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Kerry and Al-Mutanabbi - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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This acknowledgment may indicate a lack of professionalism on my part, and for this I express regret: I do not read most political statements, nor do I force myself to “skim” through them, or tire myself with analyzing, and I reject the title of political analyst since it is often something of a superficial profession. Again, I apologize. I was not surprised by John Kerry’s statement in Norway because I had not read his statements in any other country; not when he was a senator or a minister. While everyone was surprised with Mr. Kerry’s upheaval against himself, his country, and his predecessors, I thanked God for my lack of professionalism in refraining from reading the full text of any gossip, be it Kerry’s or otherwise.

Three weeks ago I read an article in the Miami Herald in which the writer mentioned that John Kerry had asked President Bashar Al-Assad, in his first and second meetings with him, the following question: Why don’t Arab leaders trust any of the pledges or promises they come across?

The author did not include the president’s reply to Kerry, who has believed, ever since his days at the Senate, that he would be able to convince Assad to change his policies towards all nations. It seems, however, that Oslo has a remarkable effect in leading people off their path. For in the same way that Yasser Arafat left the national conference in Madrid and entered a secret cabin in Oslo, Mr. Kerry announced—from ice-cold Oslo—the change in the US’s position towards Syria, and its support for dialogue between the regime and the opposition. Now, Mr. Kerry is effectively presenting Sergey Lavrov’s argument.

After Mr. Kerry’s statement in Norway, the secret capital of the Middle East, I went back to read US reports and statements on Syria over the past two years. You the reputable reader can see for yourself on the Miami Herald website should you find it necessary to do so. You will reach the same conclusion that politics, like conflict, is repulsive. Who have Barack Obama, Hilary Clinton, Leon Panetta, Joe Biden, and John Kerry been talking to for the past two years? Who have they been lying to? The American people, the Syrian people, or the entire world?

You will learn from now on to never base your opinion on political rhetoric. As Al-Mutanabbi said on his journeys after witnessing the promises of politicians; “You have seen enough illness to see death as a cure.” On this occasion, I would say if you have not read the sum of John Kerry’s remarks, you are at fault. Read them and you will see why I love literature and why I do not care for gossip, whether for the purpose of emphasis, denial, or clarification. And let us not forget perhaps the most infamous statement made by the US Secretary of State, namely his previous assertion that Assad is “out of time and must be out of power.”

Samir Atallah

Samir Atallah

Samir Atallah is a prominent Lebanese journalist, author and political analyst.

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