Bashar Al Assad
When Bashar Al Assad’d dad Hafez al Assad
Died, possible heirs having faced the firing squad
He was the unanimous choice for president
Hafez ne’er had time for opinions dissident
Of the lion in his name he thought nobility
A luxury using only blood lust and cruelty
The few who stuck their heads above the parapet
Received a quick visit from the Mukhabaret
And were thereafter never seen and heard no more
Folks hoped that Bashar would stick to the rule of law
Assad Père did not believe in negotiation
To him the slightest dissent was provocation
If one man said something to which he took umbrage
He sent his planes to bomb and burn his whole village.
His military was no match ‘gainst Israel
So next best thing, he bombed his own people to hell.
Hama City was home to nearly a million
Devout Syrians who cared much about religion
They were mainly Sunnis and viewed with suspicion
Talking to an opponent is simply not done
When one is in possession of a modern gun
To best deal with opponents, Assad understood
You begin by calling them Muslim Brotherhood.
Then you give your ruthless brother Rifaat free rein
Gas launchers, armoured vehicles tanks and airplanes
Order him to sort out this li’l local problem
And any rebellion with a show force to stem.
The cost of the Hama massacre was between
Said the U.N., fifteen thousand deaths to eighteen
To which Rifaat sneered, that’s nothing to celebrate
The exact figure in thousands is thirty eight.
After his plot against brother Hafez was foiled
He escaped with his life to Old London, well-oiled
With billions in his suitcases ready to buy
Twenty-six million pounds mansions on the sly.
From there he jetted to Geneva or Paris
Seen at casinos, signing deals, dining at the Ritz
Taken to court by the French this was the judgement
Guilty as charged of laundering and embezzlement
The billions were a gift from a Saudi royal
Was thrown out as, euphemistically, surreal
He was sentenced to four years of firm detention
But was found to have a medical condition.
After half a century of Ba-athist repression
People hoped that there’d be some relaxation
When Bashar took over, Syrians had expected
A conciliator with a sound reformist head.
He might have tried this path if he only knew how
But tho’ he’d learnt the eye he’d never learnt powwow.
He promised more democracy, more freedom
But he was lacking in diplomatic wisdom,
Full ten years at the helm and nothing much had changed
Which made his rapport with his people more estranged
Children in Dar’a wrote slogans ‘gainst poverty
Were arrested, beaten with clubs witout pity.
Their mothers and fathers gathered in the town square
And warned the government of their wrath to beware
Bashar only recalled his father’s reaction
And decided on the same course of action
He despatched army and police armed to the teeth
Told them, Don’t come back until you restore complete peace.
The fragile peace between Sunni and Alawite
He did not foster but fed to it dynamite.
He too knew that the safest, the easiest battle
Was the one you declare against your own people.
He had little truck with talks and conciliation
An opponent exists for elimination.
Russian and Iranian friends promised massive aid
Whilst western help was not forthcoming or delayed.
His father had not taught him wisdom only guile
Brand your enemy islamist and shoot him in style.
At a stroke he turned folks demanding more freedom
Into jihadists aiming for Allah’s kingdom.
Potential backers of the opposition
Swallowed the lie reinforcing his position.
He sent in tanks and attack helicopters
To Homs, Baniyas to cut off gas and water
And electricity, bombed buildings and food depots
Turning towns and cities into ground zero
Then the Syrian Liberation Army appeared
Under armed, undermanned, their manuals dog-eared
It was a full-scale fratricidal civil war
Fought to the death, pitilessly, no hold barred.
They stood no chance against the might of Vlad Putin
Firebombed, subjected to napalm and sarin.
The rebels fought hard and some provinces they won
But in the end lost them all one by one.
Bashar will be remembered for the part he played
In the destiny of the half million Syrians slayed
In the misery of five and a half million
Refugees despatched to oblivion
Because a man with no gift of leadership
Had the arrogance to grab the helm and steer the ship