The emails released by the Guardian reveal that Bashar al-Asad's confidantes and advisers include a couple of young Syrian women who attended college in the U.S. and who had developed expertise in PR and social media. Among other tasks, these inner circle advisers kept Bashar appraised of what was being said (and by whom) on social media, especially Facebook. Hadeel al-Ali [هديل العلي], who posted the above snapshot of a young Bashar on Facebook, is one the advisers. Another is Sheherazad Ja'afari, the daughter of Syria's ambassador to the UN, who is cited on a previous post.
Al-Ali, who is likely in her mid-twenties, attended Montana State University from 2006-2008. Here is her posting in the Alumni Directory:
Political Science, Undergraduate Student, 2006-2008
[email address omitted]
Favorite memories: Oh I have a lot of lovely memories of Bozeman, such as Music on Main, Sweet Pea Festival, almost breaking my leg learning how to ski:), hiking to my favorite "M", Food Bazaar, amazing landscape, gorgeous mountains, the friendly people of Bozeman, having OIP staff as a wonderful family and great friends, attending President Obama's speech and shaking his hand (!), wearing my cowboy boots and hat and feeling like a local :). Well, finding a second home in America pretty much summarizes it all... Thank you Bozeman!
I am currently working on finishing my last year of English Literature at Damascus University. I am also teaching English as a second language at Arab International University, in addition to being a part-time volunteer with the UNHCR/UNICEF.