OSLO, NORWAY – Syrian President and all-around great guy Bashar al-Assad will receive the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize, announced Nobel Committee Chairman Thorbjørn Jagland in a press conference today.
“Amidst so much crisis and consternation at home, Mr. Assad always says just the right thing just in time to avert all-out world war,” Jagland said, citing the fact that he didn’t recognize any of the other nominees’ names as especially influential in his Committee’s decision. “Our hope is for that spot-on lip service to stand as a beacon for generations of tyrants and mass murderers to come.”
Indeed, Assad — responsible for the death of more than 100,000 Syrians over two years — was selected for the prize from a field of 259 entirely unknown nominees, whose names, sources confirm, would likely not have made very good headlines.
In Damascus, the Ba’ath leader responded modestly to news of his selection and used the opportunity to take aim at critics.
“All praise surely belongs to my generals and to every soldier who has done his part to stem the spread of violent extremism in our beloved country,” Assad said, adding with a smile that this whole thing has really been a fantastic group effort. “To the American fools who would see my ouster, I’ll say only that they don’t exactly give medals to bad guys, do they?”
While Assad indeed represents a controversial pick for the Nobel Committee, his selection has so far been met with remarkably little criticism, least of all from opponents in Syria.
“A wise and virtuous decision,” hailed one shopkeeper in the Damascus suburb of Ghouta, speaking, he swore, entirely of his own volition and with no fear of reprisal whatsoever were he to say anything different.
In other parts of Syria, news of the award was met with celebratory gunfire and indiscernible shouts of joy in the streets, though conflicting reports indicate that these might alternatively have been simply the yawning sounds of unthinkable human tragedy.
The prize — and a monetary award of approximately $1.5 million — will be presented on December 10 at a ceremony in Oslo. Assad will join an elite community of past Peace Prize recipients, to include Yugoslav dictator Slobodan Milošević, fascism, the bubonic plague, and U.S. President Barack Obama.
“It will be an honor,” Assad said, noting privately, however, that $1.5 million seems a bit stingy and won’t go nearly as far in the global weapons market as it used to.