Athens – Exercising her powers to create special executive offices for the first time in her reign, Empress Athanasia has created the Special Magistrate for the Greater Middle East and appointed Professor Zahra Antonis to the role. Professor Antonis, a national of both the Athenian Federation and the Islamic Republic of Iran, is an expert on the Middle East and has a long history within both the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Imperial Intelligence Community,
In the proclamation creating the office, the Special Magistrate for the Greater Middle East is tasked with establishing greater cooperation between executive departments and allied counterparts to bring about the policy goals of the Empress concerning the Greater Middle East. To achieve its objectives the Special Magistrate can utilize resources and assets of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Defence, Foreign Aid and Security. Under the Athenian constitution Special Magistrates are temporary offices vested with powers exceeding most regular Magistrates. They are also not considered part of the Council of Magistrate, report directly to the Empress and do not need to consult the Chief Magistrate or Parliament. Only the Empress can appoint and dismiss them, where unlike with regular Magistrates the Chief Magistrate and Assembly of the People are not involved in the procedure.
Professor Antonis was born in Tehran to a Greek father and an Iranian mother. At age 5 they moved to the Kingdom of Macedon. At 18 Professor Antonis pursued an undergraduate degree in Middle Eastern studies followed by a graduate degree in History of the Middle East and a Ph. D on the Crusades. After obtaining her doctorate, she joined the secretive YAK (State Security Service). Little is known about her career as the files on all members of the Athenian intelligence agencies stay classified until 100 years after the death of the employee. However it is clear she made a name for herself as she was one of the few YAK members to receive military honours. In 2085 she took a position as an Assistant Professor on the Middle East at the Pallas Athena University for the Social Sciences and Humanities. Despite having worked directly for the then Queen of Macedon, she did not meet Empress Athanasia until the latter attended her class as part of her university education at that university. It is however well known that the two have been very close friends ever since and that she is often one of the Empress’ first calls when seeking advice on the Middle East. It is also believed she was a leading voice in convincing the Empress to issue a no-fly zone over Iraq.
While the Empress has remained vague on her longterm foreign policy goals, her moves so far have made it clear that she sees a key role for the Athenian Federation as a leader in the Greater Middle East. It is well known that she has a strong admiration for her ancestor Alexander the Great, and the large range of Ministries placed below the Special Magistrate show that policies may include the full range of tools from financial aid to war and from diplomacy to espionage. It has been confirmed that the first task of the Special Magistrate is to bring about the independence of the Kurdish people in Iraq.