AUGUST 6, 2012 – THIRD POST – We, at SyrPer, don’t know if this posting should be relegated to the “humor” category. You see, O’ Lecteur, Syria has lost a personality to the opposition: RIAD HIJAB. This Hijab fellow was so important he was never assigned any bodyguards or chauffeurs. He was so important, he was allowed to drive across the border with his family to Jordan where he picked up the first installment of a check from the Central Bank of Qatar. Oh, he won’t get any more than that. After all, they’ve got him in the bag now. I sure hope he’s been squirreling more money in different accounts because it’s a dog-eat-dog world out there. My, my?
He’s from Deir Al-Zour which is a town in the far Eastern side of Syria. He was, natch, Minister of Agriculture because he holds a degree in radish farming. Why Dr. Assad picked this nincompoop for P.M. is any body’s guess.
Monzer, my buddy in Damascus, is never short on sarcasm. He suggested that this humorless Ba’ath apparatchik was miffed after he got wind that the Bureau of Political Security didn’t think he was worth protecting with needed agents. Fearing an assassination by imaginary terrorists, he got into his Mercedes, put on the A.C. and drove without incident to the Jordanian border. According to Monzer, the scuttlebutt is that he told Syrian border guards he had a high-level meeting in Amman with Jordanian officials. They waved him through even though he had nobody in the car other than his wife and child. He didn’t even have a chauffeur. Syrian border guards are not stupid and do follow regulations. Any official crossing the border would have to be given documents allowing cross-frontier travel. Monzer insists that Hijab had a “bara’ah” signed by himself and his secretary, Lulu Abu-Fattouche, allowing him to cross the border. When he was asked by the guards at Der’ah why he did not have the approval of the Foreign Ministry and Political Security, he told them bitterly: “I am no one. I can go to Israel and no one cares.” His downbeat mien impressed the guards and he was allowed to leave Syria.
In the meantime, MERCURY NEWS SERVICE has confirmed a nationwide search for Hijab’s secretary, Madame Lulu Abu-Fattouche, who forged General Rustum Ghazali’s signature on the diplomatic note allowing Hijab to leave Syria. General Ghazali was just recently appointed the new Director of Political Security.
Lulu Abu-Fattouche, notorious for forging signatures of prominent Syrian leaders, is actually a cross-dressing male whose real name is Bandouq Al-Nakhshabandi. “She” worked in the Syrian diplomatic corps as charge d’affaires in Washington D.C. until she was deported for “conduct unbecoming a transvestite” in 1988.
Wikileaks has just released a conversation between President Bashar Al-Assad and General Ali Mamlouk which related to Hijab’s leaving the country. The text was shown exclusively to Mercury News Service and is presented here in its entirety:
MAMLOUK: This Hijab has gone to Jordan and says he is with the opposition.
DR. ASSAD: Who is he?
MAMLOUK: The guy you made Prime Minister. He’s with the enemy now. He was upset because Ghazali wouldn’t assign any bodyguards for him. He just drove across the border.
DR. ASSAD: I just can’t remember him. What does he look like?
MAMLOUK: He’s like a “dibb”, you know. Can’t you remember when you met him at the palace? He was part of that reform thing.
DR. ASSAD: No, I just can’t remember. But, let him go. How do the Russians feel about this?
MAMLOUK: They can’t remember him either. Lavrov says he wants you to check his eyes the next time he’s in Damascus. He says the eye drops don’t work.
DR. ASSAD: That’s because he doesn’t use them properly. I’ll give him another prescription. Any word about Manaf? Is he all right?
MAMLOUK: He’s on another bender. He says he wants to come back and rejoin the Republican Guards.
DR. ASSAD: That would be quite a propaganda coup, wouldn’t it? But, I don’t think cousin Hafez would approve. Maybe he can work in the kitchen?
MERCURY NEWS SERVICE will have more on the search for Lulu Abu-Fattouche as events unfold.