Leaked Assad emails reveal Iran influence

Emails leaked to 'The Guardian' reveal Syrian President Assad’s taste in music and affection for his wife.

By JONNY PAUL JERUSALEM POST CORRESPONDENT
March 16, 2012 02:55
2 minute read.
Asma Assad and Bashar Assad vote.

Syria Asma Assad and Bashar Assad vote 390. (photo credit: REUTERS)

LONDON – Thousands of emails purported to be have been downloaded from the private accounts of Syrian President Bashar Assad and his wife show he took advice from Iran on how to handle the uprising against his rule, joked about promised reforms and bypassed sanctions to shop on iTunes, The Guardian reported on Wednesday.

The newspaper said it received the more than 3,000 emails from a member of the Syrian opposition who it does not identify. The documents are said to have been hacked and leaked by members of the Supreme Council of the Revolution between June and early February.

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The emails paint a picture of a ruling family that seems far removed from a rebellion that has brutally killed more than 8,000 Syrians. According to the Guardian, the Syrian first lady, Asma Assad, spent tens of thousands of dollars buying luxury goods online, including gold jewelery laden with gems, chandeliers, silver candlesticks and furniture.

The purported emails also offer insight into the president’s inner circle. According to the Guardian, the emails show that Assad received advice from Iran. Ahead of a speech in December, Assad’s media consultant said his advice to the president was based on “consultations with a good number of people in addition to the media and political adviser for the Iranian ambassador.”

The memo advised Assad to use “powerful and violent” language and encouraged the regime to “leak more information related to our military capability.”

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The emails also allegedly show the Syrian despot was briefed in detail about the presence of Western journalists in the rebel-held Baba Amr district of Homs, and he was urged to “tighten the security grip” there. Several foreign journalists were among the hundreds of people killed in Homs in the past year.

The Guardian said it believes the emails are genuine, saying the cache includes details that, it said, “would be difficult for even the best-resourced hoaxer or intelligence agency to gather or fabricate.” However, the Guardian acknowledged the possibility that there are fake emails in the cache.

The trove of quoted messages suggests a loving relationship between the president and first lady.

In one email, Asma Assad informs her husband she will be done at 5 p.m. The Syrian leader responds by making light of the changes he has promised in Syria, saying: “This is the best reform any country can have that u [sic] told me where will you be, we are going to adopt it instead of the rubbish laws of parties, elections, media...”

According to the Guardian, Assad bypassed sanctions by registering his iTunes account in another name using a New York address.

On February 5, he sent his wife an iTunes file of US country star Blake Shelton singing “God Gave Me You.”

Other reported downloads include Walter Isaacson’s biography of Apple founder Steve Jobs and songs including “Don’t Talk Just Kiss” by Right Said Fred, “Bizarre Love Triangle” by New Order and “Sexy and I Know It” by LMFAO.


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