Of course, I don't take seriously voting under the Asad regime. It is meaningless as the ruling group will continue to hold what Hanna Batatu used to call "the crucial threads of power". But to watch Western governments mock the vote is a lesson in hypocrisy. When Saudi royal family appointed a committee of senior princes to decide on matters of succession within the royal family, Western governments rushed to claim that this step is the most important step in the history of democracy since the French Revolution. I mean, by the standards of Saudi (non)elections, the US does not believe that Syrian or Iranian elections can get to the high level of Greek-style democracy in clients states in the Gulf. By the way, look at this picture of a crowd outside of a polling station in Damascus (published in As-Safir). This aspect of politics in Syria which accounts for the resilience of the repressive regime is totally absent from Western media coverage.