February 8, 2012 by staff
Asma Al-Assad, Asma al-Assad has been condemned for supporting her husband, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, as the bombardment of her family’s home city, Homs, goes on. But do autocrats’ wives ever rein in their husbands?
The first public intervention of British-born Asma al-Assad, 36, since the uprising began in Syria nearly a year ago was an email from her office to the Times newspaper in London.
In it she expressed her support for her husband, the president, while stating that she “comforts” the “victims of the violence”.
It’s estimated by human rights groups and activists that more than 7,000 people – 2,000 members of the security services, and 5,000 others – have been killed in the unrest, and Syrian opposition supporters promptly condemned Mrs Assad’s “hypocrisy”.
But her stance should come as no surprise, says Rime Allaf, an associate fellow of Chatham House, the London foreign affairs think tank.
“Why are we shaming her and saying she should do something? There was never any question that she would do anything else.
“Even if, deep down, she was not happy with what’s happening, she wouldn’t be able to do anything about it.
“And even if, between four walls, she told him ‘I don’t approve of this’, we wouldn’t know about it. Let’s be more realistic about this.”
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