Conflict & Justice

Syria: Assad's Emails Revealed

The Guardian newspaper has brought to light what appear to be thousands of emails from Syrian president Bashar al Assad, his wife Asma and other regime insiders.

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(This story is based on a radio interview. Listen to the audio to hear it.)

If authentic, the emails offer remarkable insight into the regime.

Zeynep Tufekci, a professor at the University of North Carolina and a watcher of all things Arab Spring tells host Marco Werman that the emails suggest that the Assads appears to be obsessed with social media.

And they're avid online shoppers.

"It appears that the sanctions in place did not stop anyone in the Syrian regime in the higher echelons from purchasing whatever they wanted to, including Mrs. Assad's penchant for furniture, and Christian Louboutin shoes, and whatever else she wanted, she was able to get just using proxies, friends, fake addresses," says Tufekci.

Some of the links forwarded in the email are bizarre. One YouTube link President Assad supposedly sent to an aid features an Arab League monitor portrayed by the Fat Controller from Thomas the Tank Engine, and a toy car with a tea straw made to look like a tank turret.

Tufekci says the adolescent humor "just shows you that sometimes the problems with these autocratic regimes is this bubble that can be created around the rulers that you cannot penetrate easily."

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