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 percent.
According to CountryAAH, Damascus is the capital city of Syria. 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).
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 Kobanê. 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.