Saturday, November 28, 2015

The future of college education in Lebanon and the Arab world

My weekly article in Al-Akhbar: "The Future of College Education in Lebanon and the Arab world".

What do you say about a state that was founded on theft and occupation?

"13 Delicacies That Aren’t Israeli".  Circulate, damn it.

It is Palestine, damn it, not "Israel".

Oraib Toukhly Sukkar
April 7, 2014Edited
My dad received his U.S. passport in the mail, with place of birth stating "Israel". He placed the passport back in the envelope, returned it to the passport agency with a sticky note saying: "I was born in the state of Palestine, the city of Jerusalem in 1941, there was no Israel then, the state of Israel occupied my home land in 1948. Kindly reinstate my correct identity." 2 weeks later, passport corrected, Palestine reinstated, no questions asked.
My ultimate respect to the system and hats off to baba !!

Friday, November 27, 2015

ISIS is more popular in states allied with the US, Israel & Saudi Arabia

"Isis is almost universally detested across the Middle East, Asia and Africa, even in Muslim-majority countries, a new poll has shown." "In Lebanon, where Isis’ recent bombing in Beirut killed 43 people, 99 per cent of respondents said they had a “very unfavourable” opinion of the group, while 94 per cent of Israelis and 89 per cent of Jordanians felt the same." (thanks Amir)

Israel's favorite French Imam offers condolences to Charlie

"L'imam Charlghoumi rend hommage à "Charles" (Charlie Hebdo)" (thanks Jerome)

It is official: the reason why US bombed the hell out of a hospital in Kunduz is that US Special Forces "were fatigued"

"He said another contributing factor was that the Special Forces members in Kunduz had been fighting continuously for days and were fatigued."  This is true and makes sense.  I heard that when troops are fatigued they bomb the hell out of hospitals.  

Jodi Rudoren discovers "Israeli food": she is impressed

How could the correspondent of the paper not know that this dish is an old Lebanese-Syrian dish which my home city of Tyre specialized in long before the Zionist entity was even formed?  "He offers a finely chopped salad, excellent thin fries and a dish called msabbaha, where chickpeas swim in tahini."  But those who claim that Palestine was a "land without a people" can easily claim that Musabbaha was invented by an Israeli chef.

Committee for the "Development of Conscience" in Egypt

Tyrant Sisi just formed a Committee for the Development of Conscience".

Jordanian royal convoy--kid you not

Behind ISIS lines: what Western correspondents in Beirut would not report

There was an operation by Hizbollah commandos behind ISIS enemy lines to kill the mastermind of the bombing in Burj Barajnah.  No Western media reported on this,  Natürlich.

Have you ever wondered how the Jordanian royal convoy is prepared?

I have wondered for years but this "liberal" Jordanian newspaper, Al-Ghad, provides the crucial answers. (thanks L.)

This achievement is destined to immortalize Lebanon

Lebanese flags made from garlic, parsley, and onions.  Never underestimate the scientific achievements of the Lebanese people.

What US bombs did to Kobani

The US ambassador in Lebanon (Richard Jones): from 1996

Can you imagine a Lebanese ambassador in US sitting like this with the assistant of the deputy assistant of the secretary of the assistant secretary of State? If that happened, the ambassador would wind up in Guantanamo.

Thursday, November 26, 2015


He earned all his medals on the battlefield

He changes outfits just like Saddam (remember that he was best friends with Udayy Saddam Husayn).

US-EU-Saudi war on Yemeni people

"American planes began taking off in support of the campaign on April 5, less than two weeks after the bombs started falling in Yemen in late March. As of Nov. 13, U.S. tankers have flown 471 refueling sorties to top off the tanks of coalition warplanes 2,443 times, according to numbers provided by the Defense Department. The American flights have totaled approximately 3,926 flying hours while delivering over 17 million lbs. of fuel. The mostly American-made fighter planes guided by Arab pilots are also primarily dropping American-made munitions, bolstered recently by the $1.29 billion in weaponry Washington agreed to sell Saudi Arabia. The sale includes 22,000 bombs, featuring 1,000 laser guided bombs, and over 5,000 “kits” that can transform older bombs into GPS-guided bombs."

Canada bombs Iraqi dairy plant killing 10 workers

"Canada's military is facing fresh allegations its bombs may have killed civilians in northern Iraq, CBC News has learned. According to local Iraqi media reports, 10 civilian workers were allegedly killed and as many as 20 others injured after an airstrike by Canadian warplanes last week in Mosul." "The allegations follow a recent fifth estate investigation that raised questions about how diligently the Canadian military and coalition forces are investigating civilian casualty reports in Iraq and Syria."

cheering Sep. 11? "What struck Maria were the expressions on the [Israeli] men's faces. "They were like happy, you know"

"Millions saw the horrific images of the World Trade Center attacks, and those who saw them won't forget them. But a New Jersey homemaker saw something that morning that prompted an investigation into five young Israelis and their possible connection to Israeli intelligence." "The men were taking video or photos of themselves with the World Trade Center burning in the background, she said. What struck Maria were the expressions on the men's faces. "They were like happy, you know … They didn't look shocked to me. I thought it was very strange," she said."

Case of Gaza family killed in their sleep taken to ICC

" “On 20 August 2014 at 4:45am, Israel attacked our home in Deir al-Balah whilst my family was fast asleep. My son and two stepsons were killed in the attack, as well as my nine-months pregnant daughter-in-law and her three children,” al-Louh says in a statement from Al-Haq, whose director Shawan Jabarin handed the file to Bensouda in The Hague." "Palestinian human rights defenders and Israel’s victims hope that the evidence they handed Bensouda today will leave the court no excuse not to pursue justice for Israel’s victims in Gaza."

Saudi Salafist preachers of Belgium

"a WikiLeaks cable revealed that a staff member of the Saudi embassy in Belgium was expelled years ago over his active role in spreading the extreme so-called Takfiri dogma."

Turkish opinion of Saudi Arabia

Historical irony: "German Jewish Leader Fears Anti-Semitic Syrian Refugees"

"President of the Central Council of Jews in Germany Josef Schuster fears the fact that many of the refugees seeking asylum in Germany come from countries hostile to Israel might bolster anti-Semitic views among the Arab community, EJP reported.
Speaking to Welt am Sonntag, Schuster said that when he shared his trepidation in a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her staff, it resulted in an awkward silence, following which Merkel responded: “We must address that.”
According to Schuster, many German Jews share his fears, “and I share this feeling and therefore see a need to integrate the refugees in our community of values as soon as possible.”" Imagine if during the Cold War an Arab were to express fears that Jewish refugees from the Soviet Union may hold anti-Arab views.  Imagine the uproar.


From Mick: "There is only one nation that would pronounce Humeimim Airfield Khmeimim...and it isn't an Arab one. At least they didn't say they used Khezbollah as a source.
"Russia has carried out more than 4,000 airstrikes since the beginning of its intervention in Syria, using a force of modern and modified Soviet-era aircraft. Russia has at least 32 fixed-wing aircraft and 16 helicopters at the Khmeimim air base near Latakia, an Assad stronghold on the Mediterranean Sea just 30 miles from the Turkish border."

What US bombings have done to Kobane

"They have been fighting alongside other rebel groups, including the al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra and more moderate brigades"--kid you not

"Around a dozen Turkmen militias have formed, some directly supported by the Turkish government. It is one of these, Alwiya al-Ashar, that is reportedly holding one of Russia's downed pilots. They have been fighting alongside other rebel groups, including the al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra and more moderate brigades, in Latakia province which runs to the sea along the Turkish border in the north-west." "Alwiya al-Ashar is linked to a Turkish and CIA-backed logistics supply programme that funnels a near-constant stream of small arms, ammunition, and cash for salaries to rebel groups across northern Syria." Don't you like the sentence "more moderate groups" than Jabhat An-Nusrah? Does it not imply that Al-Qa`idah is a moderate group but that there are other groups that are more moderate.

Ankara has played a significant role in allowing Isis and other jihadists to flourish in Syria and the region

"The shift in focus is a significant drawback for Erdogan. Years of support for, and investment in, Islamic fundamentalist groups like Jabhat al-Nusra (Al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria) and Ahrar al-Sham are about to go to waste. Ankara has played a significant role in allowing Isis and other jihadists to flourish in Syria and the region. Turkey has acquiesced to jihadist groups entering Syria via Turkey as well as their use of Turkey as a transit point for smuggling arms and funds into Syria." "In other words, Turkey has no interest in the peaceful settlement to the conflict in Syria that world powers are negotiating. As it gets desperate, Turkey will attempt to bring focus back on the Assad regime and reverse the losses it has made both in Syria and geopolitically."

Turkey and ISIS

"Turkish borders have been the primary thoroughfare for fighters of all kinds to enter Syria. Its military bases have been used to distribute weapons and to train rebel fighters." "Turkey’s international airports have also been busy. Many, if not most, of the estimated 15,000-20,000 foreign fighters to have joined Islamic State (Isis) have first flown into Istanbul or Adana, or arrived by ferry along its Mediterranean coast."

Al Khalifa of Bahrain defines terrorism as taking photos of protesters

"Bahrain this week jailed a freelance photographer for 10 years and stripped him of his nationality after convicting him of terrorism," "Sayed Ahmed Al Mousawi was accused of giving mobile phone SIM cards to demonstrators and taking photographs of anti-government protests," "The Sunni Muslim-led island kingdom, which hosts the U.S. Fifth Fleet in the Gulf, has experienced sporadic unrest since mass protests in 2011 led by majority Shi'ites demanding reforms and a bigger role in government."

Israel not worried about ISIS

"Yadlin and coauthor Carmit Valensi said ISIS is far away and not a direct military strategic threat: Analysis of the threats against Israel reveals that the Islamic State – currently far from Israel’s borders and with limited military capabilities – does not represent a direct military strategic threat at this time. By contrast, Hizbollah – armed with advanced operational capabilities and long range missiles and rockets that reach the entirety of Israel – can be strengthened by the Russian move, should Russian arms trickle into its arsenals or be intentionally supplied to the organization."

Nicholas Branford (author of a crude hagiography of Rafiq Hariri) has a new source on Middle East affairs

"resident fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East". (thanks Michele)

One French Muslim Imam who is loved by Israel: Israeli-approved Islam

I read this silly piece by this guy in an Israeli newspaper and I asked my source on French matters, "Ibn Rushd" in Paris.  He wrote: " yes, he's a major-league moron, who is Israel's favorite imam. 
He was originally a salafi imam in Tunisia, started working for ben ali's inetlligence.
Then he moved to France, and even though his French language skills are terrible, he became the imam of drancy.
He was approached by CRIF, taken to Israel on several trips, given a pro-israel handler who wrote his books and speeches.
They took him on every single talk show on TV, introduced him as a hero fighting for the reformation of islam and standing up to the barbarian antisemites.
But it's a good thing actually. He's so stupid and so widely discredited in his own community that the manufacturing of Chalghoumi ended up hurting CRIF.
Chalghoumi is now the butt of every joke in town, with lots of parody accounts on twitter mocking him for not speaking french, loving israel and pretending to be an intellectual and the Martin Luther of Islam".

Baklava fears on US planes

"Two men were temporarily blocked from boarding a Southwest flight in Chicago last week when a passenger became nervous after overhearing them speak in Arabic. Maher Khalil and Anas Ayyad were carrying a small box of Baklava when the passenger at the gate became suspicious. After their small box of sweets was inspected, the discrimination continued on board the plane. The two men claimed they opened the box and began sharing the baklava with other passengers." (thanks Basim)

"marital rape" in India (there should be only reference to rape without qualifiers)

Of course, marital rape (which was legal in the US until a few years ago (1993)) is barely reported in the US as well: "Since marital rape is not a crime, exact statistics are hard to come by. The limited data that is available, however, provides a horrifying glimpse into the enormity of the problem. 
Last year, the United Nations Population Fund and the International Center for Research on Women surveyed more than 9,200 men across seven Indian states. One-third of them admitted to having forced a sexual act on their wives, while 60 percent said they’d used some form of violence to assert dominance over their partners. 
Another 2014 report, by researcher Aashish Gupta of the Rice Institute, found that women are 40 times more likely to be sexually assaulted by their husband than a stranger. Gupta concluded that fewer than 1 percent of sexual assaults within marriage are reported to police.
Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia director at Human Rights Watch, told HuffPost that marital rape is one of the most underreported crimes, "often because women will regard this as an unpleasant part of their marital duties.""

Thomas Friedman praises the impact on youth employment in the kingdom: Saudi Arabia advertises for eight new executioners as beheading rate soars

"Saudi Arabia is advertising for eight new executioners, recruiting extra staff to carry out an increasing number of death sentences, usually done by public beheading.
No special qualifications are needed for the jobs whose main role is “executing a judgment of death” but also involve performing amputations on those convicted of lesser offences, the advert, posted on the civil service jobs portal, said."

Thomas Friedman in Saudi Arabia

Typical of this guy, after three days in a country, he develops an opinion of life and politics in that country.  But make no mistake about it: his visit to Saudi Arabia was part of a propaganda blitz launched by the royal family.  Furthermore, for those who expressed surprise that Friedman would be invited to the kingdom when he in the past has voiced mild criticisms of the kingdom, the answer is this: the Saudi regime is extremely intolerant of any criticisms except from Zionists, especially American Zionists who get routinely invited to the kingdom.  Let us start:
"I won’t pretend to have penetrated the mosques of bearded young men, steeped in Salafist/Wahhabi Islam".  OK. In that case, stop talking and pontificating. If you admit that there is a language barrier and that you can't meet anyone who is not presented to you by the royal family, stop pretending that you have some insights into Saudi society.
And then he tells you that there is something stirring in the kingdom. His source?  "But I also ran into something I didn’t know: Something is stirring in this society. This is not your grandfather’s Saudi Arabia. “Actually, it’s not even my father’s Saudi Arabia anymore — it is not even my generation’s Saudi Arabia anymore,” the country’s 52-year-old foreign minister, Adel al-Jubeir, said to me."  He then gives you another evidence that things are changing in the kingdom: "It invited me to give a lecture on how big technological forces are affecting the workplace. I didn’t know what to expect, but more than 500 people showed up".  SO let me understand this: the fact that some 500 people were forced to attend your silly lecture is an indication that change is coming to Saudi Arabia?  So if you go to Raqqa and give a lecture, and ISIS arranges for 500 people to attend your talk, you conclude from this that change is finally coming to Raqqa and the generation of Baghdadi's sons is different from the generation of Baghdadi?  What logic.   Wait. This is not it: he has another indication that change is coming to Saudi regime: "But the reception to my talk (I was not paid) was warm".  So the fact that students did not hurl shoes at you during the talk (although I am sure they had the desire to do so) proves that change is coming to the kingdom?  And then he says this: "There was blowback on Twitter as to why a columnist who’s been critical of Saudi Arabia’s export of Salafist ideology should be given any platform.".  Don't lie: many of the criticisms by Saudis on social media also dealt with your Zionism and support for US wars. Why not mention that? Why imply that only Salafis were opposed to you?  As for the rest of the article? It is not worth commenting on. He simply vomited the statements by Mohammad bin Salman without much criticisms and commentary or even refutation. He even produced Saudi talking points on Yemen.  

Somalians say Saudi obsession with smoking Hookah destroying forests

"Somalia has blamed Saudi Arabia for contributing to the decline of 90 percent of the forests that once covered that country." (thanks Nicholas)

Bernie vs. the campesinos

From James: "“So when dozens of antiwar activists blocked the entrance to the local General Electric plant because it was manufacturing Gatling guns to fight the socialists in Central America, the protesters expected the mayor’s full support. Instead, he lined up with union officials and watched as the police made arrests, saying later that in blocking the plant, the activists were keeping workers from their jobs. It was a classic example of how Mr. Sanders governed — as a pragmatist. He tended to talk globally but act locally, in this case choosing the real and immediate socialist principle of protecting workers over blocking the making of weapons to fight leftists abroad.”

Let’s be clear: the GE Gatling guns weren’t “fighting the socialists” in Central America: they were being used by the Salvadoran and Guatemalan facists to massacre campesinos. And Bernie’s motive wasn’t “protecting workers,” it was getting re-elected. I lived in Burlington at the time, and it was a sickening spectacle."

sexist standards of Lebanese airlines (MEA)

From Al-Akhbar. (thanks Nader)

Max Rodenbeck on Hirsi Ali

This critical review is full of insights.  You rarely read such an informed review of Muslim matters in mainstream US press.

Muslims in US: a pattern of bigotry

"The incident is one of a growing number that have put American Muslims on the defensive since the attacks Nov. 13 in France. Bullets were fired at a mosque in Connecticut. Feces were smeared on an Islamic house of worship in Texas. A fake bomb was left at another in northern Virginia."

Gulf royal families have been telling for your years: Israel is not their enemy. Their people are their enemy

"The bottom line is that Israel is not Arabs’ enemy and Arab countries have to individually get rid of the Arab nation’s complex and make their own individual decisions independently. " (thanks Roger)

US air bombing and civilians

"However, the larger concern with this mindset is the assured growth of collateral damage and civilian casualties that will accompany significantly loosened ROEs. Last month, Lt. Gen. Bob Otto, the U.S. Air Force’s deputy chief of staff for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, observed that the coalition was “challenged in finding enough targets that the airplanes can hit that meet the rules of engagement.” However, he added an important caveat: “If you inadvertently — legally — kill innocent men, women, and children, then there’s a backlash from that. And so we might kill three and create 10 terrorists.”
There was a revealing indicator made public last week of just how challenging it is for pilots to prevent civilian harm while conducting “dynamic targeting” strikes — meaning against unplanned and unanticipated targets in a compressed timeline — despite all the checks and balances in place. Late on Friday, Centcom issued a press release that summarized the findings and recommendations of an investigation into an attack of an Islamic State checkpoint on March 13, near Hatra, Iraq, which “likely resulted in the deaths of four non-combatants” even though “all reasonable measures were taken to avoid unintended deaths of or injuries to non-combatants by reviewing the targets thoroughly prior to engagement.” This was only the second time, in 16 months of bombing, that the command has acknowledged civilian harm; the other being in May when Centcom published an investigation of a November 2014 strike against the so-called Khorasan Group that “likely led to the deaths of two non-combatant children.” In other words, everybody within the command structure, including the pilot of the A-10, did what they were trained to do, and four civilians were still unintentionally killed at an Iraqi checkpoint....The report ultimately reaches the critical conclusion, “The NCV [Non-Combat Victims] = 0 objective was not met,” (bold included in original), but then fully redacts the details of the “three execution errors leading to this objective not being met.” The reader can only wonder what those errors were or what corrective steps were implemented to ensure that they were not made again. Interestingly, the identity of the sender of the April 2 email was never determined, and there was no further communication from her. Thus, no financial compensation was ever offered for her destroyed Kia Sorrento nor was any given to the families of the four civilians killed. Who knows if any of the Iraqis impacted by the civilian casualties became more sympathetic to the Islamic State or felt alienated by coalition airstrikes?"

US-Saudi-UAE coalition send mercenaries to slaughter Yemenis

"The arrival in Yemen of 450 Latin American troops — among them are also Panamanian, Salvadoran and Chilean soldiers — adds to the chaotic stew of government armies, armed tribes, terrorist networks and Yemeni militias currently at war in the country." "They join hundreds of Sudanese soldiers whom Saudi Arabia has recruited to fight there as part of the coalition. In addition, a recent United Nations report cited claims that some 400 Eritrean troops might be embedded with the Emirati soldiers in Yemen — something that, if true, could violate a United Nations resolution restricting Eritrean military activities. The United States has also been participating in the Saudi-led campaign in Yemen, providing logistical support, including airborne refueling, to the nations conducting the airstrikes. The Pentagon has sent a team to Saudi Arabia to provide targeting intelligence to the coalition militaries that is regularly used for the airstrikes." (thanks Amir)

Bernie Sanders as mayor of Burlington, Vermont

"At the same time, critics on the left said he compromised too much with business interests and did not go far enough in pursuing socialist ideals. Over the span of his mayoralty, the number of families living in poverty grew — to 798 in 1990 from 563 in 1980, an increase of 42 percent....Mr. Sanders also formed alliances of convenience, including one with Antonio Pomerleau, a wealthy developer whom Mr. Sanders had criticized during his first campaign for mayor."