30 April 2014, 15:15

Syria's Assad aim at presidential elections is not to allow US, EU to overthrow gov't like in Ukraine - expert

Syria's Assad aim at presidential elections is not to allow US, EU to overthrow gov't like in Ukraine - expert

Syria's President Bashar al-Assad has announced his candidacy for the June 3 presidential elections. He is widely expected to win a third seven-year term in office. Six other contenders are in the race, but they are not considered to be serious rivals for al-Assad. Mark Dankoff, political commentator from San Antonio, told the Voice of Russia, that elections in Syria will be fair and legitimate.

Elections will be held under the control of security services and voting will only take place in regime-held parts of the country. Meanwhile more than one third of Syrian territory is controlled by rebels.

Potential opposition candidates have been excluded from taking part by new laws passed last month, including a requirement that Syria's president must be at least 40 years old. Large numbers of refugees – a third of the Syrian population – are also likely to be excluded from voting as they have left the country illegally. Only those with exit stamps in their passports will technically be allowed to vote.

Opposition activists are going to ignore the elections explaining that their war isn't just against Assad but for his entire government to fall.

Hasan Abd al-Azym, head of one of the largest internal opposition group and coordinator of the Syrian National Coordination Committee for Democratic Change, is sure that that's not an appropriate time for the presidential elections and firstly the Syrian crisis must be resolved.

The United Nations has criticized the elections, saying they undermine the path to a political settlement agreed in Geneva in 2012 whereby Mr. Assad is required to hand over power to a transitional government that includes opposition members.

West rejected to recognize the elections, meanwhile Russia and Iran support Assad. Bashar al-Assad in his turn called on supporters of different candidates to express themselves through ballot boxes adding that "demonstration of joy expressed by supporters of any candidate for the presidency should be responsible."

What is your forecast for the forthcoming elections in Syria? And do you think that those elections will be postponed or will they actually happen in time?

I think they will be held and I think Assad will be the winner. Between all the human tragedy involved in this and the whole issue of one third of the territory being held by these so-called rebels, this is going to, at least in some circles, cast aspersions on the legitimacy of this election.

I frankly think that it is a good move on Assad's part. I guess he needs to emphasize that the US and the Zionist state of Israel, and the kingdom of Saudi Arabia are trying to overthrow his Government with foreign imported mercenaries and foreign imported arms and outside financing and logistics.

If he can continue to hit that theme, he can make the case that this is in fact legitimate and that he is not going to allow these foreign-backed elements to overthrow his Government in the same way that the US and Israel, and the EU overthrew the legitimately elected Government in Ukraine.

Will the elections likely be free and fair? And do you think that Assad will make concessions and allow for international observers at those elections?

In terms of it is being free and fair, again, there are certain admitted handicaps here. One third of Syria is being held by these foreign-backed rebels. I don't see how in the world they would be able to put a legitimate election together there in terms of the sanctity of the polling booths and peoples' safety and so forth. I think it will certainly be a legitimate and fair election in all of the territories that are currently held by the Assad regime.

I think Assad, as a matter of fact, enjoys a tremendous popular support in a significant percentage of this country, far more so than the American and Israeli media would indicate. The other thing that I think is significant here is that you have two million Christians in Syria and they are in fact the supporters of Assad, because they know that if he is overthrown, these wahhabi-backed extremists will engage in a wholesale genocidal extermination of the Christian faction in Syria.

How do you think Assad need to make campaign promises and go out campaigning? Or is this pretty much a done deal, in your opinion? What would he most likely promise to do? Will he promise to do away with the violence and resolve the political gridlock?

I think the President should say that to the extent that this kind of violence continues to be a factor in Syria is largely the result of all of these outside fomenting that is going on the part of the American neo-conservatives aligned with Israel, the Netanyahu regime in Israel, the kingdom of Saudi Arabia and also the Turkish Government is involved in this.

He needs to make this a referendum on nationalism as opposed to outside globalist interference in his country. If he can do that, then I think this election will be spun his way. Not in the West, not in Israel, not in Saudi Arabia, but much of the rest of the world is going to see him significantly as a defier of this globalist new world order element that is trying to depose him in the same way that they are trying to create trouble for Vladimir Putin of Russia.

Do you have any insight as to who else is running for the presidential seat in Syria? And is there a chance that a coalition of the opposing candidates could get a chance for victory?

I doubt that, but I don't actually have any qualitative data in front of me that would support that impression.

How will the international community react to the elections if Assad does indeed win them? Will it make any difference at all?

I don’t think it will make any difference at all. They are simply trying to discredit him at any cost. And the amazing thing to me that the governments who want Assad replaced can be supporting Sunni-Wahhabi extremists in Al Qaeda and al-Nusra with the straight face. Assad needs to stick to his guns that this is in fact a foreign-inspired action against the Syrian Government and that he is the only alternative to it.

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