27 Jun 2013

An Ingenious Plan: How the CIA Vets the Syrian Rebels

So the decision has been taken, and the US will start training and arming the Syrian rebels after vetting them in Jordan. Now we all know what a capable organisation the CIA is so we should all be optimistic about this daring plan. The minor fuck-ups that the CIA has been involved in during its existence should not be a reason for us to doubt this carefully-considered plan. In order to illustrate the strength of its vetting programme, the CIA has allowed us to sit in on a few of those interviews scheduled to begin next month. Below is an accurate transcript of how they went:

CIA Agent: Come in please, I’m agent Johnson and this is agent Johnson. And you are?

Syrian rebel: Mohamed Asa’ad.

CIA Agent: Asa’ad? Like the president?

Syrian rebel: No, no, in Arabic it’s different, it’s Asa’ad, not Assad.

CIA Agent: It sounds the same to me.

Syrian rebel: No, it’s Ayen, not A, say Ayen. Asa’ad.

CIA Agent: Assad.

Syrian rebel: No, you’re not doing it right. Asa’ad.

CIA Agent: ok, never mind, I’ll call you Mohamed. Would you like a beer?

Syrian rebel: No, thank you.

CIA Agent: Is that for religious reasons?

Syrian rebel: No, but it’s 9 in the morning and I have a long day ahead.

CIA Agent: So you do drink beer?

Syrian rebel: Beer, whiskey, vodka, whatever. Although I drive the tank so I have to watch my drinking.

CIA Agent: What do you think of drugs Mr…er, Mohamed?

Syrian rebel: I tried some marijuana at college but I didn’t inhale.

CIA Agent: Is that for religious reasons?

Syrian rebel: No, I got a little bit nauseous to be honest and didn’t want to look soft. Have you had any?

CIA Agent: I’m the one asking questions. So are you a jihadi?

Syrian rebel: Ha, clever one. You nearly tripped me up there.

CIA Agent: So you are?!

Syrian rebel: No, that was a joke. Do you people not get sarcasm?

CIA Agent: We are trained to respect all cultures. It’s not something we do, but we will respect your right to be sarcastic. But please keep it to a minimum because it makes our job difficult.

Syrian rebel: This is going to be harder than the mukhabrat interrogation.

CIA Agent: What does that mean?

Syrian rebel: Sarcasm again.

CIA Agent: oh, I see. So I notice you have a beard, is that because you are a salafi?

Syrian rebel: No, no, it’s an homage to Orson Welles.

CIA Agent: Who’s Orson Welles?

Syrian rebel: You don’t know who Orson Welles is? He’s a fantastic American film director. Citizen Kane?

CIA Agent: No, I don’t know him either. So would you shave your beard?

Syrian rebel: I don’t know, would you grow a ponytail?

CIA Agent: It’s against CIA regulations.

Syrian rebel: Sarcasm, again. Sorry.

CIA Agent: Sir, I told you to keep it to a minimum. This is messing with our equipment.

Syrian rebel: ok, ok. Chill.

CIA Agent: So how exactly would you describe your political opinions?

Syrian rebel: I’m a registered Republican.

CIA Agent: Seriously?

Syrian rebel: Do you know anything about Syria?

CIA Agent: In my business, we don’t like to pollute our judgment with knowledge, it’s dangerous.

Syrian rebel: yeah, I heard.

CIA Agent: Remember, the CIA is here to help you.

Syrian rebel: Yes, I have some Yemeni friends, they speak very highly of you.

CIA Agent: Yemeni friends? Al-Qaeda?

Syrian rebel: Man, you’re obsessed. You can’t go around stereotyping people like that, what do your human resources people think? No, we met at a conference.

CIA Agent: ok, never mind. I think we’re just about finished here. Do you promise if we give you training and weapons not to use them against the USA, its citizens, armed forces or franchises?

Syrian rebel: Of course man, I love KFC.

CIA Agent: Great, sign here please.

Syrian rebel: Allahu Akbar, finally a result.

CIA Agent: What’s that?

Syrian rebel: It’s just an expression. Relax.

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Karl reMarks is a blog about Middle East politics and culture with a healthy dose of satire.

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