Wikileaks outs Syria's real friends: the Western Connection

Published July 12th, 2012 - 08:51 GMT

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Assad family's Vogue Rose in the Dessert photo shoot appears in March 2011
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Image 1 of 8: Family Guy & 'Rose of Desert': Thinking their image could use a little work, the Assad family appeared in a glamorous Vogue magazine-shoot the same month massacres began in their Syria. Vogue (saying the story was closed January during Tunisia's plight) subsequently took the story off their website after they realized the timing was a little off.

Italian Finmeccanica in cahoots with Assads for surveillance
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Image 1 of 8: More Europe than Persia in cahoots with Assad: According to the emails published July 5, Italian defence company, Finmeccanica, had been supporting Assad's covert communications systems for the past four years. This meant years of regime intelligence services tracking down human rights activists with the support of European companies.

Is this mysterious girl from Assad's inbox Lamis Omar?
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Image 1 of 8: By July 8, we had heard the name (Lamis Omar) of the mystery female Assad aide who got a prestigious UK university degree. Durham university refused to say whether her tuition fees were paid for by the regime but the rumors continued. Apart from possibly sending him raunchy pictures of herself, she allegedly inboxed him with poetry.

Rami Makhlouf the do-gooder tries his ruthless hand at charity
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Image 1 of 8: Wikileaks shares the truth about Assad's cousin, Rami Makhlouf: Arguably the most powerful businessman in Syria, Makhlouf claimed he was now the charitable sort, having quit ruthless capitalism. But not so, says Wikileaks who reveals that at least one MP was in jail for daring to criticize him, and that he was busy stocking up on Qatari shares.

Assad seeks help from Iran and Hezbollah in his Shabiha arm
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Image 1 of 8: Although we suspected Assad was getting Iranian help, with talk of Shia face-markings corroborating this theory, the gory details didn't emerge until this week. According to the leaks, 3000 revolutionary guards and 2000 Hezbollah soldiers were aiding Assad and shooting Syrian soldiers who refused to kill protestors.

Qatari royal family's connection with the Assads
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Image 1 of 8: Qatari sell-outs: Maybe you hadn't seen the chaos in subdued Syria coming but the Qatari royals certainly had. Being savvy businessmen with more than a little insider information, they started selling off their Syrian shares in July last year when the violence was just starting.

Assad calls on British for palace revamp
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Image 1 of 8: Palace makeover: Who better to redesign your palace than a British lord? As Wikileaks revealed, Assad turned to Lord Kenilworth to re-work his summer mansion for hundreds of thousands of dollars.

US PR firm Brown Lloyd James continued to buff Assad image
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Image 1 of 8: US spin-doctor for Assad: After the ill-timed Vogue shoot, courtesy of PR firm Brown Lloyd James, BLJ claimed to have halted work for the Assads. But, say Wikileaks, they spent a further 2 months buffing the regime image, offering advice to make First Lady seem less Butcher's Wife in the wake of rumors of Assad's forces killing Syrian civilians.

Just days after the first Syria Leaks are trickling through, since the 5th of July, 2012, Al Bawaba brings you up to speed with the most salient files so far. Wikileaks' latest dispatch of emails, dated from August 2006 til March 2012, have been allocated the unique label "Syrian Files" by the notorious champions of electronic transparency.

The trusty Wikileaks website promises to release their treasure trove of emails over the next couple of months, which include more than 2 million sent emails, belonging to Syrian officials from private and public sector. The files come in many languages, among them 400,000 emails are Arabic and 68,000 emails are Russian. 

While masses more are still due, and we might eventually end up swimming in Syria leaks, we launch this latest 'dump' in bite-sizes, bringing you the first batch of incisive findings in one user-friendly picture-slide panel. See above.

Revelations and findings

Beyond mystery ladies, cousins and Shabiha torture-mongers, there are tales of friendly commerce between outward enemies and 'Voguing' or wife-promotion.

If Bashar al Assad's image is beyond damage-control now, it's not to say he didn't recruit assistance earlier on in his struggle against his people and the media.  Assad has been quite assiduous about his image in the past and has not let him self go completely, without calling upon his spin-doctor and friend in the United States. As the Assads continued to maintain trade agreements with Western outfits, they didn't want to let sanctions come between business pacts. International sanctions to them spelt just a problem with the supply chain at times. Contrary to western official lines, which preach the need to isolate the regime, there is an evident lack of will to end profitable commercial bonds.

From the latest breached files, it would seem that the axis of friends for the Assads lies more in Italy, Britain and the US, less Hezbollah, Iran, Russia. These Syria files heavily implicate the Syrian regime as being happily ensconced with their Western buddies for image cosultation, communication infiltration, and even for building the 'house beautiful'.
 
What emerges is more than foreign citizenship in the Syrian establishment. It would seem the relationship between the Syrian Regime and the West is not  limited to Syria's First Lady's British nationality and upbringing. Wikileaks shows up a more established set of relations between the Assads and certain outwardly disapproving nations than the beleaguered President would want known. 

These are the inner workings of the President and his shady associates behind- the-scenes of explicit regional politics, liaisons the West and Syria would rather stayed under-wraps. But nowadays the truth will out - especially when any shades of truth lie in email leakable form (take the Assad email leaks from the Guardian which revealed lives of luxury lived, while Syrian people increasingly suffered and feared for their safety).

 

What are your thoughts on these latest Syria leaks? Leave your comments in the space below.

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