February 10, 2005

Now That's a Syrian Comment!

Josh Landis gets the inside dirt on developments in Syria from Ibrahim al-Hamidi, Al-Hayat's bureau chief in Damascus. Really interesting stuff. By the by, I've never heard anyone seriously dispute the general view peddled by Hamidi—that although Syrian President Bashar Assad would love to cooperate with the U.S. and crack down on the aid to the Iraqi insurgency coming out of his country, he's having a tough time actually pulling it off because of the vagaries of Syrian bureaucracy.

Of course, I've also heard that Bashar is sort of incompetent—George W. Bush without a Karl Rove to guide him—though this seems dubious. Or that he's completely wild-eyed and not nearly as afraid of the U.S. as he should be. So it's heartening, I guess, to hear Hamidi thinks that Bashar is really quite rational, albeit constrained by various structural forces.

UPDATE: A picture worth... here's a mugshot of the man himself. Judge from the face: raving lunatic, serial bumbler, or calculating mastermind? Where's Paul Ekman when you truly need him?

-- Brad Plumer 1:30 AM || ||