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Who is Reem Haddad?
June 10, 2011 1:41 PM   Subscribe

"It's a bit like having a problem in your street, and your mum lives in the next street, so you go and visit your mum for a bit." - - Reem Haddad, Spokesperson for Syrian Information Ministry explaining that refugees are 'not fleeing to Turkey'

Reem Haddad has become one of the most familiar faces of President Bashar al-Assad's regime, with a talent for insisting on innocent explanations for the brutal government response to the protests.

She is quickly becoming Tweeted as Syria's Comical Ali


Pale-skinned and red-haired, a former TV anchor and daughter of Suleiman Haddad, a Syrian infantry comprehension official, bears a similarity to actress Julianne Moore. With her cut-glass accent
... Haddad argues, denies and back-peddles her way through her interviews.

"But my dear they are sitting in London. How can they confirm anything!" The world should confirm its facts independently, said the spokeswoman, "rather than taking shoddy, shoddy if I may say, eyewitness accounts." As Haddad well knows, all foreign journalists are banned from Syria. -http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/jun/10/syria-refugees-turkey-reem-haddad

More:
BBC calls for foreign journalists to be allowed into Syria after minster's comments ("You have a point'" Foreign journalists should be allowed into Syria - Haddad)

... but are wary of any such invitations

"I have no idea whether Dorothy Parvaz is in Syria. I have no idea whether she is being held in Syria. I have absolutely no information on this account."

2007 - Haddad interview on international court to try the suspects in the killing of Rafik Hariri, former Lebanese prime minister
posted by Surfurrus (28 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
"But my dear they are sitting in London. How can they confirm anything!"

One thing we should keep in mind, to be fair.

I must acknowledge, everything I get is second hand, and I should evaluate it as such. But just because I can't draw conclusions doesn't mean I can't have the utmost concern for the shit they're trying to pull, and healthy skepticism in all directions should always be applied, especially when listening to Ms. Haddad's shovelfull.

Thank you Surfurrus. Awareness of this matter, on a global scale, may just be what the people of Turkey need.
posted by Bathtub Bobsled at 1:50 PM on June 10, 2011


It's fascinating to see someone double-down in the face of the obvious, them knowing that if this doesn't work, that they're soon up against the wall.
posted by Capt. Renault at 1:51 PM on June 10, 2011


Are your that this isn't some new viral campaign for a new Terry Gilliam movie? If it is, great casting choice with Julianne Moore. I wonder who's playing Bashar al-Assad. I'm hoping Edward Norton.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 1:55 PM on June 10, 2011 [4 favorites]


YIKES
posted by effugas at 2:13 PM on June 10, 2011


back-peddles

Back-pedaling, please. Peddle: to sell something. Pedal: a method of propelling a bicycle.

It's fascinating to see someone double-down in the face of the obvious, them knowing that if this doesn't work, that they're soon up against the wall.
posted by Capt. Renault at 1:51 PM on June 10 [+] [!]


Eponysterical
posted by anigbrowl at 2:15 PM on June 10, 2011 [4 favorites]


It's a bit like having a problem in your street, and your mum lives in the next street, so you go and visit your mum for a bit.

This woman has an interesting relationship with her mother. She would only set foot in her Mom's place if rampaging soldiers were shooting people dead in the streets. Being with her mom feels as bad as losing everything she owns and not knowing whether her friends are alive or dead.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 2:35 PM on June 10, 2011 [4 favorites]


By the way, here is some video which is current enough to seem relevant (last 24 hours), and some other video from a month and two months ago. Also, a journalistic account of life in a Syrian detention center.
posted by anigbrowl at 2:38 PM on June 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


US Defense Secretary Robert Gates said on Friday the legitimacy of Assad’s rule was open to question. “I would say the slaughter of innocent lives in Syria should be a problem and a concern for everybody,” Gates told a seminar in Brussels.
“Whether Assad still has the legitimacy to govern his own country, I think is a question everyone needs to consider.”
Reporting on events is not helped by Turkey where newly-arrived refugees could describe the conditions in Jisr al-Shughur, but the Turkish government has largely barred journalists from interacting with them.
posted by adamvasco at 3:00 PM on June 10, 2011


When you see these things, remember that they're not talking to people outside the country. They're talking to people inside the country, and they are buying time. And every time someone takes a second to think, "Hey, wait a minute..." is time they have bought.

In other words, there's a reason this guy was saying what he said. He didn't believe what he was saying. He didn't think he was fooling large groups of people.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 3:17 PM on June 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


The lede in the Guardian article has me totally lost:

She may look like the actor Isla Fisher and speak like a Mayfair lady who lunches

What's a mayfair lady? How do the ones who eat lunch speak? How is that different from the ones who don't?
posted by I've a Horse Outside at 3:22 PM on June 10, 2011


They mean she has an upper-class accent.
posted by anigbrowl at 3:33 PM on June 10, 2011 [3 favorites]


"Ladies who lunch" = nonworking upper-class posh wives.
posted by IAmBroom at 4:10 PM on June 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


I love it when NPR gets snippy with these kinds of people, as happened on Morning Edition today, while even the slightest assertion that US officials aren't telling the absolute truth is never considered relevant in those interviews.
posted by odinsdream at 4:22 PM on June 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


Palin/Haddad 2012!
posted by not_on_display at 4:39 PM on June 10, 2011 [3 favorites]


Careful, not_on_display... say that three times and you might make it come true!
posted by vorfeed at 4:44 PM on June 10, 2011


It is interesting to see any journalist 'get snippy' with Haddad -- in fact, it seems odd to NOT see her challenged; she has been doing this tap dance for a long time. I think the US has always had a quick turnover of government PR people (Obama has had how many so far?).

And, I agree that they should all be challenged - and much more quickly than we've seen so far. Haddad's pronouncements have been aired as 'facts' for far too long. Is the media responsible for letting her/them 'buy time' this way?
posted by Surfurrus at 4:44 PM on June 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


Being with her mom feels as bad as losing everything she owns and not knowing whether her friends are alive or dead.

Oy. Tell me about it.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 7:46 PM on June 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


And perhaps on the streets, as in the schoolyard, things get a little rough and tumble. Perhaps someone gets hurt, or worse, loses a limb. But did not George Bluth Senior once prove that he could both unite his family, and prove the importance of moral action to his sons, through the loss of a man's arm? This is the example we strive to follow.
posted by evidenceofabsence at 12:43 AM on June 11, 2011


Nikolaos van Dam is a former Dutch ambassador and has written extensively about Syria.
He considers a bloodbath may now be inevitable. Earlier this year he pointed out Syria's dangerous trap of sectarianism (pdf).
Joshua Landis of the informed blog Syria Comment on Who Rules Syria and How?
Journalist Patrick Steele has also written about the Syrian Time Bomb.
On preview: metaplectic I vehemently disagree with your view that anyone should be subjected to torture. You may want to reconsider your comment which reflects a vicious misogynism.
posted by adamvasco at 12:46 AM on June 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


Well, historically speaking, Turkey is kind of like Mom to Syria.
posted by entropos at 5:04 AM on June 11, 2011


It's a bit like having a problem in your street, and your mum lives in the next street, so you go and visit your mum for a bit.

He's exaggerating, of course... or underplaying, or whatever that is... but the actual practice he refers to certainly exists; he's not making it up from whole cloth.

I know more than one family in Lebanon who are extending their visits with family out-of-country right now for a few extra months in the hope of dodging the squishy pressure from Israel (on one side) and Syria (on all the others).

(The usual vise, of course, but the pressure is turned a bit higher than usual right now.)
posted by rokusan at 7:06 AM on June 11, 2011


You may want to reconsider your comment which reflects a vicious misogynism.

I'm pretty sure his desire to see her suffer has little to do with her being a woman and a whole lot to do with her being a smiling yes-man for a brutal regime for whom torture and murder is pretty much standard fair.

I'm opposed to torture on general principal, but I think I'd come down on the side of George S. Patton and not really mind so much if someone were to just shoot her dead where she stood.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 7:51 AM on June 11, 2011


I would prefer if she was brought before the ICC, tried and convicted. Maybe you 'mericans could work on that instead of encouraging frontier justice but I'm not holding my breath.
posted by adamvasco at 9:32 AM on June 11, 2011


The Syrian elite don't plan to let the revolution spoil their party
posted by homunculus at 9:49 AM on June 11, 2011


I vehemently disagree with your view that anyone should be subjected to torture.

I don't mean to suggest that torture should ever be allowed as a state-sanctioned punishment, due to the potential for misapplication. But as a strictly moral question, there are many evil people walking this earth who deserve to be tortured. At the top of this list would be the likes of Kim Jong-Il, Robert Mugabe, Omar al-Bashir, etc. If you tortured Kim Jong-Il continuously for 20 years, it would not even come close to the suffering he has inflicted on his people. This is hardly a novel moral concept: an eye for an eye, a torture for a torture, a thousand tortures for a thousand. Is it better to say they should burn in a lake of fire for eternity?

Obviously Reem Haddad is far down on this list, but she is on it. I probably shouldn't have brought it up in the first place, but I get fairly incensed every time I see her or Moussa Ibrahim's statements being repeated in the press, without any disclaimer that they are notorious liars, that the feces pouring out of their mouths are 100% opposite of the truth.

I would prefer if she was brought before the ICC, tried and convicted. Maybe you 'mericans could work on that instead of encouraging frontier justice but I'm not holding my breath.

And what are they going to charge her with -- lying on TV?
posted by metaplectic at 12:55 PM on June 11, 2011


Testimonies from defected soldiers give a dramatic insight into the split apparently emerging in the security forces.
Alarabiya is reporting Syrian soldiers and police officers who deserted rather than fire on protesters in a restive northern city remained behind to fight against an expected all-out government assaul
posted by adamvasco at 1:51 PM on June 11, 2011


[t]
posted by adamvasco at 1:52 PM on June 11, 2011


[Please do not describe in loving detail the torture you would like inflicted on another human being. Really, people. ]
posted by restless_nomad at 3:28 PM on June 11, 2011


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