US backing for the overthrow of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad was supposed to be all about democracy. As Washington tells it, the people took to the street demanding democratic reforms and Assad did not listen, so he lost his legitimacy and needed to be overthrown. The US helped facilitate that overthrow by shipping in tons of weapons (much of which ended up in the hands of al-Qaeda and ISIS).
What Syrians were supposed to get in Assad’s place was a bright new future where they could vote for whoever they pleased to lead their government. That is what Washington told us was the noble goal of its regime change operation in Syria.
But just as in other US “democratization” operations overseas, that turns out to be not the case at all.
Syrians are free to choose their leaders as long as they choose the leaders Washington has chosen for them.
Over and over again the White House has reiterated its position that the Syrian people are forbidden from choosing Assad as their president after ISIS and al-Qaeda are defeated. The latest example of Washington’s anti-democratic “democracy promotion” came today, after Assad signaled his flexibility in forming a transitional government that might include the opposition, independents, and loyalists.
Obama’s spokesman flatly rejected any such proposal, saying, “I don’t know whether (Assad) envisioned himself being a part of that national unity government. Obviously that would be a non-starter for us.”
So Syrians, your “democracy” is being given to you by a United States deeply opposed to the idea of allowing any vote that is not pre-approved by Washington’s regime-changers.
Shorter Washington to Syrian people: “OK, you can vote, but we will hand you the approved candidate list.”
Hmmm…don’t they do that in US-condemned Iran?
This op-ed was originally published on The Ron Paul Institute For Peace.
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