Friday, April 17, 2009

Bashar Assad oversees a Feltman-Antoine Chedid 'get together' in Washington...

"Contrary to the predictions of Tabler & Schenker at WINEP", things are going slightly faster than "very slow." Syria's 'National Day' at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Washington was a celebration unlike those of the previous years. "The top U.S. diplomat attending tonight's festivities is Obama's recently nominated assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern Affairs, Amb. Jeffrey Feltman, along with other less senior officials" says our friend Laura Rosen in the CABLE, at FP,  . Lebanon's Ambassador Antoine Chedid attended, so did a plethora of US & foreign journalists, such as CNN's Wolf Blitzer, and uber-bloggers like Steve Clemons of the Washington Note. Arab Ambassadors were scarce, ... but so are true Arabs nowadays! Rosen concludes that "For now, tonight's gesture continues the Obama administration's efforts to show a greater willingness to engage with Damascus, if cautiously and with its eyes open", ...and all that under the watchful eyes of a large Bashar Assad portrait!

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