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.    

Like What You’ve Read? Support CounterPunch
Weekend Edition
August 28-30, 2015
Randy Blazak
Donald Trump is the New Face of White Supremacy
Jeffrey St. Clair
Long Time Coming, Long Time Gone
Mike Whitney
Looting Made Easy: the $2 Trillion Buyback Binge
Alan Nasser
The Myth of the Middle Class: Have Most Americans Always Been Poor?
Rob Urie
Wall Street and the Cycle of Crises
Andrew Levine
Viva Trump?
Ismael Hossein-Zadeh
Behind the Congressional Disagreements Over the Iran Nuclear Deal
Lawrence Ware – Marcus T. McCullough
I Won’t Say Amen: Three Black Christian Clichés That Must Go
Evan Jones
Zionism in Britain: a Neglected Chronicle
John Wight
Learning About the Migration Crisis From Ancient Rome
Andre Vltchek
Lebanon – What if it Fell?
Charles Pierson
How the US and the WTO Crushed India’s Subsidies for Solar Energy
Robert Fantina
Hillary Clinton, Palestine and the Long View
Ben Burgis
Gore Vidal Was Right: What Best of Enemies Leaves Out
Suzanne Gordon
How Vets May Suffer From McCain’s Latest Captivity
Robert Sandels - Nelson P. Valdés
The Cuban Adjustment Act: the Other Immigration Mess
Uri Avnery
The Molten Three: Israel’s Aborted Strike on Iran
John Stanton
Israel’s JINSA Earns Return on Investment: 190 Americans Admirals and Generals Oppose Iran Deal
Bill Yousman
The Fire This Time: Ta-Nehisi Coates’s “Between the World and Me”
Scott Parkin
Katrina Plus Ten: Climate Justice in Action
Michael Welton
The Conversable World: Finding a Compass in Post-9/11 Times
Brian Cloughley
Don’t be Black in America
Kent Paterson
In Search of the Great New Mexico Chile Pepper in a Post-NAFTA Era
Binoy Kampmark
Live Death on Air: The Killings at WDBJ
Gui Rochat
The Guise of American Democracy
Emma Scully
Vultures Over Puerto Rico: the Financial Implications of Dependency
Chuck Churchill
Is “White Skin Privilege” the Key to Understanding Racism?
Kathleen Wallace
The Id(iots) Emerge
Andrew Stewart
Zionist Hip-Hop: a Critical Look at Matisyahu
Gregg Shotwell
The Fate of the UAW: Study, Aim, Fire
Halyna Mokrushyna
Decentralization Reform in Ukraine
Norman Pollack
World Capitalism, a Basket Case: A Layman’s View
Sarah Lazare
Listening to Iraq
John Laforge
NSP/Xcel Energy Falsified Welding Test Documents on Rad Waste Casks
Wendell G Bradley
Drilling for Wattenberg Oil is Not Profitable
Joy First
Wisconsin Walk for Peace and Justice: Nine Arrested at Volk Field
Mel Gurtov
China’s Insecurity
Mateo Pimentel
An Operator’s Guide to Trump’s Racism
Yves Engler
Harper Conservatives and Abuse of Power
Michael Dickinson
Police Guns of Brixton: Another Unarmed Black Shot by London Cops
Ron Jacobs
Daydream Sunset: a Playlist
Charles R. Larson
The Beginning of the Poppy Wars: Amitav Ghosh’s “Flood of Fire”
David Yearsley
A Rising Star Over a Dark Forest
August 27, 2015
Sam Husseini
Foreign Policy, Sanders-Style: Backing Saudi Intervention
Brad Evans – Henry A. Giroux
Self-Plagiarism and the Politics of Character Assassination: the Case of Zygmunt Bauman