Apologies for my more than usually protracted absence. I have been spending time working to earn money for food and other such frippery. Additionally, the Syrian Civil War has become so ghastly – both in terms of violence within Syria and the statements made by politicians abroad – that I can barely stand to read about it every day. I’m working on something quite long about Syria, but while we wait during the intermission, have this little analysis. Given the situation, what follows may have something of laughter-through-the-tears to it.
The big news yesterday was the defection of the man who has been described by virtually every Western media outlet as the Syrian Minister for Oil. Abdo Hussameddine was actually the Deputy Minister for Oil, so saying he’s a Minister is about as accurate as calling Nick Clegg the Prime Minister. On the other hand, artificially raising the (ex-)position of a defector kind of shows just how desperate a lot of people are to pretend that their attitude to Syria is working.
Quite frankly, given that he’s a Sunni and wildly unimportant, what astounds me about this resignation is that it has only just happened. It sort of makes me wonder if he’s suddenly awoken from an eleven-month nap: “Oh, Syria? I thought you were saying Senegal!” This spurred Burhan Ghalioun, Chief Muppet of the NTC, to announce that a wave of regime defections was about to start, which in turn sent many analysts and politicians who should know better – plus David Cameron – scurrying to agree. Thankfully, Chatham House soon came up with the goods and sent out a press release which virtually amounted to “Go back to your box. When something important happens, we’ll let you know.”