Keeping up with the al-Assads

The latest report on Bashar and Asma al-Assad

It’s been a while, so we should check in and see what our favorite dictator and his humble bride are up to. When last we left Bashar and Asma al-Assad, they were hunkered down eating spiced humus on their palatial veranda and railing against the foreign conspiracy that was intent on taking down their benevolent rule. Their tack appeared to be one of waiting for the whole revolution thing to blow over.

So, where are we at today? Pretty much nowhere different, really. According to a report in the Telegraph, Bashar got in front of his sham parliament and condemned yet another massacre he says was perpetuated by foreign terrorists. Of course. What else would he say? Go back through all of the grass roots uprisings against despotic regimes over the last several decades and all of the ones that actually posed serious problems for demagogues were accused of being chock full of evil-doers from outside the vulnerable borders of the blessed motherlands.

According to Bubba Bashar, the terrorists that attacked and slaughtered about 80 people in Houla last week were not sanctioned by him or his cronies and not even “monsters” would launch such a strike. He went on to say that “The issue is terrorism. We are facing a real war waged from the outside.” Soooo, how come you’re not asking for help from the international community to shore up your defenses against these external terrorists? Coalitions have been formed to deal with such threats to other legitimate governments. No? We seem to remember Saddam moaning about the same bullshuck. Good luck with that sorry story, honey. Nobody’s listening.

Arab Spring dictators that have fallen and those that remain

Round 1: Four down and two to go! Then, let’s move on to round 2!

We predicted that the al-Assads would be gone by summer. Well, summer isn’t over until mid-September, so there’s still plenty of time for something or other to happen. In the meantime, we outsiders will continue to wag our fingers and say things like “Say, could you scale back that whole killing stuff a bit?” or “See? Now THAT’s why you didn’t get invited to HRH Elizabeth I’s 60th!”


Yeah, we know. It’s easy to say “send in the drones!,” but obviously regime changes can be volatile. We have no real answers, so we’re just armchair-coaching, but for crying out loud, enough is enough. People like Bashar al-Assad aren’t misguided idealists making bad decisions for good reasons. They are selfish and cruel barbarians that don’t give a crap about the people they have the obligation to protect! Damn!

Well, the good news, we suppose, is that … wait, there really isn’t any good news. All we know is that when the dust finally settles, there are going to be a lot of very bad things happening to the people that are currently shooting their guns. And the Arab Spring stumbles on …

Syrian uprising

The Dictator (2012) Movie

Sacha Baron Cohen

Sacha Baron Cohen, the understated writer/actor, has returned with a new comedy. This time it’s a feature film … no mockumentaries like Baron Cohen’s other films  Borat and Brüno. The Dictator is slated to come out May 11th. Here’s the deal-e-o in a nutshell:

2012 MovieAccording to the distributor, Paramount Pictures, The Dictator will “tell the story of a dictator who risked his life to ensure that democracy would never come to the country he so lovingly oppressed.” Larry Charles, who previously directed Borat and Brüno, will direct this film. Also starring, Ben Kingsley (we like Ben) and Anna Faris (we like Anna).

From what we can tell, the premise is that Admiral General Aladeen, a dictator from the fictional Middle Eastern country called The Republic of Wadiya, arrives Stateside to much fanfare and controversy but ends up “lost in America” where he most likely will find spiritual awakening and redemption from his previous tyrannical lifestyle. We hope not. We hope that when he gets back to power, Aladeen turns out worse than he was before. Dark comedy. That’s the ticket.

Anyway, here’s a weirdo tidbit. Apparently, the film is loosely inspired by a novel that was purportedly written by the late, great Saddam Hussein. Except, we can’t imagine that humorless Saddam could write a comedy so we’re guessing the film is a mocking tip-of-the-hat to the formerly-real-life dictactor’s opus, Zabibah and the King. The bizarre self-worship portrayed in the film reminds us of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi and we have to suppose “El Coronel Mariposa” was a significant inspiration for the film.

The Dictator movie (2012)Incidentally, anyone watch the Oscars? No? Well, Sacha showed up in his Admiral General Aladeen outfit (after being expressely warned not to do so by the  Academy muckety-mucks) carrying an urn that he claimed contained the ashes of his late golf buddy Kim Jong Il. After some silliness, he “accidentally” spilled the contents of the urn on the red carpet and Ryan Seacrest. How this guy manages not to draw hit squads from the nefarious parts of our globe is anyone’s guess. Sacha, we respect your cajones. We really don’t want to see them as we almost did in Borat, but we do respect them.

Sacha Baron Cohen

And here’s the source of Sacha’s inspiration… Daffy Gaddafi! You go, girl!

A dictator in drag. There ain't no ho like a hairy ho.
The virginal paratroopers complete the insanity. What's up with the dude in the suit? Could he look any more uncomfortable?

Moamar, you old queen! As for Hugo … give yourself a double fist-pump. Saddam is history. Hosni is gone. Muammar is gone. Bashar will soon be gone as will Mahmoud. Li’l Kim Jong-un is an up-and-comer, but you may be the undisputed, still-somewhat-relevant throwback dictator de jour.

Venezuelan Dictator

Hugo "Mushroom Man" Chavez

Hugo Chavez

Nobody sports a healing hat like our Man in Caracas.

And speaking of the formerly-alive, poofy-headed man-child Kim Jong-il, we’re not sure if we’re flattered or indignant that we have received zero page views from North Korea. Why would anyone ever want to censor Comics A-Go-Go!? We can only hope that Kim “Chubby Cheeks” Jong-un will allow the glorious golden sunrise that is CAGG to enlighten his people.

North Korean Dictator

Now that he's gone, the vegetables can become food again.

It’s almost trite to say it, but with Saddam out of the picture, Iraq just hasn’t been the same. Now corruption has to be divided up among so many parties. To coin a phrase from Spain … “Esto nunca pasaba con Franco.”

Saddam Hussein

Saddam "Capone" Hussein taking pot shots at Predator drones.

It’s a two-fer! The girls must have been going mad! This is like seeing Elvis and Tom Jones on stage together for the first time.

Middle Eastern dictators
Yes, we know that men holding hands is a Middle Eastern habit, but it’s creepy given who the two men are. Besides, since when do Sunnis and Shi’ites hold hands and smile for the cameras? Oh, right. When money’s on the line. Everybody can be bought and sold.

Asma al-Assad falls out of favor

Wizard of Damascus

Asma recently attempted to purchase Dorothy's Ruby Slippers but Glinda cast a spell on her so now Asma has painful plantar warts.

Comics A-Go-Go! has written a few times about the contempt we have for Asma al-Assad, the First Lady and Royal Highn-ass of the Syrian dictatorship.  As much as we were led to believe she was the Middle Eastern equivalent to Princess Di, sadly, she has demonstrated a lack of concern for the plight of her fellow people whereas Diana had a caring spirit in spades. Now that the walls are crumbling in Damascus (albeit only one brick at a time), one would think Asma would express concern about the affairs of the state. Apparently not. She seems to be much more concerned about the price of vases and shoes at Harrod’s than the destruction of Homs. That will shortly be coming to an end (see link to article below).


Bashar al-Assad continues to cast a long, gawky shadow across the people of Syria after succeeding his father, the tyrant Hafez, to the throne. Whereas Hafez was mostly a regional player, Bashar (probably in large part to his beautiful and trendy wife) has had a greater presence on the world stage. Given Europe’s fawning attention up until the crackdown, Bashar would have received enthusiastic support and adulation in bringing his country out of the despotic hegemony of his tribe’s rule. To a large degree, Syria is secular which in the Middle East should have meant greater freedoms of religion and other basic democratic rights (prove us wrong), but like the dictatorship of the Shah of Iran, it just served to oppress his people by fracturing any possibility of a strong religious counter-force. Side note: Take care, people of Syria. The lessons of Iran should be present when the regime finally falls.

Beaker the Muppet and Bashar al-Assad the despot

Inseparable as children, Beker and Bashar al-Assad both pursued prestigious careers: Beker became a chemist with Syrian Petroleum Company and Bashar an ophthalmologist. Relationships have been strained recently, however, as Beker demonstrates his support for small democratic reforms while Bashar continues to consolidate his dictatorship.

Anyway, Asma, time for you and your Muppet of a Man to go away and we sure as hell hope you don’t end up with sanctuary somewhere in a friendly country. But of course you will. Because that’s what happens in these situations. The world is unfair.

Syrian First Lady

We found out what Asma would do

Syrian Crisis

Photo-op!! Look at our people running to yet another bargain at the bazaar. Our economy's roaring along thanks to a huge investment of our personal fortune.

Back in February, we wondered what Asma al-Assad was thinking about the whole killing-our-people thing. Given her history of philanthropy and apparent progressive sensibilities, we figured that the abominable way in which her husband and his henchmen went about the business of violently suppressing the  freedom movement of their people would be tempered by her loving hand. OK, OK. We get it. Why would a tyrant, a dictator, a despot want to fade back while a democracy movement surged forward (not a question). So, of course Bashar “Napalm” al-Assad would want to defend his stranglehold. Morally wrong, yes. Predictable, also. But what we hoped for was that Asma would put her foot down and say enough is enough … let my people go. Or at least flee the country. Nope.

In an article in The Guardian released today, hacked email messages exchanged between the members of the Royal First Couple of Syria demonstrated that the al-Assads are continuing to live within their gilded cocoon as if the horror surrounding them is a distant menace perpetrated by enemies of the anti-Republic. Bashar rants about enemies training al-Qaeda to subvert the Head Bastard and his cronies. Get that? These are private emails to intimate contacts within the power echelon. He actually believes (or wishes to convince his close friends) that he is being targeted by al-Qaeda affiliated death squads. These death squads are being recruited by … wait for it … U.S. Ambassador Robert Ford. You know, the minion of The Great Satan. You know, The Great Satan that consists of Americans, Israelis (well, Jews in general), and complicit kiss-ass Arabs. You know, the sworn and singularly Dread Enemy of al-Qaeda. What the hell? Hmm. You can’t make up this kind of crazy. (Of course, … full disclosure time …, there’s a possibility of the hacking being a hoax but it’s unlikely).

And where is Asma in all of this? Yakking it up with pals about online shopping sprees. Ah well, did we really think this  dictator and his wife were genuine humanitarians in spite of their apparent gestures of good-will to the indigent or their royal escapades in Europe (again, not a question).

Bashar and Asma al-Assad, go  yourselves.

Syria 2012

Asma al-Assad

Mordillo! Is your soccer a football?

And just because we feel like it, here’s a moment with Mordillo…


So what is it with calling football “soccer”? That’s an especially pertinent question given that we call one of our national sports “football” when foots ain’t got much to do with the game (with apologies to the periodic contribution of kickers and punters (punters?! that’s for another time)). Well, back in the 1800s as formal rules were being drawn up for modern football in the UK, groups participating in compliant programs were deemed members of “Association Football.” The pluralized common form for the Associations was abbreviated to “ssocia” and eventually was casually phrased as “socca.” The slight variation stuck as the weird little game made its way across the Atlantic into Canada and the U.S.

American football had its origins in British foot-and-ball based play and the American brand was initially heavily reliant on pedal activity like its cousin rugby. Eventually, the American version mutated from the more fluid game of traditional football into one that used various structures and physical mechanics that makes it unique from its ancestors. What became modern soccer in the U.S. didn’t arrive until after the American football version had become well established, so to differentiate, the name “soccer” stuck.

And there you go. Don’t say you never learned anything at Comics A-Go-Go! We are not just a processed sugar powerhouse. We occasionally throw a bit of whole grain your way to make you feel like you’re consuming healthy doses of education.

Speaking of education, we love the concept of an “honorary doctorate.” If the likes of George Bush, Glenn Beck, and Dolly Parton can get these certified stamps of “go to the head of the class” ridiculousness, then there’s hope for us as well. Now if we can just find some institution of higher education that is willing to sell out for less than they usually do…

Asma Al-Assad

Any regrets there, Rome University?