Today the Syrian revolution is one year old, and the day is featuring a frenzy in the main and social media over the leaked emails of Bashar Al-Assad and his wife Asma Al-Akhrass, published yesterday by The Guardian. The emails were obtained by The Guardian via some activists who were monitoring the Assads email accounts since last year. The emails are full of luxurious shopping lists, iTune downloads, games, music, Harry Potter and other silly YouTube video links exchanged between the couple themselves and with others.
They only show the Assads not only living in denial of the crisis which Syria is currently experiencing, but rather living with total ignorance of it, as if they are living on another planet. They simply don’t know about it. Bashar Al-Assad seemed full of ‘self-pity, defiance and flippancy’ as per The Guardian description.
You can go and read how the emails came to light here, and check the full collection here, with a photo summary of some of their shopping list here, but I want to expand a bit on the email sent by the Lebanese journalist Hosein Mortada (as per his spelling, but can be written as Hussein Mortada).
Hosein Mortada is the manager of Damascus office for both the Iranian channels Al-Alam (Arabic speaking) and Press TV (English speaking). Yes, Al-Alam is the same channel that promotes fabricated conspiracy photos. Anyway, Hosein Mortada’s Facebook page features pro-regime news and pro-Hezbollah material, and has more than 21,000 subscribers with nearly 5,000 friends, so he is kind of ‘media icon’ with the regime fans.
In his email, Mortada corresponded with another key media advisor for the Syrian regime Hadeel Al-Ali advising her that it was not a good idea to accuse Al-Qaeda of Damascus bombings minutes after the explosion (he’s right actually). He was promoting the accusation which points towards the United States. Here is the main bit translated by The Guardian:
I have even received contacts from Iran and Hezbollah – me being the head of many Iranian and Lebanese media channels – and they directed me not to mention that Al-Qaida was behind the operation cause it would be a blatant media and tactical mistake and futile.
This only proves what we knew at the time, that Al-Qaeda didn’t do it, and they made us laugh with their blunders even on following explosion too. Syrian regime sympathizers, and as usual when it comes from the opposition, Angry Arab News Service and Anti-everyone on Syria Assad Abu Khalil ridiculed the email calling it a hoax with no obvious reason or any investigative work. The email only reinforces what was available in the public domain at the time: Syrian regime accused Al-Qaeda, while Hezbollah accused America, and the contradiction was clear then.
Hosein Mortada’s email proves the close involvement of Iran in Syria, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that Bashar Al-Assad listens to everything they say! The rest of the emails prove that Bashar was downloading from iTune, and Asma was shopping at Amazon, and both watching some Got Talent YouTube videos while Homs was being shelled by the Syrian Army.
Photo credit: taken from Hosein Mortada’s facebook page.
Update 15/03/2012: In this new email, Hadeel gives an extensive advise to the president on his upcoming speech. She initially hints about some Iranian advice.