Sunday, November 23, 2014

Sisi regime now accuses Norway of plotting against Egypt

"Newly arrested Brotherhood member accused of collaborating with US, Norway". (thanks Hossam)

Sa`d Id-Din Ibrahim: apologizes to Sisi (and his fans) and expresses "great admiration" for him

If they ask you who did this to the child, tell them Israel and its supporters around the world

"Shareef al-Namla, 3, wounded during the 50 days of conflict between Israel and Hamas last summer, practices walking with his prosthetic leg at Gaza's Artificial Limbs and Polio Centre (ALPC) in Gaza City on November 19, 2014. The ALPC was established in 1974 and operates with the technical support of the International Red Cross. The organisation is the only center of its kind in the Hamas-run coastal Palestinian strip which provides free prosthetic and orthotic services the population. AFP PHOTO/ MAHMUD HAMS" (thanks Marc)

Sexual war crimes by Free Syrian Army

Look at this sentence in passing: "Khateeb and Saleh have also documented several cases of sexual assault by members of the opposition Free Syrian Army, but have not publicized them for fear of retaliation in opposition-controlled areas."

Israel kills civilian near Jabaliya refugee camp

"The ministry identified the man as Fadel Mohammed Halawa, 32, and said he was shot by soldiers east of Jabaliya refugee camp. One of Halawa's relatives said he had been searching for songbirds, which nest in trees near the Israeli border and command high prices in Gaza markets."

Google and NSA

"Google took a risk forming an alliance with the NSA. The company’s corporate motto, “Don’t be evil,” would seem at odds with the work of a covert surveillance and cyber warfare agency."

Justice for Kenyans

"Thousands of elderly Kenyans, who claim mistreatment, rape and torture by British colonial forces during the Mau Mau uprising, have launched a £200m damages claim against the UK Government." (thanks Amir)

Kissinger's new book

I have always said that I enjoy reading some of the people that I detest: Bernard Lewis, Efraim Karsh, Elie Kedouri, David Vital, Shlomo Avineri, Henry Kissinger, and Niall Ferguson.  Yet, the new book, World Order, by Henry Kissinger, has none of the style of Kissinger. It is by far his worst book--politics aside, of course because the politics of all those people I mention is horrific.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Humor of the day

 "Robert Satloff (@robsatloff)

11/20/14, 6:22 AM
A sad day for ME peace & voices of Arab moderation. @ATFP always been courageous, constructive part of ME solution.…

Secular analysis in media of Saudi princes and sympathy for Bin Ladenites

"“We are seeing that the LAF is focusing on the arms of the Sunni community, whilst ignoring, even appearing to protect the Shiite enclaves. That there appear to be no repercussions for Hezbollah creates grievances, that could lead to extremist feelings and a more armed approach from some Sunnis,” Imad Salamey, a politics professor at the Lebanese American University, told Al Arabiya News." (thanks Basim)

Syrian National Coalition

I don't want to bother you but do you remember the Syrian National Coalition?  Well, the conflicts inside its leadership have been really brewing as of late but Western media are busy covering the training of "moderate Syrian rebels".

Western correspondents in Beirut: affairs of trivialities

Western correspondents in Beirut don't bother with coverage of the social and political conflicts in Lebanon. They all see their mission as providing fawning coverage of the Free Syrian Army and clients of Saudi Arabia in Lebanon.  Yet, this week they seem to all express excitement: they want to write articles about the fact that Walid Jumblat (one of the most corrupt politicians in Lebanon, and one of the most unprincipled by far) is tweeting. I kid you not.

Deeds of "moderate" Syrian rebels

"For three days, Syrian rebels dug through a wall of a library that housed a trove of historical religious texts, and underneath an adjacent road. When they were done with the 50-foot-long tunnel, they waited at one end of it for a tank to drive by, and blew it up. The explosion cut off the road, a crucial supply route for government soldiers stationed at the nearby 13th century citadel, but it also destroyed what was left of the Waqifiyya Library, already damaged during months of clashes." "They have also launched homemade rockets, often inaccurate, at government forces stationed in landmark structures, frequently killing civilians. In the process, they are helping destroy Syria's history and infrastructure and, with the deaths of civilians, undermining popular support for their cause."

foreign victims of US wars

"Every year, we celebrate the service and mourn the loss of members of the U.S. military. Meanwhile, the foreign victims of our wars go unnamed and unacknowledged. Such callous disregard for the lives of others simply cannot be justified when one considers the unequivocal fact that the United States is by far the most militarily active nation in the world."

U.S. and Israeli companies have been selling surveillance systems to Central Asian countries with records of political repression and human rights abuse

"U.S. and Israeli companies have been selling surveillance systems to Central Asian countries with records of political repression and human rights abuse, according to a new report by Privacy International. The U.K.-based watchdog charges that the American firms Verint and Netronome enable surveillance in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan."

Netanyahu required a Mubarak-like tyrant in Egypt

"Second, there is the baldly cynical design and intent of American policy. This is what makes the Egyptian case so revealing. With the Sinai campaign, we see the architecture of the American strategy in full. Obama bumbled when he should have shouted praise as the Arab Spring began to blossom. One suspected from the first that we were in for a demonstration of just how opposed to democracy in the non-Western world Washington remains. Following Morsi’s election, it was gradually clear that Prime Minister Netanyahu required a Mubarak-like tyrant in Egypt to protect Israel’s flank from active militias in Sinai, and then painfully clear Washington was set on giving him one. In my view, this is the single most important reason al-Sisi sits in office, behaves as badly or worse than any leader in the region, and still receives $5 billion in American military aid a year." (thanks Amir)


I never hear or read the word "apostate" in Arabic discourse or debate. It seems to exist only in the Orientalist fantasy of Western writers on the Middle East.

Atheism in the Arab world

I need to write a review of Brian Whitaker's new book on atheism in the Arab world. Remind me.

Abdul-Khaliq Abdullah

I read with interest the book I`tirafat Akadimi Mutaqa`id (Confessions of a Retired Academic) by my graduate school classmate and friend, Abdul-Khaliq Abdullah.  Our political divergence still pains me.

UK ambassador in Bahrain

It seems that no one is excited about the non-election in Bahrain except the UK ambassador.

One thing in Arabic and another thing in English

People used to say that Arafat says one thing in Arabic and another thing in English although that also applies to Israeli leaders. But there is no one I know among Middle East potentates who says one thing in Arabic and another thing in English more than the King of Jordan who celebrates the new Sony Xperia phone which allows him to play on his PSIII.

Jordan repression

The royal government of Jordan arrested a leader of the Muslim Brotherhood for criticizing the UAE government.  Not a word about that in the Western press.  Repression in Jordan conflicts with Western media coverage of the government, which is motivated by the need to protect puppets of Israel.

Marwan Hamadi at the Hariri International Tribunal in the Hague

There is no judicial farce worse than the Hariri international tribunal in the Hague, which is run by the US government.  For the last week, they paraded former Jumblat-Hariri minister before the court to speak about his struggle and the struggle of Rafiq Hariri against the Syrian regime in Lebanon.  The defense team in the court is one of the worst that I have seen, but that is what is required for the court to pass.  For much of the testimony by Hamadi, it was what is considered in US courts "hearsay", which would be easily dismissed by any judge here. But not in the Hariri tribunal. At one point, someone asked Hamadi about the ostensible struggle by Rafiq Hariri against the Syrian regime and whether it was rather "silent".  Hamadi answered: "half-silent" which is a blatant lie because there is not one word uttered by Rafiq Hariri in public ever against the Syrian regime. As for the corrupt former minister, Hamadi, people in Lebanon unearthed some of his statement in praise of the Syrian regime over the years. A sample (with my translations):

In a telegram to Hafidh Al-Asad on the anniversary of the "corrective movement, Oct. 14, 1997: "The memory of the glorious corrective movement formed a great marking point in the history of Syria, the country and people.  We present to your excellency the most sublime verses of appreciation, and blessing for your persistent struggle which transformed Syria into a fortress of steadfastness and a symbol of Arab struggle in the face of conspiracies aiming to undermine Arab dignity and steadfastness".

In April 1999, he said in a speech on the anniversary of Ba`th founding: "The Ba`th Party is in the conscience of Arabs and in the dictionary of the world...the experience with the Ba`th transformed under the Asad Syria into a journey in the world of dignity and firmness.  It is a party of leadership and pioneering, party of liberation and liberty, party of independence and unity, party of socialism and equality, party of change and modernization". 

There is more below but I have to go.  Note: the defense team in the kangaroo Hariri court will not ask Hamadi such basic questions: 1) what was your financial relationship with Rafiq Hariri. 2) how do you explain the statements below in praise of the Syrian regime when you stand here claiming to have struggled against the Syrian regime?

من سجّل مروان حمادة في النضال ضد النظام السوري في لبنان (عمّموا وعمّمن):
"في برقيّة أرسلها الى الرئيس حافظ الأسد، في ذكرى الحركة التصحيحيّة، (14 تشرين الثاني 1997)، قال حماده:
"إنّ ذكرى الحركة التصحيحيّة المجيدة شكّلت نقطة تحوّل عظمى في تاريخ سوريا شعباً وقطراً. نتقدّم من سيادتكم بأسمى آيات التقدير والتبريك لنضالكم الدؤوب الذي حوّل سوريا الى قلعة للصمود ورمزاً للنضال العربي في وجه المؤامرات التي تحاك للنيل من الصمود والكرامة العربيّة".

وفي كلمة ألقاها في احتفال في ذكرى تأسيس حزب البعث في طرابلس (12 نيسان 1999) قال حماده:
"حزب البعث هو في ضمير العرب وفي قواميس العالم... التجربة مع البعث تحوّلت مع أسد سوريا الى رحلة في عالم الكرامة والعنفوان. إنّه حزب القيادة والريادة، حزب التحرّر والتحرير، حزب الاستقلال والوحدة، حزب الاشتراكيّة والمساواة، حزب التغيير والتحديث...".

في جلسة للمجلس النيابي (11 تموز 1999) بشّر حماده اللبنانيّين :
بأنّه مع "المقاومة الباسلة ومع كل لبنان ومع سوريا الأسد في معركة التحرير لاستعادة الجنوب والبقاع الغربي والجولان وكامل الأرض والحقوق العربيّة من خلال المسار الواحد بين بيروت ودمشق".

وفي 10 حزيران من العام 2000، أعلن حمادة بعينين دامعتين وقلبٍ ملوّع أنّ:
"الرئيس الأسد قائدٌ فذّ تجمّعت فيه وتجلّت صفات الريادة والبطولة والشجاعة والحكمة وبوفاته خسر لبنان الأخ الكبير الذي رعى دائماً وحدته واستقلاله وسلمه الأهلي"."

Friday, November 21, 2014

Karl Marx and the State

My weekly article in Al-Akhbar: "Karl Marx and the State: When the Right discusses the thought of the left".

What Thomas Friedman finds striking

"What is most striking, though, is how much Al-Mesbar sees ISIS not as just a religious problem that has to be combated with a more inclusive Islamic narrative but as the product of all the problems ailing this region at once: underdevelopment, sectarianism, lagging education, sexual repression, lack of respect for women and lack of pluralism in all intellectual thought."  Striking? This is the stuff of Saudi media (in English and Arabic) because it deflects attention from the responsibility of Gulf regime.  But it is clear that Friedman has been promoting the Saudi propaganda site, Al-Mesbar, for a while now.

the insignificant Mahmoud Abbas

"People will disregard Mahmoud Abbas, regardless of whether he says — what he says is right or wrong. This is not a function of it. And people who are carrying these out are people who don’t even care about Mahmoud Abbas, whether they’re on — Islamists or ultra-leftists."

Israel bombed 161 mosques in Gaza

"Israel bombed 161 mosques in Gaza"

Israeli lobby protected Neo-Nazis

"According to Democratic sources in Congress, staffers from the ADL’s Washington office and the Simon Wiesenthal Center rejected the amendment on the grounds that right-wing Ukrainian parties like Svoboda with documented records of racist extremism had “moderated their rhetoric.” An ADL lobbyist insisted that “the focus should be on Russia,” while the Wiesenthal Center pointed to meetings between far-right political leaders in Ukraine and the Israeli embassy as evidence that groups like Svoboda and Right Sector had shed their extremism."

Sexual abuse of child prisoners in Israel

"At least 600 Palestinian children were arrested in Jerusalem since last June. Of these chlidren, nearly 40% were reportedly exposed to sexual abuse during arrest or investigation by the Israeli authorities, according to a report by the Palestinian Prisoners Club (PPC)."

Israeli flag at UC Berkeley

"When Horowitz did the same thing while waving the Israeli flag, the reaction was much different. Horowitz received verbal assaults, yells and middle fingers." ha ha ha

lies and fabrications of Haaretz: typical Zionist trickery

Look how they purposefully try to tarnish the reputation of anti-Zionist groups and individuals by deceptively pretending that hostility to Zionist groups is the same as hostility to Jews: "The organization as a whole has an “anti-normalization” policy, refusing to participate in discussions with Jewish and pro-Israel student groups. "  They don't mention that many activists in the SJP movement are Jews.  And where did the paper get the impression that anti-normalization groups are opposed to Jewish groups? The whole article deliberately slips in bogus claims of "anti-Jewish" without any substantiation. 

CORRECTION: This Palestinian girl is going to school with a ladder on her back: and you think that the Palestinians won't exact revenge for Zionist cruelty?

PS It was explained to me that this picture isn't real but was artistically rendered to present the agony of the Palestinian under occupation and under siege.

Syria refugees shot & killed by Turkey border guards

"Turkish border guards have abused – and even killed – refugees trying to escape the fighting in Syria, according to an Amnesty International report." (thanks Amir)

Did Jumblat just call me an "old communist"?

"“It worked,” Joumblatt said. “Only one guy said, ‘But Lenin had no children’… It seems he was an old communist.”" To that I say, better an "old communist" than a follower of Jeffrey Feltman, Hafidh Al-Asad, Saudi royal family, and Hariri family. (thanks Ali)

Thursday, November 20, 2014

AUB is not happy that it was compared to other universities

"The American University of Beirut ranked first in the Arab region for social sciences, second in medicine programs, and came in fifth overall, in a ranking that featured 91 higher education institutions from 16 countries. “AUB fared extremely well in the US News & World Report rankings, given that we were evaluated against universities five to 10 times our size, and against graduate universities that exist solely to conduct and publish research,” President Peter Dorman said." (thanks Basim)

Mike Nichols: dead

"his grandfather, Gustav Landauer, was a political anarchist leader who was killed by right-wing opponents in 1919."

Chronology of violence in Palestine: what the US media does not cover

From Fatima:  "18 Nov Palestinians kill 4 Israelis in synagogue in Jerusalem
17 Nov Evening Israelis hanged Palestinian bus driver in Jerusalem
16 Nov Morning Israeli settlers storm Aqsa mosque
13 Nov Israel allows prayer in Aqsa with restrictions
11 Nov Israelis strip Palestinian women of her head scarf on a bus
9 Nov Israel police assassinates Kheir Aldeen after hitting police car -Israeli soldiers enter the Aqsa with guns and gas bombs
5 Nov Israel attacks moslem women worshippers entering the mosque
4 Nov Israel opens Aqsa with many restrictions
30 Oct Israel closes Aqsa mosque to all prayers
24 Oct Israeli soldiers kill Orwa 14 year old in Silwad
19 Oct Israeli settlers take control of 2 Palestinian residential building in Silwan
16 Oct Israeli soldiers kill Bahaa 13 year old in Bet Liqia
14 Oct Israeli settlers set Mosque in Aqraba on fire".

The Judge of Urgent Matters in Beirut: AUB covers up its corruption with the assistance of the corrupt Lebanese state

"The Judge of Urgent Matters in Beirut, Nadim Zwein, issued an order (from his home) Wednesday, compelling Al-Akhbar to remove a report on the ‘AUB Leaks’ scandal titled, “Will allegations of corruption at AUB go to US courts?” published on November 14, 2014, and all documents linked to in the story from the newspaper’s website.

Judge Zwein’s decision follows a request made by the American University in Beirut (AUB), dated November 17, 2014, through its lawyer Randa Shaker Abu Suleiman from the Abu Suleiman Law Firm. AUB said that Al-Akhbar, in the report in question, had published “confidential internal documents, memos, and correspondence belonging to AUB.” " (thanks Marc)

Who can better judge the knowledge and erudition of Walid Jumblat, the Lebanese traditional sectarian leader known for his political shifts?

"“He’s a very learned guy, he reads a lot...said Nicholas Blanford".  Hilarious. This is like having Sa`d Hariri give an opinion about Hegel.

A film about Palestinian historian Elias Shufani

Hind Shufani just released a film about her father, the academic and decent Fath struggler (who later broke with `Arafat), Elias Shufani.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

barbra streisand and sheldon adelson

From Khelil: "I was reading about the 'Friends of the IDF' fundraiser in Los Angeles hosted by Haim Saban and how, among other Hollywood liberals, Barbra Streisand attended. Her attendance did not surprise me, of course, but looking through the photos I thought I spotted her sitting next to Sheldon Adelson and his wife (a fact confirmed in the second photo -  her outfit); when it comes to Israel, Hollywood liberals will openly embrace a far-right, anti-union, casino mogul, and top GOP fundraiser nut to the right of Netanyahu who has publicly called for dropping a nuke in the Iranian desert as a "lesson." There is no ideological division that American Zionist liberals will not overcome, no matter how repugnant and how much an enemy on every domestic cause the other person is, so as to hug together over Israel. "

Rasmea Odeh: guilty for resistance

"The government claimed that she failed to disclose that she had been convicted by the Israelis of participating in bombings in 1969. This conviction in a military court was the result of a false confession made after she was viciously tortured and raped by Israeli military authorities for weeks. There is no due process in Israeli military courts, which "convict" over 99% of Palestinians who come before them, and "evidence" from these should not be accepted in a court in the US."

U.S. evangelical foreign policy

"So why is the Middle East such a draw? My own guess is U.S. domestic politics. The large number of born-again evangelical Christians in the United States care deeply, theologically even, both for the fate of Israel and for the struggle against terrorism, which is easily elided into a clash of civilizations with Islam."

Tell Aljazeera to report on this

"Almost 36 million people are living as slaves across the globe, according to a human rights group, and an index released on Monday lists Mauritania, Uzbekistan, Haiti, Qatar and India as the nations where modern-day slavery is most prevalent".

Israel's punitive house demolitions leaves children homeless

"One of the family members, Tamir al-Shaludi, said Israeli forces stole over 80,000 shekels ($20,800) from one of the fifth floor apartments during the demolition. The demolition, which took place overnight, is one of at least six orders issued by the Israeli government to destroy the homes of the families' of Palestinians who attacked Israelis."