So 2009 draws to a close and this blog, which debuted at the end of January, ends 11 months of life. Marc Lynch already did a People of the Year 2009 post for the Middle East, so I won't go there. But there is the Iron Law of Reporting which says everybody must do an end of year roundup. I've already done my top five hits (previous post), but need to do something more.
So, as I look back over the year's posts, how about some superlatives:
- Man of the Year: Nobody really stands out. Maybe the late Hossein ‘Ali Montazeri or Mir-Hossein Moussavi.
- Woman of the Year: Dead easy. The late Neda Agha Soltan.
- Winners: Oddly, both Bashar al-Asad and Sa‘d Hariri. Also: Crown Prince Sultan (for the comeback), and depending on what happens next, maybe Nuri al-Maliki.
- Losers: Dubai, Al-Qa‘ida, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Mahmud ‘Abbas, possibly Nuri al-Maliki (see also "Winners"), and perhaps Gamal Mubarak.
- Most Over-Reported Story: Gilad Shalit is about to be released. (As I write this, have you heard: the release is imminent! Again.) Also the flurry of fervor about Mohamed ElBaradei and ‘Amr Moussa's bids for President of Egypt, unless you can explain how they stand a constitutional chance. And the Afghan decision.
- Most Under-Reported Story: Human rights just about everywhere. Also minority rights in Iraq: Christians, Yazidis, Turkmen, Shi‘ites in Sunni areas and vice versa. And, as always, the expansion of settlements in the West Bank.
- Stupidest Story: Egypt's mass hamicide. Swine flu isn't spread by swine; killing Egypt's pigs further impovished the already-impoverished zabbalin, who depended on the garbage they collected to feed their pigs, and . . . oh, you've heard this from me already.
- Best Speech: Obama in Cairo.
- Worst Speech: What else? Qadhafi's "stream of consciousness foreign policy" speech at the UN. He left out Bigfoot and the UFOs, but not much else: he got the Kennedy assassination in there.
- Best Election: Hard one. Israel or course went smoothly if I didn't love the results. For the Arab world, Lebanon I guess, since it seems to have been fair, but it took forever to form a government.
- Worst Election: Need you ask? Unless you count farces like Algeria and Tunisia, obviously Iran's.
- Most Memorable Picture: Gotta go with this one: