Tension Between Sides Increases as Assad Government Plans to Hold Elections in Syria

bashir al assad

Hassan Sayed ’15

The Syrian Civil War between the Bashar al-Assad Regime and various opposition groups throughout Syria has continued for just over three years now. There have been numerous attempts at peace, the most recent being UN-led peace talks in Geneva, which failed due to a conflict of interests on both sides, including the question of whether Assad should step down. Other complications such as the government’s suspected use of chemical weapons have also hampered peace efforts.

Most significantly, however, the government has just announced that it will be scheduling presidential elections on 3 June 2014. While Assad has not formally announced his candidacy for the presidency, information from his political allies has highly suggested that he will be running. Additionally, residency rules set in place by the Syrian Parliament in March have limited most of Assad’s opponents, many of whom are in exile, from becoming presidential candidates.

In turn, this has caused massive outcry from those opposing Assad, many labelling it as a publicity effort and exemplary of how the government simply orchestrates everything in Syria’s political atmosphere. National Coalition opposition leader Monzer Akbik told Reuters that “this is a state of separation from reality, a state of denial. He didn’t have any legitimacy before this theatrical election and he will not after.”

More than 150,000 have been killed through the entire course of the Syrian Civil War, which began with protests as part of the Arab Spring. The Assad Regime has played a large part in these deaths, supposedly also through the use of chemical weapons.

Once election time rolls around, it will truly be interesting to see what happens. There is, of course, a high probability Assad will get re-elected (if he runs, which also has a high probability). However, in the event that something unexpected occurs, like another candidate winning, it will be intriguing to see where the Civil War goes, especially if that candidate is a political opponent of Assad’s.

But the issue with that notion is that it simply has a low probability of occurring.

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