In what could indeed (sickly) be good news for the public relations industry, it seems that Syrian President Bashar Assad is winning the war in his country. After a civil war which has seen the use of chemical weapons, and nearly 100,000 people killed Assad remains in power and has some International support, of course led by Russian leader Vladimir Putin.
It seems Assad is intent on staying in power – and as he recently said he is considering running for President for the next elections in 2014. As he told AFP, “This question will be decided at the given moment. If I feel there is any need for my candidacy, and that will be decided after consulting the people, I will not hesitate to stand.”
Perhaps amongst those celebrating is a major public relations company, Brown Lloyd James, that worked for the Syrian government for many years. Through the years, they helped Assad brand their crackdowns on citizens, and secured a glowing feature story in Vogue Magazine on Assad’s beautiful wife. Even when there were mass arrests of citizens they were urging Syria to communicate clearer and better to the media. In a document which was leaked these spin-doctors stated Syria suffered from “an imbalance in its communications approach.”
Since the civil war began in 2011, there’s been 38 lobbyist contracts in Washington, DC regarding Syrian issues. Business always outshines human rights – and the lobbying includes companies such as Exxon Mobil, Boeing and CITGO Petroleum. Naturally, business and dollars are more important than thousands of dead people.
Maybe we will see a rush of communications companies to Syria working on Assad campaign to whitewash Assad’s record. Stranger things have happened.
Ronn Torossian is CEO of 5WPR, a PR firm – which won’t work for Assad.