Sunday, April 26, 2015

Military interventions

Unlike Western standards, I far disapprove of the Saudi reactionary military interventions in Yemen and Bahrain than of the Soviet military intervention in Czechoslovakia in 1968, over which Western commentators still pour tears almost daily.  We also now know of the lousy agenda of Havel and his company, not to mention there intellectual poverty.  Furthermore, who can deny that the Soviet military intervention of Afghanistan was far less harmful and far less reactionary than the American military intervention there?

End of Bashshar?

I am now of the view that Hizbullah and Iran may have reached a point to be ready to discuss an alternative to Bashshar.  They would be dumb if they don't.

Sultan Al-Qassemi on Arab political developments

This is from a recent interview I could have conducted with Sultan on Arab political developments.
What do you think of the war on Yemen?
Sultan: there is an art exhibit in London.
What do you think of the war in Syria?
Sultan: there is an art exhibit in Paris.
What do you think of increased repression in Gulf states?
Sultan: there is an art exhibit in Vienna.

Make no mistake about it: it is a Turkish-Saudi-Israeli offensive in Syria

"Israel reportedly hit several targets belonging to Hezbollah and the Syrian army in a series of air attacks Saturday morning in the Kalamun area on the border between Syria and Lebanon."

"They said the army was battling "a large number of terrorists coming from the Turkish border." The capture of the strategic town is the latest in a series of setbacks for government forces in the south and the north."

From Free Syrian Army to Israel: salutations

"" “We congratulate the powerful state of Israel and its people on its anniversary of independence, and we hope that next year we can participate in the joy of the grand occasion in Israel’s embassy in Damascus,” the group’s foreign affairs official Mousa Ahmed Nabhan stated in the message. Israel has never had diplomatic relations with Syria. However, the FSA has been vocal in asking for Israeli support for their campaign against the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad, with officials even traveling to Israel."" You see now why Western correspondents in Beirut are fans of the Free Syrian Army gangs--or what is left of them?  (thanks Amir)

Interviewing Bashshar

From "Ibn Rushd" in Paris: "The French evening news anchor who interviewed Bashar is a mediocre journalist, known for throwing softballs to Sarkozy.

He wrote a book with the idiotic Hassan Chalghoumi, a pro-Israel imam that the media has been promoting as the "good Muslim". Even though he's illiterate, speaks broken French and has no Muslim constituency whatsoever, Chalghoumi was hailed as a hero by Pujadas because he's an imam who visits Israel and works with CRIF.

When he came back, Pujadas said Bashar was "courteous and urbane."  The families of Assad's victims will be delighted to hear this. "

Sectarian Genocideal aims of some (leading) Syrian rebels

You have to read some of the stuff that some Syrian rebels and supporters are writing on social media regarding the plight of `Alawites. There are clear threats being made against all `Alawites and open discussion of revenge.  One moderate voice said that while he does not condone the logical extermination massacres, he urged that mass expulsion would be quite appropriate.  This is from an opposition "journalist".

Anne Barnard on Idlib

"It was seized last month by Islamist insurgent groups that included Al Qaeda’s Syrian branch, the Nusra Front, but not the rival Islamic State group".  Notice that she always mentions "rebels including Nusrah Front" when in reality, Nusrah Front would be the lead force in the operation.  Also, notice her distinction between the moderate Bin Ladenitesof Nusrah and the extreme Bin Ladenites of ISIS.

Anne Barnard reports on the takeover of Jisr Ash-Shugur

"Insurgents seized more parts of the northern Syrian province of Idlib on Saturday in a significant advance toward the government-held coast that seemed to signal new coordination among antigovernment fighters, some using advanced antitank weapons...insurgents including the Nusra Front, the hard-line Islamist group Ahrar al-Sham and the relatively nationalist groups calling themselves the Free Syrian Army".   Insurgents including Nusrah Front? Including? This was their operation.  And it is hilarious that she among other Western correspondents still hang on the hope that their baby, the Free Syrian Army would still be a relevant factor among the Syrian rebels. Notice that Ahrar Ash-Sham's links to Al-Qa`idah are rarely mentioned in the reportage.

The US is a full partner in this crime: war on Yemeni people

"A United Nations report said on Friday that civilian causalities have mounted since the start of the Saudi-led offensive against Shiite rebels in Yemen, with more than 500 civilians killed in the nearly monthlong conflict, including at least 115 children."

Syrian rebels "liberate" Jisr Ash-Shugur

While Liz Sly and Anne Barnard still insist on referring to the rebels as the moderate Free Syrian Army and still belittling the dominant role of Nusrah Front and their ilk, this picture of the rebels at Jisr Ash-Shugur clearly validate the claims by such correspondents, that they are about to establish a feminist, secular, and a very moderate republic. 

PS Comrade Amer reports this: "As one commentator said: these photos will only be valuable years from now when al-qaida stages a major attack against US interests".

Obsession of Saudi Media with Kim Kardashian: Al-Arabiyya

The obsession of Saudi media, especially the sleazy TV station of King Fahd's brother-in-law, Al-Arabiyya, with Kim Kardashian has been documented in this collage.

Saudi media censorship

From Daniel: "This is quite inconsequential in the big scheme of things. My pirated satellite in Beirut carries the loathsome Foxarabia, which shows pseudo-boojy crap from Australia like My Kitchen Rules--the "White Man" as represented by Rupert Murdoch and a former penal colony. Anyway, for the sensitive untainted ears of the Saudi population, the word (written and spoken) "pork" is censored. Our eyes still suffer the spectacle of the "other white meat" in the form of knuckles and trotters, but our senses are saved from hearing the filthy word spoken out loud or seeing it written down. "

Compare the language of Human Rights Watch about Saudi Arabia's government with its language about Syrian government

"An airstrike by the Saudi Arabia-led coalition that destroyed a humanitarian aid warehouse in northern Yemen on April 18, 2015, was an apparent violation of the laws of war. The attack in Saada killed at least one unidentified man outside the facility of the international aid organization Oxfam, which had provided the building’s coordinates to the coalition to keep it from being targeted.

 The dire humanitarian situation in Yemen is made worse by attacks on relief supplies, Human Rights Watch said. The governments that participated in the attack should impartially investigate the airstrike, which struck civilian goods and a structure that do not appear to have been used for military purposes. The coalition has yet to comment on the attack."

Is this a characterization of relationship between lovers or between two states?

"We love each other and we protect each other."

Restoring Hope

Embedded image permalink

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Will Western human rights organizations notice this war criminal threats to Lebanese civilians by Israeli officials?

"“Lebanese civilians who live in/close to homes (where Hezbollah has missiles)...should get out as soon as they can.”"

Huthi bridges

Look at this headline in the mouthpiece of Prince Khalid bin Sultan, Al-Hayat, which talks about the bombing of "Huthi bridges". Why not talk about Huthi hospitals and Huthi schools and Huthi factories and Huthi roads and Huthi children?

Robert Fisk muses

"Lebanese television is an interesting phenomenon, capable of fantastic journalism, but it’s often very sloppy." (thanks Basim)

If only the ICC does not specialize in war crimes by Africans

"The Rehmans say a missile fired from a U.S. drone killed 68-year-old Momina Bibi — Rehman’s mother, and grandmother to the two young children — in an October 2012 airstrike. Both Zubair and Nabila were present when the attack happened and suffered injuries. The missile had struck their grandmother straight on, obliterating her completely. There were no others killed in the attack and no substantiated reports of terrorists at the scene. According to the family’s account, Bibi was killed tending okra while her grandkids played nearby."

U.S. initiator of all modern armed conflicts

"The Lieutenant General also said that the United States and their allies have used military force more than 50 times over the past decade, adding that six US operations ended in local armed conflicts."

US Africa Command: drinking heavily with prostitutes during an “all-night bar crawl"

"Three U.S. Special Forces soldiers who were killed in a mysterious auto accident in the West African nation of Mali in 2012 had been drinking heavily with prostitutes during an “all-night bar crawl,” according to an investigative report that sheds new light on the incident." (thanks Amir)

Anne Barnard on Rustum Ghazali

Her entire report is based on unsubstantiated rumors transmitted on Facebook by people of March 14 in Lebanon and their allies in Syrian rebel groups.  Of course, she lacks knowledge of Arabic, and otherwise she would have read the detailed report in Al-Akhbar by Hasan `Ullayq about the reasons for burning down his castle.

"Owners of Gay Hotel Face Boycott After Meeting With Ted Cruz"

"Reisner and Mati Weiderpass said the pair agreed with Cruz on policy relating to Israel. "We spent most of the time talking about national security issues and in particular the challenges regarding the defense of Israel". (thanks Sal)

Syria development

It seems that the Saudi and Turkish intelligence services have been quite effective in coordinating their activities against the regime. They also have been effective in sponsoring (to the silence of the American government) the Nusrah front as their new tool, instead of the gangs of the FSA.  They also have been effective in forcing an integration of rebel forces. As for the Syrian regime, when was it effective in anything? And do you notice that Bashshar still has that desire to appeal to the White Man and he only gives interviews to European and American journalists and doesn't care to speak to Arab journalists, even those who are on his side.

The Arab League in the Age of Arab Uprisings

For those who don't really care, I am speaking tomorrow, Sunday April 26th, at UC Berkeley at the Model Arab League conference in Sutardja Dai Hall, the Banatao Auditorium at 4:30PM.  The title of my talk is "The Arab League in the Age of Arab Uprisings".

Friday, April 24, 2015

"The Storm of Resolve" in the media

My weekly article in Al-Akhbar: "The 'Storm of Resolve" in the Media: Between those who are silent and those who utter".

A new flag for Saudi regime?

From Laith: "Someone changed the @Wikipedia flag of #SaudiArabia to read "No GoD but #Israel" 

Gaza, a place of beauty & survival

"After the war, I wanted to show life in Gaza in all aspects — the joyfully colorful rocks at Gaza’s seaport that stand in contrast to the gray landscape of destruction left by Israel’s bombs."

Zionists' war on the Lancet for reporting Israeli war crimes

"The heavy-handed attempt to force The Lancet to withdraw the Open letter is the latest in a series of attempts to stifle media coverage of the Israel-Palestine issue and should be resisted."

An open letter for the people in Gaza

Obama will once again stop short of calling the 1915 massacre of Armenians a genocide

"President Barack Obama will once again stop short of calling the 1915 massacre of Armenians a genocide, prompting anger and disappointment from those who have been pushing him to fulfill a campaign promise and use the politically fraught term on the 100th anniversary of the killings this week." "Historians estimate up to 1.5 million Armenians were killed by Ottoman Turks, an event widely viewed by scholars as genocide." (thanks Amir)

Nicholas Blanford stumbles on yet another scoop: relying on Google earth he announces his finding

"Hizbullah sources have confirmed to IHS Jane's that the organisation is using UAVs to support operations against rebel forces in Syria, particularly over the mountainous Qalamoun region on Lebanon's eastern border."   Notice that Hizbullah consistently admits all their crimes to this man, who has a known record of hostility to Hizbullah and who has earned a deserved reputation as a propagandist for the Hariri family in Lebanon, and whose book on Hariri is treated as a laughable long press release from the Hariri press office.  Is there any crime by Hizbullah that the party does not admit to this man in particular? And notice that he said "sources", so this time it is not his usual source, Abu Johny, but two, Abu Johny and Abu Potato (the latter occupies a very senior position in the Hizbullah hierarchy.  Also, notice the meticulous professional language of this gifted correspondent: "it could potentially be used to extend the range of a UAV ground control station.".  But wait, this professional correspondent does not end there, he adds another nugget of information from a very reliable source: "The Saudi Al-Watan newspaper claimed in March 2014 that Hizbullah had built a "military airport" for its UAVs in the Bekaa Valley". Case closed.

Puppets of the House of Saud

Saudi regime wishes the man to the right, Sa`d Hariri, to lead Lebanon, and the man to the left, Ahmad Al-Jarba, to lead Syria. They look the roles, don't they?

Cornel West and Palestine

I am glad to see the strong stand that Cornel West has been taking on Palestinian.  But West's stance on Palestine has--shall we say in the terminology of American politics--"evolved" over the years.  As West moved away from the mainstream of American intellectual spectrum, especially after his disillusionment with Obama (who did not deserve West's hope and support in the first place), he became more vocal and courageous in his criticisms of Israel.  In his book, Race Matters, West's pronouncements on Palestine were most problematic on more than one level: 1) he belittled the solid Israeli alliance with Apartheid South Africa; 2) he accepted the insistence of Zionists to blur the lines between rejection of Zionism and anti-Semitism (and West didn't even mention that many Zionists in the US specially are characterized, nay motivated, by anti-Semitism (the case of Sen. Lindsey Graham is only a most recent example; 3) he basically marked the ills and brutality of the state of Israel with the rise of the Likud. He actually implied that all was well prior to Likud.  He in fact associated the savagery of Israel with the persons of Sharon and Sharmir--only Sharon and Shamir; 4) he basically believed that the ills of Zionism are confined to the West Bank and Gaza.  Nevertheless, I am gratified now with the stance of Cornel West. 

Armenian Genocide

All Saudi-led regimes in the Arab world are expressing solidarity with the Turkish government by being silent about the commemoration of the Genocide.  If the Ottoman Empire was Shi`ite, all Arab tyrants would have flocked to Armenia to commemorate the occasion.

Saudi "Storm of Resolve"

"more than 1,000 civilians killed, more than 4,000 wounded, and 150,000 displaced".

Incarceration rates

Thursday, April 23, 2015

We can't accept that his name be included

"We can't accept that his name be included among soldiers who killed his relatives in Gaza, Lebanon and the West Bank," said Khudair's father, Hussein." (thanks Marc)

The token Arab, the token Muslim

Western media love those stories. The ONE token Arab or ONE token Muslim working for the Zionist regime or its propaganda services. And they talk about that person as if he/she is famous and as if Arabs are really concerned over her role. In reality, and I checked: no one knows who she is and no one really cares.  Do you think for example that any Muslim knows who Hirsi Ali is?  Those remind me of stories I used to read in the US press when I came here in the early eighties about that one black man in South Africa who loves apartheid. US media loved those stories.

This American rabid anti-Semite will be forgiven by the Zionist media and organizations because he is pro-Israel

"If I put together a finance team that will make me financially competitive enough to stay in this thing…  I may have the first all-Jewish cabinet in America because of the pro-Israel funding.  [Chuckles.]  Bottom line is, I’ve got a lot of support from the pro-Israel funding."  Can you imagine if a critic of Israel were to vomit such anti-Semitic garbage? Can you imagine the (justifiable) reactions?  I don't think that Abe Foxman will condemn those remarks.

Reading list of "an Arabist"

""As a professional Arabist, if I have a bias, it is in the other direction. I have read everything from Sir Richard Burton, T.E.
Lawrence to Sheik Zayed al-Nahyan, Rumi and Sayyed Qutb."  Sheikh Zayed? The man was illiterate.  At least Sheikho mo paid someone to write a book under his name.

I know that this particular correspondent does not have any credibility, but he has an exclusive: Bashshar Al-Asad is falling

"Having clung to power for four years amid an armed uprising, the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is being buffeted by a series of battlefield setbacks that could place fresh strains on its internal cohesion." (thanks Basim)

How arms imports are destabilising the Middle East

"Gulf states are increasing arms imports from countries including permanent UN security council members. Their increased involvement in regional conflicts is raising tensions with Iran"

Imagine if this was Iran who caused that: can you imagine the outrage by Western correspondents and journalists?

"Nearly 1,000 people have been killed in more than three weeks of fighting since the bombing campaign began, while more than 150,000 have been displaced, according to the United Nations. Many who have fled the violence have ended up in the East African country of Djibouti, a short boat trip across a narrow waterway separating it from Yemen."

Pakistan and pivot to China

"Meanwhile Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Pakistan this week with $46 billion in investment to build an economic corridor from Western China to the Persian Gulf. The Sharifs promised Xi that Pakistan will create a new special division of the Pakistani Army to protect Chinese workers in Pakistan. The "Special Security Division" will total 10,000 troops and be commanded by a two star. Half the men will come from the Special Services Group, Pakistan's elite commando force. The force will have its own organic air support.

So no troops for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia; 10,000 troops for the People’s Republic of China. There are major differences in the specifics of course: troops for a foreign war versus troops at home; compensation for past payment versus securing future investment; Islamic unity versus Pakistan's all-weather ally since 1962.

But don’t focus on the details. It is clear Sharif has made his pivot. And like the United States, Pakistan would like to move away from the Middle East and toward East Asia."