Syria’s President Bahar al-Assad is a fan of iTunes, according to private emails acquired by British newspaper the Guardian, and his purchases reveal he has modern Western tastes – along with a few that would qualify as embarrassing guilty pleasures in anyone else’s collection.

One thought-provoking purchase is that al-Assad sent an iTunes file of Blake Shelton’s hit “God Gave Me You” to his wife on February 5, a day before his government’s forces fired more than 300 rockets in an attack on the city of Homs.

The paper reports Assad used a New York e-mail address and American Express credit card account in another name to bypass the U.S. sanctions against Syria, but that he did pay for the downloads rather than pirate them. It also cautions that it cannot guarantee the authenticity of the emails but details the reasons it believes they are genuine.

On other occasions he bought “Sexy and I Know It” and other songs by LMFAO (pictured), “We Can’t Go Wrong” by the Cover Girls, “Hurt” by Leona Lewis, “Look at Me Now” by Chris Brown ft. Lil Wayne and Busta Rhymes, and “Bizarre Love Triangle” by New Order. He also chose songs by the late Lebanese actor and singer Nasri Shamseddine, who remains very popular throughout the Arab world.

Two selections in particular stand out from those, however. One is “Don’t Talk Just Kiss,” the follow-up single by Right Said Fred after the band’s novelty hit “I’m Too Sexy.” The other is “21st Century Christmas (A Tribute to Cliff Richard)” by the Merry Christmas Players, which he bought on New Year’s Eve 2011.

Related links:

The Guardian [U.K.] – Exclusive: secret Assad emails lift lid on life of leader’s inner circle

The Guardian [U.K.] – Assad’s iTunes emails show music taste from Chris Brown to Right Said Fred

The Guardian [U.K.] – How do we know the Assad emails are genuine?

The Guardian [U.K.] – The Assad emails: the documents