Barack Obama strike threat is butt of Syrian jokes

A Syrian caricature shows US President Barack Obama smile and pluck the petals of a daisy, as he wonders, "Should I bomb? Or shouldn`t I bomb?"

Damascus: A Syrian caricature shows US President Barack Obama smile and pluck the petals of a daisy, as he wonders, "Should I bomb? Or shouldn`t I bomb?"

As Obama delays a strike against President Bashar al-Assad`s regime thought imminent just over a week ago, Syrians on both sides of their civil war are resorting to black humour, sharing jokes and cartoons via mobile phone and the Internet.

After saying he had the authority to act on his own to strike Syria for its deadly use of chemical weapons near Damascus on August 21, Obama then referred the matter to Congress for a vote.

Now, with the prospects of a quick congressional vote diminishing and Obama cautiously welcoming a Russian initiative that would see Assad hand over his chemical arsenal, an imminent decision by the president is even less likely.

That apparent hesitation to act has given both pro- and anti-Assad Syrians a field day.

One Syrian posted a picture of Obama on Facebook with a biting caption that reads: "When Congress gives me the green light to strike, I will ask my wife Michelle and my in-laws. If they say it`s alright, I`ll go ahead!"

Meanwhile, an Assad opponent said on the Internet he wants to "sue Barack Obama for spreading false information and for breaching the peace," 10 days after announcements were made of what seemed to be an imminent strike.

Another joke making the rounds on anti-regime Facebook pages was much darker, more than two years into a conflict that has left more than 100,000 dead.

"Mr President, you are right. We should wait another three years until the Syrian people are extinct," it read.

Cartoons mocking Obama`s "indecision" made the rounds, with one depicting the US president as Walt Disney`s Mickey Mouse.

Some shared a joke about a man using unconventional means to propose to his fiancee: "Honey, let`s wait till after the strike. We`ll see what happens then."

Others told of a man who tried to convince his wife they needed to find a new home before the strike, while she replied: "Let`s wait. Rent will be cheaper afterwards."

While the regime appeared not to have put in place any exceptional measures ahead of a possible, some commentators mocked the panic stirred in neighbouring countries.

"The Israelis have distributed gas masks, the Jordanians are on alert, the Turks are deploying anti-aircraft missiles day and night, the Lebanese are nervous, the Iraqis are lost and the Egyptians are following up on our news more than their own...

"Are we sure there`s a strike against Syria?" quipped one Facebook user.
The football theme ran through many jokes, as a cartoon mocking the idea that Obama`s strike would hit sensitive targets showed players covering their groins with their hands.

"Hide them well. We want to continue having children," the caption reads.