Dr. Bashar al-Assad Seeks Retirement Haven
As an ophthalmologist facing early retirement at 47, Syria’s Dr. Bashar al-Assad may have limited options. The devoted dictator and family guy will want to do the best he can for his high-fashion wife Asma and their kids. But where to relocate when the heat is on? There are rumors about Cuba, Venezuela, Russia, and Dearborn, Michigan. But will these places really roll out the mat for the al-Assads? You don’t want to go to the trouble of moving and then find a sign saying “Alawites Suck!” on your front lawn. Alawites are the minority clan the family belongs to. On the plus side, if such a sign appears, they can claim it’s a hate crime.
Some say that in desperation to ease out with a bang, Bashar recently ordered his troops to load chemical weapons onto missiles. Doctor, doctor. Relax, we’ve got it covered. You don’t have to burn your bridges or in this case, bomb them and gas the locals.
A check of the most popular retirement destinations has turned up Ecuador, Costa Rica and Panama as possibilities. We can scratch those because Asma al-Assad is a British citizen and will probably want to reside on her home soil. Which turns out to be perfect because “Londonistan” as it’s now called could offer Dr. Bashar the opportunity to rejoin his profession as a member of the National Health Service.
Imagine asking your GP for a referral to an ophthalmologist–maybe you suspect you have cataracts or glaucoma. A little card comes in the mail saying “Dr. Bashar al-Assad will see you in his office for an eye examination. Please call for an appointment at your earliest convenience.” Don’t worry, from everything we’ve heard about British health care the next appointment is in 18 months. Opposition forces may venture abroad to track down the good doctor in that timeframe anyway. One can only hope.
Syrians seeking a safe haven are nothing new. According to the Washington Times:
“More than 450,000 Syrians have fled the country and become refugees in Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon, and Turkey creating massive economic and social burdens on those nations… An additional 1 million people have fled their homes but remain in Syria.”
Unlike Bashar, these refugees often lack skills and the wherewithal to function in a new place. Some are orphaned or have lost husbands and other family in the war. In the Za’atari camp in Jordan, approximately 60,000 have passed through and half remain, with many of the rest going to the cities to live in urban slums. (A recent camp visit by Angelina Jolie has done little to alleviate the pain but may have given momentary solace. She’s even thinner than most of them.)
But the Assads have their own problems–not the least of which being, where is the missus? The glamorous Asma was rumored to be in Russia last summer but may be ordering her spring wardrobe in Paris for all we know. “A Rose in the Desert” as Vogue infamously called her in March 2011 may have already decamped for their retirement destination with the three kids in tow. No one has actually seen her in Syria since July 2012 when the Military Intelligence Directorate was bombed in Damascus. Some pre-retirement planning might have been in order but when one flees a dictatorship things can get a bit messy. Asma is permitted to travel to the UK due to having British citizenship but EU sanctions have limited her ability to travel elsewhere in Europe. Could she be disguised as the blissful newlywed Jessica Biel in Paris? If Jessica were to cut her hair, there is a passing resemblance to Asma. But then the same could be said for Mick Jagger.
No, we’re betting on London as the new home of Dr. and Mrs. al-Assad and the three kids, two boys and a girl. Hopefully the good doctor will get established, the kids will get enrolled in choice schools, and Asma will have a fine time decorating their home in the city and a country manor or two. Perhaps in his spare time, now that mass murder no longer requires his attention, Bashar will look for his chin which seriously appears to have gone missing some time ago.
We suspect that Asma al-Assad never really enjoyed being married to a dictator anyway–they keep such long hours when ordering a chemical attack or having a 13-year-old picked up to be tortured.