Middle-East != North Korea
You and your family would not get beheaded in public under Assad for talking against the regime. It is quite ironic that Assad was actually quite a progressive leader compared to the US allies in the region (USA's Best Friends Forever Saudi Royal Family and Mubarak). While my whole heart goes to anyone seeking true democracy, a lot of the reason why Syria is in such a mess is because Assad is an Iranian ally supporting Hezbollah, and Israel and the West want that support for Hezbollah and Iran to go.
Of course now Assad has crossed the line and there is only one way this will stop, he must go one way or the other. Only thing US and Israel didn't seem to calculate at first is that what's going to come after him is much, much less friendly. They're just starting to realize that now. As one commentator put it, "The Muslim Brotherhood leadership is waiting in hotels in Turkey, ready to take the reins once Assad is gone". Once again, we've played a role in overthrowing a secular regime and replacing it with an Islamist one. We're getting good at this.
However you are right that many middle-easterners "don't get" western humor. Some see things like that and believe it is serious. Also, while here in the west you can openly joke about religion and God (even Christianity), they would not think those kind of things are funny. As usual, we say we're right and they're wrong. Truth is it's just a cultural difference and cultures are bound to clash in an open world with an open internet. It's not just between Westerners and Middle-Easterners though. I'm sure Chinese people look at American shows and think "WTF is honey boo boo? Jersey shore? USA dogs!"
MSDOS is not dead, it just smells that way. -- Henry Spencer