Syria. In the April 22-23 parliamentary elections, the
ruling Bath Party and its allies in the National Progressive
Front (six parties, all of whom referred to themselves as
socialist or communist) received 172 out of 250 seats. The
other mandates went to independent candidates. The turnout
was said to have been 56 percent. In a referendum on May 27,
98 percent voted for Bashar al-Asad as president for another
seven years. The turnout here was said to have been 96
CountryAAH, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Javier
Solana, visited Syria in March and US House Speaker Nancy
Pelosi arrived in April, both to try to persuade Syria to
contribute to Middle East peace by ceasing its support to
the Islamist groups Hizbullah and Hamas. US Secretary of
State Condoleezza Rice also spoke with his Syrian
counterpart Walid al-Muallim on May 3 in connection with a
conference in Egypt on the Iraq issue.
The lawyer and human rights activist Anwar al-Bunni was
sentenced in April to five years in prison and fined for
"disseminating false information that weakened the nation"
and for running the EU-supported Center for Civil Society
Development. Another opposition, the doctor Kamal Labwani,
was sentenced in May to twelve years in prison for having
had forbidden contacts with abroad and "encouraged attacks
on Syria". He had visited the United States and met
government representatives there. Two more regime critics,
Michel Kilo and Mahmoud Issa, were sentenced to three years
in prison. for spreading fake news.
In August, according to the UN refugee agency, UNHCR,
there were 1.4 million Iraqi refugees in Syria. Half of them
were children and only a fraction of them went to school.
Many were begging in the streets or working illegally. In
the autumn, Syria introduced visa requirements for incoming
Iraqis. At the same time, some Iraqis began to return to
their homeland when conditions in Syria were too severe and
Iraq became more secure.
In September, Syria reported Israel to the UN since
Israeli fighter aircraft breached Syrian airspace.
On March 18, Israel attacked a Syrian military base with
artillery after 4 of its soldiers were wounded by a roadside
bomb while on patrol in Golan.
After several months of siege by Homs, the last rebels
surrendered in May and entered into an agreement with the
government army on free leasing out of town. The government
now had full control over the provincial capital.
In June 2014, presidential elections were held. For the
first time in the country's history with several candidates.
Not surprisingly, Bashar al-Assad was re-elected with 88.7%
of the vote. The turnout was 73.4% - well below the previous
election's 96.9% but still 50% higher than in the US
presidential election. The West had rejected the election
and the process in advance as illegitimate. The rebel groups
also rejected the election and fired the grenades with
grenades. 50 were killed on Election Day during this grenade
shooting. The Secretary-General of the United Nations had
pointed out in advance the difficulties of holding an
election while the civil war was raging in the country.
Election observers from 30 different countries participated
in the process. At most Syrian embassies around the world,
Syrians were able to cast their vote. However, not in
Denmark and several other western countries, who actively
participated in the war against Assad. Apart from the
Western countries protesting the result, the reactions of
most other countries in the world were positive. (Syrians
flock to Lebanon border to vote, Daily Star June 3,
2014 Islamic State as the most important rebel group
In June, Islamic State (IS) launched major military
offensive in northern Iraq. On June 5, IS attempted to
capture Samarra, but was shot back when reinforcements
arrived from Baghdad. But on the 10th it could take the
million town of Mosul and the day after Saddam House's
birthplace Tikrit. Whole divisions of soldiers left their
bases without firing a single shot, leaving huge amounts of
weapons, ammunition and heavy military equipment to the IS.
Over the following weeks, IS captured large areas of western
Iraq, giving them full control over the borders of Jordan
and Syria. Long convoys of captured tanks, armored personnel
carriages and cars moved from Iraq into Syria, where IS was
to use them to expand its occupied territories there.
From mid-June, there was a risk that IS would seek to run
Baghdad over and thus take control of the central
administration. The US and West projects in Iraq were
completely in ruins. NATO's arrogant Secretary-General
Anders Fog Rasmussen declared that it was Iraq's own fault.
They could have just taken advantage of the fantastic
opportunity to create democracy. The reality was quite
another. IS was led by Aby Bakr al-Baghdadi, who had been an
officer in Saddam's army. It was Fog Rasmussen's, NATO's and
the US's first failure when they disbanded the army in 2003
instead of seeking to involve it in building a new state.
Another mistake was the West's marginalization of the Sunni
Muslim population. That led to a rebellion in western Iraq
in the mid-'00s against the western occupation power, which
was only partially brought under control, when the United
States began bribing the Sunni Muslim clan leaders in this
part of the country. Third western failure was the war
against Bashar al Assad in Syria. It had created large areas
in eastern Syria that were no longer under Assad's control.
It was in these areas with the capital city Raqqa as the
center that IS through 2012 and 13 grew strong. IS was
basically a product of the West's behavior in the Middle
East. At the same time, IS was able to finance its
operations through the sale of Syrian oil to Turkey and
Jordan in particular. It was exported on trucks and openly
sold with the knowledge of these government.
The situation quickly became desperate for the United
States, which, along with the rest of the West, launched a
demonization campaign of IS, which was manufactured as a
medieval one due to its execution of Western hostages. The
movement was in fact very modern. It had learned to use the
Internet and social media to run as effective propaganda
campaigns as the West, and its methods - terror against the
population - had learned from the West in particular. Many
of its leaders had been in US prisons where they had been
"taught" to torture and executions by North American
officers and prison guards (IS leader al-Baghdadi himself
had been in North American captivity in 2005-09). At the
same time, Western propaganda forgot to mention the methods
of punishment its allies in the Gulf dictatorships and Saudi
Arabia use: cutting off limbs, stoning,
The United States developed two tactics to "fight" the
IS: changing the political force in Iraq and air bombing.
Iraq received support from the US's main enemy, Iran, for
the fight against IS. Already on June 13, Samarra in Iraq
had been taken by Iranian Quds and Revolutionary Guards to
secure it against IS's takeover. On the same day, Kurdish
peshmerga (partisans) threw IS out of Kirkuk.
By mid-July, IS had conquered 10 villages east of KobanÍ.
The YPG was under pressure and urged all Kurds to back up
its fight against IS. Initially, the only support from PYD's
sister party in Turkey was the PKK that sent partisans in
support of the YPG. But they could not withstand the
pressure of IS heavy weapons and many thousands of partisans
who were put into the fighting. In the latter half of
September, IS captured dozens of villages, and the YPG
abandoned defending another 100. Thousands of Kurds fled
across the border to Turkey. At the end of the month, the
number of refugees was over 130,000.