March 19, 2012

Bashar Assad’s e-mails

Bashar Assad’s e-mails

Abdullah Al Alami

Arab News - March 19, 2012


The Guardian revealed several thousand e-mails received and sent by Syrian President Bashar Assad and the First Lady.

As if the couple did not know that there are a lot of people on the Internet who might have interest in their communication, inboxes of Assad and his wife were monitored by activists for several months.

It became more obvious now that Bashar Assad (AKA sam@alshaba.com) had received advice from Iran on how to “handle” the uprising against his regime. Actually the communication advised Assad to use “powerful and violent” language and to show appreciation for support from “friendly states.” This is not something new, Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Amir-Abdollahian has reiterated more than once Iran’s full backing for the Syrian regime.

The Syrian leader was also briefed in detail about the presence of western journalists in the Baba Amro district of Homs and urged to “tighten the security grip” on the opposition-held city. We all know by now that Baba Amro’s residents had fled following a bloody military siege while Assad was trying to cover up evidence of atrocities there.

It is no secret that Iran and Hezbollah have been heavily involved in crushing the Syrian people uprising. It is also no secret that both Iran and Hezbollah are providing on-the-ground support to the regime. Western reliable sources indicate that the Iranian-Hezbollah support includes sending soldiers to fight alongside regime forces on the ground. Obviously Iran and Hezbollah denied offering anything more than moral support.

The documents revealed by the Guardian emerge on the first anniversary of the Syrian rebellion. It is unfortunate that while 8,000 Syrians were killed, the first family is completely insulated from the horrible crisis and continues to live luxuriously. The e-mails show that the first lady spent thousands of dollars for designer goods. Apparently the brutal slaughtering of hundreds of Syrian children did not prevent the first lady from enjoying expensive creations of top fashion designer goods, candlesticks, chandeliers, furniture and clothing.

I have no doubt that the Guardian has made extensive efforts to authenticate the e-mails — as it said — by checking their contents against established facts and contacting 10 individuals whose correspondence appears in the cache. I also have no doubts that the e-mails are genuine and reflect the true and actual Internet communication of the Syrian president and the first lady.

The Guardian reported that Assad has established “a network of trusted aides who reported directly to him through his “private” e-mail account — bypassing both his powerful clan and the country’s security apparatus.”

In his communication on the Net, Assad made light of reforms he had promised in an attempt to defuse the crisis, referring to rubbish laws of parties, elections, and media. The world needs to understand that deadly violence was created by the Syrian regime that is now thought to have left 8,000 dead and hundreds of thousands of people fleeing their homes. As usual, Syrian officials blame “armed terrorist groups” for the violence and claim that half the fatalities have been police and soldiers.

In another e-mail, the regime leaked more information related to its military capability to convince the public that it could withstand a military challenge. I believe this notion is out of place as many members in the Security Council called on Assad to end the violence and the bloodshed in order to move into a political process. Whenever the UN finds the key to peaceful outcome, the Syrian regime changes the lock.

Assad also was advised that the regime needed to take control of public squares at certain times of the day to deny opposition groups the opportunity to gather there. Although international criticism has mounted against Assad, the Syrian regime goes on the offensive to maintain four-decade grip on power in the country even if it means demonstrators demanding freedom have to be crushed.

After Assad’s e-mail was compromised in February, a new Syrian state TV channel broadcast two segments denying that Assad had used the e-mail address. Opposition activists claim that this was a pre-emptive move to discredit any future leaking of the e-mails.

Tweet: The term “dictator” started its negative meaning with Julius Caesar making himself a Dictator without a set limit to his term, and keeping the title until his assassination.

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