Democracy in Syria Celebrated by North Korea, Hizbullah, Venezuela and Others
Congratulations continued to trickle in to Damascus over the weekend following dictator Bashar Assad’s predictable victory in Wednesday’s Syrian presidential elections. The latest warm words came from Lebanon, where President Michel Aoun expressed his hope for “the development of bilateral ties” between the neighboring countries. Aoun followed earlier felicitations by Hizbullah, the Iran-backed Lebanese movement which holds its own army and fought alongside Assad in the Syrian civil war. Other nations to issue congratulatory statements after the Thursday announcement of Assad’s election win included Iran, China, Russia, North Korea, Venezuela and Belarus. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, and the leader of Abkhazia, a region within Georgia recognized by Russia and its allies as an independent state, also toasted Assad’s reelection. Clinching over 95% of the vote in an election decried by most of the world as a sham, the Syrian ruler has now further tightened his grip on the war-torn country still reeling from a devastating decade-long civil war.