The Guardian –Syrian activists have been gunned down, families massacred and revolution is still rocking Syria, but leaked emails apparently show the country’s president and his wife living an opulent lifestyle. Some of the emails highlight President Bashar al-Assad as a fan of America’s Got Talent, and U.S. country singer Blake Shelton. Asma al-Assad appears to be an avid shopper.
From June last year to February 2012 about 3,000 al-Assad’s emails were intercepted by members of the opposition group the Supreme Council of the Revolution. They were apparently downloaded from private accounts that belong to Mr. Assad and his wife and passed to Britain’s Guardian newspaper. The emails give insight to the regimes handling of the bloody crackdown that international observers estimate has claimed the lives of more than 8,000 civilians in Syria, many of them children.
Most interesting, one email obtained by the Guardian document the fact that Bashar al-Assad took advice from Iran on how to put down the uprising against his rule. Another email suggests that Bashar al-Assad was briefed in detail about the presence of western media in the Baba Amr district of Homs, the same place two western journalists were killed earlier this year. According to the Guardian, the president was also urged to “tighten the security grip” on the opposition-held city in November. Ahead of a speech Mr. Assad delivered in December his Iranian media consultant prepared a long list of themes, reporting that the advice was based on “consultations with a good number of people in addition to the media and political adviser for the Iranian ambassador.” He was urged to use “powerful and violent” language in a bid to appear strong and to leak details of military strength to intimidate any challenges.
The Guardian said it had made extensive efforts to authenticate the emails by checking their contents against established facts and contacting 10 individuals whose correspondence appears in the cache. ”These checks suggest the messages are genuine, but it has not been possible to verify every one, “the Guardian said.