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

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

Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss!

Theodore GeiselOr Happy Gafumpleduck day or whatever it’s called in Seussville Heaven. If the good doctor had still been with us, he would be 108 today. Just putting that out there for no particular reason.

Dr. SeussNoting that Theodore Geisel’s day of recognition was coming up tomorrow, we read Green Eggs and Ham and our personal favorite: Fox in Socks. Finishing that, we pulled out a book of his World War II cartoons and shot a few pictures to share.

Dr. Seuss was quite the nationalist. His unflagging support for the war effort and his vicious attacks on the members of the Axis pulled no punches. The cartoons are rife with ethnic insults and stereotypes. We can’t imagine a lot of civility existed in an era of world-wide military aggression and mass genocide, so while the vicious stereotyping of a particular people is unfortunate, we feel no regret for the portrayal of Adolph Hitler and Benito Mussolini. Both were bastards in their own right. Having said that, Seuss’ xenophobia took a bad turn with regards to the Japanese. Unlike Germany and Italy where everyone was subordinate to the two maniacs, there was no clear evil tyrant running the show (was it Emperor Hirohito, Prime Minister Tojo, the supreme military command, individual sadists that ran roughshod over China and other Asian countries, commanders of prisoner of war camps?). Generally speaking, Seuss chose to use Tojo as the iconographic image of the Axis of Evil’s Japanese leg. His depictions were overtly racist, exaggerating Asian features and adding false stereotypes. The racial stereotypes weren’t the only problem. Some of Seuss’ work were complicit in fomenting American paranoia against the Japanese-American population. The shameful and illegal malignment, and incarceration of our citizens is highly offensive today but should have been back then too (and it was to many Americans who realized the resentment and fear was ill-founded). We get that in times of war elements of society require special scrutiny but it’s a dangerous thing to suspend individual freedom and it’s morally wrong to do it against an entire segment of the population.

Cover to Dr. Seuss Goes to War hardback bookDr. Seuss Goes to War contains dozens of political cartoons demonstrating Seuss’ support for President Franklin Roosevelt, his disdain for isolationists (people that preferred thinking of the war as an Asian or European problem in which the U.S. had no right or need to intervene), and general support for the Allies. It’s interesting to note that he was soft on the USSR and its terrible leader, Joseph “Small Balls” Stalin. War can make some strange bedfellows. It’s easy to see in retrospect that certain alliances make sense at a specific time but are not such good ideas in the long run. Kind of like the American support in the 1980s of the Afghan Mujahideen in its struggle against the Soviets. Years later, the Soviets had turned tail and the Afghan militarists took the ample weaponry and training supplied by the American C.I.A., and turned their attention to the infidel dogs of the West. Whoops. It’s said that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” … that is, until my enemy is dead and a new one is desired (hey, everybody loves to hate someone). When we think about American support for the Shah of Iran, Saddam Hussein, Fulgencio Batista, Augusto Pinnochet, Manuel Noriega, Husni Mubarak … the list goes on, we wonder why democracy is so good for us but not so much for others (the answer deserves thinking so we’ll leave that to you, oh dear reader). At least our leadership has a good track record of supporting these horrible people until it’s not convenient, after which we invade their countries. God Bless America. Save us from the idiots we naively choose to elect.

Anyway, on to the political cartoons of Theodore “Dr. Seuss” Geisel in Dr. Seuss Goes to War.

Just in! Beker Al-Assad may replace Bashar on the Syrian throne!

Syrian President

His Royal Highness, Mr. Bashar Helbibi Al-Assad

Let it never be said that Comics A-Go-Go! isn’t aware of the world’s current events. As the Arab Spring surges forward, we wonder just how long the son of Hafez Al-Assad can hang on. It’s odd, this thing with the dictators. Leadership spoils even the best of us. Bashar had some promise. The hope outside Syria was that he, of all the offspring of the ruthless tyrant Hafez, would relax the Al-Assad hold on the people of Syria. Oh, the naïveté.

There is a slim, albeit considered, possibility that we may see a middle-of-the road solution to the Syrian crisis. Preparations are already underway for a transfer of power (we predict that Bashar will be gone less than a year from now and most likely sometime this summer). However, rather than going all out to push for the chaos of a democratic venture or a trade-off for conservative sectarian tyranny, the option of keeping things within the Al-Assad fold could happen. Syrians don’t necessarily hate the Al-Assad family. They just dislike the terror of not knowing if they will be hauled off in the middle of the night to be tortured after drawing mustaches on the ubiquitous posters of Syria’s first son. Sooo, what about the second? Beker Al-Assad is currently residing in self-imposed exile in Amsterdam due to an embarrassingly public display of differing opinion between the two brothers on the issue of whether or not the existence of Israel was like the moon landing. Beker contended both were real. Bashar said he sided with Rush Limbaugh and said that both were made-up.

Once it was clear that Bashar would succeed his ailing father, he voiced his intentions to keep the regime rolling along with little change other than upgrading the national telephone system. Secret police? Same. Suspect incarcerations? Same. A dubious harem of Nordic women that may or may not have understood the solicitations to travel to Syria for  six-month, all-expenses-paid employment as nannies for the spoiled and cruel children of the political elite? Same.  Syrians now experience static-free, sterile “we know we’re being recorded” conversations with relatives but clearly that’s not enough, as demonstrated by the demonstrations.

The First Lady of Syria

Power = unnatural sex appeal. That is the only reason (well, besides money) that a hottie like Asma would hook up with the likes of chinless & shoulderless Bashar Al-Assad.

Beker threw his taqiyah into the ring early on with a promise that he intended to reduce sanctioned police kidnappings to no more than two nights per week and that foreigners would no longer be held against their will regardless of gender. This “soft” approach did not sit well with both father and eldest son. With the threat of his own imprisonment, Beker secretly crossed the border into Lebanon one night and flew to Amsterdam where he held a not-so-veiled disdain for his older brother’s eventual acquisition of supreme power.

Beker isn’t well-known to younger Syrians and enjoys only tepid regard from his countrymen that remember his controversial attempt to bring the Winter Olympics to Syria. The venture would have saddled a country already in a brutal recession at the time with debt it could not hope to pay down. But, there is a rising consensus, particularly among the moderates, that Beker may be a good solution to turn down the heat in the Land of Hummus — at least temporarily until the population can figure out what to do next. In the end, Beker may be the least of the evils that awaits in the Syrian future. God speed, Beker.


The Al-Assads in happier times (back row, l. to r. Shabez, Bashar, Beker, Beni-Beni and Janet; seated: Momma Anisa and Hafez