Posts Tagged ‘Asma Assad’

Where will Assad go?

Thursday, December 27th, 2012

A little while ago, I was asking, Assuming Assad asks asylum . . . will he go to Cuba, Venezuela, or Ecuador? One commenter asked about Bolivia, too.

Assad Is So Out of Vogue that the Russians are distancing themselves,

The Syrian dictator has yet to be pried from power, but with the Kremlin sending war ships for a possible evacuation of Russian citizens, it may not be long before the Assads are passé. That’s good news, isn’t it? In the Middle East, “yes” and “no” are rarely correct answers.

We can say this: Assad’s downfall would be preferable to Assad’s survival. As U.S. Central Command chief General James N. Mattis told Congress last March, regime change in Syria would represent “the biggest strategic setback for Iran in 25 years.”

Hugo Chavez, who had those weekly direct flights from Damascus and Tehran to Caracas, is now in Cuba supposedly recovering from his fourth cancer surgery, but delegating some duties “related to the budget, expropriations and government debt” to Maduro, his VP. With the prospect of a prolonged post-Chavez power struggle, it’s unlikely that Maduro is willing to be welcoming Bashar and Asma anytime soon.

Cuba has much to lose when Hugo’s gone, and, considering that Russia’s turning its back on Assad, what is there for Cuba to gain by taking him in?

Ecuador, Nicaragua, and Bolivia are possibilities, but only if Assad can line a lot of coffers. Enough coffer-lining to justify a lot of unwanted attention?

Asma and Cristina Fernandez are big Louboutin fans, but Argentina’s got enough problems; let’s hope Cristina doesn’t decide to jump that shark. She’s not that crazy, is she?

One thing is clear: any country who welcomes the Assads will be signaling that it welcomes Iran’s meddling in its affairs, too.

Of course, all of this assumes that Assad’s own people are going to allow him to get out of the country. Now that the top general responsible for preventing defections within the military has become a defector himself, it may turn out that the Assads may not be able to reach the airport alive.

Cross-posted at Liberty Unyielding.

Assuming Assad asks asylum…

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012

…will he go to Cuba, Venezuela, or Ecuador?

The embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is considering the possibility to claim political asylum for himself, his family and his close circle in Latin America if he has to cede power, a newspaper reported Wednesday.

Syria’s Deputy Foreign Minister held meetings in Cuba, Venezuela and Ecuador over the past week, and brought with him classified personal letters from Assad to local leaders,” the Israeli newspaper, Haaretz, reported.

Hmmm…Let’s think that one through:

Cuba would love to add a dentist to its roster of practitioners of “excellent free health care”. [CORRECTION: Merv advises me that Assad’s an eye doctor. But what about those Marathon Man jokes, then?]

Venezuela could resume its direct flights to Damascus, so Assad has a non-stop to Caracas.

And Rafael Correa would certainly try to get a Vogue interview as follow-up to Asma’s Rose of the Desert feature. Now that Anna Wintour may become ambassador, the mag may go for it.

So many possibilities…

Indeed, the olden days when the world’s evil men could count on South American dictatorships offering hiding places may be back again.

Cross-posted at Liberty Unyielding.

Asma in Vogue

Wednesday, April 20th, 2011

Vogue Mag recently did a puff piece on the fashionable Asma Assad, treating her as if she was married to a guy who invented laser surgery or something while running a wonderful country. Austin Bay pulls the rug right under Vogue’s kowtowing to the dictator’s wife,
Syria: Father-Son Dictatorship Remains in Vogue

Vogue described Mrs. Assad as “young and very chic — the freshest and most magnetic of first ladies,” who “is on a mission … to put a modern face on her husband’s regime.”

But prose lipstick and cosmetic patois cannot camouflage Syria’s blood-splattered legacy and its ongoing horror. Just as the Vogue article appeared in late February, Tunisia’s Jasmine Revolution began to shake Mr. and Mrs. Assad’s regime. Two months later, Syria continues to quake. The regime has killed around 200 demonstrators since the end of February, though no one knows for sure, since Assad’s government has restricted access within the country.

Vogue kowtowing to Asma? Swank, baby. The BBC interviewing anti-regime protestors? Suddenly the Vogue mask drops and the Assad regime’s hard face appears.

That hard face has quite a history. Troublemaking in Lebanon, common cause with Iran and relentless war with Israel are part of that history. But the Assads’ longest-running war has been against the Syrian people. Hafez al-Assad, Bashar’s father, ordered the February 1982 massacre in the city of Hama. Regime security forces murdered between 7,000 and 20,000 people; Syrians I know claim that one day the mass graves will be excavated and the 20,000 figure will be ratified.

Bashar took charge in 2,000, after Hafez died. He was a fresh face with a bit of style. But like father, like son, the secret police remained employed and the jails remained filled. Like father, like son, the body count, inside and outside Syria, continued to mount. A U.N. investigation of the February 2005 assassination of Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri found evidence of Syrian involvement. Former Syrian Vice President Abdel-Halim Khaddam later told the German magazine Der Speigel, “I am convinced that the order (to kill Hariri) came from (Bashar) Assad.”

Under Bashar, Syria continues to arm Shia Hezbollah and Sunni Hamas. Hezbollah gives Assad a way to exert backdoor control over Lebanon. With Hezbollah and Hamas as allies, together Syria and Iran wage a war of political and economic attrition against Israel.

Bashar, like Hafez, wears the hard face well. Despite secret police intimidation and the mass deployment of security forces, however, demonstrations in Syria have not subsided. Still, 200 killed in 2011 isn’t 1982’s slaughter of 20,000. What gives?

Videos of the protests, taken by Syrian activists, are cropping up on the Internet. New media may have given Bashar’s regime pause. Bashar is clearly not repeating Moammar Gadhafi’s mistake of threatening the mass murder of dissidents. Bashar claims he will lift Syria’s state of emergency. It has been in effect since 1963 — again, like father, like son.

The Vogue article goes on to mention Asma’s “alliance” with the Louvre Museum, as if Asma herself had any personal resources to back up such “alliance”, other than her marriage to a dictator.

Over in Syria, another day, another massacre.

Fresh face on a dictator’s regime? It’s Vogue, babeee…