web analytics
January 26, 2015 / 6 Shevat, 5775
 
At a Glance
News & Views
Sponsored Post


Assad: With a Ballot In One Hand, And A Gun In The Other


Supporters of the Assad family

Supporters of the Assad family
Photo Credit: Haim Azulay/Flash90

Over 100 Syrian civilians and soldiers were killed this past weekend, as the Assad regime and the international community independently stepped up efforts to resolve the crisis that has threatened to plunge the country into civil war.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the Syrian military is continuing its bombardment of Homs, which has gone on uninterrupted for over three weeks. The human rights organization also reported intense skirmishes between Syrian troops and army defectors in Daraa, the southern province where the 11-month uprising originated. On Saturday alone, at least 85 people were reported killed.

Meanwhile, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said Saturday that the negotiations it was brokering between the Assad regime and opposition groups yielded no breakthroughs. The ICRC is attempting to secure the agreement of both sides to enter Homs and evacuate those in need of medical assistance.

Against this backdrop of violence, the Assad regime held a referendum on a new constitution Sunday. Seen by most as a gesture to placate domestic and international fury, the proposed constitution would theoretically end the 30-plus year rule of the Assad family. The new constitution would omit the current article that declares the ruling Baath party the leader of state and society – effectively creating a multiparty system, and would limit presidential terms to two seven-year tenures.

Turnout is likely to be suspect, as the military continued to bombard opposition positions as voting stations opened across the country. In Homs and Daraa, foci of the most intense clashes and heaviest casualties, amateur video depicted people throwing ballots in the trash in protest. But voters in calmer regions like the capital of Damascus expressed excitement for the referendum, underscoring the support that Assad retains among swaths of Syrian society, as well as the great disparities that typify Syrian civil society.

Critics say that Assad’s ‘reforms’ are too little too late, and cite the fact that the proposed presidential term limit is not retroactive for proof that Assad has no intention of relinquishing power – having already served for 11 years, he would be eligible to serve another 14 years after his current term expires in 2014. The two main Syrian umbrella opposition groups – the Syrian National Council and the National Coordination Body for Democratic Change in Syria – urged citizens to boycott the referendum, while other groups called for a general strike.

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle responded to the referendum by reiterating the West’s unified opposition to Assad’s continued rule. “The referendum in Syria is nothing more than a farce. Sham votes cannot be a contribution to a resolution of the crisis. Assad must finally end the violence and clear the way for a political transition.”

Westerwelle’s comments follow the inaugural meeting of the ‘Friends of Syria’ that took place this past weekend. Attended by US, European, Turkish, and Arab League diplomats, the two-day conference in Tunisia sought to establish a coherent and coordinated strategy on alleviating the plight of the Syrian people, supporting the opposition, and removing Assad from power. The alliance discussed plans to deploy a civilian peacekeeping force after Assad’s departure, but the Western nations again deferred on the issue of military intervention.

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Assad: With a Ballot In One Hand, And A Gun In The Other”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Ari Ne'eman, founder of Autistic Self-Advocacy Network, recipient of the Ruderman Award for Inclusion, 2015.
Founder of Autism Self-Advocacy Org. Wins Ruderman Prize in Inclusion
Latest News Stories
Ari Ne'eman, founder of Autistic Self-Advocacy Network, recipient of the Ruderman Award for Inclusion, 2015.

Ari Ne’eman, a pioneer in autism self-advocacy, awarded the Ruderman Prize in Inclusion.

An Israeli soldier prays at an IDF staging area near the Israeli border with Gaza, on July 31, 2014.

IDF soldiers were dragged to missionary evening of ‘appreciation’ for soldiers who fought in Operation Protective Edge last summer in Gaza.

Tahir Square in Cairo in 2011 - and 2012, and 2013, and 2014 and 2015.

As they say in Egyptian, plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

French far-rightist politician Jean-Marie Le Pen suffered a facial injury.

Apple may have handed the Chinese government access to the software used in its iPhones.

Was it a toy? A test by Al Qaeda? Or maybe Amazon got the wrong address?

ISIS-linked cyber terrorists promoting a ‘Cyber Caliphate’ were busy early Monday hacking the website of Malaysia Airlines.

Canada’s Conservative government is set to consider new anti-terror legislation by the end of this week, following some nations in Europe.

The Old City of Jerusalem is made up of multiple cultures living side by side, in various degrees of conflict and cooperation.

Israeli President Ruvy Rivlin met in New York with former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.

For the first time in five years, Gaza’s ruling Hamas terror government allows Israeli imports.

The northeastern United States is gearing up for what may be one of the biggest blizzards in the past half century.

If US Jews were to make Aliyah at the rate the Jewish Agency expects from France, Israel would have 1 million more Jews.

Iran allegedly is plotting to assassinate the sons of the current and former Israeli prime ministers.

The White House is passing up the opportunity for Obama’s first meeting with the new Israeli president.

More Articles from Jewish Press Staff Writer
Hizb ut-Tahrir (Islamic Liberation Party) supporters at a rally in the PA capital of Ramallah, 2012.

Last week an Islamist group rallied at Al Aqsa mosque, calling to erase ‘Jewish filth’ at the Temple Mount.

Israel Police asks the public to help find 19-year-old Bat-El Aminov, missing since Tuesday.

Palestinians are the only refugee group in the world with a relief organization dedicated to their issue. Other refugee populations have been resettled; why are Palestinians different?

Having a baby is hard work. But Israel really makes it worth all the effort – starting with one particular hospital in Jerusalem.

Israeli MKs from Likud and Labor plan to submit a bill allowing Jews to pray on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem’s Old City.

Israel Police received more than 9 million ‘100′ calls (Israel’s ‘911′) in 2013; 18 percent came from Tel Aviv.

A Jewish carpenter is suing New York City’s Housing Authority after allegedly being threatened and insulted with anti-Semitic epithets.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/middle-east/assad-with-a-ballot-in-one-hand-and-a-gun-in-the-other/2012/02/26/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: