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Jan 19, 2007

Condi's Middle East Scrapbook: The January '07 Inserts


"We're not yet at the point where I think we can determine what we would do about formal negotiations, when and if (they can occur)."

-- Condi Rice (1/18/06)

''The whole jet-setting trip turned out to be yet another stage-managed, futile diplomatic exercise."

--Peninsula newspaper editorial, Qatar (via NYT)

Could somebody please tell me what Condi's latest Middle East diplomacy trip show debacle cost the tax payers (if only in dollars)?  It's gracious of the NYT to refer to the Secretary's Middle East strategy in terms of a "loose agenda." Otherwise, they might have tried: unintelligible.

For another interpretative mix of visual and verbal, my tribute to the late, great Art Buchwald, and a look at what Condi brought back from her visit to Israel, check out The BAG's companion piece today at Huffington Post.

... Oh, and here are the rest of the scrapbook pages The BAG obtained....  (As usual, help yourself to the visual dynamics.)





(image 1: Loay Abu Haykel/Reuters.  January 14, 2007.  Ramallah.  Via YahooNews.  image 2: w/ Kuwait Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed Sabah al-Salem al-Sabah.  Stephanie McGehee/Reuters.  January 16, 2007.  Kuwait.  Via YahooNews.  image 3: Moshe Milner/Israel Govt. Press Office/Handout/Reuters.  January 15, 2007.  Jerusalem.  Via YahooNews.  image 4: German Chancellor Angela Merkel (R). Michael Kappeler/AFP/DDP.  Berlin. January 18, 2007.  Via YahooNews.) image 5: Bruno Vincent/AFP.  January 18, 2007.  London.  Via YahooNews.)


Merkel looks like she would rather be just about anywhere else, while Blair looks like he's ready to drop his pants right there.

Too bad Sigmund can't post...maybe a cigr is just a cigar...

It's the "fleecing" of America, folks.

I am completely grossed out. Is the government deducting her "travels" from her paycheck? If not, they need to start now. Better yet, fire her ass!

Well, excellent, Bag. I do think it's time to discuss the really important fact of Condi's trip: she wore the same outfit to meet with Merkel and with Blair. Hummmmm. Isn't that some kind of signal that, perhaps, Germany and Great Britain are on the same page wih Rice, and it's only those pesky Middle Eastern potentates who are mucking up the "horizon?" She wore something different for each of those gentlemen.

Rrroww ...

Are you refering to a dispute or quarrel with that word,
or is it a denotation to the potential for a 10 Downing?

For anyone intrested, I expanded upon this topic in my post: A Fool's Errand

Why is the photography itself hideous in all cases (over/ under-exposed, lame or hurried composition, with a weird, harsh highlighting of Condi's bony grandma neck)?

They really do recall bad tourist Polaroids. A boring relative's overseas trip, perhaps.

The photo pool is as uninterested in the scene at hand as Condi and the visited dignitaries are.

imho these endless, empty tour de photo ops are entirely beside the point : it isn't where Ms. Rice is, but where she isn't that's important ~ and for the time being she isn't in Washington; or with Dear Dubya; or touring the country, selling the surge.

iow, she's not "in", she's out.

(spin her around 180 and the dagger in her back would be all too apparent. RealPolitik : State Department = Negroponte ;-)

In the grip-and-grin shots, she really looks like the groupie who importunes famous people to have a picture taken with her: she grinning ear-to-ear, they smiling politely. It makes one wince. The old-fashioned snapshot album corners you've added are, of course, a cliche, but so apropos. These photos are not records of newsmakers in world events, they are souvenirs to be excitedly treasured by the most lightweight U.S. Secretary of State ever to have gone abroad.

Kuwait is probably THE friendliest Arab country towards the U.S., and as the picture shows, even they're not convinced this time. (That foreign minister has a PhD in Economics from Harvard and was a professor at one time. It would be interesting to see the dynamics between him and Rice.)

I'm just reminded of various comments from Angry Arab's blog about how little anyone in the region cares what she says. And how she's always wagging her finger at the Palestinians and giving them orders like a school headmistress.

As for the "New Horizon" phrase mentioned on the Huffington Post blog, there are "New Horizons" computer learning centers all over the Middle East. Maybe she drove by one and the name stuck?

your top photo is misdated 1/18/2006


In the bottom picture with Blair, Condi really reminds me of the Grinch Who Stole Christmas. That smile is absolutely reptillian.

The purpose for the trip is out of page one of the Bush/Rove playbook: "Manage 'perception.'" You'd think they had read some sophisticated philosophy - the kind that says there is no objective reality outside of 'perception' - now who are the these dang intellectuals with their postmodernism?

It's not important to do anything constructive, just make it APPEAR that you are doing so. This lame attempt to fool all the people for a just bit longer seems to be failing.

Condi is now just windowdressing. No power there. Wilted lettuce. Sticky arm candy.

OT, via nur al cubicle, whaz up with the conference without a name in Riyadh? Everybody but us attending, including Iran's #2 guy Larjami and Siniora of Lebanon. Plus, has anybody replaced the Saudi Ambassador to US who left a couple of months ago? My hope: we've screwed up everything so badly, they've decided they have to take charge of themselves, at last.

Absolutely right, Monsieur Gonzo. After getting raked over the coals by Congress one could see the Manolo Blanik skid marks as she raced to get outta Dodge. Once safely ensconced in the relative quiet of the ME, her old smile returned and she remembered just why she was chosen - to look pretty and smile a lot while telling everybody that everything's just fine. None of her "partners in photo" seem to be pleased with her or the photo-op except Blair (who's used to facing it) and Abbas, albeit with a very patronizing look.

I'm just waiting for the announcement that she is leaving and being replaced by Negroponte. Although I suppose it will have to wait until HE is finished testilying to Congress.

The old-fashioned photo corners is a deft touch and I really like the way the Blair ones are all but falling apart. Something is amiss in wonderland.

The final picture with Blair looks like one taken just before Blair pins the corsage on Condi and takes her to the Winter Formal.

The pictures have a amateur, backpacking through Europe feel to them. I don't know much about the history of Secretaries of State, but she comes off as one of the lightweights and these photos bring that out.

Postcards from the Edge, the loony, self indulgent and completely inept edge.

Now back to our show....

itwasntme, I read that the new Saudi ambassador would be Adel al-Jubeir, the guy who's their favorite spokesperson in the West. (He was also in the gossip columns for dating NBC's Campbell Brown.) Prince Bandar (close to the Bushes) was the ambassador for more than 20 years, and then Prince Turki took the job, but it seems like Bandar was still controlling things, so Turki quit. Adel al-Jubeir is close to Bandar.

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