Jennifer Lopez Crowned the New Miss Syria.

ITUSMAWIC is Copyright Omri Schwarz 2000. Permission is granted to distribute the series far and wide so long as each column is distributed in its entirety, with this notice. )

Damascus, Syria (GOITERS News Agency) -- Ending months of speculation, the Syrian Minister of Defense commented in an interview with the British newspaper The Sun that he has the deepest admiration and affection for Hollywood actress Jennifer Lopez. Mustafa Tlass, who had previously developed crushes for Madonna, Ciccolina, Marilyn Monroe, and other high profile entertainers, has finally divulged the identity of the current subject of his inevitably unrequited love. Tlass's love interests have at times factored into Syria's defense policies. When Syrian forces dove into the chaos of Beirut in 1983, the were ordered not to attack any Italian peacekeeping soldiers. According to the London Daily Telegraph, General Tlass told his men they could "do whatever you want with the U.S., British, and other forces, but...I do not want a single tear falling from the eyes of Gina Lollabrigida." Tlass's obssession with Miss Lollabrigida had been affecting for years.

In the last several months Internet gambling sites had been collecting bets on the Tlass's current muse. Gamblers from all over the world placed Jennifer Lopez as their second favorite bet, after Brittany Spears. Coming in third was Christina Aguilera. Both Miss Lopez and Miss Aguilera were familiar with Mr. Tlass reputation. Miss Aguilera's spokesman told GOITERS correspondent Safta Zapta that Aguilera has passed her condolences to Jennifer Lopez. Miss Lopez herself replied to the news: "Oh, so I come after Madona and Ciccolina? No, thank you."

Brittany Spears responded to GOITERS's inquiry, saying "Mustafa who?"

Some of the Internet wagers indicate that Mustafa Tlass is not held in high public regard. Placing a distant fourth in the betting pool is the Welsh singer Charlotte Church, much to her consternation. From their home in Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch, Miss Church's father Evan responded to the news with "relief", adding "recent legislation has made me turn my revolver in to the Crown. I am relieved that I will not have to kill Mr. Tlass, since cricket bats are a very messy weapon." Mr. Church added that he is interested in purchasing a Polish cavalry sabre, "just in case."

Mr. Tlass has served the Syrian government in various capacities for most of his life, but has also had time for scholarship. His PhD thesis "The Mazzah of Zion" was on Jewish human sacrifices during the spring Hanukka holiday. In his spare time Mr. Tlass evidently watches VH1 and MTV, speculates on the ancestry of his political rivals, botches attempts to assassinate them, and defends himself from the allegation that the discredit he has brought on his country indicates he is an Israeli plant.

Here ends part one of ITUSMAWIC, a new weekly column provided for public erudition and entertainment.

It is often alleged that Israel controls the US (and Western) media. Israelis often respond to that allegation with "halevai." And justly so. If the Western media had been under Israeli control, Israelis would feel like mosquitoes in a nudist colony concerning all the truthful things that could be printed to discredit the Arab countries and the PLO. So above we have one example. Only two things are made up in the story above: 1. the Charlotte Church paragraph, and 2. that Mustafa Tlass has selected a recent flame. Everything else is true, including the betting pools. (My money's on Brittany Spears.)

So, tune in next week to ITUSMAWIC Part Two: The Wit and Wisdom of Ikrima Sabri (The Mufti of Jerusalem, a man who proves that those who can, do, and those who can't, preach.)

And in future installments:

"How to Modernize Medieval Execution Techniques,"

"Why Charlotte Church's Father Really Should Get a Cavalry Sabre,"

and much, much, more....

Omri Schwarz, Sun Aug 20 11:07:01 2000