[tweetmeme] After months of rumors, it seems as though Washington is finally ready to name an ambassador to Syria. In part of President Obama’s goal to increase dialog between the US and strong actors in the Middle East, rumors were first revealed in mid-2009 of Obama’s intention to send an American diplomatic mission back to Damascus – from where it was revoked in 2005 after the assassination of former Lebanese PM Rafiq Hariri.
CBS reports that the future ambassador will be Robert Ford – although there has not been an official announcement yet. The CBS article stressed that Ford was fluent in Arabic (I would hope so) and that he is considered an expert in Middle East affairs (again, I would hope so). Ford seems like a good choice for the post. He has worked in Algeria and Iraq (among other places) and, well, a diplomatic team was needed in Damascus a long time ago considering the regional renaissance of Syria.
The announcement will follow Obama’s announcement to renew sanctions on Syria, the discovery that US law censors the internet in Syria as well as the revelation that airport security agents are legally allowed to strip passengers on flights from Syria to the US and intimately search them.
In other Syrian news, (HT to Josh Landis), the Oxford Business Group gives a review of Syria’s 2009. Spoiler – Turkey is important.