Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Your propaganda is killing us, literally

"A box of leaflets dropped by an RAF plane in Afghanistan landed on and killed a young girl, the Ministry of Defence said." (thanks Carlos) to Montana

Leaving for Montana later today (you know what that means, don't you? Angry Arab in the Sky, with diamonds). Returning on Saturday. I am speaking on Thursday.

Military justice in the US

"The government has dropped a murder charge against a Marine who pleaded guilty Tuesday to dereliction of duty for killing an unarmed Iraqi detainee during a battle to recapture the city of Fallujah...Nelson is the only remaining defendant in a case that has resulted in two defeats for the government. Nelson's squadmate, Sgt. Ryan Weemer, was acquitted by a military jury of the same charges in April. That jury consisted of eight Marines, all of whom served in Iraq or Afghanistan."

Farm workers in Europe

"Every year thousands of immigrants, many from Africa, flock to the fields and orchards of southern Italy to scrape a living as seasonal workers picking grapes, olives, tomatoes and oranges. Broadly tolerated by authorities because of their role in the economy, they endure long hours of backbreaking work for as little as 15-20 euros ($22-$29) a day and live in squalid makeshift camps without running water or electricity. "I never thought it would be like this in Italy. Even dogs are better off than us," said Bailo, a 24-year-old from Guinea struggling to survive in an area of Puglia known as the "Red Gold Triangle" which produces 35 percent of Italy's tomatoes." (thanks Olivia)

Lebanese love of ranking

You want rankings? Here is one for you (it won't appear in An-Nahar for sure): "Lebanon is the most stingy country in the Middle East when it comes to charity, with less than a third of Lebanese in a recent survey saying they plan to donate money to good causes in the second half of the year, MasterCard Worldwide said on Wednesday." (thanks Youssef)

Crisis in An-Nahar

I have written yesterday about the unfolding story of the financial crisis at An-Nahar (the right-wing, sectarian Christian, racist anti-Syrian (people), anti-Palestinian (people), White Man worshipping newspaper). Read the comment by the nephew of Michel Abu Jawdah (famed columnist of An-Nahar in the 1960s, 70s, and 80s). My sources tell me that Nyal Tuwayni took the decision of expulsion after receiving the report from Booz Allen Hamilton about the paper's finances. (thanks Raed)

Saudi reforms: impressing the hell out of the West

"Saudi Arabia flogged a group of teenagers after a rare riot in the eastern region of the Islamic kingdom in which shops and restaurants were ransacked, a witness and local newspapers said today." (thanks Sana)

What "democracy in the Middle East" really means for the US

"Jordanian authorities have refused to permit a demonstration which the country's Islamic groups planned for Friday in reaction to the entry into the al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem by Israeli police earlier this week, the Islamic Action Front (IAF) said Wednesday. "The Amman Governor Samir Mobaydeen has rejected a request by Islamic leaders to organize the demonstration in downtown Amman after Friday prayers to condemn the desecration of al-Aqsa Mosque," an IAF statement said." Go back to US newspapers and see if US media (not to mention the government) said a word about the wholesale arrests by the unrepentant Nazi, Anwar Sadat, of the left, right, and center in Egypt. (thanks Sarah)

Spying for Israel

This is a full account of the Mossad recruitment of accused spy, Ziyad Humsi. When you read the full account you realize: 1) they are not very bright; 2) they have a hard time disguising that typical Israeli/Zionist racism towards Arabs. The reporter who wrote this, As-Safir`s `Ali Musawi, has a book on history of Israeli spies in Lebanon.

Now Hariri

Commenting on my post on NowHariri yesterday, a Western source in Lebanon sent me this (I cite with his/her permission): "at the same time they are complaining on their english site (on the front page) that none in the opposition wants to speak to them...and yes, I have been approached to work for them too, and declined... I would have been richer and fatter but not happier... ;). He/she later sent me this: "btw, Nowlebanon has meanwhile removed their complaint of opposition people not wanting to talk to them from the site...that was mighty quick!"

Gore Vidal on Obama

"He’s acting as if Afghanistan is the magic talisman: solve that and you solve terrorism.” America should leave Afghanistan, he says. “We’ve failed in every other aspect of our effort of conquering the Middle East or whatever you want to call it.” The “War on Terror” was “made up”, Vidal says. “The whole thing was PR, just like ‘weapons of mass destruction’." (thanks Kamal)

Faruq Husni Mubarak: the Mossad role

Al-Masri Al-Yawm started as a decent semi-independent newspaper before it became an arm of the apparatus of Jamal Mubarak. The closer an Arab paper gets to the regime the dumber it gets. Here, Al-Masri Al-Yawm is "reporting" with front page coverage and a big headline that the Mossad dispatched a team to defeat Faruq Husni Mubarak at UNESCO. Don't get me wrong, I am sure that the Israeli foreign ministry dispatched a team, but why would that require a role for the Mossad, unless they were looking for the secret dye for Mubarak's hair. (thanks Haifaa)

Amin Rihani came back from the grave

"The University of Michigan-Detroit is offering a new course to teach the English literature of Ameen Rihani as the founding father of the Arab-American literature during the 20th century, Rihani told The Daily Star in a statement." Well, first Ameen Rihani is dead and I am sure that Rihani did not tell the Daily Star anything. You confused Rihani with his nephew who is in charge of PR on behalf Amin. Secondly, why is this news? Why is the Lebanese press so desperate to get any recognition, no matter how slight and flimsy, from the White Man. If this course was being taught at the University of Ghana, would it be news? Would it be mentioned in Lebanese media? Of course not. Thirdly, I have explained this to people in Lebanon and would explain it again: no Department of English or Comparative literature in the US or UK consider the writings of Kahlil Gibran or Mikha'il Nu`aymah or Amin Rihani to be literature. There writings are considered part of the English belle lettre. You need to know that: you may enjoy their writings all you want, but they don't amount to "adab" from the standpoint of your beloved English speaking White Man. And since the Daily Star is capable of communicating with the dead, can you check on Karl Marx? How is he doing? Is he still suffering from those nasty boils on sensitive parts of his body?

Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, by Ahmadinajad

Upon hearing of the death of "Lucy" from the "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" song, Mahmoud Ahmadinajad insisted on performing the song with a full Iranian Orchestra. (Asna)

Analyzing the Middle East.

There is a category of American analysts of the Middle East, like Thomas Friedman, who only speak about the Middle East in recycled generic cliches. Ask them about the economy of a particular country, and they say: the economy is in shambles, and more than half of the population is under 20. Ask them about the Arab-Israeli issues in that country: and they would say, that people are sick and tired of war, and if only we can have another Sadat in that country. Ask them about Islamic fundamentalism, and they say: they need to rein in the clerics. Moderate Muslims need to assert themselves. Ask them about the leader, and they say (if he is pro-US), that he has been making reforms and he is fighting the radicals in his camp, and that we need to help him; and if he is anti-US, they say: we need to pressure him. He is a two bit dictator who we is not serious about peace with Israel. Ask them about women or culture in the region, and they would say: wwwhatttttttttttttt???

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

How Israel treats its Arab collaborators

"Bedouin soldiers, for example, who are usually recruited as trackers, have to search for mines and booby-traps. Last year, a 28-year-old Bedouin man was blown up by a roadside bomb along the perimeter fence around Gaza as he went ahead of soldiers from the Givati brigade. Unlike Jewish soldiers killed in action, his family did not want his name published." (thanks Asa)

This is personal: the Family Guy? My favorite show on TV?

"Venezuelan authorities plan to impose fines on cable television companies that refuse to stop airing the animated television series "Family Guy."" Based on this, and on this alone, I now support the overthrow of Chavez. (thanks Ibn Rushd)

Clerical kooks

"A leading Egyptian scholar has demanded that people caught importing a female virginity-faking device into the country should face the death penalty."

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

"During this civil war period, Esber writes, "Zionist Jewish military organizations forced more than 400,000 Palestinian Arab inhabitants from their homes in about 225 villages, towns and cities in Palestine." That comprises approximately half of the total number of Palestinians made refugees during the creation of the State of Israel, as well as half of the depopulated Palestinian cities and villages, the latter largely destroyed as part of the systematic campaign to erase Palestinian society." (thanks Nu`man)

This story is big, and will get bigger

This is about the expulsion of Lebanese Shi`ites from the UAE. They expellees formed a committee and yesterday one of them made threats to UAE on New TV.

Arab wealth in the sky with potatoes

"Sovereign wealth funds (SWFs) of four oil-exporting Gulf states lost around $350 billion last year due to the global financial crisis, according to a U.N. report."

Saudi-UAE conflict

"Relations between Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have been strained in the six months since Saudi Interior Minister Prince Nayef Bin Abdelaziz was appointed second deputy premier, effectively catapulting him to become next in line to rule, while Crown Prince Sultan Bin Abdelaziz, who is 84, has been convalescing in the United States and Morocco (GSN 860/14, 858/1; 857/7). Many believe that due to his poor health and advanced age, Sultan is unlikely to succeed King Abdullah Bin Abdelaziz. If Nayef is next in line to the throne, the UAE has a dilemma because he has been party to most of the major bilateral diplomatic incidents for nearly four decades. Nayef, who is 76, has served in the Saudi Ministry of Interior (MoI) since 1970." (thanks Sultan)

I don't mean to be sketpical but...

I just sometimes notice that a relatively large number of Saudi princes die in their twenties from--according to official announcements--from heart attacks. Prince Mansur bin Muhammad Bin Nawwaf (son of the Saudi ambassador in London), 26, died from a heart attack in a London hospital.

This dude in the ground with shoes

"Big Country congressional hopeful Canyon Clowdus wants no more Muslim immigration to America." (thanks Ibrahim)

Berekely in the sky with diamonds

"Berkeley would become the first city in the United States to independently try to comply with U.N. treaties on torture, civil rights and racial discrimination, if the City Council passes a measure on the issue tonight."

There are no bounds to the audacity of Zionist hoodlums

"Leading academics, journalists, legal and security experts, including Elie Wiesel, Professor Alan Dershowitz, former CIA Director R. James Woolsey and Professor Judea Pearl, called last week for an independent review and reform of Human Rights Watch (HRW). This follows NGO Monitor’s recent in-depth study of HRW’s Middle East activities over the past several years." (thanks Rashid)

Foreign maids in Syria

An Ethiopian maid kills her self by hanging in Syria.

Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha

I don't like smiling faces and don't like to spell the sound of laughter but could not resist this one. "Hizbullah had better intelligence information than Israel and better control of its forces during the Second Lebanon War, according to an official IDF scorecard compiled recently by a top navy officer." (thanks Olivia)

وراك, وراك والزمن طويل

"British lawyers for 16 Palestinians are seeking to obtain an international arrest warrant for the Israeli defence minister, Ehud Barak, in a London court over alleged war crimes in the Gaza Strip." In our case against Israel, this Arab proverb applies:
وراك, وراك والزمن طويل
(After you, after you, and the time is long). (thanks Dina)

“Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds.”

"Ms. Vodden’s connection to the Beatles dates back to when she was Lucy O’Donnell, a schoolmate and friend of Julian Lennon, John Lennon’s son. Julian, then 4, came home from school with a drawing one day, showed it to his father, and said it was “Lucy in the sky with diamonds.”" A favorite, for Angry Arab.

Flash: wake up the children and release the pigs from the barn

I thought that you should know this. "Virgin" Mary has appeared in Syria near the border with Turkey. It is not clear whether "Virgin" Mary was visiting to taste the famous Aleppo Kabab. Will update you on this breaking story as more news arrive. (thanks As`ad--not me)


Azmi Bisharah was on AlJazeera. He gave an excellent interview on recent developments. My favorite part was the beginning when he warned against basically fetishizing the Al-Aqsa as if it is more important than the rest of Palestine, or as if there is a hierarchy of valuables in our attachment to Palestine. It is time that we stop treating Al-Aqsa as if it is more important than Haifa or Gaza or Nablus. Of course, for the religious crowd, Al-Aqsa is the rallying crowd. For me, the people should be the rallying crowd: the Palestinian dead and injured are far more important to me than any stone of Al-Aqsa.

To Zionist hoodlums in US media

I don't use the word hysteria (because of its sexist etymology) but there is a craziness in US Zionist media regarding the tenure of Joseph Massad. Let me quote reference from the New Testament and tell this to Zionist hoodlums in US media: Joseph Massad has received tenure. He really really has. Did you get that? The Zionist hoodlums in the US media are fretting like little babies. Look at this trashy editorial. When I read it I thought: this is more vulgar and more crude than the editorials in Saudi or Ba`thist media. Kid you not. I know that Zionist hoodlums don't seem to get it and they don't understand tenure decisions but it is over. It is final. It is accomplished. There is nothing you can do, except whine and fret and yell and scream, which only bring pleasure to your enemies. And for how long will your crying last? Is there a deadline after which you will go back to your business of vomiting Zionist propaganda, day after day? Oh, by the way: have you heard? Joseph Massad has received tenure. And if you want a daily reminder of the news, write yourselves an email to that effect at nine in the morning every day. Of course, the writer(s) of this trashy editorials lie, invent, and fabricate which is typical in Zionist media and propaganda. Joseph never threatened to expel a student from class (and the student in question never made that claim), and the Israeli Army guy was never a student of Joseph.

Faruq Husni Mubarak and Hala Mustafa

These are the two big cases in the Egyptian and Arab press these days. Michael Slackman has a story (with contributions from Mona El-Naggar who is a Sadatist in political sympathies, but do you expect anything different when the New York Times hires an Arab native?). I like the quotation from comrade Hossam here: "“He did not take an anti-normalization stand until the end,” said Hossam el-Hamalawy, an independent Egyptian blogger and journalist. “The moment he lost he came back and started saying some of the most foul anti-Semitic statements against the Jews, confirming what the West had said about him.”" But the story then goes on to speak at length about Hala Mustafa and quotes her extensively without any quotations from her critics. I must confess that I am delighted by the reaction to the Hala Mustafa meeting with the Israeli ambassador. I really pleasantly surprised how strong and intense the reaction in Egypt against any normalization with Israel. I saw Hala Mustafa on Dream TV interviewed by the able and delightful Muna Ash-Shazli. Ash-Shazli at one point talked about the "as-Sad" (the Rebuff) that the Egyptian people mounted against any contact by any Israeli in Egypt. The Al-Ahram board voted yesterday against any contact between any staffer and any Israeli. And Al-Ahram is a tool of the Mubrak regime, and the guy qui rit recently prayed behind Netanyahu after an Iftar meal. Of course, we should note and condemn the anti-Jewish statements that are coming out from the Egyptian STATE media (by the way, this article is mistaken in attributing a headline to Al-Masri Al-Yawm when the paper clearly was quoting Husni--and you know I am no defender of Al-Masir Al-Yawm), but the notion that Zionists mounted an opposition campaign against Faruq Husni Mubarak is simply true and was done in the open. I have one question only for supporters of Israel in the US: if the US were to cut off all economic and military aid to Egypt, for how long will the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty last? And please answer in minutes.

The financial crisis at An-Nahar

Al-Akhbar had a scoop the other day: about a major financial crisis at An-Nahar (the Lebanese racist, sectarian Christian, right-wing, anti-Syrian (people), anti-Palestinian (people) newspaper in Lebanon. An-Nahar was from the 1960s to 1975 the major newspaper of Lebanon and partly of the Arab world. I always hated the paper: but in the 1960s and early 1970s, it hosted many talents and its political agenda (representing the right-wing agenda of its own, Ghassan Tuwayni who insisted over the years that he taught my father at AUB and I would try to convince him to no avail that my father studied at Cairo University in the 1940s) was more disguised at the time. It was original and inventive and Tuwayni new how to copy the success of American journalism (the good and the bad) which he observed when he went to school in the US. The paper has summarily fired some 50 staffers, including Ilyas Khuri (editor of its cultural supplement which basically is a right-wing platform that considers that human rights violations only occur in Syria in the whole Arab world and that all Arab countries--except Syria--has full respect for human rights) and George Nasif (who used to be a critic of Arab regimes and a champion of the Palestinian cause). Some are speculating that those fired were expelled for their political sympathies. I don't buy that because those fired have not deviated one iota from the right-wing, pro-Lebanese Forces line of the paper in recent years. Of course the demise of An-Nahar has been gradual (only foreign correspondents in Lebanon with no knowledge of Arabic still think that it is still a successful newspaper because of its designer name and its advertisements). They don't know that there is a monopoly in Lebanon: so that the company that runs distributions of newspapers and the company that sells ads to newspapers is owned by a most right-wing Lebanese Forces supporter, Antoine Shuwayri, and he insists on giving most ads to An-Nahar. But you may take a look Alexa ranking here and see that Al-Akhbar (which is only three years old) has quickly surpassed An-Nahar in ranking--and An-Nahar is obsessed with race and prestige ranking . Here, Al-Akhbar CEO, Ibrahim Amin, discusses the crisis and its causes. An-Nahar lost its leadership and its mission: and most importantly, it no more has columnists that people follow. One publisher (rival of An-Nahar) told me in Beirut 4 years ago: "I feel sorry for An-Nahar. The grandfather is senile and the granddaughter is dumb. " But An-Nahar has played a most sinister role in Lebanese politics and culture, and is responsibly at least partly for the spread of the Lebanonese national idea, with all its myths and fabrications. Yesterday, AlJazeera ran a report on this story. It will grow.


Al-Arabiyya TV (the private station of King Fahd's brother-in-law) had some Lebanese dude from Rand by the name of Ghassan Shibli. He was talking about Iranian missiles tests and his Arabic was so bad that he kept referring to "tajribat" as plural of "tajribah". After saying that word for 20 times, the anchor gently corrected him so that he would stop repeating it.

Dirty Tricks at NowHariri

The journalistic ethics of Now Hariri are comparable to the standards of Hearst newspapers in the US early in the 20th century--only worse, and with more lies. They of course have many ways in which they violate the basic ethics of journalism--first they lie about their funding, as I mentioned before. They also once (as I had indicated at the time) stole an item from this site (based on a confidential source in Syria) and translated it and published as their own. But I also like how they invent stories and attribute them to sources in the rival camp. Look at this one: they are citing unnamed "Iranian diplomatic sources"--read a propagandist in the press of office of the Hariri family in Lebanon--that Hizbullah will go to war for Iran's sake, and quote the source as saying, in effect, that Hizbullah is a mere arm of Iran. They often cite unnamed "opposition sources" as making the most outrageous claims about THE OPPOSITION, as in "yes, we are agents of Syria and we have no concern for Lebanon, or "we are against the interests of the Lebanese people." They once had an article against the Left in Lebanon, and typically they cited: an unnamed "Leftist source" who said: there is no such thing as left. I really kid you not. (By the way, the worst offenses are in the Arabic section of NowHariri, and all the examples here are from the Arabic section).

Monday, September 28, 2009

Lebanese crooks

There are many Lebanese crooks peddling different treatments and schemes on Lebanese TV stations: their version of infomercials. One guy wants to sell you a cream that you can put on your head to cure hair loss, or use as an anal cream, if you suffer from hemorrhoids--the same cream. I kid you not. Another crook yesterday was promoting an appetite suppressing pill: he said that it was selected by the Spanish government as its official diet pill, and that it was "recommended" by the American Ministry of Health. Kid you not.

Arab dynastic incests

The son of the King of Bahrain is marrying the daughter of the ruler of Dubai. It is supposed to be cute.

Account of French racism

"An extraordinary article appears in today’s Le Monde revealing the extent to which racism is still a major problem in French society. Mustapha Kessous is a thirty year old journalist at Le Monde. He is of Arabic orgin as his first name clearly implies, yet for years now he does not identify himself as Mustapha over the phone. He simply calls himself “Mr. Kessous”. The response is invariably more positive. Kessous lists an astonishing number of examples that demonstrate how he is treated differently because of his origins. In 2008 he went to interview Brice Hortefeux and when the then Immigration Minister came to greet him outside his office, he jokingly said, “Do you have your residency papers?” Hortefeux has recently been criticized been dragged over the coals by the media for a very similar comment made to a young Arabic-French man which was caught on camera. During the Tour de France, Kessous was sent with another white journalist from Le Monde to cover the event. He was confused by organizers of the Tour for being the driver for his colleague. Kessous also recounts trying to rent an apartment in Paris and how giving his first name would often get a negative response – “Oh the apartment has already been rented!” In the end he brought a friend with him, a blonde woman who he presented as his girlfriend who was going to live with him – this seemed to reassure landlords…" (thanks Hadjar)

Dahlan, O Dahlan

Muhammad Dahlan is back. He is now threatening a Third Intifada. He calls for the protection of the Aqsa mosque. The man, as you can see from picture above, is very pious and has Sufi tendencies. He said that if Israel continues in its provocations, he will order his armed gangs to kill more Palestinians. (thanks Electronic Ali)


"The annual survey on the quality of living in 215 cities around the world ranked Beirut as the 175th most desirable city for overall living standards and 16th among 21 cities surveyed in the Middle East and North Africa region in 2009, as reported by Lebanon This Week, the economic publication of the Byblos Bank Group."

Can you imagine? But then again this Zionism

"The Israeli army will close off the West Bank from Saturday on the eve of Yom Kippur, the holiest day in the Jewish calendar which starts at sunset on Sunday, a military spokesman said." (thanks Sarah)

Nahr Al-Barid: don't forget, and don't forgive the Lebanese Army and its cheerleaders

"Today, more than two years after their camp was destroyed in a war, the residents of Nahr El Bared camp continue to wait to return to their homes, not knowing how or when, their stories echoing those of their grandparents' exile from Palestine."

I am opposed to Palestinian terrorism

I am really opposed to Palestinian terrorism. I am strictly and fiercely opposed to Palestinian terrorism as practiced by the US-trained, US-funded gangs loyal to Salam Fayyad and Abu Mazen, and acting at the behest of Israel. You should join me in condemning terrorism.

Look how sincere: he is just worried about the US ability to fight wars

"The argument that Israel presented to American officials and to diplomats from Russia and key European countries was designed to appeal to their own self-interest. The Goldstone report, Israeli officials asserted, carries a hidden danger for all countries participating in international military campaigns against terrorism. Supporters of Israel pointed out that the United States military, for one, has killed many civilians during its military campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan. "This is a report that should worry every country fighting terror," said Jonathan Peled, spokesman of the Israeli Embassy in Washington. "We need to make sure this report does not endanger the U.S. and other countries.""

Labor unrest in Egypt

"Almost everyone in Egypt seems to have gone on strike these days -- lawyers and judges, doctors and engineers, pharmacists and government employees, public transport workers and garbage collectors. Fueled by poverty, rising costs and a lack of government responsiveness, this unprecedented wave of labor unrest has become the primary means of venting frustration at a government that has survived for decades by clamping down on political dissent." (thanks Olivia)

You can't disagree with numbers

"This is apparent when one considers the results of a Global Marketing Research Services poll in July of self-identified American Jewish Democratic Party supporters, which found that 55 percent believe President Obama is naïve to try to set up a Palestinian state, whereas only 27 percent take the opposite view. Moreover, they believe by a margin of 52 percent to 37 percent that Jews should be allowed to build homes and move into existing communities in eastern Jerusalem and the West Bank. No amount of spinning can conceal the fact that, on these two major issues, clear majorities of Jewish Democratic supporters disagree with Obama. J Street is entitled to its views, but not to its pretension that it represents a large slice of liberal Jewish opinion on Israel. Clearly, it doesn’t."

If Muslims did that...

"Proud of his religion and worried about its future, Chicago dentist Max Feinberg wrote a will with an unusual catch: His grandchildren wouldn't inherit a penny if they married someone who wasn't Jewish. His decision led to family feuds, lawsuits, countersuits and, on Thursday, an unanimous ruling by the Illinois Supreme Court that Feinberg and his wife were within their rights to disinherit any grandchildren who married outside the faith."

Who is scaring whom?

Look those pictures: and you wonder why I have such faith in Palestinian resistance? What heroic defiance. (AP and AFP)

When the occupiers are seen as natives

I saw an interview with Gen. McChrystal on CBS the other day. It was quite astonishing: I mean, it was a PR gig for the man and for the mission. He said about what he was doing in Afghanistan: "If they view us as occupiers, we can't win." What will they view you as? What do you aspire that they will view you? That if you wave to the natives and smile at them (even if you decrease the bombs over their heads) they will then accept you as part of the Afghan population? When I hear American commanders in Iraq or Afghanistan (or their leaders in Washington, DC whether in the Obama or Bush administrations), you really think that those people have never ever read about previous colonial administration. Because they don't seem to notice that they sound exactly like previous colonial conquerors.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Disease in the Holy Land

"His most important contribution to Israel’s establishment was in turning Zionism from a theory alien to many American Jews into a pragmatic program to rid the Holy Land of disease." Yes, he wanted to rid the Holy Land of Palestinians.


"I have always thought that there were (to oversimplify somewhat) two kinds of Jews in American political life — those who saw Jews’ experience with discrimination and persecution as an example of a broader and more generic phenomenon that embraced similar discrimination and persecution based on skin color, gender, sexual orientation and other categories of invidious discriminations; and those who, like Podhoretz, saw Jews’ experience with discrimination and persecution as exceptional and singular, and worse by far than all others’...He has now become a man so self-centered in his own sense of exceptionalism that he cannot understand why everyone in the first group doesn’t rush to join him. He has not only lost the ability to feel for or identify with the persecution of others; he has lost all ability to see why anyone else would."

Would they call for his release if he were Arab or Muslim?

"Le ministre de la Culture et de la Communication, Frédéric Mitterrand, C'est une arrestation "absolument épouvantable", "pour une histoire ancienne qui n'a pas vraiment de sens", a jugé dimanche Frédéric Mitterrand, le ministre de la culture et de la communication, quelques heures après l'arrestation du réalisateur Roman Polanski en Suisse." (thanks Electronic Ali)

un problema de consistencia

"As’ad Abukhalil, autor de Bin Laden, Islam & America’s New War on Terrorism (2002), opinó que Gadhafi hizo críticas importantes sobre la ONU, pero no es alguien con quien se pueda hablar al respecto. “Es un problema de consistencia. Si alguien critica a EU no debe de ser su cliente y Gadhafi se ha convertido en cliente de EU. No tiene credibilidad porque se alineó con la administración Bush, no podemos tomarlo en serio”, añadió vía telefónica el académico de Berkeley."

Al-Qa`diah funding

The (phone) video clip that aired on Al-Arabiyya TV proves that funding for Al-Qa`idah still comes chiefly from Saudi Arabia.

"in its totality"

" Human Rights Watch is urging the European Union to endorse the Goldstone report. In a letter to EU foreign ministers, Human Rights Watch called on the union and its 27 member states to "promote an international order where no state is above the law" and asks them to support a resolution at the U.N. Human Rights Council endorsing the Goldstone report "in its totality."" (thanks Patricia)

The White Man rapes Kenyan girls, literally

"We have been on a harrowing journey – from nightclubs where European men pick up 12-year-old Kenyan girls; to an orphanage where children as young as six have found sanctuary after sexual abuse by foreign tourists. A journey into a world of cruelty and desperation, a world we could scarcely have imagined. And both talking and filming with children brutalised and traumatised by their experiences has not been easy." (thanks Asa)

Faruq Husni Mubarak

"In an interview with Egyptian newspaper al-Masri al-Yaum, Hosni charged that he lost the UN vote because of "radicalism, racism, and the Jews," who he claied attacked him over his harsh views against cultural normalization vis-à-vis Israel." By the way, Faruq Husni Mubarak is an artist: he paints. And no one has commented on this side of him. So I will. I have seen the paintings of Faruq Husni Mubrak and they suck big time.

PS L. sent me a link to his paintings. Judge for yourself. His future paintings will most likely be inspired by Julius Streicher.

If he was Arab or Muslim, the story would be on the front pages

"We've had a week of sex scandals in schools. Now Terence Kealey, vice-chancellor of Buckingham University, seems intent on stirring things up on the academic front. Female students, he declares, are a perk of the job for male university lecturers – though they should look, not touch. In an article for the Times Higher Education magazine on lust, part of a feature on the seven deadly sins of universities, Kealey wrote: "Normal girls – more interested in abs than in labs, more interested in pecs than specs, more interested in triceps than tripos – will abjure their lecturers for the company of their peers, but nonetheless, most male lecturers know that, most years, there will be a girl in class who flashes her admiration and who asks for advice on her essays. What to do? "Enjoy her! She's a perk."" (thanks Nabeel)

I can't get rid of this line of poetry from my head

It is from Ahmad Shawqi's famous poem on Zahlah, Ya Jarat Al-Wadi, and it says:
وتعـطـلـت لغـة الكـلام وخاطـبـت
عيني في لغة الهوى عــيـنـاك

(And the language of speech was spoiled, and my eyes communicated with your eyes through the language of love)
PS Sulayman is right: it should be, and your eyes communicated with my eyes through the language of love).

Queen Youtube

"Moreover, during the Gaza conflict last December and January, her response was another simple video on her channel denouncing the human right violations.
@QueenRania: we appreciate your efforts and dedication to your causes. We believe that much more can be done with your influence and power. We also realize that receiving half a billion dollars of aid from the United States has its price." (thanks P.)

This is Zionism

"This year, a new private Israeli academic institution launched, the Carmel Academic Center. Among its offerings within the department of business administration was an accountancy concentration. But one week before classes began, the school cancelled it. Why? Too many Arabs. That’s right. Only three Jews registered and the rest were Israeli Palestinians. Not wanting to develop a reputation for being in bed with Arab lovers, the entrepreneur who founded the school pulled the plug. Here are some internal conversations published by the Alternative Information Center. Israeli Channel 2 broke the original story:" (thanks Ibn Rushd)

With us or against us? I can't believe that you would ask

"The PA has reached the point where it has to decide whether it is working with us or against us," senior figures in the defense establishment have said." Oh, no. No. They are working with you, I swear. They are working with you, I assure you. They are your loyal and subservient servants. Don't get mad at your puppets. You are all they have. (thanks Joe)

Lesson about Lebanon

I can tell you this: Saudi intelligence supports the Phalanges among Lebanese Christians, while Egyptian intelligence supports the Lebanese Forces among Lebanese Christians.

Left wing Israelis

"The ad has caused outrage among Palestinians and left wing Israelis who accuse it of white washing the negative effects of the wall." Yes, all three left wing Israelis were pleased. (thanks Ibrahim)


"A U.S. military drone crashed Saturday in northern Iraq, hitting a regional office of Iraq's largest Sunni political party in an area that remains an insurgent stronghold, an American military official said. The unmanned aerial vehicle crashed into the local office of the Iraqi Islamic Party in Mosul. "

Winning a war by PR campaigns

"In addition, McChrystal lists as a goal making public relations efforts beyond Afghanistan more effective. There has already been a step-up in press material sent to U.S. journalists. On Friday, seven releases were sent to The Washington Post, including one with four photos...In Iraq, the U.S. military spent more than $500 million over six years developing a public relations campaign run mainly by American contractors. Starting with nearly $100 million for a U.S. contractor to run the newspaper, radio and television networks owned by one of Saddam Hussein's sons, the strategic communications program was expanded to include billboards, pamphlets, radio and TV spots, and programs to place articles in Iraqi newspapers and magazines. In June, The Post's Ernesto Londo?o reported from Baghdad that the multimillion-dollar campaign ultimately did not help burnish the U.S. military's image, marginalize extremists, promote democracy or foster reconciliation. By way of example, Londo?o quoted Ziyad al-Aajeely, director of Iraq's nonprofit Journalistic Freedom Observatory, as saying while he flipped through an issue of the U.S.-subsidized newspaper Baghdad Now: "The millions spent on this is wasted money. Nobody reads this."

The war in Yemen

"The Yemeni editor of a website (El Eshterak), Mohammed al-Maqaleh, was abducted a week ago after publishing a report on military air strikes that caused civilian casualties in northern Yemen, where battles between Yemeni forces and Houthi rebels have raged for five years."
More here.

Zionism calls it reform

"First, the privatisation means that land previously managed by the state after it was expropriated from Palestinians by past Israeli governments will become the property of private owners. This despite the fact that these mass expropriations were carried out ostensibly for a "public" purpose, and therefore should revert to their original owners once the original reason for the state's expropriation is no longer relevant. The reform will also "lead to privatisation of property of some of the lands of destroyed and evacuated Arab villages, as well as many properties belonging to Palestinian refugees" – property currently held by the state's Custodian of Absentee Property. As Adalah, the Arab rights legal centre, put it, this privatisation of land "will lead to a total break of the link between the land and its original owner", while "the sale of absentees' property" is not only a breach of the Geneva convention, but also "contravenes" Israel's own Absentee Property Law." (thanks Dina)

Blackmailing the puppets

"Meanwhile, Israel has warned the Palestinian Authority that it would condition permission for a second cellular telephone provider to operate in the West Bank - an economic issue of critical importance to the PA leadership - on the Palestinians withdrawing their request at the International Court." (thanks Michele)

The architecture of Ramallah's political economy

This is an original and important article on Ramallah written by an editor of Al-Hurriyyah (the mouthpiece of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine). Of course, typical of everything coming out of the DFLP, it suffers from some waffling and bet hedging.

Bad bread to the poor, courtesy of Salam Fayyad

"Ordinary Palestinians are complaining that the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) Ministry of Social Affairs is distributing inferior quality pita bread to needy families." (thanks Olivia)

The war in Sa`dah

These are disturbing scenes of the victims of bombing by the Yemeni government. (thanks Fawwaz)

The lowest of Lebanese journalists: the case of Fu'ad Matar

I would argue that some Lebanese journalists are responsible for the lousy quality of the Arab press. No Arab journalists have been as skillful and as unprincipled in their prostration before ruling dynasties like the Lebanese journalists. And they (those Lebanese journalists who do that service) always serve as hired mercenaries responsible for contributing to the construction of the personality cult of the reader. Here is Fu'ad Matar: a veteran reporter for An-Nahar. In the 1960s and early 1970s, he was a propagandist for the Nasser regime. After the death of Nasser, he became a favorite propagandist for Saddam Husayn: and his intelligence service (allegedly) funded his London-based magazine, At-Tadamun, which featured regular tributes for Saddam. The tributes followed a propaganda book that Matar wrote on Saddam, which used to be distributed for free in three languages by Iraqi embassies around the world. After the demise of Saddam, Matar switched his allegiance to the House of Saud, now writes tributes to Saudi king and princes in Prince Salman's mouthpiece, Ash-Sharq Al-Awsat. This man has kids: how do they look at him? How does he look at himself, I wonder. Oh, Matar has a new book out: a book of tributes to the Saudi King titled: The Servitor of the Two Sites, and the Guardian of the Two Nations." I kid you not. It is serialized in the mouthpiece of Prince Salman, Ash-Sharq Al-Awsat.

The last day in the life of Jamal `Abdun-Nasser

The last day in the life of Jamal `Abdun-Nasser, by his son Khalid. (thanks Kamal)

independent of the Saudi government

"The graduate-level university will be completely independent of Saudi Arabia’s government". And to ensure that complete independence from the Saudi government, the Saudi government itself appointed the Saudi Minister of Oil (a man who has loyally served as a tool of the House of Saud for decades) as its Chairman of the Board.

An Arab star is born: and an Arab villain is born

If you want to oppose the sectarian Sunni-Shi`ite conflict in the Middle East, you need to first oppose the Saudi Wahhabi state, but you also need to oppose the Shi`ite sectarian militias of Iraq. The interview with Muntadhar Az-Zaydi on Al-Jazeera was most revealing. It will have a powerful impact on Arab public opinion: Nuri Al-Maliki after this interview will be remembered in the same way another Nuri (Nuri As-Sa`id) of Iraqi history is remembered. The dumb sectarian gang of Nuri Al-Maliki did not think that Muntadhar will eventually be released and will tell his story to the Arab world. The man is already lionized and hailed throughout the Arab world and is receiving offers and invitations. It bothers me how much he invoked Islam and Iraqi nationalism (with some reference to Arab nationalism) in his talk; and he did not come across as very sophisticated but certainly seemed more articulate and sensible than the broadcasters on Saudi-owned TV stations. Yet, he is fiercely opposed to the Sunni-Shi`ite conflict, and was categorical on that. He told the whole story on Al-Jazeera's Hiwar Maftuh: Ghassan Bin Jiddu ably let him tell his story with little intervention. You could see the emotions building up in Muntadhar as he was telling his story. As he was talking, I could feel Arab public anger building up. Nuri Al-Maliki may be now the most despised man in the Arab world. He talked about the merciless torture and beatings that he was subjected to by Maliki's sectarian guardian/thugs. He was fair to say that the beatings only stopped on the first day when an interpreter of the US soldiers came to tell the sectarian thugs of Maliki to stop the beatings. He said how disgusting it was to see the thugs being so afraid of the US occupation soldiers--their masters. And the most powerful part of the story was when he said: that the thugs of Maliki kept beating him (upon taking him out of the room) and screaming at him: are you Sunni or Shi`ite? He said that he did not want to answer the sectarian question but gave his father's name to indicate that he was Shi`ite, because they immediately accused him of being booby trapped by Al-Qa`idah. Next week, AlJazeera will air Part II of the interview, and I have a feeling that millions will tune in--if only to curse Nuri Al-Maliki and his sectarian thugs.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Arab rulers

"Bracknell Forest Borough Council has approved a scheme to build a 6ft 6in brick wall around the entire estate's perimeter. The wall will be more than four miles long and use enough bricks to build 150 five-bedroom houses. A local builder estimated it could cost up to £2million. The Grade II listed property was purchased for a record £19million in 1989 by the ruler of Abu Dhabi and is under-going major renovations. According to representatives of the Abu Dhabi royal family, which is headed by Sheik Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Ascot Place will be brought back into active use as one of his private residences."

Advocate of Israeli terrorism in the US

Of course, when it comes to Israel and its propagandists you expect fawning reviews and coverage in the New York Times. But with this piece on Oren, the New York Times has reached a new low. I mean, the paper would never cover an American official with this uncritical, fawning coverage. Impossible. And look at this passage: "His book on the 1967 war drew on formerly classified documents from Israeli and Arab archives, and while it revealed blunders on both sides, scholars say it does not have a political bias. “I would not call his work ideological,” said Robert J. Lieber, a professor of government at Georgetown who recruited Mr. Oren. “He’s a fine scholar who lets the scholarship lead him.” First, the book does NOT draw on ANY Arab sources, unless you count his conversation with a Jordanian official as "classified documents". Second, to maintain that he has no bias, they need an outside view. So who did they choose? Robert Lieber. The man has no training in or on the Middle East, and has no knowledge of the Middle East, but he is one of many fanatic Zionists who write and comment on the Middle East because they feel strongly about their Israel. Thirdly, Oren's book on 1967 is one of the most biased books on the Middle East. Read it and judge for yourself. But I will tell you this: his first book was at least well-written, when his second book (Power, Faith, and Fantasy) was a mess and had nothing new whatsoever. I reviewed both books here on the site.

Arab oil wealth

"One of the amazing things I have seen in my visit to Emirates Millionaire Show 2006 is the $620,000 Ud (Arabic Music Instrument) (the one of the right) from Ritter Royal Instruments. The left picture is for the $420,000 Ud . The following are the features of the two Uds ..." (thanks Fadi)

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

"Eight children between the ages of 10 and 17 were arrested and detained by Israeli soldiers during military raids Monday night and Tuesday morning in the northern West Bank cities Nablus and Qalqiliya. Defence for Children International- Palestine Section (DCI) has released a statement that the number of children detained in Israeli jails and temporary Israeli army detention centers this year has risen by 17.5 percent compared with 2008." (thanks Olivia)

Slum tourism: passtime for the White Man

"Slum tourism is taking off in Kenya. Several local organisations have started selling guided trips through Kibera, a short drive from the luxury hotels that serve most foreign visitors in Nairobi. For about £20, tourists are promised a glimpse into the lives of the hundreds of thousands of people crammed into tiny rooms along dirt paths littered with excrement-filled plastic bags known as "flying toilets", as one tour agency explains on its website." (thanks Sellam)

Scenes from the Yemeni war zone

The secret (anonymous) source in Yemen sent me those pictures. They are (in sequence from top):
1; waiting for food at a camp in Haradh South Saada; 2) Displaced in one of the camps; 3) The landscape where most of the displaced fled in Amran; 4) Everyone is armed in yemen. Children of one of the tribes in Amran; 5) An airstrike took place very close to where these children sought shelter.

Israeli nukes are not harmful to our health

"Given the way that the US under President Bush and Israel have openly threatened to bomb its facilities, it is not surprising that it should choose to back up its programme with secondary facilities. Nor is it that easy to dismiss the protestations of its leaders that nuclear weapons would be against the religious principles of the Islamic Republic. Just as Israel has based its security on perceived threats from its Arab neighbours, so Iran's attitude has been forged by the constant assaults of its neighbours and the West. It may well be that it wishes command of the technology of nuclear weapons without actually developing them. Even if it does wish them, however, it is still uncertain how much of a threat they would be." (thanks Michele)

Goldstone report

"There is a risk, we claim, associated with narrowly focused reports such as that of the Goldstone committee, that the misery of these periods will be forgotten, or at the very least, pushed to the margins and rendered less objectionable. Through myopic attention on the symptom of the problem -- the Gaza onslaught -- the root cause is obscured, and the Israeli occupation is stripped of its true context and gravity. Thus, the manifold and interconnected ways in which oppression works to subjugate normal people in their daily lives are left unexamined. In other words, the report describes and evaluates human rights violations without paying attention to the larger factual and moral context within which they occurred." (thanks Nimer)

When the client was not allowed to move around

"Is there any place in America that you have always wanted to see?
America is so afraid of terror and terrorism to the point that they don't allow people to move around freely and see what they wish to see. I really wish to see the whole of America, if it is possible."

They sold their loved ones for Libyan cash

"Gibson says she spent 10 minutes with Gadhafi, who was attending the U.N. General Assembly. She says the Libyan leader said through an interpreter he was sorry for her loss."

Saudi University of Wahhabi Science and Technology

The Arabic press is pathetically covering the opening of the King `Abdullah University for Science and Technology. They all talk about how this was the vision of the King: I bet you that this King (who could not read the speech that was given to him for the opening ceremony of the university) would not be able to defense "science" or "technology". Even Al-Akhbar--to my shame--had a favorable article, and As-Safir had a most enthusiastic propaganda article. You can't praise a university that has not opened its door. And the mixing of the sexes is meaningless: this is like opening a university in Nazi Germany where Jews are allowed to study. And I have heard from some people who were invited to teach: the university has failed in attracting those who were supposed to fill its academic posts. Those who were approached from MIT were most unimpressed. I would not be surprised if they recruit Al-Azhar professor, Zaghlul An-Najjar: a popular quack who finds scientific miracles in the Qur'an.

`Ali `Abdullah Salih

Did you see the crazy speech by `Ali `Abdullah Salih today? He pledged to go on with the war even if it lasts for more than five years. He also compared the war to the war by the monarchists against the republic in the Yemeni civil war in the 1960s. He forgot to mention that Saudi Arabia was (is) heavily involved in both wars: Saudi Arabia supported the monarchists in the first war, and is supporting the military dictatorship in this war. Yemen under Salih had bad relations with Saudi Arabia and the latter punished Yemen for its support of Saddam back in 1990-91. Yemeni workers were expelled en mass from Saudi Arabia at the time. Now, `Abdullah Salih prostrates before the Saudi King just like Fu'ad Sanyurah.

Israel's embrace of anti-Semitism: the case of Faruq Husni Mubarak

It is of course quite obvious that the Israeli state does not care about anti-Semitism, or that it cares only insofar as it exploits the issue for its own petty political purposes. Israeli foreign policy has shown for decades that relations with Israel supersedes any concerns over anti-Semitism. Israel has shown over and over that it is willing to cover up and even ignore the most repugnant anti-Semitism in return for relations with the government of Israel. We know that Israel ignored the Nazi, anti-Semitic background of Anwar Sadat, and that it ignored his anti-Semitic statements even after he signed a peace treaty with Israel (like when he told October magazine that the Jewish settlers in Sinai should be "burnt" and the word used is from the same Arabic root of the word for Holocaust). Only anti-Jewish statements from governments and personalities who oppose Israel trigger an angry reaction from Israel. So if David Irving were to praise Israel, the Israeli government would ignore his Nazi sympathies. Just look at the Zionist alliance with Christian fundamentalism in the US. The Egyptian government, in the wake of the defeat of Faruk Husni Mubarak for the directorship of UNESCo--and I am still celebrating the defeat, has unleashed torrents of anti-Semitism. The Egyptian foreign minister, Ahmad Abu Al-Ghayt, spoke this morning on Al-Arabiyya TV (the private station of King Fahd's brother-in-law) and railed against "International Judaism" (Al-Yahudiyyah Al-`Alamiyyah which is an Arabic translation of a vicious Nazi term). This is the term that classical Nazi anti-Semites used. You will not of course see MEMRI (the propaganda outlet of the Israeli terrorist government) produce translations of such hate. Abu Al-Ghayt had the audacity to say that the defeat of Faruq Husni Mubarak left bitterness among Muslims and Arabs. Somebody need to tell that dude that Egyptian collaboration with Israel to strangle Gaza is what causes bitterness among Arabs/Muslims. And Faruq Husni Mubarak spoke about his defeat to Al-Masri Al-Yawm. He never fail to thank Jamal Mubarak, who holds no official post in government, for his support, whatever that means. Also, Faruq Husni Mubrak had promised to resign if he did not win the position in UNESCO. Guess what: he changed his mind. He said (in another interview) that he only wanted to raise the profile of Arabs and Muslims: when Muslim prisoners were being urinated on in Egyptian jail, it did not bother this cultured minister. And then there is the attempt by Sa`d Ad-Din Ibrahim (the cheerleader of Bush--although all Arab cheerleaders of Bush now bitter criticize Bush and enthusiastically support Obama: call it principledness) to sound original: he is mocking Arab media for their talk of a conspiracy against Faruq Husni Mubarak. But Ibrahim fails to notice that Israel and its supporters around the world, especially the Zionists of France, hence the piece by Faruq Husni Mubarak in Le Monde, were quite clear about their opposition to the man. So there was no secret about Zionist opposition to Faruq Husni Mubarak. And then Ibrahim adds this: he argues that the Bulgarian diplomat was chosen because she fought against communism (I kid you not--Ibrahim did not know that the person in question was hard core communist), and that Faruq Husni Mubrak did not support democrats in Egypt (it is clear he is talking about himself although he named others). As if Western governments give a hoot about oppression in our lands, and as if Ibrahim has not noticed Western solid support for oil monarchies in the region.

PS Forgot to add this piece of Hariri media trash. This "culture" editor of Hariri rag, Al-Mustaqbal, Paul Shawul, is now the most vocal anti-Semite in the Arabic press (or one of the most, because he has tough competitor in the Saudi media). See his trashy piece by him on the issue of Faruq Husni Mubarak. MEMRI will not translate this because of the Saudi-Zionist alliance.

Most unprincipled

There is perhaps no unprincipled politician more than Bill Clinton. Now, in his retirement years, he discovers the justice of same-sex marriage. This is like some Arabists at the State Department who discover the justice of the Palestinian cause in their seventies. Or like Jimmy Carter noticing that Israel imposes apartheid in his retirement, insignificant years.

Friday, September 25, 2009

The Zionist Lobby

My weekly article in Al-Akhbar: "The Zionist Lobby: the Foreign Policy Making Process in the US"

The collapse of Dubai

Christopher Davidson writes his first piece for Al-Akhbar: it is about Dubai.

Man of Sleaze

This man is just incredible: almost as bad as the ex-president of Israel. (Obama does not look amused at all). (Huffington Post)

A good cause

This is a good time to help a good organization that does good work.

This is Israel

"A new report from Adalah shows how the courts and police attempted to stamp out opposition to Operation Cast Lead. "This is a time of war, and every incident harms the people's morale." This was not a sentence in a right-wing journal, but rather a statement by an Israel Police representative during Operation Cast Lead seeking to persuade the Tel Aviv District Court to block anti-war protesters from the city." (thanks Paul)

First hand report from Yemen

A person in the north of Yemen (who wants to remain anonymous) sent me this: "You were right about the no interest in the western media in the Yemen story. i have been here for three weeks trying to push the story in the west and it has been extremely difficult not even the humane story is catching their attention. Anyway, the Yemeni government is banning the media from entering Saada and there is no serious reporting of the fighting. Even Al Jazeera and Arabiya are just reporting from the lousy statements they receive from both Houthis and the government. They both have mass sms and email services sending conflicting reports about strategic positions they took over or number of houthis or army soldiers killed. The houthis are heavily armed and so is everyone in Yemen including the tribes who are now split between the rival parties. An informed source told me that the government is not serious about the announced cease fire and neither are the Houthis. I guess it is well know that Saudi Arabia is backing the Yemenis although there is no evidence of the Iranians backing the Houthis. It is said here that al houthi wants to take over the Malaheet to get into the coastal area so that he receives ammunition from Iran. In Sanaa, people dont even follow the news of the North and some even are unaware about the fighting although it is very likely that the conflict will spread outside Saada. The north is very underdeveloped with high illiteracy rates. It is a tribal area with no basic infrastructure. The people however are very passive to react. Al Houthi agenda has no appeal among the people and his demands are very vague. He does not raise social or economic issues and he is not popular among Yemenis. But neither is the government. The Yemenis are totally hypnotized by Qat all day long including government officials who chew during high level meetings. As for Saudi Arabia and the UN convoy stuck there. I know that the Saudis are very keen on allowing this convoy in lest an influx of Yemenis from Saada will get through the borders. They bluntly said that they will not open the borders to them as refugees (of course they are afraid of houthi elements coming along)."

The Muslims are coming; the Muslims are coming

"But this week, some conservative Christians have called the event a threat to Christian values. In a statement, the Rev. Canon Julian Dobbs, leader of the Convocation of Anglicans in North America's Church and Islam Project, warned that the service is "part of a well-defined strategy to Islamize American society and replace the Bible with the Koran, the cross with the Islamic crescent and the church bells with the Athan [the Muslim call to prayer]."" (thanks Nabeel)

Embezzlers, crooks, and rapists...unto the nations

"A former finance minister and Olmert associate, Avraham Hirshson, recently began a five-year prison sentence for embezzling funds. A former health minister, Shlomo Benizri, is serving a four-year term after being convicted of bribery, fraud and obstruction of justice in the spring. The former president of Israel, Moshe Katsav, is on trial, accused of rape and indecent assault against women who worked for him when he was the tourism minister and president. Mr. Katsav resigned the presidency in mid-2007." (thanks Laurel)

News from Israel's District 9

"While the Israeli army's crossings into Gaza have gone into near-lockdown mode since Hamas wrested control of the coastal strip more than two years ago, Israeli human rights organizations have regularly stepped in to intervene, with some success. That is, until last week. On Sunday, a group of the most active human rights groups here were informed that the government-run body that controls access to and from Gaza will no longer deal with them. The Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) sent an official letter on Sept. 13 to three human rights groups informing them that they would no longer be able to act on behalf of Palestinians with urgent requests to leave Gaza – generally for medical care, to visit a sick family member, or to attend a funeral. They must instead refer such requests to the Palestinian Civil Affairs Committee, in accordance with the Interim Agreement – the basis of Israeli-Palestinian cooperation established in 1995 under the Oslo peace process." (thanks Olivia)

Arabic in Kurdistan

"“After the 1991 uprising, Kurds came to regard themselves as independent,” Qirgaiy said. “They no longer felt obliged to learn Arabic and made no effort to master it.”" But in practical terms, that will only isolate them from the surrounding.

Kurds and Israel

I saw a recent survey of Iraqi Kurdish attitudes to Israel. A majority favor a relationship between Kurdistan and Israel. My opinion is this: I have always favored self-determination for Kurds and fulfillment of their national aspiration. I reckon that Kurds suffered discrimination and oppression by the US, Iraq, Iran, Syria, Lebanon, and Turkey. But the future of the Kurds of Iraq is in Iraq and with the larger Arab world. The association between some Kurdish leaders and Israel will hurt the future of Arab-Kurdish brotherhood/sisterhood. In the long future, Israel will not be there and Kurds have to have peaceful relations with the Arabs. End of my preachment.

Protests at Berkeley

I was just complaining on Facebook yesterday about the apathy on US college campuses and high schools. There are exceptions. These are scenes from the protest at Berkeley yesterday (the newspapers carried really unrepresentative pictures). (thanks Maria)

Michael Moore is the best development for the American Left in decades

"But one of the biggest barriers I've found in my research around worker cooperatives is not just government and companies being resistant to it but actually unions as well. Obviously there are exceptions, like the union in your film, United Electrical Workers, which was really open to the idea of the Republic Windows & Doors factory being turned into a cooperative, if that's what the workers wanted. But in most cases, particularly with larger unions, they have their script, and when a factory is being closed down their job is to get a big payout--as big a payout as they can, as big a severance package as they can for the workers. And they have a dynamic that is in place, which is that the powerful ones, the decision-makers, are the owners."
The left in the US is really bad in terms of delivery and form: they come across as spineless, humorless, and tedious. Michael Moore (and Noami Klein) know how to deliver an uncompromising Leftist message to a mainstream audience.

Enough of Shi`ite clercis in Lebanon

Nasib Htayt complains about the dramatic rise in the number of Shi`ite clerics in Lebanon and their lifestyles. (thanks Qasim)

Elliott Abrams on Salam Fayyad:

A source from Williams College in Massachusetts sent me this report (and does not want to be identified): "Elliot Abrams gave an "off the record" talk on Obama and Israel to a small group at my college today. No press or publicity; one plus is they know the man stinks like rotted meat. Interestingly, the talk turned into an hour of Neocon love for Salam Fayyad, including a substantial amount of praise for his decision to unilaterally declare a Palestinian state; his name came up more than any other person's in the the talk by a great factor. I'll admit that I was cautiously optimistic about Fayyad, but hell, there's no better way to judge a Palestinian's worth to the resistance than the love a man like Abrams has for him. Abrams' praise for Fayyad speaks for itself. He is still treating arafat as if he is alive; after Fayyad, arafat beat out even Abbas in mentions by Abrams, which I thought was odd. The best part was that he referred to Fayyad (no joke) as a Palestinian Herzl; he quoted Hertzl to summarize what Fayyad was doing and said that just as Hertzl laid the groundwork for a Zionist state, Fayyad was laying the ground for a Palestinian state. Odd to think that Palestinians, in order to have basic human rights and self determination, must go through the work that the Zionists did in order to justify taking away those rights. Either way in Abrams' mind Fayyad=Hertzl. He stated that he felt that a west bank under fayyad had the potential to be a 'shining beacon' in the middle east, whatever that means. Most of the talk was standard neocon talking points; said that Obama and Bush are making the same mistakes in the Palestine, meaning relying on talks and what they should be doing is allowing Palestinians to construct their own state apparatuses under occupation. In essence, he was pushing for normalizing the defacto apartheid. Praise for Dayton, praise for Palestinian police forces. He did say that settlements east of the apartheid wall would have to be dismantled. The Fayyad obsession is something that I've seen from people like Friedman but not from anyone like Abrams. This Fayyad as a Palestinian Hertzl thing, though, is quit a new one."

Walid Jumblat

Clients of the US who feel betrayed by the US are bitter like jilted lovers. Yesterday, Walid Jumblat said that the US is ruled by "Netanyahu and AIPAC."

Khalid `Alwan

Lebanese are commemorating the anniversary of "Wimpy Operation". When on one day in the summer of 1982, a Lebanese resistance fighter was walking on Hamra street and was so offended by the sight of Israeli terrorist soldiers arrogantly sitting in a street cafe. The man rushed to this house and brought a revolver, and shot all three Israeli terrorist soldiers. It was that attack that led the Israeli terrorist army to humiliatingly flee from West Beirut and yell through loudspeakers: "Don't shoot at us. We are leaving the city." I remember that I passed by the site only an hour or so after wards, and remember that people were ecstatic. Khalid `Alwan was later shot by militia men loyal to Walid Jumblat. By the way, it is a commemorative plaque for Khalid `Alwan that American-British showman/poseur, Christopher Hitchens, was trying to deface during his trip to Beirut when he was beaten up.

Reform: the case of the Saudi kingdom of horrors

"Yet, while the government often tries to discredit or play down the influence of reformists, it is aware of the influence of young Saudis who have grown up with satellite television and the internet and expect their country to change. Last month, it blocked the Twitter accounts of Mr Alkhair as well as Khaled al-Nasser, a 28-year old blogger and activist, apparently after the tool was widely used by Iranian activists to publicise the protests in Iran. Their comments, or tweets, included commentary on rights issues in the country or provided links to other websites such as a Human Rights Watch report on Saudi Arabia. “I do not believe we should pin our hopes on individuals,” says Mr al-Nasser. “We need to have a system, a state in which we feel protected by the law, not protected by individuals, a state in which I vote for the parliament, where I have a job and a future. Is that too much to ask?”" (thanks Fowzan)

American liberal jurisprudence: the case of Judge Brandeis

"Brandeis was never a practising Jew, but he was a passionate convert to Zionism. He understood that for many American Jews, America itself was their Zion yet his services to the Jewish homeland in Palestine were great. Like many Zionists, he was utterly unsympathetic to the Arabs. “As against the Bedouins”, he wrote, “our pioneers are in a position not unlike the American settlers against the Indians.”" (thanks Khelil)

French racism

"Moi, Mustapha Kessous, journaliste au "Monde" et victime du racisme" (thanks Ibn Rushd)

Lebanese sense of grandness

I was watching a clip of Lebanese singer, Majda Ar-Rumi. I can't stand her personality or her politics but I like her singing, and some of her songs. But what got my attention is the orchestra accompanying her: she must have had some 60 musicians and some 20 or more singers. It annoyed me. Lebanese love a sense of grandness about everything: which only points to a deep inferiority complex. Lebanon is a country that is not satisfied being insignificant, small, and unsovereign: so it compensates with stupid myths about the Phoenicians and about Lebanon's identity, as if Lebanon came from Europe but the Crusades forgot to take it back with them. Read the official correspondence between the Maronite church and the French government from the 19th century and you will get what I am talking about. (You will find some in the 3 volumes of documents published by the brothers Khazin in 1910). I see great American singers with a band of 3 or 4 musicians. I saw a performance by REM years ago and it was a modest affair and was great. In Lebanon, the small time singer has to have the 40 or 50 members orchestra, and wealthier singers import orchestras from Armenia or Kiev. A good song does not require all that noise, unless they think that the big band can compensate for bad music and bad singing. And Lebanon loves to import talent from the West--but Lebanon always gets fads and trends decades after their expiration in the US. Lebanon, for example, celebrated this summer that Michael Bolton came to Lebanon to sing. Michael Bolton, for potato's sake.

Glorifying Israeli killers

"אבל כאמור לא רק התקשורת המרכזית בלבנון הגיבה קשה לסרטו של מעוז. באחד הבלוגים המרכזיים של העולם הערבי, "Angry Arab News Service", מתואר סרטו של הבמאי הישראלי כ"סרט מלחמה ישראלי שכל כולו מחווה לרוצחים מהצבא הישראלי". גם הודעות בטוויטר לא חסרו. כך למשל מגיב לבנוני שכתב: "נפלא, סרט ישראלי נוסף על לבנון שמאניש את החיילים הישראלים במקום את הקורבנות הלבנונים והפלסטינים". במסר טוויטר נוסף מצופים בלבנון תוהה הכותב: "אם היו אלה לוחמי חיזבאללה עם נשק שמגנים על עצמם מפני הישראלים, האם הסרט הזה היה זוכה להצלחה כה רבה?"."
Michael provided a translation:
Lebanon that reacted harshly to Maoz’s film. At one of the central blogs of the Arab world Angry Arab News Service Maoz’s film is described as “another Israeli war film that is wholefully a dedication to Israeli army murderers”. And there was no shortage in twitter messages. Thus, for instance, wrote a Lebanese responder: “Wonderful, another Israeli film about lebanon that humanizes the Israeli soldiers instead of the Lebanese and Palestinian victims”. In an additional Twitter message from Lebanese viewers, the writer wonders: “if those were armed Hezbollah fighters that were protecting themselves from the Israelis, would this film win so much adulation?”>"

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Raising sexist babies in Lebanon

"“It’s going to help form a certain idea of femininity in their minds from a very young age, [one in which] women are supposed to be manicured and waxed… and this really is a social construct more than anything else,” said Lynn Darwich, a member of Feminist Collective, which primarily advocates gender equality in Lebanon. “It’s a negative social construct because women end up feeling ugly if they’re not manicured… You get little girls who really focus on matters that shouldn’t be this important at the end of the day.”" (thanks Sarah)

I am done for the day. Good night.

Shimon Peres evaluates the puppets

"I talk with Abbas and Fayad a lot too. We've never had better leaders to deal with. Fayad is an economist; he understands the importance of producing real results for his people."

Obama Doctrine

"A top White House official told Jewish organizational leaders in an off-the-record phone call Wednesday that the U.S. strategy was to "quickly" bring the report -- commissioned by the U.N. Human Rights Council and carried out by former South African Judge Richard Goldstone -- to its "natural conclusion" within the Human Rights Council and not to allow it to go further, Jewish participants in the call told JTA." (thanks Hussein)

Saudi websites may be ordered to pray--five times daily

"While the debate on stopping all commercial activity during prayer times continues, one local online newspaper in Hail province has decided to advocate for this pause by taking down its site for 20 minutes, five times a day." (thanks Ft)

This is Israel

"Testimony: Soldiers brutally beat Muhammad Id'is near a-Tuwani Village and Shani Checkpoint, Sept. 2009"

What do Iranians want? (Not based on Nazli Fathi from Toronto)

"Most Iranians do not want a nuclear weapon, apart from the question of sanctions. Fifty-eight percent say they do not want to develop an "atomic bomb," including 3% who oppose the nuclear program altogether. However 38% say they do favor developing an atomic bomb." (thanks Navid)

Western governments really heart Tunisian dictator

"The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns a Tunisian government-backed smear campaign against the Qatar-based Al-Jazeera satellite television station. The campaign has had a negative impact on freedom of expression in Tunisia. State-controlled media outlets have been attacking Al-Jazeera since July, when the station covered a conference in Geneva on the right of exiled Tunisian dissidents to return home and aired interviews with leading critics of President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, journalists told CPJ." (thanks Mariwan)

Canny puppet supported by Israel

"Fayyad has proven himself a canny political operator. In March, in an episode now often forgotten, Fayyad offered Abu Mazen his resignation, a move I observed at the time was most probably being done "for the benefit of none other than Fayyad himself". At the same time as Fayyad was (temporarily) quitting, a poll revealed that only 24% of Palestinians saw the appointed PM's government as legitimate. Back in charge, Fayyad's western media blitz and photo-op traversing of the West Bank are the moves of a man seeking to create a mandate from almost nothing." (thanks Ben)

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

"The Israeli police arrested 18 Palestinian female workers under the pretext that they were working in Nazareth without obtaining entry and work permits in Israel." (thanks Olivia)

The Lebanese president at the UN

The Lebanese president is heading a delegation to attend the opening of the UN's session. The Lebanese media are covering his visit. It said that yesterday he met with the presidents of Albania, Cyprus, and Guinea. But it also added that he met President Obama "on the sidelines" of the UN meeting. You know what that means, don't you? Obama hosted a dinner for ALL presidents of delegations at the UN, and he greeted them all. So Obama shook hands with the smiling president of Lebanon. In Lebanese diplomatic mind, that counts as a meeting. Don't get me wrong: the trip by the president of Lebanon to the UN was worth it: I mean, Albania can really help Lebanon in solving its political and economic problems. In moments like this, you can only remember the words of the last Pope: Lebanon is more than a country; it is a joke.

The Dumb Lebanese government

This is a regular feature and I never run out of materials here. There is a daily supply of items. After the Lebanese commander-in-chief issued an official circular calling on all members of the Lebanese armed services to vote in an internet poll to select Lebanon's J`ita Grotto, the director-general of the Lebanese Internal Security Forces officially asked that members of the forces should also vote.

Moroccan king flew his Aston Martin 1,300 miles - to get it repaired.

"Morocco's Mohammed VI chartered a Hercules transporter from his air force to whisk the DB7 from Rabat to Britain." (thanks Zaki)

Faruk Husni Mubarak is flying a kite

"“For people in this region, her appointment sends the message that the West can swallow someone’s Communist past very easily but can’t abide an Arab who is anti-Israel.”" He meant to say: that they can't abide an Arab who is NOT pro-Israel enough.

Zionism is racism AND sectarianism

"A pair of Nigerian-born converts to Judaism who were married two years ago in a ceremony conducted by a rabbi recognized by the Chief Rabbinate remain unable to register themselves as a couple with the Interior Ministry, even though the husband has been an Israeli citizen since 2005, The Jerusalem Post has learned." (thanks Elizabeth)

Provoking Muslims

"But foreshortening the historical context of the cartoons to merely the Enlightenment conceals the degree to which, far from being a bold and innovative defence of Western values, they are instead the latest manifestation of a long medieval European tradition of seeking out martyrdom by deliberately insulting Islam in general and the Prophet Muhammad in particular. Among possible precedents, I would point to the Christians in 9th-century Córdoba who cursed Muhammad and insulted Islam before the qadi, knowing that by doing this they would achieve martyrdom. There were also similar activities by 13th century Franciscans and Ramon Llull, who agonized about whether his destiny was to convert Muslims or to die a martyr. The title of the Jyllands-Posten piece, “Muhammeds ansigt [Muhammad’s Face]” shows that the publication of the cartoons had no point other than to provoke a reaction by breaking known taboos — indeed without the title, it would be hard to know that the cartoons were supposed to be representing Muhammad specifically." (thanks Amer)

Why you invaded Afghanistan: Western correspondents can now have decent meals

"But behind the blast walls, this city is flush with discrete oases, where one can indulge in a steak tartare or relax with a Swedish massage." (thanks Nir)

Explusion of a leftist (female) student in Bahrain

"The decision to expel a student activist for circulating a leaflet highly critical of the University of Bahrain (UoB), the country’s only public university, has sparked criticism and renewed concerns about the ability of the country’s higher education system to meet the needs of the job market and keep pace with social reforms. The controversy over Noor Hussain’s expulsion could not have come at a worse time for the education authorities. " (thanks Mahmood)

KingPlay Station just declared a national holiday

KingPlay Station is ecstatic. (thanks Dina)

Susan Rice: We remember Rwanda

"In his speech, Mr. Churkin noted sardonically that just a few months ago, on the subject of Darfur in Sudan, he had been lectured about how war crimes charges should never be sacrificed for political reasons, according to two diplomats present, and now he was being told the opposite. Amnesty International called her position “deeply disappointing.” Ms. Rice denied a double standard. The report had a lopsided focus on Israel, which is capable of investigating possible war crimes, while Sudan is not, she said." Capable of investigating? Israel has committed at least one massacre/war crime per years since its usurping founding, and no serious investigation ever took place. In fact, if you read the Kahan commission report you realize that Israel, as far as accountability for state crimes, is no different or better than the Sudanese regime. But how could Susan Rice have any credibility on any foreign policy issue? She was the top Africa expert in the Clinton's White House when the Rwanda massacres too place. They took place on her watch.

Israel's dirty hands

By the way, you need to read Jane Hunter's book on Israeli Foreign Policy to know that Israel's dirty hands were involved in many right-wing dictatorships in Latin America and Africa. Here is one fresh reference: "It's been 89 days since Manuel Zelaya was booted from power. He's sleeping on chairs, and he claims his throat is sore from toxic gases and ``Israeli mercenaries'' are torturing him with high-frequency radiation."

Faruk Husni...Mubarak blames a Jewish conspirac: and the Role of Israeli intelligence and Elaph

Many have sent me links on this one because you noticed that I made this prediction. My modesty--quite fake--prevents me from devoting a regular section under "Angry Arab Told You So, Damn It." Here is the story about Faruq Husni Mubarak: "Egypt's culture minister on Wednesday blamed a conspiracy "cooked up in New York" by the world's Jews for keeping him from becoming the next head of the U.N.'s agency for culture and education." But there is more to the story: the candidate who won was a card carrying member of the Bulgarian Communist Party--one of the most Stalinist and hardcore. She now claims that it was "a necessity." It was not: many were not members of the Communist Party but her father was a member of the Communist elite and she enjoyed privileges. But Husni should learn the lesson: even a Stalinist communist is preferable to a sand nigger, even if he grovels on the pages of Le Monde, and even if he is a fan of Anwar Sadat and Husni qui rit, and even if he expresses his love for Israel. There is another element in the story: the role of the Saudi sleaze website, Elaph. I have always believed--although I don't have evidence--that Elaph is often used by Israeli intelligence services to disseminate Israeli propaganda stories. It is quite clear to me, and some of the fake names are laughable. It is because I detect regularly Israeli intelligence propaganda influences and leaks on the website that I avoid linking to it, and the fact it is a soft porn site which attracts readers by displaying scantily clad pictures of Arab and Western sex stars. But if you read the various accounts of the UNESCO election, you learn that the vote was changed at the last minute because of "revelation" on the role of Faruk Husni Mubarak qui rit when he was a diplomat in Italy during the Achille Lauro attack. The New York Times twice stated that the first reference to the story appeared on Elaph.