September 9, 2013 Inquiry & Analysis Series No. 1015

The Syrian Crisis As Reflected In Cartoons In The Arab Media

September 9, 2013 | By N. Shamni
Syria | Inquiry & Analysis Series No. 1015

Numerous cartoons have been published recently in the Arab media in response to the escalation of the Syrian crisis following Bashar Assad's reported chemical attack near Damascus on August 21, 2013, and to the U.S.'s preparations for a possible military attack in Syria in reaction to this chemical attack. Many of the cartoons criticize the U.S., especially President Obama himself, for defining the use of chemical weapons as a "red line" but hesitating to respond now that this red line has been crossed. Others criticize the U.N., depicting it as weak and powerless to deal with the crisis or as turning a blind eye to Assad's use of chemical weapons. Still others express opposition to a U.S. attack in Syria, saying that it would destroy Syria and harm its people, and even spark war throughout the world. Some cartoons also criticize Assad's cruelty and predict that he will respond to a U.S. attack by retaliating against his own people.

The following is a sampling of these cartoons:

Obama's "Red Line" Is Meaningless

"Syria": On right: "Chemical [weapons] are a red line"; on left: "Nuclear [weapons] are a red line"

Al-Watan (Saudi Arabia), August 23, 2013

"Syria's chemical weapons are a red line!"

Al-Watan (Saudi Arabia), August 17, 2013

Obama plays with the "red line"

Al-Quds Al-Arabi (London), August 28, 2013

Obama entangled in his own "red lines"

Al-Bayan (UAE), August 25, 2013

Assad gets a scolding: "Bombard, shell and kill, but no more chemical weapons!", August 30, 2013

Obama, Locked In Hesitation, Cannot Make Up His Mind

While Obama hesitates between "Geneva 2" and "Kosovo 2", Assad plans "chemical [attack] 2"

Al-Dustour (Jordan), August 27, 2013

Obama "Can't"

Al-Raya (Qatar), September 2, 2013

"Obama the Small"

Teshreen (Syria), August 5, 2013

Uncle Sam says: "We're going to intervene in Syria"; after thinking of Iran, Russia, Al-Qaeda, he adds: "...without toppling Assad"

Al-Ittihad (UAE), August 29, 2013

Obama torn between "attack" and "no attack", August 31, 2013

The balloon of Obama's threats about to burst over Damascus, August 30, 2013

The U.N. – Blind And Powerless Vis-à-vis Use Of Chemical Weapons

U.N. looks the other way while Assad commits "chemical massacre"

Al-Watan (Saudi Arabia), August 22, 2013

"The chemical massacre"

Al-Dustour (Jordan), August 22, 2013

"Chemical weapons are a red line!"

Al-Dustour (Jordan), August 30, 2013

U.N tortoise overtaken by chemical weapons

Al-Watan (Qatar), August 25, 2013

Chemical missile shuts up "U.N. inspector in Damascus"

Al-Wasat (Egypt), August 26, 2013

Assad to U.N. inspectors: "We aren't using chemical weapons!!"

Al-Wasat (Egypt), August 24, 2013

"U.N. investigation of Syria's chemical weapons"

Al-Dustour (Jordan), August 19, 2013

Criticism Of Assad: Will Retaliate Against His Own People

"The Syrian regime: We will not surrender even if World War III breaks out", September 7, 2013

Assad: "[Our] response to any American attack has been prepared. The only thing left to decide is the location: Aleppo, Homs or Rif Dimashq Governorate"

Al-Dustour (Jordan), August 31, 2013

"We expect a U.S. attack at any moment and we are ready to respond. For every American missile falling on Syrian soil, dozens of missiles will rain on the Syrian people"

Al-Dustour (Jordan), September 2, 2013

"Damn you, Bashar, you've left us nothing to bomb!"

Al-Dustour (Jordan), August 29, 2013

Foreign Intervention Will Hurt The Syrians

"Syrian Homeland" caught between Assad (i.e. the lion) and "Foreign Intervention."

Felesteen (Gaza), August 28, 2013

U.S. punishes Syria while Assad and his chemical weapons escape unharmed, September 6, 2013

Obama's "Limited Operation" Against Syria

Al-Ayyam (PA), August 28, 2013

*N. Shamni is a Research Fellow at MEMRI.

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