Bashar al-Assad succeeded his father in 2000 as the president of Syria and continues to be the leader of the Ba’ath Party today. At the outset of his presidency, Assad introduced plans to globalize the Syrian economy. Shortly afterward, he was blamed for economic lapses, corruption, and human rights abuses. Almost 6 percent of annual Syrian GDP is spent on the military and thousands of political prisoners currently sit in jail.
This Chris Brown-loving dictator—which may or may not attribute to his abusive tendencies—ranks high on our list at number four, not only for brutal atrocities against his own people but also for the censorship of press during the recent uprisings. Over the past 16 months, although he denies involvement, Assad has presided over mass killings, arbitrary arrests, and torture of Syrians in response to the insurrection. He accused the uprisings of being plots orchestrated by foreign countries and has made strong efforts to keep the international media out of Syria. Most recently, he amended the Syrian constitution, introducing a 14-year cumulative term limit for the presidential office of Syria.