- By Blake Hounshell
Blake Hounshell is managing editor at Foreign Policy, having formerly been Web editor. Hounshell oversees ForeignPolicy.com and has commissioned and edited numerous cover stories for the print magazine, including National Magazine Award finalist "Why Do They Hate Us?" by Mona Eltahawy. He also edits The Cable, FP's first foray into daily original reporting, and was editor of Colum Lynch's Turtle Bay, which in 2011 won a National Magazine award for best reporting in a digital format.
Blake joined Foreign Policy in 2006 after living in Cairo, where he studied Arabic, missed his Steelers finally win one for the thumb, and worked for the Ibn Khaldun Center for Development Studies. Blake was a 2011 finalist for the Livingston Awards prize for young journalists for his reporting on the Arab uprisings, and his Twitter feed was named one of Time magazine's "140 Best Twitter Feeds of 2011." Under his leadership, in 2008, Passport, FP's flagship blog, won Media Industry Newsletter's "Best of the Web" award in the blog category. Along with Elizabeth Dickinson, he edited Southern Tiger: Chile's Fight for a Democratic and Prosperous Future, the memoirs of former Chilean president Ricardo Lagos, published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2012.
A graduate of Yale University, Blake speaks mangled Arabic and French, is an avid runner, and lives in Washington with his wife, musician Sandy Choi, and their toddler, David. Follow him on Twitter @blakehounshell.
Syria’s leader sent a July 4 message full of praise to President Barack Obama on Friday and invited him to visit Syria — the latest signs Damascus is hedging its bets in Mideast politics, warming up to its rival the United States at a time when its longtime ally Iran is in turmoil. […]
Assad sent a telegram to Obama on the occasion of the July 4 Independence Day holiday, saying, "The values that were adopted by President Obama during his election campaign and after he was elected president are values that the world needs today."
"It is very important to adopt the principle of dialogue in relations with countries based on respect and mutual interest," Assad said in the telegram, which was carried by state-run news agency SANA.
In an interview with Britain’s Sky News, Assad invited Obama to visit Damascus to discuss Mideast peace.
”We would like to welcome him in Syria, definitely. I am very clear about this,” Assad said in English. Asked whether such a visit could take place soon, Assad said: ”That depends on him.”
He added with a smile, ”I will ask you to convey the invitation to him.”
I’ll be interested to see if Obama takes up Assad’s offer. No U.S. president has been to Syria since 1994, when Bill Clinton visited Damascus.
Historically, the Assads have sometimes seemed queasy about their alliance with the Iranian regime. So, it’s not too surprising that, with Tehran in political turmoil and lashing out at foreigners, Syria is lining up a potential Plan B.