Now, while I find the glorification of this woman and the trappings she's reaped through it's brutality, I feel like playing devil's advocate for a moment. This woman is not her husband. Maybe she's a brutal demigogue in her own right, comparable to Saddam Hussein's legendarily bloodthirsty wife, who once told her son Usay to cut out the maid's vagina (if I remember the story correctly), or maybe she's just a conflicted capitalist en par with any CEO's consort- looking the other way. Who knows, she may feel horrible deep-seeded guilt at being the secondary face of her husband's brutality and may disagree with him whole heartedly, though she apparently married him in 2000, as a successful, educated woman, knowing full well his reputation and the regime's tactics. Maybe she was pushed into the marriage by family members solidifying already close political ties. And maybe, she's suffering her own abuse at the hands of her husband. I'm giving all these tyrant's wives a little smidge of moral leeway, because it is the middle east, and a lot of these political marriages are pre-arranged, and miserable, and I know from my own family's experience that they sometimes cannot end- or they end particularly badly. My aunt was married to a high level employee of the Emir of Kuwait. My aunt, a Christian from Jerusalem, was married-off at the tender age of 19, and moved there. Due to her incredibly restricted lifestyle (Wahabi-style shariah codes) she developed an alcohol problem. She was accustomed to life in Jerusalem where she had friends, sisters, and cousins who she could visit freely. From my mother's account she was disgusted with everything about Kuwait and her husband's job, and wanted to divorce and move to Los Angeles with the rest of her cousins, or stay in the UK permanently where the family had a flat. During the Gulf War, she had a full nervous breakdown- everything was stolen by the Iraqi Army- including her dowry- and upon trying to move to Britain she was detained by their security services on account of her Jordanian passport. After a time in Britain, trying to get a visa for the States, they returned to Kuwait, and for years, we'd receive phone calls in the middle of the afternoon- 2 or 3am her time- drunk as a skunk, crying- bawling, "Oh, my loves, how I beg to God every day to see you, I miss Jerusalem, I miss my family, I want to leave. I can never be free here." A year after my mother died, she died of cirrhosis. Did she agree with the repressive regime her husband worked for? No. Did she agree with her husband's decisions which affected the course of government there? No. Did she reap the rewards of his wealth? Yes. Does that mean she was a horrible person? No. But, the situation is different. My aunt was married in the late 50's. She didn't complete her college education. She had very little political clout. Mrs. Assad. however has a political pedestal, thanks to her education, as does Queen Rania, as did the wives of Mubarak and Ben Ali. But then again no one wants to end up the beheaded wife of a prominent political figure. Unlike Cindy McCain, their dissent has more immediate consequences. But then again, the rebel forces would hang them in the town square if they could.