Current Magazine

Assad Emails: Harley Street Cardiologist Advised President About Spinning Suppression

Posted on the 16 March 2012 by Periscope
Assad emails: Harley Street Cardiologist advised President about spinning suppression

Protesters in a Galilee town tread on a poster of Assad as HItler. Photocredit: Freedom House

The cache of emails between President Bashar al-Assad of Syria and his coterie, uncovered by The Guardian, continues to provide insight into the regime that is presiding over a country in chaos. The latest is that Fawaz Akhras, the 66-year-old father of Assad’s wife, Asma, used a private email channel to advise the president and his wife about how to spin the suppression of the uprising. Akhras is a Harley Street cardiologist, reported The Guardian.

What did he say? Akhras offerred, over a nine-month period, “detailed political and media handling advice as well as moral support.” He advised Assad to respond to a Channel 4 film showing civilians being tortured by calling it British propaganda. He suggested that the troubled democracies of the Arab Spring should be brought into the frame, as well as Western response to the Occupy movements, and to the length of time it took for the West to intervene in Libya. Akhras had until recently been seen as a “modernising influence” on Assad. He was unavailable for comment when The Guardian tried to contact him.

What else is there? The Guardianalso revealed Assad’s music taste – New Order, Right Said Fred and the American singer Chris Brown feature. More significantly, perhaps, was a song by Blake Shelton, a US country star singing “God Gave Me You”, which contains these lyrics: “I’ve been a walking heartache / I’ve made a mess of me / The person that I’ve been lately / Ain’t who I wanna be / But you stay here right beside me / Watch as the storm goes through.” He also apparently ordereed Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II. And a biography of Steve Jobs. So, thinks Periscope, can we infer from this that he views himself as a genius evil supremo, like Jobs or Voldemort? Perhaps.

How do we interpret Assad? “Some men are born evil, some achieve evil, and some have evil thrust upon them,” said Theodore Dalrymple in The Daily Telegraph. al-Assad is in the third category – but that “hardly matters.” The emails published by the Guardian are “entirely plausible.” Though “physiognomy” is not an exact science, when you look at Assad “you see a weak man” – a “pettifogger rather than a brute.” But the weak can often be very dangerous. Assad wasn’t meant to be a dictator – that should have been his “vicious brother”, who died in a car crash. Assad just wanted to be an opthalmologist. By all accounts, when training, he was quiet and careful; it’s possible that when he returned to Syria “he harboured genuinely reformist ideas.” Having accepted the “poisoned chalice” of leadership, he must drink it to the dregs. But the shallowness of the psychobabble lyrics that he chose, and of the emails between him and his wife – “Hahahahahahaha, OMG!!! This is amazing!” – are sadly symptomatic of endemic shallowness across the world. We must not be complacent about this.

How do the Syrians see it? Reuters reported that it only reinforced their image of him as an insulated tyrant, “fiddling in his palace” whilst his country burns. The newswire quoted an opposition supporter, who said of Assad and his circle: “Those who are in a fog will stay in the fog. They have no heart and this won’t affect them.”


You Might Also Like :

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog

These articles might interest you :

  • How Smart Or Stupid is Your Country?

    I.Q. or Intelligence Quotient is a score derived from one of several standardized tests designed to assess human intelligence. Read more

    The 12 October 2014 by   Eowyn
    DEBATE, POLITICS, SOCIETY, SPIRITUALITY
  • Pilger The Pelican

    geoffffcross postedCredit : Humbug! The Skeptics Field Guide To Spotting Fallacies And Deceptive ArgumentsJohn Pilger is back. Bloody hell. All hopes it was jus... Read more

    The 10 October 2014 by   Mikelumish
    DEBATE, SOCIETY
  • A Probably-Popular Opinion on Unpopular Opinions

    I read a piece on xoJane today that I felt compelled to share on Facebook: After my friends fisked this silliness capably, the conversation moved on to the... Read more

    The 07 October 2014 by   Brute Reason
    SOCIETY, WOMEN'S ISSUES
  • A Majority Of Americans Don't Keep Up With The News

    If you wonder why the public keeps electing politicians who lie to them and have no real solutions to the problems facing this country, then this questionnaire... Read more

    The 07 October 2014 by   Jobsanger
    POLITICS, SOCIETY
  • Obama Casually Betrays Israel as Jihad Returns to America

    Michael L. (Originally posted at the Elder of Ziyon.}The Obama administration has decided that while the Jews of the Middle East must put up with genocidally... Read more

    The 06 October 2014 by   Mikelumish
    DEBATE, SOCIETY
  • Saudi Arabia and Qatar Funded Al Qaeda in Syria

    Here.The Saudi government armed and funded ISIS – in fact, it was referred to as Prince Bandar’s pet project.The Qatari government armed and funded Al-Nusra.Fro... Read more

    The 06 October 2014 by   Calvinthedog
    POLITICS, SOCIETY
  • Innovation Could Halve Brown Coal Emissions

    CSIRO, the national government body for scientific research in Australia, and its industry partners plan to conduct a A$1 million (≈$0. Read more

    The 01 May 2014 by   Dailyfusion
    CURRENT, ENVIRONMENT, SOCIETY

Add a comment