Sunday, April 30, 2017

Battles between Syrian rebels

Notice that Western media don't bother to cover the blood letting in East Ghuta between various Syrian rebels.  

Philippine leader in DC

It is rather odd: DC establishment and media are up in arms about the visit by the elected president of Philippine but never raise a stink about visit by Gulf autocrats.

The Palestinian composer, Mohammed Fairouz, puts Israeli poetry to music but...

it did not help him. He still was detained at JFK yesterday.

The foreign policy establishment in DC

Having bombed, now Trump is being declared "normal".

Director of Human Rights Watch officially denies that Israel (in 1948 Palestine borders) is guilty of racism

Kenneth Roth (@KenRoth)
Apartheid debate isn't about:
1. Israel at home but occupied territories
2. Peace "process" but endless occupation bit.ly/2pguO3j

Saudi news

A man sentenced to death for atheism. If this was in Iran, it would have been on the front pages f Arab and Western newspapers.

Bret Sphenes and the New York Times

This is not satirical: "With Bret Stephens Hire, New York Times Fills Long-Empty Pro-Israel Void on Columnist Roster". (thanks Basim)

David Ignatius: or what the press releases of Jordanian and gulf intelligence services should read like

"Ignatius columns on Saudi Arabia break down roughly into two groups: straight reporting mixed with spin and concern trolling, and outright press releases documenting the dictatorship’s spectacular reforms. First the latter:"

Huffington Post is Arabic is quickly distinguishing itself as one of the worst news website in Arabic--despite the stiff competition

Here, it claims that Hasan Nasrallah has a private wealth of $250 million.  It cites "some news websites".  You click on the link, and it takes you to the Gulf-funded Mossadist Mujahdi Khalq organization.  The site then cites "Saudi newspapers" (which as you know adheres to the highest standards of journalism), which in turn cites "US intelligence reports".  But not even Israeli and US media make that claim. Welcome to the Huffington Post Arabic.  

The role of DC think tanks in the production of propaganda: the lousy book by Geneiva Abdo on "The New Sectarianisms"

The role of think tanks in DC has changed. Their ties have also changed.  Brookings for example hosted academic work in the past and was relatively politically courageous in defying in the mid-1070s the DC consensus about Palestinian rights (mildly of course, or slightly).  William B Quandt produced work on Palestinian nationalism while Jerry Hough produced work on the new generation of Soviet leadership.  Hicham Sharabi produced a book early in the 1970s on Palestinian "guerrillas", based on research Sharabi conducted in Jordan.  The role of think tanks have changed: they have become all tied to Gulf regime funding and subsumed under the umbrella of the Zionist lobby. The 1991 US war on Iraq was the watershed: since then, the new alliance between Gulf regimes and Israel started to form, and Israeli opposition to US arm sales to Gulf regimes ended.  They both collaborated to work against Palestinian interests.  Furthermore, Gulf funding was no more controversial.  This was the time when the Clinton administration under Martin Indyk officially killed off the entire contingent of Arabists at the US government.  Robert Kaplan's book on them was more like an obituary.  For that reason, and out of desperation for funding. think tanks because largely vehicles for Gulf and Israeli propaganda.  Qatari Ministry of Foreign Affairs said (after announcing more than $ 10 million in donations to Brookings) that the think tank will help paint a "rosy picture" of Qatar.  there are similar arrangements with other think tank. Look at the Hariri Center at Atlantic Council: they tweet around the clock on various aspects of Middle East politics (but always from the AIPAC standards) and yet not a word about Palestinian affairs. Not a word.  So Geneieve Abdo (who was a resident fellow at the Hariri Center) published a book a few months ago about The New Sectarianisms: The Arab Uprisings and the Rebirth of the Shi`a-Sunni Divide.  I honestly can't think about a worse book in recent years.  It is rather shocking.  This was published by (the New York branch) of Oxford University Press, although the contents of the book are to academic production what tomatoes are to Tabbuleh.  She tries hard in the book to sound original and the results are rather comical. She tells the reader early on that the most consuming political and intellectual issue among Arabs/Muslim is the question: Who is a true believer and who is a non-believer (p. 1). Only someone who has not read one Arabic article or book by Arabs would make this claim.  This is someone who clearly knows what she knows about the region from what she reads in Western media and in MEMRI video clips.  Her book is so brimming with Gulf propaganda that she maintains that the Middle East region was dominated by "Western-style nationalism" (p. 4) until the Iranian revolution erupted.  Yes, Geneive: Saudi and Gulf regimes were in fact Western-style democracies until the Iranian revolution spoiled the fun.  She expresses surprise that Western analysis did not pay attention to religion in the region until recently (I am not kidding, she said that, p. 6).  She also justifies Gulf oppression because she said that they fear democracy simply because they fear She`ite domination (p. 8).  But wait: she then talks about intellectual and academic currents. Here, she says that Western analysis suffers from disregard of the role of religion in Arab politics.  With the plethora of books on Islam since the 1970s, and the heavy dosages of theologcentrism in Western analysis and scholarship, Geneieve wants you to pay more attention to Islam and religious analysis of the region (p. 9).  But Genieve even ventures on issues relating to Islamic history: watch her here: "The history of the Sunni-Shi`a rift is, essentially, a history of the present" (p. 10).  I mean if this does not impress you as philosophical and historiographical, nothing will impress you.  And then she takes case studies of sectarianism: there isn't a world that could not have the stamp of approval from the nearest Saudi embassy and consulate. Look at her section on Lebanon: she mentions Nabil Halabi (a Salafite advocate and the head of what he calls the Lebanon Coordination Committee of the Syrian Revolution, as "a human rights lawyer" (p. 91).  This is like identifying Ayman Dhawahiri as "a medical expert".   Here entire Lebanon section is a compilation of the talking points of the Hariri press office.  On p. 94, she manages to interview a man she identifies as "a founder" of the Lebanese Armed Forces, i.e., the Lebanese Army.  So the Lebanese Army was founded (by the French as Legions of the East) back in 1916.  So let us assume that this founder of the army was 20 at the time, so he is now over a hundred years of age.  If only she named that man for us.  She then interviews the spokesperson of the Alawite Arab Democratic Party, `Ali Fudda. She attributes terrible sectarian anti-Sunni sentiments and expressions to him, which surprised me.  He never speaks in sectarian terms despite his position in a predominantly a Alawite party in Lebanon.  So I asked him when I first read the book months ago about that, and he categorically denied and he even posted on Facebook an official detail in which he said that what Genieve attributed to him was false and untrue.  She even maintains that "many Shia" associates "all Sunnis with Wahhabism". She provides no evidence or example here (p. 97), but that is the nature of her documentation. Either flimsy or no evidence at all.  She identifies that Hariri family chief of security, Wissam Hasan (the man who sponsored Salafi and terrorist groups in Lebanon and Syria and who more than anyone else in Lebanon is responsible for spilling blood in Tripoli and in Syria since 2011) as "a respected Sunni security chief" (p. 98).  She talks about one day of May 7, 2008 as "the Karbala' of Sunnis" (here she cites an MP in the Hariri parliamentary bloc, p 101).  When she talks about Alawites in Lebanon, she cites a man who appears on her pages as a historian when he is really another MP in the Hariri parliamentary bloc (Ahmad Fatfat, p. 108).  She talks about Salafites who are sympathetic to Al-Qa`idah in Lebanon in rather glowing terms (and she does not even mention that they are funded by Gulf regimes).  The worst part of her book is her reference to Sheikh Ahmad Al-Asir (a man who sits in Lebanese jail and has been sympathetic to Al-Qa`idah and ISIS): she claims that Shi`ites manufactured and distributed a toy which produces anti-Sunni invective.  Asir (before his arrest) made that claim in a speech, and all Lebanese media at the time investigated the claim and brought those US-manfactured the toys and showed that they produce English words and have nothing to do with Arabic. Even Asir related conceded that he was "in error" but Genieve repeated the outrageous claim (p. 112).  But like most Western correspondents she assures readers that Hizbullah losing support among She`ites: her source her (and elsewhere) is a pro-Hariri journalist (p. 114).  In the section on Bahrain, she clearly and ceagorially identifies with the repression and autocracy of the ruling dynasty.  She tells you that they crush opposition because they are afraid of Iranian intervention (p. 118).  She adds that Iranian propaganda is rather scary to the democratic regimes of the Gulf.  But she found evidence of Iranian intervention in Bahrain: she found out that a Bahraini cleric had studied in Iran. Imagine. The horrors.   And when there is no evidence, Genieve fabricates evidence: she basically claims that Iranian and Hizbullah media conceded that they were behind the Bahrain opposition protests.  Imagine.  This is what is being produced by Gulf-funded think tanks in DC.  

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Only in America?

White Americans love to hear an non-white immigrant tell them "only in America". No, in every country there are exceptional "successes".  

Daily Telegraph and anti-Semitism

Notice how Zionist publications try to associate pro-Palestinian activism with repugnant anti-Semitic expressions.   Once again: anti-Semites don't belong to pro-Palestinian activism and should be categorically excluded and shunned.

It is fair to say

That the degree of American sympathy with the Syrian people is directly proportional to the degree of one's support for Israeli aggression and occupation. Coincidence?

You know how sincere US sympathy with Syrians is when the most hateful enemy of the Palestinian people feigns sympathy with Syrians

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (@RosLehtinen)
Watch my Q&A frm #Syria hrng: #Assad responsible 4 #ISIS - it can't be defeated while this butcher remains in power: youtu.be/Skf2-C3_ha0

Look how the same statement is marketed differently between two media

From Basim: Saudi: "Syria’s Assad tells interviewer: ‘Yes, you are now sitting with the devil

Russian:  "Yes, from a Western perspective, you are now sitting with the devil. This is how they market it in the west," Syrian President Bashar al-Assad told teleSUR's Rolando Segura in an exclusive interview from Damascus ..."

Friday, April 28, 2017

The Defense Minister of Australia is identified as Defense Minister of France in Ar-Ra'y newspaper of Jordan

Notice the front-pages of Jordanian newspapers.

Director of Saudi lobby introduces Muhammad bin Salman to WINEP

He says that Muhammad bin Salman is LBJ, JFK, Thatcher, Churchill, Netanyahu, Reagan, Jackson, Trump and Peron all combined in one: "This is because Saudis are looking to the 31-year old Deputy Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman, to ensure equality. Despite the many challenges, he is attempting to undertake LBJ-like social reforms and Thatcher-like economic reforms in a country that is infamously resistant to change".

Palestinians face Israeli-imposed water hardships

"High up on Israel’s list of fabricated and otherwise shamelessly embellished achievements is that of having allegedly “made the desert bloom” promptly after setting up shop on usurped Palestinian land in 1948. Never mind that Palestine wasn’t exactly a desert - or that “blooming” techniques involved mass slaughter as well as plenty of ecological devastation." (thanks Amir)

Is it me? Leonardo DiCaprio and the bear

In the scene between the grizzly bear and Leonardo DiCaprio in the movie The Revenent, which I tried several times to watch but was never able to finish, I must confess that I found myself rooting for the bear against DiCaprio.

Implicating Syrian refugees in a crime in Germany?

From Jörg in Berlin: "There is again a bizarre scandal about Germany's "deep state": "Franco A. is suspected of being a staunch right-wing extremist, full of hate for foreigners and prone to violence. Furthermore, at the end of 2015, he established a secret identity as a Syrian refugee. One of the theories investigators are pursuing is that Franco A. had hoped to implicate refugees in the act of violence he was planning."

Is this guy running for office? He so reminds me of the Clintons

"I have a Christian wife; I have twin sons, one of whom is convinced he's Jewish, and one of whom, after he read the Ramayana, was like, "That's it, I'm Hindu." I have a two-year-old boy that we just assume is a reincarnation of the Buddha in some way. So every Sunday, we get together and share one particular religious story, whether it's of the Buddha or Ganesha or from the Gospel, and then we pick some value to learn from it, and then we, as a family, put that value into practice in our home and in our lives." This so strikes me as charlatanism.  

Bernie Sanders among the 100 senators who signed the letter of Israeli occupation and aggression

This should be remembered by all those who tried to beautify the lousy record of Bernie Sanders--the one who suffers from the same disease of political cowardice which afflicts all members of US Congress especially when it comes to Israel. Notice that the signatories don't shy away form threatening and blackmailing the UN on behalf of Israel.  All UN agencies are judged purely on the basis of their services to Israel. (thanks Eyal)

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Obama's speech for Wall Street

Don't be unfair to the man. I heard that he will be reading the Communist Manifesto to the audience.

Macron: what a candidate

Watch this segment of a speech by Macron. What a lousy candidate. How uninspiring.  Hillary Clinton (who has no charisma whatsoever) has more charisma than this man. This guy has less oratorical skills than Cicero of the Syrian opposition.  But as a friend always says: never underestimate the propensity of the French people to prefer the most boring candidate.

Qatari regime misogyny

This blogger on Aljazeera website has an article titled "I won't marry a working woman".  He says that among the many reasons is that he can't "enjoy her cooking and her summaries of what she read in his absence" if she is working outside the home.  

Hearings in US Congress about Syria

Hearings in the US Congress about Syria are rather hilarious. They bring in different viewpoints in this way: one speaks for Israel, another speaks for Qatari regime and another speaks for Saudi regime. This passes as "different perspectives" in the lousy US Congress.

Bret Stephens has started to lie and fabricate as soon as he assumed his job at the New York Times

He said: "The Arab world expelled about 900,000 Jews after 1948."  This is a flat out lie.  He basically counted all Arab Jews who left voluntarily (mostly) and those (a minority) who were expelled from Arab countries.  He uses the typical Zionist tactics in dealing with the issue of Arab Jews.  Take the Jews of Syria: when Syrian Jews lived in Syria, Zionist propagandists/hoodlums screamed and yelled around the world and said that Syrian Jews are held against their will and that they should be allowed to leave Syria, and that their living in Syria is a humanitarian situation, although they lived in Syria liked other Syrians and their repression was not different than the repression of Hafidh Al-Asad regime against all Syrians.  So the US government pressured the Asad government in the 1980s, and he then allowed Syrian Jews to leave. As soon as the Syrian Jews were allowed to leave, Zionist propagandists/hoodlums started to scream and yell: look, Syrian Jews have been expelled from Syria. Those should be conflated with the Palestinians who were expelled by Israeli occupation state from their homeland.  Also, the numbers used by the fabricator Stephens are out of whack: those who were actually expelled (or more accurately encouraged to leave or terrorized into leaving by Mossad covert operations including bombing campaigns) were Iraqi Jews (around 100,000 as other left on their own) and some 30,000 from Egypt after Lavon Affair and the tripartite invasion of Egypt.  But even in those two cases were terrible expulsion (or encouragement of flight or terrorization by Mossad terrorists) of Jews occurred: Israeli government participated directly or through covert operations to have them expelled.  In Iraq, there was Operation Babylon which scared and encouraged and terrorized Iraqi Jews to lead to their explosion, and in Egypt Lavon Affair clearly jeopardized the plight of Egyptian Jews.  Israel in general jeopardized the status of all Arab Jews by insisting that it represented all Jews of the world including Arab Jews, and it directly pressured Western government to pressure Arab governments to "release" Arab Jews.  Of course, Arab Jews should be allowed to return (unless they joined the Israeli terrorist state) and they are entitled to their property or to compensation for confiscated property (unless they were part of the Israeli terrorist state and its military-intelligence apparatus).  To support the rights of Arab Jews (who belong to Arab countries) is unrelated to one's support of the full return of all Palestinian refugees to their homeland of Palestine within the borders of 1948 Palestine.

PS Of course, the cases were Iraqi Jews were stripped of their citizenship it happened with direct pressures and secret deals between the Zionist British government and its clients in the Iraqi government. But all cases of stripping of citizenship or of confiscation of property were right in the presence of Mossad agents who were encouraging such measures for the demographic benefit of the Israeli occupation state. See the book by Abbas Shiblaq on Iraqi Jews and this article by Lebanese historian Mahmoud Haddad.

PPS Don't forget the most anti-Semitic voice in Iraq during those times was none other than Nuri As-Sa`id, the tool of British colonialism.  

Palestinian prisoners

Israeli occupation forces arrested since 1967 and until April of 2016 around 1 million Palestinian (men, women and children).  There has been more than 95000 arrests since 2000.  There are now some 7000 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, including 68 female prisoners and more than 400 children, and 750 administrative detention, and 500 serving life sentences.  Israel arrested 6830 Palestinians since 2015, including 2179 children and 225 female prisoners.  And since the beginning of the is year, Israel has arrested around 2000 Palestinians.  

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Bret Stephens defending his racism

Just there are anti-Semites who say: but there are Jews who said that: "It just struck me as a very tendentious reading of the column. I am by not any means indicting a whole race. The word mind itself — do you know that you don’t have a mind? It is a figure of speech, right? So I was using it as a figure of speech — which, by the way, I can find Arab authors talking about “the pathologies of the Arab mind.”"  He then goes on to decide to rank anti-Semitic countries. What ranking is that? how is that decided?

A media tour offended Nicholas Blanford: Israeli massacres and war crimes never offended him

"The unprecedented spectacle appeared to be a deliberate and calculated breach of a UN Security Council resolution that bans non-state forces from bearing arms in southern Lebanon, and it illustrated the unmatched sway Hezbollah wields, and the impunity it enjoys throughout the country."   Maybe he should talk to people of South Lebanon once in a while.  Instead of taking marching orders from the Hariri family in Beirut and Riyadh.  (thanks Basim)

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

The Left and Free Speech

I am opposed to leftist participation in muzzling freedom of speech on college campuses. Remember that the game can turn around.  Leftists and progressives are far more likely to suffer from repression than rightist.  I have always been of the view that rightist and racist speakers should be allowed to speak--and should be ignored by progressives.  Of couse, they can be protested but not muzzled. 

Gulf regime media sleaze

Gulf regime media sleaze regarding their coverage of Ivanka Trump is most disgusting.  

William B Quandt on my review of James Stoker's Spheres of Influence: on US role in arming the Phalanges

On US role in arming the right-wing militias of Lebanon: "As`ad AbuKhalil treats Stocker’s book as a “welcome addition” to the literature on Lebanon, but believes the author is too cautious in some of his conclusions. The main point that he insists on is that the U.S. role was more intentionally destabilizing in Lebanon than Stocker is willing to acknowledge. In his view, the lack of archival evidence for a U.S. role in arming some of the right-wing Christian militias does not mean that such arms transfers did not happen. AbuKhalil is correct that such transfers, if they took place, would have been handled by the CIA, and those archives have not been made available. My sense is that a modest supply of arms did go to some of the Christian militias in the early 1970s, although the dominant view in the State Department was to be very wary of getting close to the more militant of the militia leaders. It will probably remain an unanswerable question for some time as to the magnitude and significance of U.S. aid to former Lebanese President Camille Chamoun and the Phalangists. By the time I was in a position to know the details of such transactions in the Carter Administration, such aid had come to an end."

Monday, April 24, 2017

Obama

He said today: "“I am the first to acknowledge that I did not set the world on fire".  Oh, no, you did. But not in the way you think.

BDS is winning, admits top Israeli saboteur

"The boycott, divestment and sanctions movement against Israel is winning, a top anti-BDS strategist has conceded." "An entire government department – the Ministry of Strategic Affairs led by Gilad Erdan – is now devoted to combating BDS." (thanks Amir)

AUB honors Sadiq Al-Azm

This is classic. AUB fired Sadiq Al-Azm when he was a popular professor and wrote two books on Kant.  The only reason he was fired was political: he spoke against the American administration and Charles Malik (as he told me the story) was agitating against him and the Americans running the school hated him.  And now after his death, and only after Al-Azm became an anti-leftist, AUB decides to honor him. Such hypocrisy.  

The new Saudi ambassador to US, Khalid bin Salman

I like the account of his studies in Ash-Sharq Al-Awsat (the mouthpiece of Salman and his sons).  It said that he was attending Georgetown for an MA in "security studies" (and degrees in security studies and terrorism studies are--in my opinion--as academically sound as degrees in fried potato studies) and then "he suspended his studies...due to different work tasks".  I kid you not. Let me translate the Saudi Wahhabi language: he failed his classes.

Feud

The (short) TV series, “Feud: Bette and Joan,” is TV at its best. It was quite entertaining. Of course, the entire premise is quite sexist: feuds between women are always highlighted and exaggerated and they make for good TV, but feuds between men--which are far more destructive--are ignored. Jessica Lange's performance was splendid.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Macron

The bad part is that the rightist Macron will now be portrayed as left.  

When Ken Roth attempts humor: it is painful really

Kenneth Roth (@KenRoth)
Trump gave O'Reilly a pass but social media-empowered public felt differently. Guess whom advertisers listened to?
No, who? I give up. Please tell me. Wow. This is so witty and original.  No one beat you to it.  I have to say that since you assumed the throne in 1993 at HRW, your humor has not improved one bit.

What is happening in Saudi Arabia? Another look at the changes yesterday

From an informed Saudi student:  It reads (my translation) from Arabic: "I have quick notes..through which I wish to transmit our views as citizens (subjects) of Salman and his sons:
These comprehensive decisions cover more than one sector and section of the state after the insinuation by Muhammad bin Salman on more than one occasion to the importance of the views of people and citizens as to what is happening regarding decisions including Vision 2030.  And those statements appeared in the official and non official news and appeared more than once in his public meetings on occasions.  it is clear that he is not like other princes in his policies and wants (or wants it to appear as if) he takes public preferences and satisfaction into consideration.
The decisions included restoring the salary increases for civil and military employees which were canceled months ago.  And this text of the royal decree at the behest of Prince Muhammad Bin Salman.  This does not conceal his desperate efforts to attain popularity and reputation among people in the wake of widespread currents of dissatisfaction and opposition in private gatherings against the new austerity policies. And this makes Muhammad bin Salman a hero who listened to the people and responded to their needs.
Changes included the military forces and the commander of the ground troops was replaced by one of the sons of Faysal. And the spokesperson of the Aggression on Yemen, Ahmad Al-`Asiri, was made deputy intelligence chief.  And there was a weird phrase cited in the order to release double salaries for actual soldiers in the front lines in resisting the Yemeni attacks on the South (although we all know that those who do the actual work in the ground troops against the army and popular committees are the mercenaries from South Yemen).
As one looks closely at the new princes appointed one notices two things: 1) they are form the young generation to which Muhammad belongs. 2) he appointed his brothers and nephews in important posts like his brother as ambassador in DC (the same pilot who bombed Syria), and another brother as an official in the sector of energy and his nephew is now deputy (or superintendent) of the Eastern Province (and it is an important province which deals with "deals" and internal home affairs inside the royal family as important as defense and oil for its economic importance).  These appointments are important and significant.
The school year was shorted so that the final exams are given before Ramadan, and thus we now have the longest summer vacation in the history of the kingdom.  And this pleases me as a student of course.
Of course, we are looking at these analysis and decisions in terms of the potential conflict between son of Salman and son of Nayif over seizure of the crown."

UAE media promote a new Islam: the Mike Tyson Islam

Read here

Please know this about Saudi politics

This is the rule: when a prince is replaced by his brother or cousin it is always according to criteria of merit and specialization. 

Kenneth Roth thinks that ISIS is unfairly portrayed in the Western press: he wants better press for ISIS

Syrian paradox: Assad's mass slaughter of civilians grips West less than a few theatrically staged ISIS attacks.

Oh, this is so sweet: the president of AUB dares to comment on foreign policy

Dr. Fadlo Khuri (@DrFadloKhuri)
Bracing piece on the West's failure to address the Syrian disaster by @ABarnardNYT Opinion | Syria Changed the World nyti.ms/2pJOkUa

Do you think that he would dare post an article in which it calls for the US to invade and attack Israel? If only he sheds tears for Palestinians assuming you believe his tears about Syrian victims.