Across the Bay

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Landis Gets Imad's Memo

As you know by now, Joshua Landis' job is to regurgitate the talking points memos that Imad Moustapha sends out. Witness this absolutely pathetic exercise, just to get an idea of the value of the "analysis" put forward by this regime hackademic.

Earlier yesterday, right after I put up my previous post about the non-meeting with Welch, Landis wrote the following (with the title and all. The original is still saved here):

Daoudi Cancels Trip to Washington: Syria-US Relations Remain Cold
Tuesday, July 22nd, 2008

Riad Daoudi has cancelled his visit to the US at the last minute. This is significant because he was the one Syrian official included on the agenda. The State Department said that it would meet with the three, but not in any official capacity only as private citizens. Sami Moubayed and Samir Taqi, the two other Syrians included in the original visit, are indeed civilians. Not so Daoudi.

What I believe has gone on is that the Syrians, who had planned the Taqi - Moubayed visit some time ago as "second track" diplomacy, tried to upgrade the visit by squeezing Daoudi into the agenda and getting State to meet him "officially" in order to upgrade relations with the US on the heals of the French upgrade.

The Syrian gambit may have seemed to be working for some time — hence the Brookings announcement that Daoudi was visiting and would speak at Brookings on Wednesday. Brookings has now amended their invitation. Moubayed and Taqi are the speakers in place of Daoudi.

Washington decided to stick to their "isolation" guns and to snub Daoudi. Syria would not have tried such a gambit unless it had gotten assurances from someone in Washington - presumably at State - that it would work. Something went wrong. I will try to find out tomorrow.

Oh he found out alright. Or rather, he "was told." By whom, you might ask. Who else? So what does this stellar "academic" do? He changes the post to fit the official Syrian cover-up story, which they're now peddling in the media, that now all of a sudden something super duper serious has emerged and Daoudi must conduct real critical indirect non-negotiations with the Israelis!

So now, or rather voop!, the story (and the title) become the following:

Daoudi Cancels Trip to Washington: Syria-US Relations Remain… Well.. Not Good
Tuesday, July 22nd, 2008

Riad Daoudi has cancelled his visit to the US at the last minute. This is significant because he was the one Syrian official included on the agenda. The State Department said that it would meet with the three, but not in any official capacity only as private citizens. Sami Moubayed and Samir Taqi, the two other Syrians included in the original visit, are indeed civilians. Not so Daoudi.

Daoudi says that he needs to return to Ankara to pick up negotiations with Israel.

I wrote earlier that it seemed that Syria was being snubbed, but I am told this is wrong. I have erased it.

Sorry folks! "They" told me to change the story, or else I'll screw up the propaganda that they've been carefully trying to put together!

Of course, this is not the first time that this "analyst" changes his "analysis" based on what the official regime talking points memo is at that particular time. And if the memo is trashing Michel Kilo for instance, you'll get that.

What a pathetic spectacle: "I've erased it... cause they told me to!"

Matt Nash of NOW Lebanon has the story on the delegation. I should also add that the notion that Moubayed and Taqi are "independent" is laughably ludicrous. They are regime-sanctioned mouthpieces. They are the "intellectual" façade that the regime puts out to the world, as they have done, for instance, here. Check out the list. Notice something at the bottom? Exactly... It's the same delegation that's in the US. What a coincidence! And how surprising that Ibrahim Hamidi, the regime's water carrier in al-Hayat, is there too! All they need is Imad Shoueibi and Marwan Kabalan, and we'd have ourselves a flack conference.

Meanwhile, a Syrian official contacted a major paper to deny the meeting on behalf of the "group of independent academics" visiting Washington!

So independent are these academics, that a Syrian official had to call on their behalf! It's like Landis. He had to go and "independently" assess what was going on. And once he independently got the memo, he independently erased his post!

These people really are priceless.

Update: OK it gets even better! This is turning out to be one hell of a comedy fest. So now the Oklahoma Tishreen comes out with the following tale (let's see how long this lasts):

http://joshualandis.com/blog/?p=813

Ohhh, so that's it! You see, it's that we didn't want to meet Welch anyway! And, you know, once State said "all you're getting is Welch" (yeah right!) -- who all of a sudden becomes, er, "neoconnish" -- we didn't want to meet anymore! So it's the Syrian regime's version of "you didn't dump me, I dumped you" routine. Yeah, that's the ticket! We are "central" after all! Nobody puts baby in a corner!

Of course, this whole bizarre fantasy fairytale is so obviously rubbish. First of all, it was the Syrians themselves -- Imad Moustapha -- who told Jay Solomon that they're going to meet Welch. Far from complaining about the "neoconnish" Welch, the Syrians were drooling at the prospects of the propaganda scoop, which is why they rushed to leak it to Solomon to begin with. Now that this fell apart, the story is that it is really Burns who's pro-engagement and Welch is a hardliner pushing for the "so effective" isolation policy! Naturally, this make-believe dichotomy is totally bogus and unsubstantiated. But, whatever it takes!

These people are really something else.

Update 2: OK this is now bordering on the absurdly silly, side-splittingly hilarious! No sooner had I written the update right above, with the caveat in brackets "let's see how long this lasts," that the regime court jester gets another "talking to" from "them" (wink wink!). And so, voop!, the entire segment about Burns and Welch (which was Landis' own clownish way to try and create a cover-up story for his earlier cover-up which he was "told" to erase) vanished. Oh and this time he didn't even bother to tell us that he "was told" to take it out!

http://joshualandis.com/blog/?p=813

This is too precious for words. Vintage Syrian Baathist-mukhabarat bureaucracy at work, and playing at a theater near you in Oklahoma!