Sunday, September 30, 2007

Fruits of "liberation": A poster warning of cholera in Baghdad. (AFP)
A Palestinian child walking between Israeli soldiers. Does he not look bigger (and tougher)? (AP)
"But our reaction to 9/11 — mine included — has knocked America completely out of balance, and it is time to get things right again." Now you are speaking? Six years later?
That is a silly point O Economist (the best magazine there is). ("And a lot of the people whom the authors assign to the Israel lobby, such as former Clinton administration officials like Dennis Ross and Martin Indyk, would probably have conniptions on being called neocons"). It is not whether they are neo-conservative or not, but they have been staunch supporters of Israel, and Indyk worked for the Israeli lobby, and both were (and Ross still is) affiliated with the Washington Institute which was founded with close links with AIPAC. But I agree with this: "Their own book feels like an attempt to absolve America of responsibility for a decision it took by, and for, itself."
"The Militancy of Mahalla Al-Kubra"
Al-Jazeera Modified: or pleasing the House of Saud.
Lebanese Minister of Sports (including Ping Pong) and Youth, Ahmad Fatfat, responds to my criticisms of him.
"ONE of the founding fathers of neoconservatism has privately urged President George W Bush to bomb Iran rather than allow it to acquire nuclear weapons."
"To accommodate the demand generated by what he says is a very lucrative business, Kim is replacing his main five-story clinic here in the heart of Makeover Town with an 18-story plastic surgery tower. Precise numbers on how many nose, cheek, chin and eye jobs are being done in South Korea are difficult to find. But according to the Ministry of Health and Welfare, the number of plastic surgeons here jumped 45 percent between 2000 and 2005, from 926 to 1,344. In California, the plastic surgery capital of the United States, there are 1,321 plastic surgeons, according to the state's medical board."
Husayn Fahmi praises the colonial monarchist regime in Egypt (he refers to Gulf dynasties as the exemplary models) (thanks Nasser)
"Britsh MPs visiting the Pentagon to discuss America's stance on Iran and Iraq were shocked to be told by one of President Bush's senior women officials: "I hate all Iranians."" (thanks anonymous)
"GOP presidential candidate John McCain says America is better off with a Christian President and he doesn't want a Muslim in the Oval Office. "I admire the Islam. There's a lot of good principles in it," he said. "But I just have to say in all candor that since this nation was founded primarily on Christian principles, personally, I prefer someone who I know who has a solid grounding in my faith.""

Saturday, September 29, 2007

"He insists that he has never entertained political ambitions. And yet, as if to show that his modesty is never false, and that self-effacement is not his only instinct, he goes on to remark that most of the historic statements and documents of the anti-Communist dissident movement in his corner of the world were written by himself, and that his rise to leadership followed simply from his superior talent for cool and orderly thinking."
"“We did not lose the battles of ideas,” she said in a recent speech to the American Sociological Association. “We were not outsmarted and we were not out-argued. We lost because we were crushed. Sometimes we were crushed by army tanks, and sometimes we were crushed by think tanks. And by think tanks I mean the people who are paid to think by the makers of tanks.”"
"Although 58 percent of respondents said they knew little or nothing about Islamic practices, 70 percent of non-Muslims said Islam is very different from their own religion. Pew Forum senior fellow John Green said that respondents' knowledge of Islam might be even lower than the survey results suggest. He said that survey respondents "tend to overestimate their own knowledge, so these figures may well underestimate their lack of knowledge." The survey said that public attitudes toward Muslims have grown more negative in recent years, with 35 percent of respondents expressing an unfavorable view toward Muslims. In 2002, the figure was 29 percent. Respondents who knew a Muslim were more likely to express positive views about Islam, as were college graduates.""
This is your "liberation": "President Hamid Karzai offered Saturday to meet personally with Taliban leader Mullah Omar for peace talks and give the militants a high position in a government ministry as a way to end the rising insurgency in Afghanistan."
"More than $24 million was sent out Friday to mostly Jewish nonprofit organizations in major cities nationwide because the federal government considers them to be at high risk of a terrorist attack." (thanks Ali)
Nahr Al-Barid website (thanks E.)
"'The President Has Accepted Ethnic Cleansing'" (thanks As`ad)
Jumblat's Propagandist in Lebanon. Robert Fisk is a more entertaining version of Thomas Friedman, but with a bigger weakness for people with wealth and power: "The food, as always, was impeccable. And why should those who face death by explosives or gunfire every day not eat well? Not for nothing has Nora Jumblatt been called the world's best hostess. I sat close to the Jumblatts while their guests...My driver Abed was blithely permitted to park only 100 metres from Jumblatt's house without a single policeman checking the boot of his car." (thanks Amal)
"A Blackwater guard reportedly yelled at colleagues to “stop shooting” during an afternoon of chaos in Baghdad that left 11 Iraqis dead and called into question the accountability of all Western private security firms operating in Iraq." (thanks Sellam)
"If the actresses is an unmarried virgin, the fatwa adds, then she cannot marry in real life unless her "actor husband" divorces her. This argument was based on another hadith by the Prophet, who once said that Muslims cannot joke (or in this case "act") when it comes to marriage. The hadith says: "There are three [matters] whose seriousness is serious and whose humor is serious: marriage, emancipation [of slaves], and divorce."" (thanks Ziad)
"Blackwater's Man in Washington" (thanks Laleh)
"Singapore has sent the junta guns, rockets, armoured personnel carriers and grenade launchers, some of it trans-shipped from stocks seized by Israel from Palestinians in southern Lebanon." (thanks John)
I am so naive. I actually believed that the Taliban had been destroyed back in 2001. "The Taliban could recapture territory in southern Afghanistan won by British troops in fighting this summer, Nato's commander warned yesterday."
A very revealing interview with `Abdul-Halim Khaddam: note his description of the relationship between Ilyas Hrawi and Rafiq Hariri.
"A former Ba'athist official, Dr Allawi headed the Iraqi National Accord group, which passed intelligence to British and other Western agencies that Saddam's forces could deploy weapons of mass destruction in 45 minutes. This claim was reflected in the British government's dossier on Iraq before the invasion of 2003. His links to the Iraqi establishment and foreign intelligence agencies made him the obvious choice of the US-led coalition when sovereignty was transferred in 2004. Dr Allawi's Iraqi National List secured less than 15 per cent of the vote after a CIA plan to spend tens of millions of dollars supporting its allies in 2005 was shelved. Western diplomats in Baghdad play down Dr Allawi's chances of a comeback. One Western diplomat said: "He is equally mistrusted by all the factions, so I don't see him building a working coalition.""
I received this from a Western activist in Palestine: "I am currently interning for the Palestinian.... Yesterday, an aide to Abu Mazen told us that 2/3 of the recent Bush/Abbas meeting (ostensibly called to negotiate Palestinian statehood) was spent trying to convince Abbas that Mohammed Dahlan was a man to work with, a strong leader, etc. The motives are clearly aimed at maintaining a fractured Palestinian leadership."

Friday, September 28, 2007

Ahmad Jibril expects an invasion of Syria.
Fatwawawawa TV. The president of Al-Azhar University called for the establishment of a TV devoted to issuing fatwawawas.
The suffering of the Palestinians of Nahr Al-Barid continues.
Columbia University awards an honorary degree to the Shah of Iran. Is that not cute? (thanks Sam)
"EFRAIM HALEVY: After the election was won, the United States decided the results were not to its liking, Israel thought it was not to its liking, the Fatah thought it was not to its liking, and therefore all three together with the Europeans in the end decided it was legitimate, it was proper to take steps to undo the results of the election." (thanks Sophie)
The assassination of Syrian militant preacher Abu Al-Qa`qa` (leader of the Ghuraba' Ash-Sham organization) in Aleppo is an interesting bit of news that will not get much coverage in Western press. Abu Qa`qa` has emerged as a key figure in recruiting volunteers from Syria and Lebanon for Iraq, and his relationship with the Syrian mukhabarat has never been clear: some say it has always been tense, and others say it has been good, and others say it has gone up and down. Any number of parties may be behind his assassination outside the mosque in Aleppo, but it is possible that this was one of the results of the Syrian rapprochement with the Iraqi puppet government, and in the wake of the visit of `Adil Abdul-Mahdi to Damascus. Syria may be preparing for its entrance to the Bush conference in November. (Reuters)
Angry Error. My mother was not happy to catch a mistake in my article in Al-Akhbar yesterday. I made a reference to Raymond Iddi calling Dalleuze* in France (which is an impossibility as the man lived in the 19th century). He in fact used to call the French jurist Georges Vedel. This in no way detract from my proven record of infallibility. My mother and sister were quite displeased that they called the paper and asked for a correction.
*Another error: it is spelled Dalloz.
"As a result Iraq faces a situation roughly analogous to Lebanon during its civil war in the late 1970s and 1980s or Afghanistan after the withdrawal of the Russian Army in the 1990s; a situation in which warlord militias will increasingly rule the roost until one or other of them, or perhaps a combination, can obtain enough strength to create the beginnings of a new order." (thanks Amer)
The Saudi TV program Tash Ma Tash which often mocks religious fanatics has recently mocked Arab liberals. Does somebody have a link?
"The State Department said Thursday that Blackwater USA security personnel had been involved in 56 shootings while guarding American diplomats in Iraq so far this year. It was the first time the Bush administration had made such data public."
Conspiracy? What conspiracy? It is amazing how much efforts Saudi media make these days to help Israeli and US interests. This morning, Al-Arabiya TV aired a report on the Israeli citizen held in Lebanon. The report said that the man in question could not be a spy because his father in Israeli denied that he was a spy--I kid you not. In the same hour, the station aired a report from Basrah University, in which it was maintained that scientists at the university are making great scientific discoveries and you would not even know that there is war and occupation in Iraq from that report. Lastly, the anchorwoman Najwa Al-Qasim (formerly of Hariri TV), mocked the bombing of Sep. 11 by saying: we will now air a report on "ghazwat New York" ("the raid on New York" which is the same language used by Al-Qa`idah to refer to Sep. 11 bombings). She then laughed and said: Hee. Hee. Hee. I was talking about the visit by the Iranian president to New York.
Religion and the Saudi Media: Fatwawawa on Suppositories. With all what is happening in the world, the Saudi Al-Arabiya TV had a special section today discussing whether suppositories break the fast or not.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

I wonder if the Wahhabi Arab "liberals" will condemn those measures: "A new morality police force has begun detaining Palestinians who eat or drink in public during the fasting month of Ramadan in the West Bank, where Muslim custom has never been imposed, though widely observed. The implementation of the 12-member squad appears to be an attempt by Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas' government to challenge the Hamas' monopoly on religious righteousness."
"Atheism is on a roll, if not a holy roll, in the book world."
This is the Cedar Homeland. A Filipino maid, 24, was found dead in the apartment of her employer in Ballunah in Lebanon. Her death was ruled "hanging by a plastic cord." Her employer claimed that the maid stole her jewelry but she was not declared a suspet. And in another area in Lebanon (in Beirut), an Ethiopian maid, 31, was found dead after she "fell from the balcony of her employer on the eighth floor."
Khalid Saghiyyah: on the Lebanese barber who committed suicide after the government forced him out of his shop.
My article in Al-Akhbar "When Ahmad Fatfat Defeated Israel."
"West Bank camp incursion causes destruction, fear" (thanks Yasmine)
"“You know the old saying,” Prince Saud joked, “that there can be no war without Egypt and no peace without Syria.”" Well, let me give you a new saying. There can never be enlightenment, progress, development, secularism, free media, gender equality, and liberation of occupied lands with the House of Saud still in power.
While the US administration brags about the new Iraqi puppet forces: "Iraqi and U.S. special forces have arrested at least 59 army officers and enlisted men accused in killings, bombings and kidnappings in the latest case linking elements of the Iraqi army to sectarian militias and criminal gangs, authorities announced Wednesday."
"The American security contractor Blackwater USA has been involved in a far higher rate of shootings while guarding American diplomats in Iraq than other security firms providing similar services to the State Department, according to Bush administration officials and industry officials."
New TV aired a report from Syria showing a campaign by agents of Rif`at Al-Asad to post his pictures around the area near Latakia. (Rif`at Al-Asad has the dubious honor of being one of thousands of Arab men who is married to a sister of one of the divorcees of King `Abdullah of Saudi Arabia.)
The puppet gets some recognition. (thanks Peter)
"According to Business Today, despite the repression of independent labor activity, Egypt has seen more than 200 worker protests a year in recent years. Some are small in scale. For example, in November, 2005 a Cairo metro driver followed the company rules and refused to let a judge ride illegally in the driver’s cabin. A few days latter he found himself arrested and charged with assaulting the judge. Thereupon 30 metro workers staged a three-hour sit-in on the downtown tracks. The worker was released from prison and reinstated." (thanks Aldo)
I feel that a big chunk of my taxpayer's money is going to keep Tariq Al-Hashimi happy and content.
If there is an award for services to Zionist propaganda (outside of the US Congress and US media) it should be given to Khaled Abu Toameh of the Jerusalem Post. When he can't find "news" that is favorable to Zionist propaganda, he just makes it up. Just like that.
I received this email: "I've gone through the trouble of translating / abbreviating an article by Dalia Karpel titled HAMEDOVEVET [=the one who people someone to talk]. The article appeared on the Hebrew Weekend Supplement, on 21 September, 2007. The article is based on academic research which Nofer Ishai-Karen and Psychology Prof. Joel Elitzur, of the Hebrew University published in ALPAYIM Magazine Vol. 31. The article was not translated to English and thus did NOT appear in Haaretz English Language edition. I will appreciate it if you could publish it, as well as EMAIL it to JOURNALISTS and others who may be interested! A NEW ISRAELI STUDY CONFIRMS OUR WORST FEARS. On the academic research which Psychologist Nofer Ishai-Karen and Psychology Prof. Joel Elizur, of the Hebrew University published last Friday, only in the Hebrew edition of Haaretz. We thought you should know! "We - Israeli Soldiers - were put there to punish the Palestinians", says Ilan Vilenda, an Israeli soldier who served in Rafah during the first Intifada. Ilan is the only soldier of 21 who agreed to have his name published, after he was interviewed by psychologist Nofer Ishai-Karen. The soldiers spoke freely to Nofer, who served with them in the same ASHBAL platoon 20 years ago; They disclosing their innermost emotions about the horrendous crimes, in which they took part: Murder, breaking bones of Palestinian children, actions of humiliation, destruction of property, robbery and theft. Soldier "A" testimony: "We decided to turn an old shower in our base to a make-shift detention cell. A Palestinian was brought there, handcuffed and mouth banded so he couldn't talk, or move. We "forgot him there for three days"... Soldier "B" testimony: "I was on my first patrol. Others simply shot like mad. I started to shoot as they did. They 'set my on'. I took my weapon and shot. Nobody was there to tell me otherwise" -- Psychologist Ishai-Karen was shocked to find that the soldiers enjoyed the 'intoxication of power', and had pleasure from using violence. She said: "Most of my interviewees enjoyed their own instigated violence during their Occupation service''. Soldier "C" testimony: "The truth is that I love this mess - I enjoy it. It is like being on drugs. If I didn't enter Rafah, to put down some rebellion -at least once a week- I'd go berserk. Soldier "D" testimony: What is great is that you don't have to follow any law or rule. You feel that YOU ARE THE LAW; you decide. Once you go into the Occupied Territories YOU ARE GOD"." (thanks Asa)
Conspiracy? What conspiracy? On the Saudi-Zionist alliance. The Saudi newspaper Al-Hayat (the mouthpiece of Prince Khalid Bin Sultan--brother of Prince Bandar Bin Bribe) carries this front page headline: "An Israeli raid on Gaza kills five of the kidnappers of the soldier Shalit." (thanks Amer and As`ad--not me) Here, the Guardian claims that the raid killed the kidnapper of Alan Johnston. So Israel can shell Gaza, and be sure that it will kill "a kidnapper."

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

"Two Saudi women called members of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice “terrorists” and one sprayed the men with pepper spray after the men stopped them for not conforming to the Kingdom’s public dress code, the commission said yesterday in a statement." (Other unofficial accounts claim (credibly) that in fact the women were attacked by the goons of the religious police).
Just two members of the House (Kucinich and Paul) voted "No" on this bill.
"Quite simply, Lebanon is being bullied. And in light of this fact, the United States and the entire international community must come to its aid."
Mark my words. If the revolt in Burma succeeds, the Bush administration AND the US media will take credit. They will claim that the people there were inspired by the Bush Doctrine, and by the war in Iraq.
Read this tragic account of a Sri Lankan maid in Lebanon. This Hariri rag, Al-Mustaqbal--as you can see--always mocks Sri Lankan maids, especially when they commit suicide. This account is based on the version of the employers and yet it contains information on the plight of this one victim.
Revival of Class Struggle in Egypt.
"Tension between Sunnis, Shiites emerging in USA" (thanks L.)
"It is very amusing (well, sad really) to see the media getting all worked up about the military junta in Birma/Myanmar (admittedly, one of the most despicable dictatorships in the world at the moment) using 'tear gas and batons', would you believe it, to suppress peaceful street protests. Yes? So? Belgium, Germany, the US, Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden and every other 'Western democratic' country uses 'tear gas and batons' - and a lot worse, remember Genua 2001 - at every occasion where people choose to exercise their 'democratic right' of protesting peacefully in the streets, whether it's a G8-top or a WTO-meeting, an anti-racist demo or a Eurotop. You'll never hear our 'impartial and independent' Western media calling that 'repression' or 'excessive force'. You'll never catch them discussing the undemocratic aspects of a government using either its internal security forces or its army against its own population. But if it's Birma, virtually the only dictatorial regime in the world not supported by the US and 'the West', official commentators are 'worried' and 'scandalized' by methods of repression that are standard fare in any 'democratic' country… In the same news edition, by the way, it was also mentioned in passing that 'Israel launched an airstrike on Gaza' - a negligible 'incident' no doubt, which in any case obviously does not merit the 'moral indignation' reserved for the tear gas and batons of the Myanmar junta… Yeah right."
You have to read the sinister obituary of Hadyar `Abdul-Shafi in the New York Times. They used his death only to bash the Arab position against the partition of Palestine. It made it sound like `Abdul-Shafi spent all his life resisting the "non-compromising" Arab position. First, nobody knew who he was when he ostensibly opposed the partition plan, and the man--no matter what you say about him--devoted his life to supporting secular (and leftist) resistance to Zionism. After Oslo, `Abdul-Shafi also stood against the agreements, and he was vocal against the corrupt PA of Arafat-Dahlan-Abu Mazen (and the other thuggish leaders of Oslo).
"But this is not any other crisis. It is an American-made humanitarian catastrophe. And the presence or absence of U.S. troops committed to a military mission for however many months or years is irrelevant to that problem."
"The addition of the $15 million Schusterman Center for Israel Studies once again solidifies Brandeis' standing at the forefront of Middle Eastern academia." (thanks Amer)
"Iraqi journalists are being offered the chance to learn martial arts and survival techniques in a bid to stem the number being killed in the war-torn country." (thanks Paul)
"Abraham H. Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, said Mr. Bollinger’s speech was counterproductive. “If you invite someone, you have to be polite,” he said. “Ahmadinejad scored points, especially in their culture. If you permit an enemy to come into your home, you still treat him with dignity and respect. Therefore, we lost. The points that President Bollinger made were fine. But to close with insulting words almost undid everything he said before. It was not a good teaching experience.” Noah Feldman, a Harvard law professor who was a consultant to the Coalition Provisional Authority set up in Iraq after the ouster of Saddam Hussein, said he did not consider Mr. Bollinger’s performance to be rude."
"Republican presidential hopeful Rudy Giuliani has been criticised over a fundraising party at which participants are being urged to donate $9.11." (thanks Ari)
"The film features an in-depth conversation with a martial arts instructor, Afsaneh Bagheri, the teacher of the [Iranian] national women Karate team." (thanks Maryam)
"Thousands of workers have taken control of one of Egypt's biggest state-owned textile factories in a continuing protest over pay and work conditions."
"Moroccan Unrest Over Bread Price" (thanks DD)
"The Witches of Warboys" (thanks Rita)
"Klatt, in a typically selective manner, yanks certain anecdotes out of context and marshals them to prove that Arabs, Persians or Ottomans are inherently violent and, as Muslims – he does not talk about the heterogeneous mix of peoples and religions in the region- they are innately predisposed to hate Christians and Jews." (thanks Randa)
Hadyar `Abdul-Shafi: "the Revolutionary Dreamer"
"Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign forced a magazine to drop a negative story about her by threatening to cut off the publication’s access to the former President Bill Clinton, it emerged yesterday."
"After the Bay of Pigs, J.F.K. and his advisers worried that American foreign policy would no longer seem intelligent. W. doesn’t even try for an intelligent foreign policy. He wallows in a willfully ignorant foreign policy. And this week, his irrational ways were contagious. The Daily News headline, “The Evil Has Landed,” was one of the milder imprecations. Consider this reasoned analysis from Greg Gutfeld of Fox News: “So the foul-smelling fruitbat Ahmadinejad spoke at that crack house known as Columbia University today.”"
When the puppet poses as a democrat: "Mr. Karzai said the vote was illegal and motivated simply by politics. The legislators have accused the president of snubbing the Constitution and undermining the democratic foundations of the republic."
Conspiracy? What conspiracy? "Former prime minister Ariel Sharon's aides inquired whether imprisoned Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti would support Salam Fayad for prime minister should Fatah win the January 2006 elections, Haaretz has learned." As you know, I trust Barghouti in Palestine like I trust Jumblat in Lebanon. (thanks Ali and many others)

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The Shaykh of Al-Azhar, Sayyid Tantawi, who has been out of it for at least the last 15 years and who once threw an ash tray at a reporter because she dared ask him a question that he did not like, is at it again. He now said that anybody who spreads false rumors about the health of Husni Mubarak is akin to those who slandered `A'ishah, wife of Muhammad.
How pathetic: "Bhutto pitch for power urges US to see her as best ally against terror." And is she referring to the role of her own government in sponsoring the Taliban?
The Qatari dance continues. The Emir of Qatar today met with the Israeli foreign minister.
"Israel is looking to a U.S.-India nuclear deal to expand its own ties to suppliers, quietly lobbying for an exemption from nonproliferation rules so it can legally import atomic material, according to documents made available Tuesday to The Associated Press."
"In the 1980s, I spoke at universities from Smith College in the East to the University of California at Davis in the West. At Smith, lesbians sat in the front row kissing each other while the rest of the crowd shouted so loud no one could hear me"
"Fighting al-Qaeda in Iraq is the last big argument for keeping U.S. troops in the country. But the military's estimation of the threat is alarmingly wrong." (thanks May)
"One of Bollywood's biggest film stars is being criticised by Asian campaigners for promoting a skin-lightening cream - a product that is now on the shelves of British shops." (thanks Hicham)
"It was paid by the Pentagon to a South Carolina defense contractor, who sent the equipment to Iraq. But there were some expensive screws, too: three of those screws cost $1.31 each, and then presto chango, because a private firm is shipping them to Iraq, the bill for transportation shoots up to more than $400,000." (thanks Marlin)
This man really is the official buffoon of the Palestinian National Movement: "Dr. Sa'eb Ereikat, the director of the negotiations department at the Palestinian liberation organization, stated on Tuesday that the statement made by the American president Bush reflects the true nature of the Palestinian position which looks for real political solution in the region." (thanks Amina)
"The clip [shown at the Ma'ariv link] apparently shows a meeting in Abu-Mazen's [President Mahmoud Abbas] bureau in Gaza in which members of the preventive security force identified with [Fatah strongman in Gaza] Muhammad Dahlan participated. When meeting the older gentleman dressed in black uniform, Abu Mazen asks him "are you the head of the preventive security force." When the answer is in the affirmative Abu-Mazen says one word, "slaughter [them]"" (thanks David)
This is Lee Bollinger: "“President Musharraf is a leader of global importance and his contribution to Pakistan’s economic turnaround and the international fight against terror remain remarkable - it is rare that we have a leader of his stature at campus,” said Lee C Bollinger, the President of Columbia University." (thanks Naqi)

Monday, September 24, 2007

"We have to find a suitable opportunity to release Barghouti"
""He's his own person, but his instincts often coincide with what we think is the right thing to do," said a senior Bush administration official....Ban acknowledges that his ties to Washington may give the impression that "I am too close to America . . . so-called pro-American. That may be true, but I would like to say that as a diplomat or as a person I regard myself as very consistent and very reasonable and balanced.""
I came across this: "De Gaulle tried to destabilize the FLN during 1961 by secretly establishing a 'Third Force' Algerian political movement, a puppet or quisling body with which he could then pretend to do business, and by publicizing plans for an apartheid or Israeli-style division of the colony into 'white' and 'Arab' zones." Jim House and Neil Macmaster, Paris 1961: Algerians, State Terror, and Memory, (NY: Oxford University Press, 2006), p. 4. (thanks to anonymous in the US government who suggested this book to me).
"Democracy and good governance are on the retreat in a number of countries around the world, a wide-ranging report says on Tuesday."
"Europe is joined at the hip with the US, wherever the legacies of imperial control or settler zeal are at stake. Britain and France, original suppliers of heavy water and uranium for the large Israeli nuclear arsenal, which they pretend does not exist, demand along with America that Iran abandon programmes it is allowed even by the Non-Proliferation Treaty, under menace of sanctions and war. In Lebanon, the EU and the US prop up a cabinet that would not last a day if a census were called, while German, French and Italian troops provide border guards for Israel. As for Palestine, the EU showed no more hesitation than the US in plunging the population into misery, cutting off all aid when voters elected the wrong government, on the pretext that it must first recognise the Israeli state, as if Israel had ever recognised a Palestinian state, and renounce terrorism (read: any armed resistance to a military occupation that has lasted forty years without Europe lifting a finger against it). Funds now flow again, to protect a remnant valet in the West Bank." (thanks Laleh)
"Vardi is part of a growing group of young Israelis who are refusing to sign up for mandatory military service, often in protest over the Jewish state's occupation of Palestinian territory or because of last year's unpopular war in Lebanon."
"“In adopting this Weltanschauung, Arab intellectuals also internalised the epistemology by which Europeans came to judge civilisations and cultures along the vector of something called ‘sex’, as well as its later derivative, ‘sexuality’, and the overall systematisation of culture through the statistical concept of ‘norms’, often corresponding to the ‘natural’ and its ‘deviant’ opposite.” (p. 6)"
This is it. More signs and news of a rapprochement between Qatar and Saudi Arabia. AlJazeera may now open an office in Saudi Arabia. The Saudi ambassador may be returning to Qatar in return for an end to AlJazeera's criticisms of Saudi Arabia. I now expect to be officially banned from the station (the Emir of Qatar had told me that King `Abdullah always complained about my appearances on AlJazeera). You may soon find Aljazeera and AlArabiyya's coverages indistinguishable. I may have to switch to Fox News then.
"Cornell helps develop pest-resistant eggplant, the first genetically modified food crop in South Asia." (thanks Brenda)
Neither Bollinger, Nor Ahmadinajad. I watched some of Ahmadinajad show at Columbia University. It was carried live on MSNBC. I don't know where to start and I don't have the time. But let me first say something about the university president Lee Bollinger. The same Zionist hoodlums who just yesterday were attacking Bollinger, will be praising him tomorrow morning. They will express their pride in one of the most demagogic college presidents in the US. As one commentator on MSNBC (and FOX News) said: he succeeding in making Ahmadinajad look good on US TV. He allowed Ahmadinajad to score points, among the international audience in particular. Bollinger always came across, not as president of a university, but like a typical sleazy politician who is willing to say anything, to pander to any crowd, provided it kept him in his job, or propelled him to a better job. He came across as small and presumptuous: especially when he claimed to speak on behalf of the civilized world. Bollinger has proven at Columbia to be the enemy of free speech: and when a professor at his university (Joseph Massad), was coming under attack from Zionist hoodlums around the country, he in fact spoke in favor of restricting freedom of speech, and said that freedom of speech applies in public institutions. And this Bollinger tries to grandstand: would he also have the courage to call King Abdullah (of Jordan or of Saudi Arabia--take your pick) a dictator? I can see him personally bestowing honors and awarding honorary doctorates to dictators provided they contribute to Columbia's endowment, and provided they follow US foreign policy orientations. As for Ahmadinajad: I don't understand why students (presumably leftists? or pro-Palestinian activists?) were applauding him. For what? Ahmadinajad is not a leftist and he does not even deserve the support of advocates for Palestine. If those who were applauding were just pleased to hear praise for the Palestinians and criticisms of Israel--rare indeed in the US--they should know that fascists and Nazis are often critical of Israel--but from their own anti-Semitic perspective. There is nothing worthy of leftist support in Ahmadinajad: the economic policies of his administration have squeezed the poor further, and his economic policies are not popular with the Iranian masses. More importantly, those who may sympathize with Ahmadinajad should note that his stupid and ignorant statements on the holocaust have hurt the Palestinian cause and not helped it. Ahmadinajad is the greatest gift to Zionist propaganda since Ahmad Shuqayri in the 1960s.
An English translation for my last Al-Akhbar article, "Nostalgia for Colonialism"
"He had just returned from a trip to Iraq, during which the leading members of the country’s political class had told him that, appearances notwithstanding, Iraq is living out a glorious destiny. “Grant us time, and you will be proud of what you have helped bring forth here,” Prime Minister Maliki said. Adel Abdul Mahdi, the country’s Shiite Vice-President, told Ajami, “The war has been an American victory. All in the region are romancing the Americans, even Syria and Iran in their own way.” Ajami repeated this approvingly to the Journal’s readers..." (thanks Ali)
This tribute to the Libyan dictator's son is typical of New York Times coverage: when it follows the twists and shifts in US foreign policy.
None of the American tributes to tribal leader `Abdul-Sattar Abu Rishah mentioned this about him: that he was an enthusiastic client/champion of Saddam Husayn, and that he named his eldest son after Saddam.
"Iraqi official: Blackwater exit not feasible"
"For his part, Kassem, who sold his interest in his groundbreaking newspaper last year, is raising money to start another one, carefully screening investors to ensure that his journalists will be free to report with American-style objectivity." (thanks John)

Sunday, September 23, 2007

"For the first time since a demonstration in 1990, a group of Saudi women is campaigning for the right to drive in this conservative kingdom, the only country in the world that prohibits female drivers."
" A Pentagon group has encouraged some U.S. military snipers in Iraq to target suspected insurgents by scattering pieces of "bait," such as detonation cords, plastic explosives and ammunition, and then killing Iraqis who pick up the items, according to military court documents."
Bush's reforms intensify in Jordan. The Jordanian government has just announced that its censorship will extend to all websites. The US government will tomorrow hail the step as a necessary measure to fit into the Bush's Doctrine.
Very casually, Israeli academics call for the punishment of Palestinian civilians. Very casually, Israeli academics have served as tools of the occupation. Very casually, Israeli academics accept the racist premise of Zionism. (thanks Saree)
The Arab (dirty) oil media are now rehabilitating the corrupt and incompetent King Faruq.
Conspiracy? What conspiracy? "A first group of 35 Palestinians who were forced to flee Iraq arrived Friday in Brazil where they will receive government and UN assistance to build their new lives, officials said." Brazil? Could they not find a less far from Palestine?
"An increasing number of Palestinian families in Gaza are unable to offer their children more than one meager meal a day, often little more than rice and boiled lentils. Fresh fruit and vegetables are beyond the reach of many families. Meat and chicken are impossibly expensive. Gaza faces the rich waters of the Mediterranean, but fish is unavailable in its markets because the Israeli navy has curtailed the movements of Gaza's fishermen." (thanks Yasmine)
"Official insists Israeli arrested in Beirut wasn't working for gov't". And as you know, you can always believe Israeli denials in such matters. As is well-known, Israeli government does not lie in such cases. As is well-known, Israel even denied that the Egyptian ring (the famous Lavon Affair) was working on behalf of the Israeli government when it was placing bombs in Egypt. As is well-known, Israel denied the Elie Cohen was a Mossad agent. (thanks Sellam)
PS There is a new twist to the story now. Israeli propagandists are now saying that the guy is gay. OK, thanks for telling us but why is that relevant? Are you saying that Israelis who are gay are thus qualified and justified to shoot at and spy on Arabs? But just watch: now liberal groups in the West, and what Joseph Massad calls Gay International, will make this guy a symbol of Arab oppression of gay people.
"Private security chiefs warned that growing tensions between Iraqis and American armed bodyguards could descend into a disastrous "shoot-out" four months before an American firm was suspended this week following a fierce gun battle that left 11 locals dead. A confidential memo sent to more than 200 private security companies (PSCs) in Iraq last May warned of the "serious risk" of armed exchanges between foreign guards and local security forces."
"Do you think feminism has been disfigured by consumerism? To certain women out there, feminism seems to mean buying what you want instead of being what you want. Young women live these contradictions and everyone’s down on them because their skirts are too short. I don’t blame them if sometimes they just want to go shopping. Women don’t actually buy more junk than men."
"It has become impossible to bear the spectacle of the Palestinian leader's jolly visits in Jerusalem, bussing the cheek of the wife of the very prime minister who is meanwhile threatening to blockade a million and a half of his people, condemning them to darkness and hunger. If Abu Mazen were a genuine national leader instead of a petty retailer, he would refuse to participate in the summit and any other meetings until the blockade of Gaza is lifted. If he were a man of truly historic stature he would add that no conference can be held without Ismail Haniyeh, another crucial Palestinian representative. And if Israel really wanted peace, not only an "agreement of principles" with a puppet-leader that will lead nowhere, it should respect Abbas' demand. Israel should aspire for Abu Mazen to be considered a leader in the eyes of his people, not only a marionette whose strings are pulled by Israel and the United States, or affected by other short-term power plays." (thanks Ali)
"Rudy was going to have to think fast to keep up with that. He kept it simple, selling himself as the Gotham crime fighter, “because, after all, if you don’t have a reasonable degree of safety, you can’t exercise your other rights: the right of free speech ... even your right to bear arms is all based on a reasonable degree of safety that you have to have.” It’s an interesting bit of casuistry: I’m going to make you safe by enforcing gun laws in case you want guns to keep you safe."
Attacks in Iraq (notice that US media only focus on attacks on civilians). (thanks Amer)
Alexander Cockburn at this best: "The Chicago Boys laid waste the southern cone of Latin America in the name of unfettered private enterprise, but 125 years earlier a million Irish peasants starved to death while Irish grain was exported onto ships flying the flag of economic liberalism. Klein writes about "the bloody birth of counter-revolution" in the 1960s and 1970s, but any page from the histories of Presidents Jackson, Polk or Roosevelt discloses a bleak and blood-stained continuity with the past. Depatterning? Indian children were taken from their families and punished for every word spoken in their own language, even as African slaves were given Christian names and forbidden to use their own, or to drum. Amid the shock of the Civil War the Republicans deferred by several years the freeing of slaves, while hastening to use crisis to arrange a banking and monetary system to their liking."

Saturday, September 22, 2007

"Political turmoil and a spate of brazen attacks by Taliban fighters are forcing Pakistan's president to scale back his government's pursuit of al-Qaida, according to U.S. intelligence officials who fear that the terrorist network will be able to accelerate its efforts to rebuild and plot new attacks."
The headline in WP: "U.S. Releases 260 Iraqi Detainees." The fine print: at least 24,740 prisoners remain in custody.
"You did not hear this from me." I received this email from a well-known Western reporter in the Middle East: "but hassan fattah leaves The New York Times in about a week from now. He has taken up a job as a senior editor on a new UAE-based paper funded by the Emirati ruling family, to be launched in the middle of next year..." Well, now we know why he has been covering Lebanon from...Dubai.
"The U.S. government is collecting electronic records on the travel habits of millions of Americans who fly, drive or take cruises abroad, retaining data on the persons with whom they travel or plan to stay, the personal items they carry during their journeys, and even the books that travelers have carried, according to documents obtained by a group of civil liberties advocates and statements by government officials."
"That's not the case for San Diego's Joan B. Kroc Theatre at the Salvation Army's Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center, who have forced Khalifé to look elsewhere for a place to play in the area. It's not so much that the Kroc Theatre folks don't like the cut of Khalifé's jib: rather, they feel the show would be "divisive" and "unbalanced" without an Israeli performer taking the stage the same night, according to a press release issued by Khalifé's camp." I mean it is true. Balance in the US requires that even if you eat an Arab dish, you need to immediately help yourself to an Israeli dish (like Hummus or Falafil or Shakshukah) to maintain that crucial balance. (thanks Dallan)
Robert Fisk: Dazed and Confused. Antonie Ghanem did not represent Armenians and he was not a minister. But notice that sweet friendship between "Walid" and "Robert". (thanks As`ad--not me)
So much for the ban by the puppet prime minister: "Blackwater working again in Iraq" (thanks Yasmine)
"Ottawa is tapping into a fund used in the past for peacebuilding projects to supply Lebanon with fast patrol boats and Jeeps." (thanks Zainab)
Prince Talal: I was kidding. I did not mean a word I said. Please don't believe me when I speak. I just wanted my Sudayri brothers to pay more attention to me. (thanks Alomair)
"Western Representations of Muslim Women" (thanks Junaid)
"Mr. Toraifi said the postings had generated some debate in the Arab world and had been the subject of a column in an Algerian newspaper lauding the State Department for discussing policy with ordinary people, something the writer said the Algerian government would never do." Some debate? Are you serious? Nobody knows who they are, and nobody has even noticed. But I like that reference to "a column in an Algerian newspaper" as evidence of how much attention these dudes are getting. But at least somebody is reading the Arab Mind: "“Freedom for an Arab doesn’t necessarily have the same meaning it has for an American. Honor does. So we might say terrorism is dishonorable, which resonates more.”" Oh, yeah. It is resonating throughout the Arab world. Who would have thought that it took two bloggers to win hearts and minds in the Middle East, and to drastically change US image among Arabs/Muslims? (thanks Amina)
"But this government and that relationship [with Israel] is really profound, and it is just very secretive between us and Israel. It is not transparent, and that is not healthy for anybody." (thanks FLC)

Friday, September 21, 2007

"What happened Sunday is part of a deadly pattern, not just of Blackwater USA's conduct, but of the army of mercenaries that have descended on Iraq over the past four years. They have acted like cowboys, running Iraqis off the road, firing indiscriminately at vehicles and, in some cases, private forces have appeared on tape seemingly using Iraqis for target practice. They have shown little regard for Iraqi lives and have fueled the violence in that country, not just against the people of Iraq but also against the official soldiers of the United States military in the form of blowback and revenge attacks stemming from contractor misconduct. These private forces have operated in a climate where impunity and immunity have gone hand in hand."
"Federal prosecutors are investigating whether employees of the private security firm Blackwater USA illegally smuggled into Iraq weapons that may have been sold on the black market and ended up in the hands of a U.S.-designated terrorist organization, officials said Friday."
It is down hill from now on. I have been reporting to you the decline in AlJazeera's coverage of Arab issues. It has become less strident and less alert in its coverage of the Palestinian issue. It also has been less keen on airing criticisms of Arab regimes, and its position toward US occupation is only more accommodating. Today, the Emir of Qatar will visit the Saudi King. There will come a day when AlJazeera's coverage becomes indistinguishable from that of Al-Arabiya TV. At times like this, I am tempted to dangle Danish and Swedish cartoons to Arab masses: maybe that will wake them up.
"The crown prince of Dubai and his brother were so appreciative of the security provided for their airplanes while they were visiting central Kentucky this month that they left behind at least $8,000 (€5,725) in cash as tips for public safety officers."
The deputy chairperson of the Shi`ite Higher Council in Lebanon, `Abdul-Amir Qabalan (who was close to the Deuxieme Bureau in the 1960s) responds to the sectarian accusations that were contained in the last monthly statement of the Maronite bishops in Lebanon. He said that the criticisms of Lebanese Shi`ites is only because they have carried and defended the Palestinian cause. Oh, please spare me this romaniticization of Shi`ites. Most Shi`ites were most vocal in racist anti-Palestinianism in the 1970s and 1980s, and the Shi`ite militia, Amal, launched and led the War of the Camps (i.e., the War On the Camps).
"Saad Hariri even, bizarrely, accused Syria of assassinating Ghanim in retaliation for Israel's recent aerial strike in Syrian territory." (thanks Ross)
"What? It hopes that Israel will not find it necessary to cut off water supplies to 1.5 million people of whom half are children?"
"Israeli fighter pilots scrambled warplanes on Friday after radar spotted a potential airborne enemy flying from Syria only to discover the culprits were migratory birds, army radio reported." I bet you that this story was planted by Israeli military propagandists to show Arab countries how alert Israeli defenses are.
"She wasn’t a hooligan, but she might as well have been for all the match-interrupting trouble she caused by daring to attend a free sporting event. According to yesterday’s Al-Watan newspaper, a free football match at a public stadium here was stopped in the 36th minute in order for stadium officials to order a 12-year-old girl out, because apparently the presence of a girl at a sporting event is offensive to people who don’t have better things about which to complain and get self-righteous." (thanks A.)
""Three times a year, the White House chooses a hundred students for a three-month internship. Patrick Henry, with only three hundred students, has taken between one and five of the spots in each of the past five years-roughly the same as Georgetown."" (thanks Manal)
Of course, Michael Young, is now published in the Wall Street Journal and New York Times because of his right-wing views, and because he is willing to write whatever fits with the agenda of wars and policies of this administration. And notice that when Young writes about Lebanon, Israel appears to be so innocent that its bombings of Lebanon and Syria and Palestine never warrants a mention. Now that would not be seen kindly by those US newspapers, would it? I don't recall reading Young in US newspapers when he was railing against Israel and was rather "polite" if not favorable toward Syria back when he wrote in the Lebanon report in the 1990s. But you have to give it to Young: who can manage two cliches in one sentence: "Mr. Assad will play hardball, but he faces some heat." Also, Mr. Young: whatever happened to offshoots? (thanks Regan)
"Though the practice is common and increasingly contentious throughout sub-Saharan Africa, among Arab states the only other place where this practice is customary is in southern Yemen, experts here said." And in Sudan, Mauritania, and Somalia, o wide correspondents of the New York Times. (thanks Ema)

Thursday, September 20, 2007

"Well, Mandela’s dead because Saddam Hussein killed all the Mandelas." (thanks Nir)
""We have no social life anymore. We stopped going out, going to meetings, conferences, condolences, seminars or any other social occasion," he said." (thanks Emily)
Hassan Fattah continues to cover Lebanon extensively...from Dubai. Now he picks right-wing March 14th figures, and presents them to the readers as "independent": "...said Ziad Baroud, an independent Lebanese lawyer." Baroud is independent? In the same way that Walid Jumblat is independent I guess.
"A 16-year-old Palestinian boy was killed on Thursday after being run over by an Israeli army bulldozer during a military incursion in the Gaza Strip, medics and witnesses said." (thanks Sellam) (Picture AFP)
"The other new addition to the Mayor’s foreign policy team is National Review Senior Editor David Pryce-Jones, who joins as a Senior Foreign Policy Advisor." In the first edition of his lousy book, The Closed Circle, the book lists Turkey as an Arab country. So he knows the Middle East as much as Rudy. (thanks Amer)
" "I'm probably one of the four or five best known Americans in the world," Giuliani told a small group of reporters at a posh London hotel as onlookers gathered in the lobby to gawk at actor Dustin Hoffman, who was on a separate visit."
The tapes of Ayman Adh-Dhawahiri are as boring as the movie reviews of Larry King.
Oh, he will change his mind. Permission will be granted in one week.
The Private Papers of Farid Shihab. For the historians out there, you need to read the book Fi Khidmat Al-Watan (In the Service of the Homeland) by Farid Al-Shihab. The publishing house Kutub came across the private papers of Farid Shihab and agreed with his family to publish a large volume of them. He was the J.Edgar Hoover of Lebanon: he ran the Surete General in Lebanon until 1958, and he was subsequently appointed ambassador. The book, which is published in association with his family, does not mention what a lousy person he was, especially in his mistreatment of communists and Palestinians in Lebanon. On that you need to read Shafiq Al-Hut's memoirs. The book reveals that he was only or mostly obsessed with communist activities in Lebanon, presumably on behalf of an "outside powers." He benefited from a very senior member of the leadership of the Lebanese Communist Party who was providing Shihab with detailed accounts of communist activities in Lebanon (Badr Al-Hajj and I were speculating on his identity recently in London). But what is most curious is this: he continued to receive reports about communist activities in Lebanon long after he resigned from his position in 1958. My own reading is that he was running a secret underground intelligence service (specializing in communist activities in the East) on behalf of Western power (or two).
I could not refuse to post this announcement:
"Missing! Faten Mawyah, aged 26, was last seen at 8.00PM on Sunday, September 16th at a 7-11 on Sudley Road West in Manassas, Virginia. She is five foot seven inches tall, has medium length curly black hair and dark eyes. She drives a four door 2005 gold Chevy Impala Virginia registration number KAF-7223. She was a student a George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. If you have any information concerning Faten Mawyah or her whereabouts please contact Marah at 202-230-7297 or 540-428-2393 or contact your local police station. Thank you."

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

One of my students came crying today. She told me that her dad, who is 60, will be doing his 3rd tour of duty in Afghanistan with the US Army.
"In his meetings, Welch told his counterparts that efforts must be made to bolster the government of Prime Minister Fouad Siniora, suggesting that any Israeli operations may bolster Siniora's rivals, the pro-Syrian factions in Lebanon."
"Nearly two million Iraqis have become refugees in their own land in the past year, redrawing the ethnic and sectarian map of Baghdad and other cities, a report by the Iraqi Red Crescent said yesterday. In Baghdad alone, nearly a million people have fled their homes."
"But he also never left the party and wore a Swastika in his lapel even when abroad—including a visit to Löwith’s apartment in Rome a few years later. Some compared him to Plato in Syracuse, the philosopher a prisoner to the tyrant; some suggested that his naiveté was still greater and that, like Thales, he had been staring so intently up at the philosophical sky that he fell into a political well. And others saw his choice as a cunning one—and, still worse, in line with his philosophy and its stress on authenticity and connection to the land. Years later, Elfriede Jelinek was to write a play called Totenauberg (changing the title of Heidegger’s second home from death to the dead) mercilessly attacking Heidegger and his attachment to a murderous Heimat."
Comrade Fawwaz makes the point that Islamist or Islamic fundamentalist organizations share the economic policies of George W. Bush.
Pictures like this one confirm my atheism.
"'A few days ago, me and a journalist friend drove up to Bcharre in an effort to check rumours about the Lebanese Forces and the Kata'ib rearming and organizing training camps again - we didn't actually get anywhere (none of the people we wanted to speak to was 'home' or 'available for comment'), but we were at one point directed to the house of the directeur de la municipalité de Bcharre - who sure enough wasn't home either. But when we rang, an African girl opened the door - she can't have been older than 14 - who was the maid of the family, serving us coffee and drinks and emptying our ashtrays at the orders of the lady of the house (...)'" (thanks Bart)
Searching food in a garbage dump in the Somali capital. (AP)
"On Academic Freedom" (thanks Ahmad)
"New York Rep. Peter King, a prominent House Republican, said there are “too many mosques in this country” in a recent interview with Politico."
Somebody needs to tell the sons of Mansur Rahbani and the son of Ilyas Rahbani this: the fact that Ziyad Rahbani is very talented does not mean that there is a genetic Rahbani gift. They need to know that they are not talented. Their music and shows are rather laughable--and not in a funny way.
In all those heinous car bombs in Beirut, innocent Lebanese, Syrians, and Sri Lankans (all civilians) get killed and injured and the media forget about them. Nobody even remembers their names.
I just finished reading the memoirs of Shafiq Al-Hut, published in 2007 by Riyad Ar-Rayyis. This is an interesting man with a long experience in Palestinian national politics. There are so many important information in this book: it has the best inside portrayal of Arafat, of his conceit, of his kooky fatalism (especially in later years), and autocratic rule. It also has a reference to the role played by Bashir Gemayyel in 1970 in the massacre of Palestinians in Kahhalah (and a reference to a video footage that I did not know existed). It talks about the time when Bashir Gemayyel was arrested by Palestinian fighters a few months later: his trunk had Palestinian skulls (and human remains) presumably from the Kahhalah massacre. Al-Hut told me how Pierre Gemayyel would never understand why somebody like him (a Palestinian who hails from a Beiruti family) would be involved in the Palestinian cause. This is Al-Hut's site.
"Baghdad revealed as bank robbery capital of the world"

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

"Right-Zionists try to Silence Walt at the University of Montana" (thanks Amer)
"According to the Women's Union of Kurdistan, there were 95 such cases in the first six months of 2007, up 15 percent since last year. A December 2006 report from the Asuda women’s rights group in Sulaimaniya says that the "phenomenon is increasing at an alarming rate." Ninety-five percent of the victims are under 30, and roughly half are between 16 and 21."
" The U.S. military has introduced "religious enlightenment" and other education programs for Iraqi detainees, some of whom are as young as 11, Marine Maj. Gen. Douglas M. Stone, the commander of U.S. detention facilities in Iraq, said yesterday."
"Saudi Arabian women are mounting a challenge to the ban on female drivers in a rare sign of public opposition to the kingdom's ultra-conservative social mores."
"Only a third of teens who came to Israel from the former Soviet Union say that they identify themselves as Israeli, a new study has found."
On those four days in Shatila camp (by Hanady Salman)
Khalid Saghiyyah on Lebanese hostility to Palestinians.
Israeli "Police have decided to prohibit the sounding of the muezzin, the prayer call used in Islam, during the month of Ramadan in an Acre neighborhood comprising an Arab residential majority.
Acre police department chief superintendent Moshe Cohen explained that the decision was made in order to avoid violating the status-quo and needless confrontations in the Wolfson neighborhood in northern Acre." (thanks Sophie)
"Much of the evidence linking the charities to the radical group came from the Israeli government, in particular from an Israeli security analyst who testified using only the name Avi."

Monday, September 17, 2007

"American officials have complained recently that Israeli immigration authorities harass American citizens of Arab origin at Israeli border crossings." (US Congress pledged to reward those Israeli officials with special congressional citations).
"There are tens of thousands of mercenaries - or private security operators - in Iraq, including British firms as well as American. Jeremy Scahill, author of a book about Blackwater, put the figure at about 180,000 and described them as "unaccountable". Blackwater has 1,000 employees in Iraq."
Adonis said in an interview on Al-Arabiya TV that he is not against religion but is opposed to "the wrong interpretation of religion." I kid you not. So he wants you to only believe in God Adonis who can supply you with the "correct interpretation" of religion. Some of the things he said in that interview are only heard from Pat Robertston or from Jerry Falwell. He said that the Arabs are facing extinction "civilizationally speaking." He said that a culture of submission prevails in the Arab world. If that is the case, o great poet, why do Arab regimes resort to killing hundreds of thousands of Arabs? Is that not because of disobedience? How many Iraqis disobeyed Saddam over the years? And when Adonis was praising the Islamic Revolution in Iran and the leadership of Khomeini, Iranian leftists were disobeying Khomeini, and being punished for the disobedience.
Adonis said in one of the volumes of his Al-Kitab "Ma Ara La Yuqal" (What I see can't be said). To that I say: No, what I see can be said. It should be said.
"Iran blocks access to Google and Gmail"
"This morning, students from our organization noticed that the SJP sign-board on the bridge near Sather Gate had been vandalized and destroyed. The sign was broken in half, its pieces left in place for passersby to see. No other signboards from other student organizations were targeted."
Conspiracy? What conspiracy? "After one of the Republican debates this June, I received an e-mail from Kerik, who was in Jordan coördinating a security project for King Abdullah II." (thanks Amer)
This is from my local newspaper here in Modesto: ""They" are the Muslims, of course."
"“The President was very intelligent, razor sharp, warm, focused, emotional (especially about his dad), and genuine,” Blackfive wrote." (Angry Arab was not one of the bloggers invited. I wonder if I would have had the same impression of this dude).
"An Indonesian housemaid is in serious condition following amputation of both her hands and feet after a month-long torture by her employers, said a member of the Saudi National Society for Human Rights." (thanks Yasmine)
"A third of all democracies imposed by one nation on another fail within the first 10 years of their establishment, Enterline and Greig found. Strong democracies, such as the ones set up in Germany and Japan, that last beyond 20 to 30 years seem to survive indefinitely. But 75 percent of weak democracies, where elections are held but the civic institutions that shore up a democracy are weak or missing, die within the first 30 years. According to the definitions used by the political scientists, the democracy in Iraq, like others established by European colonial powers in Africa and Asia, is extremely weak."
"“He remains a shy man, but one who is somehow dazzled by his own destiny,” said one European nonproliferation official who knows him well. “He’s always saying, ‘Oh, I talked to Condi last week and she told me this,’ or ‘I was with Putin and he said this or that.’ He’s almost like a child.”" (He was brought as a US puppet, and now he is being humiliated for not being puppet enough).
"It is the death of history" (thanks G.)

Sunday, September 16, 2007

""the cockiest guy I have ever met in my life.""
My article in Al-Akhbar "Nostalgia for Colonialism."
Today, marks the launching of the Lebanese National Resistance Front. A movement that was started in Sep. 1982 long before there was Hizbullah or Islamic organizations leading the fight against Israeli occupation. In fact, it was first started in March 1978 by an Iraqi Marxist, Hashim `Ali Muhsin (there is a one-line about him in Hanna Batatu's massive book on Iraq that he was born in a "mud hut" and then became the secretary general of the Union of Arab Workers). Muhsin was the secretary-general of the ultra-leftist organization, known as the Socialist Arab Action Party-Lebanon (originally a sister-party of the PFLP but later broke with it in 1980s). I wrote my MA thesis on this group (Muhsin was a hard core Stalinist but that is another story). Muhsin initiated it, and George Hawi of the Lebanese Communist Party and Muhsin Ibrahim of the Communist Action Organization, took the credit. Today, my sourses in Beirut told me, only comrade Fawwaz Trabulsi paid tribute to the small party in talking about the resistance movement. The Lebanese Communist Party and the Communist Action Organization habitually ignored the role of Muhsin.
"Palestinian children who fled the refugee camp of Nahr al-Bared and took refuge in Luqman school in the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli, peer through a hole on the school's wall on 04 September 2007." (thanks Laayla)
"THE SANCTUARY, by Raymond Khoury". It is good to see that Raymond is doing well as a novelist. Raymond (I used to annoy him by pronouncing his name in the French way) was my classmate and we shared a love of arts, cartoons, and cologne. He introduced me to Jovan. I also used to mock Raymond for lacking the skill to tell a joke. But Raymond frustrated me: he was one of those Lebanese in my "elite" private high school that the New York Times described once as "misplaced Westerners." He did not know much about the Middle East, and spoke Arabic with an accent. He was more interested in the US than in any other place although he now incorporates Middle East themes in his novels, I am told. I have not seen Raymond since college days when I studied political science and he studied architecture. I don't know why he mentions on his website that he was evacuated by the Marines from Beirut in 1984?
When I want to learn about world affairs, I always turn to US celebrities: "She gave Peres a volume of "The Book of Splendor," the guiding text of Kabbalah, inscribed "To Shimon Peres, the man I admire and love, Madonna," (thanks Wissam)
"Palestinians see clearly that Abbas -- who embraces Israeli leaders while refusing to talk to other Palestinian factions -- was the author of the Oslo agreement that never even mentioned the word "occupation," and is now discussing a new "agreement of principles" that will cancel the right of return, legitimize Israeli settlements and threaten other basic rights."
Conspiracy? What conspiracy? Look at the main picture and caption.
"The end of a US-centric world?
"Nato chiefs will this week finally tell the Serbian government where they drop-ped thousands of cluster bombs during the Kosovo campaign, more than eight years after the bombardment finished."
This article reveals that the real early motives of `Abd-u-s-Sattar Abu Rishah was not opposition to Al-Qa`idah but winning contracts with the US government in Iraq.
Israeli academia. Just imagine the world-wide reactions if an Arab academic wrote a similar article calling for bombing: " Repay Gaza in kind." This is an actual headline. This person may soon win a prize from some peace institute in the US.
"On the ground, Syria’s formidable air defences went dead."
"Commanders at the US naval base in Cuba have written to lawyers for two of the inmates accusing their clients of wearing contraband underpants and Speedo swimming trunks which they claim have been illegally smuggled into the high-security compound." (thanks Badis)
Solid pretext for war: "'There are indicators that they do have something going on there,' he said."
"Lawrence Summers, the controversial former president of Harvard University, has been replaced as the planned speaker at a UC Board of Regents dinner next week after complaints from faculty members." (thanks Maryam)
"AMERICA’s elder statesman of finance, Alan Greenspan, has shaken the White House by declaring that the prime motive for the war in Iraq was oil."

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Thus spoke Ahmad Chalabi: "We did not call for waging a war against Iraq." (thanks Ghayur)
What you miss reading from the Saudi press. This is from the "liberal" Elaph about the chief of Saudi intelligence, Prince Muqrin bin `Abdul-`Aziz, who used to bomb Yemeni communists from the air according to the story. "Prince Muqrin who enjoys great love among his family and among his fellow citizens is leading steps of openness that can be described as "revolutionary."
Egyptian Mufti,`Ali Jum`ah, was asked in an interview about polygamy in Islam. He said: but all the religions of the world allow polygamy. All, he was asked. Yes, he said. All except Christianity.
"In the week in which General Patraeus reports back to US Congress on the impact the recent ‘surge’ is having in Iraq, a new poll reveals that more than 1,000,000 Iraqi citizens have been murdered since the invasion took place in 2003." (thanks Molly)

Friday, September 14, 2007

If you want to know who `Abd-u-s-Sattar (that is how Hanna Batatu used to transliterate following the old system of the Library of Congress--which is the system I favor) Abu Rishah was, read those glowing tributes in Ash-Sharq Al-Awsat (the mouthpiece of Prince Salman).
Syrian deputy foreign minister tells Al-Akhbar that his regime will decide "when and where" to respond to Israeli bombing of Syria. Let me guess: Belgium in the year 2034?
"A decent two-state solution to the 'Palestinian problem' has become impossible." (thanks Ali)
I worry that the bombastic and empty rhetoric of the (increasingly unpopular) Iranian regime on the Palestinian question is only turning away Iranian public opinion from the Palestinian cause. That was exactly what happened under the regime of Saddam Husayn, and it explains why there is very little interest in or sympathy for (by Kurds or Shi`ites or Sunnis) the persecuted Palestinians in Iraq.
If I can get an 8th day in the week, I can devote more time to this blog.
"Giuliani Advisor: Raze Palestinian Villages" (thanks Ken) people's houses in Iraq. (NYT)
Yesterday, Al-Arabiya TV aired a report about how life is returning to normal in Baghdad. As evidence, they showed an Iraqi man making a purchase at a shop. We call that documentation in academia.
I like it when the sectarian Christian LBC-TV (which is largely owned by Saudi money now) tries to feign sensitivity to Islam during the month of Ramadan.
If you rely on the lousy Iranian regime to counter the lousy Saudi regime you will surely be disappointed. This is like relying on Jibril Rajjub to clean up Fath after Muhammad Dahlan.
Fouad Ajami pays tribute to a dear friend: "I myself fought al Qaeda with my own funds." (I personally fought the Spanish fascists with my own hands during the Spanish civil war but do you see me bragging?) (thanks G)
You may have watched Nabih Birri on LBC yesterday. Yet again he proves that he just can't burn bridges to any side in Lebanon. It is very important for him to stay as speaker of parliament. Oh, and he as usual paid tribute to Saudi Arabia. This week, his designated Shi`ite deputy chairperson of the Sh`ite Supreme Council in Lebanon (he is deputy because the masses are still awaiting the return of Musa As-Sadr who "disappeared" in Libya in 1978), `Abdul-Amir Qabalan (who had a reputation of being bribable with no more than a dish of frakah in South Lebanon when he was Ja`farite Mufti of Lebanon) met with the Saudi King. He presumably thanked him for carrying the mantle of Zarqawi in aggravating Sunni-Shi`ite tensions in the region.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Professional Arab News. Today, the younger brother of Sheikh Abu Rishah was interviewed on Al-Arabiya TV. He started by thanking Al-Arabiya TV for its favorable coverage of his brother. I kid you not.
"In a showdown over academic freedom, a prominent legal scholar said Wednesday that UC Irvine's chancellor had succumbed to conservative political pressure in rescinding his contract to head the university's new law school, a charge the chancellor vehemently denied." (thanks Yasmine)
"African Maids Face Abuse in Lebanon" (thanks Amina)
"Saudi women to put their foot down on driving ban"