Mohammad Bakri‏

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Photo Courtesy Of Vered Adir/FX

Photo Courtesy Of Vered Adir/FX

Warning: Spoiler Alert

The summit meeting that nobody ever expected took place in the sixth episode of the FX Network Original Series Tyrant, as Abbudin President Jamal Al Fayeed sat down and negotiated with rebel forces leader Sheik Rashid. The opposition leader had been in exile for 20-years until the President’s brother Barry/Bassam Al Fayeed talked him into returning in the previous episode. The President wants to clear the square in the capital in a peaceful manner and willing to grant concessions to the Sheik, to achieve his goal. Jamal has doubts about whether the meeting should take place, but his brother convinces him that’s their best move.

The Sheik and his son Ihab, head to the palace in a limousine, part of a large motorcade including security. The father tells his son, that he’s counting on him to act like a statesman during the meeting and that they must stay on the higher road despite what the President’s staff states. Barry’s giving the same speech to his brother, telling him that if the Sheik offers any new proposals, he should respond by saying he’ll take that under advisement.

The Sheik arrives at the palace and has his picture taken with his two sons and his brother Walid Rashid. As the photographers finish, the Sheik tells his brother to head home and Walid’s confused and disappointed telling the Sheik that he came to help in negotiations, as he has dealt with the regime for the last decade. The Sheik tells his brother that he made friends with the people who betrayed them and once again tells him to go home.

After going through a procession line, Jamal, Barry and their father’s closest adviser Yussef, meet behind closed doors with the Sheik and his two sons. After some tense but amenable small talk, the President offers the same concessions that he earlier proposed to Ihab Rashid. The Sheik, thanks his opponent for his kindness, but then tells the President that he’s looking for a promise of open and free elections, monitored by the United Nations. The inner battle between what the Abbudin leader wants to say and knows he should say, register on his face for about 30-seconds, until he says he’ll take it under advisement. When Barry asks the Sheik if he will order his supporters to clear the square, Rashid responds by repeating the President’s last statement.

Jamal walks out of the meeting, fuming and berating Barry for setting up the situation they find themselves in and the brothers head into the meeting room of the President’s top advisers. The President asks the brother’s uncle General Tariq Al Fayeed, what damage would be incurred by the occupants if the military clears the square and Tariq responds most likely about two thousand injured and 200 deaths. Jamal, replies that there would be 200 dead the next day and then his regime would be at war with the citizens and the General reminds the President, that his military’s quite adept at winning wars. The President asks his advisers if anyone has a better alternative and the room remains silent, he then tells the group, he needs an hour to collect his thoughts and exits.

As Jamal sits in his office he receives a text from Barry, saying that he has another option and he’s behind him. The President turns around in his chair and sees his brother in the courtyard behind him and lets him into the office. Barry’s alternative, strikes his brother as insane at first blush, but as he gives his reasons, leader of Abbudin becomes intrigued. The younger Al Fayeed tells his brother, to agree to free-elections and then explains how any elections are at best a year to 18-months away. Worst case scenario; Jamal gathers his funds and invests them in Swiss banks, by an island and live out his days in the lap of luxury, with nobody asking for his head.

However Barry tells his brother he believes that he can win an open election and use the office to his advantage, by building hospitals and schools for the people, to help win them over. He tells Jamal, that his citizens don’t know him, but he’ll have plenty of time to win their love and respect before the elections are held and win easily. If he does win, his regime’s stronger than ever and he wins respect on the world stage, for himself, the Al Fayeed family and Abbudin. The President asks his brother for some time to think it over, but it’s pretty apparent Jamal’s leaning towards his brother’s suggestions.

The graphic on the screen tells us that three weeks have passed and Jamal wakes up feeling amorous and wants to make love to his wife Leila, but she rebuffs his advances, as she’s angry at her husband for agreeing to free-elections. Jamal asks her if she’s watched TV, that commentators are referring to him as a “beacon of hope” in the Middle East. Leila responds with a snide comeback, leaves the bed and the room, while her husband lies there frustrated. Seconds later, Yussef calls the President on his cellphone with the news that “60 Minutes,” has requested an interview with him.

Jamal enters his morning meeting with his advisers, asking about the funding for the new schools and hospitals he wants built and his finance minister responds, they have yet to get the money to start the project. When Jamal questions what the hang-up is, the minister replies that normally they would fund such a project with war bonds, but with free elections on the horizon, questions about the military’s stability have arisen. Tariq’s second in command, tells the President that the amount of young men not reporting when they receive their induction to the draft has risen dramatically, as well as the incidents of enlisted men attacking officers. Tariq, then follows up asking his nephew, to call off the elections and let he and the military handle the citizens.

The President asks the General if he’s heard that he’s been approached by the world-renowned TV show for an interview, then asks his uncle and the finance minister if either of them had ever been contacted by the show, to which they both sheepishly respond they haven’t. He then tells his advisers he’s on his way to an emergency meeting with the Norwegian attaché and when he returns he wants to hear nothing but positives from the group.

The meeting’s neither with a diplomat or a Norwegian, as Jamal’s come to visit an attractive American young woman with blonde hair, who maybe the President’s former mistress. After getting attention from the woman that Leila denied him, he asks her if she thinks the people of Abbudin love him and she responds like Barry did, that they have yet to know him, but once they did he assured him they would love him.

Barry enters Leila’s quarters and her crew of makeup people and hairdressers, leave the two alone in the room. The younger brother comes off as patronizing his sister-in-law, as he tries to tell her what to say in the TV interview and she cuts him off at the knees, telling him she’s been dealing with the press since turning 18. She then starts smirking at Barry and asking him if he truly feels important and the man pulling the strings? She says he comes across as self-satisfied and Barry excuses himself for the intrusion and leaves the room.

We watch the interview unfold, with segments from Jamal’s mother, Leila and the General, all speaking of the President in glowing terms. The President’s handling the questions posed to him in a stately and dignified fashion and the session looks like a home-run for the Al Fayeed regime. Then the interviewer plays a clip of the Sheik talking about his opponent, calling him a lion and he’s afraid sometimes that he’ll walk away headless when they meet. However, he then tells the reporter, that the real difference maker, maybe younger brother Bassam, an American, who he calls the lion-tamer, ticking Jamal off.

Barry arrives at the Sheik’s house and the elder Rashid, apologizes for not getting up to greet his guest, but his health has him restricted to sitting. We saw evidence of his ill-health earlier in the episode as he had to head to the bathroom during their first meeting at the palace, due to a coughing jag. Barry asks why the Sheik made the remarks about the brothers relationship and Rashid admits that he did it to cause friction between the two Al Fayeeds. He then tells his guest, that he reminds him very much of Barry’s father and calls him one of the most brilliant statesman in history and that Barry’s his father’s son. That statement, would have angered Al Fayeed six weeks earlier, but he accepts it as a compliment. He then tells the Sheik that the true intention of his visit’s to extend an invitation to attend the ceremony, which will change the constitution and allow for free-elections.

Jamal’s back with the woman and he tells her he believes he’s unlovable, his father liked him sometimes, other times not. His mother loves all her children no matter what and his brother pities him and thinks that’s love. She asks about his wife and his expression tells her to quickly change topics and she tells him that she loves him.

The ceremony’s about to take place at the palace and the Sheik arrives, accompanied by both his sons and works the room like a Vegas entertainer, which the President takes notice of. Right then the American Ambassador to Abbudin John Tucker, greets the President and remarks that Rashid’s a force of nature. Visibly disturbed, Al Fayeed excuses himself and heads to the visitors rest-room. Seconds later the door opens again and Yussef guides the Sheik into the facility. The Sheik starts to refresh himself at the sink and the President remarks that great minds think alike.

Jamal standing across the room says to Rashid, that the people truly love him and the Sheik responds he’s a benign old man, which creates the love, however he loves them right back. The President then asks his opponent, if he’s got love for Barry and the Sheik responds that he admires the younger brother very much. He then tells Jamal, that he wakes up joyous every morning realizing that Barry’s not his opponent in the upcoming election, then collapses into another coughing jag.

The President seems concerned initially, patting the Sheik on the back and telling him to cough it up, but the anger soon surfaces and he shouts, “Old man, cough up a lung,” then hits the Sheik hard between his shoulder blades, causing Rashid to fall to his knees in a stall.

Jamal, loses control knocking the old man’s head against the toilet and Rashid blacks out. The President feels the Sheik’s neck for a pulse, but we can’t tell by his expression if Rashid’s dead or alive. He leaves the rest-room as the episode draws to a close.

The story will pick up again next Tuesday on FX.

Photo Courtesy Of Vered Adir/FX

Photo Courtesy Of Vered Adir/FX

Warning: Spoiler Alert

Bassam Al Fayeed fled his homeland Abbudin  at age 16, ashamed and mortified by the actions of his father, then the nation’s President. He moved to California, cut off contact with his family for 20-years and did his best to wipe away any trace of his background and to fit in the USA, where he became a doctor, married an American woman also a doctor, and have two teenage children. Five weeks ago he took his family back to the land of his birth, for the marriage of his older brother’s son. Now called Barry, he had mixed feelings about returning and wanted to leave as soon as the wedding conclude. However, within hours his father the President died and older brother Jamal was critically injured in a car accident, forcing his family to remain in Abbudin.

Jamal recovered and assumed the Presidency and Barry asked his wife if they could stay in Abbudin for a while to help his brother with a smooth transition. Now Special Consul and Adviser to the President, the younger brother has been very proactive since his return and in the fifth episode of FX Original Series “Tyrant,” the question’s become whether he’s still Barry, or is he Bassam? Is he the American doctor who wanted to stay away from the trappings of leadership, or his father’s son, born with a destiny to rule?

Anti-government leader Ihab Rashid and his followers have taken over the square of the Capital, protesting and calling for the end of the Al Fayeed regime. Barry’s childhood friend turned blogger critical of the Al Fayeed family Fauzi Nadal, set up a meeting between Ihab Rashid and Barry, however the younger brother realizes that the protester plans to use this meeting to get publicity. He’s not going to take it seriously and will call for Jamal and his family to give up power and leave Abbudin. Barry tells Fauzi to call Rashid and to cancel their scheduled meet on Rashid’s terms and to set up a private meeting between the two foes.

As Barry suspected Ihab’s telling his top aides that their side’s winning so why negotiate? He’s going to tell the American that anything less than Jamal’s resignation is unacceptable. Just when he’s about to tell his aides about how he’ll call the shots, his phone rings and Nadal tells him Barry’s decision and the young man shows his anger. He starts screaming to his aides about the treachery of the Al Fayeeds when Samira Nadal, daughter of Fauzi and one of Rashid’s most loyal followers tells the leader that he’s playing the same game that his opponents are.

Nadal drives Barry to a parking garage and heads home, while United States Ambassador to Abbudin John Tucker is waiting there for Al Fayeed. Barry tells Tucker, that negotiations with Ihab Rashid will be fruitless and he wants to talk with his father Sheik Rashid (Mohammad Bakri‏) the man that tried to negotiate a lasting peace with the former President, but some of his over-zealous followers ended negotiations with an act of destruction. The Sheik has been in exile for 20-years and the United States arranged for his safe relocation. Barry asks Tucker to try to set up a meeting with the former leader and the Ambassador tells him he’ll give it his best shot.

Barry heads back to the palace and tells his wife Molly about his plan and she gets quite concerned for the safety of her husband and the future of their nuclear family. He responds with his standard line of just trying to help Jamal, but Molly questions his intent and asks if he’s really enjoying being a player on the world stage, more than he admits to? He tells her he’s going for his daily run; avoiding answering.

In the midst of his run guarded by four security men, his phone rings and Tucker’s on the other end and they are leaving as soon as Barry gets outside the palace gate. The two drive to a deserted area and a Jeep pulls up with four of the Sheik’s aides, including his other son, they tell the pair that Barry will go to the Sheik’s compound, but Tucker will remain behind. The Ambassador protests, but Rashid tells him that he wanted to kill Barry where they stood, but his father wants to meet with him. A black hood’s put over Barry’s head and they drive off in the Jeep.

The vehicle stops, Al Fayeed’s taken out with the hood on his head  and there is sound of excessive coughing, when the hood’s taken off the Sheik is in front of him and apologizes for his coughing, the price of surviving the former President’s chemical gas attack on his village 20-years earlier. One of the Sheik’s men tries to shoot Barry, but his son shoots the attempted assailant first. The elder Rashid tells Barry, that yesterday he was his enemy but today he’s his guest and insists on eating before talking.

Back at the palace Jamal and his uncle General Tariq Al Fayeed, are discussing why Jamal ordered Tariq for his troops to stand down when they were ready to storm the square and the President responds that Barry’s having a meeting with Ihab Rashid and the General tells him that his brother has not been near the protest leader. He then plays surveillance audio of Rashid’s boasts of having Jamal resign and leave Abbudin, the President tries calling Barry and gets his voicemail and hangs up.

The meal’s over and the Sheik tells the Special Consul to the President to walk and talk with him. Barry tells the Sheik he realizes how close he got to negotiating peace with his father and that the elder Rashid’s the one to broker a deal with Jamal. The Sheik responds that it’s now time for the next generation to take over and Al Fayeed responds the younger generation may become responsible for many unnecessary deaths. Rashid replies that he’s without fear of death as he’s seen so much of it and starts to walk away. Barry stops the Sheik in his tracks when he says he doesn’t believe his words, he’s survived 20-years in exile, which proves he retains hope.

The Jeep returns to where Tucker’s waiting and drops Barry off and the Ambassador immediately realizes that Al Fayeed didn’t get the response he wanted. Barry tells him that the Sheik asked to sleep on it and then demurred when he woke up. Barry heads to the Palace and sees Molly and tells her that she might have been right with her assessment, then thanks her for putting her life on hold for him. Jamal’s hosting a formal dinner at the Palace but he and Tariq burst through the doors to the living quarters and Jamal accuses his brother of being a traitor. Tucker walks in right then and tells the President that he might want to watch what’s going on in the square.

As the troops are given the orders to clear the square, the protesters rush the lines, standing nose-to-nose with the troops. Ihab is on the stage talking to his followers and praising them in advance for being the first martyrs sacrificed to overthrow the Al Fayeeds, then he sees something and he goes silent. Striding to the stage is the Sheik, who embraces his son’s head, then takes the microphone and talks to his followers who react as if they’ve seen a deity. He tells the crowd, he’s been exiled from his homeland for 20-years, but he’s returned, it’s time to forget about past atrocities and look ahead to a bright future. He then says he demands a meeting with President Jamal Al Fayeed, who gets angry that his opponent made a demand, but he realizes that the meeting could save the country from further bloodshed.

The story will pick up again next Tuesday on FX.