EU could limit Syrian first lady’s lavish shopping sprees

Laura Rozen
The Envoy

Syrian first lady Asma al-Assad's infamous luxury shopping sprees may be coming to an end.

European foreign ministers due to meet Friday in Brussels are expected to slap new sanctions on the dictator's wife.

The sanctions, if agreed, would mean the British-born Asma al-Assad "will no longer be able to travel to the EU or buy from EU-based shops, in her own name," Reuters reports. The proposed new measures come as the U.N. Security Council voted unanimously Wednesday to endorse a statement pledging support for former U.N. chief Kofi Annan's peace mediation efforts in Syria.

Recently released emails, allegedly written by Bashar al-Assad and his wife and obtained by Syrian opposition activists, document Asma al-Assad's shopping obsession. In the emails, Asma al-Assad, a former investment banker, discusses Christian Louboutin shoes and mulls European clothing and furniture purchases, even as thousands of her countrymen were being slaughtered in the Syrian regime's brutal crackdown.

Under the subject line, "Christian Louboutin shoes coming shortly," Asma al-Assad asked an unidentified friend by email, "Does anything catch your eye? These pieces are not made for the general public," according to a Feb. 3, 2012, email posted by the Guardian newspaper.

"Haha.. Ur gonna laugh, I actually LOVE them!!!" the unidentified correspondent responds. "But I don't think they're not going 2 b useful any time soon unfortunately."

(Profiled in Vogue magazine last year, Asma al-Assad previously revealed her preference for Chanel couture clothing for her petite frame.)

It's not clear, however, how much the proposed EU measures will actually hamper Asma's pipeline to luxury acquisitions. The leaked emails show that she and her husband used aliases ( for him, for her) and a Dubai shipping address to skirt sanctions over the past year.

But as the friend's cautionary email about the maybe-not-so-useful-anytime-soon Louboutin shoes suggests, even some of the ruling couple's inner circle and intimate correspondents seem to be becoming increasingly exasperated with Asma al-Assad's frivolity (and her husband's cruelty) as the death toll in the country mounts.

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