Syria’s Assad has become an icon of the far right in America

The Washington Post reports: Among the postings on what might have been the Facebook page of James Alex Fields Jr., the driver of the car that killed a counterprotester at the right-wing demonstrations in Charlottesville, Va. on Saturday, were images of far-right favorite Pepe the Frog, swastikas and a baby portrait of Adolf Hitler, according to BuzzFeed.

Perhaps more surprisingly, there was also reportedly a picture of Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad, in full military uniform, inscribed underneath with the word “undefeated.”

Screenshots of the now-inaccessible profile were widely circulated on social media on Saturday and Sunday, although the account’s authenticity could not be confirmed. But the apparent fascination with Assad would fit a more general link between the far right and the Syrian regime that has grown increasingly pronounced in recent months and played a role throughout this weekend’s white nationalist rally in Virginia.

Assad’s politics — and those of his father before him — have historically been associated more with the left than the right. His late father, President Hafez al-Assad, was the closest Middle East ally of the Soviet Union throughout the Cold War. The son has enjoyed the stalwart support of international leftists throughout his attempt to crush the six-year-old rebellion against his rule.

In recent months, however, Assad has become an icon also for the far right, whose leaders and spokesman have heaped praise on the ferocity with which he has prosecuted the war, his role in fighting the Islamic State and his perceived stance against Muslims and Jews. [Continue reading…]

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