The British Guardian newspaper acquired, apparently from members of the Syrian opposition, a trove of personal e-mail exchanges from Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad and his wife Asma. The e-mails are stunning in their breadth — covering media advice for dealing with the year-long uprising to trivial matters like how to see the latest Harry Potter movie.
What’s so remarkable about the e-mails — which the Guardian believes to be authentic but couldn’t confirm — is that, for the most part, they’re not remarkable at all. They mostly show the Syria’s first couple buying furniture, clothes, and engaging with Western pop culture, even as Assad’s regime fired artillery shells into neighborhoods known to have a strong rebel presence.
For instance, Assad, using the pseudonym Sam, sent his wife an Apple iTunes file of a country song — “God Gave Me You,” by American Blake Shelton — on February 6, just as the government stepped up its assault on the rebel stronghold of Homs.