Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Introducing Lebanon's very own Buthaina Shaaban

Michel Aoun's press secretary (he actually has one!), May Akl, wrote an outrageous piece for Foreign Policy.

The bottom line is that she dismisses the Syrian demonstrators as Sunni fundamentalists. She is outraged:

" would be outrageous -- to say the least -- to think that in Syria, the U.S. position will be aligned with that of Sheikh Youssef al-Qaradawi"

So, basically, the US should oppose something (that is in it's own interest) simply because a lunatic supports it? This, alas, is an excellent example of the Politics of Spite at which Aoun excels.

The underlying fear is evident in this passage:

"...the fall of the Assad regime is very likely to have critical consequences on neighboring countries. From Turkey to Israel, going through Lebanon, Jordan, and Iraq, this fall would mean a radical alteration of the political, and more importantly religious, map of the Middle East."

The corollary to this is that the "religious" identity of the politicians is more important than the actual policies. But then, what other analysis can you expect out of Lebanon's sillier sectarian minds?

I've never heard of May Akl before. Apparently she writes occasionally for the Daily Star, just like Buthaina Shaaban. She is a lot more eloquent than her boss, just like Buthaina Shaaban is more eloquent than Assad.  But she does not seems to have actual policy responsibility, just like Buthaina Shaaban. Her only handicap seems to be that she is not a relative of her boss, just like Buthaina Shaaban.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Setting the Gold Standard in Transparency

Syria's Ministry of Interior, a model of openness and transparency in government, is inviting offers for teargas  on its website.

Update: The government has now removed the original site, but here's the webcache, via Mustapha

Friday, April 1, 2011