Prince Hassan bin Talal, younger brother of the late King Hussein of Jordan and uncle to the current King Abdallah II, has long spoken his mind. He continued and extended this tradition today in an interview with Stephen Sackur on the BBC program HardTalk when he stated that Arab regimes friendly to Washington (e.g., those in Jordan, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia) are lying when they claim that Tehran is working through Hamas. These Arab governments, he argued, are pushing this story to advance their own interests. Sackur pressed him on this point and Hassan replied (at 12:10 into the interview):
we come from a Byzantine civilization, from centuries of dissimulation. I mean, we [Middle Easterners] are professional liars.
H.R.H. Prince Hassan of Jordan.
Comment: This is the sort of cynical, self-critical talk that Middle Eastern political types constantly engage in among themselves but usually take care not to express in public. That Hassan allowed himself to say such a thing on the BBC suggests he is fed up with the hypocrisy.
I shall post other interesting examples of this genre as they come to my attention. (April 1, 2008)