(This post includes some original research, so please inform others.)
I have discovered one of history's most galling ironies.
In order to comprehend this irony, we must first be absolutely clear on one point: Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton refuse to countenance any solution to the Syrian civil war in which the elected, lawful, secular leader Bashar Assad is not removed from office
Finally, on Aug. 18, then-Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said, “The transition to democracy in Syria has begun and it’s time for Assad to get out of the way.” Obama simply issued a statement: “For the sake of the Syrian people,” he said, “the time has come for President Assad to step aside.”
Despite this talk of democracy, the White House insists that Bashar Assad must not allowed to participate in any future election. Why? For one simple reason: Assad would win.
A new poll proves the point.
The survey, conducted by ORB International, a company which specializes in public opinion research in fragile and conflict environments,  found that 47 percent of Syrians believe that Assad has a positive influence in Syria, compared to only 35 percent for the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and 26 percent for the Syrian Opposition Coalition.
Bashar Assad is the most popular man in Syria, according to ORB international, a credible UK polling organization whose clients have included the BBC and the Conservative party. The fact that Obama will not countenance any election in which Assad takes part proves the accuracy of ORB's findings.
The persistence of the myth that Assad lacks support calls to mind an article written by Jonathan Steele in the British newspaper the Guardian on 17 January 2012, less than one year into the war. Under a lead titled, “Most Syrians back President Assad, but you’d never know it from western media,” Steele wrote:
Suppose a respectable opinion poll found that most Syrians are in favor of Bashar al-Assad remaining as president, would that not be major news? Especially as the finding would go against the dominant narrative about the Syrian crisis, and the media consider the unexpected more newsworthy than the obvious.Steele reminds us that Assad has had substantial popular support from the beginning of the war, but that this truth, being politically inconvenient, is brushed aside, indeed, suppressed, in favor of falsehoods from US, British and French officials about Assad lacking legitimacy.
Alas, not in every case. When coverage of an unfolding drama ceases to be fair and turns into a propaganda weapon, inconvenient facts get suppressed. So it is with the results of a recent YouGov Siraj poll…ignored by almost all media outlets in every western country whose government has called for Assad to go.
Solving the civil war by plebiscite is unthinkable because the wrong person would win. That's why we prefer to back the jihadist group Ahrar al Sham, which intends to install a Sunni theocracy. At the recent "peace" conference, Ahrar al Sham representatives made it clear that they despise the very word democracy
Let's take matters further. If Assad has a 47% approval rating in Syria, how does his popularity compare to Barack Obama's?
According to the most recent Gallup poll, Obama's favorability rating is exactly the same as Assad's: 47%.
(That is to say, 47% of Obama's fellow Americans view him favorably.) Obama's approval has often been lower, although it has rarely gone much
Gallup's poll offers the highest number I could find. According to a Huffington Post poll
, his favoribility is a smidgen over 45 percent. A recent Reuters/Ipsos
poll has him at 41 percent. An NBC/WSJ poll
has him at 43 percent.
If we average out these findings, we may fairly say that Barack Obama's number is worse than Bashar Assad's.
Amusingly, on August 18, 2011
-- the very day when this administration declared that Assad had to go -- Barack Obama's approval rating was a mere 40 percent, with 52 percent registering disapproval. On the day when Obama declared that Assad had lost all legitimacy with his people, Obama enjoyed substantially less legitimacy with his
And what of Hillary Clinton's approval ratings? Here's a Gallup poll from last September
Currently, 41% of U.S. adults say they have a favorable opinion of the Democratic front-runner, while 51% hold an unfavorable view.
At the time, it was thought that her numbers were impacted by the (largely bogus) "emailgate" scandal. However, a HuffPo poll puts her current favorable rating at 41%
-- an unchanged result.
It's a fact: Assad is better-liked in Syria than Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are in the United States. Assad is also more popular in Syria than Donald Trump is in America. In reality, no Republican or Democratic presidential candidate is liked by more than 47% of Americans.
By what right does this country demand the ouster of Bashar Assad?