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WikiLeaks Syria Files – "SCARY NUMBERS"


July 5, 2012




On Thursday July 5, 2012, WikiLeaks began publishing the Syria Files – more than two million emails from Syrian political figures, ministries and associated companies, dating from August 2006 to March 2012.


In March 2012, The Guardian published 200 leaked emails chiefly from the address sam@alshahba.com, which the paper alleged was used by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The “Syria Files” released by WikiLeaks include more than a thousand emails sent and received by this e-mail account and appear, according to the July 8, 2012 issue of the Alakhbar English, to confirm The Guardian’s claim.


When Bashar Asad comes across an article of interest or is moved by a story, Alakhbar English adds, he forwards the item to Mansour Azzam, Minister of Presidential Affairs and requests that Azzam checks with the responsible ministries or finds more information and follow up on issues.


One such item, Alakhbar English speculates, “presumably copy-pasted from somewhere regarding the Tabqa Dam disaster” was sent to Azzam under the subject line “SCARY NUMBERS":


Water resources and cotton plantation SCARY NUMBERS (from a discussion)




2011-02-12 04:19:25





“All of Syria's cotton production is done on irrigated lands, not rain fed.

“Of Syria's estimated 13 billion m3 of irrigation water more than 4 billion m3 is used to grow cotton.

“A cotton t-shirt requires about 2.7 tons of water to produce.

“Cotton requires four times as much water to grow as wheat.

“Syria's emphasis on irrigation has been wrong. Syria should invest in improving the yield of rain fed lands.

“There was a threefold increase in the productivity of water in rain fed wheat production in north-west Europe between 1800 and 1950. And a further trebling by 1990. 


“The Tabqa Dam is an economic disaster. The yes-men around Hafiz Asad lacked the balls to stop an ignorant military officer from wasting billions of dollars on a white elephant, made by his propagandist to be one genius of a project.

“The World Bank concluded that Syria's government will need to recognize that achieving food security with respect to wheat and other cereals in the short-term as well as the encouragement of water-intensive cotton appear to be undermining Syria's security over the long-term by depleting available groundwater resources.”


This item was not “copy-pasted from somewhere”. Elie Elhadj wrote it. I emailed it to a small discussion group of seven participants on February 11, 2011. One of the participants forwarded the E-mail to a friend of his, who is also a friend of President Asad. The President forwarded the message to Azzam.
If for no other reason, it is important to document the source of E-mail 2105484 for posterity, let alone that such a documentation confirms that  sam@alshahba.com was, indeed, the personal E-mail address of Bashar Asad.