After Five Bloody Years in Syria, Russia Is Turning Against Iran—and Assad It turns out that Assad is very corrupt and very much willing to kill his own people to get what he wants. I assume Putin can appreciate a certain amount of homicidal bent to get things done, but Assad apparently goes way beyond the Russian standard. And Assad's system for getting things done (it's hard to call it a government at this point) involves his cronies pocketing money left and right. At one point, Assad lied to his people, claiming shortages of fuel to explain electricity outages, while he was selling electricity to Lebanese businesses. Iran is also involved, as it wants to use Syria to lure the U.S. in to kill more Americans. If the U.S. ever goes to Syria, the troops should stop in Tehran on the way over there.