Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Adam Ereli, the State Department spokesperson, is now based in Dubai, running a US propaganda center there. But it looks like as if he has an office in Al-Arabiya headquarters. When he is interviewed, he is seated next to the anchorperson. And Ereli--a fanatic Zionist--is supposed to speak Arabic, but what an embarrassment. If I were to grade him, he would get 1 (on a scale of 1 to 100). In fact, his Arabic was so bad today, the the interviewer kept trying to decipher what he was saying, and then put it in his own words. But at least with Ereli you know that he will not ever say a critical word of US foreign policy (and thus he will not be banished to Guantanamo on a paid vacation leave, like Alberto Fernandez).

Dear friends Riad Ba`albaki (seen above) and Rami Zurayq visited the village of Qulaylah south east of Tyre 10 days ago. They took pictures of my aunt Nadya's house. She died last year. In 1982, when our neighborhood in West Beirut was bombed by Israeli occupation forces (and an adjacent apartment building was leveled to the ground by Israeli concussion bombs, smashing humans into the rubble), we relocated to Hamra in Ras Beirut. When the bombing intensified, my late father's friend (Amin Gemayyel, I must confess), invited the family to stay at Al-Bustan Hotel in Bayt Miri (north East of Beirut). My sister and I did not want to go, so we went instead to Qulaylah and stayed with my aunt. I spent long and difficult days (for 2 months it seems) under Israeli occupation, greatly aggravating my aunt in the process with my vast consumption of water. Most of my days were spent on the second story balcony (seen above): I devoured newspapers, and listened to Radio Monte Carlo. (I still remember a jingle for a Toyota commercial that ran on the radio before every newscast; it went like this: Toyata Tusawi Waznaha Dhahaban (Totyata equals its value in gold). Oh, and I sometimes watched the thuggery of Israeli occupation troops and their surrogate militia, the South Lebanon Army. The main collaborator with Israeli occupation in the village (who owned a shop just across from the balcony, and whose hands I refused to shake even when he visited my aunt), was shot a year after the invasion. The village, just like all other villages in South Lebanon, has been successively bombed by Israel over the years and decades, and the village was severely damaged in this round of Israeli war on Lebanon. (The quality of the pictures is poor because Riad pressed the video button by mistake).
Notice that Al-Manar website avoids criticizing the Amir of Qatar for meeting with Shimon Peres.
Let them eat...fraud. "A police training camp in Baghdad, with an Olympic-size swimming pool, that has never been used was yesterday highlighted as an example of waste by a congressional investigations team looking at billions spent on reconstruction in Iraq. The team's report, published yesterday, is the latest in a series of quarterly audits into $300bn (£150bn) allocated by the US for reconstruction in Iraq since 2003."
There are pro-US dictators, tyrants, and despots throughout Asia and Africa, but the Western media are just concerned that a democratically-elected Chavez may increase his powers.
Saudi dates: (there is no joke and no news story). I just like Saudi dates.
My biggest nightmare is if some medical study reveals that Hummus is effective against some disease. I can only imagine the reaction in Lebanon, and on the front page of An-Nahar. But I am sure that American and Israeli newspapers would in that case pay tribute to "Israeli food."
Reports of the Lebanese police: Lebanese police reported the death of a 34-years old woman who "fell" from the 11th floor. This was reported as an accident (qada' wa qadar). I wish somebody would do a gender breakdown of Lebanese police reports of deaths.
So Marwan Al-Barghuti (who is ostensibly in an Israeli jail), sent a delegation to Damascus. That only proves my theory: that Marwan Al-Barghuti (an early propagandist for Oslo) can't be trusted. Do you think that real Hamas and Fath prisoners in Israeli jails will be allowed to send delegations to Damascus?
At least 10 people have sent me links to the pictures of the socks of Paul Wolfowitz. I of course have refused to post any of them for at least two reasons: 1) there is nothing wrong in having holes in one's socks. Many poor and not-so-poor people have holes in their socks. I don't find that embarrassing at all. 2) I don't believe that this was accidental. He knew that he was going to a mosque, and would be expected to take his shoes off (he was ambassador in Indonesia, remember), and I would not be surprised if he did that on purpose, to look modest, and as one of the people (the way Clinton used to deliberately stop at fast food places during campaign trips to falsely look as one-of-the-people). 3) We need to oppose Wolfowitz on more substantive issues, stemming from his (dis)service in government, going all the way to Reagan years, into his current role at the Wold Bank. 4) Did Walid Jumblat not apologize to Wolfowitz, and should that apology not cover all issues?
PS The fact that An-Nahar (the ultra-nationalist, Lebanonese right-wing, sectarian Christian newspaper) published the picture of Wolfowitz's socks on the front page, only increases my suspicion that this is a PR stunt.
In Arab (Saudi-funded) media, they never stop referring to the "wisdom" of the Saudi king. Wisdom? I would settle for his ability to read one sentence in Arabic, I swear. Spare me the wisdom. And does he still keep the Hitler dagger (given to his father by Hitler) in his private desk (a former US ambassador to Saudi Arabia told me that, and told me that he smokes in private--contrary to Wahhabi rules and regulation). Don't you like Wahhabi rules and regulations, especially whey they are enforced on everybody in the kingdom except the House of Saud?
"As a result of Israeli occupation and the accompanying restrictions on movement, the Palestinian economy is in freefall. Fully 70% of Palestinians are now living in poverty, according to UN calculations, a figure which rises to 80% in Gaza. Over half of all Palestinians are now unable to cover their families' daily food needs without relying on external aid - a scandal in such a rich and fertile land." (thanks Muhammad)
In the daily feature of Al-Akhbar newspaper in Lebanon, Saudi ambassador tells the newspaper that he is still hopeful. That is quite a scoop worthy of the front page, no less.
"Sneak attacks." Do you know that Wolf Blitzer refers to attacks on occupation troops in Iraq as sneak attacks? I heard him say it today. That is quite fascinating in its implications. So according to the former writer for the mouthpiece of the Israeli lobby (and former correspondent of the Jerusalem Post, turned objective reporter), people who plan to attack occupation troops anywhere in the world need to notify occupation troops of the time and place of the attacks, lest they perpetrate "sneak attacks."
Joseph Samahah on the dilemmas of the Lebanese opposition.
One should ask Walid Jumblat (Gumblat in Egyptian accent) why he never showed an enthusiasm for the truth about the killers of his father back in 1977? It raises questions that he seems more concerned about "the truth" about the assassination of Rafiq Hariri than about the assassination of Kamal Jumblat--although the Syrian regime may be responsible for both. He needs to explain why he has forgiven the killers of Kamal Jumblat but not the killers of Rafiq Hariri, when he believes the killers work for the same regime. I am glad that the leftists I knew back in Lebanon opposed Walid Jumblat as soon as he "inherited" his sectarian/feudal leadership in 1977. Outside of his sectarian fiefdom, I never knew anybody who took him seriously.
Sen. Biden expresses his views on race: "“I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy,” he said."
"Organizations representing minorities are outraged by a Quebec town's “standards” for newcomers, calling them insulting and xenophobic." (thanks Amal)
"The ruling was the result of a suit, in which I am one of the plaintiffs, brought against the National Security Agency by the American Civil Liberties Union. It was a response to revelations by this newspaper in December 2005 that the agency had been monitoring the phone calls and e-mail messages of Americans for more than four years without first obtaining warrants from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, as required by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. In the past, even presidents were not above the law. When the F.B.I. turned up evidence during Watergate that Richard Nixon had obstructed justice by trying to cover up his involvement, a special prosecutor was named and a House committee recommended that the president be impeached."
To my readers in the Arab world: this is a piece of propaganda peddled through Saudi Arab media. What do you expect from a project run by Fox News' "expert" on the Middle East? "Mr. Ginsberg said he had sent a copy of the same highlight reel to an aide to Karen Hughes, a close adviser to George W. Bush currently serving as an undersecretary of state. “They want us to come over and do a briefing at the State Department,” Mr. Ginsberg said."
"Opposing Israel’s settlement of the West Bank or treatment of Palestinians “is, in itself, not anti-Semitic,” he writes; it is questioning Israel’s right to exist that crosses the line." I beg your pardon? How is that so? What if one is opposed to any state based on religious exclusiveness? What if you are opposed to any and all religious states anywhere in the world? And what if you are opposed to states that are founded on the ruins of a nation and a displaced population? So if you on principle oppose the right of Israel AND Saudi Arabia to exist (as religiously exclusivist states) than you are anti-Semitic AND anti-Muslim?
This is what the US has done to Iraq. I know. I know. You call this "liberation." (This is the center of Ramadi.).
A Saudi singer criticizes (Hariri and Saudi-funded) Lebanese TV stations for banning her video clip because it featured an image of Hasan Nasrallah.
This is a poster of the cult leader in Iraq. His group is named Jund As-Sama', and thus should be translated as Soldiers of the Sky (and not Army of Heaven as has been the standard translation in Western newspapers). The poster has the headline "Judge of the Sky" but I don't know if this is a reference to him. Shi`ites in Iraq are denying that he is a Shi`ite, and Sunnis are denying that he is Sunni. But his theology indicate that his group is an offshoot of Twelver Shi`ism (on offshoots, please consult the foremost expert on offshoots, Michael Husayn Young).
"Ms. Miller had said that her memory of the June 23 meeting was jogged only when she accidentally discovered a shopping bag full of notebooks under her desk in the Times newsroom." Please don't be cynical. These things happen. In fact, just last week, under my desk, I found an old shopping bag in which there were notes proving that Alan Dershowitz "helped draft" UNSC 242. So there.
I am not making this up. Yesterday, I watched before falling asleep--yes, Arabs sleep--a hearing on C-Span for the new commander of CENTCOM in the US Senate. During the hearing, Sen. Liberman said--I am almost quoting varbatim--that while it is true that people in the Middle East are very critical of the US, they have great appreciation and respect for the US military. He may have added that people who have received US missiles and bombs over their heads have particular appreciation for the US military.
It is insulting to the major Lebanese factions, in the opposition and in the government, that a resolution to the Lebanese crisis is being arranged through negotiations between Iran and Saudi Arabia. Do you want those two regimes to speak for you? I certainly don't; not on any issue. And if the two regimes impose their will on their allies on Lebanon, leftist and secularist groups in Lebanon should voice their opposition to...the opposition and to the government alike. In 1975, there was a place for the secular left. In present-day Lebanon, their place is either in exile, or in small isolated islands in Lebanon. For me opposition to Paris III is more important--far more important--than giving 1/3rd plus-one representation in the Lebanese cabinet.
"Israel Defense Forces soldiers seriously wounded a six-year-old Palestinian girl on Wednesday, during the arrest of a wanted Islamic Jihad militant in a refugee camp in the West Bank city of Nablus." Notice how Haaretz tries its best to almost justify this act of terrorism by Israel.
My sources tell me that mini-Hariri is visiting Moscow on business, and not--as is announced in Hariri media--to save Palestine, Lebanon, Tibet, and Dharfur.
It is without exaggeration that I say that since WWII, there is not a single civil war, anywhere around the world, in which the US was not involved in some capacity. In this civil war, the US/Israel is a major player: "The United States is considering expanding assistance beyond Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's Presidential Guard to members of the largest
force under his command, Western and Palestinian officials said. Providing U.S. funds to train elements of Abbas's National Security Forces (NSF), in addition to the Presidential Guard, could increase U.S. involvement in the violent power struggle between Abbas's Fatah faction and the governing Hamas movement."
"The neocons have learned nothing from five years of catastrophe"
A British report want bad humans to have less children

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

"US 'victory' against cult leader was 'massacre'" (thanks Mouin and Muhammad)
Having been born to a Sunni mother and a Shi`ite father, I don't buy the stories that Sunnis and Shi`ites always loved one another. I am too aware of the tensions. But those social tensions were never as politically exploited--and effectively--as in present-day Arab world. I found the Sunnis of Lebanon (and this is from my experience) quite condescending toward Shi`ites, but their views were based on class: city people being condescending to people that they viewed as peasants. They also despised Shi`ite religious rituals. On the part of the Shi`ites, there was resentment: that the Sunnis looked down at them, and that they did not take their Islam seriously or credibly. Without getting into the details of my parents' marriage in 1955--which crossed the Sunni-Shi`ite divide--my my mother was lucky to have Shaykh `Abdullah Al-`Alayli as her cousin. This great linguist/writer/Arab nationalist thinker was once nicknamed the "Red Cleric". And his book Ayna Al-Khata' was banned from so many Arab countries. I wrote about his views before on this site, so use the google search feature. One time when I was 7 or 8, my mother took us kids to see him with the sole purpose to explain to us the differences between Sunnis and Shi`ites: and he did it with such sensitivity, erudition, and knowledge. He gave us examples form the Qur'an: I can still see him explaining to us the various interpretations of the verse "the hand of God was over the community." He was unusual in his views. He wrote a well-known book on Husayn. But `Abduallah `Alayli was quite unrepresentative. He was once considered for the position of Mufti but the conservative Sunni political establishment, especially Sa'ib Salam, almost revolted. (I am still sick: I can't say more. So good night. Wait: can you get the Lebanese genius who "invented a cure" for cancer to invent for me a cure for the common cold? Or the flu? I can never tell the difference.)
When Saudi media try to be sensitive. Hoping to imitate the (sensation) ostensibly sensible Western media, Al-Arabiya TV chose to do a report yesterday on sexual abuse of children in Sudan--yes, you have to select a country on bad terms with the US for such reports. The report was as you would expect from Geraldo-style reporting: sensational and even cruel. They sent a team to interview the children on camera, although they distorted the images in some cases.
So this Israeli historian, who also seems to engage in prophetic predictions a la Bernard Lewis, admits that Israel possesses nuclear weapons but states that they are "unusable." He may have a point. I mean when did Israel EVER use weapons in its possessions? When?
Lebanon is a country where people think that even if it is hit with an earthquake, it must be a message from God that Lebanon is special.
Saudi media love to highlight news of Israeli contacts with Qatar. Qatar, of course, loves to normalize relations with Israel to appease the US. When I met with the Amir of Qatar three years ago, I asked him about those contacts, and he downplayed them to me. But he did not deny that he is pushed by the US Congress to elevate relations with Israel. I salute New TV for criticizing the Amir of Qatar for meeting with Shimon Peres; they reminded him of Qana I massacre. I saw the footage of the meeting between the Amir and Peres and realized that he sat on the same chair that I sat on. (New TV's owner, Tahsin Khayyat has many business connections in Qatar).
Sometimes I can't believe how nice American troops in Iraq are. I really mean that. Look at this: US troops are still willing to help although they had surrendered sovereignty to the Iraqi people themselves, and Iraq is now an independent and sovereign country. "American Apache attack helicopters and F-16s, as well as British fighter jets, flew low over the farms where the enemy had set up its encampments and attacked, dropping 500-pound bombs on the encampments. The Iraqi forces were still unable to advance, and they called in support from both an elite Iraqi unit known as the Scorpion Brigade, which is based to the north in Hilla, and from American ground troops. Around noon, elements of the American Fourth Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division were dispatched from near Baghdad."
I like this division of labor at the New York Times. Michale Slackman writes about serious political issues of Lebanon, and Hassan Fattah writes about...fortune tellers, soothsayers, and crackpots in Lebanon. In fact, I am expecting Fattah to write about all those Lebanese who "invented cures" for cancer. But then again, I was first disturbed to see this long article about crackpot Michael Hayek (and was quite amused to see Fattah quite impressed with Hayek: "He prides himself on having predicted events like the 1996 earthquakes in Turkey, the 1997 death of Princess Diana and the 2005 assassination of Rafik Hariri, a former prime minister of Lebanon." When in reality, Hayek made no such predictions. He merely said that something may happen in downtown Beirut, and kooky minds later thought that this was a specific prediction of Hariri's assassination). But then again: Hayek is a Lebanese phenomenon: and the Lebanese people and not the New York Times should be mocked for elevating the status of this charlatan to the level of a prophet. I also find it interesting that Fattah even in an article on crackpots and charlatans, can't help but interview a supporter of March 14 (Sa`ud Mawla, former communist turned sectarian Shi`ite supporter of Hariri). (thanks Sara and Hana)
Mini-Hariri is visiting Moscow. He made a statement upon arriving: he said that there is no reason why the Communist Party of the Soviet Union can't be an ally of the Hariri dynasty. He also said that he is looking forward to meeting with Nikita Khrushchev and other communist leaders.
"Rape victim jailed after reporting attack" (in US) (thanks Amina)
Lebanon ranks high; Lebanon ranks high. Tell An-Nahar and they will put on front page. (thanks Amer)
I hereby declare the official beginning of the American presidential campaign season. Here is Sen. Edwards: "The relationship between Israel and the United States "is extraordinarily important and vital to the strength of both of our countries," said Edwards. "It is a bond that can never be broken," he added." OK. Now, Sen. McCain: "Sen. John McCain prescribes strengthening Israel's ties to NATO. "American support for Israel should intensify," he says. "The enemies are too numerous, the margin of error too small, and shared values too great." And now, Sen. Obama: "Obama has cultivated a solidly pro-Israel record, and he visited the Jewish state last year." Even Gov. Vilsack of Iowa has recently visited Israel. Good night.

Monday, January 29, 2007

No, Father Drinan was NOT a man of peace; he was a man of war. He never encountered an Israeli war that he did not endorse. He never encountered a US arms' sales for Israel, that he did not champion.
The governor of Najaf's name in Arabic is: أسعد أبو كلل
See what happens when Western reporters mistransliterate? I got too excited. So it should be transliterated as As`ad AbuKalal. (Some newspapers got it right).
John Bolton: "Si les Irakiens ne redressent pas la situation, c'est leur problème" (thanks Fadi)
""Those people who send those smart bombs: They don't have kids," charges Mrs. Amro, taking a tissue from her handbag to wipe the marble grave that carries all three names. "Those smart bombs don't know if it is children or warriors," says grandfather Said Yatim, noting that 14 children were killed in this strike. "Why do they call them 'smart' "? Mr. Yatim's anger has barely abated since the Monitor first saw him and his wife last August, in shock as emergency workers pulled their dead granddaughter from the still-smoking rubble. "The kids have nothing to do with missiles and bombs," Yatim wailed at the time as he reached out to touch Riham one more time. "Imagine if Americans were receiving this, and not Lebanese. If these were Americans dying in this massacre, what would they think?"
A new Microsoft product is released with great fanfare and...viruses.
By the way, does anybody know if Alan Dershowitz had "helped draft" the Lebanese Constitution in 1926? Thanks.
So As`ad AbuKhalil, the governor of Najaf, called me, upon learning that we have the same name. He asked if he can use the title, Angry Arab. I said: no way. He asked for another title that he can use. I gave him the title: Puppet Arab. He said that he will start his own blog: I then slammed the phone, having learned about As`ad AbuKhalils what I knew not before.
People of Al-Karak in Jordan prohibited Shi`ite visitors from entering the town to pay homage to a Shi`ite tomb. The Jordanian government keenly protects its sectarian reputation. House of Saud and their lackeys have only two weapons in their arsenals: 1) money; 2) sectarian agitation and mobilization. (Incidentally, these are the weapons of Hariri Inc in Lebanon, in addition to the weapon of dragging foreign intervention).
The Kuwait ambassador in Washington, DC was in my high school, and rode in my school bus. The new Saudi ambassador was my classmate in graduate school. Amazingly, I disliked them from back then.
There are people in the Arab press who think that Thomas Friedman and Fareed Zakaria are "thinkers." I feel bad for those people. I really do.
I am not exaggerating when I say that An-Nahar carries a story once a year at least about some Lebanese who "invented a cure" for cancer (sometimes it is AIDS). Here, a story of a 24-year old Lebanese who "invented a cure" for cancer. Tell An-Nahar that a Lebanese-born person--me--is working on a cure for Lebanonese utlra-nationalist hallucinations that prevail in Lebanonese media. Above is the picture of the genius: who wishes to thanks God and the Lebanese people for his invention. The genius also claims that he invented a blender that also slices potatoes. Congratulations to Lebanon for its genetic productions.
I swear that I know some Arabs who live for 2 years in the West, and then they pretend that they can't speak Arabic anymore. Lebanese are known for that.
Elitism. Now, many TV programs have audiences. Hariri (Future) TV has a new program. I hate the name and the premise. The name is "The Most Beautiful People" (Ahla An-Nas); the premise: an audience of people who are university students, exclusively. The host is Zahi Wahbi: a former fighter in Rabitat Ash-Shaghghilah (Toilers' League): a small Marxist-Leninist organization that fought in the civil war and was headed by Dhafir Al-Khatib, and later by his brother, Zahir. Wahbi was arrested by Israeli occupation forces in 1982, and he served time (with thousands of other Lebanese) in Ansar Camp. Later, Wahbi discovered the virtues of Harirism.
Given all the turmoil in the Middle East, it makes sense that Hariri TV devotes a special program on the death of Su'ad Husni.
Israel has been killing Palestinians non-stop: decade, last year, last month, and last week. The world only takes notice when Palestinians resort to violence of their own. That tells a lot, no?
"Najaf Governor Asaad Abu Khalil originally implied..." Oh, I forgot to inform my readers that I have been working as a puppet governor of Najaf lately. Pay is good, and the hours are short. And let me tell you: since the surge was announced, and after the arrival of the 20,000 additional US troops, my job has gotten much easier. (thanks Kamal)
PS: This is the first time that I meet (or hear of) somebody with my name. The only other person I know with my name is my uncle: As`ad AbuKhalil, who died at an early age from alcoholism, and after whom I was named. My great grandfather was also called As`ad AbuKhalil.
This is good. Norman Finkelstein catching Dershowitz about "helping draft" UNSC 242. Warning: this is a delicious video moment.
So the propaganda arm of the White House which sent a team to Davos, arranged for an interview on LBC-TV with Craig Barrett, chairman of Intel, in order to show the Lebanese that the American private sector is also fully in support of the Sanyurah government. So Barrett appeared on the LBC-TV show, Al-Hadath, and it was clear that he has done tons of interviews that day, and had no clue what the host, the able Shadha `Amr, was asking. She, like most Lebanese, exaggerates the significance of one of the most insignificant of countries, and assumes that people are keenly interested in Lebanese affairs, and really care about the identity of Hariri's killers. She started asking him specific questions about specifics of Lebanese politics, and wanted to know his opinion of Wi'am Wahhab. But it became clear during the interview that Barrett did not know a thing about the country; it became more clear when he called on Tutsis and Hutus in Lebanon to work together to unite the country.
This just in. Alan Dershowitz reveals that he had "helped draft" the American Constitution. When asked why he never has revealed his role, he said that his modesty prevented him.
Regarding the claim that Alan Dershowitz had "helped draft" UNSC 242. You know, it is possible that you remember an important role that you had played decades after the fact. For example--and please don't take this as bragging--I in fact helped draft the Treaty of Versailles but I really don't like to brag about it. So please keep this strictly confidential.
This just in: Alan Dershowitz reveals that he in fact had helped draft the Treaty of Westphalia. Yes, he was young but Ferdinand III asked for his input.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

He is back; he is back. "The Muslims "seem to be about to take over Europe," Lewis said at a special briefing with the editorial staff of The Jerusalem Post." But I don't understand why he was not about what he knows best: his Orientalist numerology. And can you imagine the reaction and outcry if somebody made that statement about another group? (thanks Laleh)
"In eighteenth-century England and Revolutionary France, the masks, indecent parodies, musical cacophonies and outlandish costumes of street festivals often provided a convenient cover for insurrectionary activities. In rural England, the maypole became a political sign as well as a festive one. In France, where the tight-lipped Jacobins denounced popular festivities as barbarous, pigs were dressed as noblemen and monkeys as bishops."
Dershowitz made this argument in favor of Israeli nuclear weapons--I am not making this up: "Israel needs the bomb," he said. As simple as that. When I was growing up in Lebanon, learning about the Palestinian problem at an early age, I never thought that I would later in life be watching Alan Dershowitz on C-Span.
I don't have to prove this: I was watching Dershowitz on C-Span during his Brandeis University. He actually castigated Mahmoud Abbas for refusing to "disarm Hizbullah." And why does not Abbas disarm the Mahdi Army while you are at it, o esteemed law professor? People like him are taken as experts on the Middle East only because they are fanatic about their advocacy for Israel. This is unique to the US, I think. That people's expertise on the Middle East (especially in government and media) is judged not on the basis of their knowledge or training, but on the basis of their fanatic advocacy for Israel. (And why does Dershowitz shout and yell when he speaks? I thought that Arabs are the ones who are stereotyped as shouters and yellers).
Alan Dershowitz claimed (in his speech at Brandeis University) that he "helped draft" the UNSC 242. I never have heard that before--and never read it anywhere, does anybody know whether there is any shred of evidence for that? You need to ask that question given the very low credibility of the man. (And who would turn down an opportunity to debate Dershowitz? It would be fun to drive him crazy. He would be easy to set off).
"Father and Son," a 2005 painting by Zhang Xiaogang.
If you read the text of Jimmy Carter's speech at Brandeis--or if you have watched it on C-Span--you should be convinced that Carter should not be considered a friend of the Palestinians. He never was; never is; and never will be. Did you notice his narrative of the Arab-Israeli wars as "wars on Israel"? That makes the tripartite invasion of Egypt in 1956 a "war on Israel," I guess. But unfortunately, people in the pro-Palestinian camp are so desperate for the support of the White Man, that they are willing to accept it from the likes of Carter.
Martin Peretz on Arabs: "I actually believe that Arabs are feigning outrage when they protest what they call American (or Israeli) "atrocities." They are not shocked at all by what in truth must seem to them not atrocious at all. It is routine in their cultures. That comparison shouldn't comfort us as Americans. We have higher standards of civilization than they do..." (thanks Sami) For those of you fans of Al Gore, remember that Peretz has been a "mentor" of Gore, and adviser in all of his campaigns.
"Settlers use their bodies to prevent Palestinians from harvesting olives" (thanks Amer)
A light unto what? "Petah Tikva's municipal council is expected to approve today a proposal that would block any more immigrants from Ethiopia from settling there." (thanks Amina)
I don't mean to bother you but why would not the Lebanese Army send some 20,000 additional troops to downtown Beirut? I mean, if the surge worked splendidly in Iraq, it surely would work in Lebanon. Thanks. Back to sleep.
Even astronauts: "A delegation of American astronauts began a visit to Israel on Sunday."
The Egyptian kifaya movement moves away from secularism.
"Sorry to repeat myself..." Sorry to repeat yourself? You think that you owe me one apology? If you really want to apologize for repeating yourself you need to do that on daily basis for 2 years, at least. Your entire collection of columns can be easily summarized in one column, or one doodle. No more, I swear.
This is hilarious: a case of manufacturing convenient news. Newsweek has this headline--but you have to read who they are: "Two Mideast leaders, Sunni and Shiite, agree America cannot abandon Iraq now."
Don't you like it when Arab neo-conservatives praise one another? Here is Ajami on Rashid: "7. We know that the vast majority of Muslims are peaceful, honorable people. But what do you say to people who ask why almost every terrorist is a Muslim?
I say there is a painful truth here, and that one of the Arab world’s most influential and liberal journalists, the Saudi Abdulrahman al-Rashed, head of Al-Arrabiya television channel based in Dubai, bluntly observed that not all Muslims are terrorists, but all (most?) terrorists are Muslims." This is the first time that I saw a reference to Ar-Rashid as "most influential". But maybe he meant most influential among the House of Saud princes.
Saudi government is behind the sectarian conflict in the Middle East, and behind the civil war in Palestine and Lebanon, and Hamas and Hizbullah are busying praising the efforts of the Saudi King. This is worse than dumb. (And Hizbullah officials in Lebanon are insisting that Ja`ja` (Ga`ga` in Egyptian accent) and Jumblat--and not Hariri--are behind the instigation of conflict in Lebanon). It is worse than dumb.
Hariri media are constantly outraged at sectarian agitation in Lebanon while doing the most toward its escalation. Here, Hariri cleric (former favorite cleric of Syrian mukhabarat in Lebanon), Muhammad `Ali Al-Juzu, says that "Sunnis are the salt of Lebanon now, and they defend Lebanon better than the Maronites." In fact, Hariri TV, Future TV, has exceeded LBC-TV and An-Nahar under Jubran Tuwayni in sectarian language and terminology.
Al-Akhbar praises Saudi King's initiative...on Palestine--also on the front page. I can't breathe. Please, open the windows NOW.
I am not making this up, Al-Akhbar reports on its front page that the Saudi ambassador in Lebanon is "very happy."
Have any of you seen Egyptian neo-conservative journalist, `Adil Darwish? He is favored on Al-Arabiya and Ash-Sharq Al-Awsat. They must think that he looks "civilized" in a bow-tie, and he always speak as "we, British people." He really annoys me; and I am too sick with the flu to be annoyed.
"Ethan Bronner states that “the biggest complaint against” Carter’s book is its use of the word “apartheid” in the title, “with its false echo of the racist policies of the old South Africa.” In fact, the comparison of Israeli policies in the occupied territories with South Africa is commonplace among informed commentators. For example, the editorial board of Israel’s leading newspaper, Haaretz, observed in September 2006 that “the apartheid regime in the territories remains intact; millions of Palestinians are living without rights, freedom of movement or a livelihood, under the yoke of ongoing Israeli occupation.” In addition to Haaretz, those sharing Carter’s view include the Nobel Prize winner Desmond Tutu, the father of human rights law in South Africa; John Dugard, a South African professor of international law; and the Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem, among many others. Bronner’s opinion demonstrates the truth of Carter’s assertion that Americans get only one side of the story. Geoffrey V. Gray
Jupiter, Fla."
"It is also odd that the author hardly touches upon the influence of the pro-Israel lobby, or on the issue of United States financial and military aid to Israel, factors undeniably crucial to any understanding of America’s involvement with today’s Middle East. Oren mostly avoids the temptation to seek historical parallels to modern events. The occasions when he succumbs reveal the peril for historians of this habit. Toward the book’s conclusion, for instance, he avers that “by protecting themselves from Middle Eastern threats while simultaneously trying to assist native people, U.S. forces in Iraq were, in effect, revisiting the earliest American involvement in the region.” Surely, as we now know, the threat to America posed by Saddam Hussein’s Iraq was more fantastical than real, until, that is, American forces hit the ground there." Later, "And a hint of distaste sometimes infuses his language. The landmass of the Middle East curves “scimitar-like through Arabia.” Elsewhere, Oren speaks blithely of “nameless Middle Eastern thugs” and “the ubiquity of Arab terror.” Such shopworn phrases tend to compound, rather than dispel, preconceived notions of the Middle East as a kind of unfathomable Badland." And this author, Oren, is widely respected in the US although his book on '67 war is deceptively advertised as partly based on Arab sources, when it provides the official Israeli narrative.
New York Times warns: Don't "overwhelm" Sanyruah.
My mother strongly recommends this article; it is a strong critique of Sanyurah's economic policies by Al-Fadl Shalaq--a former Hariri adviser and former chairperson of the Council of Reconstruction and Development.
A classical Lebanese way of solving national problems. Hariri Minister of Education, Khalid Qabbani (who had supported Salim Huss until the latter lost the election in 2000), said on New TV that we have to "erase from our memory" what happened this week in Lebanon. Yeah. That would solve the problem. Also, those who were able to erase 15-years of civil war from their memory, can easily erase one day of civil-strife.
"Nearly 10 percent of overseas congressional trips taken between 2000 and 2005 were to Israel. Most are paid for by the American Israel Education Foundation, a sister organization of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the major pro-Israel lobby group."
An official American investigation will conclude that Israel did not use enough cluster bombs on the civilians of Lebanon.
Stop the press. After the Boston Globe (owned by NYT) found one good Muslim, the New York Times--after months of research--found another good Muslim Imaaaaaam: and he even likes Costco, which only confirms that he is good. Apparently, accoriding to the Imaaaamm, the Prophet encouraged Muslims to shop at Costco.
If I run for public office, the media will probably reveal that I in fact had attended a Jesuit maaaadrasaaa in Washington, DC.
"The police say a group of football players from the college — estimates range from 5 to 15 — beat up three Palestinian students, two of whom are among those who come to Guilford from a Quaker high school in the West Bank city of Ramallah. The third was a friend who attends North Carolina State University in Raleigh."
"Iraq’s Shiite prime minister and Sunni lawmakers hurled insults at one another during a raucous session of Parliament on Thursday, with the prime minister threatening a Sunni lawmaker with arrest and the Sunni speaker of Parliament threatening to quit." That is a sign that democracy is shaping up in Iraq, no?
Iraqi puppet vice-president is optimistic. He says: "Violence will continue in Iraq." He also exhibits keen intellectual insights and brilliance; he said: "I think America has only two alternatives: to stay or to leave." Really? That is putting it so intelligently.
"Battle for Baghdad: City braces itself for US surge". Ironic title, no?
"The racial composition of France's national football team burst back into the country's troubled politics yesterday when the Socialist Party expelled one of its leading members for saying there were 'too many black players' in the side."
The White Man in UK sometimes seems to have one cause, and one cause only: Zimbabwe. He is very worried about the plight of the White Farmers.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

The chief book burner, Egyptian Mufti `Ali Jum`ah, stated today that Islamic laws prohibit women from heading the state. This passes as "reform" for Condoleezza Rice.
It is official now. The Saudi ambassador in Lebanon officially declared that Lebanon is "civilized." I am not making this up.
LBC-TV's Marcel Ghanim bragged that Condoleezza Rice gave two interviews to LBC-TV in less than a year. I wonder why.
This just in. The president of Brandeis University added another "new" definition of anti-Semitism. He said that you are anti-Semitic if you don't find all Israeli leaders to be good-looking.
The notion of a Shi`ite spiritual guide in Iran contradicts the tradition of selecting "marji`"s in Shi`ite tradition. It is said that a marji` rises purely on the basis of reputation, just like the reputation of a physician. But Khamenei did not have such reputation. He was appointed by Khumayni only because he was angry at Muntazari, who was put under house arrest. And Khamenei has no record to speak of. He also is quite boring. I have never met a Shi`ite who truly admires Khamenei; and I always feel that Hizbullah leaders and members are making an effort to appear in admiration of him.
The Saudi King officially denied that there are differences of opinion among Saudi royals.
A reader from Saudi Arabia sent me this message: "I want to write about a disturbing development ( bad word to use but my mind is clogged at the moment) I have seen in the Arab world: plastic surgery and stomach stapling. As'ad, it is truly sad and gross. Women are looking more like Donald Ducks with their injected lips. Lipo suction, stomach stapling, butt enhancement and I don't know what have become the norm for women here. The epidmic have reached the poor also. As'ad, what is happeining to Arab women???...they have been taken by Hollywood and its image marketing. Is this globalization? What on earth is going on? I hope you can bring this social epidmeic on your blog."
This information should be circulated in Lebanon because the governor of the Central Bank receives the most fawning press coverage due to to loans and financial incentives that he gives to Lebanese publishers, in addition to subsidized papers. He was recently touted for winning some non-existing prize as the "best governor of any central bank in the world"--he did well in the swimsuit competition, we are told. And the following news was not published in Lebanese newspapers, to my knowledge. "JPMorgan says Lebanon has lost $1.38 billion in foreign reserves since the conflict began. Before the invasion, its reserves were quite healthy—standing at between $11 billion and $13 billion."
I hate it how people in the US when they want to run for president they first announce the formation of an "exploratory committee." What is that about? I am thinking about forming an exploratory committee to decide what to have for lunch tomorrow. Jack in the Box will chair the committee.
"Muhammad Shubair, an academic who is the putative prime minister, and Ziad Abu Amr, a smooth-talking politician often mooted as foreign minister, are both close to Hamas." Abu Amr was ostensibly a Marxist when I knew him in graduate school, but he did try to sell me his Lenin collection before returning to Palestine, to prepare for a political career.
In the memoirs of (one of the most annoying men) `Abdullah Bisharah (former GCC secretary-general and former Kuwaiti minister) he revealed--or bragged--that he met with the US ambassador in Kuwait after every meeting of the Council of Ministers to report to him details of the meeting.
One of many reasons that I hate planes, is that I always wind up sitting next to somebody with hygiene standards not seen since the death of...Chairman Mao. (For graphic examples and information on this matter, read the account of his physician under the title The Private Life of Chairman Mao).
For my international readers, this is a casual statement in US newspapers: "Stops in Israel have become standard fare for US presidential hopefuls." Imagine if in France, people write that stops in Pakistan are standard for for French presidential hopefuls."
"I believe there are many forms of anti-Semitism, and that includes desire to do harm to the state of Israel."" Hmmm. Does that mean that if you desire to do harm to a Muslim state you are anti-Muslim?
Flash. Stop the press. The US government has found a good Muslim, and he can even issue fatawawawawa: "In addition to trips to the White House, Eid's reputation has the State Department sending him, along with three other Muslim American leaders, to Berlin, Copenhagen , and The Hague in July to meet with European Muslim leaders..."
The last thing I needed in the world is to have the Boston Globe pontificate on Lebanon. Here, they praise Saudi Arabia (the main instigator of sectarian conflict in the Lebanon): "the Saudis are right to pursue diplomatic cooperation to prevent another civil war in Lebanon."
For those of you out there who have been trying to convert the Saudi king from Sunni Islam: please stop. He does not want to covert, ok? Please, please, please leave the King alone, OK?
A debate (missing in US Congress) in the UK's House of Commons on the new (puppet) Iraq law on oil. (thanks Shawna)
The double and triple Nakbah of the Palestinian people: "Palestinians Under Pressure To Leave Iraq: Militias and Police Are Targeting Community, Rights Officials Say."
"Army Lt. Gen. David H. Petraeus, the new top U.S. commander in Iraq, told Congress that he might supplement efforts to secure Baghdad using the Iraqi Facilities Protection Service, a 150,000-man force that guards Iraqi government agencies. But that service is widely considered unreliable, and elements were described in July by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki as "more dangerous than the militias," according to Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.).
Mustafa Khawli, a Syrian worker in `Amshit in Lebanon was killed by the goons of Lebanese Forces militia the other day. The goons smashed his skull with a hammer, according to this source (taken from a Syrian newspaper). I am still waiting for that Human Rights Watch's report on the abuse and murder of Syrian workers in Lebanon during the "Cedar Revolution." (thanks Omar)
"KBR, the engineering and construction subsidiary of Halliburton Co., said Tuesday it has been awarded a contingency contract from the Department of Homeland Security to supports its Immigration and Customs Enforcement facilities in the event of an emergency. The maximum total value of the contract is $385 million and consists of a 1-year base period with four 1-year options. KBR held the previous ICE contract from 2000 through 2005. The contract, which is effective immediately, provides for establishing temporary detention and processing capabilities to expand existing ICE Detention and Removal Operations Program facilities in the event of an emergency influx of immigrants into the U.S., or to support the rapid development of new programs, KBR said. The contract may also provide migrant detention support to other government organizations in the event of an immigration emergency, as well as the development of a plan to react to a national emergency, such as a natural disaster, the company said." (thanks Junaid)
After Danish cartoons, these are the priorities of Islamic fundamentalists. (thanks Laleh) And notice the lack of intellectual courage of Mahfouz: like Muhammad `Abd-Al-Wahab: he supported Nasser under Nasser; Sadat under Sadat, and then Mubarak under Mubarak. And refused to have his book published without the seal of approval from the book burners of Al-Azhar.
"The hidden cost of free congressional trips to Israel" (thanks Devresh)

Friday, January 26, 2007

Another brilliant Bush's plan: have House of Saud represent the "Arab street": "These critics may also question the central role of Saudi Arabia, a conservative Islamic monarchy that many Arabs regard as a bastion of the status quo."
America: Sen. Obama. Are you, or have you ever been, a Muslim?
Sen. Obama: "To be clear, Senator Obama has never been a Muslim, was not raised a Muslim, and is a committed Christian who attends the United Church of Christ in Chicago. Furthermore, the Indonesian school Obama attended in Jakarta is a public school that is not and never has been a Madrassa.These malicious, irresponsible charges are precisely the kind of politics the American people have grown tired of..." (thanks Laleh)
PS Irshad Manji's Taliban-run, Madraaassaaa was not in Indonesia, but in Taliban heartland in Vancouver.
Suha Arafat said to Ash-Sharq Al-Awsat that the PA has stopped her salary. I felt really bad. I have recently received a large sum of money from the widow of a Nigerian dictator, so I am planning to forward the money to Ms. Arafat.
"G.I. Gets 18-Year Prison Term for Killing 2 Captive Iraqis" (He may actually serve two months).
"The donors in Paris took pains to deflect criticism that their aid pledges were solely meant to prop up Mr. Siniora. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, when asked whether the United States pledge was contingent on Mr. Siniora remaining in power, deflected the question. Mr. Siniora, seated beside Ms. Rice during an early morning news briefing, quickly interjected, “No conditions, no conditions.” Ms. Rice replied that the money was for the Lebanese people." (thanks anonymous)
"He said he had intended to describe conditions not in Israel but in the occupied Palestinian territories, and had not meant to “equate Zionism with racism,”
"The U.S. opposes early elections because they could hurt the Siniora government, but in Palestine, supports early elections because they could weaken the government of Hamas." (thanks Melani)
"The U.S. opposes early elections because they could hurt the Siniora government, but in Palestine, supports early elections because they could weaken the government of Hamas." (thanks Melani)
For the best movie ever made, it is either Citizen Cane or this movie. Enjoy. (thanks Marc)
Oh, yeah. The guardian of the two holy things has spoken. So the Saudi king gave an interview to a Kuwait newspaper. He said, among other things, that Sunnis are the majority of Muslims and that they will not deviate from Sunni Islam. Oh, yes, precious king. Your talents and skills are so impressive that sects of different religions are trying to win you over. That is how much you have impressed them all. Your inability to read a full sentence in Arabic has won you admirers the world over.
The atypical and uncharacteristic amount of US aid pledged for Lebanon made me wonder. Somebody should calculate how much it costs us US taxpayers to prop up puppets in the Middle East. Really? It is a very costly undertaking you know.
I ran into Seymour Hersh today. I was thrilled that he is working on an article related to Lebanon (for the New Yorker). He was in Lebanon recently and met with Nasrallah and Jumblat, among many others. Whenever I hear some juicy story from Hersh, I ask him whether I can use it for my blog. Unfailingly, he looks horrified and says: "absolutely not." So I will not tell you.
Today I met the Arabic-speaking, State Department's spokesperson, Alberto Fernandez. I must say that he is a very nice guy--but I will not say more so that he will not get into more trouble. But he categorically denied reports on the Angry Arab News Service that he was forced to spend time in Guantanamo for criticizing American policies in the Middle East. He is now permitted to speak twice a month on...issues relating to Middle East music and dance.
Well, well, well. You can't accuse CAIR and other equally lousy Muslim organizations in the US of too much attention to Danish cartoons and to pleasing the Bush White House. They have their priority clearly delineated: "The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) held at the council's headquarters in Washington last night a reception party in honor of the Saudi Ambassador to the United States, Prince Turki Al-Faisal." (thanks Marc)
Olmert's speech before the Knesset in August: Members of the House, I see and hear those voices which state -- I see and hear those self-same (ph) voices that make one feel uncomfortable, even disappointment. They say they're dissatisfied, they're disappointed, even those whose expectations have not yet been met. And I say to them, and to everybody, my friends, be patient, be patient." (thanks Haytham)
"Six Saudis have reportedly been jailed in connection with an attack on actors taking part in a play critical of hardline religious attitudes." (thanks Ali)
Maybe this will get Western public attention--maybe: "Bomb in box rips through Baghdad pet market, kills 15."
"Haredi extremists in Jerusalem discover reason for troubles befalling Israeli people: Immodest clothes worn by women. For months, activists go door to door collecting clothes that don't hold up to rabbis' modesty standards. Thursday confiscated clothes set ablaze, pamphlets with list of forbidden clothes distributed." (thanks Maryam)

Thursday, January 25, 2007

"Schools in Givatayim and Petah Tikva have introduced a new religious studies program to "strengthen Jewish identity," although the Education Ministry deemed it unfit for state schools."
The news is very bleak in the Middle East; mayhem and violence all around. News stories of sectarian conflict fill the newspapers but at least there is good--nay, great--news for the King of Jordan.
"Siniora himself started warning of the dangers of civil war and the United States - as Hizbollah must have hoped - came out in support of the government, claiming, quite falsely, that the violence came from the Hizbollah-led opposition. It certainly did come from their Amal militia ally but Sunni Muslim supporters of the government were in gun battles in Tripoli - they continued yesterday - and the "Lebanese Forces" youths of Samir Geagea, an ex-militia murderer who supports the government, were engaged in pitched stoning battles with other Christian Maronites."
Please tell Abed to tell Robert Fisk that Sanyurah was educated in Sidon and Beirut--his British accent--or his version of what he thinks is a British accent--notwithstanding. "he Lebanese Prime Minister is himself an American-educated economist."
The brilliant minds that are fixing Iraq are now fixing Afghanistan--although both have already been "liberated" mind you.
Hariri/Saudi media have solved the riddle of Lebanon. Hariri rag said that two masked men (one Palestinian and one Syrian) were behind the troubles. AlArabiya TV said two masked men "from Arab non-Lebanese nationalities". There is nobody as good as Lebanese in blaming their own problems on outsiders, especially if the outsiders are Palestinians.
They are civilized. They are civilized. I should have a regular feature titled Lebanese Civilization Update. Here, a Hariri supports confirms that "we are civilized students."
Hariri media are alleging that the fight yesterday started when a Shi`ite man cursed `Umar Ibn Al-Khattab. When I was in school in Lebanon, we were told that the 1860 civil war started when two kids had a fight over a game of marbles. Or like when you read that Bush invaded Iraq to establish democracy.
In Paris III, countries pledged $7.6 billion for Lebanon. If we take into consideration past pledges by same countries for Afghanistan and Lebanon, Lebanon will be lucky if it gets $500,000. Enjoy.
In an interview with Gizelle Khuri on Al-Arabiya TV, Saudi foreign minister preached against sectarianism. This is like a Saudi royal lecturing us about...feminism.
Lebanese celebrating Paris III yesterday.
I noticed that Hariri and Jumblat gangs are focusing their attacks on SSNP offices. SSNP, unlike Hizbullah and Amal, has no sectarian base and can thus be easily targeted. They attack SSNP also because they are pro-Syrian regime. But they should remember: that SSNP has a long memory, and they always take revenge. Just think of what happened to Riad Sulh (first prime minister after independence). What is happening in Lebanon today is only the beginning. I always believed that once Syrian troops leave Lebanon, the Lebanese would not wait long before they resume their civil wars.
Only weeks ago the sectarian leaders of March 14th were assuring the Lebanese that civil war can't occur because they don't have weapons. Well, maybe they ordered their weapons delivered quickly. Or maybe they ordered their weapons to go.
Somebody should ask Condoleezza Rice: are these also the "pangs of birth" of a new Middle East? The Lebanese people deserve to know.
The first organization to kidnap citizens on the basis of sectarian affiliation is the sectarian Druze gang, PSP--member of the Socialist International. (Why does the Socialist International not admit Dahlan and Karzai, by the way, and Musharraf too). I have always believed that Lebanese Forces and PSP are the most eager to go back to civil war years.
This is Lebanon. A Lebanese man appeared on AlArabiya TV: he traveled from South Lebanon to Beirut. He said that in the South he claimed that he was Shi`ite; in Jiyyih, he claimed that he was Sunni; and when he arrived in Beirut, he claimed that he was Christian. When sectarian conflicts flare in Lebanon, any secularist should distance himself/herself and take a consistently hostile attitude to all sectarian parties and organizations--and all the groups in Lebanon are sectarian (with the exception of the unpopular communist organizations and the SSNP and the latter transformed itself under As`ad Hardan into an arm of Syrian intelligence). But we have to be clear: this round of sectarian conflict was the primary work of Hariri Inc and House of Saud. Hizbullah and Amal fel for it because they too are sectarian: in composition and more. I have always argued: the Lebanese civil war never ended; not in 1989 and not later. And I have always argued: Lebanon is not viable as a state. Never will be. But I am also convinced: the chances for the Hariri dynasty are doomed in Lebanon.
Dick Cheney identifies the problems of Iraq: "Q What was the biggest mistake you made?
VICE PRESIDENT CHENEY: Oh, I think in terms of mistakes, I think we
underestimated the extent to which 30 years of Saddam's rule had really
hammered the population, especially the Shia population, into
submissiveness. It was very hard for them to stand up and take
responsibility in part because anybody who had done that in the past had
had their heads chopped off." (thanks May)
"Girl, 6, embodies Cambodia's sex industry" (thanks Amina). By the way, most "sex tourists" in the world come from: Canada, USA, Norway, Sweden, UK, France, Germany, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, China, Australia, New Zealand, and Japan. Wait. These are the same countries that are gathered in support of Lebanon in Paris III today. So why not name the conference Sex Tourists for Lebanon. In fact, Rafiq Hariri--if you want to find one "accomplishment" by him--intended to make Beirut a capital of sex tourism.
Notice the decline of the usage of the word "liberty" in Bush's State of the Union speech. (thanks Laleh)
For those who wonder whether there are political strings attached to the promises of aid to Lebanon in Paris III (most of which will never arrive), just watch the answer that Fu'ad Sanyurah gave to the Israeli reporter about "peace with Israel." Dahlan of Lebanon is learning fast.
Somebody needs to write a book on the Palestinians in Kuwait after the Iraqi invasion. Their ordeal has not been told in any language, I think. The royal family and their goons have been permitted a free reign of abuse and expulsion against them.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

From Friedman's column today: "The brutally honest Syrian-born poet Ali Ahmad Said, known as Adonis, gave an interview from Paris on March 11, 2006, with Dubai TV*, and warned of what’s at stake (translation by Memri): “The Arab individual is no less smart, no less a genius, than anyone else in the world. He can excel — but only outside his society." Really? But Adonis' own career refutes that theory. Adonis excelled but only INSIDE his society. He excelled when he wrote in Syria and Lebanon; but when he went OUTSIDE his society, he never wrote anything memorable.
*No. Friedman does not watch Arab TV; and can't understand it even if he watches it. But he can read MEMRI reports..
PS And shouldn't Adonis offer some royalties to the estate of Raphael Patai? I mean, he never offers any observations on Arab society that were not mentioned in The Arab Mind.
I have said it to Lebanese audiences in Arabic, and I say it here again: let the Lebanese people liberate their Sri Lankan maids before they speak of liberty. Yesterday, an Ethiopian maid in Lebanon (22), died as she was trying to flee the house of her employer by jumping from the balcony in Az-Zalqa. As usual, Lebanese police does not investigate the deaths of maids. Also, a Syrian was found dead in his room in `Amshit. That reminds me: whatever happened to Human Rights Watch's investigation of the abuse and murder of Syrian workers in Lebanon? What happened Nadim?
Without a doubt, the most visible militia in Lebanon yesterday was the Lebanese Forces. Even the symbols and flags of the "Collision Force" of the LF--that is its actual name (it is the strike force of the right-wing, sectarian Christian militia) were raised.
A sample of sectarian propaganda in Hariri rag, Al-Mustaqbal. This is most unprecedented. The article by the guy in the bottom corner alleges that Shi`ites are avenging the killing of....Husayn. Husayn for potato's sake.
In attacking the sponsors of sectarian agitation and mobilization in Lebanon, I noticed that Hasan Nasrallah avoided--yet again--criticizing the main culprits: Saudi Arabia and Hariri Inc.
"Americans will have to resign themselves to the fact that no one is perfect, not even Mr Obama. It has also emerged that his middle name is Hussein..." That will not be a problem, I think. Look at Michael Husayn Young. Despite his middle name, he remains a viable presidential candidate in the US and in Lebanon. Hurray.
From the Economist (the best magazine there is--its editorials notwithstanding): "But her bubble was burst by Israel's invasion of Lebanon. The administration started by trying to give Israel the time it needed to destroy Hizbullah. Ms Rice declared that the world was witnessing “the birth pangs of a new Middle East”. The policy was a disaster: America eventually had to broker a deal that left Hizbullah triumphantly in place. Ms Rice's words continue to haunt her on her current tour of the Middle East. If she is so keen on democracy, why is she cosying up to dictators in Egypt and Saudi Arabia?"
Oh. They are just celebrating the Bush Doctrine and the Cedar "Revolution" in Lebanon. Is the Washington Post (and Hassan Fattah) still giddy about the Cedar Revolution?
I did not know that the new secretary-general of the UN is permitted to speak. Well, he spoke yesterday. He supported Sanyurah. If cloning is more prevalent, the US/UN would install a Dahlan in every Arab capital (his gangsters would also be cloned for dirty tricks on behalf of the Bush Doctrine).
I arrive to Boston to read on the front page of the Hariri rag, Al-Mustaqbal, that Chirac had some observations to make during the lunch with Sanyurah in Paris. He had words of praise for Saudi King and Rafiq Hariri. For some reason, he did not mention Saddam, from whom he also profited in the past.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Now I know why Washington Post is a fan of Al-Arabiya: it surely can imitate the standards of US media. Today, AlArabiya ran a story on the "elegance" of Nancy Pelosi. It even talked about her hair style. (How could you, Muna?)
Does anybody have a copy of a letter that was written by Muqtada As-Sadr to Saddam Husayn when the father of the former died? It was mentioned by Saddam's fan and lawyer, Bushra Al-Khalil (from Tyre to boot) on Al-Arabiya.
What does it say about US foreign policy in the Middle East that Bush in his speech tonight did not mention the name of one dead Iraqi, but found time to mention Pierre Gemayyel. Pierre Gemayyel, for potato's sake. I bet you that his fascistic family and party are thrilled. I wish Bush told the audience that Pierre was named after his grandfather who was so impressed with Hitler and Nazi Germany when he attended the Olympic games in 1936 in Berlin, that he modeled his Phalanges after the Nazi party.
Abed is back: and he is sound and safe. "It is not that simple. The Shias are the downtrodden, the poor, the dispossessed, those who have always been ignored by the dons and patriarchs of the Lebanese government ­ for in one sense this is also a social revolution ­ and on the other were the Sunni population so beloved of Hariri and the Druze and the Christians still loyal to the Lebanese forces who were Israel's allies in 1982 and who massacred the Palestinians in the camps of Sabra and Chatila, as well as a majority of Lebanese innocents who voted Siniora's government into power." And then Fisk says:
"My driver, Abed, and I tried to reach the airport."
"Hillary Clinton has a soft spot for Israel."
Ultra Lebanese nationalist, crackpot poet Sa`id `Aqi, offers his praise for the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982. (thanks Hicham--I am not sure that I should thank you for this). What did they do with people like him, people in Europe who cheered the Nazi invasion of Europe?
The US congress during the State of the Union speech, with all the cheering and hollering, remind Arabs of parliaments in the Arab world. I mean, it could be a scene from Damascus or Cairo. to Boston. Speaking at this conference at Tufts University. Returning on Saturday.
A radio interview I taped in Canada. (thanks Laith)
Bush has a new plan for energy conservation. He suggested that you fill your cars with olive oil instead of gasoline. I tried it, and it works. Wait, I am slipping. Help.
""This is not democracy," said Roger Hayek, a government supporter and member of the Phalange Party, a Christian group. He pointed across lines of soldiers separating the sides, standing in a smoky haze. "This is an image of Iraq." A friend jumped in: "They're animals.""
Bush in his speech spoke about "battery research." That is great news for the King of Jordan. He has been looking for a portable PlayStation with longer battery life. Help is on the way, o King of Jordan.
Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiya now have the annoying habit of carrying Bush's State of the Union speech live, with Arabic translation. Do they now think that the Arab world is part of that Union?
If you enjoy the "liberal" Saudi-funded, Wahhabi Arabic press, Ash-Sharq Al-Awsat is your newspaper. Here, Tariq Al-Humayyid (is that how he pronounces his name?) asks King `Abdullah of Jordan (as the latter was handling his PlayStation III): "Your Majesty, what distinguishes the experience of your country is that the royal palace remained the security barrier for Jordan in the face of the fundamentalist resurgence, and the [Arab] nationalist prior to that, and other currents that invaded the Arab world, so how did the palace do that?" His Answer: "We are an umbrella for all..." The King also said that the Jordanian constitution is considered "one of the best and most modern".
Don't you like the civilized? Hariri TV aired an interview with this dude who started talking by saying: "We are very civilized. I am very civilized," and went on to support Sanyurah and Fatfat.
The lessons of yesterday's developments in Lebanon are not only that Lebanon is far from addressing the underlying causes of its last protracted civil war, but that its next civil war--whenever it comes--will be even more savage and more bloody than the last one.
In Tripoli, yesterday (according to As-Safir) a coffee vendor was injured. He was too scared to give his name, but said that pro-government loyalists shot at him.
A militia man of the right-wing Lebanese Forces in Lebanon yesterday.
Fu'ad Sanyurah reacting to developments in Lebanon.
Racism of Al-Qa`idah. Al-Qa`idah's number 2 who has the charisma of a potato, came out with yet another speech that is read more by Americans than by Arabs. Let us face it: I prefer to watch Larry King read from the phone book than Ayman Dhawahiri deliver a speech--and Larry King is as boring as they come. Well, in his new speech, he referred to the Ethiopian invading army in Somalia as "`abid Bush." (slaves of Bush). The word has clear racist connotations in Arabic as racist Arabs refer to dark skinned people as "`abid." But are you surprised?
In other news, Israeli occupation troops destroyed a Palestinian house in Jerusalem.
The pathetic Minister of Finance of Lebanon, a Hariri tool, spoke: he said that the protests of Lebanon "distort the image of Lebanon." What a lovely image of Lebanon you have, o minister. But then again he is right. The savage civil war years of Lebanon really planted a lovely image of Lebanon on the mind of the world.
The wise Joseph Samahah offers his analysis of the longest day of Lebanon.
It is settled. I mean that. The matter is now officially settled. The White Man has rendered a decisive judgment. In an interview with Hariri and Saudi-owned Lebanese TV stations, Chirac declared that the Lebanese government of Sanyurah is "legitimate." But my favorite part of the interview was when he prefaced his hour-long discussion of internal Lebanese developments by saying that he "does not interfere in Lebanese politics."
Flash. The US Department of State is outraged. At the highest level of the US government, there is concern. "Lebanese factions allied with Syria are blocking roads." Help. They are blocking roads, they said. But I am not worried. I really truly think that the 20,000 additional troops in Iraq will also solve the problems of Lebanon and Palestine (although I am not sure that they will solve the problems of Somalia. But 20,000 additional Ethiopian troops in Somalia can do the job).
Today, Sunni supporters of Sanyurah (Hariri goons) raised pictures of Saddam, while Christian supporters of Sanyurah (Lebanese Forces goons), raised the American flag. Very ironic, no? Here is the New York Times (yes, Hassan Fattah is there now. I am thrilled, are you not?): "The other side, lined up across the street, raised photographs of Mr. Hariri and Prime Minister Fouad Siniora, and even of Saddam Hussein, while shouting epithets back." Notice the word back at the end of the sentence. Fattah, who got the job at the New York Times and I can't wait to read him covering Metro desk, by inserting that one word at the end of the sentence clearly and casually identified "who started it." Not very sneaky, o graduate of the New Republic school of Fair Middle East Studies.
I wonder. Will Bush be praising the "Cedar Revolution" today? I wonder. Also, I wonder. Will the US government today declare burning tires as terrorism? I wonder.
"AbuKhalil took questions from The Varsity about the causes and consequences of Israel's campaign against Lebanon last summer."
PS I spoke of the vulnerability of Israel (not of "Israelis" as I was incorrectly quoted).
""Dr. Saeb Erekat relates that when Bill Clinton visited Israel in 2004 in honor of Shimon Peres' 80th birthday, he had a chance to ask the former U.S. president why he blamed Yasser Arafat for the failure of the Camp David talks. Clinton, Erekat says, said Ehud Barak told him that if he blamed the Palestinians, it would help him (Barak) win the elections. "" (thanks O Alawna)
Al-Arabiya TV anchors today all but hit their guests who were siding with the opposition. One of them, (Kan`an guy), almost cursed and yelled at a supporter of `Awn. But remember the motto of Al-Arabiya (quoted by non-Arabic speaking WP's David Ignatius): "professional, professional, professional." Professional, my potato. Professional, my potato. Professional, my potato.
Fatfatonmics: is a particular brand of economic science associated with the peculiar mind of Ahmad Fatfat (of Fatfatism fame). Ahmad Fatfat was today on all TV stations: as Minister of Sports, he is most qualified to analyze the sports activities in Lebanon today. So he was trying (on LBC TV) to explain the large debt of Lebanon: he said that basically Rafiq Hariri's government (some 13 years from 1992, with Fu'ad Sanyurah as Minister of Finance) was not responsible at all for the debt. He said that the `Umar Karami's government in 1992 and the Salim Huss government (1998-2000) were the governments that accumulated the debt. The other governments merely paid interest on the Karami-Huss debt, he added. I kid you not.
I heard the US ambassador in Lebanon condemn the tactics used by the opposition in Lebanon. Have those tactics not been used by the civil rights movement in the US? But then again. I would not be surprised if the US ambassador in Lebanon is a dedicated white supremacist.
Today, in an interview with Hariri and LBC TV, Chirac called Rafiq Hariri "historique." It is true. I mean, the installation of a prime minister of Lebanon by Syrian intelligence was quite "historique."
I had two weird nightmares last night. In one of them, I was appointed by King `Abdullah of Saudi Arabia as head of Saudi intelligence. And I was asked to brief the king daily. I knew that this could not be reality when the King in the dream was quite articulate. In the second nightmare, I was a producer of Bill O'Reilly. I kid you not.
LBC-TV station is very funny. I mean that. I mean the station of the Lebanese Forces militia (who were responsible for the heroic Sabra and Shatila massacres among other war crimes) are capable of so blatantly distorting reality--even making the director Elia Kazan a Lebanese (search this site). Today, when all Lebanese and international media are reporting that the country was shut down, LBC-TV would show one--ONE--open store and say: the area of Ashrafiyyah remained fully open today. They also showed one guy--ONE--sitting (ostensibly in a cafe although the place looked like a living room) and said: Ra's An-Nab` was fully open.
"The IDF unveiled an Urban Warfare Training Center (UTC) on Monday in a mock city that simulates an Arab town, four months after the second Lebanon war ended." (thanks Sara)
"“People are a little bit afraid of them,” Mr. O’Reilly said, attributing it partly to traditional Christian education that he said had long taught that “their philosophy of religion was ‘convert to Islam or die.’ ” The fact that Arab-Americans in Dearborn are prone to demonstrations, including protests against last summer’s war in Lebanon and the recent hanging of Saddam Hussein, only adds to the unease, he said." I have to admit that this is true. I mean, I can't deny that. Due to a particular genetic makeup, we Arabs are really prone to demonstrations. In fact, sometimes I would wake up in the middle of the night (my two ex wives can attest to that) in sweats: I would feel a very strong and very uncontrollable urge to...demonstrate. It is not uncommon for me to wake up at 2:00AM or 3:00AM and just get out of my house and...demonstrate. I even find myself spontaneously chanting: With Spirit, With Blood. I sacrifice Myself for you, O Bush. Oh, I have meant to ask you: are you also a "little bit afraid" of me?
The Master Terrorist. At last, US occupation troops were able to capture the head terrorist in Iraq. It is believed that this little boy is single-handedly responsible for all acts of violence in Iraq. The NYT posted this caption under the picture: "A young Iraqi detained by the Americans after a firefight was photographed and tested for explosives." So a baby, according to New York Times editors, is a very very young man/woman. On the front page of the hard copy of the New York Times there was a picture of an American soldier tenderly holding an Iraqi baby. I could not find the picture on the website (would somebody find it for me NOW). Basically it is true. Iraqis are uniformly of the view that yes we are killed and maimed by US bombs, but we don't care as long as US occupation soldiers hold our babies for photo opportunities staged by John Burns.
Look at this graffiti from a picture in today's New York Times. Look how obvious that this statement was written not by Iraqis but by the Americans themselves. Arabs don't abbreviate (not to mention the expression "Hey Americans.").
It appears from today's events in Lebanon that Lebanese Forces' goons were the most eager for civil strife in Lebanon.
You know that tactics used by the opposition in Lebanon today are mere imitations of what paid Rafiq Hariri goons (supported by Syrian intelligence) used back in 1992, when the Syrian regime orchestrated the downfall of `Umar Karami to bring in Rafiq Hariri. There were accusations that the plan at the time was also coordinated by former head of Lebanese Army intelligence, Johny `Abduh. Read the details of that day in Nabil Haytham's I Inhabit this Book (a biographical account of Nabih Birri).
Liz Cheney explains some Middle East realities: "We are fighting the war on terrorism with allies across the globe, leaders such as Hamid Karzai in Afghanistan and Pervez Musharraf in Pakistan. Brave activists are also standing with us, fighting for freedom of speech, freedom of religion, the empowerment of women." Do you disagree? I mean, do you disagree that House of Saud is standing with the US in order to guarantee freedom of religion and empowerment of women?
"Israeli separation barrier is cutting off Palestinians from their livelihood"

Monday, January 22, 2007

"General Staff document: Large rise in number of rapes in IDF"
But don't you think that global opinion would be different in the wake of the dispatch of the additional 20,000 troops who will do wonders in Iraq.
"The view of the US's role in the world has deteriorated both internationally and domestically, a BBC poll suggests."
An Arabiya correspondent in Beirut was interviewing a man on the street. She assumed that he was with the Sanyurah government. He knew what she was up to: he told her that he was for the protests. She did not ask him another question, and the anchor (the same one from below): asked her to find another opinion. She was in a panic. The correspondent walked but could not find one for Sanyurah but promised that "the other opinion will be heard later."
Al-Arabiya TV's anchor, Suhayr (something) was interviewing Gen. `Awn. He told her rightly that their correspondents are quite biased in favor of the Sanyurah government. She told him--I kid you not--that Al-Arabiya correspondents cover the news with "complete bias and objectivity." Gen. `Awn could be heard laughing.
"President George W. Bush's approval ratings are now the lowest for any president the day before a State of the Union speech since Richard Nixon in 1974, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll."
The front page of Prince Salman Bin `Abdul-`Aziz's Ash-Sharq Al-Awsat is devoted to important news around the world. Today, it has this headline: "Bush is a firm editor."
Back in 1993, a Lebanese academic and a Lebanese journalist started a journal in Lebanon--one of them approached me about writing. One of them was a friend of my sister. I looked at the journal, and it was a mouthpiece of the Iranian regime. The editor of that pro-Khumayni journal was Michel Nawfal, who now writes for Hariri rag, and warns of Iranian conspiracies. The other is now active in the leadership of the March 14th Movement: he also regularly warns of Iranian conspiracies.
By Lebanonese standards, Gibran's The Prophet is a book of "Philosophy". Gibran is to philosophy what Bush is to nuclear physics.
Iyad `Allawi (former Iraqi puppet prime minister/car bomber/embezzler-in-Yemen/Saddam's henchman) told Arab reporters that he has a comprehensive plan to solve the Iraq situation. I was confused. I mean, why on earth do we need a new plan when Bush sent the 20,000 troops which will solve the problems in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Palestine. Oh, and how is the weather in London, o Iraqi leader?
My mother today was furious at Fu'ad Sanyurah. She was furious at people who are still deceived by the rhetoric of March 14th. She was most pleased with Gen. `Awn: because he reminded the Lebanese that most of the debt in Lebanon is being paid to a bank owned by Hariri family (and used to be managed by Sanyurah himself). Hizbullah still avoids criticizing Hariri Inc.