Syrian State TV and Al Arabiya aired telephone interviews with a woman claiming to be Syria’s ambassador to France, Lamia Chakkour denying that she had resigned. Instead the woman claiming to be Lamia Chakkour stated that she would, in the coming hours give a statement in French on the most watched and popular French channel to disclaim this news. She would also, according to the SANA, seek legal action against France 24.
According to France 24 the Syrian Embassy in Paris confirmed to them and by e-mail to Reuters that Lamia Chakkours had resigned. France 24 is standing by the story.
The questions is then if A) the person on France 24 was a hoax, B) if the ambassador got ‘cold’ feet and changed her mind (relatives in Syria could have been put under pressure/threatened) or C) the person on Syrian State TV and Al Arabiya was a hoax.
Why would the ambassador not contact France 24 immediately to debunk this ‘false’ statement, but instead go on Syrian TV and Al Arabiya? Why would she claim she would do a statement in the coming hours on the most watched and popular channel in France to disclaim this news – why wait – why not do it immediately? Furthermore France 24 called Lamia Chakkour on her cell phone (as they have done in the past) and got her on their program with the intent for her, by phone, to comment the situation in Syria (together with pro-democracy activist in the studio). And that was when she read the statement.
On the other hand the Syrian government has every reason to try to buy time, to try to get the ambassador to recant her resignation, to cast doubt on France 24 and the resignation and also get other ambassadors under ‘control’ so as not to get a stream of defections. Another motive is that the Syrian government wants to use any possibility to charge foreign media of being biased or ‘in on it’ to topple the regime (on cooperation with France, USA and Israel).
At the moment I am going with alternative C.
I am sure that things, that for the moment, looks a bit murky, will have cleared by tomorrow. If Lamia Chakkour has tended her resignation Quai D’Orsay, the French foreign ministry, will have been informed that she no longer representing Syria in France.
Then we will know if it is A, B or C.