President of Syria
Bashar al-Assad was studying to be an ophthalmologist and trying to avoid politics until his older brother was killed in a car crash in 1994. He succeeded his father as Syria’s president in 2000. Though members of the minority Alawite Shiite Muslim sect, the al-Assad family has considerable wealth and influence. Alawites ascribe deity to Ali. Many Muslims consider them heretical. The US, European Union, France, and Israel contend that, under Bashar, Syria gives moral and material support to numerous terrorist organizations, including Hezbollah, Fatah al-Islam, and Islamic Jihad.
Bashar al-Assad on Wikipedia