The US State Department issued a statement today angrily condemning Syria’s presidential elections as a “disgrace” that don’t represent legitimate voting and will confer no credibility to presumptive winner President Bashar Assad.
Officials centered their complaints on the lack of real opposition candidates and massacres over the course of the last several years, along with the inability of people in rebel-held regions to vote.
If that sounds familiar, you probably remember Egypt holding an election a week ago under extremely similar circumstances. The US, comfortable with the military coup there and only vaguely concerned with the massacres in Cairo, has been comfortable with Gen. Sisi’s win over his coup-backing non-rival.
And while both Syria and Egypt’s elections were a foregone conclusion, they both seem positively Athenian in their democratic principles compared to the 2012 Yemen vote, in which Maj. Gen. Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, the US-backed ruler, was “elected” in a single candidate vote in which voting “no” was not an option.
Hadi’s rubber stamp election was such a runaway success, by US standards, that President Obama declared it a potential “model” for the Middle East. If Syria is falling short of this model, it can only be in its presumptive victor not having been given an advanced imprimatur by the US.
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