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Very accurate

Reader comment on item: Pouring Cold Water on WikiLeaks

Submitted by AdamB (Australia), Dec 14, 2010 at 19:50

I was born in the Arab world, went to school there, lived with and interacted with the butcher the baker and the candlestick maker. With first hand experience, I can vouch for the veracity of this article. Keeping "face" is not the main thing, it is the only thing in Arabia. "Face" is what drives the imperative of telling others what they want to hear, not what they should hear. Arabs have the ability to add and then strip the veneer of politeness from the truth of intent.

Just as a salesman will never be told that his merchandise is awful (it is always called superb, but either unaffordable or something else), westerners will not be told what the real intent is. One has to figure it out and unless well versed in the technique, one is almost condemned to fall into the trap, time and time again. Listening to what is said in English is totally irrelevant It is what is said in Arabic and what actually happens on the ground that matters. This is the trap that those currently attempting to broker agreements in the ME constantly fall into and will continue to fall into until they understand the game, if one could call it that. Shuttle diplomacy is a waste of time since those doing the shuttling interpret things as westerners do. It akin to playing the game in a different ball park and by different rules.

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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