And so to a couple of Syria-related questions. Firstly, will Details magazine now reconsider its 2007 decision to place Britney Spears's unemployed ex-husband at No 7 on its list of most powerful men on the planet under the age of 45 – a full 14 spots above President Bashar al-Assad?
The second inquiry relates to the excruciatingly fawning profile of Asma, Assad's wife, published in last March's issue of American Vogue (but now mysteriously expunged from the magazine's website). Among other delights, the article touches on a visit to Syria by Angelina and Brad Pitt, to highlight the country's work with Iraqi and Palestinian refugees. And it seems the Hollywood couple were struck by the Assads' laissez-faire attitude to security.
"My husband was driving us all to lunch," relates Asma, "and out of the corner of my eye I could see Brad Pitt was fidgeting. I turned around and asked: 'Is anything wrong?' 'Where's your security?' asked Pitt. So I started teasing him – 'See that old woman on the street? That's one of them! And that old guy crossing the road? That's the other one!'"
The president joins in the punchline: "Brad Pitt wanted to send his security guards here to come and get some training!"
Mm. It feels like at least five minutes since the Jolie-Pitts have broken a silence on some world injustice or other – perhaps they would care to make their next lecture a reflection on their erstwhile genial hosts? A Damascene conversion feels vaguely overdue.
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