Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Heretical Odds & Sacrificial Ends!

So, all tests came back negative, and the two more scheduled for the future appear to be too routine to warrant fretting about. I remain both ulcer-free and cancer-free. I am more gnawed by angst than by disease, it seems, and my symptoms, no matter how painful and bloody, continue to be mostly psychosomatic. No one dies of that, no one dies of hemorrhoids, and no one dies of gastritis. And I am no longer too young for any of these things, but I am getting too old to think that I can still afford to ignore them.

So, while Khawla and my doctors conjure up a new dietary lifestyle for me, one that I will most surely find impossible to fit within everything else I have to juggle these days, I can finally go back to my beloved and necessary hobby of blogging – of emptying my soul out for the benefit of those hapless specks out there who remain interested in perusing them for reasons that continue to be unfathomable to me. Who’s punishing whom here?, I can never tell. But I can tell you this, my two ends, that is, my mouth and my anus, have witnessed enough punishment recently, and they deserve some rest, albeit none is forthcoming. I am doing some punishment as I type.

So, what is the best way I can return to abusing myself again? Let me see… How about wasting my breaths on some something totally foolish and idiotic, not to mention soul-poisoning, like politics, especially Syrian politics?

And a lot has been happening in this regard recently. But most of it smacks of too much bullshit to warrant any direct dabbling or handling on my part. This is why I will restrict my return to a more active blogging-style to the following points:

* The recent White House meeting with representatives of the National Salvation Front was, contrary to attempts at undermining it by many, quite a success and indicated a growing willingness by members within the current administration to assume a more open posture towards one of the most important and pragmatic Syrian opposition groups in exile. This openness is not restricted to members of the National Security Council. Indeed, and over the last few months, we have had quieter endorsements from all relevant decision-making centers within the administration. No, this does not mean that the Administration will be holding direct talks with Khadddam and Bayanouni soon, for tactical and ideological reasons on both sides. But contacts with the NSF through its liberal members will now take place regularly and on a high enough level to make it worth our while at the NSF to make point of acknowledging them at this stage.

So, people can denounce, speculate, object, interpret, analyze and dismiss the fact and nature of these contacts to their hearts’ content, but, and at the end of the day, the fact cannot be denied: there is indeed a new kid on the block these days, a new player that, whether people like it or not, and for better or for worse, will make quite on an impact on the scene of Syrian external opposition. Attacks, denunciations, vilifications from all sides are more than welcome and encouraged. And please, interested ones, be as profuse, profane and vociferous about it as you like. Free publicity is appreciated.

Let’s not forget in this regard as well that similar high level contacts have taken place in Europe as well, and in the region itself. The NSF will open an office in London soon, and soon thereafter an office in DC. Whether people are going to engage the Assads or not, we still have to be ready. We still have to be relevant to whatever process that unfolds. Personally, I can finally say that I am, come what may.

* There was recently a resurgence of talks about a deal that is being cooked with the Assads. Perhaps an effort in this regard was indeed made by the British, but then, and as the French tell us, it did not pay off. Perhaps the Assads are too confident to accept the pitiful deal the British were offering, and perhaps, the one element that the Assads want to see included in the deal is exactly the one element that no one can deliver at this stage: an end to the Hariri investigation. Be that as it may, for now, there is no deal, and the Hariri investigation continues to remain as the major source of headaches for the Assads wary.

* Indeed, the age of dragging dictators by their hooves to trial may not be over yet. This is what the jailed heroes of the Syrian opposition suggested yesterday upon hearing the news of the Saddam verdict. Michel Kilo, Anwar al-Bounni and Kamal Labwani were quite outspoken despite their growing physical fragility following days of hunger strikes and a physical assault on Labwani by one of the criminal inmates.