While the Washington office of Brown Loyd James is busy polishing Syrian Dictator Bashar and his wife’s public images, it appears that the regime continues to tighten its grip on the throat of its version of the Arab Spring.

From the NY Times

In the speech, Mr. Assad addressed the massacre in the village of Houla, in which 108 people were killed, 49 of them children. Most of the victims were shot at close range or stabbed. The United Nations found indications the attack was carried out by the the shabiha, armed militiamen controlled by the government.

Snapshot of Syria

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From Wikipedia & SOFREP

Bashar al-Assad

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's wife diagnosed with breast cancer

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  • Hafez al-Assad (ED: Bashar’s Dad) died on 10 June 2000, after 30 years in power. Immediately following al-Assad’s death, the Parliament amended the constitution, reducing the mandatory minimum age of the President from 40 to 34. This allowed his son, Bashar al-Assad, to become legally eligible for nomination by the ruling Ba’ath party. On 10 July 2000, Bashar al-Assad was elected President by referendum in which he ran unopposed, garnering 97.29% of the vote, according to Syrian Government statistics.

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  • Bashar said he would reform and become more progressive but Syria hasn’t seen much.
  • Over the years the authorities have tightened Internet censorship with laws such as forcing Internet cafes to record all the comments users post on chat forums.While the authorities have relaxed rules so that radio channels can now play Western pop music, websites such as Facebook, Amazon and Wikipedia.
  • On 5 October 2003, Israel bombed a site near Damascus, charging it was a terrorist training facility for members of Islamic Jihad.
  • In May 2004, the United States moved closer to imposing sanctions on Syria, following the adoption of the Syria Accountability Act by the House of Representatives International Relations committee
  • They maintain close ties to Iran.
  • Always had tensions with Israel since the states beginning.
  • In April 2008, President Assad told a Qatari newspaper that Syria and Israel had been discussing a peace treaty for a year, with Turkey acting as a mediator. This was confirmed in May 2008 by a spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. The status of the Golan Heights, a major obstacle to a peace treaty, is being discussed.
  • The 2011-2012 Syrian uprising is an ongoing internal violent conflict in Syria. The Syrian government deployed the Syrian Army to quell the uprising, and several cities were besieged.  According to witnesses, soldiers who refused to open fire on civilians were summarily executed by the Syrian Army. The Syrian government denied reports of defections, and blamed “armed gangs” for causing trouble.  In late 2011, civilians and army defectors formed fighting units, which began an insurgency campaign against the Syrian Army.
  • The Syrian spring from a casual glance appears to be a well funded foreign campaign.

I say we let Bashar and his hot wife go back to minding their own business and we (the U.S.) focus on specific areas of interest like Iran, Pakistan, Southeast Asia and North Africa. We could also start repairing the foundation of democracy in our own U.S. backyard before concrete and rebar turn into a house of cards.

(Photo Credit: Vogue Magazine)