Alex Rowell

The Miqati connection

Emails shine further light on friendship between Assads and extended family of former Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Miqati

(Illustration by NOW)

Previous leaks have touched in passing on the relationship between the Assads and members of the Lebanese Miqati family, particularly the businessman Azmi Miqati, CEO of the investment holdings conglomerate M1 Group and also nephew of Najib Miqati, two-time prime minister of Lebanon (from April to June 2005, and from January 2011 to March 2013).


It was in exchanges with Azmi that Bashar al-Assad’s wife, Asma, famously declared “I am the REAL dictator” and also said she was a “monster.”


In the previously-unseen correspondence below, NOW shines further light on relations between the two families, which are evidently warm. For example, it is through another Miqati, Ayman, that the Syrian president purchased multimedia content from the online iTunes store. Azmi also offers occasional comments on regional political affairs, and while not himself a politician, he evidently derives certain privileges from his uncle: in one email, he tells Asma he is accompanying the then-prime minister on an “official” trip to the Vatican, where he will meet the Pope.



“Nice but scary too (a look into the future I guess)”


On 26 November 2011, Asma wrote the following email to Azmi:


Morning Greetings from a Bright Damascus,


I heard you were here....but not HERE, so I guess you didn't get your dose/boost.


God only knows what kind of a state you are in.  Well, needless to say we are all


well.  Kids were away so we had 24 hours to ourselves....nice but scary too (a look


into the future I guess).


Not sure when you are next here or HERE, but I heard that MTN have given the green


light for the Trust collaboration - which of course is great news.  They have


contacted Fares (the guy I pinched from you!) on how best to proceed.  If you are


coming anytime soon, I would prefer we discuss a few things before the Trust is




Let me know if this works for you


Kiss(tm) = Mira + Taha + Nada + Laith – Azmi


Take care




Later the same day, Azmi replied:


Good morning from beautiful Rome, Najib is on an official visit to the Vatican and


thought I would come along with Mira, Nada, Taha & Leyth for them to visit the


Vatican and meet the Pope....


I was in Beirut last week, tried calling to pass by but I guess he was too busy or


he intentionally wanted to keep me worried and in suspense for a little longer,


Should be back next week and this time will just camp next to the house to make sure

I get to see him :)


I am back Tuesday afternoon and staying till Friday, if you have time I can be


available at your convenience for us to discuss the collaboration.



Hope you managed to make the best out of the 24hrs to yourselves, where did the kids


go? Did they enjoy it? Did they miss you as much as you missed them? When Nada went


on her school trip she was very sad worried how much she will miss us, during that


whole week Mira and I were miserable counting the minutes of when she will be back,


when she came back she enjoyed it so much that she was actually sad to be back


missed her friends and had completely forgotten about us !!!


Hugs & Kisses (how do you manage to do the small TM) to, BA, HA, ZA, KA +++++++++ to




Azmi T. Mikati



Birthday wishes


On 11 September 2011, which was Bashar al-Assad’s birthday, Azmi wrote him the following email:




Hope all is well.


Tried calling you just wanted to wish you a Happy BDay and wanted to hear if there was any surprise this

 year J

Take care & will try to call you tomorrow.




Azmi T. Mikati




Azmi offers to “pass by” Bashar


On 14 September 2011, Azmi wrote the following email to Assad:





I am in Beirut for a couple of days.



Let me know if you are free would pass by to say hi.



Take care,


Azmi T. Mikati



The iTunes fixer


On 1 January 2012, Bashar wrote to Azmi seeking to fix an apparent problem with his iTunes account. “thats what i got while trying to buy a gift” reads the subject line (the body of the text is missing in the version extant in the leaks).


Three days later, Azmi replied, saying, “Do you know what address you have on the Itune account? This might be the problem.


The next day, Assad wrote: “Us store and the billin address is ayman's one in us


It worked temporary only twice then stopped again


Let me try it and tell you if its ok


Later the same day, Azmi replied: “I believe it is an iTunes issue please let me know if it still does not work and I will open a ticket with them.


Then, on 13 January 2011, Assad wrote to Azmi once more:


> Hello
> I'm still having the same problem with iTunes gifts purchase. can you check with Ayman?
> Thanks


To which Azmi replied on the same day: “Sure will



Magazine shopping


On 28 November 2011, Assad wrote the following email to Azmi:


Hi Azmi
Can please find me those magazines?
The artists guide to photoshop
The artists guide to illustrator
Computer arts
Imagine FX
Photo plus
Outdoor photographer
Photo pro
Artist and illustrators
50 photo projects
Digital photography
Digital arts
Digital camera world


The next day, Azmi replied: “Sure, I will try to see if I can find them here in Beirut.





On 5 January 2012, Azmi sent a New York Times article about crackdowns on press freedom in Turkey to both Bashar and Asma, commenting in the subject line: “The west really do not know what Muslim Brotherhood is all about. they are  being fooled



Taha Miqati


On 30 September 2011, Azmi’s father, Taha Miqati (brother of Najib) forwarded Assad an analysis article written by the Stratfor consulting firm, titled, “The Syrian Opposition: Perception and Reality.” The article concluded the opposition was too weak and fragmented to overthrow the regime, and that a stalemate was the likely outcome for the near future. 

(Illustration by NOW)

It was in exchanges with Azmi Miqati that Bashar al-Assad’s wife, Asma, famously declared ‘I am the REAL dictator’ and also said she was a ‘monster.’”

  • cedrus

    Opie, this is old news. The Guardian and the Telegraph reported these back in 2012. Here's one from the Guardian about the veracity of the emails: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2012/mar/14/how-know-assad-emails-genuine

    May 20, 2015

  • Opie

    Alex, I find it odd that you have not indicated the source of this material. Did NOW hack the Mikatis or Assads inboxes? If not, where were these emails originally published? Thanks, Sam

    May 19, 2015