Attributed to the 11-year-old son of Syrian President Bashr Al-Assad, a Facebook post written in English appeared to taunt President Barack Obama. It is impossible to confirm whether or not the post may have actually been penned by the boy, Hafez Al-Assad, but observers of Syria say that it offers insights into the mindset of the embattled Mideast nation. The Facebook posts came in the wake of the deadly gas attack on Syrian civilians on August 21, followed by preparations by the United States for military action. The Obama administration has asserted that the Assad government is responsible for the use of gas, possibly sarin, that killed hundreds in Damascus.
Comments to the post appear to have been made by children and grandchildren of other senior members of Assad's government. Oddly, the owner of the Facebook account allegedly owned by the young Assad boy insists that he is a graduate of Oxford University and a player for a Barcelona soccer team. However, they may be the aspirations of an 11 year-old child.
The alleged owner of the account also notes that he is a graduate of a Montessori school in Damascus. This was reported by Vogue magazine in 2011 in an article that has since been scrubbed from the magazine's website. In a Vogue profile of the British-educated wife of President Assad, Asma al-Assad, her children were portrayed as ordinary suburban kids who watch American movies and play with remote-controlled cars under "wildly democratic principles." The article has since been removed from the website, but not before an iMac as they lounged around the family home, described as running “on wildly democratic principles.” It has since been removed from the Vogue Web site, but not before Joshua Landis, a scholar of Syria, posted a copy to his blog.
The Facebook post in question has been “liked” or commented on by several accounts that appear to belong to the children or grandchildren of other senior figures in the Assad administration. Among them are accounts that may belong to children of Deputy Vice President Mohammed Nassif Khierbek, Ali and Sally, and to three children of former deputy defense minister Assef Shawkat. He was killed in a bombing in July 2012. Shawkat was President Assad's brother-in-law, having been married to the Syrian leader's sister, thus making them little Hafez's first cousins.
One comment on the Facebook post complimented the young Hafez, while another wrote “Like father like son! Well said future President!”
As for President Assad, he has not only denied involvement in the deadly gas attack on his own people, but he has also challenged the US to make good on its threat to carry out military actions, however, limited, in Syria. President Obama, following a refusal by the British parliament - for the first time in more than 200 years - to agree with a prime minister that war is the answer. Meanwhile, pressure is growing in the US for President Obama to ask Congress for authorization to go to war.