Syrian President Bashar Assad continues to deny responsibility for massacres taking place daily in his country, and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says the nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only.

Clearly, their claims are laughable and it doesn’t take much to see they are lying through their teeth.

If the West realizes this now, this has certainly not been the case for a long time. It continues to be duped into thinking that it is being told the truth and relies on the idea that people are innocent until proven guilty even if all evidence points to the contrary. While this is necessary in a regular court of law, rogue leaders need to be dealt with in a more suspicious fashion and come under heavier scrutiny.

In Assad’s case, you don’t need proof to know that he is the one behind the wholesale slaughter taking place.

In February, 7,000 innocent civilians had been killed in Syria. Just four months later, that number has doubled to over 14,000.

According to Reuters, Assad condemned last week the “abominable” massacre of more than 100 people in Houla, saying even monsters could not carry out such acts, and promised a 15- month-old crisis would end soon if Syrians pulled together.

But empty promises are what allow regimes like Syria and Iran to continue their malfeasant activities.

Ever since Muhammad used deception when he signed a 10-year treaty with the Meccans that allowed him access to their city while he secretly prepared his own forces for a takeover, Middle Eastern leaders have long been notorious for spreading lies and deceit to support their interests.

In the case of Ka’b bin al-Ashraf, Muhammad used deception to trick his enemies into letting down their guard and exposing themselves to slaughter by pretending to seek peace.

And again later, Muhammad used deceit to kill Usayr ibn Zarim who was attempting to gather an armed force against the Muslims. Muhammad’s emissaries went to ibn Zarim and persuaded him to leave his safe haven on the pretext of meeting with the prophet in Medina to discuss peace.

Once vulnerable, the leader and his 30 companions were massacred.

The notion of “Taqiyya,” an immoral tactic to trick the enemy in wartime by offering a false peace or truce while preparing to attack once the enemy lets down its guard, is considered by the Koran to be an acceptable way of Muslim diplomacy.

Not only do people like Assad and Ahmadinejad strictly adhere to this concept, but many others have as well.

During the 2003 invasion of Iraq, Iraqi politician Mohammed Saeed al- Sahhaf became known as “Baghdad Bob” for spewing outrageous propaganda lies. He once claimed that there were no American troops in Baghdad while two American tanks could be seen behind him on the screen.

Palestinian leaders are equally guilty in spreading outrageous propaganda lies.

At the Aspen Institute’s Aspen Ideas Festival a few years ago, Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad said, “Jews to the extent they choose to stay and live in the state of Palestine will enjoy rights and certainly will not enjoy any less rights than Israeli Arabs enjoy now in the State of Israel.”

But his words are deceiving.

Just a few months after Fayyad’s speech in English, PA President Mahmoud Abbas said, in Arabic, “We are prepared to move toward peace based on international resolutions, the Road Map and 1967 borders, but when a Palestinian state is established it will be empty of any Israeli presence.”

In an interview with historian Benny Morris that appeared in The Guardian 10 years ago, Defense Minister Ehud Barak is quoted as saying that Palestinians have no compunction about telling lies and see truth as irrelevant.

He said, “They are products of a culture in which to tell a lie... creates no dissonance... They don’t suffer from the problem of telling lies that exists in Judaeo-Christian culture.”

“Truth is seen as an irrelevant category,” he said. “There is only that which serves your purpose and that which doesn’t. They see themselves as emissaries of a national movement for whom everything is permissible. There is no such thing as ‘the truth.’” In an op-ed in the same paper, Benny Morris wrote, “The Palestinian Authority has emerged as a virtual kingdom of mendacity, where every official, from President Arafat down, spends his days lying to a succession of western journalists.

The reporters routinely give the lies credence equal to or greater than what they hear from straight, or far less mendacious, Israeli officials. One day Arafat charges that the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) uses uranium-tipped shells against Palestinian civilians. The next day it’s poison gas. Then, for lack of independent corroboration, the charges simply vanish – and the Palestinians go on to the next lie, again garnering headlines in western and Arab newspapers.”

Even Mosab Hassan Yousuf, son of Hamas leader Sheik Hassan Yousuf, bravely devotes his time to dispelling Arab lies about Israel.

And lies abound.

As pointed out by a blogger on mepeace.org, in April 2002, after a horrific campaign of suicide bombings murdered dozens of Israelis, the IDF entered the Jenin refugee camp in the West Bank to kill or capture terrorists.

Palestinians claimed that much of the camp was leveled, with a death toll of thousands. A subsequent United Nations investigation revealed that only 52 Palestinians died – more than half of them terrorists.

Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat also lied about a massacre by the IDF in Jenin.

At the time he told CNN’s Jim Clancy, “You know, the Jenin refugee camp is no longer in existence...”

As the media-monitoring organization CAMERA points out, Erekat repeated the charge one week later to CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, stating: “There is no longer a refugee camp there. And maybe the [Israeli] defense minister and the prime minister of Israel want to deny what CNN is showing, that the camp was totally destroyed.”

Hezbollah launched the Second Lebanon War in summer 2006 by kidnapping two Israeli soldiers. Again, casualty figures were inflated. For example, then-Lebanese prime minister Fouad Siniora said that Israel had deliberately massacred civilians in the village of Houla. This was duly reported.

He later admitted that there had been only one death. The systematic use of doctored and staged pictures gave us the word “fauxtography.”

After Hamas violently took control of the Gaza Strip in 2007, Israel closed its border crossings with Gaza. Hamas exaggerated the effect of the closures.

An almost comical example took place when the media published photos of a “candlelit” meeting of Parliament despite the fact that sunlight was shining through the heavy curtains.

Mark Twain famously quipped that “a lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.” And the reason lies travel so fast is because the world media creates an avenue for leaders to say anything they want.

A Forbes article in 2002, titled “Ahmadinejad Lies, and the West Complies,” describes how “Ahmadinejad claimed that there was no crackdown in Iran against the opposition and that the people in his country enjoyed complete freedom.”

The article goes on to say that Ahmadinejad is “getting his information from the Koran, which directs Muslims to deceive their enemies until such time as they are strong enough to destroy the infidels. It is a shame that the media in America provides him with an avenue for this deception.”

Clearly, the world needs to wake up to the lies that are being told, especially by the Iranians and Syrians, and the media needs to start questioning the rhetoric that goes against facts on the ground.

Please LIKE our Facebook page - it makes us stronger