1. This explains a lot. Britain’s Guardian newspaper says it has obtained 3,000 emails from accounts used by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his wife, Asma. They paint a picture of a ruling family “remarkably insulated from the mounting crisis and continuing to enjoy a luxurious lifestyle,” buying high-priced goods online, trading entertaining video clips, and downloading music from iTunes. Here, some of the most compelling revelations from the emails:

    • The Assads listened to country music as Homs burned
      The day after Assad’s military began its deadly shelling of rebel neighborhoods in the city of Homs, the embattled dictator sent his wife a video of country crooner Blake Shelton’s song “God Gave Me You.”
    • Asma is “an internet shopaholic”
      "While the country erupted" around her, Assad’s U.K.-born wife, went online to buy diamond and onyx necklaces, a Ming Luce vase, and $15,000 worth of candlesticks, tables, and chandeliers.
    • President Assad sidestepped sanctions — to get iTunes downloads
      Assad used a third party with an address in the U.S. to get around Washington’s sanctions so he could get music and apps from Apple’s iTunes. His purchases reportedly included the iPad game Real Racing 2, and tunes by singer Chris Brown.
    • Friends abroad say: Come stay with us!
      A daughter of Hamid bin Khalifa al-Thani, the emir of Qatar, recently urged Asma to convince her husband to avoid being killed by fleeing Syria, and to “re-start a normal life,” suggesting that Doha is a good place for exiled leaders.
    • President Assad sidestepped sanctions — to get iTunes downloads
      Assad used a third party with an address in the U.S. to get around Washington’s sanctions so he could get music and apps from Apple’s iTunes. His purchases reportedly included the iPad game Real Racing 2, and tunes by singer Chris Brown. 
    • The Assads and their friends aren’t totally out of touch
      Asma sent a friend a note about a pair of $4,000 Christian Louboutin heels. The reply: “I don’t think they’re going 2 b useful any time soon unfortunately.” 

    For more information on the uprising in Syria, here is a link to all our recent coverage. 

     
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    Few things in my life have come around more nefarious than the tyrannies that the Assads have brought to Syria. They...
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