Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Inspector Hassan Fattah

Move over Inspector Clouseau: Hassan Fattah is investigating: "Shooting victim a man with enemies". No way. This is stunning. Usually, shooting victims have no enemies whatsoever. Usually, shooting victims have only friends.

Obama and Saudi King

Flash. Al-Arabiyya TV is reporting (proudly) that Obama will hold a meeting with Saudi King tomorrow. I expect them to hold hands.

Propaganda brochures

A colleague, Lara, sent me this (I cite with her permission): "A friend of mine who signed onto the U.S. call for an academic and cultural boycott of Israel is listed on that website received a package today from the Israeli consulate in Atlanta. It included a letter suggesting to her that her support of the boycott was misguided and could easily be corrected through proper information and that Israel is a democracy that celebrates its diversity in every possible way. It also included a number of glossy Israeli government propaganda brochures and pamphlets, and a book called "The Israelis" by Donna Rosenthal ...that includes chapters with titles like "Dating and Mating Israeli Style" "Oy! Gay?" and "Hookers and Hash in the Holy Land," alongside chapters like "The Bedouin: Tribes, Tents and Satellite Dishes" and "Out of Africa: Ethiopian Israelis in the Promised Land." In all, the package seemed to be cast towards a stereotyped view of a "liberal academic" (as opposed to their propaganda for born-again Christians) who is assumed to know extremely little about the Middle East and who is assumed to be stupid enough to believe this shit."

Debate tomorrow

I have answered this question before, but I shall answer it again. Yes, the hosts at the University of San Francisco informed me that they will videotape the debate. I will supply more information later.

Electoral costs

"The United States will commit $40 million to underwrite the cost of holding elections in Afghanistan this summer, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Monday, as she began selling the Obama administration’s new Afghanistan policy to friends and foes." A State Department insider give me the breakdown of the budget: $1 million for ballot boxes, and $39 million for electoral bribes.

Bad guy turned good guy turned bad guy, again

This is quite a story that is getting little attention. "The Sunni neighborhood, a hotbed of insurgent activity before the Awakening movement started, remained under a total curfew and military blockade on Monday, three days after American and Iraqi forces arrested Adil al-Mashhadani, the neighborhood’s powerful Awakening leader, on criminal and terrorism charges. It is the first time an Awakening Council — many made up of former Sunni insurgents who switched sides for pay — has been forcibly disbanded in the capital."

Taliban puppet

"... Critics claim the president helped rush the bill through parliament in a bid to appease Islamic fundamentalists ahead of elections in August. In a massive blow for women's rights, the new Shia Family Law negates the need for sexual consent between married couples, tacitly approves child marriage and restricts a woman's right to leave the home, according to UN papers seen by The Independent. "It is one of the worst bills passed by the parliament this century," fumed Shinkai Karokhail, a woman MP who campaigned against the legislation. "It is totally against women's rights. This law makes women more vulnerable." [...]


"But sometimes, the bad news has to be admitted from on high. The UAE's Minister of Economy Sultan bin Saeed al-Mansouri last week admitted that the economy of the world's fifth largest oil exporter is expected to shrink in 2009. He refused to give an indication as to the extent of the contraction, saying simply that the UAE would escape recession. The International Monetary Fund had previously said it expected the UAE economy to grow by only 3% this year after expanding by 7.4% in 2007 and an estimated 6.9% in 2008." (thanks Saeed)

He will not forgive, nor forget

"From his hospital room in the Marjayoun Public Hospital, 10-year-old Mohammad Jamal Abdel- Aal says he will not forgive nor forget Israel for ripping off his limbs. Abdel-Aal's left leg and right hand got amputated on Sunday after a cluster bomb, left over from the summer 2006 war with Israel, exploded while he was playing in one of the fields near his home in the southern town of Hilta. "I am not able to play anymore," Abdel-Aal told The Daily Star on Sunday." (thanks Mirella)

An Arab woman (who won't be profiled in the Western press)

"Yet she says it was easy to make what could have been a tough decision. Umm Jaber "adopted" about 40 men of several Arab nationalities without hesitation. The story began in the 1980s, after four of her sons were jailed by the Israeli army - charged with jeopardised Israel's "security.""
PS For the "original" version of the story, see here.

Zionist hoodlums

"Assi Dayan, one of Israel's most successful TV and big-screen actors and directors, and the star of the hit Israeli television drama Betipul(In Therapy), was indicted on Monday in Tel Aviv's Magistrate's Court for physically assaulting his 33-year-old girlfriend and threatening her life." (thanks May)

UAE: symbol of sovereignty

"The Federal Government has moved to permanently base Australia's various Middle Eastern regional military assets in the United Arab Emirates. In return, Australia has about 30 personnel in the UAE training its fast-growing special forces troopers. Behind the details of the arrangement are the two countries' larger needs. Australia has decided to stop pretending. Instead of pretending that we are occasional visitors to the Middle East, only rushing in when the US decides to go to war there and rushing out again when it finishes, Australia is now acknowledging that it has permanent interests in the area." (thanks Michael)

Scientific Studies of women by UN

"The United Nations Development Fund for Women says there is anecdotal evidence that domestic violence - verbal, physical, sexual and psychological - has increased noticeably since Israel's recent bloody operation in Gaza and in general since Hamas took over sole control of the strip almost two years ago." I see. Let me also add that the UN Development Fund for Women also says that there is anecdotal (not scientific or empirical) "evidence"--by the way, please don't put the word "anecdotal" together with "evidence"--that Palestinian women enjoy more rights when Dahlan gangs receive more arms and money from Western and Arab governments. I also receive anecdotal evidence that the UN Development Fund for Women and other UN organizations will provide you with any conclusions or studies that would justify wars and occupation. (thanks Suad)


"Two Palestinian students claimed that they were severely beaten on Saturday by Border Guard officers manning a checkpoint situated between the West Bank city of Jericho and Jerusalem."

This is Zionism

"The Israeli army on Monday closed an investigation into alleged killings of civilians during its offensive in the Gaza Strip, saying soldiers' testimonies were based on hearsay, "purposely exaggerated" and not supported by facts." (thanks Jad)

Ayoob Khara

"Ayoob Kara won't present these dilemmas to the Jewish public. Even if he is appointed to a post in the Netanyahu government, he must remain right-wing and "loyal," to the liking of Avigdor Lieberman. Kara, a hawk and reserves officer who declares his complete loyalty to the state and Likud, does not view himself as a Palestinian like most Arab citizens in Israel. Yet despite these differences, he promises that he will faithfully represent the entire Arab public." (thanks Asa)

Saudi money in DC

"They allege that from 2000 through 2006, Darui stole $430,000 from the mosque's "special account," which was funded by the Saudi government to pay mosque expenses. Prosecutors said the theft was devastating: The center had to slash jobs and stop some philanthropic activity because Khouj thought the mosque simply couldn't meet its bills. "This is a case about fraud, it's about theft, it's about a man who took money that did not belong to him," prosecutor Tejpal Chawla told jurors during Darui's trial." (thanks Nabeel)

Heterosexual paradise

"It's no secret that LGBT life in Iraq these days is as dangerous as it gets - quite possibly the most dangerous in the world." Of course, heterosexuals in Iraq live in bliss and enjoy the freedoms and safety that were brought to them by Bush. In fact, heterosexuals in the Middle East look with envy at the life of heterosexuals in Iraq.


"A group of extremist settlers attacked on Tuesday a number of Palestinian homes in the southern West Bank city of Hebron causing excessive damage and terrifying the residents, especially the children."


"Critics assert that senior leaders of both parties hide their ownership of large companies by funneling tens of millions of dollars through mid-level party members or reliable entrepreneurs. "The big problem is Talabani's family and Barzani's family," said Kamal Rahim, the editor of Hawlati, the region's largest independent newspaper. "Both families have small groups that they trust. They are running everything for them and dealing for them. Some of the businessmen, they are not even members of the parties.""

Return of the Ba`th

"In a Green Zone restaurant NEWSWEEK recently overheard a U.S. diplomat asking Iraqi officials to help set up a meeting with one of the most extreme elements of Saddam's old regime. The diplomat suggested Amman or another "neutral" city. A U.S. Embassy official, asking not to be named because of the issue's sensitivity, had no knowledge of this conversation but added, "It's for the Iraqis to decide how far and how fast they want to go. We want to try to help any way we can." (thanks Laleh)


Palestine. (thanks Hussein)

When members of Congress disagree with Ariel Sharon

"Rep. Dan Burton (R-IN), the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere in the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, spoke of his strong friendship for Israel and respect for many of its former leaders, adding, that he “had a couple of disagreements with Ariel Sharon. I know there were many reasons why they gave Gaza to the Palestinians, but I felt it should not have been done … It is imperative we guarantee the superiority of Israeli arms… As for Gaza, if they run out of soldiers, give me a gun and I’ll get over there. You don’t have to ever worry about Dan Burton.”" (thanks Olivia)

Hitchens on Beirut: to Hariri family with Love

Read the first line and the last line of his article in Vantiy Fair and you realize that the man who has not had one insight in foreign policy (unless you count his monkeyish cheerleading for Bush and Cheney as foreign policy insight) in years, is not worth reading. His first sentence is: "As Arab thoroughfares go, Hamra Street in the center of Beirut is probably the most chic of them all." Hamra has ceased to be the most chic of streets (even by Beirut standards) since 1975. Verdun street in Beirut is now considered far more chic. And he then concludes his article with a citation from Sa`d Hariri. Enough said. The article basically is a comparison of Sunnis and Shi`ites and he clearly selects Sunnis and only because he has a class stereotypical assumptions about both communities. I wonder if he was introduced to the `Akkar and Dinniyyah supporters of March 14 for example, or to Mufti Juzu. And notice that you would not know that the classical Lebanese fascists (the Phalanges) are nowwhere to be seen in the article. And notice that he fails to tell the readers that March 14 is sponsored and controlled by Saudi royal family and yet he dares to suggest that the left is part of March 14. And how about a "journalist" who accepts an invitation from March 14 to praise March 14, and comes back and praises March 14 without mentioning thathe went to Lebanon to praise March 14. Don't get me wrong: I relish the low to which Hitchens has descended, and hopes that he continues in this path. (thanks Christopher)

Monday, March 30, 2009

Qadhdhafi's remarks in English: my translation

"I say to my brother [King] `Abdullah: six years and you have been fleeing, afraid of confrontation. And I want to reassure you that you should not be afraid, and I tell you after six years that it has been proven that it is you who have lies behind you and the grave ahead of you, and it is you who was created by the British and protected by America. And in respect to the nation I consider the personal problem between you and me to be over, and I am willing to visit you or you visit me. I am an internationalist leader and the dean of Arab rulers and and King of African Kings, and the Imam of Muslims, and my international stature does not permit me to descend to any other level. Thanks."

Ajami and Netanyahu

Arabist restored the video.

Qadhdhafi's remarks

Arab media are covering up Qadhdhafi's insults to the Saudi King. The pro-US dictator (i.e., Qadhdhafi) ended his remarks by listing his glorious titles. The Libyan news agency printed the remarks: "أخ حمد أهنئك بتوليك رئاسة القمة. وبهذه المناسبة أقول لأخي "عبد الله" ست سنوات وأنت هارب وخائف من المواجهة ، وأريد أن أطمئنك بأن لا تخاف ، وأقول لك بعد ست سنوات ثبت أنك أنت الذي الكذب وراءك والقبر أمامك ، وأنت هو الذي صنعتك بريطانيا وحاميتك أمريكا.واحتراما للأمة أعتبر المشكل الشخصي الذي بيني وبينك قد انتهى ،وأنا مستعد لزيارتك وأنك أنت تزورني. أنا قائد أممي وعميد الحكام العرب وملك ملوك إفريقيا وإمام المسلمين..مكانتي العالمية لا تسمح لي بأن أنزل لأي مستوى آخر. وشكرا.)."


So Qadhdhafi in his talk at the Arab summit included both insult and offer of reconciliation to the Saudi King. Six years later, he responded to the insult of the Saudi king had made to him and told him that it was him who "was made by Britain" and that he is "protected by the US." And then followed that with an offer to visit him and asserted that there are no personal differences between them. But AlJazeera and all Arab media are covering up the fact that Qadhdhafi did include an insult in his remarks.

Boycott works

"21% of Israeli exporters have been directly affected by the boycott movement since the beginning of 2009. So reports today (29 March) The Marker, a Hebrew-language economic newspaper. This number is based on a poll of 90 Israeli exporters in fields such as high tech, metals, construction materials, chemistry, textile and foods. The poll was conducted in January-February 2009 by the Israeli Union of Industrialists."

Another Lebanese genius

"Wataniya Restaurants dished up a Wataniya Pasta weighing an enormous 4,300 kilograms at Golf Club Doha on Saturday to set a new Guinness World Record for the 'Biggest Pasta in History'." Do you notice that people in the Arab world think of the Guiness World Record as if it is some scientific or glorious achievement? (thanks FT)

Prince Sultan

"More independent information about the prince's condition has been suppressed, however. Last year, the long-serving Reuters bureau chief in Riyadh, Andrew Hammond, was told to leave the kingdom after reporting that Prince Sultan had cancer." (thanks George)

Major Zionist Leagues

"When former Vice President Dick Cheney learned that Obama had been putting pressure on the Israelis, he angrily disparaged him as "pro-Palestinian" and described him as someone who would "never make it in the major leagues.""

Isabel Kershner

Look how the Kershner (typical of her propaganda writings from Israel)--and I will ignore the token Arab whose name appears only to lend indigenous credibility--totally misrepresents the issue and make it sound as if it is about Holocaust denial. The issue, Ms. Kershner, is the boycott of Israel and not this particular concert. Get it? And Jenin was not the site of a "battle" but of a massacre. I just don't understand why kershner and Bronner don't tender their resignation and work full time for the propaganda department of the Israeli terrorist army. I mean, really.

This is Zionism

"The Hashmira Israeli Railways project sent on Sunday letters to some 100 Arab workers informing them that their contracts with the company would be terminated because they did not serve in the Israeli military." (thanks Olivia)

Mamdani on Darfur

"In Uganda, long one of Washington’s closest African friends, Mr. Mamdani traces the history of ethnically targeted “civilian massacres and other atrocities” against the brutal insurgency known as the Lord’s Resistance Army. In 1996, under President Yoweri Museveni, a second phase of that war began “with a new policy designed to intern practically the entire rural population of the three Acholi districts in northern Uganda,” Mr. Mamdani writes. “It took a government-directed campaign of murder, intimidation, bombing and burning of whole villages to drive the rural population into I.D.P. (internally displaced persons) camps.” In 2005 Olara Otunnu, a former Ugandan ambassador to the United Nations, denounced the government’s tactics, saying, “An entire society is being systematically destroyed — physically, culturally, socially and economically — in full view of the international community.” But as elsewhere in Africa, Mr. Mamdani says, the International Criminal Court has brought a case against only the enemy of Washington’s friend, the Lord’s Resistance Army, remaining mute about large-scale atrocities that may have been committed by the Ugandan government. In this pattern the author sees the hand of politics more than any real attachment to justice. Many argue that what makes Darfur different from other African crises is race, with the conflict there pitting Arabs against people often called “black Africans,” but here again Mr. Mamdani takes on conventional wisdom. “At no point,” he states flatly, “has this been a war between ‘Africans’ and ‘Arabs.’ ” Much foreign commentary about Sudan speaks of its Arabs as settlers, with the inference that they are somehow less African than people assumed to be of pure black stock. If whites in Kenya and Zimbabwe, not to mention South Africa, vociferously maintain their African-ness, what then to make of the Arab presence in Sudan, whose slow penetration and widespread intermarriage, Mr. Mamdani writes, “commenced in the early decades of Islam” and “reached a climax” from the 8th to the 15th century, “when the Arab tribes overran much of the country”? More interestingly, the author maintains that much of what we see today as a racial divide in Sudan has its roots in colonial history, when Britain “broke up native society into different ethnicities, and ‘tribalized’ each ethnicity by bringing it under the absolute authority of one or more British-sanctioned ‘native authorities,’ ” balancing “the whole by playing one off against the others.” Mr. Mamdani calls this British tactic of administratively reinforcing distinctions among colonial subjects “re-identify and rule” and says that it was copied by European powers across the continent, with deadly consequences — as in Rwanda, where Belgium’s intervention hardened distinctions between Hutu and Tutsi.""


"Indeed, the only consistent predictor was fame — and it was an inverse relationship. The more famous experts did worse than unknown ones. That had to do with a fault in the media. Talent bookers for television shows and reporters tended to call up experts who provided strong, coherent points of view, who saw things in blacks and whites. People who shouted — like, yes, Jim Cramer!"

Palestinian garb

"Israeli police dressed in Palestinian garb who have gone under cover to catch violent Jewish settlers got a taste of what Palestinians routinely confront as Jewish settlers attacked undercover officers thinking they were Arabs, Israeli press reported. Six Jewish settlers who mistook under cover Israeli cops for Palestinians attacked them Thursday, throwing stones and damaging a police under cover vehicle, Haaretz reported Saturday after a court ruling on the incident came out Friday. The settlers also tried to run the disguised police over near an illegal Jewish outpost in the West Bank." (thanks Farah)


Lebanese academic boycott of Israel. Oh, yeah.


"Al-Masry Al-Youm has obtained an official US document issued by the White House on the 2007 budget. For the first time, the document reveals that the American University in Cairo (AUC) won a LE 3.4 million contract to provide the US Pentagon with information about Egypt." (thanks Phar)

Muhammad Husayn Fadlallah

I have explained this many times. Can somebody tell Fouad Ajami and the Wall Street Journal that they are woefully ignorant of Lebanon and its affairs and that Muhammad Husayn Fadlallah has no ties whatsoever with Hizbullah, and he was detested by Party leaders and members for much of the 1990s and the beginning of the 21st century, until 2006 when Israeli Orientalists advised their government that Fadlallah was "spritual guide" of Hizbullah and his house and institutions were all bombed, and that united him with Hizbullah since although he holds no official or unofficial position within the party.

My debate at University of San Francisco

For those who asked: 1) no, my debate does not deviate from my strict believe in the boycott of the usurping entity. I am invited by the University of San Francisco and not by anybody else. And I will begin my talk by paying tribute to the boycott. 2) the University of San Francisco informs me that the debate will be videotaped and I am told that there are other private groups that may be taping it too. 3) my voice is better but not fully back.

Ajami interrogates Netanyahu...in 1978

Comrade Fahd informs me that the video that I placed yesterday was promptly removed from Youtube. Is Ajami ashamed from his anti-Zionist past? He should not worry: he has more than made up for his past "Arab sins."

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Karzai meets Palin

Hamid Karzai meets Palin: and the man was impressed. Oh, and he feels "liberated." And also, what accent of English is he trying to fake? I was confused. (thanks Hicham)

Ajami interrogates Netanyahu...in 1978

Go to minute 4:45 and watch Ajami--before his conversion to Zionism. (thanks Joe)

When Satan Dances

"Rabbi Amar confirmed the report, saying that "wise men, headed by Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, said that grave and serious things happen when women go up to deliver an oration in front of men during a funeral. "The wise men warn that this causes, God forbid, an epidemic among the people of Israel and that Satan dances in the cemetery while women attend funerals."

Letter to the Editor: NYT, 1948

"Among the most disturbing political phenomena of our times is the emergence in the newly created state of Israel of the "Freedom Party" (Tnuat Haherut), a political party closely akin in its organization, methods, political philosophy and social appeal to the Nazi and Fascist parties. It was formed out of the membership and following of the former Irgun Zvai Leumi, a terrorist, right-wing, chauvinist organization in Palestine. The current visit of Menachem Begin, leader of this party, to the United States is obviously calculated to give the impression of American support for
his party in the coming Israeli elections, and to cement political ties with conservative Zionist elements in the United States. Several Americans of national repute have lent their names to welcome his visit. It is inconceivable that those who oppose fascism throughout the world, if correctly informed as to Mr. Begin's political record and perspectives, could add their names and
support to the movement he represents." (thanks Olivia)


"The U.S. War Dogs Association is trying to persuade the Pentagon to create a medal for dogs. Another group is pushing for a military working dog memorial in the Washington area. And the Humane Society, which criticized the Pentagon during the Vietnam War, when many dogs were left behind or euthanized, has credited the military with working to find retirement homes for them." (thanks Sana)

Prince Nayif: why Zionists can trust him (although he is anti-Semitic)

You sometimes may think that I am overstating my case in my wrath against Saudi media but read the two columns by the editor of Ash-Sharq Al-Awsat (the mouthpiece of Prince Salman) and the director of Al-Arabiyya TV (the station of King Fahd's brother-in-law). And notice that Campus Watch's guru, Martin Kramer, now carries and English-language translation of every column by the editor of Prince Salman's mouthpiece. Zionists have been silent about the long anti-Semitic record of Prince Nayif. Saudi-Zionist conspiracy? What Saudi-Zionist conspiracy?

Ethan Bronner's standards

"On Thursday, the military issued its first casualty count, saying 1,166 people were killed. Of those, it said 295 were noncombatants, 709 were what it called Hamas terror operatives and 162 were men whose affiliations remained unidentified." So according to Ethan Bronner killing 295 Palestinian civilians is not terrorism. Everybody who sent me this piece sent it under the subject line: Bronner outdoes himself here. Look at this: "“I’m not saying that nothing bad happened,” Bentzi Gruber, a colonel in the reserves and deputy commander of the armored division, said in an interview." So it is bad but NOT that bad. There will be a day when Ethan Bronner's reporting from Israel will be seen like the propaganda production of As-Sahab Foundation.


"The movement to the right wing within Zionism cannot be reduced to Lieberman, and what is troubling about Zionism cannot be reduced to its right-wing side only." (thanks Nimer)

Lebanese genius

Another Lebanese genius who is making his country proud. Apparently, he invented a new way to deal with land mines. The procedure is simple: you apply Hummus on the land mine and it disables it. (thanks Raed)

what refroms

"Prince Nayef, believed to be 75, is perceived as one of the most conservative forces in the kingdom and an opponent of reforms that may reduce the clout of both the monarchy and the religious establishment in the kingdom, the world's leading oil exporter. He told reporters earlier this week that he does not see a need either for women to be members of a quasi-parliament or elections to its membership." (thanks Saeed)


"The now-rote hysteria with which non-Israeli criticism of Israel is met--most recently dismayingly effective in quashing Chas Freeman as President Obama's nominee to chair the National Intelligence Council--has a considerable and ignoble record of stifling opinion and preventing unintimidated, meaningful discussion, in the cultural sphere as well as in the political. The power of art to open us to the subjectivities of others is especially threatening to those who insist on a single narrative. Hence efforts to shut down exhibitions of Palestinian art all over the country, most notoriously, perhaps, in 2006, when Brandeis University officials removed paintings by Palestinian teenagers from a campus library exhibit, "The Arts of Building Peace." Theater, arguably the most humanizing of art forms because it begins and ends with human presence, with an encounter between spectators and living actors, has often attracted the ire of people grimly determined to maintain the invisibility of others. It's been twenty years since liberal stalwart Joe Papp caved to pressure and canceled appearances at the Public Theater of a visiting Palestinian troupe, El Hakawati. In the decades since, American discourse around the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has only become more vituperative and polarized, as the New York Theatre Workshop learned three years ago when it announced, and then retreated from, plans to present My Name Is Rachel Corrie." (thanks Laleh)

You can't make this news up, even if you try

"The Jordanian royal family's dog was secretly rushed to Israel for treatment in the midst of Operation Cast Lead in Gaza, Yedioth Ahronoth reported Sunday. Relations between the royal palace in Amman and the Beit Dagan veterinary hospital have been good for many years now. The Israeli medical team's expertise has served Jordan a number of times, almost always under a heavy veil of secrecy, as per the royal court's request. During the fighting in the Gaza Strip, the Jordanians once again called on the Israeli veterinarians for help. King Abdullah and Queen Rania's beloved dog had fallen ill."" (thanks Sherene)

Saudi glorification of Al-Qa`idah

Do you notice that Saudi media glorify the Al-Qa`idah members and leaders once they pledge alliance to the King of Saudi Arabia?

Zionism and cartoons

I am so glad that we have the Oliphant cartoon to show the hypocrisy of Western commentators. So let me explain it to you: Western liberals and conservatives feel that Danish cartoons that insulted Muhammad and offended Muslims should be applauded and re-printed in newspapers around the world in the name of free speech, but the one Oliphant cartoon should not be re-printed or supported because it is offensive to the state of Israel and to the cheerleaders of its wars.

Love Story

I have been in bed resting trying to regain my voice--especially for the upcoming debate on Wednesday. And the TV is in my face and how much of Prince Nayif can you watch? Tributes after tributes to the man who oversaw repression, oppression, and torture in the Kingdom of Horrors. But I watched the 1970 movie, Love Story. I watched for nostalgic reasons. I watched it at age 10; my mother liked Ryan O'Neal, I remember, and she took us to all his movies. I remember how proud I felt when I saw the name of Ali MacGraw. I remember thinking: a famous and beautiful Hollowyood actress is named after `Ali bin Abi Talib and is a proud Mulism. But when you watch it now, it is so annoying. It is so classist and so snobbish and full of Harvard self-referential remarks and names. Only a vapid human like Al Gore would like such a movie, I thought. And why do they make fun of Mexican and Indian movies for their melodramatic genre? I mean, is there a more cheesy and melodramatic movie than that? And this association with Harvard and the Ivy League and intelligence is so annoying. I mean, Al Gore and George W. Bush went to Harvard and Martin Peretz has taught there. Enough said. And how original is the story: about a love story breaking the class barrier? And this was a hit? And the musical score is cute, but that's about it. And I hate in those movies how much they want to show us rich people brooding. OK, I know that my throat hurts and I am in a foul mood, but that movie won awards.

Arab summit

"As'ad AbuKhalil, a politics professor at California State University, said Riyadh had lost faith in Washington's resolve to defend its corner in regional disputes. "The Saudi government and the rest of the so-called 'Arab moderate camp' are fully aware that the United States is going to be too distracted with financial troubles and Iraq and Afghanistan to fight inter-Arab affairs.""

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Why insulting the Iranian Spiritual Guide is bad for one's health (but necessary)

"Reporters Without Borders calls for an independent enquiry into the death of the young blogger Omidreza Mirsayafi (http://rooznegaar.blogfa.com) in detention on 18 March. Mirsayafi was hastily buried in Tehran’s Behesht Zahar cemetery on 19 March without an autopsy being carried out. In a bid to find out how he died, his family has brought a complaint against the officials in charge of Evin prison, where he was held. “The authorities took advantage of the family’s grief and distress to bury Mirsayafi without an autopsy,” Reporters Without Borders said. “We insist on a full explanation of the circumstances of this young blogger’s death in detention. We have been told that this is a case of homicide, in which case those responsible must be brought to trial and punished. We demand the creation of an independent commission of enquiry.” Reporters Without Borders has learned that, according to the forensic doctor, the Evin prison documents detailing the time of Mirsayafi’s transfer to Loghman Hakim hospital and the time of his death contain irregularities."

Kissing: not in the Saudi kingdom

Saudi government banned a new song by Rula Sa`d titled "basbastillu" (which can be translated as I kissed, kissed him). The Rotana company is now distributing the CD without the offending song which talks about kissing inside Saudi Arabia. The Muftititi of the House of Saud does not like kissing.

Prince Nayif: the Coddler of Terrorism

So the appointment was made: Prince Nayif is now second in line (the other second in line, Prince Sultan is for all practical purposes dead) and that is a victory for the Sudayri gang in the royal family. I am too sick to blog today but it is fair to say that the MOST hated and detested Prince in the House of Saud is now slated to become King of Saudi Arabia. A man with horrific views of Jews, Shi`ites, communists, and women will now lead "the refrom" in the kingdom. This is a loss to Prince Salman, who was acting already as the King when he Chas Freeman was meeting with him as the US ambassador there, as the latter once told me. But the Mouthpiece of Prince Salman, Ash-Sharq Al-Awsat, dubbed Prince Nayif as "the conquerer of terrorism." Personally, I would have dubbed him as the "coddler of terrorism."

My debate

For those who asked, my debate is still on. I am now preserving my voice. Above is the flyer.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Sick II

I drove to the airport and while waiting for my flight, felt really sick and totally lost my voice. So I drove back home. I apologize to my hosts and invited guests in Houston. I hope to regain my voice by Wednesday for my debate with the Israeli Consult General in SF.

Son of the Za`im

My weekly article in Al-Akhbar: "Son of the Za`im: Rattling Gasp of Shi`ite Feudalism"


...off to Houston, and returning Sunday. Sick.


NowHariri defends Starbucks. And I find it curious that they would think that anybody would consider them to be an authority on matters Arab-Israeli when they have posted anti-Palestinian propaganda, and hosted fanatical Zionists from the West. And Samah tells me that they misused his comments in the article.

Saudi boycott

"The boycott was launched on Tuesday by about 50 women who gathered in the Red Sea port of Jiddah at the Al-Bidaya Breast-feeding Resource and Women's Awareness Center, which is run by Modie Batterjee. The aim is to push for implementation of a law that has been on the books since 2006 which says only female staff can be employed in women's apparel stores." (thanks Marcy)


Saatchi and Saatchi in Lebanon was caught in a...lie. (thanks Raed)

Defamation of "the judiciary"

"On Monday, a court in Casablanca sentenced Managing Editor Ali Anouzla and Publishing Director Jamal Boudouma of the independent daily Al-Jarida al-Oula to two-month suspended jail terms each and a fine of 200,000 dirhams (US$24,190) for "defamation" and "insulting the judiciary," according to local news reports. Anouzla said his lawyer will appeal the ruling as soon as he receives a copy of the decision." (thanks Mariwan)

Domestic Violence in Japan

"One in three married Japanese women have been physically or mentally abused by their husbands, according to a government survey on domestic violence released Tuesday. Of the victims over a third said they were injured or suffered mental harm, while more than 13 percent said they feared for their lives, the poll by the Cabinet Office found."

This is Zionism

"Hamdi al-Ta'mari was arrested for the first time from the family home in Bethlehem at 4:00am, on 25 July 2008. He was woken by the sound of Israeli soldiers banging on the front door. Hamdi's hands and feet were immediately tied and he was ordered to lie on the floor, as soldiers pointed their assault rifles and flashlights at him. While on the ground, a number of soldiers slapped, kicked and beat him with their assault rifles. His hands were tied so tightly that they began to swell. After 15 minutes, Hamdi was blindfolded and placed on the floor of a military vehicle. The military vehicle drove for around two hours during which time Hamdi was insulted, slapped and kicked by the soldiers sitting around him. One of the soldiers told Hamdi that they had killed his father because he was a terrorist and that they were going to kill all terrorists. At around 6:00am the vehicle arrived at Ofer Interrogation and Detention Centre, near Ramallah. Hamdi was taken to a small room where he was again assaulted by a number of soldiers."


"Responding to the Call of Palestinian civil society to join the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel, we are an Australian campaign focused specifically on a boycott of Israeli academic and cultural institutions, as delineated by PACBI (Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel):"

Leave--against your will

"In recent weeks, Jewish organizations have insisted that Yemen’s tiny Jewish population is in grave danger and that a secret evacuation is necessary to bring the people to safety. But a new report written by on-the-ground observers suggests that one of the primary barriers to the Jews’ departure is the resistance of the Jews themselves." Leave them alone. They don't want to leave. How many times do they have to turn you down before you desist?


"When Israeli soldiers expelled Abir Hijeh, her five children and their neighbors from homes in a Gaza war zone, she said they warned her in broken Arabic: Go south or you might get shot. The group went the wrong way and came under fire from Israeli soldiers. Hijeh was wounded and her 2-year-old daughter was killed. Hijeh's account of a sniper firing on civilians, along with soldiers' graffiti and destruction seen by The Associated Press in homes they commandeered, lend support to allegations of Israeli army misconduct during the onslaught in Gaza." (thanks Olivia)

My friend, Prince Nayif

Palestinian-Lebanese columnist, Jihad Al-Khazen: "Prince Nayif is a friend who gives me hours of his time and is not stingy with information."

US liberals adore Israeli rightists

When it comes to Israel, even American liberals hail Israeli right-wing fanatics: "As part of his visit to Boston yesterday, Barkat also took part in a roundtable discussion with area business, academic, and media leaders, including New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, Brigham and Women's Hospital president Gary Gottlieb, Thermo Fisher Scientific chairman Jim Manzi, Harvard Law School professor Alan Dershowitz, and New Republic editor in chief Marty Peretz."

"Good Arabs"

It is official. According to this fanatic Zionist, the only "good" Arabs are spies and collaborators. (thanks Saleema)

All this happened

"And all this happened at the end of eight straight years that America devoted to frantically chasing the shadow of a terrorist threat to no avail, eight years spent stopping every citizen at every airport to search every purse, bag, crotch and briefcase for juice boxes and explosive tubes of toothpaste. Yet in the end, our government had no mechanism for searching the balance sheets of companies that held life-or-death power over our society and was unable to spot holes in the national economy the size of Libya (whose entire GDP last year was smaller than AIG's 2008 losses)." (thanks Maryam)

Getting away

"An estimated $90 billion (£62 billion) of Saudi money has gone to build mosques and madrassas, distribute religious literature and fund Islam across the world, with a portion of it, according to terrorism experts, directly or indirectly funding the violent expression of those beliefs. Jonathan Evans, the director-general of M15, told the Government last year that the Saudi Government’s multimillion-dollar donations to British universities had led to a “dangerous increase in the spread of extremism in leading university campuses”. Official slights like these are rare. Saudi Arabia, in the words of a former diplomat there, “gets away with things other countries could not” because of the West’s dependence on it – for oil, for arms contracts, for intelligence, for military bases and for being a firm friend in an often unfriendly neighbourhood."

Neither Hamas, nor Fath

"Thus, those who voted for Hamas, may not have done so because of any love for that (regressive and misogynistic) party, but because they were for resistance (and were not corrupt like the PA). Unfortunately, Hamas is in the same rightist political camp as the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority. Even though it speaks of Resistance, it is not revolutionary. Hamas is the flip side of Fatah’s secular face; but socially and politically it is just as reactionary and regressive. While one is concerned with the Unknowns of the Afterlife and prescriptions from God, the other is concerned with the Here and Now, but only insofar as they are compliant with all the “agreements” that were signed with Israel and the “consensus.” In other words, so long as hegemony and the current lopsided distribution of power are served."

Kurdish feudal fiefdom

"Talabani created the PUK in 1975 as a leftist challenger to the "feudalist, tribalist, bourgeois, rightist and capitulationist" KDP of the Barzani family. Thousands on both sides are said to have died before the two parties signed a formal ceasefire in 1998 and carved up the region. They gave up their ideological differences long ago, and neither hides its desire for a piece of any action in sight—starting with the region's share of the national budget, which totaled about $6 billion last year. Kurdish officials say each of the two parties takes as much as $35 million per month off the top, although party leaders deny any knowledge of such sums."

Assassination in Lebanon

Another thing about the assassination in Lebanon of PLO's second-in-command, Kamal Midhat. There is some complicity by some elements within the Lebanese state (those loyal to Hariri Inc). There was a clear effort to "clean up" the scene and erase all traces of the crime right after the assassination. Even key evidence, like the car itself, were sold off as junk hours after the bombing.

Thursday, March 26, 2009


"The Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center, a Jewish rights group with more than 400,000 members in the United States, said the cartoon is meant to denigrate and demonize Israel." What kind of weird logic is this? And tell this ostensible human rights group (human rights my...shoes, and shoes are very offensive in Arab culture) that it is not anti-Semitic if you even demonize and denigrate Israel, just as it is not anti-Islamic to demonize and denigrate Saudi Arabia. Personally, I demonize both states and call on everybody to join me, the sound bites of Zionist hoodlums notwithstanding. And notice that the Israeli murder of some 900 Palestinian civilians in Gaza is less offensive than a cartoon--a cartoon, for potato's sake. And notice that the same people who called on Muslims to lighten up over a Danish cartoon will now express outrage over a cartoon that offends Israel and is not necessarily anti-Jewish as it is using the symbol of the flag of the usurper entity. Now, I will grant you this: if the cartoonist intended to use the star of david as a symbol of Judaism, then yes the cartoon can be seen as anti-Jewish.

Saudi-Syrian (faustian) bargain

Some mysterious Saudi-Syrian agreement has been reached over Lebanon. And any agreement between two lousy regimes can't be good. A well-placed source tells me that suddenly all Saudi and Iranian (and even some Syrian although the regime is not known for paying) money has suddenly stopped arriving into Lebanon to fund the warring factions in the election.

Neither Hamas, nor Fath

"The Hamas-run police force in the Gaza Strip said on Wednesday it was investigating the death of a prisoner after a Palestinian human rights group said the inmate was tortured during interrogation. The Independent Commission for Human Rights (ICHR) said one of its researchers had seen marks on the hands and legs of Jamil Assaf indicating he had been tortured in jail."

3200 clerics fired in Saudi Arabia

3200 clerics have been fired in Saudi Arabia since Sep. 11 because they upheld "wrong ideas." Of course, the House of Saud retained Bin Ladenite, kooky clerics.


"NATO-led troops shot dead two Afghan farmers who were watering their land in east Afghanistan, a police chief said."

The secular left in Lebanon

Comrade Iskandar on the need for a secular left in Lebanon.

John Hope Franklin died

John Hope Franklin is dead. I don't have much time to write about him (and I have a bad cold or flu--I can never tell the difference). I never met Franklin but he really touched me deeply by his writings. I so strongly recommend his autobiography. I remember that I was reading it and hoping that it was longer. His book From Slavery to Freedom should be translated into Arabic. And look at this: "Yet even on so august an occasion, Dr. Franklin could not escape the legacy of discrimination. In a talk he gave in North Carolina 10 years later, he recalled that on the evening before he received the medal at the White House, a woman at a Washington club asked him to fetch her coat, mistaking him for an attendant, and that a man at his hotel had handed him car keys and told him to get his car."


""French employees of a US company have barricaded their boss in his office south of Paris as they demand better terms for workers facing redundancy."" (thanks Raed)

Zionist sexism

"About 100 religious soldiers left a Paratroop Brigade assembly earlier this month to avoid being present at the performance of a female singer, the army weekly Bamahane reported last week. Their departure stemmed from their belief that halakha, or Jewish religious law, prohibits them from hearing a woman sing. Their position has the support of the army rabbinate."

US media on Saudi King

"The question is how much he can accomplish before his death or dotage. Physically and mentally, Abdullah is still going strong, says Ford Fraker, the outgoing U.S. ambassador to Riyadh. "The physical power of this man is remarkable," Fraker says. "When you shake hands with him it's like shaking hands with a tree trunk. He is rock solid. There isn't a tremor anywhere."" My question is this: has there ever been a US ambassador to Saudi Arabia who did not do business with the Saudi royal family "after" leaving office? (thanks Mohd)


Asa sent me this (and I cite with his permission): "Tactically speaking, I'm generally more reluctant to criticise this group than HRW or something, but this recent press release really takes the biscuit (as we say over here): "The leadership of Hamas is obligated to release Shalit
immediately and unconditionally." Contrast that with their weak and equivocal language over Palestinians kidnapped by Israel and held without trial: "B'Tselem urges the Israeli government to immediately release all administrative detainees or bring them to trial for any criminal offenses they are suspected of having committed. B'Tselem also calls upon the government to direct the military commanders to amend the military orders applying to the West Bank and the Gaza Strip pursuant to which administrative detention is made, so that it conforms to international legal standards." And they appear not to say anything at all about those Palestinians kidnapped by Israel who have been through their illegitimate occupation "legal" system."

tax exempt

"For many years, the United States has had a policy against spending aid money to fund Israeli settlements in the West Bank, which successive administrations have regarded as an obstacle to peace. Yet private organizations in the United States continue to raise tax-exempt contributions for the very activities that the government opposes."

Israel: your years are numbered

"The winter assault on the Gaza Strip was officially portrayed in Israel as an attempt to quell rocket fire by militants of Hamas. But some soldiers say they also were lectured about a more ambitious aim: to banish non-Jews from the biblical land of Israel. `This rabbi comes to us and says the fight is between the children of light and the children of darkness,` a reserve sergeant said, recalling a training camp encounter. `His message was clear: `This is a war against an entire people, not against specific terrorists.` The whole thing was turned into something very religious and messianic.`" (thanks Olivia)

Total wars

"A government minister in Sudan is accusing the United States Air Force of killing dozens of people in that north African country this past January – but the semi-official American version of the story is very different. CBS News national security correspondent David Martin has been told that Israeli aircraft carried out the attack. Israeli intelligence is said to have discovered that weapons were being trucked through Sudan, heading north toward Egypt, whereupon they would cross the Sinai Desert and be smuggled into Hamas-held territory in Gaza. " (thanks FLC)

Israel brags: we only killed 295 civilians

"The tally says 295 civilians lost their lives -- about a third of the figure of 926 reported by Gaza's Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (www.pchrgaza.org), which published a full list of names earlier this month." (thanks Sarah)

Dahlan in the mosque in Ramallah

Dahlan is making a come back according to this article. And what better venue for the Dahlan comeback than a...mosque?


"Retaliating against what he deemed a gesture of public support for his political rivals, former Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas sacked the PA's ambassador to Russia Afif Safia. Abbas was enraged over reports from Moscow that Safia had attended a rally in support of the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip organized by Hamas." I could not find confirmation of this from other sources although I have known of the conflict between Safia and Dahlan gang in Washington, DC and in Ramallah since his days in Washington, DC. (thanks Aroub)

Assassination in Lebanon

There is still speculation about the assassination of PLO's Kamal Midhat in Lebanon. I spoke to a well-placed PLO source. The widow of Midhat is privately accusing Fath rivals of Mihdat (specifically, Sultan Abu Al`Aynayn and Khalid `Arif). Only last Saturday, Mihdat told a PLO source that "`Abbas Zaki sold me out." There is a lot of jockeying for power within the Fath in Lebanon in preparation for the upcoming Fath conference. Abbas Zaki needs the votes and he needs the support of Sultan Abu Al-`Aynayn: who through the years of generosity from `Arafat spread the goodies around. Mihdat, like Zaki, does not have the popular base that Abu Al-`Aynayn has. In the funeral, a group of 30 young men started to suddenly chant the names of Muhammad Dahlan. There are rumors that Dahlan snuck into Lebanon just hours before the assassination but I could not confirm that. The Dahlan security gang is very active in Lebanon, and their functionaries can be seen in the cafes of Beirut.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Dahlan o Dahlan: he is for resistance now

"For example, former Gaza strongman Mohammed Dahlan recently accused Hamas of slandering Fatah by claiming the latter is demanding that Hamas recognize Israel. "This is a big lie," said Dahlan. "I am telling you for the thousandth time that we are not demanding that Hamas recognize Israel's right to exist. We demand that Hamas not do it, as Fatah itself has never recognized Israel's right to exist. We admit the PLO recognized Israel's right to exist, but that does not obligate us [Fatah] as a resistance movement.""

This is Zionism

"Since the beginning of Operation “Cast Lead” at the end of 2008, there has been a sharp rise in reports of violence perpetrated by security forces against Palestinians in the West Bank. During this nearly three-month period, B'Tselem documented 24 cases in which police officers and soldiers beat Palestinians, using rifle butts, clubs and other means of injury. 16 of the cases were especially serious and their victims suffered heavier injuries."

US and...them

"What is illogical to us, based on our culture and belief system, is completely logical to them given theirs." (thanks Luay)

Orwell in the holy land

"George Orwell's 1945 satiric novel Animal Farm was performed with a distinctively Palestinian flavor in a debut production this week at the Freedom Theater in the Jenin refugee camp, taking aim at internal politics and the alliance between Israel and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
In scene one of the play, Farmer Jones assassinates the animals' leader. In scene two, the animals - a few horses, a donkey, a crow, a chicken and some pigs - rally around a revolutionary sow named Snowball, who leads an uprising against their oppressive master. "Intifada!" the animals scream, using the Arabic word for uprising. Strobe lights flash and heavy metal music blares as they chase Jones from the farm." (thanks Marcy)

Lebanese electoral politics

Comrade Khalid explains Lebanese electoral politics


"Statistics on dating violence and young women are shocking. According to the Family Violence and Prevention Fund, one in five female high school students reports being physically and/or sexually abused by a date, and 8 percent of high-school-age girls say that they have been forced by a boyfriend to have sex against their will. Forty percent of girls aged 14 to 17 say they know someone their age who has been hit by a boyfriend. According to the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, every year women in the U.S. experience 4.8 million intimate partner-related physical assaults and rapes. According to the Bureau of Justice, 1,181 women were murdered by an intimate partner in 2005--an average of three women every day." (thanks Dina)

Beheadings, shootings, stonings, electricutions, and injections

"In its annual report on the death penalty, Amnesty International on Tuesday chronicled beheadings in Saudi Arabia; hangings in Japan, Iraq, Singapore and Sudan; lethal injections in China; an electrocution in the United States; firing squads in Afghanistan, Belarus and Vietnam; and stonings in Iran...With at least 1,718, China was responsible for 72 percent of all executions in 2008, the report stated. After China were Iran (346), Saudi Arabia (102), the United States (37) and Pakistan (36), according to the group."

Morrocco's Represion

Morocco has initiated a campaign of repression agaisnt Shi`ites, gays, feminists and what it calls "musha`wizin" (quacks): "Government sources say this is a counter-attack against press articles calling for greater tolerance of homosexuality. The government regards homosexuality as contrary to social values and Islam, and Islamists, in particular the Justice and Development Party, have condemned the campaign and called for firm action. Newspapers report that about 20 gays were recently arrested in the center of the country. A French feminist organization was earlier this year refused permission to open a branch in Morocco. Fouzia Assouli, a women's rights campaigner, said the new emphasis on moral values was linked to local polls due to take place in June and the government's determination not to give Islamists an issue around which to rally."

Saudi clerical kooks

"In a letter to new Information Minister Abdul Aziz al-Khoja that appeared on websites this week, the 35 Islamic clerics also condemned the increase of music and dancing on television, as well as images of women in popular newspapers and magazines that they labelled "obscene.""Hardline Saudi clerics have called on the government to ban women from appearing on television and to prohibit their images in print media, which they called a sign of growing "deviant thought."

All that you have done to our people is registered in notebooks

"Reservists marked their last night stationed in the southern Hebron Hills by damaging confiscated Palestinian vehicles, their replacements told Haaretz on Monday. The reserve battalion in question was stationed at a small base near the Shekef settlement, and spent three weeks in the south Hebron Hills. They were responsible primarily for patrolling the green line. On their last night at the base, the reservists got drunk and vandalized some of the vehicles they had confiscated from Palestinian drivers, for transporting passengers who lacked permits to enter Israel, soldiers told Haaretz."" (thanks Olivia)

Editing for the royal family

"The editor-in-chief of The National, an English-language newspaper based in Abu Dhabi, makes $430,000 per year, according to a spreadsheet of the paper's payroll leaked to WikiLeaks." (thanks L.)

Mini-Hariri does London

Mini-Hariri is visiting London. On top, he is seen with columnists and editors from Al-Hayat (the mouthpiece of Prince Khalid bin Sultan), below he is seen with Tariq Al-Humayyid (editor of the mouthpiece of Prince Salman). In the picture below, Hariri was impressed to be introduced to something called "the computer." He asked whether "the computer" can add and subtract numbers, and when told it can, he ordered himself five. (thanks F and Firas)

Elections or appointments?

Prince Nayif bin `Abdul-`Aziz (who has just been awarded a doctorate in political science by Lebanese prime minister, Fu'ad Sanyurah) said that appointments of members of the Shura Council is better than their election. More explained: ""Appointing the members always ensures that the best are selected," Interior Minister Prince Nayef said in comments carried by al-Jazirah daily. "If it was to happen through elections, the members would not have had been this competent." Asked if that could include women, he said: "I don't see the need for that.""

Angry Arab...in Al-Arabiyya?

"“You have more freedom to express support for Israeli war crimes than to speak about the Palestinian civilian victims in the war on Gaza,” As'ad Abu Khalil, professor of political science at California State University, told AlArabiya.net. "There is a general climate that is very sympathetic and solidly dogmatic in favor of Zionism then it is to Palestinians and its supporters," he said, adding that as people start pay attention to Israeli crimes Zionists are clamping down on any dissent by exerting "horrendous forms of pressure on school administrations." "Academic freedom is not equally distributed here in the U.S.," he said. "There is a tremendous illogical moral and ethical asymmetry on college campuses.""

Amir Taheri: at the door of Prince Salman

This is an interesting account of the editor of Ash-Shira` magazine, Hasan Sabra (a man who started out as chief of information for the pro-Libyan militia, Arab Socialist Union, during the civil war and then started his magazine as a pro-Libyan mouthpiece, before being tied to elements of Iranian intelligence, and then became a Hariri and Saudi propagandist, which is what he is today.) Here, he describes the origins of the leak that was the famous news item that led to the Iran-Contra scandal. But he also has a scene of Amir Taheri waiting (along with Sabra) at the door of Prince Salman.

Hassan Fattah Journalism

This is what passes as news headline in the National: "Yemeni president thanks UAE". Tomorrow, the National headline will be: Hassan Fattah thanks Royal Family of Abu Dhabi.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Political advertisements in Lebanon

Comrade Pierre on the silly political campaigns (on behalf of Hariri family) by Saatchi and Saatchi.

Don't walk, don't eat

"Palestinian laborers are forbidden to walk around the community of Har Adar in the Jerusalem corridor. They are allowed to work, but cannot simply roam the area. This is the local council's policy."


To those who asked, my talk in Houston this Friday is a closed event. I am speaking to a community group in a house.

Dubai: miracle of capitalism?

"The owners of these vehicles are mainly British expatriates, who have left in a hurry because they faced "crippling debts" as a result of Dubai's financial meltdown and their own profligate behaviour. Many of them, says Hollingsworth, have defaulted on loans; rather than risk arrest and jail, they drove at top speed to the airport where they jumped on the first flight to London. If you're looking for a microcosm of the world financial crisis, then Dubai is it. The Alice-in-Wonderland atmosphere of crazed spending was more extreme than anywhere else and now the tourism-and-expatriate-dependent little kingdom is heading precipitously towards bankruptcy. Last month it was bailed out with a $20bn package by its oil-rich neighbour, Abu Dhabi, but, with $80bn worth of debts, it could still go bankrupt this year." (thanks Saeed)

Pleasing...House of Saud

"But the film was also furiously opposed by the clerical establishment. The senior cleric who, at that time, headed the Saudi religious police was not amused. Film is "evil," he charged, and must continue to be banned. Within days of his pronouncement, however, he changed his tune, judging that cinema was fine as long as it was used "in matters that please Allah"."

Zionism: by force

"Jewish tourists who spend more than 180 days in Israel, even without violating the terms of their tourist visas, are being increasingly harassed by border patrol officials, detained at the crossings and, in some cases, deported to their port of origin or forced to make aliya against their will, according to a Tel Aviv law firm." (thanks Emily)

Zionism=war crimes

"The Guardian has compiled detailed evidence of alleged war crimes committed by Israel during the 23-day offensive in the Gaza Strip earlier this year, involving the use of Palestinian children as human shields and the targeting of medics and hospitals. A month-long investigation also obtained evidence of civilians being hit by fire from unmanned drone aircraft said to be so accurate that their operators can tell the colour of the clothes worn by a target. The testimonies form the basis of three Guardian films which add weight to calls this week for a full inquiry into the events surrounding Operation Cast Lead, which was aimed at Hamas but left about 1,400 Palestinians dead, including more than 300 children."" (thanks Regan)

Loyalty to the State

""There are hostile elements who say that the State of Israel is a provocation. They say that any national matter is a provocation. But all we are doing is wave the Israeli flag. All we are demanding is loyalty to the State." Loyalty to the State? Wasn't that was Himmler demanded? (thanks Asa)

Electronic Ali

Electronic Ali is speaking in Berkeley tomorrow. Go see him although I have a department meeting here.

Zionism is racism, literally as Joe Biden would say

"of some 120 criminal investigations brought against security force members since the beginning of the intifada, there had only been one conviction – against the Arab-Israeli soldier who shot British peace activist Tom Hurndall dead in Gaza." (thanks Ahmed)

Occupier's laws

A student at Hebrew University sent me this flyer (in Hebrew and Arabic). I don't wish to identify her for her own protection. She wrote: "Attached with this email a picture (in Arabic(?) & Hebrew) for an order to close the Palestinian National Theatre (Al-Hakawati) in Jerusalem that was put on the theatre's door. This happens regularly in this place, and in others that take place in Jerusalem: few minutes before they start, soldiers come to evactuate people. The exhibition that is supposed to end tomorrow is not part of the events of Jerusalem the Capital of Arab Culture... At the same day of the opening of these events (which did not happen in Jerusalem, huh), soldiers broke in to a school while kids were celebrating Mother's Day." Do you notice how bad Israeli terrorist army's Arabic is? I argue that goofy Google's translation into Arabic are better than the Arabic of Israeli Orientalism.

Assassination in Beirut (i should have said in Lebanon, not Beirut)

Robert Worth (and the AUB professor he cites in the story) are over their head on this. Kamal Midhat was not like what people think. He was not part of the Fath hierarchy in the region and was opposed to Oslo and was punished by Fath for it. My sister, Mirvat, knew Kamal Midhat and said that he was a believer in armed struggle and was opposed to peace with the usurping entity. It is possible that the target of the assasination was `Abbas Zaki. My sister also tells me that Al-Akhbar's account of Midhat in today's issue is not accurate.

Obama Rules

"Former U.S. Mideast peace negotiator Martin Indyk is leading discussions between Israeli and Palestinian advisors and officials at a three-day, off-record Brookings event that got underway last night." (thanks Laleh)

Political Economy of Collaboration

"For instance, at a time when Palestinian GDP has stagnated or fallen -- GDP fell 8% in 2006, was 0% in 2007, and was “constrained” in 2008 -- for the past several years, “aid” received by the PA for the first quarter of 2008 exceeded their sizeable budget deficit ($317m). (p. 11) The “surplus” aid ($208m) was 66% of the deficit (!) and was then used to “repay substantial wage and private sector arrears as well as loans and advances from the banking sector.” (p.6) Thus, money originating outside of Palestinian society is distributed to favored sectors (bankers, and civil servants who execute the commands of the PA) of that society. Moreover, relative to the size of the (highly aid-reliant) economy, “aid” support is quite generous. Importantly, aid is mostly NOT productively spent, for example on investments in agriculture or on infrastructure. There, most projects have been and are on hold due to donor “security concerns” over the situation in Gaza. (p.36.) The report indicates that the only sector to receive an increase in support from donors is the “Governance Sector” which includes “security reform and transformation.” Table 6 shows that “governance” is overwhelmingly “security” which includes coordination between the various “forces” that constitute it. (There seems to be one for each fiefdom / officeholder.) Moreover, these same “forces” that help with “governance” seem to have a problem with accessibility (due to Israeli blockages and destruction of infrastructure after the Second Intifada) to areas B and C for law enforcement. Naturally there is no “governance” connection with Gaza, due to the “absence of a functional Palestinian Legislative Council.” Had it been present, the PA claims there would have been more progress on financial “accountability” and “transparency” reforms. (pp. 20-1, 23.) Given the nature of this “aid,” it is revealing that “accountability” in this case, refers not to the PA’s accountability to its own population that elected the Legislative Council, but instead, refers to the donors." (thanks Olivia)

Regarding the threat to Angry Arab

Saeed did some great investigative work. He found that the text of the threat that I received from the Prince Muqrin's little group in Lebanon was almost exactly the same as the text of a "threat" that the same group claimed that it had received. You compare:

إلى -أسعد أبو خليل- أو العميل الأمريكي الغاضب.

لقد فتحت عليك والله أبواب جهنم عندما هاجمت المقاومة الإسلامية العربية وسيدها الحسيني .

فاذا اعتقدت ان لحمنا مباح لتنهشه فانك خاطئ،

فلحمنا مر لا يستطيع اي كان ان ينهشه واذا حاولت مرة اخرى فاننا سنكسر اسنانك ونقلع عيونك ونقص يدك .

واننا ننصحك بأن توقف حملتك المدفوعة الأجر ضد المقاومة الإسلامية العربية وسيدها الحسيني،

والا فاننا لا نتحمل اي مسؤولية عما قد يحصل لك ولأفراد عائلتك،
وتأكد باننا لن نوفر وسيلة لكي نلقنك درسا لن تنساه.

وقد أعذر من انذر والله مع المؤمنين.

شباب الشيعة المقاومة"

بسمه تعالى

الى الحسيني. والحسين (ع) منه براء
لقد فتحت عليك والله أبواب جهنم عندما هاجمت المقاومة وانجازاتها في مقابلتك الأخيرة مع موقع ايلاف. فاذا اعتقدت ان لحمنا مباح لتنهشه فانك خاطئ، فلحمنا مر لا يستطيع اي كان ان ينهشه واذا حاول فاننا سنكسر اسنانه ونقلع عيونه.
اننا ننصحك بان تسير في الطريق الصحيح، طريق المقاومة الشريفة، وتوقف حملاتك المدفوعة الأجر ضد المقاومة وسيدها، والا فاننا لا نتحمل اي مسؤولية عما قد يحصل لك ولأفراد عائلتك، وتأكد باننا لن نوفر وسيلة لكي نلقنك درسا لن تنساه على غرار الطفيلي والحاج حسن وغيرهم الذين لجمنا افواههم التي ما فتئت توجه سمومها نحو المقاومة وسيدها. وقد أعذر من انذر والله مع المؤمنين شباب الشيعة المقاومة

Called an idiot

"On one campus, for example, I was condemned as an “idiot” because I said that a majority of Palestinians voted for Hamas in the January 2006 election because they were fed up with financial corruption in the Palestinian Authority." How to put it nicely to you. Well, let us just say that no, you were not called an idiot because of of what you said about the Palestinian vote, OK?

Dr. Prince Nayif Bin `Abdul-`Aziz

Just because Prince Nayif (the Saudi Minister of Interior) supervises the system of terror and repression which includes the production of fanatical terrorists over the years and the rituals of beheadings and stoning of lovers and the electrocution of genitals does not mean that he is not a "political scientist." Lebanese Prime Minister, Fu'ad Sanyurah, awarded a Doctorate in Political Science from the Lebanese University to the illiterate Saudi Minister of Interior. This is not the first doctorate to Prince Nayif: the Imam Muhammad bin Saud had awarded a doctorate in "Service to the Sunnah" to Prince Nayif. (SNA)

Prince Sultan's Health

Prince Nayif said that Prince Sultan will return from the US with his "full health." You know what that means, don't you? It means one thing and one thing only: get the shovels and start digging. The man is dead. Very dead.

Prince Nayif: on the Role of the Media

Prince Nayif bin `Abdul-`Aziz is attending the summit of the Arab Ministers of Interiors in Beirut. He called on the media to play its role in "correcting the wrong ideas." I kid you not. He actually said that.

Monday, March 23, 2009


...off to Houston, and returning Sunday. Sick.

Kudos to Riyad Qubaysi

I don't know New TV's Riyad Qubaysi (we spoke once on the phone) but I am a big fan of his. He is one of the best TV journalists in Lebanon. Today, he did a report on the Palestinian children in Lebanon: it made me cry.

Puppet versus Puppet

"The US and its European allies are ­preparing to plant a high-profile figure in the heart of the Kabul government in a direct challenge to the Afghan president, Hamid Karzai, the Guardian has learned."

Once a jailer

""I realised the cause that made these men go to prison was also my cause," Zeidan said. "We are part of the Palestinian tragedy." After a year of locking up Arab prisoners, he quit the service, finished his law degree and became a defence attorney. Months later, Zeidan returned to the same prison to visit Kantar. The Lebanese fighter, also a Druse, asked Zeidan to represent him. "That was a historic meeting for me. One day I was Samir Kantar's jailer. The next, I was his lawyer," Zeidan said.""

Here we go

"A predawn raid by United States Special Forces that killed five people on Sunday has produced sharply conflicting accounts from the American military and local Afghan officials as to whether the dead were civilians or militants, resurrecting a sore point that has troubled the American-led war here. The United States military said in a statement that its forces killed five militants and detained four suspects in an operation against a “terrorist network” near the Afghan-Tajikistan border in the northern province of Kunduz. Local officials said that those killed were not militants and that the raided house belonged to the mayor of the town of Imam Sahib." Let me save you time: the US military will conduct a thorough investigation that will clear the perpetrators.

Saudi reforms

To improve the conditions of women in Saudi Arabia, the Saudi king today raised the salaries of his concubines.

This is Zionism

"Anti-Arab verbal and physical attacks inside Israel have spiked in the wake of elections held earlier this year in which right-wing parties made major gains, a human rights group said on Sunday. The Mossawa Centre for the Rights of Arab Citizens in Israel has documented 250 incidents of aggression against Arab Israelis since the start of the year, compared to 166 in all of 2008, the group said in a report. "The physical and verbal aggression has increased mainly in cities with mixed Arab-Jewish populations," the report said."

Zionism is racism, literally as Joe Biden would say

"A Hadera elementary school has been accused of racial discrimination, for its singling out of a number of students of Ethiopian origin, all born in Israel, for extra Hebrew lessons. In response to the accusation, the Education Ministry said the school used "poor judgment"." (thanks Olivia)

Hariri Republic

"Things were not going smoothly abroad, either. In early 2008, while waiting for a flight in Beirut, Hamdan was arrested and interrogated for four days by Lebanese authorities. Hamden said a lawyer the family later hired to examine the court file said his detention was at the request of "outside influences."" (thanks Souheil)

African migrant workers in Libya

"For the African migrants themselves, life in Libya is often a dead end. “They call us animals and slaves,” said Paul Oknonghou, 28, a Nigerian who lives with about a dozen other Nigerians in a house under construction that lacks glass in the window frames, running water, a bathroom or a kitchen. He said he and his friends considered themselves lucky that they did not have to sleep on the streets."

Mubarak obstains US support for his son as his successor

"Egyptian police seized a flock of 560 sheep set to be smuggled into the Gaza Strip through underground tunnels, a security official said on Monday." (thanks Marcy)

The Colonial Exception

Comrade Raed reviews "Waltz with Bashir".

Saudi reforms

Prince Muqrin, the head of Saudi foreign intelligence, states that his female agents are more qualified than his male agents. Feminist worldwide cheered the news. (thanks Elie)

Terrorist Balloons: Ethan Bronner would call them Hamas strongholds

"Israeli authorities broke up a series of Palestinian cultural events in Jerusalem on Saturday, disrupting a children's march and bursting balloons at a schoolyard celebration in a crackdown that underscored the emotional battle over control of the disputed holy city." Look at the last sentence: I can always tell when a foreign editor of a US media unit inserted a sentence to a dispatch by a correspondent in order to soften the impact of Israeli crimes. "Underscored the emotional battle"? What the duck is that? Imagine if a US media inserted a sentence after a Palestinian act of violence and saying: the act only underscores the emotional battle over the holy land. (thanks David)

90%: nations in exile

A German publication reports that 90% of all of Iraq puppet ambassadors hold dual citizenship. (thanks Dina)

The Threat

My sister talked to the Lebanese Minister of Interior, Ziyad Barud, on the threat that I have received. He expresssed concern and will follow up the matter. (A polite version of the threat appears as a comment under my Saturday's article on Al-Akhbar website). Note to self: make sure you remember to make a critical reference to the same lousy thuggish gorup that is supported by Prince Muqrin bin `Abdul-`Aziz in your article this Saturday.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

A threat to Angry Arab

I have received this email today:

إلى -أسعد أبو خليل- أو العميل الأمريكي الغاضب.

لقد فتحت عليك والله أبواب جهنم عندما هاجمت المقاومة الإسلامية العربية وسيدها الحسيني .

فاذا اعتقدت ان لحمنا مباح لتنهشه فانك خاطئ،

فلحمنا مر لا يستطيع اي كان ان ينهشه واذا حاولت مرة اخرى فاننا سنكسر اسنانك ونقلع عيونك ونقص يدك .

واننا ننصحك بأن توقف حملتك المدفوعة الأجر ضد المقاومة الإسلامية العربية وسيدها الحسيني،

والا فاننا لا نتحمل اي مسؤولية عما قد يحصل لك ولأفراد عائلتك،
وتأكد باننا لن نوفر وسيلة لكي نلقنك درسا لن تنساه.

وقد أعذر من انذر والله مع المؤمنين.

شباب الشيعة المقاومة"

I post this as I received it in my inbox. This is a group that is allegedly funded by Hariri family and Saudi intelligence and is CERTAINLY promoted by Saudi media. The message said: "To As`ad AbuKhalil or the Angry American Agent

You have by God opened on yourself the gates of hell when you attacked the Arab Islamic Resistance and its Sayyid Al-Husayni. And if you think that our flesh is available for you to bite, then you are mistaken. Our flesh is bitter and no one can bite it, and if you try one more time we shall break your teeth and gouge out your eyes and cut off your hand. And we advise you to end your salaried campaign on the Arab Islamic Resistance and its Sayyid Al-Husayni, otherwise we dont brear responsibility for what may befall you or to members of your family. And be certain that we shall not spare a method to teach you a lesson that you shall not forget. And who has warned has been excused and God is with the believers.

The Youth of Shi`ite Resistance."

Dirty little secret

"The “dirty little secret,” Obama told Leno on Thursday, is that “most of the stuff that got us into trouble was perfectly legal.” An even dirtier secret is that a prime mover in keeping that stuff legal was Summers, who helped torpedo the regulation of derivatives while in the Clinton administration. His mentor Robert Rubin, no less, wrote in his 2003 memoir that Summers underestimated how the risk of derivatives might multiply “under extraordinary circumstances.”"