‘I Am the Real Dictator,’ Declares Asma al-Assad, Syrian Leader’s Wife

Leaked emails show the real nature of Syrian leader’s wife: now Asma can be seen for what she always was – the glamorous facade of a vicious regime.

Asma al-Assad, the British-born wife of Syria’s president, told a friend that she was the “real dictator” in the family, according to leaked emails that suggest she holds a cherished place in the leader’s inner circle. Photo: Ammar Abd Rabbo/Flickr

Asma al-Assad’s correspondence with Bashar al-Assad, his aides, friends and family portray her as highly supportive of her husband, reports The Telegraph.

In an email to a family friend on Jan 10, she praised a speech the president gave for conveying a sense of being “very strong, no more messing around”.

She complains that ABC News unfavourably edited an interview with her husband. But more than with her husband she is preoccupied with fashion and online shopping.

‘I am absolutely clueless when it comes to fine jewellery,’ Asma al-Assad wrote to her cousin as she awaits delivery of gold, onyx and diamond-encrusted necklaces being made for her in Paris. ‘Kisses to you both, and don’t worry, we are well.’

According to Daily Mail, in November 2011 — when the armed conflict broke out on the streets of Syria — Asma was asking a London art dealer about works costing between £5,000 and £35,000.

Five months ago, Asma was discussing a £6,257 marble-topped table with a bespoke furniture supplier in Billingshurst, Sussex.

On Jan 17, she circulated an email with a joke at the expense of the people of Homs, shortly before a regime onslaught that would claim hundreds of lives.

Mrs Assad received an email from her husband titled “Student who obtained 0% on an exam”.

The email contained one of those  jokes that circulate widely on the internet, in the form of questions with silly answers. The first was: “In which battle did Napoleon die? – His last battle”.

The next day she forwarded the email to her father and two other family members with the changed subject line: “A really bright Homsi student!”

She seems to be focused on internet shopping rather than the horrific plight of the people she professes to care for.

Even more shocking is the fact that her own family comes from Homs, the city at the centre of the uprising that has been brutally battered by her husband’s regime.

Mrs Assad’s “dictator” comment was made during an exchange with a friend about how much attention spouses typically pay to each other.

“As for listening – I am the REAL dictator, he has no choice …” she wrote on Dec 14. Her use of the word in reference to her husband suggests she understands how others regard him.

Asma al-Assad is a daughter of a Harley Street cardiologist and his diplomat wife. She grew up in the London suburb of Acton. Despite the fact she is a Muslim, she went to a Church of England school, where friends called her Emma.

She was studying computer science and French literature at King’s College, London and later she was working as a banker at JP Morgan. During this period she started secretly dating Bashar, the nerdy former eye doctor being groomed to succeed his despotic father in Syria.

The mother of three, who chats affectionately with her family, receives shopping offers from John Lewis, and speculates about potential overseas holidays with friends, she was often styled as her nation’s answer to Princess Diana.

But international sanctions forced her to shop online with an alias and to to ask friends to collect jewellery from Paris. To receive a delivery of furniture she had to find a friendly shipping company in Dubai.

This image of a modern and democratic wife of Syrian leader fooled the whole world.

Paris Match called her ‘the element of light in a country full of shadows’. Vogue drooled over her as ‘a rose in the desert’ in one of  the most fawning magazine articles ever written.

When French president Nicolas Sarkozy was warned by aides that Bashar Assad was an appalling tyrant, he said in reply that ‘with a wife as modern as his, he can’t be completely bad’.

Even such celebrities as Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie and Sting were happy to be pictured laughing beside the president and his wife.

It is obvious from the emails that the president is affectionate to his wif. However, his inbox shows that two of his trusted aides were young Syrian women based in the United States.

A woman who looked to be in her 20s sent him a photograph of herself standing provocatively against a wall in her underwear.

And his cynicism is sometimes striking: he disparages his reforms to appease protesters as “rubbish”.

At the same time his wife at least seems to be aware that four decades of Assad family rule could end soon.

“If we are strong together, we will overcome this together … I love you …”, she wrote to her husband on Dec 28.

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