4 Sep 2013

Syria cartoons: how Assad’s soldiers mock Barack Obama

Barack Obama’s struggles to get support for military intervention in Syria have not gone unnoticed by Bashar al-Assad’s soldiers – who have been circulating cartoons mocking the US president.

The images, created by the soldiers and sent around the army’s divisions by phone, have been targeting the US president for his perceived failure to launch a strike on Syria.

President Obama’s troubles over Syria continued on Wednesday after the US Senate drafted a resolution which could delay any decision on military intevention by up to 90 days.

Look below for the cartoons and their translations.

No series of internet based humour would be complete without an image of a cat and a speech bubble, and the Syrian army is no different. The cat in the image is saying: “Where are these American battleships?”

The theme of waiting is continued in the below image of Lebanese singer al-Shahroura.

The 82-year-old singer, who still performs, is known in the Middle East for her long life and her use of plastic surgery.

In the image she laments: “I’m afraid I will die before I see this military attack you (Barack Obama) talked about too much.”

Barack Obama himself has also been a figure of fun for the soldiers, though in the cartoon below any humour has been lost in tranlsation.

The writing says “all the options are on the table” – the words “cucumber” and “option” have the same letters in Arabic.

President Obama’s race has also been used to mock him, as in the strip below.


Barack Obama: “Can you advise me mum. I could not send one cruise missile to Syria. I was crying but I could not bomb. What can I do to sort out my character?”

Obama “mother”: “You humiliated me (made me blacker than I am). You made me look like a piece of coal… You stupid, did not I tell you that you can fight with the whole world but not with the Syrians? Why did they put you as president? I do not know…”

Barack Obama: “What do you want me to do now? As if I am not the American president… Let them show me some respect…”

It is also not just President Obama who is a figure of fun.

In what could be poking fun at foreign media reports on Syria, the image shows a newsflash from “The Muodameyah al-Sham International Tanks Garage”. The man on the bike is Bashar al-Assad’s foreign minister Walid al-Muallim.

The newsflash says: “Trusted sources told Muodameyah al-Sham International Tanks garage that some people saw the foreign minister Walid al-Muallim heading to Turkey to defect.”

See more: #withoutwords - the conflict art smuggled out of Syria

However, it is not just the Syrian army that has been using humour to poke fun or make points about the country’s bloody civil war.

Syrian cartoonist Ali Ferzat in hospital after being beaten up in 2011 (picture: Getty)

Renowned cartoonist Ali Ferzat has been the most prominent figure in disseminating anti-regime art from before the conflict began.

Mr Ferzat’s satirical cartoons had been a part of Syrian life since the 1970s, but in 2011, after several cartoons criticising Assad, he was set upon by masked men believed to have been part of a pro-regime militia.

Mr Ferzat was severely beaten, including having both his hands broken (see picture, above). He is currently living in exile in Kuwait.

To view more of Ali Ferzat’s cartoons, click here (the link takes you to the “war” section of Mr Ferzat’s portfolio).