Saturday, August 19, 2017

Fracture of the American Empire

My weekly article in Al-Akhbar: "The Fracture of the American Empire: Growing Dangers".

An interview with UAE dissident Ahmad Mansour

He also talks about his prison experience.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Neo-Nazis for Israel: a good fit, really


They steal the land and they steal the culture

Someone needs to explain this to me. If Labne, and Tabbuleh, and Hummus and Baba Ghannuj are all part of "Modern Israeli cuisine", what did Arabs eat before the state of Israel was established in 1948? Sometimes I feel the theft of cuisine is almost as offensive as the theft of the land

Finally, scientific and through investigation by Reuters of Syrian chemical weapons use

Here are their sources in this investigation: "according to half a dozen interviews with officials, diplomats, and investigators involved in eliminating Syria's weapons of mass destruction."

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

"So predictable: Saudi regime media now lauds Muqtada, the astronaut"

"Iraq’s Shiite cleric and political leader Muqtada al-Sadr’s visits to Saudi Arabia and the UAE have changed a few hearts and opened outlets. Muqtada al-Sadr’s steps may seem small to some but they resemble the steps of American astronaut Neil Armstrong in the sense that they are huge for Arabs and Muslims at this difficult time." (thanks Basim)

A DC think tank doubles as a lobbying form and doubles as a brokering institute and doubles as a Zionist recipient of Gulf money

"And by the way, I don't 'broker' meetings. The Washington Institute, like other research organisations/think-tanks, regularly arranges meetings... that bring together all sorts of people, from all range of governments and backgrounds, in a wide variety of formats....Satloff opened his note by thanking the UAE ambassador for "the generous new year's gift"*, without specifying what he had been given."  Yes, sure and no string attached. I always remember that.

*Responding to the reference to the "generous new year's gift, Satloff said that the policies of WINEP prevent any member of the staff from receiving any gift from a foreign government worth more than $20.  So I can only speculate that the gift must have been either a happy meal from McDonald or a box of Kleenex tissues.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Oh, the US Department of State's Annual Report on Religious Freedom found this evidence of anti-Semitism in Syria

"Government-controlled radio and television programming continued to disseminate anti-Semitic news articles and cartoons. SANA frequently reported on the “Zionist enemy” and accused the opposition of serving “the Zionist project.” The government repeated its claim a “Zionist conspiracy” was responsible for the country’s conflict. In April SANA reported on “al-Quds Cultural Day” in Damascus, a monthly event to address the “Judaization” of Jerusalem and “resistance against the Zionist project.”"

Islamism came to Sudan with direct US support to combat the powerful Sudanese Communist Party

The Islamism of Ja`far Numayri was a direct product of his alliance with the US and Saudi camp in the region. Today, a Salafi considered the late Fatimah Ahmad Ibrahim, the Sudanese communist feminist and struggler, as an infidel due to her Marxism.

The farce: it is called the US Department of State Annual Report on Religious freedoms around the world

In Israeli occupation state, the US government found this evidence of religious persecution: "The Waqf continued to restrict non-Muslims from entering the Dome of the Rock shrine and the Al-Aqsa Mosque and prohibited individuals from wearing non-Muslim religious symbols on the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif."   In Lebanon, the report strains to find evidence of religious persecution so it included silliest material. Also, the report clearly relies on statements and allegations of Lebanese Forces. Worse, it gave bogus numbers of sectarian distribution of the population: "Statistics Lebanon estimates 36.8 percent of the population is Christian." This firm is owned by a Lebanese Forces affiliate and the numbers it provides only fit into the narrative of the right-wing sectarian agenda.  This percentage of Christians in Lebanon is just ridiculous. It is probably less than 30%.  And look at this statement: "In their monthly meeting in February Maronite bishops expressed concern over what they said was discrimination against Christians in terms of access to public offices and state financial resources."  Discrimination against Christians in access to public offices? Where and when?  Also, where did the report find this gem: "In September Hizballah announced a boycott of the Hajj and threatened to expel any party members who traveled to Mecca." Expelling members for visiting Mecca? Is this for real, when the brother of Hizbullah deputy-secretary general, Na`im Qasim, runs a company which organizes Hajj tours.  The report also found evidence of anti-Semitism: "The Jewish Community Council reported continued acts of vandalism against the Jewish cemetery in Beirut during the year. Construction rubble and trash were also thrown into the cemetery. The council complained to the security forces but stated they took no action."  Excuse me: but there is trash in most cemeteries in Lebanon. Would that also mean anti-Islam and anti-Christianity?  And this is the section about Syria: " The Alawite-led government and allied, mostly foreign, Shia militia allies killed, arrested, and physically abused Sunnis and members of targeted religious minority groups, and intentionally destroyed their property, according to numerous reports".  Wait: did the Syrian government go after them because they are Sunni? Is the Alawite-led government ever reluctant to arrest and torture and persecute someone who is Alawi if they revolt against the regime and take up arms?  But this is my favorite section: "According to human rights groups and religious communities, the government continued to monitor and control sermons and to close mosques between prayers. It also continued to monitor and limit the activities of all religious groups, including scrutinizing their fundraising and discouraging proselytizing." So the US urges Saudi and Qatari and Jordanian regimes to monitor sermons and watch mosques but is displeased when that happens by the Syrian regime?  Also, I hate to bother the US government, but does the FBI monitor mosque sermons in the US?  They would not do that, would they, given that the US is the land of the free and home of the brave? Here, the US report criticizes the Syrian government for this evidence of religious persecution: "Throughout the year, Hassoun called for combating “takfiri (Muslims who kill other Muslims who do not follow the same belief structure) mentality” and called for support of the army and leadership, according to the official state news agency. In meetings with Islamic scholars in June, President Bashar al-Asad stated the religious establishment should spread a “correct” understanding of religion."  And here the US government found evidence of sectarianism by the Syrian regime: "Media and academic experts said the government continued to portray the armed resistance in sectarian terms, saying opposition protesters and fighters were associated with “extreme Islamist factions” and terrorists seeking to eliminate the country’s religious minority groups and its secular approach to governance. For instance, the official state news agency, Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA), reported on the government’s fight against “takfiri terrorist organizations” throughout the year. In a September interview with AFP, President Asad said “most of the militants belong to extremist groups, such as [ISIS], [JAN], [Ahrar al-Sham], and others…every terrorist is an enemy.” According to international media reports, leaders from a number of minority religious groups, such as representatives of the Catholic and Orthodox Christian communities as well as prominent Druze activists, stated the government had their support because it was their protector against violent Sunni extremists."  I also noticed that the report in the sections on Qatar and Saudi Arabia gave specific examples of anti-Semitism in the press but gave not one example of anti-Shi`ism (far more abundant) in the Qatari and Saudi press.  But the hilarious part of the report is this: when pro-US regimes attack extremist ideologies and organizations it is praised, but when Syrian regime does it, it is criticized as evidence of sectarianism. Notice that the report does not care for insults and offenses against atheists.  They don't count for the Christian government of the US.

PS By the way, the report lied when it said that access to the Wailing Wall is open to all. A Palestinian under occupation told me that access for Arabs was revoked ten years ago.

Monday, August 14, 2017

"Women living in countries w/ more traditional gender roles are MORE likely to major in mathematics & statistics, not less"

Martin Chulov discovered a miracle in Syria: a man who started medical school at age 12 or 13

Martin Chulov--and the whole coverage of the Guardian of Syria--deserves an award for the most undistinguished mainstream ill-informed Western media coverage of the Arab world.  Look at this sentence in Chulov's article: "“I worked as a doctor in Arsal at the Central hospital and at the Islamic hospital,” said Dr Hassan Ammar, 24."  So he was a medical doctor at age 19, which means that he must have started medical school at age 12 or 13 especially if you count years of residency.   (thanks Suheil)

Who is Jamal Abdul-Nassar?

"Throughout Egypt, posters of al-Sisi wearing dark glasses abound, which is reminiscent of Gamal Abdel Nassar".

The Saudi ambassador in the US wears a US flag on his lapel--how patriotic of him

Wait: US media still call Idlib "liberated areas"

From Angry Arab's correspondent in Turkey: "For NYT, Al Qaeda has just taken control of Idilb, of course not right after jihadi coalition lead by Al Qaeda's Syria branch, captured the city from Syrian army in 2015, thanks to US backing."

The UAE grill

"Hundreds of men swept up in the hunt for al-Qaida militants have disappeared into a secret network of prisons in southern Yemen where abuse is routine and torture extreme — including the "grill," in which the victim is tied to a spit like a roast and spun in a circle of fire, an Associated Press investigation has found."

When Mattis treated to destroy the people of North Korea

From Kim: "Imagine if an Arab country or Iran where to threaten Israel with the "destruction of its people" There would be cries of genocide and Holocaust from Western MSM. Yet not one peep to that tune when an American Secretary of Defense threatens the genocide of the North Korean people."

Jamal Khashoggi is allowed to resume his...praise of the Saudi regime

اعود للكتابة والتغريد، الشكر لمعالي وزير الاعلام لمساعيه الطيبة والشكر والولاء متصلان لسمو ولي العهد لا كُسر في عهده قلمٌ حر ولا سكت مغرد .

Look how absurd.  Saudi regime advocate, Jamal Khashoggi, expresses his gratitude to the Saudi minister of information for allowing him to resume his services in praise of the Saudi regime and its crimes.  

The human rights poseur is at it again

Saudis should investigate whether their forces are using excessive force in besieged Shia town and let people flee.

When he talks about Russian and Syrian repression, he always uses the word "slaughter".  But for Saudi regime, he uses "excessive force", as if he is talking about killing and massacres by his beloved Israel.  

Corruption and the Syrian regime

It is rather amazing that corruption of the Syrian armed forces increased during this on-going war.  I hear that Hizbullah sometimes appoints commanders to certain units just to prevent looting by Syrian regime forces.

Wait: this human rights poseur has been saying all along that the Syrian regime never fights Al-Qa`idah?

Favorite place to put Syrian displaced--Idlib province--is increasingly caught in warfare between Al-Qaeda and Assad

In the very first paragraph of its report, HRW justifies Saudi regime crimes against civilians in Awamiyyah

"Saudi security forces have surrounded and sealed off the predominantly Shia town of Awamiya in July 2017 as they confronted an armed group hiding in a historic neighborhood slated for demolition, Human Rights Watch said today." (thanks Basim)

There is no way that the Saudi regime will allow Prince `Abdul-`Azizi bin Fahd to maintain his public dissent

Prince `Abdul-`Aziz bin Fahd continues to challenge the King and his son Twitter.  I am told that he is writing from France and not from inside the Kingdom.  But this role of his is galvanizing the Islamist opposition within the Kingdom, and his criticisms--first of MbZ and then of the policies of the Kingdom will sting.  I expect something will be done about that.

U.S. Cable: Philippines has $1T untapped mineral wealth

"Based on incomplete data and unconfirmed reports, the Philippines may have untapped mineral wealth worth between US$ 840 billion and US$ 1 trillion. (The U.S. Geological Survey hopes soon to conduct a more comprehensive survey of minerals, with funding from the GRP.) A special advisor on the GRP-MILF Peace Process in the Office of the President recently described Mindanao in particular as "a treasure trove" of mineral resources, including gold, copper, nickel, manganese, chromite, silver, lead, zinc, and iron ore. According to data from the GRP Mines and Geosciences Bureau, up to 70 per cent of the Philippines' mineral resources may be in Mindanao." (thanks Amir)

A member of the Political Leadership of the Syrian National Coalition defects...back to the Syrian regime

Bassam Al-Malik, who was a member of the political committee of the Syrian National Coalition and the PR head in Cairo defected back to the Syrian regime accusing US and Gulf regimes of conspiracies against Syria.  What will happen to Liz Sly when she reads this?

Yes, while the Saudi King is the idol of US liberals and conservatives.

I think if the far right idolizes the Saudi King they would become mainstream for the US press. From WP: "Syria’s Assad has become an unexpected icon of the far right in America".

Sunday, August 13, 2017

You know who comes up with those silly gimmicks for Gulf rulers? US and EU PR firms

Mark this: Richard Spencer (white supremacist leader) is a huge fan of the articles on ISIS by Graeme Wood in the Atlantic

"Spencer began by complimenting my reporting for this magazine on the Islamic State. “Your articles on isis have been popular on the alt-right,” he told me."  No wonder, the difference between Wood and Spencer as far as Islamophobia is concerned is that one is "respectable" and the other is not--by DC standards. 

PS As you remember, Wood (no expert on Islam) has made himself (or made by the Zionist Atlantic Monthly) an expert on Islam. His method of reporting: find those "experts" on Islam who reinforce your Islamophoboic views and market them as a new thesis.  Oh, he is now a professor at Yale University's Political Science department with a BA under his belt.

Liz Sly exploits the Nazi riot in Charlottesville for propaganda purposes

Leave it to Liz Sly to bring the Syria story, and her propaganda effort on behalf of Syrian Jihadi rebels, into the racist riot in Charlottesville.   She found a picture on the FB page of a racist for Bashshar Al-Asad thus she found her story.  She is so excited.  What an embarrassment to journalism that this person is considered a journalist.

According to the Senate Democratic Leader: a Palestinian summer camp is posting an existential threat to Israel

Read all about it.  A new threat to Israeli occupation and aggression.

Washington Post about Muslim refugees in Germany being anti-Semitic

Look at this long story: the evidence for the claim about an anti-Semitic problem of the Syrian refugees is one person.  This is what is called documentation.  This is exactly the same tactics that anti-Semitic rhetoric is all about: when you take one Jewish person as an example for world Jewry.  Here, one Muslim person represents not only all Syrian refugees but all of Islam.

You know who annoys me the most in the US culture? 60s leftists (Todd Gitlin) who became reactionaries but still speak for 60s radicals

It really repulses me that Todd Gitlin is still chosen by US media to speak on behalf of the left (because they know that he can use "the credibility of his past" to bestow legitimacy on the right today.  This is like when the Washington Post picks Kathy Young to bash feminism--in the name of some weird bizarre notions of feminism.  Look what Gitlin said: "some charges were valid, even if it was people like D’Souza who made them."  Worse, look at at his sociological evidence for his claim that the left is a threat to freedom of speech on college campuses: " I saw an anti-Murray demonstrator at Columbia later that month holding a sign saying “NO FREE SPEECH.” "  Of course, he says not a word about the biggest threat to freedom of speech on US college campuses: the Zionist threat.  If Todd Gitlin is Left, please count me as a non-leftist.

John McCain has a strategy for Afghanistan and the US press is very impressed

This is what is considered a strategy?  Every military strategy for John McCain (on every country on earth) only means: more US troops and more bombs dropped.  

White Supremacy on the March

It is not only the racism, anti-Semitism, and bigotry and now violence of the White Supremacists which are offensive, but also the rush of the two US parties exploit the situation to clean their records and to attempt to pose as enemies of racism when both parties have been beneficiaries of White Supremacies since their inception.  The campaigns by Reagan and later by Clinton were clear political movements which aimed to woo white voters on the basis of resentment and offensives to blacks and minorities.  The blatant wing of the White Supremacist movement in the US is a manifestation of the work of the two parties who mobilized white voters against minorities and women: witness how both Reagan and Clinton led racist campaigns against welfare recipients.  As for Obama, he will be remembered as the president who condemned white racism far less than any recent white president.  You can look it up.  White media loved Obama's speeches on race only because he managed to fill his rhetoric with nuances which intended to absolve whites (and his white grandmother in particular) from responsibility.  It is quite jarring now that the test of one's opposition to racism is merely the ability to offer a statement against the neo-Nazis in Charlottesville.  In other words, Trump is an extension of Reagan and Clinton--and even of Obama.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Fatimah Ahmad Ibrahim is dead

The great Sudanese communist struggler, Fatimah Ahmad Ibrahim, is dead.  She was the first elected women to parliament in the Arab world.  She was for years a member of the Sudanese Communist Party's Central Committee.

A rule in the NYT: every Israeli crime, every repression, every massacre has to be justified in the same sentence

"Challenged by hostile forces on most of its fronts, Israel is already pretty much walled in."

In the New York Times, and in the Western press, this guy is considered an insightful foreign policy analyst

I bet that commentaries in North Korean press are less childish and less dumb than Thomas Friedman's: "Instead we should be telling Kim Jong-un: “Hey, pal, not impressed with your nuclear toys, been there, done that with the Soviet Union. Time is on our side — and now the whole world is asking why you won’t accept our credible peace proposal. So have fun with your firecrackers! Don’t even think about lobbing one near us, or we might just shut off all the lights in your pathetic failing state. We can do that — just like we can make your rockets blow up or go off course. Have you noticed? And when your people get tired of eating potatoes every night, give us a call: 202-456-1414. Ask for Donald.”" Does he have friends who can tell him how annoying and unintelligent he sounds?

Sherif Mansour (on behalf of the Committee to Protect Some Journalists) in the New York Times

"Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government has chosen some strange, decidedly undemocratic bedfellows and sent a worrying message about its commitment to a free press."   This is such a racist and ignorant argument.  It is the argument which was peddled by Thomas Friedman in his lousy book, From Beirut To Jerusalem: that Israel was a peaceful and democratic state but that the Arab neighbored infested it and polluted it.  As if Israel was not originally and always bad in itself, racist in itself, and repressive in itself. This is a state which jailed poets from early on.  A state which sent women to jail for speeches about Palestine, where colors of the Palestinian flags were banned, where the v-sign was considered illegal.

An Israeli prison called Gaza

"It is a cliche to call Gaza an open-air prison, but to many people it feels not only as if there is no way out, but also that the walls are closing in. Gaza is just 24 miles long on the coastline — less than the length of a marathon. At its narrowest it is just four miles, an hour’s walk.  The enclave is surrounded by Israeli perimeter fence, bristling with cameras, watch towers and remote-controlled machine guns. On the Egyptian border, once ­honey­combed with Hamas smuggling tunnels, there is now a broad buffer zone, scraped clean by bulldozers, as forbidding as a no man’s land. And the sea? Gaza fishermen are blocked by Israeli gunboats and forbidden to venture beyond six miles. For young people, the sea that once brought relief is now so polluted by untreated human waste that the Health Ministry has warned bathers to stay away."

This is the vision of Muhammad bin Salman (those posts are not funded by Gulf embassies in DC)

"Among those condemned to death are Mujtaba’a al-Sweikat, who, after attending pro-democracy protests inspired by the Arab Spring in 2011 and 2012, was arrested at an airport in December 2012 as he was leaving the country to visit the campus of Western Michigan University, which he was thinking of attending. Seventeen years old at the time, he was not given a reason for his arrest and has been in prison ever since, convicted without having access to legal representation, according to human rights activists. In a July 22 statement, Western Michigan faculty and administrators said Mr. Sweikat was “subject to sleep deprivations, beatings, cigarette burns, solitary confinement and others forms of torture or suffering.” He was sentenced to death “on the sole basis of a confession extracted by torture,” they added, citing the findings of the U.N. human rights office."

This view is rarely represented in reports by Western correspondents in Beirut

"“Israel caricatures Hizbullah as a terrorist organisation,” says Rifaat Nasrallah, the Christian militia’s leader (and no relation of Hassan). “But the resistance is not some external force that comes to terrorise us. They are part of our society. They attend our weddings and funerals. They take care of me and I take care of them.” Alliances forged in the furnace of Syria’s war may be hard to break."  None of the Western media published about the reception of returning Hizbullah fighters (hostages) into a Christian town in Lebanon last week.

The Crown Prince of Jordan: another brilliant military mind

Who hates Arabs more: a discussion Haaretz

From Eyal: "Yossi Werter, a chief political columnist for Ha'aretz, ridicules Yair  Lapid for his argument in favor of the the Iraqi-Kurdish bid for  secession. Lapid had stated it would be beneficial to have another  Arabic state that's friendly towards Israel. But, this ignorant and
utilitarian racism of Lapid's is not the issue here. Werter points out  that a Kurdish state will not be an Arab state, since Kurds are not  Arabs. But that also isn't the issue. The point is Werter's additional 
comment on Lapid's conflation of Kurds with Arabs. Werter writes: "The  Kurds hate the Arabs even more than the Jews hate the Arabs, and for the  Kurds there is no greater insult than to be called an Arab.""

Lebanese village of Shaqra targeted by Israel for destruction

"I myself have visited Shaqra several times over the past few years and have failed to trip over any rocket launchers, although I have observed a lot of schoolchildren, bakeries, farms, hair salons, a Botox establishment, a colorful entity called “Magic Land,” a pond, and a painting of Che Guevara. Anyway, Magic Land is probably an arms depot."

Israeli weapons company receives funding from the EU

"The European Union is giving millions of dollars of “research” funding to a company that is helping Israel evade an international ban on cluster weapons.” “During its 2006 invasion of Lebanon, Israel fired more than a million cluster munitions into the country. “What we did was insane and monstrous, we covered entire towns in cluster bombs,” an Israeli army officer told the Tel Aviv newspaper Haaretz. Those weapons continue to pose a danger to people in Lebanon. Since the 2006 Israeli invasion, according to the US embassy in Beirut, more than 40 people have been killed and 300 injured by unexploded ordnance. Israeli leaders regularly threaten to unleash even greater firepower targeting civilians in a future war on Lebanon."

Saudi regime are killing Saudi citizens, with help from the U.S. & Canada

"Canada is the second largest supplier of weapons to Saudi Arabia, the first being the United States. The tragedy that is befalling Awamiyah is made possible- or at least more lethal- by these massive weapons sales, particularly from the US and Canada."

A foreign government (Israel, naturally) certifies that Gen. McMaster is ideologically qualified for his White House job

""Senior Israeli defense officials told Haaretz on Saturday that the allegations against McMaster concerning Israel are false and baseless. McMaster accompanied Trump to Israel last May, during which he had a three-hour conversation with Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman in Jerusalem. The meeting was described by the Israeli side as excellent." "All on our side who has met McMaster and keeps contact with him are constantly impressed by how pro-Israel he is. The relationship with him is excellent, and we really appreciate him," one of the senior defense officials told Haaretz.""

I just wonder: do sermons in Churches and synagogues are equally monitored in Switzerland

It is clear that this Muslim cleric is a kook but so are many priests, rabbis, ministers, and monks.  If we apply the rational and non-violent standards, many of those merchants of religions would be put out of commission.  

The Emperor, bragging

"He added, "We have many options ..this is our neighbour. We are all over the world and we have troops all over the world in places that are very, very far away." (thanks Amir)

Peter Sluglett on Hanna Batatu

Peter Sluglett died.  I knew him back in the early 1990s when he spent time in DC.  We talked a lot then about Iraq and Arab politics. But we then never spoke again about anything, and had no contact afterwards (for reasons that were not entirely political).  I didn't want to speak about all that if it was not for a colleague who reminded me of a terrible review of Hanna Batatu by Sluglett.  At one point in this review, he says: "I have been told" about Hanna Batatu.  I will say this about Sluglett's famous book on Iraq: that the best part was written by his wife.  Sluglett is one of those people who underwent (convenient) political transformations.  

Friday, August 11, 2017

It is getting ugly within the Saudi royal family

Prince `Abdul-`Aziz bin Fahd seems to be the one leading the opposition within the royal family although Prince Ahmad is likely to be the successor if Muhammad bin Salman is ousted for whatever reason. `Azzuz (as King Fahd used to call him) has been running an unprecedented campaign against Muhammad bin Zayid of UAE: if a Saudi citizen were to run such a campaign he would have landed in jail probably for a life sentence.  Today, he posted a photoshopped picture of MbZ with a cross on his chest.  

Thursday, August 10, 2017

From Khalidalbaih, the Sudanese cartoonist

- Watch me Nuke - the beef between US and I hope understanding this is not reality show

What US media does not cover: from Awwamiyyah?

From Awwamiyyah: Saudi regime forces calling Shi`ites "dogs".

This is how Daily Star of Lebanon reports about Saudi regime crimes in Awwamiyyah

"Saudi forces restore order in restive eastern district"

After this, how can you ever doubt the commitment of Gulf regimes to liberate Palestine?

Who killed Ghassan Kanafani?

I don't have time to translate but here is my case in Arabic regarding "Who killed Ghassan Kanafani".

What is more corrupt than Israeli prime ministers and Gulf procurement committees?

DC think tanks.  What a corrupt scene it is.  All DC think tanks should have--for humor purposes--the banner of "No Strings Attached" as their motto.  

UAE and the funding of the Middle East Institute

In the past, the Middle East Institute represented the bastion of Arabist influence and the desire by retired American diplomats and government officials to argue against the Israeli lobby.  But the Arabists were killed by the advent of the Clinton administration, and the attempt by Gulf regimes to support Arabist shops ended by 1991 and the Gulf war.  Since then, the interests of Gulf regimes and Israel converged and the Israeli lobby ended for all intents and purposes its traditional resistance to arm sales to Gulf regimes.  Since then, none of the DC think tanks (esp the Middle East Institute given its past record of hosting views and perspectives opposed to the Israeli lobby) would touch the Palestinian question.  This report in the Intercept is a most damning look at the massive corruption of the DC think tank scene.  It once and for all end the illusion that there is free independent thinking in those shops.  Pretty much, the Israeli lobby and the allied Gulf regimes run the show. Ironically, Gulf regimes now cite reports in DC think tanks, which had been funded by those same Gulf regimes. So Gulf regimes cite themselves in their own media.  

The Logic of US media on North Korea

Trump threatened North Korea with a nuclear holocaust, and his Secretary of Defense (the rational member of the team) threatened "the people" of North Korea with destruction, and I wake up to see a headline in the New York Times about how the poor neighbors of North Korea are alarmed and about the threat to Guam.  This is the "free" US media.

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Fire and fury

Fire and Fury is a miniatures wargame about the American Civil War

U.S. signed a nuke deal with N Korea; then violated it

"In 1994, the Clinton administration and North Korea signed an Agreed Framework that froze Pyongyang’s nuclear programme and aimed to normalise US-North Korean relations. The agreement targeted many of the issues that the two sides continue to grapple with – but it soon ran into problems, and ultimately broke down in 2002." "But on its own pledges, Washington failed to follow through."

Who is fighting in Yemen

""Most regular troops employed by the Saudi coalition in Yemen are also foreigners, according to reports. In 2015, officials in Yemen's government claimed that Egypt had sent ground troops to fight alongside government forces, while earlier this year senior security forces told MEE that the Pakistan army sent a brigade of combat troops to shore up Saudi Arabia's vulnerable southern border from reprisal attacks mounted by the Houthis. The UAE, which is part of the Saudi coalition, was revealed by the New York Times to have recruited hundreds of Colombian, Panamanian, Salvadoran and Chilean mercenaries to do their dirty work in Yemen. “Mercenaries are an attractive option for rich countries who wish to wage war yet whose citizens may not want to fight,” said Sean McFate, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council and author of The Modern Mercenary."" (thanks Amir)

Who runs the UAE?

Yesterday, the influential Islamist Kuwaiti thinker, `Abdullah An-Nafisi (this man was a Marxist and was an Arab nationalist until his ideological transformation ended with sectarian Islamism) yesterday observed that Muhammad Dahlan runs the UAE and that Israel runs Dahlan.

My father suffered from Malaria when he lived for a year in Senegal and he never experienced the urge to kill civilians

"U.S. soldier who murdered Afghan civilians will blame malaria drug used by Army"

Read more here:"

And now a Kuwait-Saudi rift

The GCC will never be the same and it will never recover from the splits and divisions which came out in the open in full force during the recent crisis. Yesterday, Kuwait banned the mouthpiece of King Salman, Ash-Sharq Al-Awsat, from entering Kuwait due to series of articles (especially the last one) in which `Abdul-Rahman Al-Rashid (who emerged lately as the one who gives the earliest signals about the shifts and turns in Saudi foreign policies).  Al-Rashid has been criticizing Kuwait for its "neutrality" and reminding it--over and over again--that it had a debt toward Saudi Arabia because the rightly Saudi army liberated Kuwait in 1991.

Zionist infiltration and recruitment of Syrian political parties in the 1930s

This is a paper by Mahmoud Muhareb about Zionist contacts and recruitment of spies among the Syrian National Bloc and the Shahbandar Opposition.

Monday, August 07, 2017

The Jordanian King upon arriving in Ramallah today

Vladimir Tamari, the Palestinian artist who designed the logo of the PFLP, has died

Here is the story of the PFLP logo, which had long been attributed to Ghassan Kanafani.  (thanks Sultan)

For those who miss human rights Democrats: here is Hillary on Mubarak

"Clinton was questioned in a March 2, 2009, interview about an annual Department of State report on human rights that blasted Egypt for serious abuses. She was asked whether that report had anything to do with a request that Mubarak visit the U.S. “No. It’s an annual report,” Clinton said while in Sharm el-Sheik, Egypt. “It is not in any way connected. We look forward to President Mubarak coming as soon as his schedule would permit. I had a wonderful time with him this morning. I really consider President and Mrs. Mubarak to be friends of my family. So I hope to see him often here in Egypt and in the United States.”"

The Blacklist

So according to the TV show, The Blacklist, the only good Iranian is the one who defects to Israel and joins the Mossad.

Sunday, August 06, 2017

More than Obama?

"Bill Maher: Donald Trump Is 'Capable' Of Ordering Assassinations"

"The United States assassinated Pakistan's first PM, Nawabzada Liaquat Ali Khan, more than sixty years ago"

"The United States assassinated Pakistan's first PM, Nawabzada Liaquat Ali Khan, more than sixty years ago, according to US State Department documents.  Quoting the declassified State Department documents, Pakistan Today reported on Friday that Khan was murdered because of his refusal to use his office for securing oil contracts in neighboring Iran for US corporations. According to the report, Khan said he would neither use his friendship with officials in Tehran for dishonest purposes nor interfere in personal affairs of Iran." (thanks Tanweer)

This is rather amusing: how Arab minds and hearts were lost

""He sold MBN the idea that we cannot rock the boat in covering the Arab regimes, because they will ban us, and we have to walk a tight rope,” said Nematt, who was a weekly contributor to Al Hurra.  “Sometimes I would tell him (Harb) to do a story that could shake things up a little … his answer was that the US state department won’t allow it out of fear that governments in the region would come complaining (to Washington).” 
Entirely false, Harb retorted.  “If people  read  the classified cables from that  time they would see the complaints by ministries of information in the Middle East about Al Hurra.” In defence of his record, he said he had also obtained licences  for Radio Sawa (also part of MBN) across the Arab world and received “the Superior Accomplishment Award” from the Broadcasting Board of Governors, the board that largely oversees Al Hurra and MBN. "

I wonder how US media would react if an Arab shoot an Israeli who attacked him with a stapler or paper clip?

"Israel says the guard fired in self-defense after being stabbed by a screwdriver-wielding Jordanian workman".

US and its media are opposed to armed opposition--unless they are directed against governments not approved by US/Israel

"Armed men in military uniforms and camouflage released a video early Sunday morning calling for Venezuelans to rebel against President Nicolás Maduro after his party established an all-powerful assembly meant to secure its grip over the country."

US is forming a Syrian militia: US is opposed to Arab militias--unless they are formed by it or by Israel

So this is not of interest to Western media, but Syrian Observatory is reporting that the US is forming a militia (named it "the National Army"--the US defines nationhood in the region) in Hasakah.  

How Gen. MacMaster educates Trump on Afghanistan and its women

"And he asked one of his Afghanistan experts to find a black-and-white snapshot from 1972 of Afghan women in miniskirts walking through Kabul. “The goal was to give the president the idea that Afghanistan was not this hopeless place,” said one U.S. official familiar with the briefing, which included several pictures of the country."  1) it is interesting that the skirt is the measure of the plight of women. 2) I wonder: did MacMaster educate the president that it was US covert and overt intervention in Afghanistan was primarily responsible for the empowering of Jihadi misogynistic  groups and the retardation of the conditions of women? 3) Did MacMaster tell the president that  in fact the communist era was relatively the best for women and their rights?

Liz Sly would like to assure you that US sanctions on Iraq were extremely good for the health of Iraqi children

Liz Sly, one of the most propagandistic correspondent to ever serve in the Middle East does it again: here, he assures readers that US sanctions on Iraq were extremely good for the welfare of the Iraqi children.  

A North Korean defector treated like "dirt" in South Korea

"North Korean Defector, ‘Treated Like Dirt’ in South, Fights to Return".

Colonial feminism: when the New York Times raises alarm over on-line harassment of Pakistani women

New York Times is raising alarm over on-line harassment of Pakistani women: "34 percent said they had experienced online harassment and abuse."  This will make you wonder, what is the rate of on-line harassment of American women: " 37% of women have experienced at least one of the six behaviors this study uses to define online harassment."

Who is more war-mongering? Trump or the US media/punditry?

By far, the US media/punditry are far more pro-war than Trump.  The only time that the US media/punditry applauded Trump since he came to office was when he lobbied missiles on Syria.

This Bruce Ridel really gives a new meaning to the term a "Middle East expert"

"The main purpose of Mullah Mansour’s trips to Iran was tactical coordination, according to Bruce Riedel, a former C.I.A. analyst and fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington."  Every time I read his name I remember that in an interview with Middle East Quarterly back in the 1990s, he asserted that Arabs are not really bothered with US sanctions on Iraq.

Nothing new but Israeli government officially endangers the lives of Lebanese civilians

Without any evidence, the Israeli government endangers the lives of Lebanese civilians by publishing their pictures and names and claiming that they are members of an organization that US and Israel considers to be a "terrorist" organization.  

This is how the US wants to win hearts and minds of the Arabs: and this is how the mouthpiece of UAE regime billed it

It is actually funny.  The US government wants to revitalize its image among Arabs. What did it do? It borrowed the vice-president of MEMRI to lead the effort.  And as Nicholas Noe noticed, a Lebanese reporter writing for the mouthpiece of the sons of Zayid failed to mention this basic element of Alberto Fernandez: "A startling oversight by Joyce Karam: Her piece from the Abu Dhabi owned daily fails to mention that the new head of Al-Hurra, Alberto Fernandez – who is supposed to save the station from irrelevancy despite hundreds of millions in US taxpayer support over the years – is the former VP of, set up by the IDF colonel Yigal Carmen. MEMRI of course is an extremely polemical translation and opinion shop in DC that (as but one major problem) only translates the most violent things Arabs and Muslims say or the most pro-American things they say. Indeed, MEMRI’s harmful limitations – and its corrosive effects on Beltway thinking – are precisely why we started 12 years ago."

Look how the New York Times manages to sell Israeli media repression as a mere copying of Arab decisions

Notice whenever Arab regimes act in a way that pleases Western Zionists, they are referred always as "Arab states" or "Arab nations" to bestow legitimacy on their actions and policies. But notice that regimes that don't follow Zionist dictates are always referred to as "Arab regimes".  This is the headline of the New York Times on this matter: "Joining Arab States, Israel Says It Plans to Ban Al-Jazeera". Of course, Aljazeera should have been faulted since its inception for hosting Israeli guests and going out of its way to have an Israeli response to every Arab point of view or charge.  Also, don't you like when Western Zionists refer to "bias" in Arab media about Israel as if Western Zionist media--not to mention Israeli media--are not biased on matters relating to Arabs in general.

Saturday, August 05, 2017

Look how good US intentions are (this from the US National Security advisor to the president)

"And so what we’re endeavoring to do is to work with partners in the region and to work on behalf of the Venezuelan people to help rescue them from this dictatorship."  Oh, how sweet. This is similar to how US helps the Arab people in rescuing them from their dictatorship. This is so touching that I have goose bumps as we speak.

Glorification of the defeat of 1967

My weekly article in Al-Akhbar: "The Glorification of Defeat and the Marginalization of Victory: between 1967 and 2006".

Friday, August 04, 2017

There is a strict dress code for boarding Saudi Airlines

Jerusalem, Palestine, 1900s (#Osmanlı Dönemi #Kudüs, Filistin)

"Mattis was military adviser for United Arab Emirates before joining Trump admin"

"James Mattis received permission from the US military after retiring from the Marine Corps to work as a military adviser to the United Arab Emirates, newly disclosed Pentagon records show."

This is how WINEP defines Al-Qa`idah

From WINEP: "Jabhat Fatah al-Sham, a Sunni jihadist group that opposes the Assad regime.".  This is like saying: Usama bin Laden was a fellow who did not like US foreign policy.  

Israeli looting: "The Genealogy of Colonial Plunder and Erasure – Israel's Control over Palestinian Archives"

"The essay discusses one characteristic of colonial archives – how the ruling state plunders/loots the colonized’ archives and treasures and controls them in its colonial archives - erasing them from the public sphere by repressive means, censors and restricts their exposure and use, alters their original identity, regulates their contents and subjugates them to colonizer’s laws, rules and terminology. It focuses on two archives plundered by Israel in Beirut in 1980s: the Palestine Research Center and archive of Palestinian films. The essay continues my earlier research on Palestinian visual (and other) archives taken as booty or looted by pre-state Jewish military organizations and soldiers or civilians in the first half of the twentieth century, especially during the Nakba (the Palestinian catastrophe, 1948), and later by Israel’s military bodies. It analyzes the plunder itself while focusing on the power relations reflected toward the hybrid gazes of the colonizer and the colonized and discusses colonial features of military archives holding and controlling seized materials. While colonial museums have been largely discussed, and also archives holding colonial history, this is one of the first essays to discuss features of colonial archives holding plundered archives/material."

A survey of public opinion of Syrian refugees

I suggest that you read this survey of Syrian refugees: it basically refutes all the assumptions of Western and Gulf media about their political preferences and aspirations.  Of course, I remain skeptical of "the science" of conducting surveys in our region, and particularly among the refugees.

Video shows horrific beatings & abuse of Syrian refugees in Turkey

"The Turkish authorities have been repeatedly accused of inhumane practices against those fleeing the six-year-old conflict next door. Also last week, photos of young Syrian men being forced to put on women’s underwear to amuse border guards have been widely circulated, to the outrage of many. Rights groups have consistently criticised Turkish troops for opening fire on Syrian civilians attempting to cross the border."

Spokesman for EU campaign: wipe out Gaza

"During his time as ambassador, Faaborg-Andersen and his EU colleagues have done all they can to advance Israel’s war against the Palestinian struggle for survival and freedom, including funding Israel’s arms industry and torturers, participating in Israel’s attacks on the nonviolent boycott, divestment and sanctions movement and remaining fully complicit in Israel’s brutal siege on Gaza. The EU embassy in Tel Aviv has also served as a training ground for members of the Israel lobby in Brussels. But surely, Faaborg-Andersen’s most infamous personal achievement will be employing an open advocate of genocidal violence as the face of the European Union and its much trumpeted “values.” "

U.S. Muslims more accepting of homosexuality than white evangelicals

"It suggests that Muslims in American are more accepting of homosexuality than white evangelical Protestants. Furthermore, their rate of acceptance is moving is increasing faster than those of Protestants." (thanks Amir)

Saeb Erekat in the LA Times

For some reason, LA Times believes that Saeb Erekat is "revered" among the Palestinian people.  That is funny. But then again, Western media think that buffoonish King of Jordan is revered among the Arabs.

For some reason Al-Quds Al-`Arabi still refuses to believe that Trump abandoned the Syrian rebels

For some reason, Qatari regime mouthpiece, Al-Quds Al-Arabi (one of the most notorious sectarian newspapers among all Gulf media) refuses to believe that Trump abandoned the Syrian rebels.

Zionism is always racism: "Upscale Israeli Country Club Changes Rules to Prevent Arabs From Joining"

'If anyone wants to swim with Arabs, let him take them home. Here there's no place for it,' says resident of Kochav Yair-Tzur Yigal, echoing local sentiment"

Thursday, August 03, 2017

Syrian government does not stop its repression or its killing

"Syrian government gave Bassel Khartabil’s family no word on his fate for nearly two years"

The Hizbullah cell in Kuwait

If you read the details of the Kuwaiti government charge, people noticed that one of them was accused of attending a Hizbullah training camp in `Ayta Ash-Sha`b.  The problem is that the dates given mean that Hizbullah ran a training camp in `Ayta Ash-Sha`b DURING Israeli occupation of South Lebanon.  

Politics aside, is there denying that this man radiates charisma?

Sometimes it makes you wonder. From which dumpster does the US pick its puppets?

Washington Post faults Venezuelan president for..being a bus driver in his past

This is getting clearly ideological and classist.  How dare bus drivers become presidents.

Trump's inspiration for the wall

"You know, you look at Israel – Israel has a wall and everyone said do not build a wall, walls do not work — 99.9 percent of people trying to come across that wall cannot get across and more. Bibi Netanyahu told me the wall works."  

PS Notice in the entire transcript of the phone conversation, Trump called the Mexican president Enrique, while the Mexican president only called him "Mr. President". 

New York Times provides solid proof that Venezuelan vote was manipulated

"But many Venezuelans rejected those figures as unrealistically high, pointing to the absence of lines or crowds at polling places. " So anecdotal evidence is the evidence here? But then they cite a firm which says: "On Wednesday, Smartmatic said that although Venezuela’s election process includes “a series of auditing systems” that are “impossible to circumvent,” " But then said that the absence of monitors means it was manipulated.  I wish such scrutiny is applied to voting in such pro-US despotic systems like Jordan or in countries where there is no voting like Saudi Arabia.

Liberal media advocates surprise nuclear attack on NKorea

"The only way to halt North Korea’s nuclear program would be a surprise nuclear attack on every known nuclear installation in the country."

The "worldview of American evangelical and hard-line “not too far apart’’ from jihadists"

"The writers even declare that the worldview of American evangelical and hard-line Catholics, which is based on a literal interpretation of the Bible, is “not too far apart’’ from jihadists."

Anyone cares about Yemen?

""What came to my mind was how coarsened our global conscience has become, given that hundreds of Guernicas are happening every month in Yemen—and not even Reddit users seem to be taking note. Last Tuesday, a Saudi-led airstrike bombed al-Atera village in the province of Taiz south of Sanaa, striking a refugee settlement and killing 20 innocent civilians. The victims were internally displaced people, many from the same family. They included seven women and four children. You wonder if a surviving mother held her limp child the same way Picasso’s bereaved woman did."" (thanks Amir)

If only families of victims of Sep. 11 would know: New York Times offers a pathetic apologia for Al-Qa`idah terrorists

This is a most disturbing piece on many levels.  It basically offers an apologia for Al-Qa`idah terrorists and makes it clear that it was Israel and Jordanian regime which lobbied the Obama administration to shower the Syrian rebels with weapons.  And with all the talk of "meager" US support (this has been the line of all Western correspondents in Beirut) now we know that the CIA program alone ran for 1 $ billion.  And who does this piece interview for an objective assessment? None other than Charles Lister (hear him talk here about his contacts with Al-Qa`idah). And what does Lister tell them? He tells them that 1 $billion was not enough. That there were more weapons needed for the job.  And here New York Times tells readers that Al-Qa`idah means no harm: "Unlike other Qaeda affiliates such as Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the Nusra Front has long focused on battling the Syrian government rather than plotting terrorist attacks against the United States and Europe." It does not mention the bombings and kidnapping which it perpetrated in Lebanon.  New York Times does not want to talk about the forced conversion of Druzes and genocidal threats to minorities.  And whenever you read that Netanyahu and some Arab leader persuaded a US president, you know it means that Netanyahu persuaded the US president (the name of an Arab leader is used to cover up the Israeli involvement in the making of US foreign policy).  "The president’s reversal came in part because of intense lobbying by foreign leaders, including King Abdullah II of Jordan and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel".  But the Times offers us a glimpse of the CIA-trained "moderate Syrian rebels": "White House officials also received periodic reports that the C.I.A.-trained rebels had summarily executed prisoners and committed other violations of the rules of armed conflict. Sometimes the reports led to the C.I.A. suspending cooperation with groups accused of wrongdoing."  And look at this disturbing sentence: "Although the Nusra Front was widely seen as an effective fighting force against Mr. Assad’s troops," Can you imagine? This is like saying that Bin Laden was seen as effective in fighting the US.  But here the Times lies: "Pentagon program that envisioned training and equipping 15,000 Syrian rebels over three years, was canceled in 2015 after producing only a few dozen fighters.)"  In fact, the head of Central Command admitted before Congress that only five fighters remained of that program.