Victory for Democracy

    In homes and bars across country, Ugandans were fixated on their screens as eight political candidates running for president took part in national debate

    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.
    New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Ugandai
    X
    Serginho Roosblad
    February 12, 2016 9:29 PM
    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Uganda

    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video Refugees in Kenya Vie to Compete in Rio Olympics

    In Kenya, refugees from other African nations are training at a special camp and competing for a limited number of slots in this year's Rio Olympics under the flag of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Ngong, this is a first in Olympic history.
    Video

    Video Gateway to Mecca: Historical Old Jeddah

    Local leader Sami Nawar's family has been in the Old City of Jeddah for hundreds of years and takes us on a tour of this ancient route to Mecca, also believed to be the final resting place of Adam's wife, Eve.
    Video

    Video Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortage

    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video Russia Bristles at NATO Expansion in E. Europe

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is meeting Friday with the head of NATO after the Western military alliance and the United States announced plans for the biggest military build-up in Europe since the Cold War. Russia has called NATO's moves a threat to stability in Europe. But NATO says the troop rotations and equipment are aimed at reassuring allies concerned about Russia as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.