For the record, I am not surprised that former U.S. President Jimmy Carter is traveling to Syria to meet with Hamas leader Khaled Meshal. The only thing about Carter’s visit that surprises me is that he didn’t go through with it sooner. (Photo of Carter with Hugo Chavez)
In fact, Carter has wanted to visit Syria for time now. Carter said so in a scene filmed for Jonathan Demme’s documentary Jimmy Carter: Man From Plains. While Carter was en route to Boston’s Logan International Airport after his controversial appearance at Brandeis University in 2007 to promote his book Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid, he expressed anger towards the Bush Administration, singling out National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley in particular. The 39th President was irate the State Department would not grant him permission to visit Syria so he could meet with its dictator, Bashar al-Assad. Carter protested that he had known the junior Assad since he was in college. I am sure Assad would regale Carter with tales of his days at Phi Beta Jihad on the campus of the University of Damascus where he would make pledges dress up as Orthodox Jews and pelt them with eggs. Ah, good
So if Carter has been keen to have an audience with Assad it is hardly a stretch that he would want to have an audience with Meshal. Who knows? Maybe Carter and Meshal will get along so famously that Carter will invite him to sit in the President’s Box at the Democratic National Convention this summer in Denver.
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