News / Middle East

    US Rejects Syria Vote as 'Sham'

    US Rejects Syria Vote as 'Sham'i
    X
    Scott Stearns
    June 04, 2014 11:57 PM
    Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has won re-election in a vote held in government-controlled parts of his war-torn country. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the polls mean for Assad's allies and his opponents.
    Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has won re-election in a vote held in government-controlled parts of his war-torn country.

    U.S. officials dismiss his re-election as a farce. But for Assad, the vote signals a sharper confrontation to come, according to U.S. Institute of Peace analyst Steve Heydemann.

    "We have a Syrian regime that is going to dig in, is going to insist on its legitimacy. That view will be supported by Russia, Iran, China, other governments which have backed the Assad regime," said Heydemann. "And it means that any opportunity to try to close the gap and move the conflict toward a negotiated settlement has been significantly set back."

    Iranian support for Assad in this vote included election observers.

    Alaeddin Boroujerdi, who heads Iran's Parliamentary Committee for National Security, said, "Syrian people participated completely freely in these elections, and foreign and regional campaigns aiming at misleading the facts did not succeed in preventing Syrian people from practicing their right to choose their leadership."

    Former U.S. ambassador Adam Ereli said the vote helps Iran to broaden its regional standing.

    "That's why Iran is active in Syria. It is a defensive move, in other words, keep your ally in power so their opponents don't. But it also maximizes Iranian influence."

    A stronger Assad is partly the result of what former U.S. Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford calls a failed U.S. policy.

    "We need, and we have long needed, to help moderates in the Syrian opposition with both weapons and other non-lethal assistance," said Ford. "Had we done that a couple of years ago, had we ramped it up, frankly the al-Qaida groups that have been winning adherents would have been unable to compete with the moderates."

    State Department Deputy Spokeswoman Marie Harf said the Obama administration is boosting support for the opposition.

    "I think actually a lot of the frustration you’ve heard people like Ambassador Ford talk about is that the situation is incredibly complicated and there are no easy answers, and that we are constantly looking at ways to increase our support," she said. "We are constantly looking at ways to get the parties back to the table."

    But Heydemann said getting Assad, with his new electoral mandate, back to the negotiating table is far harder without a credible military threat.

    "If the regime feels that it has won militarily, if it feels that its survival is now ensured, if, because of Iranian support and Russian support and the participation of Hezbollah, it no longer views the opposition as a threat, then its incentives to negotiate disappear," he said.

    Heydemann said the Obama administration has the opportunity to boost military support for the armed opposition, but so far has been unwilling to do so in a way that would change Assad's calculus.

    You May Like

    Syrian Torture Victim Recounts Horrors

    'You make them think you have surrendered' says Jalal Nofal, a doctor who was jailed and survived repeated interrogations in Syria

    Mandela’s Millions Paid to Heirs, But Who Gets His Country Home?

    Saga around $3 million estate of country's first democratic president is far from over as Winnie Mandela’s fight for home overshadows payouts

    Guess Which Beach is 'Best in the US'?

    Hawaii’s Hanauma Bay tops an annual "top 10" list compiled by a coastal scientist, also known as Doctor Beach

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora