George, Tony, Jacques, אהוד and بشار

Nidal al-Mughrabi, writing for Reuters, reported today on the expanding conflict over a captured Israeli soldier.
Israel also turned up the heat on Syria, sending warplanes low over one of President Bashar al-Assad's palaces to warn him against backing militants who kidnapped the soldier, the Israeli army said. Bashar was there at the time, Israeli media said.
However, later in the article it refers to the Syrian President as "Assad".

Generally speaking, media use surnames when pertaining to heads of state. The most notable exception in recent memory is former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein al-Majd al-Tikriti, whom the media, both Arabic and English, regularly identified as "Saddam". Although this was arguably as much the result of his own self-imposed personality cult as anyone's outside attempt to de-legitimize the man. I do recall occasional attempts to professionalize this matter, reading the NY Times refer to "Mr. Hussein", which never seemed to fit.

Likewise in Syria, but to a much lesser extent, there exists a certain familiarity with the President, expressed by references to "Dr. Bashar", for example.

But with respect to today's piece, I find it highly unlikely that Reuters would ever publish an article discussing the inhabitants of Presidential residences in the US, UK, France, or Israel referring to George, Tony, Jacques, or Ehud.


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