Wednesday, August 09, 2006


I just finished watching HardTalk on BBC World.

HardTalk is a 1x1 ruthless interview, like an interrogation.

A few nights ago we watched Benyamin Netanyahu putting an incredible fight against the hard questions raised by the interviewer, Noel Thompson.

Netanyahu didn't dodge any subject, replied fairly based on credible and reliable facts. And most important, he was comprehensible and made sure to add context.

Tonight it was Syrian Ambassador's to the US, Imad Moustapha, turn on HardTalk - interviewed by Stephen Sackur.

It was only a couple of days ago when the US-French draft gave us a tiny sensation of hope. Now, after listening to Moustapha on that show - I have not an inch of hope for the future of our region.

Sorry for the pessimism. Just being painfully realistic.

Moustapha made his and the whole Arab world points of view clear, by simply bluntly avoiding specific answers.

For example, 2 questions raised by Sackur:

"In order to achieve a ceasefire (and possible peace in the end), do you support a resolution that includes disarming Hizballah armed militia from Lebanon, stop them from launching rockets on Israel and let only the Lebanese army be armed and in control over Southern Lebanon?"

Of course his answer was simply no, but this doesn't sound too good on British TV. So by simply NOT giving a clearly and appropriate answer, but by chewing continuously on the Palestinian problem and the Israeli occupation – he clearly means "no".

Sackur stopped him many times telling him he didn't ask about the Palestinian problem but referred to Hizballah and Lebanon, which was obviously NOT occupied when Israel was attacked. But nothing. He kept going on with: "Hizballah is the resistance to the violent Israeli occupation etc etc etc…"

At the end of the interview he was asked - over and over again:

"We all heard the declarations made several times by Ahmadinejad, President of Iran, stating that Israel must be wiped off from the map and be destroyed even saying that it's a filthy tumor in the Islam world. Mr. Moustapha, as a representative of Syria and given the key strategic partnership between your country and Iran, do you agree with Ahmadinejad's statements?"

So he replied something with the US and Iraq, and of course he mentioned the Israeli aggressive and murderous occupation of Arab territories.

So he was asked again to respond to the specific question. After a few attempts Moustapha "broke" and said that it's clearly Israel and not Iran that is the evil in the region because Iran has never occupied Lebanese or Palestinian territories nor has it been aggressive to any country...

I didn't expect any major peace declarations, Mr Moustapha, but you made it clear that Lebanon is the Arab world's backyard for playing war against Israel without getting your hands dirty in 'public'. You make sure not to endanger the Syrian or Iranian population, but you don't give a freaking damn about the Lebanese civilians. The term "human shield" has already been over-used, but it's the only term that fits.

And by the way, the other backyard is Gaza.

Hope anyone?


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