FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Bankrupt War on Syria

by

The Syrian election has indirectly exposed or confirmed a surprising statistic that shows how badly the anti-Assad fighters are losing and how hopeless their cause is.

It is of course no surprise at all that Assad won big in the first open and contested Syrian presidential election in memory, winning 88% of the total.‎ Whether you believe that the vote was rigged or that the Syrian people ‎overwhelmingly love their president, the margin was almost embarrassing. ‎ During the days before the election, the Syrian street began joking  that the votes of the challengers might need to be padded.

The surprise was the total number of votes cast. According to the Syrian National Presidential Commission, a total of 15.84 million Syrians age 18 or older were eligible to vote in the election. Of these, 11.63 million – equal to 73.7% – actually did.

That’s an enviable  turnout anywhere‎, but astonishing under the current conditions in Syria. The Syrian obsession to vote is a great story. Syrian expatriates and refugees besieged their embassies when they could and returned to Syria – sometimes across ten time zones – when they couldn’t. But that also is not the surprise.

The surprise is not who voted or how many, but rather who did not. They are the 4.2 million difference between the numbers of eligible and actual voters. Who are they?

Many are living in other countries. Some are refugees, for whom the lowest accepted estimate is 2.5 million. If we add another  conservative number of dual national Syrian expatriates, it rises to 3.1 million. Even with the incredible voting efforts of this population, however, that figure shrinks by only 200,000, to 2.9 million.

This accounts for all but 1.3 million of the Syrians who didn’t vote. It is not reasonable to expect that all Syrians who had the chance actually voted. We have to allow at least 5% or 790,000 for the one in twenty that decided not to vote, for whatever reason. This leaves a maximum of only a half million Syrians – around  3% – in captive areas.‎ It is probably less than that.

This is of course an educated (if conservative) guess. However, it safely puts to rest the inflated estimates of 40% propagated by mainstream journalists and deceitful government officials. Those figures were obtained by applying pre-conflict population statistics to the geographic areas under the control of anti-regime groups, a patently absurd formula.

Such figures are a fantasy conceived for the purpose of deception and distortion. Vast numbers of Syrians have fled anti-regime areas, mostly to government territory, but also to other countries. However, only the most delusional propagandist  ‎would claim that meaningful  numbers of Syrians are fleeing to anti-regime areas.

In fact, one of the tactics of the Syrian military seems to be to allow the anti-regimists to hold a territory long enough to drive the civilians out, and then ‎to either negotiate terms or remove them by means of weapons that cause the fewest government casualties. This is what earns the regime the title of ruthless murderer in western hyperbole.

It is time to pay attention to what the Syrian people are saying. When they went to the polls by the millions, they did  much more than affirm ‎their self-determination and their choice for president. They showed us by their numbers that the attempt to destroy Syria is bankrupt and doomed to failure.

Paul Larudee is a founding member of the Syria Solidarity Movement. ‎He submitted this piece from Syria after completing an assignment as an election observer.

 

 

Paul Larudee is on the steering committee of the Syria Solidarity Movement.

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

December 06, 2016
Anthony DiMaggio
Post-Fact Politics: Reviewing the History of Fake News and Propaganda
Richard Moser
Standing Rock: Challenge to the Establishment, School for the Social Movements
Norman Solomon
Media Complicity is Key to Blacklisting Websites
Michael J. Sainato
Elizabeth Warren’s Shameful Exploitation of Standing Rock Victory
David Rosen
State Power and Terror: From Wounded Knee to Standing Rock
Kim Ives
Deconstructing Another Right-Wing Victory in Haiti
Nile Bowie
South Korea’s Presidency On A Knife-Edge
Mateo Pimentel
Some Notes and a Song for Standing Rock
Bill Fletcher Jr – Bob Wing
Fighting Back Against the White Revolt of 2016
Peter Lee
Is America Ready for a War on White Privilege?
Pepe Escobar
The Rules of the (Trump) Game
W. T. Whitney
No Peace Yet in Colombia Despite War’s End
Mark Weisbrot
Castro Was Right About US Policy in Latin America
David Swanson
New Rogue Anti-Russia Committee Created in “Intelligence” Act
George Ochenski
Forests of the Future: Local or National Control?
December 05, 2016
Bill Martin
Stalingrad at Standing Rock?
Mark A. Lause
Recounting a Presidential Election: the Backstory
Mel Goodman
Mad Dog Mattis and Trump’s “Seven Days in May”
Matthew Hannah
Standing Rock and the Ideology of Oppressors: Conversations with a Morton County Commissioner
Kevin Zeese - Margaret Flowers
#NoDAPL Scores Major Victory: No Final Permit For Pipeline
Fran Shor
The End of the Indispensable Nation
Michael Yates
Vietnam: the War That Won’t Go Away
Michael Uhl
Notes on a Trip to Cuba
Robert Hunziker
Huge Antarctica Glacier in Serious Trouble
John Steppling
Screen Life
David Macaray
Trump vs. America’s Labor Unions
Yoav Litvin
Break Free and Lead, or Resign: a Letter to Bernie Sanders
Norman Pollack
Taiwan: A Pustule on International Politics
Kevin Martin
Nuclear Weapons Modernization: a New Nuclear Arms Race? Who Voted for it? Who Will Benefit from It?
David Mattson
3% is not Enough: Towards Restoring Grizzly Bears
Howard Lisnoff
The Person Who Deciphered the Order to Shoot at Kent State
Dave Archambault II
Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Statement on Dakota Access Pipeline Decision
Nick Pemberton
Make America Late Again
Weekend Edition
December 02, 2016
Friday - Sunday
John Pilger
The Coming War on China
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: The CIA’s Plots to Kill Castro
Paul Street
The Iron Heel at Home: Force Matters
Pam Martens - Russ Martens
Timberg’s Tale: Washington Post Reporter Spreads Blacklist of Independent Journalist Sites
Andrew Levine
Must We Now Rethink the Hillary Question? Absolutely, Not
Joshua Frank
CounterPunch as Russian Propagandists: the Washington Post’s Shallow Smear
David Rosen
The Return of HUAC?
Rob Urie
Race and Class in Trump’s America
Patrick Cockburn
Why Everything You’ve Read About Syria and Iraq Could be Wrong
Caroline Hurley
Anatomy of a Nationalist
Ayesha Khan
A Muslim Woman’s Reflections on Trump’s Misogyny
Michael Hudson – Steve Keen
Rebel Economists on the Historical Path to a Global Recovery
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail