The news is full of speculation about the potential consequences of yesterday’s meeting between King Abdullah al-Saud and President Bashar al-Assad. The Saudi king paid a landmark visit to Syria this week, commandeering two of Damascus’s largest hotels for his entourage, and sitting down with the Syrian president to discuss important matters such as the reconcilliation between Hamas and Fatah, the lack of a government in Lebanon, and Iran’s encroaching influence over the Middle East.
(A door opens)
Abdullah: Get over here, you rascal!
Bashar: It’s been too long, really it has!
(Air kissing and pleasantries are heard)
Bashar: How was your trip?
Abdullah: Oh, fine, fine.
Bashar: I hope the hotels are comfortable.
Abdullah: Splendid, splendid.
Bashar: (impressed) I see that you brought quite the entourage.
Abdullah: That’s how I roll.
Bashar: Aww yeah!
Abdullah: What can I say? It’s good to be the king. Listen, I know we’re going to sit down later with all the advisors and what-have-you, but I just wanted to have a little one-on-one first, you know what I’m saying?
Abdullah: You know, just make sure we’re on the same page.
Bashar: You read my mind.
Abdullah: Ok, good. So… Iran?
Abdullah: They’re encroaching.
Bashar: Oh come on, now…
Abdullah: They’re encroaching…
Abdullah: I’m telling ya Bashar, they’re encroaching.
Bashar: (sighs wearily) How are they encroaching?
Abdullah: They just are, the way that they do.
Abdullah: All over the goddamn place. Iraq. Lebanon. Palestine. Washington! It’s incorrigible.
Bashar: (slyly) Don’t you mean “encroachable”?
Abdullah: Bashar, this is no laughing matter. If Iran keeps encroaching into the Sunni Arab heartland, then before you know it the whole region’s gonna be awash in heretical, Hussein-loving, Karbala-commemorating , martyrdom-obssessed Shiite splinter groups.
Bashar: (tightly) Umm.
Abdullah: Don’t you understand? This isn’t just about politics! This is about God’s will! Good and evil! Right and wrong! The forces of light and darkness! Sunnis and Shiites!
Bashar: Yeah, umm… I’m an Alawite?
Abdullah: An Ala-who?
Bashar: We’re, umm. We’re like Shiites?
Abdullah: No kidding. I didn’t know that! Wow!
Abdullah: So are you, like, Twelvers? Or Fivers? Or, umm… Seveners? So many goddamn Ers I can’t keep ’em straight, ha ha!
Bashar: Never mind. Look, don’t worry about Iran, ok? Can we talk about Lebanon?
Abdullah: I don’t see what there is to talk about. How about getting Hezbollah to play ball?
Bashar: (angry) How about you get March 14 to play ball?
Abdullah: (angry) They won the fricking election fair and square, ok? I paid good hard cash to make sure of that! And I’ll be damned if I’m gonna let a bunch of rag-tag Shiite clerics cock this up…
Bashar: Watch it…
Abdullah: Huh? Oh, yeah. Sorry.
Bashar: (airily) Look, I’ll talk to Hezbollah about it, but I can’t make any guarantees.
Abdullah: Well then, neither can I.
(There is a pause)
Bashar: I’ll do what I can, but I can’t promise anything.
Abdullah: Me neither.
Bashar: I’m not saying that I can’t force them to do what I want. Obviously, I can. One phone call, that’s all it takes.
Abdullah: Of course.
Bashar: I mean, don’t get me wrong. I’ve got Hezbollah in the palm of my hand, know what I mean? I own their asses. When I say jump…
Abdullah: They say “how high”… I get you, man. It’s, ahem, the same with me and March 14, naturally.
Bashar: Oh, who the hell are we kidding?!
Abdullah: (hanging his head in shame) I don’t know!!
Bashar: I can’t get those crazies to do anything!
Abdullah: Me neither! They don’t listen to a word I say!
Abdullah: I mean, who do they think they are? I told Saad to let Aoun have what he wanted. Did he listen? No! I mean, who the hell cares about the fricking telecommunications ministry? I’m going to end up bailing them out in five years anyway!
Bashar: Exactly! And I told Hezbollah to stop worrying about veto powers in the cabinet. If anyone tries any monkey business with their weapons, Syria will just invade Lebanon under the pretext of defeating the Zionist plot to establish Greater Israel!
Abdullah: Exactly! I mean…
Bashar & Abdullah together: … WHO THE HELL CARES?!
(There is a knock at the door)
Assistant: Sir, the press conference is about to begin.
Abdullah: Ok, we’re coming.
Abdullah: (tired) Yeah.
Bashar: Should we just…
Abdullah: …continue to pretend like we’re all-powerful when in fact we’re completely irrelevant and the deadlock is entirely about the Lebanese and their ridiculous egos? Sure.
Bashar: Alrighty then.
Translation by Qifa Nabki