The fatal flaw in Russia's support for Syria's Bashar al-Assad

Evan Bartlett@ev_bartlett
Monday 23 November 2015 17:00

Russia's prime minister claimed on Sunday that "irresponsible US policy" had enable Isis to further establish its power in Syria in recent years.

Releasing a statement on the Russian government's English language website, Dimitry Medvedev (pictured below) claimed that instead of trying to destabilise Bashar al-Assad, the US and its allies should have focused on fighting terrorism.

Rather than cooperating on the fight against terrorism, America and its allies began fighting the legitimately elected president of Syria, Bashar Assad.

The reasonable policy in the Middle East, whether it is Syria, Egypt or Iraq, should consist in supporting the legitimate authorities which can ensure the integrity of the nation rather than continue to destabilise the situation.

  • Dimitry Medvedev

While it is a well-established argument that Western interference in the Middle East has led to the destabilising conditions that have allowed Isis to grow, and there is obviously no simple solution to the civil war which has ruined Syria, trying to paint Bashar al-Assad as a "legitimate" or "democratic" leader is clearly wrong.

Assad, who has been in power since 2000, is widely reported to have used barrel bombs and chemical weapons on Syrian citizens.

The most recent elections in the country, held in 2014 were described as a "fraud on democracy" by US secretary of state John Kerry and as a "farce" by other international observers.

Assad was preceded by his father Hafez al-Assad who came to power in 1970 following a series of coups d'etat.

Here are those "democratic" election results since (percentage shows number of votes for Assad):

1971 - Hafez al-Assad: 99.2%

1978 - Hafez al-Assad: 99.9%

1985 - Hafez al-Assad: 100%

1991 - Hafez al-Assad: 99.9%

1997 - Hafez al-Assad: 100%

2000 - Bashar al-Assad: 99.7%

2007 - Bashar al-Assad: 97%

2014 - Bashar al-Assad: 88.7%

HT Iyad el-Baghdadi

More: How do we know Bashar al-Assad's regime is torturing people? Because of Caesar, and thousands of his pictures