Wednesday, April 30, 2008

"We cannot celebrate the birthday of a state founded on terrorism, massacres and the dispossession of another people from their land. We cannot celebrate the birthday of a state that even now engages in ethnic cleansing, that violates international law, that is inflicting a monstrous collective punishment on the civilian population of Gaza and that continues to deny to Palestinians their human rights and national aspirations. We will celebrate when Arab and Jew live as equals in a peaceful Middle East." (thanks Nader)
One of the most unprincipled and corrupt Palestinian leaders, Bassam Abu Sharif, writes a biographical anthology of lies about Yaser Arafat: a Palestinian leader as incompetent and as lousy as Hajj Amin Husayni and Ahmad Shuqayri--the latter was at least amusing and was oratorically gifted. In this new book, for example, Abu Sharif claims that Arafat is polite and amicable when everybody who knows anything about Arafat knows that his temper tantrum were legendary and that he frequently cursed AND slapped his aides. In fact, Dahlan has been slapped by Arafat, as was Jibril Rajjub. Those last slaps may be the only good deeds of Arafat in a long career.
Sarkozy declares the Tunisian police state "an exemplary model"
"Oppressed workers and peoples...and Imperialism" by Sulayman Taqiyyidin
Dahlan o Dahlan. Abu Mazen brought Damascene sweets to Olmert and Livni. (In South Lebanon we have a saying: مطرح ما يسري يهري)
Since the beginning of this year, eight female domestic servants were found dead in Lebanon.
A campaign for the foreign domestic workers in Lebanon.
"Doctors in Afghanistan say rates of some health problems affecting children have doubled in the last two years. Some scientists say the rise is linked to use of weapons containing depleted uranium (DU) by the US-led coalition that invaded the country in 2001. A Canadian research group found very high levels of uranium in Afghans during tests just after the invasion." (thanks Laleh)
On Workers' Day (not Labor Day as they call it in the US), comrade Khalid writes "One Day"
"Her first mention of Hariri comes on page 176, of Hassan Nasrallah on page 234, and her command of the two most galvanising figures in recent Lebanese politics is weak. Solidere gets a single sentence." She also gives Assad’s son, Syria’s current president, the name Bashir rather than Bashar. (thanks Chris)
I need a bibiliographical help--and I need it NOW. I heard that the Mahdawi trials' transcripts were published in books but I can't find a reference to that. Anybody knows?
"I still remember my first time visiting Israel: It felt like coming home to a place that I had never been. And every time I return, and as I look upon the land where Israelis have made the desert literally bloom, and as I drive past the aging hulks of Israeli tanks, which recall the dear cost that generations of Israeli patriots have paid for their nation’s survival, as I see all of these things, it is clear to me that a confident Israel can achieve things that many think impossible." (thanks Mounzer)
"Los Angeles Police Department officials announced Tuesday that they investigated more than 300 complaints of racial profiling against officers last year and found that none had merit -- a conclusion that left members of the department's oversight commission incredulous." (thanks Sellam)
"CAIRO: “Mr. President, Mr. President, Egypt’s youth are behind bars.”
With those words Belal Diab, a 20-year-old literature student at Cairo University, interrupted Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif as he addressed the student body on campus Monday, kicking up a media storm." (thanks anonymous)
A special section in As-Safir's Youth Supplement on migrant workers in Lebanon.
"Lebanese employers, placement agencies, and the Lebanese authorities should improve the treatment of domestic workers by ensuring fair contracts, timely payment of wages, and a weekly day’s leave, Human Rights Watch said today, on the eve of Labor Day. Human Rights Watch is launching a campaign to highlight the often invisible abuses that many women who are domestic workers suffer in Lebanon. An estimated 200,000 domestic workers, primarily from Sri Lanka, the Philippines, and Ethiopia, play an essential role in a large number of Lebanese households, yet remain unprotected by labor laws and are subject to exploitation and frequent abuse by employers and agencies. “This Labor Day reminds us of the important contributions these women make to this country,” said Nadim Houry, researcher at Human Rights Watch. “They not only pick up the slack in many households in Lebanon, but also help support their own families left behind. While some employers treat domestic workers with respect, many fail to provide minimum standards of decent working conditions, such as adequate food, living accommodations, and regular payment.”" (thanks Nadim)
"On the following Monday, he deliberately swallowed a dose of LSD and rode his bicycle home as the effects of the drug overwhelmed him. That day, April 19, later became memorialized by LSD enthusiasts as “bicycle day.”"
"They say Hamdan, already the subject of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling, has essentially been driven insane by solitary confinement in a tiny cell where he spends at least 22 hours a day, goes to the bathroom and eats all his meals. His defense team says he is suicidal, hears voices, has flashbacks, talks to himself and says the restrictions of Guantánamo "boil his mind.""
Arab oil princes and kings: they gave more money to New Orleans than they gave to Lebanon after the Israeli war on Lebanon. (thanks May)
"But the Barbican Arts Centre's show Homeland Lost, consisting of 16 black and white images taken by the photojournalist Alan Gignoux soon after Israel gained independence, is the unlikely frontier of new hostilities between Britain's Israeli and Arab communities. Jonathan Hoffman, of the Jewish umbrella group the Zionist Federation, has complained to the London arts venue's director Nicholas Kenyon about captions accompanying the photos, which state that the 800,000 Palestinians who left their homes were "uprooted" and "dispossessed". He accused the Barbican of "falsifying" history." (thanks Laleh)
"Disneyland goes to war-torn Iraq, with a multi-million dollar entertainment complex, to be built on a 50 acre lot adjacent to the Green Zone." (thanks Ali)

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

I did not have time to write anything about the late George Atiyyah, who died a few days ago. He was (since 1967) the head of the Near East section of the Library of Congress until his retirement. He was an expert on Islamic philosophy, and received his training at the University of Chicago. I met him in Washington, DC during my dears of residence there, although I did not know him well. But I will always be grateful for his kindness toward me. He knew of my bibliographical obsessions, and he invited me to visit him at the Library of Congress to talk about books and manuscripts. He even allowed me--after some pleading on my part--to enter the stacks' area, where visitors are not allowed. For that, I am grateful.
"Roads in Saudi Arabia are among the world's most dangerous but one type of victim stands out: female teachers who are dying at alarming rates because of long commutes through the desert to reach remote schools." (thanks Yasser)
"My cold and hungry students have divided themselves into two groups, with one group adamant that you, like many of your courageous characters, will reconsider your participation in an Israeli festival that aims to celebrate the annihilation of Palestine and Palestinians. The other group believes that you have already crossed over to the side of the oppressor, negating every word you have ever written. We all wait for your next action." (thanks Nader)
What? This two-year child? Well, he was killed in US bombing on Sadr city but there is evidence that he was one of the commanders of the Mahdi Army. (Reuters)
As`ad Hardan (the Syrian regime's man in SSNP) killed the Syrian Social National Party.
"Mahmoud Abbas left Washington a disappointed man." And do you notice in the US media Dennis Ross and Aaron David Miller are now selected as the sole and undsiputed spokespeople of the Palestinian people?
Hassan Fattah's hard-hitting coverage of UAE's affairs: "Shoppers are being told to dress appropriately and refrain from public displays of affection by a poster campaign in malls."
"What's hot in Abu Dhabi this month": Abuse of Asian workers?
"David Miliband, the foreign secretary, and Des Browne, the defence secretary, were today accused of "closing their minds" to evidence of the systematic abuse of Iraqi prisoners by British soldiers in Iraq."
Hassan Fattah's independent newspaper covers the grandson of the ruler of Ra's Al-Khaymah: "But the grandson of the 97-year-old ruler, Sheikh Saqr Al Qassimi, is not immune from the distractions of modern life. A loud beep from his mobile phone announces an incoming text message.Sheikh Abdullah gazes at the screen and smiles. “It is from a special friend.” Suddenly the interview is derailed into a frank discussion about love, marriage and dreams. “A sheikh can only marry a sheikha,” he explains. “Those who marry outside royalty have a hard time within their families and community.”" Remember: no strings attached.
Hassan Fattah is weeping: "Until incidents like these cease — just a sample of what has been reported this month — we can only weep for Iraq and American soldiers." Notice that he is not weeping for Iraqi civilians.
PS I call on my readers to send me links from this newspaper. We should do a regular UAE's Ruling Dynasty newspaper Watch.
Hassan Fattah has an objective observer--one of the people--to write editorials in his UAE's ruling dynasty's newspaper.
If I had time on my hands, I would post art and translate poetry. But alas I don't. Good night.
Israeli occupation forces continue to kill and injure Hamas terrorists. US congress just sent its salutations.
"Today, the top percentile in Israel earns more than the bottom 25% of the workfore."
"Saudi Arabia, the world’s top oil exporter, is completing a $50 billion plan to increase capacity to 12.5 million barrels a day, but it signaled recently that it would not go beyond that." $50 billion is a small price to pay to please Western consumers.
When Israeli occupation soldiers kill Palestinian children you can always count on the New York Times to come to the rescue: "A Palestinian mother and her four young children were killed in northern Gaza on Monday during an Israeli operation against militants there, and a dispute quickly arose over exactly how they had died." Dispute? Oh, yes. Some people people believe they were hit by lightening.
"Professors Joseph Massad and Andrew Nathan received the Lionel Trilling and Mark Van Doren Awards, respectively, on Monday in an announcement from the Columbia College Academic Awards Committee."
"Just when you think you'll be dipping your toes in super-luxury the Saudi Crown Prince comes along and brings you back to Earth. I was still wondering what shoes to wear on my imminent visit to the Geneva Suite at the Grand Hotel Kempinski Geneva, unsure about the lushness of the carpet or heel marks on fine wood, when I was told the suite is a victim of its own success: Crown Prince Sultan Ben Abdel Aziz is in town for a routine health checkup at the Genolier Clinique, and the extraordinary suite (I had a glimpse of the 1,080m2, unfinished, several weeks ago) and just about every other good hotel room in town were suddenly taken over the weekend. My visit will have to wait." (thanks John)
This will pass as reform, in DC: "The Ambassador to Saudi Arabia in Ankara, El Husseini broke with the Islamic laws of his country and served his guests alcoholic beverages." I wonder if people will now be offered their last drink before they are beheaded. (thanks Toufic)
US Congress: "1) recognizes the historic significance of the 60th anniversary of the reestablishment of the sovereign and independent State of Israel as a homeland for the Jewish people; (2) reaffirms its enduring support for Israel as Israel pursues peace with its neighbors; (3) reaffirms its support for Israel's right to defend itself against threats to its security and existence; (4) commends the people of Israel for their remarkable achievements in building a new state and a pluralistic, democratic society in the face of terrorism, as well as hostility, ostracism, and belligerence from many of their neighbors; (5) reaffirms the bonds of friendship and cooperation which have existed between the United States and Israel for the past 60 years, and commits to strengthening those bonds; and (6) extends the warmest congratulations and best wishes to the State of Israel and the Israeli people for a peaceful, prosperous, and successful future."
(Passed 417-0, 15 not voting (2/3 required)
Hassan Fattah explains the rules of his new newspaper: "“We aim to produce an excellent newspaper out of the region” that will set a new standard for other publications to aspire to, said Hassan M. Fattah, the deputy editor, who was a correspondent for The New York Times in the Middle East before joining The National. “Being government-owned does not equal being government-run,” he said. “There are no ministers sitting in my office” telling the paper what to write." (thanks Emily)
"Only one paper took a completely contrary position to Hitler's ascendance: Hazit Ha'am, the journal of the right-wing of the Revisionists. "If the segments of our people draw the appropriate conclusions from the Hitlerism, then we will be able to say that something good came out of a bad situation," the paper stated a few days after Hitler's appointment as chancellor. The paper even praised certain foundations of the Nazi ideology, primarily its fight against communism: "the anti-Semitic husk should be discarded, but not its anti-Marxist inside," the paper's editors wrote of Nazism."" (thanks Asa)
I caught some of the lousy Arab American Institute's "gala" in honor of Abu Mazen on C-Span. The MC, Jean Abinader, than informed the audience about the special security protocols regarding the arrival of Abu Mazen, and that they can shake his hands and say nice things to him. He first referred to him as "Abdul-Muhsin", but then corrected himself and said: I mean, Abdul-Mazen. C-Span ended the coverage before the arrival of "Abdul-Muhsin."

Monday, April 28, 2008

Don't feel sorry for these children. It is just that Israeli occupation troops just managed to kill more Palestinian terrorists.
In one statement, Mount Lebanon Muftititi, Muhammad `Ali Al-Juzu, manages to offend Maronties and Shi`ites.
Palestinian children mourning Palestinian children. (AP)
Israeli occupation forces killed her son. (AFP)
"The brutality of Turkey’s descent on Cyprus, stark enough, was no surprise. On previous occasions, as well as this one, Ankara had repeatedly given advance warning of its intentions. Political responsibility for the disaster lay with those who allowed or encouraged it. The chief blame is often put on the United States. There, by the summer of 1974, Nixon was so paralysed by Watergate – he was driven from office between the first and second Turkish assaults – that American policy was determined by Kissinger alone. Much ink has been spilled over the question of whether the CIA colluded with the junta’s impending coup in Nicosia, and if so whether its advance knowledge of the putsch was shared with the State Department. What is not in doubt is Kissinger’s view of Makarios, who had paid a lengthy state visit to Moscow in 1971, had imported Czech arms for use against EOKA-B, and under whom Cyprus was one of only four non-Communist countries trading with North Vietnam. He wanted Makarios out of the way, and with Sampson in place in Nicosia, blocked any condemnation of the coup in the Security Council. Once Ankara had delivered its ultimatum in London, he then connived at the Turkish invasion, co-ordinating its advance directly with Ankara." (thanks Talal)
"The Lebanese army said Monday that Israel Air Force warplanes have violated their airspace by flying missions over Beirut and elsewhere in the country. The Lebanese army said in a statement that "12 enemy Israeli warplanes violated Lebanese airspace before noon Monday, four flew over the Mediterranean off the coastal city of Byblos in the north and headed toward the eastern province of Hermel."" The Army statement added that Lebanese air defenses threw Hummus sandwiches at the planes and forced them to retreat.
"During that same segment, Matthews and Shuster also critiqued Obama's reported request for orange juice after being offered coffee at an Indiana diner."
"[H]e is aligned with leading neo-conservatives and he was even invited into the White House to address George W. Bush’s staff."
Beware: rice plantations around the world may be soon occupied by armed troops.
"Based on an agreement signed with former police commissioner Moshe Karadi, right-wing settlers will take up residence in a group of buildings in Jerusalem's predominantly Arab neighborhood Ras al-Amud in the next few days. The building had hitherto served as the Samaria and Judea District Police headquarters." (thanks May)
"Deputy Interior Minister Prince Ahmed said yesterday that the media had exaggerated the case of Saudi blogger Fouad Al-Farhan, adding that he was arrested for mistakes he had committed. “The issue (of Al-Farhan) was not that important as it represented the mistake committed by a person on himself. A man who commits a mistake should bear its result,” the Saudi Press Agency quoted the prince as saying." (thanks Laleh)
"I once gave a speech to a million people in Ghana." And I feel sorry for every one of them.
Shoes in American culture. A colleague came across this reference to American weddings in a book published by an Arab in 1895: ""After the wedding ceremony of the bride and groom their friends throw old shoes at them..." From Mikha'il As`ad Rustum, Al-Gharib Fi Al-Gharb, p. 80.
The economist who runs the Egyptian government has a solution for Egypt's acute economic problems: "Egyptian Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif has urged anyone who can resolve the nationwide problem of price rises to come forward with ideas, the official MENA news agency reported on Monday." (thanks John)
"Many in Washington would favor dialogue with Hezbollah." Lamb can't be more wrong. What Washington is he talking about? Who in Washington would favor dialogue with Hizbullah? Some staffer who sent him an email, or the Arabs in Washington? Unless he means dialogue behind bars.
Zizek: "Following this path, the Chinese used unencumbered authoritarian state power to control the social costs of the transition to capitalism. The weird combination of capitalism and Communist rule proved not to be a ridiculous paradox, but a blessing. China has developed so fast not in spite of authoritarian Communist rule, but because of it. There is a further paradox at work here. What if the promised second stage, the democracy that follows the authoritarian vale of tears, never arrives? This, perhaps, is what is so unsettling about China today: the suspicion that its authoritarian capitalism is not merely a reminder of our past – of the process of capitalist accumulation which, in Europe, took place from the 16th to the 18th century – but a sign of our future? What if the combination of the Asian knout and the European stock market proves economically more efficient than liberal capitalism? What if democracy, as we understand it, is no longer the condition and motor of economic development, but an obstacle to it?" (thanks Junaid)
There is no question whatsoever that what Daniel Pipes writes and says about Islam and Muslims is no different from what the Nazis said about Jews. No difference whatsoever: "“It is hard to see how violence, how terrorism will lead to the implementation of sharia,” Mr. Pipes said. “It is much easier to see how, working through the system — the school system, the media, the religious organizations, the government, businesses and the like — you can promote radical Islam.”Mr. Pipes refers to this new enemy as the “lawful Islamists.”" And John Esposito is right when he says: "“It’s an agenda to paint Islam, not just extremists, as a major problem.”". And can you imagine that this Pipes has taught classes on the Middle East? Imagine if somebody is bigoted against Hebrew like he is about Arabic: "“Arabic-language instruction is inevitably laden with Pan-Arabist and Islamist baggage,” he wrote, referring to the school as a madrassa, which means school in Arabic but, in the West, carries the implication of Islamic teaching." And then the ADL: "Mr. Levy made reference to the possibility that his organization would provide anti-bias training to Ms. Almontaser’s staff." The ADL is as qualified to train against bias, as Sistani is qualified to train on gender sensitivity or as Bush is qualified to train for peace. But the school is now in good hands: "children have been suspended for carrying weapons, repeatedly gotten into fights and taunted an Arabic teacher by calling her a “terrorist,” staff members and students said in interviews." And according to the Times: "Three days later, Ms. Almontaser was replaced by an interim principal, Danielle Salzberg, who is Jewish and speaks no Arabic."

Sunday, April 27, 2008

The Foucault Archive--in Arabic. (thanks Khaled)
Months after the appearance of my article on the Phalanges Party, Phalanges Party leader, Joseph AbuKhalil, responds to my article.
Zaha Hadid: notice how defensive she is about her Arab background. I say this although I am big fan of her work. But she says: " I was not raised on the tradition Arab nation." What is the traditional Arab notion?
Dahlan, o Dahlan. This is a very long interview with Muhammad Dahlan. Typically, what he says is an anthology of lies ,deception, distortions, and bogus claims. He talks about his long experience with Arafat, without mentioning that Arafat slapped him--literally--a few times, and that Arafat would refer to him and Abu Mazen in his last days as "the Hamid Karzai" camp. When Arafat was ill, he was on non-speaking terms with him. But when Arafat was taken to Paris, the Abu Mazen gang, with the complicity of Nasser Al-Qudwah--who can be easily persuaded--took over Arafat until his death.
"A court-martial panel on Friday found a Hawaii-based soldier not guilty in the killing of an unarmed Iraqi during a raid on a suspected insurgent hideout last year. Sgt. 1st Class Trey Corrales' friends and family erupted in cheers when the head of the military panel, or jury, read the verdict. The jury of nine soldiers acquitted Corrales of all three charges, including premeditated murder, after more than seven hours of deliberation...Corrales, 35, admitted to shooting the man after his platoon burst into a house in the village of Al Saheed near Kirkuk last June...But Frank Spinner, Corrales' defense lawyer, cast doubt on the credibility of the prosecution witnesses and said the government failed to prove the bullets from Corrales' M4 killed the man."

This may be last warning. Iranian boats should stop terrorizing US aircraft carriers in...the American-Persian gulf.
"While Israel contends that between 500 and 700 Hizbollah fighters were killed, the group itself said that about 80 fighters had died. Hizbollah sources admit that the losses were double that figure, while the US military study decided the death toll was 184. 'How could they be lying so much?' asked one resident of the south. 'People would not tolerate not having a funeral or posters of their son or husband. If it were 700 dead fighters, we would all know. We'd know more people killed, we'd be hearing the complaints from the families. Where can you hide 700 dead bodies in south Lebanon? It's too small.'" Did Israel not also claim that it found the bodies of three Iranian soldiers in South Lebanon at the time? Whatever happened to them? One thing is for sure: I lived to see the day when Israeli media lied more than Egyptian media in 1967. There is a consolation for there. (thanks Victoria)
"Leave Taliban alone, Afghan president tells West"
"On the same week the Ben-Ami Kadish espionage affair threatened to harm US-Israeli relations, the US Congress has passed a resolution in honor of Israel's 60th anniversary that describes the bond between the two countries and pledges to boost it in the future. In the resolution, the US "recognizes the historic significance of the 60th anniversary of the reestablishment of the sovereign and independent State of Israel as a homeland for the Jewish people." The resolution, which passed in a unanimous vote on Tuesday and Thursday that saw all the 100 senators in the two houses of Congress participating, recognizes "the 60th anniversary of the founding of the modern State of Israel and reaffirming the bonds of close friendship and cooperation between the United States and Israel." Israeli Ambassador to the US, Sallai Meridor, expressed his satisfaction with the resolution and said it is a testimony to the special friendship between the two countries as well as a strong message to the enemies of Israel about the unwavering US support for Israel." The resolution also congratulated all those Americans who spied for Israel, and called on more Americans to spy for Israel.
A different perspective. (thanks Julie)
"But minutes into the talk, the officer, Maj. Freddy J. Welborn, began to berate Specialist Hall and another soldier about atheism, Specialist Hall wrote in a sworn statement. “People like you are not holding up the Constitution and are going against what the founding fathers, who were Christians, wanted for America!” Major Welborn said, according to the statement." (thanks Molly)
"As a student in England, Judt was an ardent supporter of Labor Zionism, spent time on a kibbutz and volunteered as a translator and driver for the Israel Defense Forces during the 1967 war." Could somebody who had volunteered as a "translator and driver" for the Hamas or Hizbullah forces during war later get a tenured job at a US university? I was just wondering.
Imam Ali: Born in Sweden? Since I was a kid, I used to see this version of an imagined picture of Imam `Ali Bin Abi Talib (the one in the center). I first thought that it was the picture of a Western movie star. And notice that he resembles the European imagined picture of Jesus Christ. Ali was born in Mecca and must look like Saudis*, just as Jesus must look like Palestinians. But alas they want their prophets and Imams to look like the White Man--preferably the Swedish White Man.
*Kamal is right. We should say Jaziris and not Saudis.
What is his qualifications to review books on the Middle East? Well, after serving in the US armed forces, he covered Iraq from the New York Times' fortress in Baghdad--where the natives are not allowed to spend the night and where--I am told--a form of ethnic/national segregation is enforced by the NYT Baghdad bureau chief.
"But he appears to believe that an insult is an analysis. He wants us to remember, about the Islamists in Britain, “their six-liter plastic tubs of hairdressing bleach and nail-polish remover, their crystalline triacetone triperoxide and chapatti flour.” He knows for a fact that Islamists “habitually” jump red lights, so as “to show contempt for the law of the land (and contempt for reason).” Iranians, he teaches, are “mystical, volatile and masochistic.” Amis seems to regard his little curses as almost military contributions to the struggle. He has a hot, heroic view of himself. He writes as if he, with his wrinkled copies of Bernard Lewis and Philip Larkin, is what stands between us and the restoration of the caliphate. He is not only outraged by Sept. 11, he is also excited by it. “If Sept. 11 had to happen, then I am not at all sorry that it happened in my lifetime.” Don’t you see? It no longer matters that we missed the Spanish Civil War. ¡No pasarán!" (thanks John)
"The Chinese were believed to spread disease by spitting on the street (hence a spate of anti-expectoration bylaws). In some towns, efforts were made to prevent Chinese laundries from employing white women, the fear being that they might be dragged into opium and iniquity. In an editorial that was typical of the times, the Toronto News of 1885 slammed "the lowest class of Chinese" as "filthy and leprous ... degraded barbarians." Interestingly, the sinister Oriental didn't always have to be Chinese. Depending upon which countries were in the West's good graces, his nationality could change. During World War II, Japanese troops became the new Mongols of Western imagination, while the Chinese – like helpful Chop-chop in the Blackhawk comic books – were portrayed as loyal helpers. But with the end of that conflict and the beginning of the Cold War, stereotypes went back to normal. In the Sgt. Rock comic books of the early '60s, hordes of Chinese Communists replaced the Banzai-shouting Japanese as the yellow peril of choice." (thanks Najib)
The secret life of King Hasan II (thanks Kamal)
This is Thomas Friedman's best analysis of international affairs.
Husayn Zurayq, 13, was hit all over his body by an Israeli cluster bomb in South Lebanon.
You will not read this in your press. Israeli occupation troops entered Lebanese territory three times in the last week. And Israeli occupation air force violated Lebanese airspace 26 times from April 1st until April 18.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

"Karzai flees..."
"Fouad al-Farhan is one of the few Saudi bloggers who uses his real name. His blog discusses freedom, justice, equality and Islamic values — frequently touching on subjects that are sensitive or taboo in Saudi society. After his arrest, a letter was posted on his Web site saying Saudi authorities were after him for writing about political prisoners. Ahmad al-Omran, al-Farhan's friend said Saturday he learned of the release through a text message sent to his mobile phone by al-Farhan's wife." Not a whimper about his arrest in (Saudi-dominated) Arab media; and not a whimper about his release.
Abu Mazen again: he is willing to give up 3% of 23% of Palestine.
"Amnesty International has received secretly filmed grisly footage of a man being beheaded in Saudi Arabia. The organization strongly condemns the execution and calls for the Saudi Arabian government to adhere to the U.N. moratorium on executions around the world."
"Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Friday that he failed to achieve any progress in Middle East peace talks." You failed? Of course, you failed. You have been a failure all your life. You failed in every task or mission you undertook. You failed as teacher in Qatar and were known for putting your students to sleep. And then you were by trying to become an expert on Zionism: and you were a big failure there. In your own memoirs, you bragged about your knowledge of Zionism and yet you attributed the saying "A land without a people for a people without a land" to Herzl when it was coined by I. Zangwill. And you even engaged in holocaust denial. You are such a failure that you were in charge of money for Fath, and we know how corrupt that organization has been since the early 1970s. Failed? You are one of the few early Fath leaders who never struck a chord with people, and who never had a base in the organization. Don't get me wrong: you do have a base in Israel, Saudi Arabia and US.
Hamid Karzai is mad as hell and he will not take it anymore. Here, he calls on the US and NATO to increase the number of Afghan civilian casualties: "“I am not happy with civilian casualties coming down."
The new book by Noah Feldman. I have written before about this fellow, and I have made it clear that I have no respect for him whatsoever. When I read people like Feldman, I feel nostalgic to the old Orientalists who--with all their flaws and biases--were largely learned, erudite, knowledgeable, and had mastery over so many languages. But I really kept an open mind to read his new book: The Fall and Rise of the Islamic State published by Princeton University Press. I kid you not: I have never EVER in my life read a whole book and found not one insight in it, like this. Not one insight. And how could one write (and teach) about Islamic law when his sources are all in English: this is like having somebody teach about Jewish law and not knowing Hebrew. It would be unimaginable, as Muhsin Mahdi once told me--and Feldman dared to dedicate the book to Mahdi. If only Mahdi was alive to protest--in his own quite way of course. There are people who write on Islamic law now: and they know the material: Cook, Hallaq, Dallal, Abu Al-Fadl, etc. Feldman would refer to important texts of Mawardi or others by citing English translations. (One article by H.A.R. Gibb on Mawardi's political theory is more informative and insightful than this whole book). Can you imagine the classic US professors of Islamic law, like Schacht at Columbia or Khadduri at SAIS doing the same? Probably the only "Arabic" source he was capable of citing was Ikhwanweb, or something like that. I really don't know what he teaches in his classes: he seems too unqualified based on his writings and interviews that I have read. I will share with you some of his pearls of wisdom: "The absence of political justice, I argue, is a results of the failure of these modern states to establish themselves as legal states." (p. 8) So there is no justice because there is no...justice? He said: "The written constitutions of both Iraq and Afghanistan, for example, guarantee equality of men and women..."(p. 11) But the apologist of the two occupations failed to mention that there were more WRITTEN guarantees of gender equality in Afghanistan under Najibullah and Iraq under Saddam. And you speak to me about written guarantees? North Korea, according to its constitution, is a democracy? And you need not brag about a state that regressed in women's rights from the times of...Saddam. Saddam, for potato's sake. He says that Khalifah is "a substitute." (p. 23). And this guy is a professor of Islamic law and can't get the meaning of khalifah right. And my colleague and friend Ahmad Dallal is correct in protesting at those who refer to Wahhabiyyah as "reform" movement, as does this dude here.(p. 93) And his account of Ibn `Abdul-Wahab is quite sympathetic (he calls him "great" and he calls Ibn Saud "great" but this is unrelated to the fact that House of Saud endowed the Islamic law program at Harvard where he teaches. House of Saud always insists that there are no strings attached to their fundings but if people who receive Saudi funding feel the need to chant: "with spirit, with blood, I shall sacrifice myself for you, o House of Saud" that is their business. And I never heard of Ibn `Abdul-Wahab referred to as "charismatic" (p. 94) unless one considers the stoning of a woman an act of charisma. The brother of Ibn `Abdul-Wahab himself denounced him, although Natana Delong-Bas makes no mention of this in apologetic her book on Wahhabiyyah. He compares the House of Saud to a political party (p. 98). On page 145 he makes his views on Iraq clear: he does not object US occupation, or any other occupation I presume. He merely objects to the "inadequacies of the US occupation", which means that they did not listen to his advise. What is amazing about his writing style is that he prepares the reader in a page or more for something important: for some brilliant insight and then...nothing. He basically is telling the reader: stay with me: I am about to dazzle you with something very deep and very sophisticated and then, something so bland and vapid, that you get the urge to turn the TV and watch Muhammad hasanayn Haykal talk. He said: "The call for an Islamic state is therefore first and foremost a call for law."(p.9) Professor Joseph Schacht: can you come back from the grave? Thanks. We need you bad.
What does that mean Borzou? "On the streets of Damascus people draw in American sounds, sights and icons, making them part of their cultural DNA." (thanks Maha)
"One of Efrati's worst experiences started when some Palestinian kids threw rocks and Molotov cocktails at his unit when he was out on patrol in south Hebron. About 40 minutes afterward, he says, other soldiers in his unit identified and shot dead one of the youths who threw a flaming bottle. He was 11 years old. "It was reported in the Israeli media later that one terrorist with a Molotov cocktail was killed," he recalls, sitting in a Tel Aviv cafe. "I didn't feel so good, but most of my friends didn't care, and we had so much to do. These things were happening all the time," he says."" (thanks Tanya)
Sneaky trickery of Haaretz: Yesterday, this Israeli occupation newspaper printed this sentence: "Muslim Hackers commandeered the Bank of Israel Web site early Friday and filled it with virtual graffiti in Arabic defaming Israel." This led people to wonder how this newspaper was able to identify the religion of the hackers. Today, the newspaper removed the word "Muslim" from the article without alerting the readers. (thanks Emily)
"He argued that former secretary of state Colin Powell and his deputy, Richard Armitage, were the ones who failed to challenge the logic of going to war -- not him. He suggested that Powell, Armitage, Franks, former Iraq viceroy Jerry Bremer and even Feith's old boss, Donald Rumsfeld, should be blamed for the postwar chaos in Iraq -- not him. He blamed then-National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice for the way she operated ("fundamental differences were essentially papered over rather than resolved"). He accused the CIA of "improper" and unprofessional behavior. And he implicitly blamed President Bush for not cracking down on insubordinate behavior at the State Department. Yet at the same time, Feith told the CSIS crowd that he disapproved of the "snide and shallow self-justification typical in memoirs of former officials," or what Feith cleverly called the " 'I-was-surrounded-by-idiots' school of memoir writing." Feith pointed out that he supported his account with 140 pages of notes and documents. And yet, in his hour-long panel discussion, Feith seemed to be of the impression that he had, in fact, been surrounded by idiots." (thanks Sellam)
The Muhammad Hasanyn Haykal Show on AlJazeera. The other day, I was driving and i tuned in to AlJazeera (through Slingbox on my phone) and I heard the last show of Muhammad Hasanyn Haykal. It was so painful, pointless, and boring that it sounded like this--kid you not: "When Enoch had lived for sixty-five years, he became the father of Methuselah. 22Enoch walked with God after the birth of Methuselah for three hundred years, and had other sons and daughters. 23Thus all the days of Enoch were three hundred and sixty-five years. 24Enoch walked with God; then he was no more, because God took him. 25 When Methuselah had lived for one hundred and eighty-seven years, he became the father of Lamech. 26Methuselah lived after the birth of Lamech for seven hundred and eighty-two years, and had other sons and daughters. 27Thus all the days of Methuselah were nine hundred and sixty-nine years; and he died. 28 When Lamech had lived for one hundred and eighty-two years, he became the father of a son; 29he named him Noah, saying, ‘Out of the ground that the Lord has cursed this one shall bring us relief from our work and from the toil of our hands.’ 30Lamech lived after the birth of Noah for five hundred and ninety-five years, and had other sons and daughters. 31Thus all the days of Lamech were seven hundred and seventy-seven years; and he died."

Friday, April 25, 2008

My article in Al-Akhbar: "The Destiny of Zionism."
"Jon Alterman, an expert on the Middle East at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, said, “You’re certainly adding insult to injury when you travel to Israel, and the Palestinians have to travel to Egypt to see you.”" But the Dahlan gang basks in insults, humiliation, and denigration. It is what they do. It is the only thing they do, aside from collaboration with Israeli occupation. Dahlan, o Dahlan.
"Representative Peter Hoekstra, a Republican from Michigan, expressed annoyance on Thursday that the administration waited seven months to brief Congress. “I think many people believe that we were used today by the administration,” he said.""
Personally, whenever I spot "Korean faces" I immediately call representatives of the IAEA and alert them to the presence of a nuclear facility: " Intelligence officials showed committees on Capitol Hill a video taken inside the Syrian al-Kibar facility in which Korean faces were said to be visible."
Living in the West, I never stop learning about Arab culture: "Saddam's effigy was smashed with hammers while an Iraqi crowd beat the head of the fallen figure with their shoes in an act considered the ultimate insult in Arab culture."
"Even as Israel moves expeditiously to seal off its West Bank threat, however, Palestinians face the prospect of another wall hemming them in. This latest wall is not being constructed by the Israelis, though, but by Egypt, which seeks more protection from its Palestinian neighbors in Gaza."
"Americans tell it like it is to the Iraqis."
"Heavy-equipment giant Caterpillar opened negotiations with Christian groups that were threatening to divest from the company because of its sales to Israel." (thanks May)
Tomorrow Saturday (at 11:00AM Pacific Time) I will speak on Arab secularism on the Network of Arab Secularists. You need to register to participate. (It will be in Arabic).
PS It only works with Internet Explorer.
"According to Joseph diGenova, the federal prosecutor who led the investigation that landed Pollard in prison, investigators were not completely convinced that Israeli espionage in the United States ceased after the navy analyst was put away. “The Israelis, of course, lied to us,” diGenova told The Associated Press on April 23. “They said there were no other spies and they had destroyed all the documents they got at the time.” The former federal prosecutor added that Yagur knew specifically which information he hoped to obtain from Pollard and Kadish." (thanks Laleh)

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Where else would I know about this except in Al-Hayat (and in other Saudi and Hariri media)? Here, I learn from Al-Hayat newspaper, that its owner, Prince Khalid bin Sultan Al Bribe (surrounded by his sons Fahd and `Abdullah), won some horse competition. Apparently, the Prince's horse managed to bribe his way to victory.
Saudi clerics ordered to warn of the dangers of PlayStation in their sermons--I am not making this up. No information on what the Saudi Muftitititi thinks of the Wii. (thanks As`ad--not me).
Michael Totten: I would like to ask you. Why do you understand the Middle East instinctively?
Answer: "I understood the Middle East instinctively thanks to my grasp of Bosnia, Serbia, and Kosovo. The Turkish (Ottoman) Empire ruled over all these lands for hundreds of years." Oh, thank you, Michael Totten. Now I understand. (thanks Seth)
For those who wonder why I loathe--for more reasons than one--the Syrian regime: "The Syrian expatriate affairs minister, Buthaina Shaaban, told Al Jazeera television, “Olmert is ready for peace with Syria on the grounds of international conditions; on the grounds of the return of the Golan Heights in full to Syria.”"
"A letter that President Bush personally delivered to then-Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon four years ago has emerged as a significant obstacle to the president's efforts to forge a peace deal between the Israelis and Palestinians during his last year in office. Ehud Olmert, the current Israeli prime minister, said this week that Bush's letter gave the Jewish state permission to expand the West Bank settlements that it hopes to retain in a final peace deal, even though Bush's peace plan officially calls for a freeze of Israeli settlements across Palestinian territories on the West Bank. In an interview this week, Sharon's chief of staff, Dov Weissglas, said Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice reaffirmed this understanding in a secret agreement reached between Israel and the United States in the spring of 2005, just before Israel withdrew from Gaza." (thanks Regan)
"Many Lebanese, increasingly worried about the country's political paralysis devolving into violence, are preparing themselves in the same way. One measure of their anxiety is the price of small arms: An AK-47 that went for $75 to $100 a year ago now costs $600 to $1,000." (via FLC)
"Over the past two years, Israel has used various means to reduce the supply of electricity and fuel to the Gaza Strip, starting with bombing the only power station in June 2006. In October 2007, Israel began restricting shipments of gasoline, diesel and other fuels. Israel’s control of Gaza’s borders and its refusal to allow the movement of goods across the border with Egypt – with Egyptian complicity – means that these essential goods are only available from Israel." (thanks Nadim)
This is hilarious. As of late, whenever the New York Times needs a view of Arab public opinion, it turns to Dennis Ross. (Notice that in this article, two "experts" were cited: Ross and Aaron David Miller. One speaks for the Palestinians, and the other for exile Palestinians, I presume.) "“There’s been some pressure within the Arab world, suggesting that he shouldn’t go to Israel at this point if there are not indicators that he will be dealing with the Palestinians as well,” said Dennis Ross, who worked as a Middle East envoy under President Bill Clinton and Mr. Bush’s father." I have to go now. I need to bake a pie.
Damning evidence of a nuclear reactor in Syria: "The video, which Mr. Hill has shown to senior South Korean officials, shows Korean faces among the workers at the Syrian plant." Whenever you see "Korean faces" it always means the presence of a nuclear reactor. In fact, just last week, I saw a Korean face in my neighborhood. I approached the man and yelled: why are you bringing a nuclear reactor to my neighborhood here in California? He just ran away. Personally, I think this is all the evidence and pretext the US needs to invade Syria. And such an invasion would be a cakewalk, I think. If we put things in the hands of famous Syrian exile leader, Abu `Abduh Chalabi, he will be able to steer Syria toward democracy and freedom. I also think that such an invasion will create an exemplary model for all the region to emulate. To be sure, things may not go well, in the first 4 years of the invasion, but we can always implement a surge, even if we stay for a 100 years in Syria. But that is only me.
The New York Times continues to relegate the story of the Israeli spy to the New York/New Jersey region section. But here is another touching tribute to the Israeli spy: "He organized hospital visits and prayers for the dead, advised acquaintances on how to buy Israel bonds, served meals on wheels, persuaded the condominium association to let him build a hut in his yard each autumn to welcome scores of people for the Jewish harvest festival Sukkot. In his spare time, he tracked down 500 relatives and posted a family tree to a genealogy Web site." And this: "Among the retirees, his views on Israel were considered normal, several people said: His opinions could be strong, but they did not regard him as an extremist." Does that mean that the views of Pat Robertson are "strong" but not extremist? Also, what is normal, for the New York Times when it comes to Israel? Meir Kahane's views were considered normal by the New York Times.
On the anniversary of the Armenian genocide, the Daily Star's editorial praises Turkey. (thanks Jamal)
Who threw pies at Thomas Friedman? I want an investigation NOW. Watch here. (I once spoke to the SF people who specialize in throwing pies at celebrities and they assured me that they used fresh ingredients). (thanks Mohammed)

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Saudi Rotana channel stops a live show because Egyptian poet, Ahmad Fu'ad Najm criticized Saudi Arabia. (thanks Raed)
Hamas is opposed to dancing (but is not opposed to clowning). (thanks Mirvat)
"China's involvement is not all positive, as the support given to Mugabe's regime shows." That is a good point especially that Western governments never, I mean NEVER, support oppressive governments anywhere in the world. That is right. You heard it here first.
Look how they deceive their readers. The mouthpiece of Prince Salman claims that Israel is afraid that Bush will cancel his trip to Israel to protest the Israeli spy.
Long time ago (when Steve Martin and `Adil Imam were still funny), Adonis wrote great poetry. Now he writes this: "If I have a house, it is love; if I have a homeland it is poetry." And I add this: and if I have a potato, it is the tomato. When Mahmud Darwish sneezes it is better poetry than this.
Look at this highly sympathetic portrayal of Saddam in Prince Khalid bin Sultan's mouthpiece. (The sympathy is required by virtue of the Sunni-Shi`ite discord that Saudi royals are managing).
The guy to the left is Ralph Miliband's son.
Walid Jumblat's party said in a statement today: "It could be beneficial to reconsider the entire notion of human rights."
"Current news in potatoes." (thanks Gottfried)
The search for a new presidential candidate in Lebanon. An informed source tells me that Syria and the opposition in Lebanon have lost any faith in the candidacy of Michel Sulayman. They now treat him as a figure who belongs to March 14th, and they are acting accordingly. The statements by Talal Arsalan (a client of the Syrian regime and a close friend of Bashshar Al-Asad) have been the most revealing. The rest are playing a game: pretending to support Sulayman while working behind the scenes to undermine his candidacy. I expect the stalemate to continue into the last day of the Bush administration. Bashshar Al-Asad seems to be falling into an old weapon of his father: extreme patience and diplomatic procrastination. Under such circumstances, it is possible that old names may be brought in: people like Jean `Ubayd (the favorite candidate of Nabih Birri) and Michel Iddi (the favorite candidate of Patriarch Sfayr).
"The United States has less than 5 percent of the world’s population. But it has almost a quarter of the world’s prisoners. Indeed, the United States leads the world in producing prisoners, a reflection of a relatively recent and now entirely distinctive American approach to crime and punishment. Americans are locked up for crimes — from writing bad checks to using drugs — that would rarely produce prison sentences in other countries. And in particular they are kept incarcerated far longer than prisoners in other nations. Criminologists and legal scholars in other industrialized nations say they are mystified and appalled by the number and length of American prison sentences. The United States has, for instance, 2.3 million criminals behind bars, more than any other nation, according to data maintained by the International Center for Prison Studies at King’s College London. China, which is four times more populous than the United States, is a distant second, with 1.6 million people in prison. (That number excludes hundreds of thousands of people held in administrative detention, most of them in China’s extrajudicial system of re-education through labor, which often singles out political activists who have not committed crimes.)"" (thanks Julie)
I woke up today wondering how the New York Times will cover the story of the Israeli spy. First, it was relegated to the New York region section. Imagine if he were a spy for, say, Micronesia. It would be on the front page, and would be accompanied by an angry editorial. Instead there was this: "Mr. Kadish, a balding, gray-haired man wearing a hearing aid, shuffled into a federal courtroom in Manhattan on Tuesday afternoon..." You read this and want to cry. For the New York Times, spies for Israel should not be prosecuted or sentenced. If here were a spy for Syria, the New York Times would call for his execution in series of editorials. Notice how the political class in Washington, DC is ignoring the story. This is why Mershheimer and Walt are wrong: it is not only the lobby. It is well beyond the lobby.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

So this Ahwazi human rights organization lifted the two pictures of the two distressed women from my site (incidentally, both women--or the woman and the little girl--lost members of their families to US bombing of Iraq) and presumably claims that they are from Ahwaz. (thanks Raed)
"The Taliban may not be returning anytime soon, but if some Afghan lawmakers have their way, Taliban-era laws will once again reign over the country. Last week, a group of members of parliament (MPs) put forth draft legislation that would ban T-shirts, loud music, women and men mingling in public, billiards, video games, playing with pigeons, and more – all regulations from the notorious Taliban era. The move is the most recent attempt by religious conservatives to restrict "un-Islamic influences." Many observers say it's the latest sign of growing Talibanization in Afghanistan.""
"Wajeha al-Huwaider, a critic of Saudi's guardian laws that force women to seek male permission for almost all aspects of their lives, is one of a growing number demanding change. "Sometimes I feel like I can't do anything; I am utterly reliant on other people, completely dependent. If you are dependent on another person, you've got nothing. That is how the men like it. They don't want us to be equals." The House of Saud, in alliance with an extremist religious establishment which enforces the most restrictive interpretation of sharia, Islamic law, has created a legal system that treats women as minors unable to exercise authority over even trivial daily matters.""

Let me get this straight: so the non-militia of Badr has been battling the non-militia of Mahdi Army. In other news, Sa`d Hariri denied that he is pro-Saudi, Israel denied that it kills Palestinian civilians, Bush denied that he is ill-informed on all issues of domestic and foreign policy, Tony Blair denied that he was submissive to Bush, Ahmad Chalabi denied that he is a charlatan, and Prince Bandar Bin Bribe denied that he took bribes from defense corporations. (via Informed Comment)
"The Israeli human rights organization Gisha sent an urgent letter to the State Attorney´s office on Tuesday urging saying that the Israeli military should authorize delivery of industrial diesel fuel to Gaza´s only power plant in time to prevent its imminent shut-down – by Wednesday evening. Gisha´s Executive Director Sari Bashi reported that Rafiq Maliha, Project Manager at the Gaza power plant, warned in a letter Tuesday to the Palestinian Energy Authority that “In case there are no sufficient fuel deliveries, GPGC [Gaza Power Generating Company] would be forced to shut down the power plant completely by tomorrow evening time”. Reached in Gaza, Maliha said he does not know now the exact time, but the power plant will run out of fuel sometime on Wednesday evening. He added that he has received no word at all so far about possible fuel deliveries Wednesday." (thanks Marian)
Conspiracy? What conspiracy?
This is very funny indeed. The Iranian ambassador in Lebanon offered Syrian mediation between Syria and Saudi Arabia. This is akin to Venezuela offering to mediate between the US and North Korea.
Ziyad Rahbani supports the sitting president of Lebanon. Hail to the chief.
Al-Akhbar is reporting that A Filippino maid, 27, was found in Zahlah in front of the house of her employer unable to move and suffering from broken bones in different parts of her body. The case is "being investigated."
Yes. I would like one side order of "Phoenician fries" please. (thanks Ema)
Prince Salman's mouthpiece, Ash-Sharq Al-Awsat, is concerned about the Shi`itization of Syria.
"Steve Schmidt, a former Bush White House aide who is now a McCain media strategist, told The Times that the use of the word is appropriate and that the candidate will continue to define the enemy that way."
Kooky. Kooky. Kooky. "A prominent cleric, Sheikh Youssef al-Qaradawy, said modern science had at last provided evidence that Mecca was the true centre of the Earth; proof, he said, of the greatness of the Muslim "qibla."" But I don't understand. I thought that I read that Modesto, California is "the true centre of the Earth." I would like to meet the science professors of Al-Azhar one day. That would be fun. (thanks Wassim)
The latest statement by Ayman Adh-Dhawhiri made it clear: Al-Qa`idah is now part of the Hariri camp in Lebanon. When asked whether he will run on the Hariri list in Beirutl, Adh-Dhawhiri demurred and refused to answer. He said: Shaykh Sa`d decides.
David Welch backtracks (and lies). But it is nice to see that he really cares about sex tourism in Lebanon. I am very touched. To help encourage the summer's sex tourist season, Welch pledged that the US government will send a ship load of STDs to Lebanon. Lebanese took to the streets in celebration. (thanks Yasmine)
Samir Ja`ja`: the diplomat. A friend told me this story about a Lebanese in LA during the visit of Samir Ja`ja` (Ga`ga` in Egyptian accent) during his recent visit:
"He was out of the house and his wife called saying that some people were asking about him. Turns out they were FBI and Homeland Security agents. They were waiting for him at his house. When they asked him to come home because they needed to talk to him, he insisted on meeting them at his lawyer's office. They said he didn't need a lawyer, they just wanted to talk, but he refused to do that without a lawyer. They met at the lawyer's office. They told him that they want him to keep away from a "certain diplomat" that was visiting the LA area. Then by talking further, they let on that the diplomat was our beloved* Samir Ja'j'a. They told him that they knew about his activities, and they don't want him to be in the same area as Samir during the visit. Then they told him that they know that he had booked a table at a dinner to honor Samir, and that they want him not to be present at that dinner. In threatening manner they told him that many people attending the dinner had a picture of him and knew what he looked like and what activities he was engaged in, and don't want him there. According to him, it was more of a threat not to attend than a warning for his own safety."
* Here, my source is being sarcastic.
PS I am withholding the name of the peson in question.
"A former U.S. Army mechanical engineer was arrested Tuesday on charges he slipped classified documents about nuclear weapons to an employee of the Israeli Consulate who also received information from convicted Pentagon spy Jonathan Pollard, authorities announced." He may be appointed the next US ambassador to Israel as a consolation prize. (thanks Kumar)

Monday, April 21, 2008

Today Hillary said that the US gave Iraq "the precious gift" of freedom. Here is an example: "Iraq is resisting U.S. proposals for a pair of new bilateral security agreements, saying it expects Washington to compromise on "sensitive issues," including the right to imprison Iraqi citizens unilaterally, Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said Monday. Other problematic areas now being negotiated, Zebari said in an interview, are provisions in U.S. drafts to give American contractors immunity from Iraqi law and allow the United States to conduct military operations without Iraqi government coordination. "These are the main ones, but there could be others," he said, among them "issues of sites, of locations, of access" by U.S. troops."
"Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) on Monday said the Shin Bet security service has recently tightened its policy of issuing permits to cancer patients from Gaza seeking treatment in Israel, Army Radio reported. The human rights organization said that the Shin Bet ignored all 12 requests that were submitted over the past two weeks."
Why Zionism-is-racism. They did not realize that he was a White Man: "Five years after British filmmaker James Miller was fatally shot by Israel Defense Forces troops in the Gaza Strip, Israel is poised to pay the family some NIS 12 million in compensation." Israeli officials asserted that they thought that he was one of those sand niggers.
"Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton confirmed Monday that as president she would be willing to use nuclear weapons against Iran if it were to launch a nuclear attack on Israel."
I was told two weeks ago based on press accounts that the Syrian Minister of Interior was going to hold a press conference to announce the results of the Syrian investigation of the assassination of `Imad Mughniyyah. I had a bet that no press conference would be held, and no results would be announced.
Khalid Mish`al is developing the trickery and deceptive style of Yasir `Arafat. He said that accepts Israel's existence in 1967 borders without recognizing Israel. This is like fasting while eating at an all-you-can-eat buffet.
"But implementation of the $40 million project, which was handed to British Aerospace Engineering (BAE) without a bidding process, has fallen short, according to more than a dozen people involved in the program and interviewed by NEWSWEEK. Of 19 Human Terrain members operating in five teams in Iraq, fewer than a handful can be described loosely as Middle East experts, and only three speak Arabic. The rest are social scientists or former GIs who, like Griffin, are transposing research skills from their unrelated fields at home." (thanks Junaid)
The sinister American-Saudi-Iranian "understanding" in Iraq.
Pushers. (thanks Hicham)
"I have previously written about my frustration at the way Muslims deploy their energies. The silence on human rights abuses - especially of women - is something Muslims, and I include myself here, should be ashamed of. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, to give the country its full title, is custodian of the two holy mosques; it is the de facto custodian to the fifth pillar of Islam. Acknowledging the plight of women and criticising the Saudi regime is therefore tantamount to blasphemy." Only partly true: not true that criticizing the Saudi regime is seen as blasphemy. I have not read any Muslim make that argument: not even the fanatically religious groups. Saudis were the first to criticize that horrific regime as soon as it was founded. (thanks Molly)
I saw on TV the leader of one of the Tribal Revival Councils: he was the one from Salah Ad-Din. Almost to a person, those tribal leaders are criminal thugs--and it shows. They worked for Saddam, and then for Zarqawi, and now they work for the "leader of the free world." Are you not proud?
"a pro-Israel group's plan to rewrite history on Wikipedia" (thanks Maryam)
Abu Mazen told Gizelle Khuri on Al-Arabiya TV that AIPAC wants peace.
""No to women's driving because it will deprive foreign drivers from the satisfaction of being alone with our women, daughters and sisters .... and will affect their economy (...) it would limit the number of foreign drivers (...)whose presence is a healthy phenomenon allowing our children to learn how to count from one to ten in the Urdu language and to learn Filipino and Bengali words which will enrich our history and culture."" (thanks Laure)
"While he has sought to reject being labeled, Mr. Lugo has socialist tendencies resembling those of South American leaders elected in the past decade, including Evo Morales of Bolivia and Hugo Chávez of Venezuela." "Socialist tendencies?? Are you kidding me? In your backyard? Why don't you send the troops NOW?
Don't your like this headline in the New York Times? "81 Die in Clashes Between Islamists and Troops in Somalia." Troops? What troops?
When Iraqi puppet prime minister, Nuri Al-Maliki, visited Brussels to meet with NATO leaders last week, he told Al-Arabiya TV that he did not come to ask "for foreign troops." He said that Iraqi troops can take care of security in Iraq but that they need only technical assistance. As for the presence of more than 160,000 foreign troops in Iraq, he said that he was surprised to learn that but promised to investigate. Upon investigation, he admitted that there are indeed some 39 foreign soldiers from Mongolia but that there are no others.
"He added: "Haynes, Feith, Yoo, Bybee, Gonzalez and - at the apex - Addington, should never travel outside the US, except perhaps to Saudi Arabia and Israel. They broke the law; they violated their professional ethical code. In future, some government may build the case necessary to prosecute them in a foreign court, or in an international court."" (thanks Kamal)
I will be submitting a bill to US Congress to compel the Iraqi people to pay for the sweets and flowers that they will be obliged to greet US troops with. It is only fair.
In the memoirs of Marwan Kanafani (Arafat's aide and translator), he said that it really used to hurt Abu Mazen when Arafat would constantly refer to him as Hamid Karzai. So please, don't call him Hamid Karzai.
So Hamas leaders told Jimmy Carter that they are willing to accept Israel in pre-1967 borders. They did not trust their own people to tell them that, but they sure trusted the White Man.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

"In the latest remarks, Montazeri said that he, like Khomeini, "made promises" ahead of the revolution that were never fulfilled. "The people, assuming the promises will be met, brought about the revolution and paid a heavy price but those promises were not met," Montazeri said, adding that he has been receiving e-mails labeling him an "accomplice" to the demise of the revolution's ideals. "We promised to promote freedom, stop despotism and give value to people's views. It didn't happen," said the 86-year-old ailing cleric. Montazeri is one of just a few Grand Ayatollahs — the most senior theologians of the Shiite Muslim faith. But after he was placed under house arrest, state-run media stopped referring to Montazeri by his religious title, describing him instead as a "simple-minded" cleric. Any talk about Montazeri was strongly discouraged, references to him in schoolbooks were removed and streets named after him were renamed." (thanks Michele)
"Who knew? Not Mr. Spurlock, apparently, who serves as his own straw man, repeatedly debunking his own disingenuous prejudice or naïveté. Wherever he goes, he finds people who respond to his amiable, good-humored questions with smiles and platitudes. There are, to be sure, a few exceptions. He hears a virulently anti-American, anti-Israel sermon in a Saudi mosque, and the repressiveness of that country freaks him out a little. And he receives a hostile welcome in an ultra-Orthodox neighborhood in Israel, where the residents greet his inquiries with shouts and shoves." And of course the reviewer was offended by the negative reference to Israel so he adds: "He does not stick around long enough to explain that their behavior has more to do with tensions within Israeli society..." This proves my theory about the New York Times: the last word always goes to Israeli propaganda. I swear I once was reading the obituary page: and they had a rather big obituary of a chef. The headline said something like: Chef X, one worked in Israel...
"He traces the origins of Christian anti-Semitism to Constantine’s birthplace in Trier, Germany, where Crusaders sailing down the Rhine systematically destroyed Jewish communities, which the pope refused to protect unless the people converted. Centuries later Trier was the site of an agreement between the Catholic Church and Hitler, negotiated with the future Pope Pius XII, whose later refusal to speak out during the Holocaust Mr. Carroll considers to be a great shame of the church. In the most moving segment Ms. Richardson is heard reading a letter written in 1933 to Pope Pius XI by Edith Stein urging him to speak out against Nazi persecution of the Jews. A Jewish convert to Catholicism and a Carmelite nun, Stein died in Auschwitz in 1942. The letter, which went unanswered, was made public in 2003, five years after she was canonized.""
"The Saudi government should abide by its international obligations and dismantle discriminatory policies against women, including male guardianship of women, a report by the New York-based Human Rights Watch said. The 50-page report, which will be released Monday, draws on more than 100 interviews with Saudi women to document the effects of these policies on their rights. "The Saudi government sacrifices basic human rights to maintain male control over women," said Farida Deif, women's rights researcher for the Middle East at Human Rights Watch. "Saudi women won't make any progress until the government ends the abuses that stem from these misguided policies." The report, "Perpetual Minors: Human Rights Abuses Stemming from Male Guardianship and Sex Segregation in Saudi Arabia," lists the restrictions that women find themselves under because of male guardianship and the segregation of sexes enforced in the kingdom. Saudi women often must obtain permission from a guardian — a father, husband, brother or son — to work, travel, study, marry, or even access health care. They cannot open bank accounts for children, enroll them in school, obtain school files, or travel with their children without written permission from the child's father. Saudi women are prevented from accessing government agencies that have not established female sections unless they have a male representative. Despite national regulations to the contrary, some hospitals require a guardian's permission to allow women to be admitted, agree to medical procedures for themselves or their children or be discharged, according to the report. A Saudi woman's access to justice is also severely constrained. Women continue to have trouble filing a court case or even being heard in court without a legal guardian, according to the report. Women are required to wear a full-face veil in court and be accompanied by a male relative able to verify their identity, it said."
When an Arab official claims that his words in French or in English were "mistranslated" they are invariably lying.
Don't be surprised if the city of Dubai starts funding AIPAC--if they are not already. ". The city-state of Abu Dhabi, having already committed a $50 million “gift” (effectively a down payment) to the university, has promised to finance the entire Middle East campus and a good deal of NYU New York as well." (thanks Junaid)
Look at the length to which US media go to avoid offending Israel and its propagandists. (thanks Kamil)
A Filipino maid (b. 1980) was hospitalized in Lebanon when she fell from the third floor of the home where she works in Qurnat Shahwan. It is believed that she was trying to flee the house when she fell.
Comrade Khalid's warning to the `Awn Movement.
Maurice `Ayiq on the politicization of Weberian definitions.
"The Justice Department and some independent terrorism investigators have long accused Mr. Al-Arian...." "Independent terrorism investigators"? They now have the power to accuse, convict, and sentence in the US (in)justice system? And how does the New York Times determine they independence? Is this like the Israeli think tank that was called "independent" by the New York Times when the Israeli newspapers themselves pointed out its direct links to the Israeli military/intelligence apparatus? Really, I read the New York Times just as a citizen in North Korea reads the official daily newspaper. You want to know what the powers that be are up to.
"“The brutality of this [1982] Israeli invasion cannot be underestimated as a factor in the formation of Hezbollah,” Deeb argued. “Hezbollah simply would not exist in its current form had the invasion and the continued occupation of south Lebanon not taken place,” she added." Lara must have done an excellent job at Rice: Zionist hoodlums are outraged. (thanks Amer)
"In the summer of 2005, the Bush administration confronted a fresh wave of criticism over Guantánamo Bay. The detention center had just been branded “the gulag of our times” by Amnesty International, there were new allegations of abuse from United Nations human rights experts and calls were mounting for its closure. The administration’s communications experts responded swiftly. Early one Friday morning, they put a group of retired military officers on one of the jets normally used by Vice President Dick Cheney and flew them to Cuba for a carefully orchestrated tour of Guantánamo. To the public, these men are members of a familiar fraternity, presented tens of thousands of times on television and radio as “military analysts” whose long service has equipped them to give authoritative and unfettered judgments about the most pressing issues of the post-Sept. 11 world. Hidden behind that appearance of objectivity, though, is a Pentagon information apparatus that has used those analysts in a campaign to generate favorable news coverage of the administration’s wartime performance, an examination by The New York Times has found. The effort, which began with the buildup to the Iraq war and continues to this day, has sought to exploit ideological and military allegiances, and also a powerful financial dynamic: Most of the analysts have ties to military contractors vested in the very war policies they are asked to assess on air. Those business relationships are hardly ever disclosed to the viewers, and sometimes not even to the networks themselves. But collectively, the men on the plane and several dozen other military analysts represent more than 150 military contractors either as lobbyists, senior executives, board members or consultants. The companies include defense heavyweights, but also scores of smaller companies, all part of a vast assemblage of contractors scrambling for hundreds of billions in military business generated by the administration’s war on terror. It is a furious competition, one in which inside information and easy access to senior officials are highly prized. Records and interviews show how the Bush administration has used its control over access and information in an effort to transform the analysts into a kind of media Trojan horse — an instrument intended to shape terrorism coverage from inside the major TV and radio networks." (thanks N.)

Saturday, April 19, 2008

The ostensible human rights presidents meets with the beheading King. They got along beautifully. Carter obtained a promise from the king that behadings would be humanely administered. (He also asked for extra donations to the Carter Ceter).
Lebanon would be better off without a president, and without a prime minister, and without a speaker. If you ask me, Lebanon would be better off without Lebanon.
No, I swear. This is not a press release from the White House. This is Michael Husayn Young (the well-known expert on offshoots): "Yet it was the 2007 surge that took this realization to new heights. US commanders grasped that the security of Iraqi cities and civilians had to be the centerpiece of a new counter-insurgency strategy requiring US soldiers to insert themselves more than ever into Iraqi society. Iraq's complex social dynamics were studied and, as effectively as possible depending on location, acted upon. For the first time the discussion in the US seriously addressed what a pullout might mean in terms of Iraqi suffering." (thanks Amer)
""Less than two years after it was fought, the Second Lebanon War is regarded by many Israelis as an embarrassment for a country that has long taken immense pride in its military prowess. Unlike Israel's resounding victories of previous eras, this war's outcome was more muddled: Israel was not defeated, but it did not win, either. "A semi-military organization of a few thousand men resisted, for a few weeks, the strongest army in the Middle East, which enjoyed full air superiority and size and technological advantages," a government-appointed committee concluded this year. The war cost Israel 119 soldiers and 45 civilians; more than 1,000 people died in Lebanon, the majority of them civilians."
PS In fact, more than 1200 Lebanese died but notice that counting the cheap humans is not a precise science.
"Yet you do not need me to tell you that there are also difficulties." I never thought that I would ever agree with you, but you are right. We don't need you. We don't need you at all. We don't need you for anything although I would like to hear more about you in Hitler Youth. Goodbye.
One question to Lebanese journalist, Fu'ad Matar: does he think that people forgot his propaganda writings on behalf of the Nasserist regime in the 1960s? Does he think that people forgot his propaganda writings on behalf of Saddam's regime in the 1970s and 1980s? And yes, we do notice his propaganda writings on behalf of the Saudi regime now. (You may still find a copy of his hagiographic biography of Saddam in your local library. It was printed in two languages. In fact, Saddam's propaganda apparatus founded a magazine for him (At-Tadamun) in London.