Saturday, November 30, 2013

Riyadh as a world city

Saudis on Facebook on Twitter have been mocking House of Saud in the wake of the recent flooding that exposed the bad infrastructure of the city.  They put a contrast between an interview with Prince Salman in which he predicted in 1975 that by 1985 Riyadh would be a world city comparable to the largest world cities.  Contrast that with this video below

Israeli assistance to Syrian rebels?

This front-page article in As-Safir talks about recent Israeli military assistance to Syrian rebels.  Surprised? 

I can't believe that Cambridge University Press would publish such a trashy Zionist book: Antisemitism and the American Far Left

As you know, I do read the production of Zionists in the media and academia, often times to relish their poverty of ideas and logic.  I also enjoy realizing that Zionist propaganda in the 21st century is as bad, crude, and vulgar as Ba`thist propaganda of the 20th century.  Take Stephen Norwood's Anti-Semitism and the American Far Left published by Cambridge University Press.  The author maintains: "Of course, administrators consistently ignore situations when campus opponents of Israel create a hostile environment for Jewish students."  (p. 239).  Of course, he does not tell us how and why this is related to "the far left" and he does not even bother to explain as for the evidence of his generalization about campuses across the US? He relies on "One student testified that her Islamic studies professor told her she was not "Semitic".(p. 239).  He also claims (shame on Cambridge University Press if not for publishing the propaganda of this book at least for the stupidity between its covers) "many university administrators" adopted the "Bandung Conference" and he adds that the Bandung conference is anti-Semitic because Nasser and Sukarno excluded Israel from it. (p. 238).  I am not making this up.  He also faults the "New Left"--not to be confused with the "Far Left" of the book for undermining "public perception of the Holocaust as unique by accusing the United States of waging a genocidal war in Vietnam".  So in order to preserve the uniqueness of the Holocaust, we should have maintained that the US was being merciful and kind in Vietnam?  Of course, like all Zionists he freely uses anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism interchangeably or he uses this expression: "virulent anti-Zionism laced with anti-Semitism" (p. 236).  I have one question for Cambridge University Press: would they publish a book that claims that Arab and Muslim students in the US suffer from a "hostile environment" due to the overwhelming Zionism of the country?  The guy is so lacking in basic knowledge and elementary education that he claims that "university courses on European, American, and Middle Eastern history have rarely addressed the issue of anti-Semitism, or even the Jewish experience".  (p. 236).  I really would like to meet the professors who read this manuscript and recommended its publication.  

The ethnic cleanser of the 21st century

"Tens of thousands of Palestinian Bedouin are being forcibly displaced from their homes and lands. At the same time, there are Israeli government advertisements on the web that promise you funding as a British immigrant to come and live in 'vibrant communities' in the Negev – if you are Jewish. This is ethnic cleansing." "

Repeat after me: Israel has no nuclear weapons, and if it does, they are harmless

" "Going back 10 years into Post archives, I could not find any in-depth reporting on Israeli nuclear capabilities." To be fair to the Post, if you look for such featured pieces in other major media outlets, you also will not find them. For example, according to LexisNexis, since Jan. 1, 2000, "Iran" and "nuclear" appear in New York Times headlines 603 times; "Israel" and "nuclear" appear 21 times."" (thanks Amir)

When the US government pushes for a puppet

I saw this headline on the politically sleazy (and notoriously unreliable) Saudi news website of the news station of King Fahd's brother-in-law, Al-Arabiyya.  It claimed that Mustafa Abdul-NATO is the most popular man in Libya.  I really had my suspicious and read further to find out that the poll was conducted by the DNI.  I mean, I know that the US is not pleased with `Ali Zaydan but come on.  Also, can someone tell me how the DNI was able to conduct the survey in war-torn Libya these days?

The first time I heard the word "thug"

I have been expressing my outrage at the plight of the `Alawites of Lebanon: they have no defenders really because it is a small community and has no real sectarian allies (they are viewed religiously either as infidels or just plain weird).  And their leader, `Ali `Id is thug who aligned the community with the Asad regime.  The first time I heard the word thug was from Hanna Batatu who told me the story of `Id. He was his student at AUB before the civil war. He told me that he used to frequent a nightclub at Zaytunah in its heyday and noticed that a Saudi prince has a table there.  He cooked a scheme whereby he started a fight with the prince and his entourage and then claimed that he became disabled and sued the prince for a lot of money.  Batatu told me that he was healthy but would come to class in a wheelchair pending the verdict of the court.  He then told me that he was a "thug".  I asked what is a "thug", and he said: Az`ar.


Take a look at the corporate sponsors of JINSA--one of the most militant Zionist organizations in the US. (thanks Krim)

How to ward off evil: ask this clerical kook

مفتي السعودية يصف المحتجين بالقطيف بـ الفئة الضالة الخبيثة

"Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah al-Sheikh, in a speech delivered Wednesday in the western city of Medina, said the issue of giving women the right to drive should not be "one of society's major concerns". The kingdom's most senior cleric called for "the matter to be considered from the perspective of protecting society from evil" which, according to him, included letting women drive." (thanks Basim)

Friday, November 29, 2013

A reactionary history of the Lebanese Left: brought to you by The Rosa Luxemburg Foundation

My weekly article for Al-Akhbar:  "A Reactionary History of the Lebanese Left".

sign against the Sisi dictator

A man is arrested for trying to display a sign against the Sisi tyrant. (thanks Yusuf)

If a Middle Eastern newspaper published this headline, it would be condemned as anti-Semitic

"Iranian nuclear deal strains Obama's relations with big Jewish donors".

Yet, in the US, Israel is still marketed as a progressive experiment

"In a country in which there is no curse more poisonous than “leftist,” there is no fabrication more baseless than branding these people and institutions as such. Every suspect has become persecuted, every “leftist” has become a synonym for traitor, at the same time that being right wing or even extremist and violent has become a badge of honor in Israeli society."

It is Arabic, damn it

"Arabic is ranked as a more important language for children to learn in school than French in a report published by the British Council today."

I can't get over this

I still can't get over this: Western journalists who can't speak Arabic and can't follow this man's conversation declared this Islamist fanatic (and Al-Qa`idah ally) to be charismatic.

when looking at the poor

"A Princeton University psychology professor, Susan Fiske, has found that when research subjects hooked up to neuro-imaging machines look at photos of the poor and homeless, their brains often react as if they are seeing things, not people. Her analysis suggests that Americans sometimes react to poverty not with sympathy but with revulsion."

Who is worse than Morsi's rule? The sisi regime that sentenced those girls for demonstrating

And now a word from the peace lobby

"Therefore, the United States needs to increase pressure by making it abundantly clear to Iran
that it will either use military force if necessary to prevent a nuclear Iran, or support Israel’s
efforts to do so. To this end, the Administration could bolster its credibility by shoring up
and clarifying its declaratory policy. American leaders should also refrain from making any
more public statements undermining the viability of U.S. or Israeli military action, and instead
reiterate at regular intervals that the United States will always be supportive of the fundamental
right of Israel and other regional allies to ensure their self-defense".

spending on democracy


protecting democracy from its foes

""U.S.-allied petro states there grew rich, buying U.S. armaments and fighter jet squadrons. U.S. strategic interests led it to launch Gulf wars in 1991 and 2003. The greatest symbol of U.S. presence and power in the region is the Navy's 5th Fleet, docked in the tiny sheikdom of Bahrain. Comprising some 30 ships and 20,000 personnel, the fleet protects the Persian Gulf and the Red and Arabian seas.""

What civilian casualties?

""US-led NATO forces in Afghanistan on Friday vowed to investigate an airstrike that President Hamid Karzai said killed a two-year-old boy, as acrimony deepens over a deal to allow US troops to stay in the country after 2014.""

Israeli war on children

""For children like four-year-old Muhammad al-Majid, there is no safety even inside their houses, as Israeli occupation forces can invade any time of day or night. As of 30 September, 179 Palestinian children were imprisoned and prosecuted in the Israeli military court system, according to DCI.""

Can you imagine the international uproar if a government were to "ban", say, Judaism?

""Angola has been accused of "banning" Islam after shutting down most of the country's mosques amid reports of violence and intimidation against women who wear the veil. The Islamic Community of Angola (ICA) claims that eight mosques have been destroyed in the past two years and anyone who practises Islam risks being found guilty of disobeying Angola's penal code."" (thanks Amir)

the end of an Empire

""Fifty-year-old documents that have finally been transferred to the [British] National Archive show that bonfires were built behind diplomatic missions across the globe as the purge – codenamed Operation Legacy – accompanied the handover of each colony.
The declassified documents include copies of an instruction issued in 1961 by Iain Macleod, colonial secretary, that post-independence governments should not be handed any material that "might embarrass Her Majesty's [the] government", that could "embarrass members of the police, military forces, public servants or others eg police informers", that might betray intelligence sources, or that might "be used unethically by ministers in the successor government"." (thanks Regan)

Don't you love it when Zionist hoodlums convince themselves that oil and gas potentates speak for the Arab people?

"I asked him if he thought the Arab states would actually back an Israeli strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities, if this terrible option should come to pass.
“Publicly, they would be against it,” he said. “Privately, they would love it.”
You’re sure they loathe Iran more than they loathe Israel?
“Look, Iran is a huge threat, historically speaking," he said. "The Persian empire was always against the Muslim Arab empire, especially against the Sunnis. The threat is from Persia, not from Israel." (thanks Marc)

So how much does a table cost at the Dahlan lobby?

"Despite ATFP claims to have never accepted donations from foreign governments, the group accepted $148,800 from the Embassy of the United Arab Emirates in 2011."  Let me guess: that was also to pay for a table at the Gala.  Hell, tables made of gold and diamond cost less than tables at the Dahlan annual galas in Washington, DC.  (thanks Nadia)

attack on `Alawites in Lebanon

Imagine if the victims of those regular attacks on `Alawites in Lebanon were directed against Jews: can you imagine the international uproar (and rightly so)?

a statement will be released soon

"Asked about the drone strikes, a spokesman for the International Security Assistance Force, the American-led coalition, did not have an immediate comment but said a statement would be released soon."

So how do you know that the Afghan people want the US occupation forces to stay?

"The recent assembly of Afghan tribal elders, a loya jirga, again demonstrated what we already knew — that the Afghan people want us to stay."  That the Loga jirga was picked by Karzai from among the puppets and tools of the occupation is not even a footnote.  Is it possible for Mr. O'Hanlon to open his mouth and not make a fool of himself, ever?  This is like a man raping a woman and then claiming that she wanted him.

How a political lie becomes a news story: this is a true story

A Kuwaiti tabloid newspaper, Al-Ra'y (which has a history of fabrications--and let me give readers a hint: whenever you read a story or an interview attributed to a Kuwaiti newspaper, safely assume it is a lie) carried a story that US officials conducted secret negotiations with Hizbullah officials (which is against US laws and even against the wishes of Hizbullah leader).  So the Jerusalem Post carried the story and attributed to a "Kuwaiti newspaper", not mentioning that it is leading voice in the yellow journalism of the region.  So the Daily Mail of London carried the story and attributed to Jerusalem Post.  Then Drudge Report AND Qatari and Saudi media reported the "story" and attributed to "British media" (Qatari-funded Al-Qauds Al-`Arabi went further and attributed to it "various sources").  You now learn how a lie becomes a news story, widely circulated. 

Partners in crime in Egypt

All those who cheered Sisi at one point or another are partners in crime in Egypt--the crime of the imposition of an increasingly grotesque dictatorship that increasingly wins the approval of Saudi Arabia, the US, and Israel.  

J`accuse: pogroms against Alawites in Tripoli, Lebanon

It is high time that we yell J'accuse against all those fake liberals and the NGOs which uses the lofty ideals only to pass the agenda of the EU and the US in the Middle East region.  Most guilty in this regard is the Human Rights Watch office in Beirut (because it has an office there and which issues daily bulletin of crocodile tears about the Syrian people but only if the tears are in sync with the agenda of the US and the Fee Syrian Army--the branch which appears to the reader as if it takes its marching orders from the directives of the Hariri press office has become a virtual press office for the Fee Syrian Army).  Are you aware that for the last two years, crimes have been committed against innocent `Alawites in Tripoli and not a single article about that in the Western press and not a single statement by Human Rights Watch or Amnesty International?  The entire community has been demonized.  Are you aware that not a single article in the press dared to tell the story of the clashes between Jabal Muhsin and Bab Tubbanah? The `Alawite are a mere 5% of the population and they have been subjected to a merciless campaign of bombardment and shelling by the thugs of Salfis in Tripoli (who are run by the March 14 figure, Ashraf Rifi).  All shops belonging to `Alawites in Tripoli have been set on fire, and whole `Alawite families who reside in Tripoli have been evicted from their homes by the thugs of Saudi intelligence in the city.  Not a word about all that in the Western press or in the statements by Western NGOs and human rights organization. And in the last few weeks there has been a new sport introduced in Tripoli: they search for Alawites (and they even stop buses and vans to request evidence of sectarian affiliation) and then the `Alawites are set aside and their legs shot at.  This has happened repeatedly.  Just yesterday, four innocent `Alawites have been shot at.  This week, a car of an `Alawite man broke down in Tripoli, and the Salafit thugs ran after him to kill him on the spot, and when he fled for his life into Jabah Mohsin, they set his car on fire.

Americans and charity

"In 2011, the wealthiest Americans—those with earnings in the top 20 percent—contributed on average 1.3 percent of their income to charity. By comparison, Americans at the base of the income pyramid—those in the bottom 20 percent—donated 3.2 percent of their income. The relative generosity of lower-income Americans is accentuated by the fact that, unlike middle-class and wealthy donors, most of them cannot take advantage of the charitable tax deduction, because they do not itemize deductions on their income-tax returns."

Thursday, November 28, 2013

not fit for Western news consumption

From Rana: "Jacobin has reprinted an article by Electronic Intifada's Asa Winstanley that questions the dominant narrative of the Syrian Revolution. It was removed from Middle East Monitor's website after enough complaints. Here's the link to the original which now reads: "Due to the large number of complaints we've received which deemed this article to be offensive to the sacrifices of the Syrian people in their struggle for justice, it has been removed." "

The New York Times is outraged: Russia uses harball tactics and throws its economic muscles towards its neighbors

The US would NEVER EVER resorts to such methods, EVER.  "At stake here is not just the fate of a free-trade pact but whether the hardball tactics of Russia, willing to use every bit of economic muscle".

Syrian Observatory for Qatari interests justifies yet again a car bomb

"Reflecting the continued violence on the ground, a car bomb in a government-controlled area west of Damascus on Tuesday killed at least 15 people and wounded many others, Syrian state news media and an opposition monitoring group said. The monitoring group, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said six of the dead were government soldiers."

House of Khalifah

"Adm. Jonathan Greenert, chief of naval operations, emphasized the importance of the Navy's Middle East presence Wednesday, telling sailors at an all-hands call that Bahrain remains the best option for operating out of the region."

collective crime

"In recent years, the landscape has played host to expanding methods of denial such as Orwellian parliamentary efforts to criminalise mourning on Israel's Independence Day, a holiday that represents the destruction of over 530 Palestinian villages, the killing of approximately 10,000 Palestinians, and the expulsion from Palestine of some 750,000 more." (thanks Amir)

A revolution that never was

"As well as the inherent value of such a change in itself, a free Arab world is best placed to confront Israel's apartheid regime. The road to Jerusalem runs though Arab capitals, as the late Palestinian leader George Habash used to emphasize. The American imperial power and its clients and allies were caught off guard and seemed paralyzed. But, spurred on by the Israeli-Saudi tag-team that leads the counter-revolutionary forces of the region, the hegemon soon rallied its forces and wasted little time engaging in covert operations."

Fake revolution

Comrade Asa:  "Probably the most controversial thing I have ever written (controversy generated by Israel’s propagandists generally being  falsified). Alternative judgements rendered on Twitter: “Good,” “Brilliant,” “Spot-on” and (my favourite of the insults) “someone throwing up on their keyboard”:

But we can now say with confidence that none of these uprisings has constituted a revolution. Of course, the immense struggles and sacrifices that people have made may yet sow seeds for the future… To say Syria is now a disaster is a massive understatement. This is a sectarian civil war which could continue for a decade if the regime’s enemies, led by the brutal Saudi tyranny, continue to wage their proxy war on the country.

As usual, read the rest of this column over at MEMO.

UPDATE, 26/11: After pressure, MEMO has decided to to withdraw this article because they deemed it “offensive.” It has been deleted from their website and replaced with a note (although a copy was preserved on the Internet Archive).

I totally stand by the article, the full text of which is below. 28/11: Jacobin magazine has also now republished it on their site."

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Robert Worth on Saudi Arabia

Look at this sentence: "For decades, Washington depended on Saudi Arabia — a country of 30 million people but the Middle East’s largest reserves of oil — to shore up stability in a region dominated by autocrats and hostile to another ally, Israel. The Saudis used their role as the dominant power in OPEC to help rein in Iraq and Iran..." The sentence implies that Saudi Arabia is NOT run by autocrats.

US-Saudi relations

Look at this article by Robert Worth: he cites three experts on Saudi Arabia, and not one of them is known as a critic of Saudi Arabia (and ambassador Murphy has been doing business with the Saudi government and Rafiq Hariri (his wife was employed as well) for long years.

The loya jirga also recommended this: but the US only wants one recommendation to be implemented

"The other recommendations, from various committees, ran the gamut from allowing Afghan observers to attend American military trials to banning Christian religious observances on American military bases".  And these are the appointees of puppet Karzai.

Elections in Nepal: look at the headline of the Times: "Election Results in Nepal Signal a Political Right Turn"

So the Times speaks of a political right turn. But let us look closely at the results:
The Nepali Congress won 105 of the 240 directly elected seats
The Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist) came in second with 91 seats
The Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), the dominant Communist party, secured 26 seats in the direct election.  Political right turn?

Look at the arrogance of the White Man: they are implying that Libyans were more mad at attacks on American than for attacks on Libyans

"Other Benghazi residents, caught in the crossfire, grew increasingly resentful of the Islamist militias’ dominance of their city — especially after the attack on the American Mission."  Why especially? 

Israel and the status quo: this guy is the least cowardly among writers for the Times--not that I approve of what he writes always or often

"Israel is the status-quo Middle Eastern power par excellence because the status quo cements its nuclear-armed domination. Any change is suspect, including popular Arab uprisings against despotism."

assassins for hire by US and Israel

"They've been subject to several pieces suggesting they work as assassins for the United States and Israel."

How to undermine the credibility of Muslims

"The document, provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, identifies six targets, all Muslims, as "exemplars" of how "personal vulnerabilities" can be learned through electronic surveillance, and then exploited to undermine a target's credibility, reputation and authority." (thanks Amir)

The Tony Blair Doctrine

"But Mr Mbeki noted: “There is a retired chief of the British armed forces and (he) said that he had to withstand pressure from the then prime minister of the United Kingdom, Tony Blair, who was saying to the chief of the British armed forces, ‘you must work out a military plan so we that can physically remove Robert Mugabe’.”
Mr Mbeki disclosed that South Africa, a neighbour of Zimbabwe, had been asked to help. “We had come under the same pressure and that we need to cooperate in some scheme - it was a regime change scheme - even to the point of using military force, and we said ‘no’,” said Mr Mbeki in the interview with al-Jazeera.
He explained that the idea was rejected on principle because Britain should not be in tbe business of deciding who leads African countries. " (thanks Nu`man)

"Iran in final stages of nuclear weapon" (Maariv, April 25, 1984)

(thanks Fadi)

Double Down by Mark Halperin and John Heilemann

Just finished reading Double Down on the 2012 election.  I recommend this full account only to see the extent to which big money really run and manage the candidates of both parties. And it is a good read too.

Rosa Luxemburg Foundation, again: the Lebanese Left

I have written about this foundation before and about its goal of bringing "understanding" between Arabs and the Zionist entity.  And I wrote that it sponsored the release of a book by Husayn Ya`qub, titled Yasar Lubnan (The Left of Lebanon).  I was thrilled at first thinking that finally there is a book about the Lebanese Left. I have finished reading it and I have a long critique of it next Saturday in Al-Akhbar: but I will just say that it is a right-wing reactionary account of the Lebanese Left written by one of the members of the Movement of Democratic Left (which is a small shop--now defunct--formed and funded by the Hairri family.  I now know why the normalizers of Rosa Luxemburg Foundation sponsored the publication of this book.  Even the Western Left--or particularly the Western left--is suspect.  You may see the name of a foundation using the name of Karl Marx and may be merely a front for Zionist likudniks.  

The US versus the world on Palestine

From Ali: "The UN has named 2014 as the ‘Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. The resolution was adopted by the majority of member-states with 110 voting in favor, 7 opposed and 54 abstaining. Who are these 7 states?

- Israel, US, Australia, Canada, Palau, Marshal Islands and Micronesia...

You remember western media outlets have been repeating the same rhetoric: "China and Russia are isolated in international arena because of their stance in Syria" So I decide to check if western media outlets say the same for Israel and United States... But there is not a single about the isolation, as you guess. May be they think, Micronesia, Marshal Islands and Palau are the leading countries in international arena.

By the way,they also forget to mention "US is a long term ally of Israel". You know, they like to link the Russian stance with Tartous base..."

Can you imagine the world reaction if Palestinians were to shoot and kill at Israelis that they suspect of "being militants"?

"Israeli security forces shot and killed three people suspected of being militants in a West Bank raid".

Surprise? American Task Force on Dahlan Palestine is funded by racist Zionists.

"Despite its claims to be “committed to strengthening Palestinian-American relations” as “an independent voice for Palestine,” the American Task Force on Palestine (ATFP) has begun accepting funding from one of the most aggressive funders of anti-Palestinian and Islamophobic initiatives in the United States. A recently released 2011 Internal Revenue Service Form 990 information return revealed that ATFP has accepted at least $10,000 from the Klarman Family Foundation.

The foundation’s principal, Seth Klarman, is one of the pro-Israel community’s most prolific financial angels and also one of its most ideologically hardline.

The donation from Klarman highlights the trajectory of an organization originally founded to advance the position of Palestinian statehood advocates in Washington, DC, but which has increasingly diverged from the Palestinian consensus. It also exposes an emerging strategy of pro-Israel donors like Klarman who are propping up an array of Muslim and Arab-American groups to drive a wedge into grassroots Palestine solidarity organizing.

Reached by phone, ATFP Senior Fellow Hussein Ibish declared that he had never heard of Klarman or the Klarman Family Foundation.

Despite ATFP claims to have never accepted donations from foreign governments, the group accepted $148,800 from the Embassy of the United Arab Emirates in 2011. Ibish refused to discuss the issue of UAE funding on the record." (thanks Electronic Ali)

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

It is official: Bashshar Al-Asad is running for re-election

Bashsar Al-Asad's closest friend, Lebanese politician Sulayman Franjiyyah, has just revealed on LBC TV that Bashshar Al-Asad is running for re-election for office and that he will win.  (I wonder why he should bother to run if he has guaranteed victory?)

Notice how furious the New York Times is with Hamid Karzai (which it had promoted for years)

"Mr. Karzai seemed particularly angered by a night raid that killed twin brothers in Nangarhar Province last week and provoked protests by villagers. The Americans said it was a joint, Afghan-led raid that killed two armed insurgents after they opened fire, but they conceded that a coalition adviser was among those who killed the two men. Afghan officials said that it was a unilateral, American Special Forces raid; that the only Afghans present were American employees or mercenaries, not regular Afghan forces; and that the victims were innocent villagers.

“On the very day that the jirga was opened, the Americans raided a house in Bati Kot and killed our compatriots,” Mr. Karzai said on Sunday. (Actually the raid took place on Tuesday night, while the jirga convened on Thursday.) “Does this mean that even after we sign this agreement the Americans will keep on killing our people?”"

Look how Israeli academics and experts casually make military threats against other countries; can you imagine the uproar if an Arab academic were to make threats against the Israeli Zionist entity?

"“At a time when appeasing Iran seems to be in vogue, an Israeli strike could invigorate elements in the international arena who are unwilling to accept an Iran with a nuclear breakout capability,” he wrote. “In addition, many people around the world would be reminded that muscular reactions to evil regimes are often truly necessary.” "

Who cares? I bet they counted Libya, Iraq, and Afghanistan among them (and maybe even Mali)

China rising

Prince Al-Walid reveals

From Khelil:  "Mr. Alwaleed notes that Saudi diplomacy also carries a fat checkbook in Jordan, Palestine and Yemen, which are in his words "under our hegemony."
"If you look at a map of the Arab world now, Saudi Arabia is very much the leader," says the prince. "America cannot afford to have the leader of the Arab world not be on the same wave length as the United States."

Syrian women in Za`tari refugee camp

From an eyewitness:  "In Zaatari where we were..., men rarely came to pick up the food parcels although they are heavy. My biggest surprise in Zaatari was how the women were empowered, doing everything while men are depressed sitting in the tents smoking and sipping tea. "

Nicholas Blanford's school of journalism: when a group divulges its secrets to its enemies

"Please let us know! Sounds a bit like the Hezbollah “sources” who say the worst things about the party… yet this lady is named…?
On November 24, the independent Al-Masry al-Yawm newspaper carried the following interview with newly-appointed Hamas spokeswoman Isra al-Modallal:
“…Q: “How do you perceive your experience as the first spokeswoman for Hamas ?" (thanks Nicholas) 

France's intentions

"France's defence minister has said that Paris would deploy about 1,000 soldiers to Central African Republic and proposed a UN Security Council resolution authorising international troops to use force to end mounting chaos. The mineral-rich but impoverished country of 4.6 million people has descended into chaos since Seleka rebels, many of them from neighbouring Chad and Sudan, ousted President Francois Bozize in March." (thanks Amir)

For the first time

"" "For the first time, the NYPD will have to produce key records about its Muslim surveillance program, and answer questions about its biased policies and practices."""

The first mention ever of the word Orientalist

According to A.J. Arberry (one of my favorite Orientalists, and as you know that there is a number of Orientalists that I favor and learn from, notwithstanding disagreements):  "The original connotation of the term orientalist was, in 1863, "a member of the Eastern or Greek Church": in 1691 Anthony Wood described Samuel Clark as "an eminent Orientalian," meaning that he knew some oriental languages.  Byron in his notes to Childe Harold's Pilgrimage speaks of "Mr. Thornoton's frequent hints of profound Orientalism". During the educational controversy in India which was settled by Macaulay's celebrated Minute of 1834, the Orientalists were those who advocated Indian learning and literature..."  From British Orientalists.

My response to the British ambassador in Lebanon

My latest blog post for Al-Akhbar English is my response to the letter by the British ambassador in Lebanon.

Iranian plots against American, Saudi, and Israeli interests

Whatever happened to that plot that Israel claimed: about an Iranian living in the West who was recruited by Quds Force to seek to bomb the American embassy in Israel (I guess because American embassies in Malaysia or Turkmenistan are more difficult targets)?  And whatever happened to the plot by the Texas car salesman who was recruited by the Quds Force to recruit a drug dealer to target the Saudi ambassador at a Chinese restaurant in Washington, DC?  Do you want to bet that both Saudi Arabia and Israel will this week or next discover and uncover nefarious plots by the Quds Force in those countries (one of which is occupied)?  I won't be surprised if Saudi and Israeli intelligence uncover a plot this week according to which Iranian intelligence sought to occupy the US.   Western media did not cover and did not mock a claim made by Netanyahu in the last few weeks according to which Iran was seeking to send missiles into the US territory.  

Western cruelty: Iran sanctions

Did you read the full text of the agreement with Iran? One of the "concessions" that Western governments made was in the permission to allow Iran to import parts for the civilian airliners.  There were plane crashes in Iran that have been attributed to the lack of spare parts.  This is the tenderness of Western values.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Sunni Israel

"Indeed, if the Israelis become a protector and defender of the Sunni Muslim countries".

lies of the occupiers

"But Afghan officials did not back down. “On this incident, the local people’s and local officials’ accounts differ from the one the U.S. military gives,” Mr. Faizi, the spokesman for Mr. Karzai, said Saturday. He added that American officials had always been quick to deny that victims of such raids were civilians, and that an Afghan investigation by the Nangarhar governor, Mualavi Ataullah Ludin, had confirmed that the victims were civilians. "

The New York Times on why the protest in Pakistan against drone murders is futile

"Still, the protest on Saturday was largely symbolic. NATO trucks do not operate on weekends. " Aren't all protests symbolic by definition? 

When the propagandist objects to propaganda

"But not all agreed with its findings. Rami Abdul Rahman, the head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said many of its numbers appeared to be high. His organization, which was not cited in the report, has documented the deaths of only 6,490 children as of mid-November, including only about 20 who had been tortured.   He said any documentation of deaths in Syria must navigate efforts by both sides to exaggerate their enemies’ crimes and whitewash their own.  “Now in Syria we have a huge problem with propaganda, both from the Syrian regime and from the rebels,” he said. "

This passes as insightful analysis of international affairs in the US

"Why? When Iran had its Islamic Revolution in 1979, it was, emotionally speaking, like a big brother who walked out, slamming the door behind him."

Leon Wieseltier is being objective, believe him

"Its facticity is one of the great accomplishments of the Jews’ history and one of the great accomplishments of liberalism’s and socialism’s and nationalism’s histories, and it is not complacent or apologetic to say so."  And I am not being biased when I declare Wieseltier a liberal apologist for Israeli war crimes over the decades.

Do you remember my theory that liberal Zionist hoodlums can't write about Israeli war crimes without invoking the word "anguish" to absolve the killers?

Here you go, again:  "“My Promised Land” abounds in anguish, and it has the unrelenting tone of a genuine reckoning. "

Tip and the Gipper

"In one or two cases, the Democrats cut good deals with Reagan, such as when they revised the Social Security program. But on the key legislative issue of Reagan’s presidency — the 1981 fight over his budget, which slashed taxes on the rich — O’Neill simply got rolled. Spooked by the president’s popularity, which surged after he was shot by John Hinckley in March of that year, O’Neill failed to compete with Reagan in the new age of media politics. Worse, he also came up short in his supposed strong suit — riding herd on his caucus — as scores of Democrats, fearing the tax-cutting bandwagon, defected to back the Reagan bill. The consequences — skyrocketing budget deficits and debilitating inequality — have plagued us ever since. "

From a Saudi prince to another

So prince Faysal bin Khalid announced the results of the Prince Khalid bin `Abdul-`Aziz award, which went to the dead Prince Nayif bin `Abdul-`Aziz.

friend of the Gulf

"“We did not know from the beginning, but we knew, we had intelligence that these meetings were happening,” said the Israeli minister, who spoke to BuzzFeed by phone from his Jerusalem office. He said that a “friend in the Gulf” shared intelligence with Israel that the meetings were taking place, and urged Israel to find out more. “I would like to say we knew the content of the talks, but we didn’t. What we knew was that the U.S. was choosing not to tell us about them and that was very worrying.”
That “friend,” one foreign ministry official said, was Saudi Arabia, which along with Israel has most strongly objected to the nuclear deal reached between Iran and the West over the weekend. " (thanks Mohammed)

Australia's government is now in full support of Israeli settlements

"The Abbott government has swung its support further behind Israel at the expense of Palestine, giving tacit approval to controversial activities including the expansion of Jewish settlements in the occupied territories.  Acting on instructions from Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop, government representatives at the United Nations have withdrawn Australia's support for an order to stop ''all Israeli settlement activities in all of the occupied territories''." (thanks Regan)

police brutality

"Saleh, whose store is tucked between a public park and working-class neighborhoods, contends that Miami Gardens police officers have repeatedly used racial slurs to refer to his customers and treat most of them like they are hardened criminals. "Police line them up and tell them to put their hands against the wall. I started asking myself 'Is this normal?' I just kept thinking police can't do this," Saleh said."  "To me, these people are like family," said Saleh, a native of Venezuela who is of Palestinian descent."

so what is Obama's real concern?

"... and for Obama, preventing the spread of nuclear weapons to countries beyond Israel."

John Kerry will restore order in Libya, just as the US restored order in Iraq and Afghanistan

"Jihadist group Ansar al-Sharia attacked Libyan special forces Monday in the eastern city of Benghazi, sparking a battle in which at least eight people were killed and dozens wounded, officials said. The bloodshed came a day after US Secretary of State John Kerry vowed to work with the international community to try to restore order in Libya which has been hit by growing unrest." (thanks Amir)

I told you: I am willing to buy the watch for the forced retirement party for Robert Fisk: he is embarrassing himself daily

"And just as al-Qaeda in America went for symbolic targets – New York’s financial centre, the Pentagon, perhaps Capitol Hill – so the Beirut bombers went for the fulcrum of Iranian-Syrian-Hezbollah power in Lebanon, the embassy of the Islamic Republic. " Fulcrum? (thanks Basim)


I am writing to Angry Arab's correspondent in Damascus, Akram. I have not heard from you in months and hope that you are OK.

public opinion in Egypt

Fahmi Huwaydi reveals results of a Zogby poll in Egypt which reveals steady decline in the approval rating for the Sisi regime. (thanks Yusuf)

Saudi family hang Ethiopian maid from hook - brutally beat her

"Saudi Arabian Family hang their Ethiopian maid upside down from a hook and beat her to a bloody pulp. She is drenched in blood from the whips and sticks that the Saudi men use to beat her." (thanks Jamil)

Teddy Satan

Will the Iranian regime now market dolls of "teddy Satan" for children?

This picture in Saudi media

صورة وزعت أمس لمقاتلين من ميليشيا شيعية على الجبهة في منطقة السيدة زينب. (رويترز) 

This picture appeared on the front page of Khalid bin Sultan's mouthpiece, Al-Hayat, and in the mouthpiece of House of Thani, Al-Quds Al-`Arabi today.  Is this fake or what? It purports to show "Shi`ite fighters" in Syria.  Notice how prominently they are marking their location, and how they insist on identifying themselves as Shi`ites.  By the way, fabrications and distortion is daily in Saudi media.

Fawaz Gerges addressing Prince Khalid Bin Sultan

You have to read this to believe it.  Prince Khalid bin Sultan, owner of Al-Hayat, presided over a festival celebrating the anniversary of Al-Hayat.  Fawaz Gerges was invited to regale the Prince with his praise of the paper and he said:  "Al-Hayat did not fall in the fatal error in projecting opinion on information but preserved, and still preserves, the distinction between the opinion and the objective news.  And said that the opinion pages is a microcosm of the cultural and ideological plurality of the Arab world and that it never excluded any opinion which created a margin of freedom that was not available in other media".  What kind of mental disease hits the Lebanese people when in the presence of Saudi princes?  Is Fawaz really talking about Al-Hayat newspaper???

 "ولفت إلى أن «الحياة لم تقع في الخطأ القاتل وهو إسقاط الرأي على المعلومة»، بل «حافظت وما زالت تحافظ على الفصل بين الرأي وبين الخبر الموضوعي».  وزاد أن هذا التميّز في مجال صدقية الخبر اقترن أيضاً بنجاح «الحياة» في تكوين شبكة مراسلين في معظم العواصم العالمية والعربية الأساسية، وهو أمر لم يكن متوافراً آنذاك سوى لقلة من الصحف العالمية الكبرى مثل «نيويورك تايمز» و «واشنطن بوست» و «لوس أنجليس تايمز»...تحدث عن صفحات الرأي فيها قائلاً إنها «نسخة مصغرة عن التعددية الثقافية والأيديولوجية في العالم العربي» وإنها «لم تستبعد أي رأي» ما سمح بإيجاد «حيّز من هامش الحرية» لم يكن متاحاً في وسائل الإعلام الأخرى."

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Cute Satan

The Iranian government has announced that it replaced "great satan" with "cute satan". 

Nicholas Burns will not work in this town again

"If it’s not in the Israeli interest or the Saudi interest, so be it.” "

paid propaganda for Qatar

"ESPN apologized for and removed a puff piece about Qatar and the 2022 World Cup by writer Phil Ball from its website on Friday after the outlet was lambasted when it was revealed that Ball, the writer, had received an "all-expenses paid" trip to Qatar to write the article." (thanks Michele)

Qatari-Saudi conflict

This article talks about the Qatari-Saudi conflict and that the recent visit by Emir of Qatar and the Emir of Kuwait to Saudi Arabia was part of a mediation effort by the latter.  (thanks Sultan)

Josef Federman of AP: what is your definition of "the Middle East"?

" Israel's prime minister harshly condemned the international community's nuclear deal with Iran on Sunday while Western allies in the Persian Gulf were conspicuously quiet, reflecting the jitters felt throughout the Middle East over Iran's acceptance on the global stage."  By throughout the Middle East he merely means Israel and the royal palaces in the Gulf.  Do American Zionists really think that Arabs are more worried about a potential Iranian nuclear program than about an actual Israeli nuclear program?


Now will Lebanon be compelled to halt its enrichment of Tahini?

Charisma in the Syrian "revolution"

By what definition of charisma have Western reporters described this guy as charismatic? Help me please.


"He wanted a solution to stop Muslims fighting Muslims," Hamwi said in a statement." (thanks Basim)

The other side of Hollywood

"Arnon Milchan, the Israeli producer of smash hits including Fight Club and Pretty Woman, is opening up for the first time ever in an Israeli TV show on Monday to speak about his involvement in clandestine deals to acquire arms for Israel and his work to promote the country's alleged nuclear program."

I want you all to know that the US is dead serious about fighting cyberterrorism

"The NSA computer attacks are performed by a special department called TAO (Tailored Access Operations). Public sources show that this department employs more than a thousand hackers." (thanks Amir)

The US is aghast: Hamid Karzai is insisting that the US not interfere in the Afghan elections. Who does he think he is? It is a US right to interfere in any election, damn it

"whether American forces would stop raids on Afghan homes, help promote peace talks and not interfere in the election.  Western diplomats saw that as effectively reopening talks on the security agreement, despite Mr. Karzai’s public agreement to its terms on Wednesday.  “He’s negotiating in public,” one diplomat said."

What else does the West want?

What other conditions will Western governments impose on the Middle East? Will Arab and Iranian families be compelled to enter into negotiations in order to surrender kitchen knives for Israel to feel safer?

John Kerry sums up the agreement: determinants of US foreign policy

"In Geneva, Mr. Kerry said of the agreement: “It will make our partners in the region safer. It will make our ally Israel safer.”"

Egypt and Turkey

When the Nasserist regime severed ties with the Turkish government.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

regarding the video clip (see below) by the Dr. General Engineer, Salim Idriss

Rashid sent me this:  "Regarding the clip you posted today on the doctor general engineer, did you hear plates and being handled in the background?  I could hear them throughout this idiot's speech.  I think they told journalists about this press conference and that food and refreshments will be served.  So a few journalists came and ate and asked a few questions.  I found that funny."

Hamid Karzai: a puppet and a man of his word

"Karzai had raised doubts about the accord at several points since negotiations began last November, only to back down after talks with U.S. officials."

When Hamid Karzai presides over a loya jirga: it is democracy, damn it

"During his speech, a woman in the audience heckled Mr. Karzai about foreign raids on Afghan homes, a breach of privacy seen as deeply offensive here. Specifically, she pressed him about the concession that foreign raids would be permitted only in “extraordinary circumstances.”

“All the night raids can be categorized as exceptional cases,” she yelled, carrying on for more than a minute before she was ushered from the room. "

The US is innocent, damn it

"The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, acknowledged that a madrassa was in the vicinity..."

Washington Post justifies the killing of Palestinian civilians

"Lerner’s fictionalized story, based on some disputed historical accounts, of the killing of Palestinian villagers by Israeli soldiers during the Arab-Israeli War of 1948....Lerner, whose “Pangs of the Messiah,” about West Bank settlers, was mounted at Theater J several years ago, traces in “The Admission” events surrounding the killing of civilians that some argue was a consequence of war and that others, including Lerner, consider a massacre."

Saudi academic and poet

From a reader:  "His twitter bio says: "Professor of Political Communication at King Saud University, Journalist, and a Poet"

and here, he celebrates the killing / burning  of a" majousi".

that lousy Syrian regime

The arrest of progressive opposition figure (of the inside and not of the hotels in Istanbul and Paris), Raja' Nasir is another indication that the regime deliberately targets progressive opposition figures and inflicts on them particular cruelty and vengeance for obvious sinister reasons.

not a single penny from the US

"“Compensation is so important because so many families are suffering — many families don’t have anyone left to support them,” said Kalpona Akter, executive director of the Bangladesh Center for Worker Solidarity. “There’s been a good response from some European brands, but so far none of the U.S. retailers have agreed to pay a single penny for compensation.”"

silent dislike

"a senior U.S. diplomat pointed out to him that "every administration leaves office having conceived an intense dislike for the French and the Israelis.""

an infidel tree

"Jihadists cut down a 150-year-old oak tree in Atme, on Syria's border with Turkey, after they accused locals of worshipping it, a pro-jihadist source said."

The Advocate of Prince Turki would like to set the record straight

""All this talk of cooperation between the Arab Gulf states and Israel in the face of Iran's expansion is neither logical nor realistic. Indeed, the relationship between Iran and Israel is as stable as it has historically been between the Persians and the Jews."" (thanks "Ibn Rushd")

the nukes in the room

"How can the U.S. and Israel deal with proposals for non-proliferation and a nuclear free Middle East when they still refuse officially to acknowledge that the region is not nuclear free -- and hasn't been for the past 50 years?" (thanks Amir)

Ask not what you can do for your potato

For years, many in the US and in Lebanon have maintained that JFK's statement, "Ask not what you can do for your country etc" is taken from a saying by Kahlil Gibran (or Jubran Khalil Jubran as we know him in Arabic).  And I have argued for years that it is not true and that Jubran never said that. The closest is an essay by Gibran titled (The New Era) in his book Al-Bada'i` wa-l-Tara'if and has this (my translation):  "A politician who says to himself: "I wish to benefit form my nation"? or an enthusiastic passionate person who whispers to himself: "I seek to benefit my nation"? (p. 101)


Hamid Algar sent me this:  "Has anybody noticed that Bandar is the Urdu for "monkey"? "

Netanyahu and American visas

From a source:  "unfortunately you cannot attribute this to me. but you may know that the young Arab Idol star from Gaza, Muhammad Assaf, was recently in the US and performed. What is not known is that Benjamin Netanyahu personally intervened with the State Department to try to prevent him from getting a visa, because of one of his pro Palestine songs".

Tim Arango of the New York Times explains differences between Sunnis and Shi`ites

"Mr. Davutoglu dressed in black, a symbol of mourning that is central to the Shiite faith".  According to Mr. Arango (who is steeped in knowledge of Sunnis and Shi`ites alike), Sunnis dress in yellow, which is a symbol of mourning that is central to the Sunni faith.  What do we do without those scholars who double as foreign correspondents for the New York Times?

Did you know that the US government has the right to convene a loya jirga in Afghanistan? It is part of the Afghan tradition

"That has certainly been the case of the five loya jirgas summoned in the past decade. The first of those, an emergency jirga in 2002, elected Hamid Karzai as president. He was also the choice of the international community, which supported him for interim leadership and had effectively convened that loya jirga. "

PS The "international community" is one of the secret identities of the US.

America's favorite physician in Pakistan

Do you think that the US government (which has championed this doctor and called for his release) would allow him to practice medicine here in the US?  "The murder charge stems from a complaint over a teenage boy who died after Afridi performed surgery on him for appendicitis in 2006 in Pakistan’s remote Khyber tribal area."

This is no revolution (in Syria)

"To say Syria is now a disaster is a massive understatement. This is a sectarian civil war which could continue for a decade if the regime's enemies, led by the brutal Saudi tyranny, continue to wage their proxy war on the country. The mostly widely-relied-on body-count, that of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (a group which is close to armed rebels, and whose reliability I have questioned in the past), now states that 120,000 Syrians have been killed. The Syrian Observatory claims that the majority of these are combatants. It also says the majority of these combatant dead on have been on the pro-Assad side. The fact of this imbalance is conveniently ignored by western media reporting, which continues with its untenable narrative about about a revolution of unarmed Syrian protesters which only took up arms after being shot down by the evil Assad regime. If that was true, why do even the Syrian Observatory's figures not bare this picture out? There was never a revolution in Syria." (thanks Asa)

International Relations Theories of Gen. Dr. Engineer Salim Idriss: the object of hope and confidence of the "secular" branch of the Syrian "revolution"

In this clip, Dr. Englineer General (that is the title he uses in Arabic) kid you not--theorizes that his researched explanation for Russian foreign policy toward Syria is that Putin and Lavrov have both been bribed by Rami Makhluf.

Friday, November 22, 2013

loya jirga: then and now

When the Taliban assembled a loya jirga, all Western media mocked it and ridiculed it.  But when Hamid Karzai assembled his loya jirga purely to accord a fake political legitimacy on his security agreement with the US, Western media treated the event with utmost respect and even pretended that the unelected cronies of Karzai are somehow representatives of the Afghan people. In fact, I would argue that Karzai is more anti-democratic than the Taliban.  

Some US wars around the world

Egyptian revolutionaries

From comrade Zaid:  "this video is a demonstration by egyptian revolutionaries on the second anniversary of the massacre that took place in November 2011 in Mohamed Mahmoud Street, which is just off Tahrir Square and on the way to the Ministry of Interior.  At that time, in November 2011, the revolutionaries had confronted the police after a series of abuses and provocations that took place throughout 2011.  The fighting took place over a period of days; dozens of protesters were killed and hundreds were injured.  After the changes that took place during the summer of 2013, it has been very difficult for revolutionaries to gather enough momentum to put on a show of force.  The second anniversary of the massacre that took place in november 2011 in mohamed mahmoud street was the first occasion in which the revolutionaries took to the streets in significant numbers since the summer of 2013.  They destroyed a plaque that the police and the military had erected that day in honour of the people that they had killed two years before, put up banners condemning the military, the police, the MB and the fuloul (the defunct NDP).  In the current climate, this took significant courage - they are a real source of inspiration."

NGOs as tools of foreign governments

""Indeed, in its own obtuse, authoritarian way, Putin's Russia has got a point about NGOs – they are increasingly tools of Western governments, or at least of Western prejudice, lending themselves very well to elitist campaigns to 'civilise' or simply harangue Eastern and Southern nations that are judged to be doing politics, environmentalism or human rights wrongly.""

Wikipedia: behind the pages

"The free encyclopaedia, which contains more than 30 million volunteer-authored articles in nearly 290 languages, called in lawyers after discovering that 300 "sock puppet" accounts - created using false identities - could be traced to a single public relations firm." (thanks Amir)

Afghan refugees in Iran

Human Rights Watch (the human rights arm of the US Department of State) has condemned Iran for the mistreatment of Afghan refugees.  But why no condemnation of mistreatment of Syrian refugees in Lebanon? Is it because the Human Rights Watch office in Beirut is politically aligned with March 14 which is notorious for its racist thought and practices?

NATO intervention in Libya: the academic groupies

Look. Some leftist academics supported NATO intervention in Libya, but just as Thomas Friedman claimed (falsely) that he had not supported the American invasion of Iraq, those are now pretending that they had not supported the NATO intervention.  People remember.

High note and low note in Saudi Arabia

"The year is not ending on a high note for three men in the Saudi dynasty whose fingerprints were all over the military coup in Egypt – Prince Bandar, the current intelligence chief; Prince Muqrin, the intelligence chief he replaced, and an aspiring crown prince; and Khalid al-Tuwaijri, president of the royal court and the king's gatekeeper..."  (thanks Nu`man)

Who rules Saudi Arabia

It would be fair to say that since the incapacitatation of King Fahd in the 1990s, the Tuwayjiri family (which has run for years `Abdullah bin `Abdul-`Aziz) has been running the kingdom.  Even the personal life of the King (before he was king), has been governed by the family.  They for example were the ones who prevented him from marrying the love of his life, the Lebanese singer, Samirah Tawfiq.

PS Yes, for the umpteenth time.  I do have sources in the Saudi royal family, believe it or not.

The Islamic Front (of gangs and bands in Syria)

Burhan Ghalyun (whatever happened to this Qatari puppet?) celebrates the announcement of the formation of "the Islamic Front" and consider this a step toward democracy and secularism.  Ha ha 

Scandal at AUB: a cover-up in the making

I have reported before about the scandal at AUB: I was hoping that there would be enough courageous faculty to undertake the necessary steps in order to investigate and to bring the entire case to the campus community.  There were early suspicions early on that certain Americans on campus were allegedly involved, and that they were later involved in the attempt to suppress any news of the story.  Typically, the AUB president appointed a commission to investigate but it was clear that the mandate was based on a false premise: that violations of the privacy of faculty, students, and staff at AUB is a right and prerogative that the AUB president can exercise at will.  The story first was reported (I am referring to the unreleased official report on the matter which was leaked to me):  "that the Internal Audit (IA) Office had obtained copies of the contents of faculty and staff email accounts on portable hard drives, and that these accounts could be accessed by the IA staff outside the confines of the IT Data Center. "  But the president made it clear in his assignment to the committee does challenge his right to violate the privacy of the staff, faculty, and students on campus.  Here what the official statement said:  "Additionally, the Group will review the university’s current technical environment as it relates to the need to protect the privacy of data while conducting highly targeted confidential access to the university’s e-mail database and archives by authorized individuals granted such access by the President".  How on earth could the members of the committee of the faculty accept such a language in their assignment?  How could they agree that the president can conduct "highly targeted confidential access to the university's email database"?  And the committee did not even bother to investigate whether the president has cooperated with the US government in responding to requests for "access to the university's email database and archives".  They did not bother.  Based on the report (still not released) this was an official whitewash.  The report spoke of new rules and regulations and there was no mention of investigate or of disciplinary action.  The AUB lived up to its reputation: an arm of a Western colonial power that treats the natives at AUB as individual without rights and without privacy.  

Thursday, November 21, 2013

"A Marine Was Assaulted. Her Commander Said She Deserved It For Wearing Running Shorts."

"Ariana Klay was raped by her fellow Marines. What followed was a horror show where she was intimidated by her superiors, maliciously harassed, and victimized again by the military branch she volunteered to serve in.

At 3:45, her husband explains how lucky he is. At 7:06, she explains how her leadership failed her. At 7:50, she lays out the facts for how to fix it. And at 9:25, she explains why she isn't a victim."

sexual assault in the military

"Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) has secured support from nearly half the Senate, but not enough votes, for her proposal to give victims of sexual assault in the military an independent route outside the chain of command for prosecuting attackers."

It is official: the Washington Post finds a German citizen to tell the US that NSA spying is fine and dandy:

"Knabe said the consequences of the Stasi’s excesses were far more devastating than anything associated with the NSA. “They forget what it’s like to live in a dictatorship versus a democracy,” he said of people who say that the NSA has behaved like the Stasi. "  So no big deal then.

Netanyahu's propaganda style

"Netanyahu last week tweeted a PR-style infographic opposing the deal that the United States and other countries are negotiating to lift some sanctions on Iran. He called it an “important message” and urged his 188,000 or so followers to share it. The graphics were a tad cartoonish.  We assumed that one illustration was meant to be a mushroom cloud, but it looked a lot like a tree. And another one was . . . a missile, right?   Still, it seemed an improvement over the poster depicting a bomb that he paraded last year in front of the U.N. General Assembly. “Netanyahu’s bomb cartoon is the Middle East equivalent of Clint Eastwood’s chair,” columnist Jeffrey Goldberg  tweeted at the time.  We decided to check our amateur critique against a professional’s. So we asked Alberto Cairo , an expert on graphic design and a University of Miami journalism professor, to analyze Netanyahu’s resentations.  The professor indicated that if they had been the works of one of his students, they would have received failing grades.  First, he says, the initial problem is content: Such visuals are often used in the PR and marketing world, and they are a far cry from “real” infographics, which are journalistic products that he calls a “visual representation of evidence.”   And then there are the aesthetics. Netanyahu’s are “just ugly and badly designed,” Cairo said.""

Let me get it this straight: so Israel which has the nukes fears Iran, but Iran which does not have the nukes does not have to fear Israel?

"Israel, of course, also wishes to avoid war. But Israeli leaders have more to fear than do Americans from a bargain that leaves the bulk of the Iranian nuclear infrastructure in place, even temporarily."  1) Avoid war? Israel has been lobbying for war for years, but the admission of American officials of the Bush administration. 2) Does Iran have reason to fear Israel at all? 

Royal Whitewash commission of Bahrain

"The commission was imposed by the US administration to whitewash its ally in Bahrain, which was causing it considerable disgrace. " (thanks Jaafar)

Israel's mention

Even when Western media ranks toilets, they have to bring Israel into the list.  (thanks Michele)

PS Not that Israel does not fit right into the subject matter.  Of course, not.

Anne Barnard's hero

From Ali:  "When Anne Bernard penned the eulogy for Tawhid leader, she "forgot" another article which is published by her newspaper and showing the cruelty of the Tawhid brigades: They useses captives as suicide bombers:

internet as a weapon

"The internet backbone — the infrastructure of networks upon which internet traffic travels — went from being a passive infrastructure for communication to an active weapon for attacks." "It appears that the NSA and GCHQ were the first to turn the internet backbone into a weapon".

The Egyptian Nazi: what about Zionists?

"He said the center was alerted to Mr. Jan’s ties with the Nazi party after Eric Trager, an analyst at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, raised the issue in a series of posts to Twitter.   “This was new to us that he had a background like that and as soon as it came to our attention he was immediately disinvited,” Mr. Esposito said. “We had no idea that there was this issue out there.”"
I have one comment on this story: I don't mind at all disinviting this Nazi, but I wish American college centers would also move swiftly to apply the same ban on Israeli Zionists.  (thanks Yusuf)

"you people"

An Arab professor at a major medical school in the US told me this story:  "A number of people in Beirut gave me mail to deliver in the US [back in 1980]. The immigration officer at JFK in NYC proceeded to methodically open them one after the other. When I protested her act as an invasion of privacy, she calmly answered that there is "no privacy protections when it comes to  you people". It was the first and last lesson I ever needed about privacy and its protections."

When propaganda advocacy trumps scholarship: Thomas Pierret actually proclaims the secularism of the Saudi regime

Thomas Pierret is one of the most knowledgeable scholars on Syria.  He is very well-trained in his field, and has a command of his subject.  Yet, in the last two years, he has allowed his propaganda passions for the Saudi- and Qatari-funded Syrian opposition groups to influence his judgement on matters related to Syria.  Look at this outrageous passage here:  "Concerns for domestic stability, and more particularly distrust of political Islamic movements (including politicized Salafis), also encouraged Saudi Arabia (as well as Jordan, after months of hesitation due to fear of Syrian retaliation and of political change in the region) to support the least Islamist, and generally least sectarian, segments of the opposition. Among the opposition abroad, Riyadh tried to counterbalance the influence of the Muslim Brotherhood by supporting a coalition of former Baathists (Riyad Hijab, Mustafa al-Asad), secular intellectuals (led by Christian opposition leader Michel Kilo), tribal chiefs (Ahmad al-Jarba), and secular-leaning representatives of the Free Syrian Army (Luay Miqdad)."  My response? Well, 1) Thomas knows Arabic and should have noticed that anti-Shi`ite rhetoric of the Saudi regime has in fact increased over time and not decreased.  2) His evidence for the secularism of Saudi policies is in fact just silly: just because Saudi intelligence hired Michel Kilu or the Luay Muqdad of the Fee Syrian Army does not make the regime secular.  This fundamentally sectarian regime has never shied away from hiring, recruiting, and buying off leftists, communists, socialists, fundamentalists, Nazis, rightists, Salafis and whoever else might be useful for their cause.  There is a tiny communist gang in Lebanon which is funded by the Saudi intelligence service: does that make the Saudi regime communist?  Better evidence for the argument, please. 3) Thomas failed to note that Saudi policies toward the Syrian opposition are largely motivated by competition with Qatar and the recruitment by Bandar of Michel Kilu was basically an attempt to take away elements of the opposition from Qatar.  It is part of the competition between the two dynasties and this game played out in Lebanon as well.  4) Saudi Arabia had funded the Contras in Nicaragua in the past, because the US requested such funding.  What does that mean? That there was a shared ideology between the House of Saud and the Contras of Nicaragua?  5) It is rather sad to see a fine scholar being swayed in his judgement by the propaganda agenda of the Syrian exile opposition.  Lastly, when I read this I could not help but remember this section From Thomas Pierret's rigorious and well-researched book, Religion and State in Syria  (where the author's arguments are far less unreasonable than in his recent pronouncements on Syria):  "Sheikh Ahmad Mouaz Al-Khatib has not only been incredibly helpful and generous, but he also taught me much about human values"--this about the Qatari-controlled Islamist preacher who railed during the years more against Facebook and masturbation than against the Asad regime, and who had praised Saddam Husayn for "standing up to the Jews".  Enough said.

PS It is hilarious that Thomas bragged about Saudi support for Lu'ayy Al-Muqdad who is largely known for his inconsistent and contradictory statements in Arab media, and who has been known to deny his own denials.  This is a man (Muqdad) who is known as the sidekick of Lebanese MP, `Uqab Saqr (a man who is only known as the side-kick of Sa`d Hariri--who in turn is only known to be the side-kick of Prince `Abdul-`Aziz bin Fahd).  Secular bunch alright. 

Saudi propaganda outlets now have investigative journalism

From King Fahd's brother-in-law's famously sleazy news station:  ""Decoding the Brotherhood’s mugshot smirks"" (thanks Basim)

a victory for liberation everywhere: US occupation forces will retain the right to 1) enjoy immunity from prosecution for war crimes in Afghanistan; and 2) retain the right to break into Afghan homes

"And United States Special Operations forces will retain leeway to conduct antiterrorism raids on private Afghan homes — a central American demand that Afghan officials had resisted and described as the last sticking point in negotiations. "

American war crimes in Afghanistan are merely alleged

"along with Karzai’s angry rhetoric against the alleged misdeeds of his American backers".

Hamid Karzai on the British royal family

"He also spoke about his love for the British royal family, recalling that Prince Charles once invited him for a weekend in Balmoral: “He is a good man: tremendously hospitable . . . Camilla an excellent lady.”"

Arab wealth put to a good cause

From Krim: "Boeing took an early lead in the biennial expo, signing up Etihad Airways PJSC for its new 777X wide-body as well as for more 787 Dreamliners. Emirates followed with a purchase of 150 777X valued at about $76 billion, plus an option to buy 50 more. Airbus then confirmed a deal with the largest Middle East airline for 50 A380 super-jumbos valued at $23 billion."

"Etihad, whose transaction with Boeing is valued at $25.2 billion, will become the premiere operator of the Dreamliner, with 71 in total on its order book, and CEO James Hogan ...
Hogan later unveiled a second order, this time with Airbus valued at almost $27 billion, including for 50 A350 wide-body aircraft as well as 36 single-aisle A320 family jetliners"

So, the grand total:

Boeing: $125 billion
Airbus: $50 billion

Imagine that kind of money invested into Arab countries, into infrastructure and education, instead of fueling destructive civil wars in Syria and Iraq, instead of bankrolling that imbecile Saddam, instead of brothels and casinos."

Syrian refugees: marketed for a reality TV show

From an anonymous source:  "I thought you may be interested to know that you can now experience life in Za'atari in the comfort of your own home. It appears that Yahoo UK and UNHCR have teamed up to create a series depicting life in the camp. Check out the link here:

Also, I have been informed that an Italian NGO is doing some sort of reality series in Za'atari where contestants can live the life of an aid worker in the camp, however I haven't yet been able to independently verify this. Once I do, I will let you know.

FYI - I have quite a few contacts in the camp (staff (local and int'l), residents and others) as I did spend 6 months working there as a....  (until the end of July). It was through one of these contacts that I heard about the reality show and she is to send me information to confirm it. I will forward to you upon receiving

***if you do share, i prefer to remain anonymous.

Just an update on the Italian reality show I mentioned that was filmed in Za'atari.

I just met a woman here in Jordan working with the Italian NGO, Intersos. I inquired about the reality series and she confirmed that it was Intersos who was working on this and it was already filmed. It is due to air on Rai1 (uno), Italy's most important television network (according to her). The show is called "The Mission" and places a famous Italian pop (?) singer, Al Bano, in Za'atari camp where he will live the life of an aid worker. I also found out that this is some sort of series as episodes were already filmed in the Congo and South Sudan.
The filming of the series was apparently heavily criticised by Intersos staff here in Jordan (as I hoped it would).

All information on the series online appears to only be written in Italian, and the only information I could find in English are some blog posts. You can check this one out for some more details:

Just another way to exploit the most vulnerable, supported by UNHCR no less."

Heroism of the Fee Syrian Army

From Ali, the Angry Arab's correspondent in Turkey:  "Story challenges with the one of the biggest lies of all times: "FSA are moderates but Al Qaeda linked groups are radicals" Here we have the story of Yakubiye village of Idlib, close to Turkish border, where local christian population was attacked by FSA.

"She says jihadists weren’t in her predominantly Christian hamlet of al-Yakubiye in Syria’s northwest province of Idlib. FSA fighters from neighboring Sunni Muslim villages were the problem."

 You know they also torched a Husseinieh here and uploded the related videos as if it was a great victory

and the honeymoon continues

"Israel may now be able to look more to Saudi assistance and intelligence in efforts to undercut Hezbollah, which has fired rockets into Israel and waged a 2006 war."

Buddhist mobs--yes, they do exist

""A year after Buddhist mobs forced almost all members of the minority Rohingya Muslim community from this northwestern Myanmar city, creating a state-sanctioned sectarian divide, thousands of children while away their long, empty days in dusty displacement camps."" (thanks Amir)

The British ambassador in Lebanon

The British ambassador in Lebanon wrote a most colonial-inspired, patronizing message to the Lebanese people.  I commented on it in Arabic on Twitter. He responded to me and thereby gave me an invitation to express him my true feelings.  

The journalistic methods and prejudice of ANDREW E. KRAMER of the Times

First his journalistic methods:  "But drawing on a mix of Twitter messages, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, scattered Western news reports, and Uznews and other opposition websites, it seems clear..."
His prejudice:  "She then went on to dismiss Ms. Karimova as “different.”   In a conservative Muslim country, she has a point."  You see, Muslim women can't be different.

The farce of Israeli supreme court

"Israel says it uses the tool of administrative detention in cases when there is not enough evidence to prove guilt in court but the detainee is deemed to present a security danger, or in cases when the exposure of intelligence information in court could be harmful to the country’s security.

In their ruling, the Supreme Court judges said that based on explanations about Mr. Barq’s background and activities they had received from Israeli security agents, including what they described as continued attempts by Mr. Barq to recruit others from the West Bank to his cause, it was necessary to keep him in detention. "