The word from London is that the British journalist Patrick Seale is gravely ill. For those who know him or simply have read or heard him, the news is most regrettable.
When it comes to the Middle East, Seale has been a clarifying presence for some five decades.
Seale has been a contested figure for at least part of that time. His critics charged that his closeness to the regime of Hafez Assad often drifted into advocacy. Perhaps, but Seale was no fool. He knew that the heart of the Syrian regime was made of lead, and he put the access he received to good use. Seale’s biography of the late president, despite its frequent praise and omissions, remains a classic.