My post, Flacking the Revolution ( July 13) raised some questions among certain quarters in Egypt about April 6th and its connection with Levine Communications Office (LCO). Below is the media advisory sent to journalists last Tuesday (July 12) from LCO concerning the availability of Ahmed Maher—one of the founders of the April 6th Movement— and Waleed Rashad, a spokesman for the group, for interviews. It clearly indicates that LCO has a relationship with April 6th. I have also corresponded via email with the account executive listed on the media advisory. If you would like more details, please feel free to email me: firstname.lastname@example.org.
From: Barbara Teszler
Date: Tue, Jul 12, 2011 at 4:46 PM
Subject: INTERVIEW OP: He took down Mubarak. Now he’s taking interviews
To: Read more »
When I started this blog last October, one of the issues I was interested in exploring was the complex relationship between the United States and the Middle East. Hence the name, “From the Potomac to the Euphrates.” The ironies, contradictions, and hypocrisies that run throughout the ties are a fascination. Perhaps it is naïveté, but I am convinced that U.S. policymakers approach the Middle East with good intentions and that the vast majority of Arabs deeply admire the United States, the principles upon which it was built, and its awesome technology. The fact that mistrust so often characterizes the relationship between Washington and the Arab world is a function of the fact that despite the well-developed military, diplomatic, and economic ties that bind us together, we actually have very little understanding of how each other’s society works.
Yesterday afternoon I became aware that a Beverly Hills-based public relations firm is representing Egypt’s April 6th Movement. In a small way, the movement’s ties to Levine Communications Office (LCO) reveals many of the incongruities and paradoxes that make Washington’s relations with the Arab world so fraught. To be fair, on a practical level, it makes a lot of sense: The firm is working for April 6th on a pro bono basis, it is sure to have a better list of press contacts than any Egyptian firm, the U.S. media market is the biggest in the world, and speaking to American reporters provides the movement a good way to try to influence the Obama administration.
My thoughts on Syria’s National Dialogue that ended today in Damascus. What are yours?
From the Potomac to the Euphrates examines how debates about Mideast policy in Washington connect to the region, with a special focus on Egypt and Turkey.