It's a jungle out there! Bringing out the animal in the Middle East's leaders

Published May 16th, 2013 - 17:03 GMT

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Netanyahu polar bear
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Image 1 of 10: Bibi the polar bear: Though appearing docile, the polar bear is the largest land carnivore on earth and with the threat of extinction, they are aggressive and extremely vicious. As Bibi the Bear goes, his mode is to protect his species - and state- and satiate his carnivorous cravings. Could they be a similar type of mammal?

Abbas walrus
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Image 1 of 10: I am the walrus: Can you see the Palestinian President as this flipper mammal? Abbas may not have the tusks or the blubber to serve him in climes colder than historical Palestine, but Abu Mazen is in possession of the whiskers, the stamina and the thick skin to (over) stay in power.

Ahmadinejad goat
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Image 1 of 10: The mischievous goats are always butting heads and running loose. Is Ahmadinejad comparable or is he more of a scapegoat, the blame taker for all of his Supreme Ruler’s gaffs? Perhaps there is another animal more suited for Iran’s outgoing President. Hyena, I hear you cackle?

Salam turtle
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Image 1 of 10: Salam to our very own turtle: Lebanon’s new PM Tammam Salam has settled quietly into life as the Levantine premier, slowly and surely establishing his authority with a number of astute appointments for a long in the making cabinet, keeping a calm head at the top of one of the region’s most volatile democracies.

Bashar Assad meerkat
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Image 1 of 10: You may have guessed lion, but think again. A meerkat is rather helpless on its own, but these mobbing weasels are always travelling in groups called clans, and then they wreak terrible havoc. Assad serves as the sentry for his mongoose mob, giving directives and keeping them free to do their damage.

morsi bear
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Image 1 of 10: Morsi - Ol’ Winnie the Pooh was a serene, simple bear who saw life through a basic lens. Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi has come across during his first term as innocent, nestled in his tree oblivious to the world crashing down around him.

Erdogan owl
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Image 1 of 10: Sat atop his perch, perusing the world south of his home, wise ol’ Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has kept a cool head, even after the bombing on Turkey’s border. Even Bibi the Bear has issued a Flotilla apology to the sagacious leader in recent days.

hadi hippo
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Image 1 of 10: No animal is feared more in the soppy drudges of African swamps than the fierce and massive hippo. Yemen’s President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi has needed to channel the beast as he battles the Al Qeada infestation in his country.

Omar Bashir fish lips
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Image 1 of 10: Omar Bashir of Sudan: This fat-lipped fish may look more likely to pucker up and kiss you than give you the war criminal treatment but appearances can be deceptive and this uncompromising fellow’s pout is more piranha than Nemo.

Maliki puffin
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Image 1 of 10: Nouri al-Maliki has had to somehow manage the varying terrains of religious and tribal violence. Just as a puffin can swim, walk or fly according to the situation, Iraq’s leader has had to use an array of skills just to keep his head above the water.

Ever wondered if the world of Middle Eastern politics was a jungle, who would be the lion? Of course you have! And you’ll know just what a beast of a task it is...

Here at Al Bawaba we’d never assign such a controversial title to a single politician for fear of delivering an ego-boost so strong that the volatile region would immediately combust. Instead we’ve simultaneously scoured the entire region and the animal kingdom, plucking politicians and their inner animals and serving them up side by side, so you don’t have to. 

Check out this cheeky gallery of Middle East leaders given an animal likeness. We spotted an uncanny resemblance between some of our big chiefs and their appointed counterparts in the animal kingdom. We're just saying...And we made sure there were no dogs or pigs on them!

Find out if Bashar al Assad is truly the lion of our jungle, or is there more to this animal-leader likening than meets the eye? Welcome to the Middle Eastern political jungle!

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