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Syria’s First Family Revealed

Samara Greenberg

Some three thousand hacked emails said to be written by Syrian President Bashar al-Asad, his wife Asma, and their advisers were published this week. Leaked to the Guardian by Syrian opposition activists who reportedly monitored the family’s emails for the majority of last year, the messages give the world a look into the Asad’s glamorous life as the Syrian regime brutally suppressed its people.

As thousands of Syrians were being murdered, Asma al-Asad apparently kept herself busy by spending tens of thousands of dollars purchasing lavish items on the Internet, including handmade furniture, jewelry, chandeliers, and curtains from Paris and London. Meanwhile, Bashar enjoyed downloading music that includes a wide variety of American tunes from country star Blake Shelton to dance group LMFAO and their big hit, Sexy and I Know It.

Asma and Bashar al-Asad in Paris in 2010.

The emails also show that Iran and Qatar reached out to Asad with advice several times. In one instance, Tehran reportedly told the president to stop blaming al-Qaeda for a bombing in Damascus. And on another occasion the daughter of the emir of Qatar, Mayassa al-Thani, wrote to Asma al-Asad urging her to come “out of the state of denial.” She later offered the family exile in Doha.

The emails provide little information on any discussions Bashar may have had with advisers in how to deal with protesters, and likely can’t be used as ammunition by the opposition in garnering international support against the Asad regime. Nevertheless, if true, they show that Asad and his wife have lived a somewhat normal life — for their standards, of course — as their armed forces continue to kill innocent civilians.