Thursday, May 31, 2007

"A UK government file on the crisis, released from the National Archives, contains a claim that Israel itself was behind the hijacking. An unnamed contact told a British diplomat in Paris that the Israeli Secret Service, the Shin Beit, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) collaborated to seize the plane. The flight was seized shortly after it took off from Athens and was flown to Entebbe, where 98 people were held hostage, many of them Israeli citizens....He adds: "My contact said the PFLP had attracted all sorts of wild elements, some of whom had been planted by the Israelis."" Well, this particular hijacking was not undertaken by PFLP but by the splinter group of Wadi` Haddad. And the unit that undertook this operation was almost a splinter group of Wadi` Haddad--just as Carlos was freelancing. So the story here is plausible. And Vasili Nikitich Mitrokhin reported that the KGB had recruited Haddad. A well-known Palestinian leftist leader told me that when he once confronted Haddad about his "operations" back in the mid-1970s, that Haddad showed him papers to authenticate that he did some of those attacks on behalf of the Soviet Union. The story of Wadi` Haddad is an interesting story; I may tell it one day. From his days with George Habash back in the Medical school at AUB. My aunt who knew him used to like him: she felt that he was the most likable of the bunch (Habash, Hawatimah, Ibrahim, etc during the Movement of the Arab Nationalists days). Most likely Saddam killed Wadi` Haddad. Palestinian leaders, politics aside, were more interesting in the 1960s and 1970s: now you have Abu Mazen and Dahlan and Khalid Mish`al. These are not interesting figures, unless you find Anderson Cooper's prose interesting.
For those who wonder. Ash-Sharq Al-Awsat gives very prominent coverage of mini-Hariri. His statements are often headlines. The reason is this: when Rafiq Hariri died, the House of Saud met and agreed that Prince Salman is officially designated to run the Hariri family (politically)--I am not making this up. It was Prince Salman who told Baha' (Sa`d's brother) that was not chosen as his father's successor, and the former was furious. Oh, and Prince Salman owns Ash-Sharq Al-Awsat. So now you understand.
Today, I dug out texts of press conferences and speeches by King Husayn from 1970 during Black September. Uncanny (wait. I don't think that I have used that word before. Uncanny). As you may expect, he sounded like the Lebanese leaders today.
As for as the coverage of the Nahr Al-Barid is concerned, only As-Safir and Al-Khbar have been raising questions and offering criticisms. Only those two have covered the Palestinian civilian suffering. As for TV, they have done a lousy job. It is akin to US media when Mr. Bush invaded Iraq. AlJazeera's Bushra `Abd-As-Samad has been fair and independent. (Which confirms my theory that we should not blame the children for the sins of a parent).
Politicians in Lebanon keep talking about the "need to restore the prestige" of the Lebanese Army. At the expense of the civilian population? Also, spare us all the agony. This is an army that never had prestige and will never have it, unless it decides to defend Lebanon against Israeli aggression--and to do so in the open and not in secret. Imagine if the Army were to defend Lebanon against Israeli aggression. Do you think that the US would also rush with shipments of weapons and ammunitions?
"The beginning of my own sense of separation from the Bush administration came in January 2005, when the president declared that it is now the policy of the United States to eradicate tyranny in the world, and that the survival of American liberty is dependent on the liberty of every other nation. This was at once so utopian and so aggressive that it shocked me. For others the beginning of distance might have been Katrina and the incompetence it revealed, or the depth of the mishandling and misjudgments of Iraq. What I came in time to believe is that the great shortcoming of this White House, the great thing it is missing, is simple wisdom. Just wisdom--a sense that they did not invent history, that this moment is not all there is, that man has lived a long time and there are things that are true of him, that maturity is not the same thing as cowardice, that personal loyalty is not a good enough reason to put anyone in charge of anything, that the way it works in politics is a friend becomes a loyalist becomes a hack, and actually at this point in history we don't need hacks."
Billy Graham. Now that is an explicable phenomenon that somebody like me, who has lived here for 24 years, will never understand. Here was somebody who blessed racial segregation, and railed against the civil rights movement. Here was a man who used to sit with Richard Nixon and engage in anti-Semitic conspiracy theories (read the CD version of the Haldeman dairies). Here is a man who spoke most callously and cruelly about AIDS victims. Yet, he is considered a wise man. What gives? Nobody knew what a phony he was except Harry Truman who banned him from the White House (I told the story before).
Dahlan clone in Lebanon, Sultan Abu Al-`Aynayn, slipped on Al-Arabiya TV tonight. He referred to Lebanese Army's "indiscriminate bombardment" ("qasf `ashwa'i") of the camps. Hariri Inc may withhold payments.
I am watching live footage of Lebanese Army attacks on the Nahr Al-Barid camp. The bombing seems more intense. Al-Balad newspaper reported that the US military shipments of arms and ammunitions have just arrived to the Army. It is odd, in a sense. In the summer, I had to watch as Israeli bombed Lebanon on live TV with US weapons (and full support). Now, I have to watch Lebanese Army attacks on a Palestinian refugee camp, with US weapons and ammunitions and with full US support. But don't worry. Al-Hurra TV and Karen Hughes have changed Arab and Muslim opinion toward the US: they now all love the US, and Mr. Bush in particular. You have not heard?
From Lebanese poet Khalil Hawi (my translation):
"That light in his eyes has certainly died,
Heroism will not rescue him, nor will the humiliation of prayer."
Today, the Lebanese Army commander-in-chief even "visited the front." He even was seen aboard a Lebanese aircraft carrier. The Lebanese press spoke about Sulayman visiting "advanced positions" "of the "front." In any country that respects itself, this would be a matter that would be resolved in a police action. We are talking about a small gang (Fath-Al-Islam) that has no popular bases of support, after all, by the admission of the Lebanonese government itself. This would not require the deployment of the entire Lebanese Army. My message for the Lebanese Army: seek your victories and heroism southward.
"One man carried a McDonald's bag into the lavatory, and "another man, upon returning from the lavatory, reeked strongly of what smelled like toilet bowl chemicals."" OK, let me explain. In Middle East culture, it is customary to drink detergents and toilet bowl chemicals. It is considered a favorite snack in fact. But talking about Middle East culture: whatever you do, try to avid throwing shoes at people's faces. It is--for some odd reason--considered offensive. (thanks Mick)
Michael Ledeen has been urging for war on Iran. He promises you it will be a cakewalk.
When you think about some of the people who get to be presidents of the US. In the diaries of Ronald Reagan which have just been published: he reveals his biggest source of worry about the Middle East. It was Armageddon: I kid you not. For 8 years, this man was the most powerful person in the world. He was worried about Armageddon. ARMAGEDDON, for potato's sake.
I have my summer all planned now.
"The Saudi Arabian prisoner who apparently committed suicide at Guantanamo Bay this week was being held in isolation in the maximum-security Camp Five section."
Oh, yeah. Another brilliant idea by an Israel. She will reach the Arab minds and hearts through Mrs. Jalala Talabani. "Talabani and Livni spent several minutes discussing the peace process while they participated in a panel on the topic. In discussion with Talabani, Livni described the situation faced by residents of Sderot in Israel's south, who are terrorized daily by Qassam rockets fired from the nearby Gaza Strip."
"The Assault on Reason is, like much of what Gore has said over the years, essentially truthful. It is also the apparent product of a man desperate to display his erudition at every possible moment, appropriate or not. Virtually every major figure in the history of political theory turns in a cameo appearance, often making the same point someone else just made. Within the space of a few pages, we are treated to the wisdom of Louis Brandeis, Thomas Jefferson, Edmund Burke, John Donne, the German philosopher Jurgen Habermas and the Roman rhetorician Lactantius. One begins to wish that Bartlett's Quotations had gone out of print."
Even journalists with the state press give them hell: "Q: From this vantage point in Cairo it seems that the present crisis in Israel began with Israeli aggression against Lebanon. Could that crisis lead to further aggression against Lebanon?"
Fanatical Salafis. The thing about fanatical salafis is that they are still as obsessed with the specter of leftism as they were during the golden years of the Left. Today, Fath-Al-Islam gang made it very clear that they would not accept any mediation that include members of leftist Palestinian organizations.
Here is a Jewish fatwawawawa: "All civilians living in Gaza are collectively guilty for Kassam attacks on Sderot, former Sephardi chief rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu has written in a letter to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. Eliyahu ruled that there was absolutely no moral prohibition against the indiscriminate killing of civilians during a potential massive military offensive on Gaza aimed at stopping the rocket launchings." (thanks Ali and Mick)
Saudi propaganda sheet, Ash-Sharq Al-Awsat admits that there are "tens" of Saudi members in Fath-Al-Islam members. Of course, the Lebanese state will not dare to put them on trial. They will be promptly delivered to the Saudi State, which will appoint them to prominent positions in government.
"Iraq Is Korea? Bush's latest appalling historical analogy." They are so harsh on Mr. Bush. What is wrong with that analogy? He was misunderstood. He meant North Korea. He want to try to turn Iraq into another North Korea. Give him a break.
Does anybody know if the new international Hariri tribunal has a delivery service? Thanks.
Guess who has spoken his first words on the war in North Lebanon? Muhammad Dahlan. From his hospital bed, he claims that there is a "diabolical plot."
"While you were sleeping" by Husam `Itani.
A Syrian worker speaks about his fears in Lebanon: "I love Lebanon, but why do they treat us like this, I don't know."
There was a fight in `Ayn Al-Hilwah camp today between forces of Fath and forces of Jund Ash-Sham. That means that two sides funded and supported by Bahiyyah Al-Hariri were battling it out. It means that the Fath-Dahlan leadership, may be losing control of some of the fighters. The stance of Fath in Lebanon, in support of Lebanese Army attacks on Nahr Al-Barid camp, has been very unpopular among Palestinians in Lebanon.
I am watching mini-Hariri on LBC-TV as we speak. I could not help but think of the time that mini-Hariri met with Mr. Bush. I mean not only are the two so intellectually inept, but they don't know that. Growing up in rich families, they get inculcated with inflated self-esteem. I started imagining mini-Hariri and Mr. Bush discussing world affairs in the Oval Office. What an experience.
Ali did not like the post on "Israeli" Hummus. He wrote this:
I can't get over the hummus article. Look at the stupidity of the
Israeli orientalists:
"Messabha – An Arabic word, believed to derive from the word "morning" (subuh in Arabic). A dish that is almost identical to hummus but in different consistency: the chickpeas remain whole and are covered with tahini sauce and olive oil." I mean Mussabaha obviously comes from the root "sabh" (to swim/float) and is ALWAYS pronounced that way. The name comes from the consistency of the dish -- the chickpeas are swimming in the tahine. It has nothing to do with subh (morning)."
Maria (my 2nd ex) did not like what I wrote below about The White Man and Africa. She wrote to me: (Of course, I have her permission to cite).

"You rarely see articles on the death of the big apes, either. I'm serious--how often have you heard about the near-extinction of the bonobos? The White Man cares about how "cool" the animals in Africa are--but if it came to actually spending money and energy on saving them (which would require huge changes in lifestyle for most white people), the White Man is no more interested in doing that for the sake of animals than for the sake of other people. I just don't like the implication that caring about one means not caring about the other--truly caring about and fixing the problems that are killing the big apes would go a long way toward fixing the problems that are killing humans in Africa, too. It is all connected. It is all about caring more about money and status than about animals OR people."
"Land of hummus and pita: Ask any Israeli to point out one thing that embodies 'Israeliness'. Chances are nine out 10 will say 'hummus'." (thanks Rashid--shall I really thank you for this one, Rashid?)
I am administering a final as we speak, so I will have a minute to write something. It was quite ironic to see people in the streets of Beirut, who belong to the "sovereignty" faction, cheering and celebrating the passage of a UNSC resolution robbing Lebanon of one of the most important ingredient of its political sovereignty, namely its judicial authority (and monopoly over judicial powers and authority). Funny that the same Lebanese government quotes Weber when it is convenient (as in trying to disarm those Lebanese who wish to resist Israeli aggression in Lebanon) but has no qualms about surrendering its own authority and sovereigny--economically, militarily, politically all to maintain power and to undermine their rivals--or so they think. I don't want to be a party pooper (althouth that role is often understated in its potential pleasurableness and psychological rewards) but do people think that this resolution will do anything, except to make people more entrenched in their own positions? This is like thinking that UNSC 242 was all what was needed to end the Arab-Israeli conflict. And here we are 40 years later (regarding 242). And the resolution is meaningless because unlike the case of Sierra Leone there is no United Nations troops that can implement the resolution (the UNIFIL has a very specific mandate and they will get in real trouble if they try to overstep their boundaries). Like, imagine if the international tribunal summons some powerful Lebanese leader (in Hizbullah or Amal or others): what will happen. Who will bring them to the court in that nice hotel in Cyprus? What? Sanyurah will send his impressive Internal Security Forces which ran away in the street of Tropoli when they tried to go after a small fanatic gang (the Fath-Al-Islam)? The Hariri revenge campaign continues, but it will neither achieve peace nor perservation of power for that lovely family. I see a point in the futre where the Hariri family will be driven out of Lebanon--a Lebanon in flames nevertheless. I have been pessmistic about Lebanon at the height of the "Cedar Revolution" when articles in the US press were celebrating the new peace of Lebanon. It was not too long time ago when columnists in the Washington Post and New York Times (in fact, Hassan Fattah was seen in the streets of Beirut jumping up and down at the time to the tunes of Sami Clark's songs) thought that they finally were able to validate the Bush doctrine. That alas was not meant to be. Let us face it: all are fighting dirty in Lebanon, and will be fiighting dirty some more. The Syrian regime is fighting dirty because it was humiliatingly kicked out of Lebanon. The Israeli regime has been fighting dirty in Lebanon and elsewhere ever since that state was established in Palestine (a wise friend defined Zionists the other day for me: it refers to those who believe "that Palestine should be Israel"--very succinct indeed). And the US is fighting dirty hoping a surge in Lebanon will achieve for Mr. Bush what a surge in Iraq has not achieved and will not achieve. And Iran will be ready to fight dirty if the regime is threatened by the US although I rule out an attack by the US. We are getting close to the presidential election year and Mr. Bush is mightily constrained by that and by 44 other factors. And then the Lebanese sects: they always fight dirty to increase power (or keep it): and to further the aims of the sectarian leaders of each sect. The stalemate in Nahr Al-Barid is likely to continue: and the grandstanding by the Lebanese Army and its supporters who so desperately want to convince themselves that they have a real homeland will only increase. The Lebanese Army has just received a shipment of US night goggles: that worries me a great deal. This is an Army that can't shoot straight during the day: I can only imagine it shooting at night. That is not what we need in Lebanon for sure (although the Lebanese Army soldiers will look funny wearing night goggles). Maybe they should have the Army train to how to defend Lebanon's borders from Israeli aggressions and invasions. OK, I have to run now.
The poem Promises of the Storm by Palestinian poet Mahmud Darwish (my translation):
"So let it be...
I have to reject death
and to burn the tears of
the songs that are soaked with blood
and to strip naked the olive trees
from all the fake bushes
And if I am singing for joy
from behind the frightened
it is because the storm
promised me wine...
and new toasts
and rainbows
and because the storm
brushed away the sound
of lazy birds
and the borrowed bushes
from the standing trees
And let it be...
I have to brag about you,
o, wound of the city
You are the portrait of
lightening in our
sad nights
The street frowns at my face
and you protect me from
the shadow and the looks
of hate
I will sing for joy
from behind the frightened
since the storm hit
my homeland
It promised me wine,
and rainbows"
I know how much Lebanese like rankings, so this is a ranking of Global Peace Index. (Notice that the least safe countries are ones where the Bush Doctrine is particularly active). And if you give the Hariri family (and Mr. Bush) more time, I really believe that Lebanon can overtake Iraq as the least safe in the entire region.
You will not read this in the US press. Maryam Nimr Halawi (35) was picking za`tar with her husband in Qa`qa`iyyat Al-Jisr near Nabatiyyah in South Lebanon when she walked over an Israeli cluster bomb. She was taken to a hospital, and her leg was amputated.
Today, the Lebanese Army flew one of its planes over the Nahr Al-Barid camp. As is well-known, the Lebanese Air Force now is comprised of 3 planes and 45 kites. The announcement today stated that the plane was equipped with bombs. I am not making this up. (thanks Karim)
Newly discovered humanity by Israeli liberals: "On the same day the resolution was approved, however, the presidents of four Israeli universities — Ben-Gurion University, Hebrew University, Haifa University and the Technion — joined with authors including Amos Oz and David Grossman in urging the Israeli defense establishment to end a ban that prevents Palestinian students from traveling from Gaza to the West Bank to study." But the article itself note: "Their announcement made reference to the consideration of a boycott by the British union." So it is all about what is good for the occupiers. That is the criterion. How convenient, as one character on Saturday Night Live used to say. HOW CONVENIENT.
This is an article about "Jihadist groups" among the Palestinians. Of course, nobody has been able to provide evidence of the existence of Al-Qa`idah among Palestinians no matter how hard Israeli intelligence work at fabricating evidence. The article should at least have contemplated the possibility that some groups in Gaza and the West Bank (I don't now who, and I can't identify the culprits) may be behind those stories in order to increase the aid they receive from US and Israel. (In fact, Mouin tried to tell them: "Mr. Rabbani, the Jordan-based analyst, said “it’s very unclear whether any jihadist elements have managed to infiltrate the Gaza Strip, and I suspect if so, it’s minimal, and probably not at all.”)
"On May 23, the Saudi owned daily Asharq Al Awsat reported: "Dr Abd-al-Wahid al-Humayd, under secretary for planning and development at the Labour Ministry, has said that there are half a million unemployed Saudis and that the number of unemployed persons who committed crimes increased by 320 per cent between 1989 and 1995, according to a study conducted by the Work Force Council together with the Crime Research Centre at the Interior Ministry in 1997. Al-Humayd said this in statements to Asharq Al Awsat during the seventh open meeting for national dialogue, which was held by the King Abd-al-Aziz Centre for Intellectual Dialogue under the title "Fields of Work and Employment: Dialogue Between Society and Labour Enterprises" at Dhahran International Hotel in the city of Dhahran yesterday." (thanks to Paul and Mideast wire)
Elie (who suffered from Hummus shivers during the Cedar Revolution) sent this: "I got back from Lebanon a couple of days ago. All the supporters of the Lebanese forces are very very eager for a war. I knew that but I was shocked at how excited they seem when they talk about it (I spoke to 4 and all 4 wanted a battle). Of course they still think they should have their own canton. What is interesting is that they were convinced that they can defeat hizballah in 24 hours. Their logic is that the da7ieh will be encircled between druze, sunni and christian areas. It is quite scary and I don't see how a war can be avoided if some people are so excited about having one. These people seemed willing to do anything to have their war."

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

"...the Israeli trio had failed to appreciate that, on any day of the week, the average Lebanese is rather more sophisticated, clever, descent, and patriotic than many Israeli or American politicians give them credit for." That is excluding the Gemayyels, of course, and the entire political class. (thanks Yasmine)
"Some of the most notorious Nazi concentration camps, now run as museums, could soon demand an entrance fee from visitors to help to finance educational facilities. The prospect of paying to enter Dachau, where SS guards used to issue threats to inmates that they would leave only through the chimneys of the crematorium, has created controversy in Germany as the country considers how best to acknowledge its past."
"Those fatalities and two others announced Tuesday brought the U.S. troop death toll in May to 117, making it the deadliest month for American forces this year, and the bloodiest since the battles for Fallouja in April and November 2004, according to, a website that tracks casualties in Iraq. Violence in Diyala has been on the rise even before the Feb. 13 launch of the U.S. troop buildup in Baghdad. U.S. forces have found themselves battling multiple factions, including members of former dictator Saddam Hussein's Baath Party, foreign-led Al Qaeda forces, and Shiite Muslim militias, which the U.S. military says use armor-piercing bombs."
US deaths in Iraq.
Let me say this to Tariq Mitri: this will prove to be a dumb prediction. ""This is the path of the salvation of Lebanon," Culture Minister Tarek Mitri told the council." And what is this language? What does salvation mean in international relations? This is common among sectarian leaders in Lebanon (of all sects) they mix theology with diplomacy.
"The Security Council "cannot be seen to be taking sides in internal Lebanese politics," Dumisani Kumalo, South Africa's U.N. ambassador, told the council. He said there is a danger that the council's "imposition" of the court on Lebanon's divided political leadership will undercut "the political stability of an already fragile Lebanese state.""
When will Arab unions show such courage? "South Africa's largest trade union federation will launch a campaign against "the Israeli occupation of Arab lands" this week, demanding that Pretoria impose a boycott on all Israeli goods and break diplomatic relations. South African Intelligence Minister Ronnie Kasrils, who is Jewish, told Haaretz that he actively supported the initiative - which contradicts the policy of his own cabinet."
"The Pakistani military's private business empire could be worth as much as £10bn, according to a ground-breaking study. Retired and serving officers run secretive industrial conglomerates, manufacture everything from cement to cornflakes, and own 12m acres [4.8m hectares] of public land, says Dr Ayesha Siddiqa, author of Military Inc: Inside Pakistan's Military Economy." Reminds me of the Egyptian military.
It is not true that the White Man does not care about Africa. Not true at all.
Samah Idris: on Kurdistan, the model.
I am not making this up. The Internal Security Forces in Lebanon (the fancy name for the Hariri militia) issued an official statement in which it said that all the rumors that are sweeping Lebanon are "false and have no relationship to the truth." It added that those who seek the "truth" should turn to Hariri rag, Al-Mustaqbal.
A reader fulfilled my wish (see post below). Here is a painting by George Corm from the Sursuq Museum exhibit in Beirut. (thanks Ziyad)
This week I learned that the son of Rif`at Al-Asad (read what I have written about him in the archives including about his gift to my father (of an AK 47), and the thuggery and brutality of his forces in Lebanon during the civil war years), Ribal, has set up shop in Tripoli, ostensibly with the support of the Hariri family. He named his organization Al-Fursan (the name of the notorious forces of his father), but today denied to As-Safir that it is a militia.
There is an exhibit of the work of George Corm in the Sursuq museum in Beirut. If somebody in Lebanon has visited and taken digital pictures, please send me. Thanks. (Oh, and I want them NOW).
These are part of the unmourned deaths in Lebanon. An Ethiopian domestic worker, Piza Fashu (born in 1985) hung herself with an electric cable in the house of her employer in Kusba (in Kurah). As usual, the Lebanese police will not investigate because the maids are classified by the Lebanese state as non-persons.
Our statement against the war on the Nahr Al-Barid camp today appeared in Al-Akhbar.
"An evolutionary biologist from Rutgers University said he was told that a talk he was scheduled to give at Harvard University Friday was canceled because he compared Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz to a Nazi last week in a letter to the editor published in the Wall Street Journal." (thanks Sobhi)
I have always said this. It seems that Americans overall are more tolerant of my criticisms of the US, than the Lebanese are of my criticisms of Lebanon.
I have been grading, so I don't know that answer to this. Is Mr. Bush still making progress in Iraq?
It was ironic to watch the quasi-debate at the United Nations Security Council today. Was it amusing to watch the delegate of South Africa defend the Lebanese constitution and sovereignty while the Lebanese delegate was pleading for the UN to violate the sovereignty of Lebanon? Lebanon today has the equivalent of Babrak Karmal government.
My car insurance was supposed to call me today. I am warning you. If they don't call me back before the end of the day, I will have the United Security Council pass another resolution for another Lebanese. You may consider it another "gift from the UN to the Lebanese people." Thanks, UN, again.
When Fu'ad Sanyurah was reading his speech after the passage of the UNSC resolution for the formation of the Hariri tribunal (also known as the UN "gift to the Lebanese people," according to Raghidah Dirgham) he was exercising iron will-power. I swear, I could see on his face that he was telling himself: whatever you do, o Fu'ad (who can speak English), just don't cry. DON'T CRY. He tried hard to the very end, until his voicing started cracking when he mentioned Rafig Hariri.
An eye witness account from North Lebanon (thanks Emily)
This just in. Gizelle Khuri revealed on LBC-TV that the French government has been planning on forming its own French tribunal for...Lebanon. Advocates of sovereignty have more reason to celebrate now.
Today, the Gemayyel family (following the passage of the UNSC resolution on the Hariri tribunal) visited the tomb of Bashir Gemayyel's tomb in Bikfayya. What? They think that the tribunal will also find and punish the killers of Bashir? Who knows. Maybe the killer of Marat will also be found and punished.
It looks like another (sex) tourist season is undermined in Lebanon. People I know are canceling their trips to Lebanon. My mother, based on what she referred to as "the mother's hunch," pleaded with me to cancel my trip in July.
Lebanon is an odd formulation of a fiction of a "nation." It is a place where people shout the loudest about sovereignty and yet every violation of sovereignty is treated by most Lebanese as a victory of some sorts, as an affirmation of the independence of the country. Now, I am waiting for the oxygen masks to drop from my ceiling.
ADC is holding its convention. I thought that I would share with you some elements of the delicious program:
"Celebrate Women! Honoring the Accomplishments of Women
Featured Guests
• HE Hunaina Sultan Ahmed Al Mughairy, Ambassador of Sultanate of Oman to the US
• Sheikha Rima Al-Sabah, Wife of Ambassador of the State of Kuwait to the US
• Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur (D-OH)....
Keynote Speaker: Her Majesty Queen Rania Al-Abdullah* of Jordan, Recipient, ADC
Global Humanitarian Award
State of Qatar, Recipient, Global Benevolence Award for Compassion to Victims of
Hurricane Katrina....
Federal Employment: Challenges and Opportunities
This panel is being sponsored by the US Army National Guard
Facilitator: Nawar Shora, ADC Director Diversity Education and Law Enforcement
• Shaarik Zaafar, DHS Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties
• George Piro, FBI
• Haytham Faraj, US Marine Corps (Judge Advocate General), Former ADC Intern
• CPT Hatem Abdine, Army National Guard...
Distinguished Guests
• Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH)
• Congressman Nick Rahall (D-WV)
• Former Senator Mike Gravel (D-AK)
• Former Congressman Paul Findley (R-IL)
• Senator Joseph Biden* (D-DE)
• Senator Hillary Clinton* (D-NY)
• Senator Chris Dodd* (D-CT)
• Former Senator John Edwards* (D-NC)
• Senator John McCain* (R-AZ)
• Senator Barack Obama* (D-IL)
• Congressman Ron Paul* (R-TX)
• New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson* (D-NM)
• Former Wisconsin Governor & Former Secretary of Health and
Human Services (HHS) Tommy Thompson* (R-WI)
• Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney* (R-MA)"

Of course, none of the "distinguished guests" will appear with the exception of Paul Findley.
Objective Arab Journalism. The New York correspondent of Al-Hayat-LBC-TV, Raghidah Dirgham, just said on LBC-TV that the new UNSC resolution is "a gift from the United Nations to all the Lebanese people." Oh, really? Thanks, United Nations. And if you, o United Nations, really want to give me a gift: I would like a blender with 10 speeds. You may send it to my office address. Oh, can you also send me another gift? One of those Philips plasma TV? Thanks, United Nations.
Don't be surprised at the foolishness exhibited by those Lebanese who now think that the UNSC resolution will end all their problems. I remember back in 1982 when some Lebanese even thought that the Israeli invasion of Lebanon would end all of their problems.
Just think of the harm that the Rafiq Hariri family has done to Lebanon.
"Amnesty International is particularly concerned about the army's use of artillery and other heavy weapons, including tank fire, against heavily-populated areas...There are reports of the army's use of heavy weaponry, including tanks. The casualties included at least 13 civilians - the real figure is likely to be higher..." By the way, all Lebanese media are still repeating the lie invented by the Lebanese government that "only one" Palestinian civilian has been killed by the Lebanese Army's shelling of the camp.
The UNSC council has just passed a resolution to establish an international tribunal to find and punish the killers of Rafiq Hariri. As is well-known, this tribunal will 1) end all manners of Syrian intervention in Lebanon; 2) finally produce a sovereign and free Lebanon; 3) force the Lebanese to love one another; 4) will also produce unprecedented prosperity for all the Lebanese; 5) will address the underlying causes of all conflicts in Lebanon; 6) will undermine sectarianism in society and in the Lebanese political system; 7) will end the massive corruption that plagues the Lebanese administration; 8) will ensure that all Lebanese groups and militias are disarmed; 9) will defeat the Iranian plot in the region. However, the tribunal, as is well-known, will not find nor will it punish the killers of Rafiq Hariri although the UN investigative team is examining soil samples in Saudi Arabia. Stay tuned.
"A. B. Krongard, who was the executive director of the C.I.A., the No. 3 post at the agency, from 2001 to 2004, ...acknowledged that the agency had to create an interrogation program from scratch in 2002 [... and] said officers quickly consulted counterparts in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Israel and other countries to compile a “catalog” of techniques said to be effective against Arab and Muslim prisoners. [...] Mr. Krongard even recalls receiving a proposal for help with questioning Qaeda suspects from an American dentist who said he “could create pain no human being could withstand. (thanks Regan)
"As for academic freedom, it should be remembered that the situation has long involved the denial of Palestinians' academic freedom. The point of the boycott, which will certainly involve forms of institutional disruption, is to end this vicious discrimination and the massive and structural violation of academic freedom involved. The boycott, moreover, will encourage and give protection to Israeli academics critical of academic complicity and occupation, and stands in solidarity with Palestinians whose freedoms have long been repressed." (thanks Laleh)
Lebanese nationalism, exposed. One of the Lebanese people who regularly wrote comments on my site, was rather revealed as of late. Prior to the conflict, he used to write really thoughtful and analytical pieces in the comments' section. He was always polite and civil, and I engaged him a few times. As soon as the Lebanese Army attacks on the Nahr Al-Barid refugee camp began, he revealed his true self: he started writing the most racist, crude, vulgar, sexist, and outright violent commentaries on Lebanon. It does not take much to scratch the facade of civility among Lebanese nationalists.
Today I heard Zalmay Khalilzad about the Hariri tribunal. He went on against assassinations. I believe him. His government has taken a categorical stance against assassinations of any kind. The US government to my knowledge has never EVER assassinated anybody, anywhere.
This just in. I received word from a colleague in UK that "British academics' union has just voted for a boycott of Israel universities!"
Update: "Delegates at the inaugural UCU congress voted this afternoon in favour of a motion calling for 'the full text of the Palestinian boycott call to all branches for information and discussion'.The delegates earlier overwhelmingly (just one vote against) voted to accept the recommendations of a report from a body set up in the fallout of the 2005 decision by AUT to impose an academic boycott of Israel."
Today, an official statement by the Lebanese Army made a reference to the Lebanese Army's Operations Command Center. Fortunately, for my readers, I had written a post last year about the Center with a picture of the Center.
Fighting Terrorism: Lebanese style. Today, the Lebanese Army and Internal Security Forces announced new rules and regulations for fighting terrorism. All motorcycles will now be banned at night, and fireworks are banned too.
"In support of the resolutions to be debated Wednesday, though, a group called the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel called Israeli universities “an integral and complicit part of the structures of oppression in Israel.”"
"While billions are spent each year to upgrade satellites and other high-tech spy machinery, the experts say, interrogation methods — possibly the most important source of information on groups like Al Qaeda — are a hodgepodge that date from the 1950s, or are modeled on old Soviet practices."
Thomas Friedman: "Man, was I wrong about Iran." Angry Arab: Man, you were wrong about Iraq. Man, you were wrong about Palestine. Man, you were wrong about Egypt. Man, you were wrong about Lebanon. Man, you were wrong about the Middle East. Man, you were wrong about the world. Man, you are wrong.
The refugees from Nahr Al-Barid have been protesting as of late, and yesterday, they set some shipment of aid on fire.
Why the US will now support Mubarak-forever campaign: "...quotes from declassified CIA operational cables that suggest that al-Libi had been brutally tortured by the Egyptian intelligence service and coerced into making his claims about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction training for Al Qaeda. The cables indicate that al-Libi told agency debriefers in February 2004 that he “fabricated” his story about the weapons training only after his Egyptian interrogators crammed him into a tiny box for 17 hours. His account appears to be the first public description of a controversial “aggressive” interrogation technique called a “mock burial,” in which interrogators make their subjects believe they are being buried alive in a bid to elicit information."
I have no comment. Just look at it. And remember it the next time you hear a speech by an American or British official that mentions the word "democracy" or even claims to fight terrorism.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

I have not seen this in any Lebanese or Arab newspaper. An item in the Saudi newspaper, Al-Watan, reports that the UN committee investigating the Hariri assassination has been examining soil samples in Saudi Arabia.
The Hariri family brings its monstrous urban mutilation to Amman (thanks Ali)
Guess who now cares about...Darfur?
"Bob Shrum's book has already caused its share of trouble for John Edwards, in part from Shrum's recollection that Edwards wasn't comfortable with gay people in 1998. But the book is really sort of a pile of unexploded ordnance, and the person who comes off as most indifferent to questions of gay rights isn't Edwards, but Bill Clinton. A version of this story is already in print. In 2004, Newsweek reported, without a named source, that Bill Clinton had suggested Kerry "to back local bans on gay marriage."
"With all due respect for the 'blue box'"
This writer in Haaretz plagiarized the headline from London Times without giving credit.
"Since March 2004, when the charred bodies of four American security guards were dragged through the streets of Falluja, private security in Iraq has become a multibillion dollar business for a handful of US and UK companies. For the hired ex-soldier earning up to $1,000 (£500) a day, it is also the most dangerous job in the world. More than 900 have been killed in the past three years, the majority of them American. The Pentagon estimates there are about 20,000 armed security guards in the country although some observers have put the figure much higher."
I received a message from activists in Lebanon that "UNRWA is planning to build temporary shelters for Palestinians outside the Bared camp which means the fate of the camp will be similar to Tall Az-Zaatar."
Do you see this old man? He was injured in Nahr Al-Barid camp. Do you know that he was a military commander of the Fath-Al-Islam gang?
A racist (in name and objective) Lebanese facebook group has over 700 members. It has as its heroes, the militia leaders who killed Palestinian refugees (among others) during the Lebanese civil war. The second site, states "Sabra w chatila was a huge mistake!!! it left some of those worms alive:)" (thanks Samer) Maybe now my readers understand my position better: I understand all too well the racism of Lebanese nationalism.
My friends and comrades in Lebanon: who are helping the displaced Palestinian refugees. I salute them all.
Genetic Superiority of the Lebanese people Update. As you know, I monitor LBC-TV and An-Nahar newspaper (the first is the TV station of the Lebanese Forces militia, while the second is the right-wing, sectarian Christian, anti-Syrian (people), anti-Palestinian (people) newspaper) because they keep up with international evidence of the genetic superiority of the Lebanese people. An-Nahar specializes, for example, in regular features about those gifted Lebanese who seem to almost monthly "invent" cures for cancer. Here, there is an item about Dr. Rock Mhanna (don't tell me you have not heard of him?) who won (unanimously no less) the prize of The Best Researcher in the Strategy of Business Administration and Economics in the Middle East at the "international conference" that was held in the Malaysian island of Panang. If this will not impress you, nothing will.
PS Thanks to one reader, we know more about Dr. Mhanna. Apparently he is "Professor of Strategy and International Business at major universities in the U.S. and Lebanon."
And my favorite part is this: "Occasionally, he writes the Economic Column in major newspapers." Occasionally? Does that mean that whenever he feels like it?
Our second statement on the developments in Nahr Al-Barid.
Here is an English translation (I will put the French translation in the comments' section): (thanks to Zeina for English translation, and to Ghada for French translation).

Bayan/Statement 2
Accusations and Appeals
We, the undersigned:
Accuse the majority of our Lebanese leaders of using the Palestinian people and its resistance for their sectarian and petty agendas.
We accuse them of covering up the attack on an over-populated Palestinian-Lebanese camp by using the slogan of ‘sovereignty,” that is often employed in Lebanon against the weak and the poor.
We accuse them of adhering to a fascist ideology similar to the one that justified the siege of Tal Al-Zaatar and Dbayyeh camps in the mid-seventies, and of adopting Bush’s discourse on terror, as if the Palestinian people as a whole are supposed to carry the burden of a gang that Lebanese authorities themselves admit has no popular base in the camp.
We accuse them of covering up the creation of a security apparatus that is not subject to the jurisdiction and monitoring of the people and their representatives; just like those, who falsely claim sovereignty today, covered up the security apparatus during the period of the Syrian-regime’s control in Lebanon.
We accuse the 14 of March group in particular of propagating a project/plan that targets the arms of the Lebanese and Palestinian resistance, while reinforcing the weaponization of sectarian gangs. Such a policy will undoubtedly lead to an intensification of the conflict in Lebanon to the benefit of the Imperialist project spanning Morocco to Afghanistan.
We accuse part of the ‘opposition’ of standing silent vis-a-vis the plans of the ruling dynasty simply because they are targeting a ‘sect’ that currently has no protection in Lebanon –namely, the Palestinian people. We also accuse part of the opposition of regurgitating the discourse of hostility against the Palestinian people.
We accuse many of the Lebanese of closing their shelters and schools to the Palestinian refugees escaping from Nahr al-Barid camp, while Palestinian camps had opened their doors wide to the Lebanese displaced during the summer Israeli war on Lebanon.
We accuse our liberal intellectuals of propagating a discourse of sovereignty and revenge instead of solidarity, citizenship, and true humanity. We accuse them of hypocrisy when they condemn the killing of Israeli civilians, but do not lift a finger at raizing a camp on its inhabitants. In addition, we accuse them of advocating human rights in only one Arab country.
We accuse Lebanese ‘nationalism’, which attempts to build a country on the shattered pieces of the victims of random bombing of Nahr Al-Barid camp, of despicable racism.
We condemn some of the Palestinian leadership who due to sectarian, material and shameful interests, have worked to cover up this ongoing war.
We accuse the fanatical salafis (supported and funded by the same entities that support and fund the current ruling Lebanese government) of spreading hatred, sectarianism, the culture of ‘takfeer’, exclusion, and one-dimensionality.
We accuse those Lebanese who claim that the American aerial bridge is an innocent or humanitarian act of political naivety at best, and complying with the escalating war at worst.
Based on what was presented above, we demand:

  1. An end to all acts of war against Nahr al-Barid camp and a rejection to invade the inhabited camp.
  2. That the Lebanese Army’s leadership reassert that it is Israel, not the Palestinian people, that is the enemy (not the 'neighbor').
  3. A condemnation of the sectarian agitation that has become the normal strategy of the ruling dynasty especially since the north elections in 2005.
  4. Working to change the current inhuman circumstances in the Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon, and providing the Palestinian people in Lebanon all civil rights until their eventual return to their homeland, Palestine.
  5. Ending all meaningless talk of ‘Lebanese services’ to the Palestinian cause, given that significant political actors in Lebanon have transformed this country into a den of conspiring against the Palestinian cause.
  6. That national and democratic parties, loyal to the long history of Lebanese-Palestinian common struggle, take the initiative to save the camp and its inhabitants.
Sa`ud Al-Mawla (a Hariri supporter) wrote an article yesterday in Hariri rag, Al-Mustaqbal, on the Salafi movement. Today, he basically was made to apologize for not being sensitive enough to the Salafi movement. (Saudi embassy must have protested).
Yesterday, on the same day, the Lebanese government, the Mauritanian government, and the Algerian government uncovered plots by Al-Qa`idah. Either Al-Qa`idah has become suddenly powerful, or those government now benefit from the new business of "fighting terrorism."
Don't you like it when you hear US officials declare their support for "the democratically elected government of Fu'ad Sanyurah"? I like it. I mean, the US has always been a stickler for democratically elected governments. This explains US support for the democratically elected governments of Muhammad Mossadeq and Salvador Allende. It also explains current US policies of support for the democratically elected Hashemite monarchy, the Mubarak dynasty, the House of Saud, etc. Oh, yeah. Don't be cynical. It is all about democracy.
Neither Bush, nor Bin Laden. Neither Bush, nor Saddam. Neither Bush, nor Taliban. Neither the Lebanese Army, nor Fath-Al-Islam.
PS Neither Pepsi, nor Coke. Neither paper, nor plastic.
From a poem by Palestinian poet Tawfiq Zayyad (my translation)
"My land..! My friends!..
My stolen treasure..! My history..
The bones of my father and
grandfather are denied to me,
so how can I forgive?
If they mount the gallows for
me...I am not forgiving
These green villages of ours
have all become our blood
and scattered traces
Ones have remained
and still fighting
with nails...
Do not tell not tell me..!
Even tombstones have been scattered."
"Taliban militants ambushed U.S.-led coalition forces in southern Afghanistan, sparking a 10-hour battle and airstrikes that killed an estimated two dozen militants, the coalition said Monday. Villagers, however, said seven civilians were among the dead."
Much to comment about but I am still grading.
The brave Lebanese Army is a bit tense, it seems. The soldiers have killed 5 civilians at checkpoints in the last 24 hours.
I have never EVER seen or heard of a foreign occupation that is as sensitive to the country that it occupies as the American occupation of Iraq. Really. Look at this: " Some of the missions are so touchy that they require the approval of Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki. Officials in Washington and Iraq said he had been briefed in advance on missions that carry a high risk of civilian casualties or of provoking reprisals....“Suffice it to say that what would be considered sensitive or important individuals or locations, we consult with the prime minister whenever possible,” one officer said. “Depending on who, it may fall into a category that we take that information to the prime minister before so that he can weigh in on the decision process.” “This is also an issue of sovereignty,” the officer added."
"C-17 Globemaster III crews of the 816th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron delivered bullets to Beirut as part of a short notice ammunition re-supply tasking in support of the Lebanese military. The 816th EAS, a tenant unit of the 379th Air Expeditionary Wing based out of Southwest Asia, was given the order to deliver ammunition to the Rafic Harari International Airport in Beirut. The delivery was critical to the Lebanon Armed Forces due to a rise in hostilities this week. "We're happy to support national security objectives and provide support to the Lebanese military for their effort in fighting terrorism," said Capt. Judd Baker, 816th EAS aircraft commander and a Charlotte N.C., native who flew a 10 hour mission from the evening of May 25 through the morning of May 26. "It's makes perfect sense to me that we would be tasked with this mission. The C-17 is the best instrument for cargo delivery in the military inventory.""
Sometimes, Walid Jumblat, cracks himself up. (thanks Hicham)
"Justice Minister Daniel Friedmann proposed Tuesday that Israel accept refugees from Darfur, stating that Israel must adhere to the principles of "biblical compassion."" He said that it would be good for Israel's image to keep on killing Palestinians, while claiming to care for Darfur refugees. (thanks Maryam)
And here I thought that the ADC has not taken a strong stand against the Lebanese Army attack on the Nahr Al-Barid refugee camp. I was mistaken. "The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) is happy to announce that the Axis of Evil Comedy Tour will perform at the Annual National Convention as the special Saturday panel."
"Blair arrives in Libya with praise for Gadafy" (thanks Ali)
"Iraqi Refugees Turn to the Sex Trade in Syria"
The results of the Syrian presidential election are in: Bashshar Al-Asad received 97.62% of the vote. All those who did not vote for him are now being chased down. The violators will be placed in tires (a favorite form of torture by the Syrian Ba`thist regime), and beaten up.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Ilyas Khuri rules: the "US project" has nothing to do with the developments in Lebanon. So the US military planes transporting arms and ammunitions are...not related to Lebanon? OK. So it is all about a Syrian conspiracy. OK. So if you believe in a Syrian conspiracy in Lebanon, you are a leftist and show signs of civilization. And if you believe in an American or Saudi conspiracy in Lebanon, you are an agent of the Syrian regime? I now understand the logic of the Harri alliance.
Liyanah Badr, the wife of Yasir `Abd-Rabbuh and a writer in her own right (although I am not a fan), was on Al-Arabiya TV. She has been fortunate to receiving funding for her recent movies from he Ministry of Culture in the PA (the Minister was her husband). She said that she makes an effort to have all her movies appear in English and French because she wants to show "a humanitarian resistance" to Israeli occupation. She said that the Palestinian should speak "a humanitarian language." How nice. How civilized.
Brother by Lebanese poet Mikha'il Nu`aymah--he wrote it in 1917--(I have written about him in an earlier post and about my meeting with him at the age of 12) (my translation):
"Brother, if a Westerner brags
after the war about his exploits,
and if he honors the memory of
the dead and glorifies the violence
his heroes,
Do not celebrate those who prevailed,
and do not despise those who fell,
but bow down like me, with a bloodied
and modest heart
to cry over the lot of our dead
Brother, if a soldiers returns home
after the war
to his homeland
and if he throws his exhausted body
in the lap of his kinsfolk,
Do not ask if you return home
for kinsfolk
Because hunger did not leave us
but the ghosts of our dead
to converse with
Brother, if a farmer returns home
to till the land,
and to build after a long absence
a hut destroyed by a cannon
our streams have dried up,
and humiliation smashed our
and the enemy only left us
the corpses of our dead
as plants in the land
Brother, what happened would
not have happened without our will,
misery has spread, and we could
have prevented it
Do not mourn, the ears of others
do not hear our grievances
But follow me, to dig a trench
with a shovel
to bury our dead
Brother, who are we? No homeland,
no folks, and no neighbor
If we sleep, if we rise up, we are
covered with shame and dishonor
Life has stunk with us, as it has
with our dead
Bring the shovel and follow me
to dig another trench,
to bury our living..."
The Thieves by Iraqi poet Nazik Al-Mala'ikah (my translation):
"It is the night; all the borders
sank in its pitch-darkness
and it wrapped the existence
O, Arab beware
The desolute open ranges
are filled with the steps of enemies
from behind the banks of
the Euphrates and the Gulf,
to San`a'
And numerous thives,
all are greedy and deceptive
They came from behind the seas
stealing the food of the hungry
They descended upon the dark-skinned
stealing furits and dates
taking away the ground and air
capturing dew and light
They will deprive you, if they can
the green of the smiling trees
suffocating the tender songs
preventing sleep and dream
They are blocking the road,
obstructing all paths
Wake up, Ye noble Arab"
Yellow Press by Iraqi poet `Abdul-Wahab Al-Bayyati* (my translation):
"Yellow papers these days
are distributing titles
kissing the hands of killers
wiping doorsteps
bestowing on quasi-men
and tales,
unconditional certificates
of absolution
throwing sand on
readers' faces
and the noise of flies
can be heard in its
lazy lines
and dogs bark in its rivers
its heroes are the forgers
of currency, history, and ideas
and the players with ropes
and the confidants/clowns
and the choir of evil and nasty
I saw them on every land
that is pregnant with
lightening and rain
under the shoes of toilers
and the hand of revolutionaries
those who lower the flags
in their eyes are
humiliation and shame
for the sea water to wash off the shame"
*A member of the Bayyati family sent me an email the last time I posted a poem by the poet. She said that it should be Bayati. She said: "
The name Al-Bayati refers to membership in one of the divisions of the Bayat tribe, which can be found in Iraq, Iran and Turkey and which can be Sunni or Shiite and Turkman, Kurd, or Arab (linguistically and now politically-speaking). It is thought that the Bayat arrived in Iraq with the Oghuz Turks. There are individuals called Bayati in Iraq, Bayat in Iran and BayatlI in Turkey. Nice people. I married one of their finest some 46 years ago. According to the family of my husband, Saadoun, bayat translates as “the people who camped overnight.”
" If this is your first time here, please sign our Guest Book."

Sulayman Franjiyyah made a good point today. He noted that the father of Abu Jandal admitted in front of the TV cameras that the family is a supporter of Hariri Inc.
So Lebanese Army checkpoint shot at civilians in car near Beirut airport. Two civilians were killed. To justify the deed, the Lebanese government issued a statement in which it said that one of the victims was wanted for forging some documents.
London Times had this headline: "Great Satan sits down with the Axis of Evil"
"Many Lebanese have rallied behind the army, with volunteers from nearby villages offering to go into the camp and fight. This week, several refugees told of Lebanese Sunnis from the surrounding areas shooting at them as they fled. On the website in recent days, young Lebanese have created a multitude of discussion groups, with several posts containing racist remarks against the refugees."
"U.S. military leaders in Iraq are increasingly convinced that most of the broad political goals President Bush laid out early this year in his announcement of a troop buildup will not be met this summer and are seeking ways to redefine success."
The results of the Syrian elections are hours away. I don't know about you, but I am getting more anxious by the minute. This is probably the closest election that I have observed in my lifetime. I wonder how the candidates (or candidate) is holding up. Did you hear the story about a Syrian citizen who went to the Syrian embassy in Yemen and declared his intention to register his candidacy for the presidency? Upon hearing his request, a Syrian diplomat beat him up. Is that a true story? Somebody said it on an Arab satellite station, I am told.
"Police have prevented Muslim burial at the foot of the Temple Mount for several months."
When I was growing up, Lebanese nationalists went crazy when sometime in the early 1970s, a Lebanese woman won the silly Ms. Universe title. It was a huge event in Lebanon for several years, confirming to some Lebanese some of their national delusions: that they are smarter and more beautiful than all other peoples around them. The woman in question, Georgina Rizq, later married the Fath leader, Abu Hasan Salamah (who was later assassinated by Israeli terrorists--who used a massive car bomb to kill him in a crowded neighborhood during the day); and that infuriated Lebanese nationalists. (She is now married to the Lebanese singer, Walid Tawfiq). Why am I telling you this? I don't know; I saw something about Ms. Universe and that reminded me. Do you have a problem with that?
Mr. Bush was the first president to declare Iran as part of a diabolical "axis of evil." This week, he became the first president to launch direct talks with the Iranian government since 1980. Oh, it is all part of a strategic vision that he has. Oh, yeah.
Cedar Revolutionaries. Unknown Lebanese kidnapped a Syrian person in Lebanon, and after robbing him, they tied his hands and feet, and put a plastic tape on his mouth.
Flash. A conspiracy revealed. Prince Nayif (Saudi Interior Minister) reveals that "some foreign parties are targeting his country and its people, especially those popular elements with weak spirits to seduce them in order to 'be drawn into what is against their religion and their country.'" Beware.
Everybody in the Arab world (and in the West) is aware that Al-Qa`idah has specialized in attacks on civilians worldwide, and that it has never helped the Palestinians in their struggle. In fact, this very factor explains the failure of Al-Qa`idah in attracting any support among the Arab masses, especially among the Palestinians. Yet, this House of Saud columnist insists that Al-Qa`idah's aim in Lebanon is to attack Israeli soldiers (and not to instigate sectarian conflict and mayhem in Lebanon). According to his theory, Hasan Nasrallah is opposed to Al-Qa`idah in Lebanon because he knows that they will compete with Hizbullah in anti-Israeli activities. This only confirms my theory--or one of them anyway--that House of Saud remains sympathetic to Al-Qa`idah and to Bin Laden personally to this very day.
The conspiracy in clear terms: Hariri rag, Al-Mustaqbal, has a big article about the closure of a TV station in...Venezuela. (As is well-known, Saudi Arabia (the patron of Hariri Inc) has free media.
Lebanese leader of Harakt Ash-Sha`b, Najah Wakim, made a speech in which he made accusations against the brother of Hariri press secretary, Hani Hammud. Hammud warned Lebanese media against airing or printing the accusations. They all complied although Hariri rag, Al-Mustaqbal, which is under the direction of Hammud, runs accusations against people on a daily basis. Only New TV aired the speech.
Israeli occupation forces are destroying her house because it is close to a Jewish settlement in Hebron.
Propagandists of the Lebanese government still insist that "only one Palestinian civilian" has been killed by Lebanese Army shelling of the Nahr Al-Barid camp. Here is a list of the Palestinian civilian killed--all 18 of them.
A discussion of a bill in the Turkish parliament.
Again, LBC-TV reported that Fath-Al-Islam gang has been preventing civilians from leaving the Nahr Al-Barid camp and that most of the civilians of the camp have left. Which is it, o brilliant editors of LBC-TV?
I read that the Iranian delegation made it clear to the US that it is attached to the Maliki government. Can you blame the Iranian government? I mean, where else can you find a more sectarian government than the Maliki government?
If you read the Hariri Lebanese press and the Saudi Arab press, you may get the impression that there is only one political prisoner in the Arab world: Michel Kilo. Almost every issue of Muhaq An-Nahar has something about human rights violations in Syria (and of course, it is obvious that the regime is tyrannical) and not a word about human rights violations in Jordan, Egypt, Kuwait, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Oman, UAE, Tunisia, etc. But then again. Maybe they know something that I don't know: maybe with the exception of Syria, Arab regimes are now functioning, exemplary democracies, of the kind that Mr. Bush constructed in Iraq.
Today, Lebanese prime minister held phone consultations with the King of Jordan and the Iraqi puppet prime minister. That makes sense. Both regimes have experience in killing Palestinian refugees.
Arab regimes often act toward the US like a jealous and possessive boyfriend. Like, they want exclusive and sole attention, and throw a fit if they feel the US is not giving them the attention that they need and deserve. For example, Saudi media today has been fretting about the Iranian-US meeting in Iraq: and they make a point to mention the US naval maneuvers in the Gulf, perhaps to reassure themselves. In fact, the only reason why America's clients in the region are in conflict is due to the competition between them for US affection and attention. Like Saudi conflict with Jordan, Jordan conflict with Qatar, Egypt conflict Saudi Arabia, etc.
"Teetering Musharraf Buoyed by U.S. Alliance: Pakistani Leader Wins Administration Praise Despite Move Away From Democracy"
Lebanese columnist, Wisam Sa`adah, made a discovery. He said that Lebanese Christians who support Gen. `Awn are anti-Palestinian racists, but those who support Lebanese Forces are free of any racism or sectarianism.
I could not sleep last night. I wanted to know who won the presidential election in Syria. I just heard that the announcement of the results has been postponed until tomorrow. That can only mean one thing: it is a very very close election.
If any of my readers know Istanbul well, and know of its hotels, please email me (email is listed on site). I have some questions. Thanks.
"One of the Muslim world's leading calligraphers has been shot dead by gunmen in Baghdad. Khalil al-Zahawi was the most famous practitioner in Iraq of the art of writing classical Arabic script." (thanks May)
"Claims of terrorism represented less than 0.01 percent of charges filed in recent years in immigration courts by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, according to a report issued Sunday by an independent research group. This comes despite the fact the Bush administration has repeatedly asserted that fighting terrorism is the central mission of DHS. The Transactional Records Action Clearinghouse said it analyzed millions of previously undisclosed records obtained from the immigration courts under the Freedom of Information Act. Of the 814,073 people charged by DHS in immigration courts during the past three years, 12 faced charges of terrorism, TRAC said." (thanks Laleh)
This is what gets the attention of the Washington Post: "Abayas with patches of fluorescent color, floral patterns, animal prints, embroidery and even zodiac signs have started to show up in other cities as well." (thanks Regan)
This Kuwaiti writer decrees: that "the bulk" of the civilian population of Nahr Al-Barid refugee camp are terrorists who should be killed. (thanks Ali)
From a poem by Palestinian poet Kamal Nasir--killed by Israeli terrorists while he was sleeping in 1973:
"I was born carrying my corpses
on my shoulder
I was born, to my sorrow
I had no say over my
arrival or birth
I am the victim of my
history and chains
Damn. The big damn
is chasing me,
it afflicted my grandparents
Tomorrow, it will embrace
my children and grandchildren
and they will realize as I did
in my eagerness
that I came to this world,
to my sorrow
I came carrying my corpses
over my shoulder

Sunday, May 27, 2007

You will not read this in the US press, so I will tell you. Israel violated yet again Lebanese airspace yesterday.
She is crying because she was forced to leave the Nahr Al-Barid refugee camp.
Well, the Fath Movement may have finally settled on a new leader: Dennis Ross. That is right. Mr. Ross visited the West Bank and met with cadres from the Fath Movement, representing different factions and sectors in the movement, reports Al-Quds Al-`Arabi.
Dahlan gangs in the Preventive Security Forces arrested scores of Palestinians in the occupied territories. Among those arrested, were those who were accused of "spreading rumors."
Al-Akhbar provides names of the Palestinian civilians killed or injured in the Nahr Al-Barid refugee camp.
"No voice above the voice of the battle," by `Umar Nashshabah.
An injured child in a bomb shelter in Nahr Al-Barid. Have no mercy. He is a terrorist of Fath-Al-Islam, and he was planning on declaring himself an Amir on Northern Lebanon. If you don't believe me, ask Ahmad Fatfat.
Look at the racism of Hariri media. In the Hariri rag, Al-Mustaqbal, they ran this headline: "A Syrian attacks a woman, exploiting her mental impairment."
I dedicate this news item to all the supporters of March 14th Movement in Lebanon, who thought that the US was going to overthrow two regimes for the sake of the Cedars of Lebanon. "The Bush administration has dismantled a special committee that was established last year to coordinate aggressive actions against Iran and Syria, State Department officials said this week."
Who needs Al-Hurra TV anymore? Hariri rag, Al-Mustaqbal, has this headline: "A US Congressional Delegation in Beirut to Support Democracy."
Why are you scared? I am here to "liberate" you, damn it.
"The solidarity action scheduled for Monday May 28 at Nahr el Baddawi has been postponed until Tuesday May 29 at the request of the youth of Baddawi and Nahr el Bared refugee camps. They are going to be organizing a teach-in on Monday 28 at 2 pm in Baddawi camp, which will include an open-mic, discussions on what Lebanese civil society organizations and people can do to help, and a statement clarifying certain points and intentions of the solidarity action of Tuesday May 29 in front of Nahr el Bared. The statement and details of the action will be disseminated tomorrow."

وصفي التل: القومي العربي الأصيل

أسعد أبو خليل *

كان وصفي التل قومياً عربياً حتى إنه كان يزعم أنه طُرد من الجيش البريطاني بسبب ميوله القومية العربية. قلة تتذكر أن وصفي التل التحق بحركة القوميين العرب. وكان ناشطاً قومياً في الجامعة الأميركية في بيروت، التي تخرّج منها. كم كان فخوراً بشهادته من الجامعة الأميركية. كان يستسيغ التحدث باللغة الإنكليزية حتى إنه فضّل التحدث الى المراسلين الأجانب لترى الأمة أن ابنها البار يتحدث بالإنكليزية. يا للحضارة. يا للرقي. ووصفي التل كان يرفض بإباء وشمم أن يخضع لفحص دم في وطنيته. ولم؟ ألم يمش في تظاهرة أو تظاهرتين في شبابه ومن أجل فلسطين؟ ألم يهتف ــ هو هتف ــ ضد الغرب والاستعمار؟ ألا يكفي هذا ويمحي كل ما صدر عن وصفي التل بعد ذلك؟
وصفي التل ارتبط اسمه طبعاً بحملة أيلول الأسود: تلك المجازر التي ارتكبها الجيش الأردني ضد المخيمات الفلسطينية في الأردن. كان اسمه يثير اشمئزاز الشعب الفلسطيني في كل مكان. لكن وصفي التل كان يصر على أنه من أنصار القضية الفلسطينية. كان دوماً (في حمأة المعارك) يردد كلاماً جميلاً عن المقاومة «الشريفة»، مثله مثل بيار الجميل الجد أثناء حصار تل الزعتر. هو كان يعادي «الإرهابيين»، فقط الإرهابيين. ما ذنب النظام في الأردن إذا كان المقاتلون الفلسطينيون يتحصّنون بين المدنيين؟ أما المدفعية فهي كانت من الضرورات العسكرية، ومن أجل كرامة الجيش والوطن. ونفي وصفي التل أن يكون النظام آنذاك تلقى دعماً إسرائيلياً (لم يكن صادقاًَ في نفيه، لكن ما علينا؟ اتركوا الرجل في دار الحق).
وصفي التل كان معتدلاً. الحكومات الغربية (ما نسميه اليوم في لبنان «المجتمع الدولي») رأت فيه رجل دولة محتذى. كم رُبِّت على كتف وصفي التل؟ والتربيت على الكتف من أرفع علامات الرضى الأميركي. وينسى البعض أن وصفي التل بعدما عالج «شأفة» الإرهاب في المخيمات، تطرق الى الاقتصاد. فهو أطلق بعد تصفية المقاومة مشروع الاتحاد الوطني في 1971، والذي تبنّى شعار «الحياة الأفضل». وصفي التل كان يعمل ما في وسعه ضد ثقافة الموت، ومن أجل ثقافة الحياة. وصفي التل كان «يحب الحياة»، وما الضير في ذلك؟
الحكومة الأردنية حوّلت بيت وصفي التل الى متحف وطني. من أجل الاتعاظ فقط.
* استاذ العلوم السياسية في جامعة ولاية كاليفورنيا

My article "Wasfi At-Tall: the Authentic Arab Nationalist" in Al-AKhbar newspaper.

*An English translation appears in the comments' section, thanks to a reader.

I noticed that the US administration has not made the same accusations that are made by its allies and puppets in Lebanon regarding claims of Syrian responsibility for Fath-Al-Islam.
Let me give you a lesson about the Lebanese press. Ash-Shira` magazine was founded by the Libyan government, and now it is a Saudi publication (which contains criticisms of the Libyan regime). Here is a glimpse from its editor in chief (Hasan Sabra (who was an official in the Nasserist militia, Al-Ittihad Al-Ishtiraki Al-`Arabi) now prides himself as a courageous critic of the Syrian regime. Back in 1994, he was partly responsible for my being banned from Lebanon for years in the Hariri-Syrian intelligence years. He printed a "news item" about how I "insulted the personality of Hafidh Al-Asad" in a chapter I wrote for a book that came out in the West, about Syrian foreign policy (Peace for Lebanon? edited by Deirdre Collings). A Lebanese professor told me that copies of that article had to be transmitted in copied forms because the book was banned from Lebanon. The news item was leaked by the Syrian-Lebanese intelligence service. Sabra also added my father's name to make sure that people know who this guilty person is). He writes today:
"We were a large group of Arab intellectual, journalists, and politicians touring with the Prince of Riyadh after the opening of the new Government Palace in old Riyadh...Dazzled..."
Emile Lahhud: a third term? Ad-Diyar says that Emile Lahhud will not leave the presidential palace when his term expires (if the stalemate in Lebanon continues).
By the way, even the military commander of Fath-Al-Islam, Abu Hrayrah (his real name is Shihab Al-Qaddur) is not a Palestinian. He is a Lebanese from `Akkar.
Our Country is a Graveyard by Palestinian poet Mahmud Darwish:
"Gentlemen, you have transformed
our country into a graveyard
You have planted bullets in our heads,
and organized massacres
Gentlemen, nothing passes like that
without account
All what you have done
to our people is
registered in notebooks"
Abu Zayd As-Suruji by Iraqi poet `Abdul-Wahab Al-Bayyati (my translation):
"He* sang
He was a shameless beggar
regurgitating what is contained
in the books of the dead
or stealing from the living
He sang in the brothels
and in the feasts of kings
enthusiastically, because
he was shameless
He sang
He was in my city doing
what he wished
seducing girls
and begging on the street
in the evening
His craft is kissing
people's hands and singing
and cursing them, because he
is a chameleon
who knows how shoulders
are eaten**, and breasts
He sang without a voice
He appeared in his
black clothes everywhere,
riding his leprous mule
followed by crows and diseases
He sang
when Holaco invaded Baghdad
and when Troj surrendered
and gallows were mounted
in the heart of Madrid,
and at its gates
because he was without timing
appearing at every time,
riding his leprous mule
followed by crows and diseases"

*This is the name of a character that appears in the famous classical Arabic literary work known as Assemblies (Maqamat) by Al-Hariri (1054-1122).
**The old classical Arabic expression "knowing how shoulders are eaten" refers to somebody who knows how to seize opportunity; somebody who is a wheeler and dealer, as you say here.
The poem Against by Palestinian poet Rashid Husayn (my translation):
"Against the revolutionaries of my
country injuring a spike
Against a child—any child—carrying
a grenade
Against my sister studying the muscles
of a rifle
Against whatever you want….but
what does even a prophet or a prophetess to do
when their eyes drink the horses
of killers
Against a child becoming a hero
at ten
Against the heart of the tree bearing
Against the bushes of my orchard
becoming gallows
Against the basin of flowers in
my land becoming gallows
Against whatever you want…but
after the burning of my country,
my comrades, and my youth"
Today, Fath (Dahlan-Abu Mazen) militia leader in `Ayn Al-Hilwah, Munir Al-Maqdah, described in an interview on New TV the role of `Usbat Al-Ansar (a fanatic organization that is indistinguishable from Al-Qa`idah in rhetoric and ideology) as "very positive." Do you see why I am a conspiracy theorist?
"A man [refugee from Nahr Al-Barid camp] injured by a Lebanese Army artillery shell". (Picture by Hannah Allam).
"A proud grandmother with a newborn baby boy. His mother went into labor during the fighting at Nahr el Bared over the weekend, so an ambulance retrieved her and took her to Baddawi, where she gave birth. She named the baby Harb, the Arabic word for "war."" (Picture was taken by Hannah Allam, an American foreign correspondent in Lebanon).
"Fair and Balanced"--Saudi Style. Whenever I want a full exposition of views covering the full range of opinions, I turn to Al-Arabiya TV. No, really. Why do you think that I am being sarcastic? Like now, Al-Arabiya TV is hosting a discussion about Lebanon, and the guests really, REALLY, represent the views of all of the Lebanese people and organizations. They invited three people: Michel Far`un (a member of parliament from the Hariri bloc), Qasim Qasir (a writer in the Hariri newspaper, Al-Mustaqbal), and As`ad Haydar (a writer in the Hariri newspaper, Al-Mustaqbal). Don't you think that those three cover the range of opinions in Lebanon? Do you want more than that? The funny part is this: Qasir and Haydar were not identified as writers in Al-Mustaqbal newspaper, but as "political analysts." This is like An-Nahar newspaper referring to itself as "independent newspaper." Fox News should learn form such media, and should start referring to Karl Rove as "an independent political analyst."
PS I forgot to add that the discussion on Al-Arabiya was moderated by an "independent" anchorperson: Najwa Qasim, who worked for Hariri TV before joining Al-Arabiya TV. (I don't want to bother you, but when will the oxygen masks drop from my ceiling?)
How nice. `Abbas Zaki of the Fath organization told New TV that his organization is ready and willing to take security control of all the refugee camps in Lebanon. He forgot to add that Fath of Dahlan is also willing to kill any Palestinian who does not support the Israeli occupation of Palestine and the collaborationist regime that it has set up in West Bank and Gaza.
It is very clear that all Palestinian groups (including the organizations that act on behalf of the Syrian regime, like the PFLP-GC) have contempt for Fath-Al-Islam, and have only antipathy to its ideology and practice. So why is the Nahr Al-Barid refugee camp being punished? The Fath-Al-Islam established itself in the camp with LEBANESE help, and not Palestinian help. Abu Jaber in the camp today told me that the residents of the camp clearly want to get rid of the Fath-Al-Islam gang: he is right in calling for "those who brought them in, to take them out." Also, information is circulating in the Lebanese press to the effect that those fanatical fighters (mostly Saudis and Yemenis) came to Lebanon through the Lebanese airport.
Is it not hilarious when Saudi media mock the elections in Syria? I mean, would those same media dare mock the non-elections in Saudi Arabia?
It is hilarious. On AlArabiya and all other Lebanese TV stations, they all say that sniping is done by Fath-Al-Islam in Nahr Al-Barid camp. But on Al-Arabiya TV, a pro-Hariri Lebanese journalist, slipped. He admitted that the sniping is done by the Lebanese Army "to isolate" the fighters of Fath-Al-Islam. That made me wonder: is there not an overall coordinator for the propaganda of the Lebanese government? Should they not unify their message?
I know that the results of the Syrian vote will be announced tomorrow, but I can't wait. I just can't take the suspense. I really want to know who won the presidential election.
Can you imagine if an Arab--any Arab--were to make such a homicidal statement? "Israeli PM says 'no one is immune.'"
I used to praise New TV. But New TV during this crisis has been utterly ridiculous. They are serving as mere propagandists for the Lebanese Army. Also, please be aware that the footage and songs that you air in praise of the Lebanese Army look funny, not heroic. People unfortunately for you still remember the performance--or lack thereof--of the Army when Israeli attacked Lebanon. I will be writing an article in Arabic this week about the Lebanese media and the coverage of the Nahr Al-Barid crisis.
PS But this could be explained by the very close relationship between New TV and Emile Lahhud (the president of Lebanon, if anybody still remembers that, or cares).