Monday, January 02, 2006

Taking A Baath

Happy New Year everyone.

Ex-Syrian vice-president Abdel Halim Khaddam must be really gutted that the ruling Syrian Baath party has expelled him. Not only that, the Syrian "Parliament" has voted (unanimously, no less) to have him tried for treason and also, from an irony-free zone, corruption. I bet he didn't see that coming.

The UN Hariri probe team will now ask to interview Syrian President Bashar Assad as well as his Foreign Minister Farouk al-Sharaa following Khaddam's explosive TV interview. It's incredible how the most damning of evidence comes from the centre of the viper's nest when even up until a few days ago we were wondering if the Hariri probe would regain its former impetus. An interesting tidbit from BBC news stated that Khaddam had been in Paris with his family since June, when he quit his post very quietly.

I think Khaddam's main worry now is not to commit suicide, which I imagine is easier in Paris than downtown Damascus.

President Lahoud is now claiming that he and Rafic Hariri were the best of friends. Well, not exactly those words....what he actually said was that he had "a respectful and positive relationship" with ex-PM Hariri, but coming from him it, you have to admit that it sounds as ludicrous as my interpretation.

Now that the Syrian regime is scrambling to retain some semblance of credibility, the coming week should provide moments of hilarity, absurdity and good old Soviet-style propaganda. Let's just hope that no one decent has to die violently because of it. Keeping my fingers crossed seems to be as effective a deterrent as any.

The New Year celebrations around the country were suitably muted. I had a great time and even (against all of my BEST efforts) awoke on January 1st without an accompanying hangover. I'm not sure whether to feel proud or disappointed in myself. That day also contained a full English and builder's tea - later on a 10 litre keg of beer was tapped and and left a lot lighter than it was when opened. Good times, good times.

My lovely Chelsea play today against West Ham, Frank Lampard and Joe Cole's former team. Frankie has asked the Hammers' fans to respect him and not boo but I don't think that's going to help much. If you gave up a player who went on to become England's finest with London's finest, you'd boo hoo too.
Another thing to look forward to - my horoscope says that my self-confidence will today attract members of the opposite sex in bewildering numbers. A quick check on the meaning of bewildering: to cause one to lose one's bearings; to disorient.
Zero is a number, right? Man, I'm lost.

Farris Hassan is back home finally. The American 16-year old went to Iraq apparently inspired by a course in immersion journalism without telling anyone. He managed to get to Baghdad and stay in a hotel used by Westerners where presumably he cacked himself for a week.
Him and anyone who says he was brave and adventurous.
Not every growth experience should require the services of the 101st Airborne Division.

Have a good one.


ghassan said...

Desmond, I love your tabloid like headline. Unfortunately, I don't think that it translates into Arabic.

ScarlO said...

Politics suck arse. They do nothing but give headaches and add worries. Hope you enjoyed the holidays - depressing politics aside :-)

desmond said...

thanks ghassan - yup - literally, it wouldn't make any sense.

Nice to see you here! Holidays always good, politics always bad.

graeme said...

here's hoping we get the headline 'early baath' soon..