Seriously bad timing on the part of Vogue to publish Joan Juliet Buck’s profile on Asma al-Assad, wife of Syrian dictator, Bashir al-Assad:
Asma al-Assad, Syria’s dynamic first lady, is on a mission to create a beacon of culture and secularism in a powder-keg region—and to put a modern face on her husband’s regime.
Asma al-Assad is glamorous, young, and very chic—the freshest and most magnetic of first ladies. Her style is not the couture-and-bling dazzle of Middle Eastern power but a deliberate lack of adornment. She’s a rare combination: a thin, long-limbed beauty with a trained analytic mind who dresses with cunning understatement. Paris Match calls her “the element of light in a country full of shadow zones.” She is the first lady of Syria.
Syria is known as the safest country in the Middle East, possibly because, as the State Department’s Web site says, “the Syrian government conducts intense physical and electronic surveillance of both Syrian citizens and foreign visitors.” It’s a secular country where women earn as much as men and the Muslim veil is forbidden in universities, a place without bombings, unrest, or kidnappings, but its shadow zones are deep and dark. Asma’s husband, Bashar al-Assad, was elected president in 2000, after the death of his father, Hafez al-Assad, with a startling 97 percent of the vote. [!!!!!] In Syria, power is hereditary. The country’s alliances are murky. How close are they to Iran, Hamas, and Hezbollah? There are souvenir Hezbollah ashtrays in the souk, and you can spot the Hamas leadership racing through the bar of the Four Seasons. Its number-one enmity is clear: Israel. But that might not always be the case. The United States has just posted its first ambassador there since 2005, Robert Ford.
Yes Syria, that safe, secular, modern and democratic (!!!) paradise that harbors Islamic terrorists groups from all over the Middle East. The Syrians love it so much they elected her husband with 97% of the vote! What happened to the other 3% after the election you can figure out on your own.
Vogue – read it and you can be elite too.
HT: The Jawa Report