Monday, August 31, 2009

Is this colonial Feminism or Trash Feminism?

"Why would a Western woman forgo the security and freedom of her home country and relocate with a Muslim husband to an Islamic nation? For an answer, I phoned the feminist author Phyllis Chesler, who has written on the subject. “There is a self-destructiveness in this attraction, a temptation on the part of some women to go to a place where they have servants; or maybe a large extended family that might be wealthier than the one you were born into, or the idea that you yourself might go there and bring change and evolution to a backward country,” says Chesler. “You might say there are horrible things that happen to Muslim women in Muslim countries, and that’s true. But the Muslim woman expects it, she’s used to it—it’s terrible but it is something she already knows about. That is not the case with the foreign or Western wife in a Muslim country.”" (thanks Dylan)

Enhanced civilization: neither a gun nor a drill

"said Mr. Cheney, who noted that neither a gun nor a drill had actually been used on detainees." Is this not a sign of a humane culture?

Saudi Fatwawawas

"Q- There is an employee who says he has slept more than once on the job and did not do his work. Has he invalidated his fast in doing so?
A – His fast is not invalidated, because there is no relationship between not doing work and the fast. However, it is obligatory on the person who is assigned a job to perform the job that he has been entrusted with. This is because he takes pay and a salary for this work. It is obligatory that his work be done in a manner that will free him of any liability, just as he expects his entire salary. However, the reward for his fast is lessened due to his doing something forbidden, which is his sleeping on the job that has been entrusted to him."

Arab liberals

This article misses the most important point/factor: that Arab liberals are used by Arab regimes for their own purposes. In the 1970s, Arab regimes and Israel used Islamic fundamentalists against Arab leftists and Arab natinoalists, and Arab regimes (and Israel?) today are using Arab liberals against Islamic fundamentalists. There is one difference: Arab liberals unlike Islamic fundamentalists have no social base or popular appeal. How could they? Let me summarize Arab liberals for you. Just this week, prominent Saudi liberal Jamal Khashuqji (a former Bin Ladenite who edits the mouthpiece of Prince Khalid Faysal) addressed Prince Muhammad Bin Nayif as: "You are Islam."


"The Israeli Education Ministry announced Sunday that it would cut funding to three state-funded religious schools because they refused to enroll Ethiopian Jews simply because they were black." (thanks Sana)

Now Hariri defines itself

Now Hariri defines itself--I am not making this up: "Surely they are not intimidated by a news site that represents the aspirations of the freedom-loving bourgeoisie, the soft-handed people who took to the streets to end Syrian occupation and promote Lebanese democracy, sovereignty and freedom on March 14, 2005? "

NYT and "gay culture" in Beirut

"The article also denies other Arab countries their own gay cultures. Many western journalists sum up Arab gay realities with sentences like: "Saudi Arabia: homosexuality punishable by death", "Iraq: gay men killed." Full stop. But gay men are also killed in "civilised" western countries. While homophobia is certainly a problem in Arab countries, like anywhere else, it never overshadows the thriving and lively local gay cultures. Yet no one talks about these cultures. "Cairo: bad", "Damascus: bad", we're told by Ricardo, the Spaniard in the article. Even Dubya and his "Axis of Evil" would envy such eloquence...How ironic that many Lebanese gay men, including myself, actually feel more comfortable in places like Damascus or Amman and go there often in order to escape the Beiruti agitation. There might be no Kylie Minogue nights there, but on the other hand there is a lot less snobbery and less fuss about homosexuality. My friend Ali recently went to Jordan to be wedded to his boyfriend by a Muslim cleric and then spent his honeymoon in Damascus. The advantage of such trips also comes in finding an anonymity one is denied at home...The NYT article falls into the category of the infomercial, tailor-made for a certain clientele, and it has every right to. However, it is typical of much reporting about the Arab world, perpetuating tired stereotypes: Arabs are homophobes, except for the "westernised" ones, Arabs are "sexy savages". In doing so, not only is it extending the cultural gap further, but it is also exposing a much wider divide: the one between the haves and the have-nots." (thanks Matthew)

Racist and Sexist An-Nahar Newspaper

Of course, I never expect much from An-Nahar newspaper (a right-wing, sectarian Christian, anti-Syrian (people), anti-Palestinian (people) propaganda publication that never wavers in its loyalty to Prince Salman and his other brothers). The newspaper has also a record of racism and it rarely covers African affairs. But today, they decided to publish an article about the elections in Gabon, but notice the accompanying picture.

Another Lebanese...braggart

Ibn Rushd sent me this (I cite with his permission although I removed some words for legal reasons): "This guy, Fadi Nahas, is a small time...& [allegedly] high-school dropout who became very rich importing bananas from Ecuador and selling them in Turkey. His former associate, Joseph Moawad [allegedly] accused him of embezzlement and sued him for stealing $ 1.5 million. But the fellow is megalomaniac and for the past few years, he is been...Lebanese journalists to interview him and praise him. Today, he seems to have...a L'Orient journalist. The guy does not have [allegedly] a high school degree for potato's sake and yet he announced his candidacy to be president of the Euro-Mediterranean Union, a job which does not exist yet and for which you can't run. And yet the Lebanese Press takes him seriously and there's an entire page about the [alleged] crook. A few years ago, get interviewed by Ricardo Karam on TV And the same clown...some unknown organization to grant him an "Excellence in Leadership Award" of which he's been bragging ever since....Two years ago, there was an entire website and several facebook groups set up by Moawad's daughter to expose Nahas, but these sites were taken offline. I am not sure if he sued or if they found a financial agreement. The guy has also [allegedly] donated money to Chirac's phony foundation and...the title of "Ecuador's honorary consul to Turkey..."

Palestinians and Shi`ites in the UAE

I have received many emails from Palestinians and Shi`ites in the UAE. People have been telling me stories of campaigns of expulsion and harassment against Palestinians (especially those from Gaza) and Lebanese Shi`ites. A Lebanese Shi`ite professor in the UAE was interrogated for hours and she discovered that they have been tapping her phones and monitoring her. I have asked my informants for documentation and since nothing has been written on the subject, I shall link to here. (thanks Basma)

De Tocqueville on America: the unknown views

"But in the 1840s and 1850s de Tocqueville’s views on America took a darker turn, as a new collection of his writings makes clear. (“Tocqueville on America After 1840: Letters and Other Writings”). Public life was dominated by people who lacked “moderation, sometimes probity, above all education”. America’s sense of “exaggerated pride in its strength” was promoting military adventurism. “Primitivism” stalked the land. “What is certain is that, for some years, you have strangely abused the advantages given to you by God,” he chided."

The Maronite Patriarch Hearts Sen. Kennedy

"Maronite Patriarch Nasrallah Sfeir conveyed during Sunday's sermon his condolences over the death of U.S. Senatro Edward Kennedy to his wife of Lebanese origins lawyer Victoria Reggie Kennedy and to U.S. President Barack Obama. Speaking from Deeman, Sfeir praised Kennedy as one of the U.S. politics' "significant faces." "The deceased was known for his brave stances. He had the courage to speak the truth and earned the title of the Senate's lion."" (thanks David)

The missing Ottoman treasure

Comrade Khaled continues his coverage of the search for the Ottoman treasure and the adventures of Lebanon's Minister of Finance.

Enough about the Kennedy family

If George Washington had agreed to be crowned king (as many Americans at the time wanted), there would be less obsession with the Kennedy family. I would rather read about the Kardashian family.

Who is your enemy? The Lebanese people give the answer

Ad-Duwaliyyah li-l-Ma`lumat asked the Lebanese about their perceptions of the enemy. (The firm is one of the most reliable, in my opinion). Israel won hands down. 93.9% of all Lebanese consider Israel to be the enemy. The US came in second: 64.8% of Lebanese consider the US to be their enemy. As for the most liked foreign states, Qatar came in first: 86.8% of all Lebanese consider Qatar to be a friend. Syria came in second (as a friend of the Lebanese) with 72.3% of respondents. Iran came in third with 68.6%. I was curious to see the breakdown by sectarian affiliation (remember when Grand Mufti, Shimon Peres recently said that Arab Sunnis no more consider Israel to be the enemy because they think of Iran as the enemy), and no surprise (to me at least) there. 89% of Maronite Lebanese consider Israel to be the enemy, while 96.7% of Sunnis consider Israel to be the enemy, and 98.2% of Druzes (and 97.4% of Shi`ites). So the Sunni-Shi`ite divide is not salient when it comes to hostility to Israel. Saudi Arabia was considered a friend by 60% of Lebanese while 31.4% of Lebanese consider it an enemy. As for what constitutes the biggest threat to Lebanon, 48.2% of Lebanese consider Israel to be the source of the biggest threat to Lebanon, while some 5.5% of Lebanese consider the arms of Hizbullah to be the threat. What does all that mean? Simple. The usurping entity is doomed and will be--in historical terms--a mere murderous footnote.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

the real `Abdul-`Aziz Al-Hakim

The real record of the commander of the Badr sectarian Shi`ite militia (which terrorized the Palestinians in Iraq): "CNN and other news organizations reported that Hakim was a behind-the-scenes operator who never held a political position in Iraq. That’s not entirely true – Hakim was on the American-appointed Iraqi Governing Council, the interim government under the U.S. occupation authority. In fact, Hakim quickly infuriated Iraqi women’s advocates by using his position on the council to try to repeal the country’s secular family and inheritance laws, which were considered to be among the most progressive in the Middle East. The old laws made polygamy difficult and guaranteed women custody rights in divorce cases. Hakim favored implementing a strict interpretation of Islamic jurisprudence. Hundreds of Iraqi women marched in protest in Baghdad and Kurdistan, and it took then-U.S. viceroy Paul Bremer’s veto to kill the plan.-- Hakim favored carving the oil-rich, majority-Shiite southern part of Iraq into a confederacy, in the style of the mostly autonomous Kurdish north. Voters rejected the plan in January 2009."

lauding snipers

"Small teams of snipers are finding reasons to venture into the constantly shifting environment that exists in a place simply referred to as “outside the wire.”" (thanks anonymous)

Canned tins

""In previous years we could still somehow enjoy the food, the army would allow bringing in certain types of food we could cook but since the IPS took charge it has stopped and most of our meals are based on canned tins from the canteen," one inmate from Ketziot Prison said."

This guy hearts Zionist crimes

""But also," the governor continued, "when I was here for the first time some 18 years ago and I was touring the country, the comparison between Masada and the Alamo was not lost on me. I mean, we're talking about two groups of people who were willing to give up their lives for freedom and liberty." Beyond the comparisons, Gov. Perry said another point of his trip here was to show other people "what was really going on", with regards to the military threats facing the country, and in particular the IDF's recent Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip." Oh, he can't even be original in his propaganda on behalf of Israel. He is plagiarizing the words of another Texan: Lyndon Johnson used the same words to explain his position on Israel.

The Lion of wealth

"But oh, he was so much more. He was a man who after a party drove home with Mary Jo Kopechne and off the Chappaquiddick bridge. He was a man who left her there while he waited 10 hours to report the accident. He was a man who used the time to consult a lawyer and prepare an exculpatory statement." (thanks Laleh)

This Arab-American-Muslim dude

I watched a report on AlJazeera about Sen. Kennedy. They interviewed this guy (I don't know who he is): a certain Khalid Saffuri. He told AlJazeera that Sen. Kennedy started as very pro-Israeli but that he became even handed (he used the word "centrist") later in life. Is this guy a resident of this planet? When did Sen. Kennedy ever change his views on the Middle East, unless Mr. Saffuri received a report about a political transformation of Sen. Kennedy after his death. Sen. Kennedy never ever met an Israel war, invasion, occupation, assassination, or massacre that he did not wholeheartedly endorse.

All that you have done to our peoples, is registered in notebooks

"Education Minister Gideon Sa'ar briefed the cabinet on plans for the start of the school year, and announced that the word "nakba" will be taken out of lesson plans." (thanks Marcy)

The collaborationist regime of the PA

"Despite the global financial crisis, commerce between Israel and the Palestinian Authority has been steadily increasing, amounting to NIS 19 billion (roughly $5 billion) in 2008, a report reviewing Israel and the PA's financial trade revealed Wednesday."

Saudi justice

"A court here has sentenced two young Saudis to 240 lashes each after they were found guilty of directing a laser beam at a Saudi Arabian Airlines plane landing at King Abdul Aziz International Airport recently." (thanks Sana)

Nahr Al-Barid: don't forget, don't forgive

Reconstruction of the Nahr Al-Barid camp has been delayed, yet again. This time because the Hariri camp and the Awn camp claim that there are important Roman ruins that need to be protected. If it were in my hands, I would demolish all ruins in Lebanon, especially when the French and European archeologists destroyed the Arab/Islamic layers to reach and preserve the pre-Islamic ruins in Lebanon.

From Walid Jumblat to Saudi King: I love you, man (and love your cash)

Walid Jumblat sent a telegram to the Saudi king to express his sadness regarding the assassination attempt on the life of Prince Muhammad Bin Nayif. He said: "The great tolerance that was expressed by his excellency Prince Nayif only expresses the sublime humanitarian spirit that was always absorbed by the leaders of the Saudi Kingdom throughout its history, and which it expresses always in its positive role on the side of Islamic and Arab causes."

He loved Saudi members of Al-Qa`idah

The tributes to Prince Muhammad Bin Nayif have not stopped in pathetic oil-soaked Arabic press. This tributes talk about the love that this prince extended to Saudi members of Al-Qa`idah. He is the one who engineered the policy of rewards and love for Saudi Bin Ladenites.

Shakhbutian politics

"Sheikh Mohammed smiled. That smile was all I needed to know about our host." All you needed to know was a smile for the oil Shaykh? Is that the ultimate happiness for you? Also, he said: "Last week he also hosted Al Allamah al Sayed Ali al Amin, a respected Shia professor of religious and philosophical science at universities in Iraq, Qom and Lebanon." He is no respected and no professor. This is a small town cleric from my hometown of Tyre. He was at first a cleric for Hizbullah in its horrific phase in the 1980s and was associated with "horrific" fatwawas, and later switched allegiance to Amal, but when he was not selected to succeed Muhammad Mahdi Shams Ad-Din in the Supreme Islamic Shi`ite Council, he left Amal. He was a Mufti of Tyre but the people of Tyre democratically kicked him out of his post two years ago when it became clear that he was a tool of the Hariri family. He has since become a Hariri Shi`ite who is an acceptable Shi`ite for oil princedoms, sheikhdoms, and sultanates in the Gulf. And Sultan forgot to mention that this Zahrouni guy was a tool of the Bush administration which was opposed to both: Islam AND science. (thanks Sultan)

Lebnanon's glory

Some countries brag about their achievements and accomplishments and Lebanon? It brags about a large size Kibbi dish. (thanks As`ad--not me)

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Bombing-for-Feminism: American wars to liberate the women of Iraq (and Afghanistan)

"The Defense Department reserves about 4 percent of all contracts for businesses owned by Iraqi women." Oh, how nice and how feminist. How could feminists oppose US wars and invasions and bombing campaigns after reading this? Really. (thanks Sinan)

A native tells you about the Pakistani mind

"The term “probably” is an unusual qualifier in the second sentence of the passage above, showing rare hedging and modesty. But for the most part there is little subtlety in Pakistan. Look at the country’s ostentatiously decorated buses (see below) and homes and clothing and jewelry, and you will encounter a riot of colors and sparkles. Their food is not mild: their savories are howlingly spicy, their indigenous desserts are shockingly sweet. When they paint, they paint in the most vivid tones, and so it is when they speak: Within interpersonal communication, tongues are hammers and words are nails, and each sentence is an expression of cosmic stakes." (thanks Najib)


Almost every Western student I know who passes through Lebanon is offered a job at Now Hariri. NowHariri hearts White Westerners.

The Biggest Kibbih Dish: the smallest Lebanese mind

I have written before about Lebanese obsession with ranking. Part of that, is the Lebanese obsession with Guinness World Records. When I came to the US, I had assumed that this was a big deal in the US only to discover that no one talks about it. In Lebanon, they think that this is a serious competition where nations compete for dubious honors. Lebanon has now entered for making the biggest kibbish dish. Yes, I am sure it was a very tough competition because many countries around the world wanted to enter for making the biggest Kibbish dish. (thanks Raed)

Wahhabi medicine

"Women do not need to wear medical face masks to guard against swine flu if they instead wear a suitable veil, doctors say. “Women who wear the veil or cover their faces don’t need to wear protective masks as long as the veil is sterilized,” Dr. Dalal Namnagani, Consultant Pathologist and Director of the Blood Bank at King Abdul Aziz Specialist Hospital in Taif told Al-Watan newspaper Thursday." (thanks Sana)

An Afghan civilian and a cow go for the same price, according to the US military

"A slain civilian translates to $2,500 in compensation to a family. A dead cow goes for nearly the same amount, because they are so hard to raise in southern Afghanistan's barren countryside and are crucial to a family's well-being. A broken window: about $50. A broken door can go up to $110 if it's made of metal and has nice smithery."

The many benefits of American torture

According to the Washington Post, the water boarding of Khalid Shaykh Muhammad was so effective that he joined the neo-conservative movement and volunteered to lead seminars at AEI.

Massive Human Rights Violations...that the West does not notice

"The Interior Ministry responded with a crackdown that is estimated to have resulted in thousands of arrests. Amnesty International reported last month that “massive human rights violations” and acts of torture had been committed by the Saudi security forces in their effort to contain radicalism."

Sen. Kennedy and ethnic cleansing

"Deval Patrick, the governor of Massachusetts, told a little-known story about Mr. Kennedy’s attendance at the funeral of Yitzhak Rabin, the Israeli prime minister who was assassinated in 1995. With the service concluded and camera crews gone, Mr. Patrick said, Mr. Kennedy spread soil on Mr. Rabin’s grave that he had gathered from the graves of his brothers Robert and John at Arlington National Cemetery." Oh, how touching. How considerate. Did Sen. Kennedy also write a special tributes to the ethnic cleansing efforts of Rabin in the Lud-Ramlah area in 1948?

Let me make a prediction

This guy (after his release from jail for the crime of throwing a shoe at Bush--and you know the insult of shoes in Arab culture) will be so famous this year, and he will be touring several Arab countries and hailed.

The conspiracy thickens

"The Dutch national museum said Thursday that one of its prized possessions, a rock supposedly brought back from the moon by U.S. astronauts, is just a piece of petrified wood." (thanks Dina)

The Petty Lebanonese Mind

The widow of Sen. Kennedy (who--truth be told--spent a lifetime endorsing every Israeli war, aggression, torture, invasion, occupation, and assassinations) os of Lebanese extraction. But like most Lebanese in the US, she never ever mention her ethnic background and she of course never noticed that Lebanon has been repeatedly occupied and invaded and bombed by Israel. But in Lebanon, they assume that those former Lebanese are so proud of Lebanon. Here, the owner of L'Orient sends his condolences to Mrs. Kennedy. Like she knows who he is. (thanks Ibn Rushd)

Eric Hobsbawm's On Empire: when Hobsbawm writes, Angry Arab reads carefully

There are books that should be read repeatedly. I must have read Plato's Republic 10 times and I discover new things about it in every reading. Eric Hobsbawm's On Empire is one such book. How can anybody but Hobsbawm combine such wisdom and thoughtfulness in one volume? He writes with such a breadth of knowledge and grasp of facts that only Braudel, Toynbee, and Gibbon are capable of. When you read Hobsbawm on the nature of international relations in the 21st century, and then go back and read Zakaria or Friedman is like finishing the Economist and then reading Newsweek or People magazine at the Dentist's office. Of course, there are things that one can disagree with here and there (his reference to the Islamic world in his (very in passing) reference to the emancipation of women (p. 40) is not well-informed because even in Saudi Arabia and Iran there are more females in college than males), but he is so wise and intelligent. There are books when you read that you feel you worked out your brain, and this is one of them. I know that I am criticized for not writing praise, but I can praise Hobsbawm daily or hourly. I do like the writings of Niall Ferguson (he is a great writer although some leftists don't like to read him because he is a conservative historian) but Hobsbawm is on another level. And I like George Herring's massive From Colony to Superpower: US Foreign Relations Since 1776 but it is rather descriptive.

Eric Alterman is considered a leftist in the US

I friend of mine from Sweden once told me that she was a conservative. But she hastened to add: but a conservative in Sweden is to the left of an American leftist. Eric Alterman is considered a leftist in the US, and his love affair with Israel is a typical story of American liberals. I am no fan of Robert Novak (although his autobiography was amusingly petty, angry, and biting) but look what Alterman says: "...hated Israel with a ferocity extremely rare in American public life." So people should just follow the general sentiment about Israel in the US? What if a majority agree in error on a matter? This is like criticizing somebody in Nazi Germany for being critical of anti-Semitism (which was rare--i.e. criticizing anti-Semitism) at the time. Of course, he can disagree with Novak's criticisms of Israel but to make the matter a question of not following the general trend of support for Israel is an indication of an illiberal mind.

Israeli restrictions

The usurping Zionist entity restricts worship by Muslims in Jerusalem. (Reuters)

Indiana Shath and the Missing Treasure: the very dumb Lebanese government

This should be a regular feature: about the very dumb Lebanese government. Kudos to Al-Akhbar for making a big deal of this story. This should be a big scandal. I am not making this up. A Jordanian man-kook comes to Lebanon with an old map claiming that an Ottoman treasure was hidden under the tomb of some saint in a village in Rashayya. Instead of sending the man away, the Hariri Minister of Finance (a former World Bank economist and former Lebanese Hariri ambassador in Washington, DC, Muhammad Shatah) and Phalanges Minister of Tourism, Elie Maruni, escorted the man to the village and began digging with a Lebanese Army and Internal Security escort. The villagers were alarmed and urged the Biqa` Muftitit to intervene to stop the digging. It was stopped. Oh, and no treasure was found. Al-Akhbar headlined on its front page: Indiana Shath and the Missing Treasure.

"Dirty way": Conflicting accounts of the Saudi assassination attempt

There are so many conflicting accounts of the assassination attempt on Prince Muhammad Bin Layif (seen above with his daddy, the Minister of Interior--is that not cute?). Some say that he was injured in the eyes, and some say that he was injured in the hands and eyes, while others claim that he was not injured at all, and some claim that the bomb was detonated with a cellphone and other claim that he detonated it himself, and some claim that he detonated the bomb as he entered the house of the prince, and others claims that he detonated it as he was being searched but the Prince himself admitted in that clip showing him with King `Abdullah that he made a mistake for not subjecting the bomber to a search. And Al-Watan newspaper (the mouthpiece of Prince Khalid Al-Faysal which is edited by Jamal Khashuqji--a Bin Ladenite turned Wahhabi liberal) said that the bomber planted the bomb inside his own body "in a dirty way."

Saudi role in Yemeni war?

The opposition Hawthi rebels in Yemen claimed that Saudi fighter jets were involved in bombing in Sa`dah. The Yemeni government denied the claim. But let me translate. Do you know what the Yemeni denial mean? Two things really: 1) that Saudi jets were indeed involved and I am sure that the US is involved directly or indirectly; 2) that Prince Sultan is still very dead.

A brave Saudi leftist lawyer talks about repression (and beatings) by the Saudi Ministry of Interior

The assassination attempt on the life of Prince Muhammad bin Nayif (and the son and father team run the horrific temple of torture and repression in Saudi Arabia) produced an avalanche of praise for the Saudi Ministry of Interior and the royal family. Of course, no one is more keen on prostration to the royal family than Saudi liberals: the tools of the house of Saud in their campaign to appease Israel and the US. Here, the brave Saudi leftist lawyer, Walid Abu Al-Khayr, talks about his own experience. His Twitter account was one of the ones that were banned by the Ministry of Interior.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Arab Rulers

My weekly article in Al-Akhbar: "Arab Rulers: the Second Generation."

Wasn't he your favorite Iraqi?

"The U.S. military authorized the arrest and interrogation last year of a top aide to Ahmed Chalabi on suspicion that the aide served as a liaison to a Shi'ite group thought responsible for the 2007 execution-style slayings of five U.S. Marines and other violence against foreigners and Iraqis, U.S. officials and the aide say." (thanks Ibn Rushd)

The dumb Lebanese government

So the dumb Lebanese government (aided by dumb Lebanese opposition) decided to return the Israeli man who snuck into Lebanon and pretended that he was mentally disturbed. The dumb Lebanese government could not consider the possibility that the was acting that role especially that he had no papers on him whatsoever. The Lebanese government offered to host any Israeli agent that Israel manages to sneak into Lebanon.

Dahlan will replace them

"Palestinian authorities in the West Bank have begun replacing Israeli-installed road signs bearing Hebrew script with new signs in just Arabic and English, according to a U.S. international aid agency." Don't worry. Dahlan would reinstall Israeli signs. (thanks Marcy)

Sex tourism in Lebanon

"It’s a place where Arab tourists can watch beautiful women from Belarus, Ukraine, and Romania performing naked on stage. A night out with one of the dancers can cost $1,000. One pimp in Maameltein, who asked to be identified as Carlos, told said there is no shortage of women, either local or from Europe, in Maameltein. “The rates vary, the Eastern European girls are the most highly paid, Lebanese come next and then Iraqis,” Carlos said. “During the summer our main clients are men from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and other Gulf states, while in winter we have many Lebanese clients,” he said." (thanks Olivia)


"When it comes to health, drinking the recommended daily amount of water is more important to women than having enough sex, according to a national survey conducted by our magazine. When asked to prioritize behaviors related to their overall health and well being, women ranked drinking enough water fifth and sex seventh on the list."

UAE's censors

"First it was Dubai, now it's Abu Dhabi. British academic Christopher Davidson's latest book on the flagship member of the United Arab Emirates, "Abu Dhabi: Oil And Beyond," seems to have met the same fate as his previous book, "Dubai: The Vulnerability Of Success"--namely, bureaucratic limbo as censors keep stalling. Davidson's book is available in much of the rest of the world, but distributors in the U.A.E. contacted him via e-mail in May with an early indication that the powers-that-be were not happy. "The censors reported the book is well-written, but because it discusses the fratricides in the 1920s, it will have to go to the highest authorities for approval," he said, citing the e-mail. The 1920s was a particularly bloody time in Abu Dhabi's history, as three of Sheikh Zayid bin Khalifah's sons took power by killing a brother." (thanks Chris)

Sign language

"Khamaisi's own research for the case indicated that for decades, police officers who had questioned hundreds of thousands of Palestinian suspects and witnesses in spoken Arabic (after their initial questioning by the Shin Bet security services) were not required to know how to read or write in the language." (thanks Emily)

The three Americans missing in Iran: a new twist

I have written before about the three Americans who were missing on the Iran-Iraq border and are now held in Iran. I have mocked claims by the US government and media that they were mere hikers. Of course, I was mocking the media and government and not the individuals themselves. I have heard from one of the families of the three: and it seems that one of them was my student in Middle East studies at UC, Berkeley and my name was found on a research paper of his. I am protective of all my students (regardless of politics, nationality, ethnicity, etc) and I add my voice to those calling on the lousy Iranian regime to release them.

A smart US military official

Finally some one got it. "“To put it simply, we need to worry a lot less about how to communicate our actions and much more about what our actions communicate,” Admiral Mullen wrote in the critique".

The occupiers are sensitive

This is the headline: "Afghan civilian deaths decline under new U.S. tactics". This is the text: "However, the data cover a relatively short period of eight weeks, and make it clear that civilians are still dying in large numbers..." (thanks Dina)

Reading List of Thomas Friedman

"Among Friedman’s 17 most-favoured publications and blogs, there isn’t a single Arab source, not even one published in English. Google’s compilation, which includes reading lists from other prominent US media figures, is throughly depressing. Considering how the internet has opened up vast new possibilities, American journalists still seem overwhelmingly preoccupied with reading each other’s work." (thanks Brian)

New York Times' language of terrorism

"... because Israel has been a favored target of terror." It would be more accurate and truthful to say that Israel has been the originator and pioneer of terrorism in the Middle East.


They are mourning the death of a Palestinian fisherperson whose head was severed by an Israeli bomb. (Reuters)

She was turned away

This Palestinian girls waited for a meal at the doorsteps of a charitable organization in Hebron, but was turned away. She cried. (Reuters)

Prince Muhammad Bin Nayif Survives an assassination attempt

Something fishy about the announced assassination attempt on Prince Muhammad Bin Nayif's life. First, he is now running the Ministry of Interior on behalf of his father. He was brought in because the Americans could not deal with Prince Nayif especially after Sep. 11. Prince Nayif after all was suspicious of the American account of Sep. 11, and was quite uncooperative with US intelligence and security agencies. Prince Muhammad studied in the US and was also trained in "counter-terrorism" in the US. So after Sep. 11, he was the trusted ally of the US in the Saudi interior ministry. But the account of the assassination attempt is not very clear or convincing. Al-Watan newspaper (the mouthpiece of Prince Khalid Al-Faysal) said that he the bomber detonated himself while being searched. Yet, there is a different account that the Prince himself recounted in meeting with the Saudi King and this aired on Saudi TV channels. In that account (available in video on Saudi sites), Prince Muhammad tells the King that he had only minor injuries when no injuries were visible. But the Saudi King (who has the intelligence level of a roasted potato) asked the obvious question: he asked him why the man was not searched. The Prince said that it was his mistake. More surprisingly, he added that this bombing occurred not in the Ministry but in the private home of Prince Muhammad. So Prince Muhammad allowed this wanted man to enter his home and meet with him without being searched. There is more to the story, I am sure. Also, the Saudi media which usually spend 20 or more minutes to cover the smallest development in Syria or Iran, has been restricting coverage of the story to a few seconds only, before moving to cover what they now call "the velvet revolution" in reference to Iranian developments. But look at this pathetically fawning column by an ostensible Saudi liberal (Jamal Khashuqji, who was a fighter with Bin Laden before he became a Wahhabi liberal and a spokesperson to Prince Turki.) This Sauid Wahhabi liberal said: "We are all Muhammad Bin Nayif...Muhammad bin Nayif is Islam. We are the sanctuary and we are the Shari`ah. We are the Islamic state while they are the Kharijites...Let us to do them what Ali Bin Abi Talib [did]." Also, for amusement, read the comments under the column. (thanks F.)

Syrian workers in Lebanon

On the plight of Syrian workers in Lebanon.

Lebanon versus Israel

I must say that Lebanese ambassador at the UN, Nawwaf Salam, gave a good speech at the UN against the Israeli ambassador. He gave a good summary of Israeli crimes in Lebanon. I say this although Nawwaf is part of the Hariri team in Lebanon.

How innocent

"Israel Defense Forces troops spotted the man touching the border fence on Tuesday morning, but he was no longer visible when an IDF patrol arrived at the location where he was seen." Oh, I am sure that this was innocent. It seems that he was sent to sneak in on some Israeli intelligence mission but was caught by Lebanese security forces. What do you say about an intelligence agency (the Mossad) that is being regularly beaten by the Lebanese security and army forces? Lebanese--for potato's sake. Israel: a joke unto the nations.

Prince Nayif's University

"Also, it strives to consolidate relations between University and other Arab security organizations. In addition, it strives to facilitate the tasks of the University community and University guests. Further, it maintains direct link with the University President. In short, it promotes human relations. Underneath such endeavors is the keen pursuit of this department to project prestigious image of the University."

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Are you positive or negative?

"Contrary to the insistence of Pentagon officials this week that they are not rating the work of reporters covering U.S. forces in Afghanistan, Stars and Stripes has obtained documents that prove that reporters’ coverage is being graded as “positive,” “neutral” or “negative.”"

Sexism in Italy

"Italy ranks 67th out of 130 countries considered in a recent report of the World Economic Forum on the Global Gender Gap Index, ranking lower than Uganda, Namibia, Kazakhstan and Sri Lanka." The article is OK but she talks as if Italy is so far behind the US on gender issues, and she talks as if the sexism described in the article is so alien to the American culture. I mean, in ranking, the US was ranked 36 in Health and 69 in Political Empowerment in the same study. I mean what she describes here is a global phenomenon and is strikingly familiar in US media: "The Italian media only exacerbate this bleak reality by presenting a picture of women that is incomprehensible to the rest of Europe. Private TV channels have started to broadcast images of women who are typically lightly dressed and silent beauties serving as decoration while older, fully dressed men are running the show. (It is worth noting here that Mr. Berlusconi owns the leading private television networks.) The impact of years of brainwashing is plain to see: recent research demonstrated that the most popular ambition among female teenagers is to become a velina (basically a showgirl). Young women and girls are consistently taught that their bodies, rather than their abilities and their knowledge, are the key to success. At the same time, the sexism portrayed on TV reinforces chauvinistic ideas among the culturally weakest parts of the population. Researchers who study female body objectification need only look to Italy to witness the sad consequences of this phenomenon."

Who will console AIPAC?

"According to one tally, Ted Kennedy voted 100 percent in concert with positions taken by Aipac, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. Tom Dine, who served as Aipac’s executive director from 1980-93, was a defense and foreign policy advisor to Kennedy. In the run-up to his tough 1994 Senate campaign against Mitt Romney, Kennedy accumulated some $45,000 from pro-Israel political action committees over the years, according to former Aipac legislative director Doug Bloomfield, “and presumably a lot more from individual pro-Israel donors, considering his long record of support for U.S. taxpayer aid for Israel.”" (thanks Ali)

The military attachés of Egypt and Morocco were also on hand

"The US will always stand by Israel's side, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Navy Adm. Mike Mullen said overnight Thursday during a farewell party for Israel's military attaché in Washington Major-General Benny Gantz, who will be retuning to Israel following his appointment as IDF deputy chief of staff. The event, which was held at the home of Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren, was attended by a number of senior American officials, including Dan Shapiro, who heads the Middle East desk at the National Security Council, and Undersecretary of Defense Michele Flournoy. The military attachés of Egypt and Morocco were also on hand. "

Reforms that meed Western standards

""These acts contradict the faith and must not be done, taught, spread or encouraged," religious police spokesman Abdullah al-Mashiti told al-Watan daily this week, referring to circus acts such as fire-eating and lying on beds of glass that he believes is a form of magic outlawed by Islamic Sharia law."

Dahlan, Le Dahlan

"Mahmoud Abbas n'a pas son charisme, mais le fonctionnement interne du Fatah est aujourd'hui relativement plus démocratique." Absolutely untrue. Despite Arafat's autocracy and his desire to dominate the movement, the movement under Arafat allowed more differences of opinion and more diversity of factions. There is only one faction in Fath under Dahlan-Abu Mazen. (thanks Jerome)


" An online petition calling for a boycott of such Swedish retailers as IKEA, Volvo, H&M and BabyBjörn has garnered more than 12,000 signatures." Note to self: go to IKEA and buy a Volvo TODAY and try to find babies who can use products from Baby Bjorn and H&M. (thanks Laleh)

Royal Dates: translated

Jamal kindly translated Khalid Saghiyyah's article, Royal Dates:
"Royal Dates
Khalid Saghiyah
Dates have a special place in the month of Ramadan, and Paletine has a special place in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia every month of the year. That's why its embassy in Beirut announced "that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will deliver 12 tons of dates as a gift to the Palestinian refugee camps, on the occasion of the month of Holy Ramadan", at 1 o'clock in the afternoon today at the Saudi Embassy in Quraytem.
Therefore, the Palestinians of Lebanon are requested to go to the Saudi Embassy to receive the generosity of the servant of the two holy sanctuaries. This adds to the previous favors he's done for the Palestinians, especially his launching of the famous Arab initiative. That initiative which gave up Palestine and the right of return and which Lebanon boasts of promoting beginning from Beirut. And there's no need to remind of the other Saudi roles in fighting the "chaos" of resistance movements in the Arab world. Who needs the struggle for Palestine anyways, as long as dates - praise be to God - are abundantly available.
Lebanon's refugees can therefore overlook their horrible living conditions, give up the dream of returning to their land, give up their right to that return, and in return they'll get compensation: a piece of date. A piece for every refugee.
The king's generous gesture isn't limited to the refugees, he's interested in the people of all of Palestine. The share that refugees in Lebanon are getting is merely just a small portion of a massive aid campaign to feed the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip.
And because man does not live by bread alone, the first convoy of Saudi aid to enter Gaza contains 25000 Qur'ans, as stated in the report which was distributed.
The question that comes to mind is why the delay in sending the dates and Qur'ans? If the king had just hurried a little and sent this help during the war on Gaza, he would have prevented a lot of suffering. But no matter, the sons of Gaza can forget what afflicted them, and this time the families of the martyrs will get a Qur'an and two pieces of date, in appreciation of their sacrifice and to ease their sorrows.
■ ■ ■
For those concerned:
Cheap dates produced by illegal Jewish settlements in the West Bank are inundating Palestinian markets. The Agriculture Ministry is continuing to support more expensive Palestinian dates in order to increase local demand during the month of Ramadan."

Zionist discourse

""Armed barbarians need to be stopped in time for human lives to be saved and civilization secured," said Netanyahu." (thanks Sana)

This is Zionism

"One Palestinian fisherman was killed and another wounded on Thursday by Israeli navy fire off the coast of the northern Gaza Strip, a Palestinian health official said."
And look at this language: "
He said that 25-year-old Muhammad Nady Al-Attar's was killed when his head was severed from his body, according to the Palestinian Ma'an News Agency."

Hashish: Lebanon's top export

"Most summers, if Lebanon isn’t paralyzed by war, civil strife or political crisis, security forces make a show of razing hashish fields in the fertile Bekaa Valley, an exercise in futility that leaves enough crops for the drug to remain the country’s top export." I am surprised that they go back to planting hashish because the US offers them an alternative: potato seeds--kid you not--which net them 1/100th of the revenues of Hashish. (thanks Dina)

A good portion

"There is a tell-all book which is to be published in more than 20 languages, and the author says Nujood will receive a good portion of the royalties." I am sure. She will get 10 dollars. (thanks Tanweer)

American thoughts on torture

"In contrast with Europeans, who strongly reject the use of torture, the American public is pretty evenly divided about its use to extract information from terrorists (see charts)."

Dictatorships that you like

"Reporters Without Borders condemns the Moroccan government's surprising decision to deny a visa to Gamal Eid, an Egyptian human rights activist. Eid heads the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI), a Cairo-based group that defends press freedom and free expression as well as human rights in general." (thanks Olivia)

Hasan Nasrallah and `Abdul-`Aziz Al-Hakim: symptoms of Sectarian Shi`ite solidarity

I saw this telegram that Hasan Nasrallah sent to `Ammar Al-Hakim regarding the death of `Abdul-`Aziz Al-Hakim. The statement talks about "the Jihad and struggle" of Al-Hakim to "rescue" and "uplift" the Iraqi people. Every occupation has its Muhammad Dahlan, and Al-Hakim is the Dahlan (or one of them) of the American occupation of Iraq. This is a servant of the Bush Doctrine. Why would Hasan Nasrallah who champions resistance to occupation defend and glorify a tool of foreign occupation? The answer is simple: pure sectarian solidarity. If one supports resistance to occupation one is obligated to oppose the stooges of foreign occupation, like the family of `Abdul-`Aziz Al-Hakim who used to jump and down when they would see Bush. Also, Al-Hakim did nothing to uplift the Iraqi people, although he did a lot to uplift the financial fortunes of his family. Sectarian calculations all around me.

Kidnapping of a Syrian in Lebanon

If he was a White Man, the Lebanese press would have headlined the story. A Syrian was kidnapped in Lebanon.

'I was 12 when I was arrested and sent to Guantanamo'

"In December 2002, when he says he was only 12, he was arrested on suspicion of throwing a grenade into a Jeep carrying US special forces soldiers through Kabul, wounding two of them and an interpreter. He was taken first to an airbase north of Kabul, then to the US prison in Guantánamo Bay, where he remained until his release a few days ago after a ruling by a US judge that his confession had been obtained by force."

Those regimes learn from one another

"Saudi Arabia has begun blocking the Twitter pages of activists in a move one man targetted says may be a result of Twitter's role in publicising Iran's recent pro-democracy uprising."

Who is scaring whom? An Israeli soldiers dispays his courage against an unarmed Palestinian child

Who is scaring whom? (AP)

Royal Dates

Comrade Khalid writes about Saudi dates' donations to Palestinians.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

What do I believe?

The New York Times today said: "SAT Scores Steady for Class of ’09."
And the Modesto Bee said today: "SAT scores dip for high school class of 2009."

Another Lebanese Genius

He extracted energy from Hummus. (thanks Fayez)

royal piety

Look at him. King PlayStation showing piety.

Enhanced civilization

"They threatened detainees with death, conducted mock executions, threatened to rape detainees’ mothers, and kill their children."


"From the unredacted portion we can see that someone, in the course of interrogating Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, said "We're going to kill your children" if anything else happens in the US." (thanks May)

The Islamic Republic and its achievements

"Iran remains the world's leading jailer of journalists with at least 36 behind bars." (thanks Mohamed)

Social justice not allowed

"Zelaya, they said, was in the process of creating what would be to all intents and purposes a Communist state. The parliament, the courts and the army began to act together to frustrate the most modest change. For example, Zelaya’s plan for a ‘car-free day’ in the capital was not
only opposed in parliament but declared unconstitutional by the courts." (thanks Laleh)

clear cut, my potato

"The West sees the current situation as clear-cut: Libya honoring a convicted terrorist who helped to blow up a jetliner over Lockerbie, Scotland." You want clear-cut: the West has been honoring the master-terrorist, Qadhdhafi for a few years now.

Dahlan, o Dahlan

"Israel’s decision to let in the exiles, many of whom had been involved in guerrilla attacks on the Jewish state, was a gesture intended to boost Mr Abbas and his policy of peace."

Two sons

"Two of Mr Qaddafi’s seven sons are generally considered candidates, though the star of Saif, the elder son who has taken an interest in human-rights issues, appears to be waning in favour of Mutassim, whose lower profile disguises a powerful role in the security services."


"But misdirected American air strikes, which have many times destroyed wedding-parties and sleeping villagers in Afghanistan—for example, in western Farah province in May when at least 63 civilians were killed—are the main focus for Afghan rage. Acknowledging this, Mr Karzai on the campaign trial has often been critical of foreign troops."

Western expectations?

"Colonel Qaddafi’s revolutionary ideology still clashes with Western expectations. He has failed to use his nation’s opening to make political and economic improvements at home. There may even be a degree of naïveté on the part of Colonel Qaddafi, who has expressed shock at the full-throated response from Washington and London." Western expectations? The US has had allies in the Arab world for decades: what have American expectations been? You talk about political improvements? What political improvements has the US extracted from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Qatar, UAE, Oman, Morocco, Tunisia, etc? Economic improvements? For sure. Economic improvements merely refer to opening the country to US corporations.

It is official: Israel has selected a new Palestinian leader

"Fayyad, they added, continues to try and position himself as a statesman instead of the head of the executive branch, thus seemingly laying claim to matters under the president's jurisdiction."

This is Israel

""We categorically oppose the new model suggesting schools would be financially rewarded according to the number of students who enlist in the military or National Service," said Dr. Hala Espanioly, who heads the Higher Arab Monitoring Committee's educational board."


""I don't want him to sleep here," Wildes said."

Making sure that no food goes through

"The officials held a meeting with their Egyptian counterparts and presented a detailed plan that includes high-tech equipment to uncover tunnels."

Dahlan TV

"The director of Palestine TV, Muhammad Dahoudi, has been fired for failing to give enough coverage to Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salaam Fayad, Palestinian journalists said on Tuesday. The decision to dismiss Dahoudi was taken by Yasser Abed Rabbo, a senior official who is in charge of the PA media. The move drew strong condemnations from many Palestinian journalists and Fatah activists, who called on PA President Mahmoud Abbas to rescind the decision. A group of Palestinian journalists in the West Bank accused Abed Rabbo of sending armed thugs to Palestine TV to prevent the sacked director from entering the compound."" I apologize to my readers for linking to an article by the worst and lousiest Palestinian journalist who serves as a pathetic tool for Israeli propaganda. If an Israeli soldiers orders him to jump, this so-called journalist jumps. If told to quack, he quacks. (thanks Sana)


"The minister also announced the introduction of a new subject in school curricula: Israel's culture and heritage. The subject will be taught from the fourth through the ninth grades in schools across the country beginning in the 2010 school year. It will include the topics of Judaism, Zionism, and the history of Israel." Will they teach about Zionism-is-racism?

World Outreach

"More children from the Dove World Outreach Center arrived Tuesday at area public schools with shirts bearing the message "Islam is of the Devil" and were sent home for violation of the school district's dress code when they declined to change clothes or cover the anti-Muslim statement on their clothing." (thanks Ali)

`Abdul-`Aziz Al-Hakim dead

So Iranian AND American puppet, `Abdul-`Aziz Al-Hakim has died. His will noted that his son, `Ammar, will continue the family tradition of (allegedly) embezzling oil revenues to expand the family fortune.

Lebanese clerics go at it

I like it when Lebanese clerics go at it. The recent feud is between Ayatullah Muhammad Husayn Fadlallah and Maronite Patriarch Sufayr--who has an impressive hat collection. Sufayr has been urging that a cabinet made of the majority in parliament be formed without any participation by the minority. But Sufayr is too dumb to realize that Sunnis and Shi`ites will use his own argument in the future to justify excluding Christians from government. When the Sunnis and Shi`ites reach an agreement, they will use Sufayr's own arguments to rule without regard to Christians in Lebanon (whose demographic weight is bizarrely inflated by Ta'if rules whereby the Christians are supposed to be 50% of the population when they are probably less than a third of the resident Lebanese). So Muhammad Husayn Fadlallah made an Iftar speech the other day and it was reported in the press. But Al-Manar TV yesterday aired a clip that was not reported: in which Fadlallah said that "the glory of Lebanon has not been given to him" and that it was given to those who resisted Israel (this is a reference to a saying by the Maronite patriarchate that the "glory of Lebanon has been given to the Patriarch"--any Maronite Patriarch as if Lebanon has a glory outside of the Hummus dish). Fadlallah also added that if the person (in reference to the patriarchate) wants a majority rule, let us extend that to all of Lebanon and let the numbers speak. He invoked the notion of numerical democracy. Stay tuned. Al-Manar website has now removed any reference to the speech from its site.

Hilda Habash responds to Bassam Abu Sharif

The widow of George Habash responds to Bassam Abu Sharif--who is desperately looking for a role. (thanks Kamal)

Mubarak's entourage

A reliable source in the Middle East sent me this: "it seems that the Egyptian delegation accompanying Mubarak to the US is composed of 1200 persons (among them Jamal Mubarak)"

Plane and fasting fatwawawa

Yusuf Qardawi issued a fatwawa: if you are fasting on a plane, you don't break your fast according to the time of destination or the origin. You fast purely on weather you can see the sun from the plane. If you do, you can't eat. I pondered the matter myself. And since I will hereby be issuing fatawawas, I have ruled the following: if you are in doubt whether you should break your fast or not, consume large amounts of banana cream pies, just in case. You may call this the Banana Cream Pie Fatwawawa.

Wealth and political power in Lebanon

Al-Akhbar's Ghassan Sa`ud writes about the intermarriage between the political class and wealth in Lebanon. Pretty good.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

When Fath Meets

"In his WINEP speech Dayton acknowledged this crackdown when he said, “I don't know how many of you are aware, but over the last year-and-a-half, the Palestinians have engaged upon a series of what they call security offensives throughout the West Bank, surprisingly well coordinated with the Israeli army.” He further admitted that during the 22-day Gaza war last winter, U.S.-trained Palestinian security forces prevented Palestinians in the West Bank from organizing mass protests against the Israeli army, which ironically allowed for the reduction of the Israeli military presence in the West Bank in order to redeploy those troops to Gaza. Dayton added, “As a matter of fact, a good portion of the Israeli army went off to Gaza from the West Bank— think about that for a minute, and the (Israeli military) commander (of the West Bank) was absent for eight straight days.”" (thanks Saree)

Call it love

"Like it or not, the fates of the United States and Saudi Arabia are connected and will remain so for decades to come."

Thus Spoke Saeb Erekat

"There were 2,325 brains* sitting in this conference, did we shout at this conference? Yes. Was I shouted at? Yes. Was I criticized? Like hell..." He also added: Was I made fun of? Yes. Did people make fun of me non-stop? Of course. Was I called a buffoon**? You bet. Did people throw shoes and rotten tomatoes at me? You bet. Was I covered with spit by the end of every day? Like hell. Did people call me names and made obscene gestures at me? What do you expect. Of course. Did I receive orders from Dahlan and his gang? Yes. Am I a joke? You bet. Do I look pathetic when I speak to the press? Absolutely. Do I hear people in the press giggling when I open my mouth? All the time. Do I constitute an embarrassment to my people and its cause? Certainly. (thanks Ziyaad)

* 2,325 Fath brains add up to the equivalent of 2 brains of a mouse.
** Etymologically, Buffoon is from the French Bouffon.

Staying in power

"More than two months after a disputed presidential election threw Iran's ruling class into turmoil, the country's leaders are showing themselves increasingly unwilling to compromise with their critics, a trend analysts say could mean even tougher steps against would-be reformers in the future. This week, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad began assembling his Cabinet and was quickly assailed for stacking his administration with hard-line cronies and ignoring more moderate candidates with better qualifications. The government in recent days also defied international calls for the releasing of political prisoners by adding two dozen new defendants to a mass trial of opposition figures that has polarized Iran's elite. The developments have persuaded many analysts that the country's current rulers are far more concerned about keeping their grip on power than on smoothing over post-election divisions....Since the election, the Iranian leadership has rounded up hundreds of dissidents, turned a blind eye as its paramilitary forces attacked unarmed protesters, and shut down newspapers. It's been accused of raping and abusing people detained in the crackdown, and coercing confessions from them." (thanks Laleh)

The Lebanese disease of ranking

"“Lebanon is said to rank fourth in the world in terms of booking international DJs,” says Mohammed Ghebris, events booker, record shop owner, record label proprietor and founder and head of “the only DJ school in the Middle East”. He says that international DJs cancel other gigs to play Beirut. “They enjoy it more here. They tell me that the people dance here like nowhere else.”" Oh, yes, Mr. Ghebris. Lebanon rank fourth in the annual competition for Booking International DJ's. This is a really serious competition. How sad and pathetic. (thanks Saeed)

Depleted Uranium

The Iraqi puppet Environment Minister talks about depleted uranium. She said that she found American depleted uranium more delicious than non-American depleted uranium. (thanks Sinan)

The last word

"Israel's tactics of intimidation are not justified by Bostrom's article, which is nothing more than an example of irresponsible journalism and publishing. The editors at the Swedish daily Aftonbladet who published this piece, should've sent it back to the author and told him to investigate the issue further until he found evidence to corroborate his claims. If there is any basis for the organ theft allegations, diligent reporting would bring it out. As Malcolm X said, "Truth is on the side of the oppressed;" all we need is to collect the evidence to prove it." (thanks Matthew)

At the doorsteps of a Lebanese hospital

A maid from Bangladesh who fell at the door steps of a Lebanese hospital. (thanks Raed)

Great news for readers

This is great news. Please wake up the children and release the pigs from the barn. Sri Lanka defeats Lebanon in football. And notice that articles on the defeat state that "no one" expected the defeat perhaps because the Lebanese consider the people of Sri Lanka to be inferior to them. And some Lebanese experts attributed the defeat to "fasting" and gravitational conditions of the field. (thanks Jamal)

Constructing a personality cult for Salam Fayyad

Yasir `Abd-Rabbu fires the director of Palestinian collaborationist TV because he was not collaborating in the construction of a personality cult for Salam Fayyad. And trying to build a personality cult for Salam Fayyad is like trying to extract sugar from my shoes. (thanks Ghassan)

She is an Angry Arab

She considers herself an Angry Arab.


"In a break with his usual conduct, the prime minister did not look for weak spots in the Bethlehem texts and forwent the opportunity to gain points in the eyes of the public."

America hearts Muslims, says Fouad Ajami

"In less than two decades, there have been American campaigns of rescue in Kuwait, Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq. Two of these American wars, the ones in the Balkans, were on behalf of Muslims stranded in a hostile European landscape. In its refusal to acknowledge the debt owed American power, Muslim society tells us a good deal about its modern condition, and about that false, mindless anti-Americanism on the loose in Muslim lands."

From Fouad Ajami to the White Man: please accept me as your equal

Here, Fouad Ajami makes a touching plea to the White Man. He begs the White Man for his approval and insists that he has no connection to the inferior Third World: "His politics of charisma was reminiscent of the Third World."

Now Hariri

"NOW Lebanon is funded entirely by the private sector and individual donations." Let me explain: private sector and individual donations is a rough translation of the Arabic word, Hariri.

David Ignatius warns

So David Ignatius said: "When pressed about what his country would look like in five years, absent American help, he answered bluntly: "Iraq will be a colony of Iran."" Notice that his source, this Muhammad Shahwani, was a key bloody henchman of Saddam Husayn's mukhabarat apparatus and is responsible for the crimes of that regime. But what is Ignatius' point here? That the US should colonize Iraq because it may be colonized by Iran. So the orphans of the American occupation in Iraq have a new message now: please America. Colonize us because Iran may colonize us. Also, who is more responsible than the US for bringing the Iranian factor into Iraqi politics?

Ghada `Id Responds

Ghada `Id (the Lebanese broadcaster and presenter of the important program, Corruption) responds to my criticisms. (thanks Elie)

Supreme Guide

So the Iranian state news agency attributed a statement to the King of Pistachio and corruption, Rafsanjani, in which he called on people to follow the guidance of Khamenei. But Rafsanjani later denied making that statement. So the Iranian state agency lied. So if you read a statement attributed to me in the Iranian state news agency regarding the Supreme Guide, the agency is lying. The Supreme Guide is as useless a job as appointing a Chief of Snow Affairs in Saudi Arabia.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Allawi time

It is puppet election time in Iraq. You know what that means? It means that Saudi media will now start promoting Iyad `Allawi (former puppet prime minister/car bomber/Saddam's henchman/embezzler-in-Yemen). Here, the mouthpiece of Prince Salman (Ash-Sharq Al-Awsat) interviewed Allawi. Notice that they did not press him on the recent defection of key members of his parliamentary bloc. He complains that people can't visit Saddam's tomb by order from the Maliki government.

Another Lebanese genius

Naming a potato after Jubran. (thanks Khalil)

So it is for Israel's sake?

"I am convinced that it is the only way that Israel can be saved from itself."

This Zionism

"Israeli ultra-nationalist Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said on Monday that he wanted to impose restrictions on those wishing to become career diplomats, a move that would bar most Israeli Arabs."

Saudi aid

Saudi Arabia sends dates to Palestinians in Gaza and arms to Dahlan gangs. (thanks Mirella)

Trash talk

"The Aftonbladet episode dominated Israeli headlines on Sunday. The columnist Eitan Haber wrote on the front page of Yediot Aharonot that “Freedom of the press does not mean the publication of lies that justify the killing of Israeli soldiers and civilians.”" I will tell you what, Eitan Haber. Why don't you--O Eitan Habel--make a list of acceptable limitations of freedom of the press that does not in any jeopardize the safety of Israeli terrorists and the entire world press can then abide by them. OK? Is that a good deal for you? Just tell us what to publish and what not to publish and we can act and express ourselves accordingly. And tell the world if Israeli terrorists need beverages with that.

PA: anything for Zionist handlers

"On Sunday, the Palestinian Authority and Civil Administration worked together to find the transmitters and immediately cut the broadcast." (thanks Olivia)

Zionist sleaze

"Two Palestinian women visiting their loved ones held in an Israeli prison, have complained of the stringent physical checks they were asked to undergo at the prison, including demands to undress."

Zionist labor practices

"The indictment, filed in the Beersheba Magistrate's Court against Katif Ventures work site manager Amir Ben-Shlomo and fieldwork manager Ronen Cohen, says that the company, which specializes in growing pesticide-free vegetables, employed the workers in degrading and inhumane conditions, did not provide them with reasonable housing or food and applied pressure against them in the form of punishments and threats."

Mauritanian Muftititi

Mauritanian women protest against a speech by Mauritanian Muftititi who disapproved of giving high posts of the state to women.

Talibanization of Hamas: instead of resistance, dress code for school girls

"Responding to multiple reports on Sunday that the de facto government was cracking down on dress in Gaza's schools, Hamas on Monday denied making any recent policy changes on uniforms or expulsions." Hamas is of course lying. There was a clear Hamas policy to impose a dress code on school girls, but the reactions against the move forced Hamas to shift policy. Al-Akhbar, to its credit, published a front page story today on the matter (read the angry responses of some readers who are sympathetic to Hamas). (thanks Sana)


"The Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ office denied reports on Monday that Abbas’ son held secret meetings with Israel officials related to reinitiating peace negotiations." In other news, King Husayn denied in 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975 and subsequent years that he ever held secret meetings with Israeli officials.

Peres and his views

Peres told a pro-Saudi Kuwaiti newspaper that he does not see a need for Lebanon's missiles. And I don't see a need for...Israel.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Robert Fisk: a call for his retirement

I am ready to buy a watch for Robert Fisk to officially call for his retirement. He offers his theory about Lockerbie and yet he can't tell the difference between the PFLP and the PFLP-GC. (thanks Asa)

Educating Ajami (the man of cliches and generalizations)

"In his review of Christopher Caldwell’s “Reflections on the Revolution in Europe” (Aug. 2), Fouad Ajami writes his own essay on the question of Islam in Europe. He agrees with Caldwell that Islam “is in no sense Europe’s religion and it is in no sense Europe’s culture.” There are now about 15 million people from Muslim countries who reside in Europe, about 3 percent of the population. They are a highly diverse population, both ethnically and religiously, and very few are Arabs. By most estimates, fewer than half are practicing Muslims, although this varies by ethnic group and by definitions of “practice.” About half of them are citizens of the countries in which they reside, and that proportion will grow over the next decade or so, as citizenship laws change, and as more children of these families are born on European soil. At the risk of being accused by Ajami as espousing “elite opinion,” I think that it is important to point out that these “strangers” are increasingly European and that, on balance, the challenge is far greater for them than by them. These second and third generations are not doing so well in terms of educational, economic and political integration, although there are real success stories as well. The young people who rioted in the suburbs of Paris in 2005 (and who have since) were not demanding “their right to wear the burqa in Paris” (they have this right — and generally don’t), but rights that are more familiar to American readers: education, jobs and dignity."

Every country has its share of Zionist hoodlums

"In accusing Israel of "robbing Palestinian identity and replacing Palestinian money," the Netherlands' Geldmuseum (Money Museum) has adopted propaganda that "runs contrary to the truth," the country's largest pro-Israel organization said this week." (thanks Olivia)

A tribute to Muhammad Dahlan

A tribute to Muhammad Dahlan in the Hariri rag, Al-Mustaqbal.

Saudi Arabia and Switzerland

"NEARLY three-quarters of Saudi Arabia's prison population is foreign born, the highest share in the world. Switzerland, another rich country with lots of foreign workers, has a similarly large proportion of non-natives behind bars." (thanks AC)

Atheism in the Arab world

I always urge students of the Middle East to learn the languages of the region. I read this article in Arabic on the CNN-Arabic website, and thought that no Western reporter (or very very few) would have written it. The article is headlined "Atheism invades the Arab internet". And the Arab reporter makes good points about the presence of secular and atheist thought on the Arabic internet. You would not read about that in the religious-obsessed coverage of the Middle East in the Western press. However, it is a dubious honor for me to be listed in the same group with Adonis: "ويذكر أن هذه المواقع تتفاوت من حيث أهميتها وجديتها، فنجد أمامنا موقع "شبكة العلمانيين العرب"، والتي تضم نخبة من المثقفين الأكثر رصانة في أبحاثهم، خصوصا وأن بعض المقالات في تلك المواقع لا تتحدث عن الإلحاد بل عن الإصلاح الديني، وتشمل قائمة الكتاب أسماء بارزة، مثل الشاعر أدونيس، والباحث اللبناني أسعد أبو خليل، والباحث الديني المصري أحمد صبحي منصور."

Widely known

"Although there was no firm evidence of any quid pro quo between Britain and Libya, the British government acted vigorously on Friday to defend itself against accusations that it paved the way for the Libyan’s release to promote British-based oil companies’ hopes of securing pole position in the international contest for new Libyan oil concessions." As is widely known, the US government never tramples of the human rights of people around the world for economic interests.

Rules of the colonizers

The colonizers never lose. They occupy a country, and then set up bogus elections to legitimize (in their own eyes) the selection of their own collaborationist puppets. And when the people participate in the voting, they say that this proves that the colonial project has been a success. And when people don't vote (less than 10% in some provinces in Afghanistan), they say that they were intimidated by the terrorists. And if they were to have voted in large numbers, they would have said: they were able to ignore the intimidation of terrorists. "And despite the Americans’ presence, Afghan officials said 290 people voted here last week at what is the only polling place in a region the size of Connecticut."

The New York Times Covers Up

Only two days ago, this article had a headline declaring the Afghan election "a success". I pointed this out at the time. Today, I noticed that the headline was changed and the article was doctored. And the same correspondent of the Times today wrote this: "Reports of fraud and intimidation in Afghanistan’s presidential election continued to mount Saturday, with anecdotal but widespread accounts of ballot-box stuffing, a lack of impartiality among election workers and voters casting ballots for others."

the sentence and the crime

"Mr. Calley, 66, was a young Army lieutenant when a court-martial at nearby Fort Benning convicted him of murder in 1971 for killing 22 civilians during the massacre of 500 men, women and children in Vietnam. Though sentenced to life in prison, Mr. Calley ended up serving three years under house arrest after President Richard M. Nixon later reduced his sentence."

The US and the Libyan dirty deal

The US government wants us to believe that they were not involved in the dirty deal with Qadhdhafi that resulted in the release of Miqrahi from jail. I am sure that the British government consulted with the US government over this. Also, the association of the families of the victims of Pan Am 103 has lost any credibility: they were silenced by cash payments.

PS After I posted this, I ran across this: "A Scottish government spokesman defended the decision, saying that Mr. MacAskill had consulted with the United States government and families of the victims, many of whom had supported the release."

Abu Mazen and his lies

The Fath movement and the PA collaborationist regime has been insisting for months (and just yesterday Salam Fayyad said the same thing) that they don't hold any Hamas or other political prisoners in their jails. Today, Abu Mazen announced that in honor of Ramadan he will release 200 Hamas prisoners.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Fath accounting

"When pressed last week by delegate Hussam Khader to account for Fatah's finances over the past 20 years, Mr. Abbas shouted him down. The congress offered no financial accounting—neither to Mr. Khader, nor to western taxpayers whose aid to the Palestinians has often vanished by the billions." (thanks Olivia)

Lessons about civilized behavior

""It's very important that Libya knows that how the Libyan government handles itself in the next few days will be very significant in the way the world views Libya's re-entry into the civilised community of nations," Mr Miliband said." (thanks Raed)

The real pirates

"A Russian newspaper claimed Friday that suspected pirates who boarded the freighter Arctic Sea were actually agents of the Israeli secret service trying to stop it smuggling arms to Iran."

Zionists are outraged over offensive cartoons

Zionists are outraged over offensive cartoons. As is known, Zionists are consistent in their firm belief against any offensive cartoon of any kind, no matter who is being targeted in that cartoon. You can't accuse Zionist propagandists of hypocrisy in this regard. Oh, no. (thanks Ibrahim)

Polling for Zion

"Adam Pechter, a former deputy publisher of the Middle East Quarterly, has founded Pechter Middle East Polls to gather current views in Egypt and Jordan." Let me guess: his polls will find that Israel is adored by Arabs and that the Palestinian question is of no concern to Arabs, and that the Saudi-Zionist alliance in the region is very popular, and that Yanni is the most popular singer in the region.

Obama Doctrine

"Reporting from Alexandria, Va. - A Lebanese citizen being held in a detention center here was hooded, stripped naked for photographs and bundled onto an executive jet by FBI agents in Afghanistan in April, making him the first known target of a rendition during the Obama administration." Let me guess: An-Nahar newspaper which never fail to find sources of Lebanonese pride in anything relating to Lebanese, will consider this an honor for Lebanon. (thanks Dina)

What gives?

"In the meantime, complaints of fraud and specific episodes of ballot stuffing mounted, and they may assume increasing importance." Just yesterday, the New York Times declared the puppet elections in Afghanistan "a success"--in a front page article no less.

The Dayton militias

""Nothing we do to strengthen the Palestinian's security capability will be targeted against Israel … The presidential guard will not become a threat to Israel.""

Friday, August 21, 2009

The Travesty of Fath

My weekly article in Al-Akhbar: "The Travesty of Fath: The Spinal Cord of the Israeli Occupation"

* Loubna, an Arab scientist, corrects me: Al-`Amud Al-Fiqari should be the vertebral column and not spinal cord (which is An-Nukha` Ash-Shawqi).

The New York Times calls this "a success"

"Supporters of President Karzai are preparing to rig voting in next week’s presidential elections in unstable parts of Afghanistan’s south as Taleban violence threatens to intimidate voters and hit turnout in his traditional support base. The Times has talked to several witnesses whose reports will bolster suspicions within the international community that there will be electoral fraud across the south, some of it allegedly orchestrated by Mr Karzai’s half-brother, Ahmed Wali Karzai." (thanks Roberto)

Puppet selection

"We Afghans know that this election will change nothing and it is only part of a show of democracy put on by and for the West, to legitimize its future puppet in Afghanistan. It seems we are doomed to see the continuation of this failed, mafia-like corrupt government for another term."

Long hours

"People work an average of 1,902 hours per year in the surveyed cities but they work much longer in Asian and Middle Eastern cities, averaging 2,119 and 2,063 hours per year respectively. Overall, the most hours are worked in Cairo (2,373 hours per year), followed by Seoul (2,312 hours). People in Lyon and Paris, by contrast, spend the least amount of time at work according to the global comparison: 1,582 and 1,594 hours per year respectively." (thanks Molly)

A child

"An 11-year-old girl is being treated for shock in the Indian state of Manipur after spending five days in police custody. Bidyarani Devi Salam was taken from her home by security forces on the morning of 14 August." (thanks Olivia)

Saudi anger

"In protest to a map of the United Arab Emirates on the official UAE citizens identification card contradicting the border agreement signed between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the UAE 35 years ago, Riyadh passports authority today announced that it has suspended the mechanism of using national I.D.s for moving between the two countries." (thanks Saeed)

"because they could"

"Some of this was informed by my own experience in the Israeli army, in which I saw my fellow Jewish soldiers do moral things—such as risking their lives to prevent the murder of innocent Jews—as well as immoral things, like beating the hell out of Palestinians because they could." I have before called Jeffrey Goldberg the worst American writer on the Middle East--and the competition for the title is always stiff but look at this passage: he noticed that Israeli terrorist soldiers beat the hell out Palestinians, but he did not notice that they shoot Palestinians too. (thanks Carlos)

tunnels of love

"It's amazing what people will do for love. A Palestinian woman has braved the threat of Israeli bombs by crawling more than one kilometre through a dangerous underground tunnel between Egypt and Gaza just to marry her sweetheart." (thanks Sarah)

Thus spoke the White Man

"Afghan Election Called a Success Despite Attacks". Success? Who called it a success? The esteemed New York Times correspondent?

pirates, smugglers, and terrorists

"The captain and crew of a cargo ship seized near Manila with crates of illegal Israeli-made weapons on board are to face gun-smuggling charges, officials in the Philippines have said." (thanks Dina)

Swiss shame

J'exprime mes excuses au peuple libyen pour l'arrestation injuste de diplomates libyens par la police de Genève ». Avec ces mots, le président de la Confédération helvétique, Hans-Rudolf Merz a mis un terme au conflit qui opposait la Suisse à la Libye depuis l'arrestation à Genève de Hannibal Kadhafi en juillet 2008." (thanks Michel)

cash payments

"The only man convicted in the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 arrived in Libya today after he was released by the Scottish government -- drawing ire from heartbroken family members of the 270 victims who felt they had to relive the searing pain of loss all over again." Drawing ire? The families (through their association) sold their loved ones for cash payments from Qadhdhafi. (To be fair: there were families who were opposed to the deal, but the majority prevailed).

CSI, Beirut

Prime minister, boo hoo hoo of Lebanon, is opening the brand new Lebanese crime lab. You are looking at the entire lab. Kid you not. But then again: the Lebanese Army war room consists of three telephones and a grill. (Al-Mustaqbal)