Bashar Al Assad’s wife, Asma al-Assad to Queen Rania: Our situation is quite excellent and stable; however, we are worried about you over in Jordan. I hope that you can relieve our worst fears and re-assure us.
A report emerging from Amman covered by “Al Quds Al-Arabi” tells a tale of keeping up appearances and tit-for-tat between neighboring (and perhaps jostling) First Ladies.
A Cold Call?
As Jordan shivers through a snow-storm, we catch up with the friendly-cool phone chat between two First Ladies, that threatens to keep the region in a deep freeze. The frosty, cool tone of the call is not far from the surface, as the Lion-ess is giving nothing away.
The wife of the Jordanian Monarch, Queen Rania, was more than mildly surprised (to say the least) by concern expressed by Syria’s First Lady, Asma al Assad, for Jordan, earlier this week. This friendly enquiry took place when the Queen consort took it upon herself to check in on her Syrian counterpart on a more personal basis than a political one. Personal, not state, welfare.
An exclusive Jordanian source – with an eye for a good story - reported that Asma al-Assad expressed her concern over Jordan, when she received an isolated, out-of-the-blue call from the Jordanian Palace; the caller none other than Queen Rania.
A Friendly Neighborly concern-call or one-up-ladyship? To chin-wag or to rub-noses?
According to the same leak, Queen Rania had made this courtesy call to Asma Al Assad to reconnect, as well as, naturally, to ask about the conditions and deteriorating situation in Syria.
Mrs. Bashar al Assad instead turned the tables of concern around when she led with her question on the Queen’s own state and wellbeing, not before allowing her own controlled response that her (and by the same token Syria’s) situation was "excellent" and "stable"; "they had nothing to worry about, thank God." Before rounding up the the conversation, President Bashar al-Assad’s British-Syrian wife took pains to point out that the news they were getting from Jordan concerned them, and that they wanted to make sure that everything was alright.
The details of the exchange related in this article beggar belief, if taken at face value. Still, dissembling in times of trouble can be the coping mechanism and saving-face prerogative of many a man or woman in distress. Especially for these chic, rarely ruffled, rather glamorous and poised ladies of state.
The fallout of the First Lady Catch-up
This telling telephone chit-chat in many ways reflects aspects of long-time bickering and tit-for-tat, from the Syrian side especially – that royal and state rumor mills have always implied marked the state of relations between the respective countries’ 'couple' heads of states. It also reflects the cold political relations between both sides at this time, complete with the heated mutual suspicion.
Shortly into the Syrian crisis, King Abdullah II was reported to have directly volunteered that, were he to have found himself in Al-Assad’s position , he would step down. Perhaps any patronizing undertones taken away from this advice have not been forgotten.
The telephone call which coincided with the Syrian Presidents wife’s recent press release  was not the only fruitless effort that Jordan had come up against, after attempting in vain to communicate with Damascus, specifically with the Presidential Palace. Prince Hassan Bin Talal, uncle to the King, revealed in a recent televised interview, that his nephew King Abdullah had tried to encourage Bashar al Assad to initiate reform, through telephone conversations. He insinuated that the Syrian side snubbed any Jordanian sympathy.
HM King Abdullah II had revealed that, at the beginning of the Syrian crisis, two telephone conversations took place, between himself and the Syrian President, advising the latter to open up politically. He then sent him an envoy, Dr. Khalid Al Karaki, a former Royal Court Chief, to helpfully outline Jordan’s experience with the formation of the “National Dialogue Committee”, to him.
These calls did not lead to much, nor could they arrive at any understanding. However, close sources to the Jordanian government spoke to Al Quds al Arabi revealing that several attempts on the part of Amman, to contact the Syrian President Bashar Al Assad have been disregarded.
There has been an intrigue mounting on the mostly silent First Lady of Syria , such that any news leaked on her perspective or position (including emotional state) at this time are of remarkable interest, as the case starts to get unavoidably personal.