Monday, November 30, 2009

My talk on Youtube

Niz uploaded my talk at Harvard Law School on Youtube:
Part I
Part II
Part III
Part IV
Part V
Q & A
Part I
Part II
Part III
Part IV

Sheikh Mo on the Slopes

Sheikh Mo is under a lot of stress these days. Why does not he take a break: he can go and rest on the multi-billion dollar artificial ski slopes that he brought to Dubai. Oh, yeah.

sectarianism versus sectarianism

Comrade Khalid explains sectarianism in Lebanon.

Minarets or missiles?

Rudolph makes a good point to me. He points out that the minarets on the Swiss political posters were made to look like missiles, just for extra effect.

The Southern Movement in Yemen

"I have information that the Yemeni team which is leading the war effort had planned to drag the Saudis into the war. This plan started when the regime realised it cannot crush Al Houthi group militarily. Informed sources in Sana'a tell me the government is quite happy today that it managed to turn the war into a regional one after the involvement of Saudi Arabia. I regret that we have reached this point, and it saddens me to see our brothers on both sides fighting. On the short and long terms, this war is not in the interests of anybody. Saudi Arabia is a key state in the region and it is unfortunate it got involved." By the way, Al-Bid mocked claims by Salih about links between his socialist movement and Al-Qa`idah. But notice that he does not criticize Saudi Arabia: Prince Sultan faction supported his movement back in 1994 to piss of `Al `Abdullah Salih. (thanks Laleh)

My talk at Harvard Law School

Ammar put my talk at Harvard Law School here. We need somebody to upload it on Youtube to make it easier to link to. (thanks Ammar)

PS And if you manage to upload it on Youtube, send me the link NOW.

Thomas Friedman: the global thinker (is Bozo, the Clown a global thinker too?)

"Tom Friedman can declare with a straight face that "anyone who shoots up innocent people is ... mentally imbalanced" without seeing how clearly that applies to himself and those who think like he does. It's that self-absorbed disconnect -- seeing Hasan's murder of American soldiers as an act of consummate evil and sickness while refusing to see our own acts in a similar light -- that shapes most of our warped political discourse. And note the morality on display here: Hasan attacks soldiers on a military base of a country that has spent the last decade screaming to the world that "we're at war!!," and that's a deranged and evil act, while Friedman cheers for an unprovoked war that killed hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians and displaced millions more -- all justified by sick power fantasies, lame Mafia dialogue, and cravings more appropriate for a porno film than a civilized foreign policy -- and he's the arbiter of Western reason and sanity." (thanks Olivia)

Saddam TV

Saddam TV hits Iraqis. But I think that Saddam TV could be useful. I mean, if it airs Saddam's speeches it could guarantee that insomnia is cured forever all over the Arab world. (thanks "l")

For you, Jamal Mubarak

"Masrawy website launched a campaign to keep the Egyptian flags waiving throughout the country. This campaign comes as a continuation to the initiative for raising the Egyptian flags in the Egyptian cities and villages, which was witnessed prior to the last two qualifying matches for the World cup between Egypt and Algeria." You want to celebrate Egyptian patriotism? Why not earn the right to move your soldiers into occupied Sinai where Husni Mubarak needs an Israeli permission to deploy one police person or more. (thanks FT)

Disgrace unto the nations

"The Supreme Court is currently discussing a case that concerns Israel's practice of immediately returning asylum seekers who cross from Egypt into Israel back across the border. It appears that in so doing, Israel may be violating international law, according to a position paper submitted to the court by the United Nations High Commission on Refugees." It is not true that Israel turns back asylum seekers. To be more accurate, we should say this: Israel asks asylum seekers for their religion, and if they happen to be Jewish, they would be welcomed and granted citizenship (although Jews from African and Asian countries are guaranteed inferior status in the state and society). And if the asylum seekers belong to another religion, they are dumped across the border. (thanks Marcy)

Laila reviews Caldwell

"Caldwell repeats the thoroughly debunked canard that the 9/11 terrorist attacks were roundly celebrated in the Muslim world: "It was a day of joy in much of the Muslim world, including parts of Muslim Europe." On the contrary, there were demonstrations of solidarity with the families of the victims in nearly every major Muslim capital, from Rabat to Cairo to Tehran. More to the point, when the United States invaded Iraq, under the spurious claim that it possessed weapons of mass destruction and that Saddam Hussein had helped plot the 9/11 attacks, were the bombings not greeted with shouts of "U-S-A" in this country? That does not mean that the vast majority of Americans approved of the wholesale killing of hundreds of thousands of civilians. Simplifying the facts is expedient for Caldwell, however, as it helps bolster the argument he is trying to make, which is that Islam is locked in an inevitable and perpetual civilizational conflict with the West...Caldwell also suggests that Muslims are far more likely to commit violence against women. Under the heading "Virginity and violence," he writes that "there were forty-five [honor killings] in Germany alone in the first half of the decade." Since the argument here is that Muslims are more inclined to commit homicides against women in the context of "some trespass against sexual propriety," it would have been helpful if Caldwell had included, for the sake of contrast*, the number of ethnic German women killed in incidents of domestic violence, as well as numbers for an entirely distinct and recent immigrant group, such as Eastern Europeans. Without such empirical comparisons, it is difficult to see how he can reach the conclusion he does, which is that "such acts make law. They assert sovereignty over a certain part of European territory for a different sexual regime." The label "honor killing" makes violence against women and girls sound like an exotic import rather than the pernicious and all-too-frequent reality that it is. Caldwell doesn't mention that domestic violence has been treated as a criminal problem in Europe thanks to the work of European feminists in the 1960s and '70s, and that now European Muslim feminists are working to create a similar zero-tolerance level about honor killings. Encouragingly, a recent Gallup study found that Muslims in Paris, Berlin and London disapproved of honor killings and crimes of passion about as much as the general French, German and British populations...Not coincidentally, several of the loudest forecasters of European doom were previously best known for their anti-Semitic views. Nick Griffin, the leader of the British National Party, once called the Holocaust an "extremely profitable lie." Nowadays, he asks that Muslims be prevented from flying into or out of Britain and runs ads with the slogan Enoch Powell Was Right. Vlaams Belang, the Flemish far-right party, has also had Holocaust deniers in its leadership, though now they seem most preoccupied with preventing Muslim women who wear the headscarf from working for local councils. And Le Pen, the founder of the French National Front, once described gas chambers as "a mere detail of history" and called a political opponent named Michel Durafour "Durafour crématoire" (the pun can be loosely translated as "Michel-hard-to-cook-in-a-gas-chamber"). Now he warns that it is only a matter of time before the mayor of Marseille will no longer be Mr. Gaudin but Mr. "Ben Gaudin." Recently it emerged that the Vlaams Belang and other far-right groups have formed a coalition called "Cities Against Islamisation." Europe has gone down this road before, and it did not emerge the better for it." (thanks "Ibn Rushd")

* For purposes of comparison, let me remind you that in the US alone, 23 women are killed on average by men PER WEEK.

Two hours of high fives

"The Jerusalem Magistrate's Court on Monday charged two Border Police officers with grievously attacking an Arab youth passing by them near the Old City of Jerusalem." Let me predict: they will serve no time in jail, and will receive high fives from their terrorist colleagues in the Israeli army. (thanks Sarah)

Hariri tribunal

I was asked for an udpate on the Hariri tribunal. Oh, yeah. I forgot. Here is an update: blah and zzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Sheikh Mo

""Where next for the ruling family in Dubai?" said British historian Christopher Davidson. "The massive loss of legitimacy that the ruler is now facing, the massive loss of legitimacy that his son and crown prince face after lying to the World Economic Forum last week -- where do these guys go from here?" Sheikh Mohammed, whose face and words grace posters all over town, told the forum this month that the worst had passed for Dubai which was well-placed to pursue its development plans.""

Boycotting Switzerland

The ban on minarets in Switzerland is one of the most outrageous signs of blatant religious intolerance in the 21st century. And it happened by a popular vote: so it can't be blamed on a fringe right-wing group anymore. This is a sign and it is amazing that civil libertarians and human rights organizations did not react with widespread condemnation, as they should have. Something major has happened, and those who ignore it would be repeating the mistakes and criminal errors that were displayed by many in Europe against the early signs of Nazi anti-Semitism. This should result in an international human rights reaction, and should lead to an international effort to boycott Switzerland, the country. The people of Switzerland should be aware how the rest of the world view their vote for religious bigotry. You can't call what happened in Switzerland by any other name. And this is not something that should only be of concern to Muslims: it should be of concern to humans everywhere. Don't get me wrong: I love Switzerland: I love its food and especially its desserts. One of my favorite stays ever was at this hotel in Geneva. I had most splendid nights and a most splendid buffet in that garden that you see here. (I thank my late father for recommending the hotel to me). But the people of Switzerland have spoken, and those who care about equality and freedoms--real ones and not those empty slogans that appear in speeches of US politicians--should speak too.

Religious bigotry in the New York Times

What happened in Switzerland is quite significant. Of course, only an ignorant would associate Switzerland with equality and tolerance: just remember--as I always remind my students--that women were only granted the right to vote in 1971. Enough said. But what is quite outrageous is the extent to which US (and Western) media are not treating this as the international outrage that it is. Just ask yourselves: how would the Western media have reacted if the ban affected synagogues and not mosques. Would you not have seen stories against it on the front pages of ALL US newspapers? If this ban affected synagogues, for example, the US government would have convened a special session of the US Security Council and the special UN commission on Human Rights. Worse, look at the way in which media will now begin justification of the ban, and notice how the Western media link religious intolerance with references to fanatical groups and to Bin Laden. What is the link, I don't get it I guess? And here is the New York Times' first sentence in covering the story: "In a vote that displayed a widespread anxiety about Islam..." Can you imagine the New York Times ever justifying, or even explaining away, a ban affecting Judaism with a sentence like: "In a vote that displayed widespread anxiety about Judaism..." And is anxiety about a religion not an exact case of religious intolerance? I mean, Nazis displayed widespread anxiety about Judaism and that is why we condemn them as the anti-Semitic bigots that they were.

Global potato

Amer sent me this list from FP for amusement. He asked me try to read it without laughing. It is not possible. You may try that yourselves. I mean, you will read the list of names and laugh, one by one. When you read that Hirsi Ali, for example, is a "global thinker" or that Thomas Friedman is one of the top "global thinkers", you will be mightily amused. In fact, I thought a good test of this list is this: would you be able to agree on 10 choices out of 100 lousy choices? Difficult, I found. This shows you how seriously you can take "intellectual" publications, and it shows you that the lines between popular entertainment magazines and "intellectual" publications have been blurred, big time.

Flash: On Prince Sultan

Prince Khalid Bin Sultan just announced that his father, Prince Sultan will return to Saudi Arabia in a few weeks. He has been away for months: first in New York City and then in Morocco. You know what this announcement mean, don't you? It means that Prince Khalid Bin Sultan will bring the dead body of his father for burial. Get the shovels NOW.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

“Their” book about “our” history or Who corrects exams at the IC? As’ad AbuKhalil1 or Avigdor Lieberman2?

"Their” book about “our” history or Who corrects exams at the IC? As’ad AbuKhalil1 or Avigdor Lieberman2"

Locations of Heroism

Yesterday, the deputy Saudi Minister of Defense, Khalid Bin Sultan--Sultan is very dead as you know--toured the border area with Yemen. He commended the troops and said: "that is how men should be." He talked about "locations of heroism." He praised those who seek martyrdom...ON THE BORDER WITH YEMEN. Saudi media yesterday announced that Jabal Dukhan (it is Jabal Dukhan and not Ad-Dukhan) is now officially under full Saudi control. But last week and the week before, I heard the same announcement being made. What gives, o commander of Saudi troops.

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

"When the observers arrived, a statement said, "six soldiers were detaining a young man who appeared to be in distress. He was holding his abdomen and crying. His mother and a man held him while an older man spoke with the soldiers.""

When the Mossad thinks it is being smart

I love it when the Mossad leaks to the subservient Israeli media. Israeli media publishes Israeli intelligence leaks without asking questions, just like media of the Arab regimes. Look at this article from the Zionist paper, haaretz. It is so funny, I mean that. So according to the report the military wing was pissed at the civilian leadership. So where does that put Nasrallah: who is closer to the military wing than any one? I must confess that as a child I was told that the Mossad is intelligent, effective, and knowledgeable about the Arabs. I relished growing up and discovering that the Mossad is dumb, ineffective, and ignorant. And this is without talking about their crimes and murders and racism. I can even see the Israeli Orientalists when they met and came up with this scheme: thinking that if we plant this story, it will spread chaos and sedition within the party. Yes, this scheme had an impact, no doubt. They are laughing at you, you fools.

Israel: disgrace unto the nations

"A captain in the army's VIP protection unit was arrested early Saturday on suspicion that he tried to sexually assault a woman at the Tel Aviv Port." (thanks Olivia)

All you can eat

"I’ve been to Gitmo. Why don’t you go? I’d like to invite you. You know, I consider Gitmo a real resource. The people there are treated probably better than they are in the prisons in America. They have more doctors and medical practitioners per inmate. They’re eating better than anyone has ever eaten before.
You think the detainees at Guantánamo eat better than you do?

I’m talking about before they got in there, what they ate back in Yemen or wherever they came from. One of the big problems is they become obese when they get here because they’ve never eaten that good before. Can you tell me one reason to close Gitmo?"


"Paul Reynolds, head of Rothschild's advisory operations in the Middle East, was this week asked to work for the Dubai government's chief restructuring officer alongside Aidan Birkett of Deloitte, who was appointed on Wednesday."

Dubai: the geo-politics

"Abu Dhabi, the wealthiest member of the UAE and a close ally of the US, may be pressuring Dubai to limit its links to Iran. Indeed, this pressure may be behind statements coming from Abu Dhabi about offering “selective” support for Dubai. Companies or creditors thought to be too linked to Iran could find themselves shut out of any bailout. The United States government, which has remained somewhat taciturn throughout this crisis, is no doubt encouraging Abu Dhabi to apply this pressure. In part because of Dubai’s connections to Iran, US financial institutions are not among the biggest creditors to Dubai World." (thanks ls)

Daniel Pipes Hearts Dubai's polyganous ruler

"There are positive examples. The ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Muhammad Bin Rashed Al Maktoum, has recently come out with a book titled My Vision, for instance. He's of note, because he actually achieved something. He stayed away from ideology and built an economic success story. He did this through intelligence and good practices."

Hassan Fattah Covers Dubai

Chris in the UAE sent me this (I cite with his permission): "As'ad, I don't have a specific link to point to, but I'd highly recommend checking out the coverage of the Dubai financial collapse in Hassan Fattah's newspaper: if you lived in Abu Dhabi, as I do, and read The National rather than the FT or the Times, you'd think that everything in Dubai was doing just great. It's a total whitewash, designed to prevent anyone here from knowing what's going on in their own country, though everyone knows already. The day after Dubai announced it would default on its massive debt, The National had this headline: Dubai World in major new revamp Over the past few days, it's been all good news in The National -- check these headlines: Dubai World in reorganisation; ‘Expert’ to oversee Dubai World restructuring; Markets edge back with eye on Dubai; A silver lining in Dubai World (!); Dubai restructuring 'carefully planned'; Dubai has chance to show world it has come of age. The National is still better than the unbelievably awful Dubai papers, but not by much anymore."

Seek wisdom in the mouths of fools and Thomas Friedman's Arab "friends"

"“Liberal Arabs like me are as angry as a terrorist and as determined to change the status quo,” said my Jordanian friend." Does that mean Thomas Friedman's friend is an Angry Arab?

Flash: Dahlan Task Force for Israel and Paris Hilton

The Dahlan Task Force for Israel has officially asked Paris Hilton to join its board. As is well-known, the dukkan (shop) was embarrassed by the revelation that the White House State Dinner's crasher was a member of its board, so he was sneakily removed from the website.

The killer in Florida is Lebanese-American: but it is not news because he is not a Muslim

So the killer in Florida is Lebanese-American. But notice that this shooting did not get extensive coverage: and certainly did not get political coverage. They did not roll out terrorism experts to analyze the horrific crime for us. You know why? Because he is a Christian Lebanese. Had he been a Muslim, they would have cried: he killed his sisters. It is a Muslim honor crime mixed with Jihadi Salafiyyah. What madrassssaaaaaheeaaah did he go to?

Jesus on the iron: the picture

Here is the picture of the image of Jesus on the iron. Personally, I think it looks like Reese Witherspoon from Legally Blonde (I). Don't you think? (thanks Guthman)

From Switzerland with...hate

Swiss have accepted the anti-Minaret referendum with 57%. (thanks Cosi)

Man of the People: Israel's favorite king

"Behind the walls of this gated Bel-Air estate lies a palatial compound fit for royalty. Its lavish entertainment space includes an outdoor pavilion with a kitchen between the tennis courts and swimming pool. The property was bought in 1989 by Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz al Saud, now the king of Saudi Arabia, who tore down the existing structure and built a French mansion with nine bedrooms, nine bathrooms, two half-bathrooms and a two-story guesthouse. A lot on the west side of the compound, large enough to accommodate a third house, completes the 2.38 acres of grounds." (thanks Dina)

LA Times

If I were to pick one US newspaper for its coverage of the Middle East, and foreign affairs in general, i would pick the Los Angeles Times, flaws and all.

Bush and Dubai

"The president grinned and tapped his foot as a group of girls stepped rhythmically to Arabic music, their long hair swinging from shoulder to shoulder. The light rain that fell during Bush's arrival did not dampen the mood. Bush then had lunch with students of the Dubai School of Government, a research and teaching institution that focuses on public policy in the Arab world. The president and his hosts sat on cushions, set in a circle, their food in bowls on the carpeted floor before them. "I'm most impressed with what I've seen here. The entrepreneurial spirit is strong, and equally importantly, the desire to make sure all aspects of society have hope and encouragement," Bush later told a gathering of entrepreneurs and others affiliated with a young leaders' group. The session was held in a conference room high atop one of Dubai's signature buildings, Burj Al Arab. Bush flew into Dubai from Abu Dhabi, and was received at the airport by Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. Earlier, Bush toured an exhibit on Masdar, a planned renewable energy project in Abu Dhabi and praised the UAE for investing and using its oil wealth judiciously. The multi-faceted, multi-billion dollar initiative aims to develop and commercialize renewable and alternative energy, and clean technology in the country. "I hope my visit shines a spotlight on the Middle East, the opportunities to work constructively with our friends," Bush said. On Sunday, Bush praised the UAE is a "model of a Muslim state that is tolerant of other faiths", and said women in the UAE have achieved equality and attained "high political positions". He described the December 2006 elections in the UAE as "historic" and the "first step in a wider reform" and urged other Arab countries to embrace democracy and give their people the freedoms "they desire"."


So maybe that multi-billion dollar artificial ski slope was not necessary after all. Huh?

Saturday, November 28, 2009

White House State Dinner's Crasher

The White House State Dinner's crasher is seen here with Abu Mazen--looking dignified as always--and the founder and head of the Dahlan Task Force for Israel. (thanks anonymous)

How original: they attack Israel, and they are accused of anti-Semitism

This is standard. What do Zionists want? They want no criticisms of Israel anywhere in the US. Even a local small newspaper is not allowed to publish criticisms of Israel. But this is classic: “The object is not to attack the press,” said Mr. Gertz, the president and chief executive of Zorro Productions, which owns the trademark and copyrights on the Zorro franchise. “The object is to turn the press into something responsible.”" Let me guess. Zionist hoodlums alone can define the "responsibility" of the press. Am I right?

These are the nicest and kindest and most obedient puppets there are

"Palestinian police close station after Israel says it interferes with military, airport communications. Palestinian police closed a radio station in the West Bank after Israel charged the broadcasts interfered with Israeli military and airport communications, a Palestinian security source said on Friday."

Arab Wikipedia

My enemies are having a field day trashing me on the entry on me on Arab Wikipedia. (thanks Ali)

This is the Israel that does not appear in the US press

"Father Samuel Aghoyan, a senior Armenian Orthodox cleric in Jerusalem's Old City, says he's been spat at by young haredi and national Orthodox Jews "about 15 to 20 times" in the past decade. The last time it happened, he said, was earlier this month. "I was walking back from the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and I saw this boy in a yarmulke and ritual fringes coming back from the Western Wall, and he spat at me two or three times." Wearing a dark-blue robe, sitting in St. James's Church, the main Armenian church in the Old City, Aghoyan said, "Every single priest in this church has been spat on. It happens day and night."" (thanks Olivia)

You can't trust your colonial masters? Who can you trust?

"The Iraqi parliament is looking into the sale by a British company of “bomb detectors” costing millions of pounds amid claims that they do not work. In the past two years Iraq’s security forces have spent more than $80 million (£47 million) on the detectors made by ATSC Ltd, based in Yeovil, Somerset. The devices, which consist of little more than a telescopic radio aerial on a black plastic handle, were each sold for the price of a new car and are in use at army and police checkpoints across the bomb-ravaged country. On October 25 suicide bombers drove through checkpoints that were equipped with the detectors and blew up three government ministries, killing 155 people."

There is a Jesus on my Iron

"A Massachusetts woman who recently separated from her husband and had her hours cut at work says an image of Jesus Christ she sees on her iron has reassured her that "life is going to be good."" If a Muslim said that, it would be a national joke for months. Hell. The FBI would have run a sting operation against the person. (thanks Guthman)

Dahlan and Balloon Boy's dad

There are rumors that Balloon Boy's dad was also on the board of the Dahlan Task Force For Israel. The Dukkan is known for appointing and removing board members on its website, without notice. By the way, I am supposed to know a thing or two about Arab-Americans and Palestine. Today, I read the names of the members of the board and recognized only one person: Daoud Kuttab, who lives in Jerusalem.

PS Notice that the Dahlan Dukkan defines the Palestinian state thus: "The Task Force advocates the development of a Palestinian state that is democratic, pluralistic, non-militarized and neutral in armed conflicts." So it is for a non-militarized Palestine, and yet says not one word about Israeli WMDs. Dahlan, o Dahlan.

Take your Dubai miracle and..

"Those with real money to burn would sail their yachts up to Plastik, a blinged-up beach club stuffed with beautiful people in Jacuzzis, where the bar staff lit a sparkler every time a magnum of vodka was ordered. They went through a lot of sparklers. Victoria Beckham flew over to visit David when he was here for training, popping in to the newly opened Villa Moda boutique, where her dresses were selling at £1,500 a pop. Manolo Blahnik, Christian Louboutin and Dolce & Gabbana jetted in for meet-and-greets with their high-rolling customers. Footballers were falling over themselves to buy beachfront real estate. There were rumours that Rod Stewart had bought Scotland on the World islands development." (thanks Dina)

Dubai and Abu Dhabi

"Although the ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, recently told journalists to "shut up" and stop referring to Dubai and Abu Dhabi as being separate, and although the Al Maktoum family is of the same tribe as Abu Dhabi's ruling Al Nahyan family - the Bani Yas - the two dynasties nonetheless have a long history of rivalry. In 1833, Dubai broke away from Abu Dhabi and had to rely on British protection. Even in the 1940s, there was armed conflict between the two neighbours."

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

Palestinian prisoners. (thanks Marcy)

Hariri Media from the inside

A former reporter for Hariri Future TV sent me this (she/he does not want to be identified): "Election times were the worst when Hani Hammoud [chief media and political adviser to mini-Hariri] would come to the TV during those times to lecture us on how to end each report one of them was that each news piece should have "Hezbollah wa moulhakatih" [Hizbullah and its appendages]. That was his genius creation. I never did and they hated me and once they asked me after Hariri assassination to contribute to a propaganda DVD about Hariri and so I wrote an objective piece knowing very well that it will piss them off but I didnt care because I was already planning to leave so they distorted my piece and so I asked them not to mention my name in the credits and they went mad. We had a fight and I resigned. I witnessed how some journalists there deliberately relinquished any professionalism they might have had and how the more they started plunging into Harirism the higher posts they got. Rima Maktabi is a different story. I witnessed how she moved playfully from the weather section, to Alam Sabbah, and now to prime time shows on Arabiyya. In brief, she used to... She would come to me to ask me about "tahreek el nass" everytime she writes a report and ends up spelling them all wrong. I dont think she knows how to dintinsguish between a "dammeh"and a "fatha" (do these words have any translation?)"

The King and the Shoe

Demonstrators gathered in Istanbul to protest the Saudi war in Yemen. A man rubs his shoes on the portrait of Saudi King. As is widely known, shoes are offensive in Arab--but not in Western--culture. (thanks Hassan)

Dubai by the numbers

Dubai in numbers. (thanks Sellam)

Saudi Royal (lack of) Intelligence

This is an important interview with Hasan Badib, former deputy chief of intelligence in Saudi Arabia. He reveals the extent to which King Faysal was closely coordinating with Sadat on peace initiative toward the Zionist entity up until his death. He also reveals the intelligence of Saudi intelligence: he said the the UN partition plan of 1947 allocated 3% of Palestine to the Jewish state (when in reality it gave it 55%). Read the interview and confirm in your head everything I have written, and others have written, about the Saudi responsibility for the Arab predicament and for the defeats of the Arabs. (thanks Kamal)

If Muslim schools did that, they would have been bombed by air by Israeli Air Force

"An examination conducted by the Education Ministry reveals several schools in Jerusalem have enrolled students who have never attended a class. In recent months the Education Ministry has employed the services of private investigators following information received of suspected fictitious registration of children to ultra-Orthodox schools in Jerusalem. The inquiries revealed that in several of the establishments children who were listed as students did not attend classes." (thanks Mitch)

Kurds in Syria

"This 63-page report documents the Syrian authorities' efforts to ban and disperse gatherings calling for Kurdish minority rights or celebrating Kurdish culture, as well as the detention of leading Kurdish political activists and their ill-treatment in custody." I do like some of the reports that HRW produces. My problem with them is not only about the biases in covering anything related to Israel and the Palestinians, but I feel that their coverage is kinder of countries that are allies of Western governments. I mean, the oppression of Kurds, `Alawites, and Syrians in Lebanon warrant reports, for example. The war on `Alawaites in the North has been launched by an organ of the Lebanese state, albeit under the control of the Hariri family--Internal Security Forces and the Information Apparatus. (thanks Nadim)

"Pro-Western" Hariri Movement

These are the fruits of the Hariri Movement in Lebanon. This picture was taken by anonymous this Thursday in Hamra Street in Beirut. It says: "Al-Fatihah on the souls of the martyrs of Muslims declares [sic] the Youth of Vengeance and Revenge in consolation of its precious martyrs Saddam Husayn. I sacrifice my money and blood for you o Father."

My name is Bond. Hamid Bond.

"Afghanistan's 007 is the newest incarnation in the nation's scrappy, low-budget film industry still struggling to recover from years of Taliban repression. If all goes as planned, "Nijat" will debut next year as part of the fifth annual Kabul International Documentary and Short Film Festival ." (thanks Fadi)

Everything you wanted to know about Zayn Al-Athat

A Lebanese scientist who does not want to be identified sent me this information on Zayn Al-Athat (the Lebanese quack/alleged crook who peddles his miraculous products in infomercials on Lebanese TV stations): "Regarding your inquiry about Zayn Athat. I remembered that around 2003-2004, Zayn and his brother AUB to test some of his products. He needed a proof that they were natural to export them outside the Arab world. I remember the two medium plastic bags with some herbs. My boss was skeptical at that time since two bags are not representative of all his products. What if the samples he presented are different than what he is selling? I think with the samples he provided they had lots of natural ingredients but he wanted a written certificate from...where up to my knowledge she did not give it to him. At that time I had to leave to USA for my PhD but I can contact her and ask her for more details. I also heard (a rumor or fact) that there was a lawsuit against him in south of Lebanon where Randa Berri personally obstructed it. Apparently it is the only natural product that had the permission from ministry of health, No wonder?(the minister of health being a member in Amal movement). Another rumor...Later on if you visit his website he claimed that he learned it from his grandfather. Additional products you have not mentioned: a cream that hinders hair growth (esp for women) and a cream that turns the hair blonde (as a chemist I don't know how this can happen from natural products)...I don't know how far you want to go with this, but your posts made me curious. I went to his website and tried to check the ingredients it struck me that most of the products had a coded ingredient that is common to most of his products where only numbers differ, He calls it henkel formula, sometime it is writtem henkel formul other time it is written Henkil formul (no consistency at all). I 've never heard of it I checked with my roommate (she is a synthetic chemist, I am a physical chemist, so she knows better than me) she also did not hear about it, I googled it and came up with this website: for Henkel company specialized in cosmetics and known commercial brand names, definitely not natural. Here are two examples of many (anti dandruff shampoo, please read ingredients in english and then read what it says in arabic no match at all (salicylic I don't know salicylic what, but salycilic acid is...actually is a plant hormone and active ingredient in aspirin Aspirin) Example two: this is the slimming cream in addition to the Henkel Formula and other chemicals there is menthol (it is usually in medicines for throat irritation, and products like Halls, so it feels like burning and may be people think it is actually slimming them). I don't believe that this person is allowed to sell things to people as natural." (Laure provided the pictures posted).

Strenuous workouts

They asked Fadi `Abbud, the Minister-designate of Tourism in Lebanon, whether he works out. "Of course," he said. "I take a walk EVERY Saturday."

Friday, November 27, 2009

Israel: disgrace unto the nations

"For Golan Heights residents who want to join a future spouse in Syria, they too must sign on their honour to never return to the other side. Once they've crossed the border, they're given a Syrian residency card which specifies that they've renounced their Israeli nationality. For spouses going in the other direction, they receive a renewable one-year residency permit for Israel." (thanks Marcy)

Not in the US media

"Unions in Iraq (FWCUI) has called for an expansion of the now 41 day-old leather industries strike, into other industries and sectors across Iraq. In their call (which you can read in the original Arabic here, and in English translation here) they cite numerous wage and condition-related grievances, but also emphasize what Iraqi labor unions have for decades been struggling against: a 1987 law, enforced to this day, which prohibits worker organizing in the public sector, in addition to various economic initiatives which they see as threatening the public sector’s very existence. The FWCUI’s analysis also has a broader reach, and considers these moves an expression of the desire on the part of the Iraqi Government, multi-nationals, and the US-led occupation, to privatize nearly all Iraqi industry." (thanks Ali)

Zayn Al-Athat

I have reported this week about the Lebanese quack (alleged) crook, Zayn Al-Athat who peddles in infomercials "natural" herbal products for all ailments. He has a cream to enlarge a woman's breasts, and a cream for hair growth, and a cream for hemorrhoids. It is the same damn cream, but you just need to change the location where you spread the cream. He also has pills to make you lose between 20 to 30 pounds, without having to diet. He explained how it works scientifically. He said: it erodes the fat, makes the stomach smaller, and make you lose your desire for food, no matter how much food you see.

PS I am accepting contributions about this guy, who is allegedly a partner with Randa Birri, wife of Nabih Birri, the leader of the Amal Movement which led the War of the Camps against the Palestinians in Lebanon in the mis-1980s.

Dictatorships that you find cute

"Amnesty International has condemned the conviction of a dissenting Tunisian journalist who has been jailed for six months on trumped up charges after an unfair trial. Taoufik Ben Brik, a prominent government critic, was sentenced on Thursday on charges of committing violence, damaging property, harming public morality and defamation."

This is Zionism

"On Friday, 13 November, soldiers were documented firing 22-caliber bullets at demonstrators during the weekly demonstration against the Separation Barrier in Ni’lin. The shots were fired a few dozen meters from the targets, and lightly wounded two demonstrators. The IDF Spokesperson’s Office confirmed that 22-caliber bullets had indeed been fired." (thanks Olivia)

Masters know what puppets will do better than puppets

"Officials in Jerusalem estimated that within a few weeks the PA will declare its willingness to return to the negotiation table as part of an agreement reached between Israel and the Palestinian leadership in Ramallah."

Injustices in Lebanon

"Khaled is not a unique case. Hundreds of young women and men live in a similar ordeal. Their main crime is being born to Lebanese women who had the misfortune of having children from non-Lebanese men. By the time you read this story, Khaled might have been deported. He has now reached an impasse. No employer will hire him and declare him. He cannot afford or navigate through the confusing and expensive administrative paperwork and red tape." (thanks Mirvat)

Did they meet or did they not? That is the question

US military commander accuses the Economist--the best magazine there is, despite its political flaws and its constant use of the word "reckon"--of Iranian connection. "General Odierno claims that we were manipulated by the Iranians. Sadly for him, that is not true; we would not have run the story without the confirmation from the American source (and the corroboration of other Westerners present when the information was confirmed). Even so, we should plainly have given greater weight to the original denials of General Odierno and Mr Hill." (thanks Raed)

What does Iraq mean to you, o Western "democrat"?

"Google CEO: A New Iraq Means Business Opportunities". (thanks Jamal)

The New York Times is opposed to imperialism--only when not at the hand of the White Man

"Saudi leaders were frightened: heavily dependent on imports, they had seen the price of rice and wheat, their dietary staples, fluctuate violently on the world market over the previous three years, at one point doubling in just a few months. The Saudis, rich in oil money but poor in arable land, were groping for a strategy to ensure that they could continue to meet the appetites of a growing population, and they wanted Zeigler’s expertise."

Dubai miracle

"“This is another wave of the credit crunch,” said Christopher Davidson, an expert in Gulf politics at Durham University in Britain. “Dubai was fairly much the worst example of overextension. It had the worst debt per capita in the world by far. I would like to put it down as a really enormous white elephant that doesn’t have much in common with the regular economy of a regular state.”" Christopher has been right all along on this. Read his piece on Dubai in Al-Akhbar more than two months ago. Dubai is lost, I think. Mark my words. The skyline will soon show empty buildings. It will be a backdrop for movies. For Egyptian movies. For B Egyptian movies. No, for cheap B Egyptian movies that could not afford shooting elsewhere in the Middle East. Sheikh Mo may have to go back being a chief of police in the city of Dubai. Books on Dubai will not be a books on the history of Dubai.

Shi`ite Madoff

""All logic and reason suddenly disappeared in one day, as well as the simplicity in life and its requirements," wrote Ibrahim al-Amin, editor in chief of Al-Akhbar, a pro-Hezbollah newspaper." Ibrahim's piece is not bad but she managed to refer to As-Safir (an Arab nationalist, secular newspaper) as pro-Hizbullah and to Al-Akhbar (a secular leftist newspaper) as "pro-Hizbullah". But yet she is citing two sources (the director/founder in the case of Al-Akhbar) who were critical of Hizbullah. Reporters have a hard time understanding that those two newspaper (and others in Lebanon) don't support Hizbullah per se but support resistance against Israel, whether by communist or fundamentalists, and whether by Lebanese or Palestinians. But I agree with the article: that Hizbullah does not have the same clean image that it once had: some figures within the party are now known for high living.

Zionism: The promise of doom for us all

"With the western allies having been entangled in two destructive and illegal wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, Benny Morris (Obama's nuclear spring, 24 November) is eager and willing to start a third one. The history professor who now believes that the Nakba in 1948 did not go far enough, with too few Palestinians being ejected out of their land, is now of the opinion that Obama must give Israel the go-ahead for an attack on Iran, to destroy its nuclear potential. The coming war, which he admits will engulf not just the Middle East, but regions far beyond, is, for him and for most Israelis, seemingly unavoidable. Interestingly, there seems to be no problem with a nuclear Israel. Let's hope that for once the US president will show some resolve and fight back against the Zionist lobby, and stop this terrifying prospect of an all-out conflict in the Middle East. The advice given by Morris, Lieberman and Netanyahu is the promise of doom for us all." (thanks Dina)

More on the bunglings of the Mossad

"A trainee spy for Israel's secret service agency Mossad was arrested by Tel Aviv police while taking part in a training operation, media reports say. The young trainee was spotted by a female passer-by as he planted a fake bomb under a vehicle in the city." When the Mossad history is written, it needs to be covered in a sitcom. A farce really. This organization has become rather funny, if it was not for the wanton murders that they do. I mean, you need a movie-of-the-week about when it kidnapped the farmer Hasan Nasrallah from Ba`albak, because Mossad expert thought that he was the Hasan Nasrallah. Mossad experts think that there is only one "`Ali" and one "Muhammad" in the Arab world. (thanks Bill)

More on the Saudi-Zionist alliance

"The 54-year-old Israeli was already at the club in his second spell working as director of football. He will take charge of Saturday's home game with Manchester United in that role as his work permit needs to be changed before he can become manager." (thanks Mohamed)

The Israeli-Dahlan tour

"Attend a briefing by the U.S. Ambassador to Israel, and in Tel Aviv visit the Yitzhak Rabin Memorial in honor of the slain Israeli prime minister." (thanks Jobo)

Wahhabiyyah parading as liberalism: the case of the Hariri Movement

I have noted to you before, that after Sep. 11, Wahhabiyah propaganda has found a new way to parade before Western audiences. So-called Arab liberals who work as propagandists in Saudi media are part and parcel of this trick. Yet, Saudi media continue to fund and propagate the Wahhabi method and doctrine. Read the statements by Lebanese director of Internal Security Forces, Ashraf Rifi (who is a Hariri appointee and who is a member of the board of Prince Nayif University for Security, Torture, and Behadings) in an interview with a French magazine (printed in today's AsSafir) in which he admits that Gulf sources are responsible for funding Salafite fanatical group. And the Salafite element is a major component of the Hairri movement in Lebanon: the key figure of the Hariri movement, MP Samir Al-Jisr, said this summer that "yes, we are all Salafites". Yet, the Hariri movement is setting up an alliance of "liberal organizations" as it markets itself to Western embassies as a "liberal political movement" although Bahiyyah Al-Hariri admitted that she has been funding the fanatical group, Jund AshSham. But this liberal movement takes its clues from such Western liberals, as American Zionists. So they admitted the fascists National Liberal Party of Kamil Sham`un into the "alliance of liberals", while they turned down the Egyptian Ghad Party because the latter's criticisms of Israel and attack on the Israeli assault on Gaza is deemed "anti-Semitic." (thanks Soheil)

The Plight of Syrian workers in Lebanon

Here is a daily chronicle of the suffering of Syrian workers in the lousy potato homeland of Lebanon.

So where is your Dubai miracle?

"Fears of a dangerous new phase in the economic crisis swept around the globe yesterday as traders responded to the shock announcement that a debt-laden Dubai state corporation was unable to meet its interest bill." Remember how Arab and non-Arab Zionists were telling us that if we ignore Palestine and disregard the struggle against Israeli occupation we can enjoy a "Dubai". Where Dubai was bust, to begin with.

Dahlan Advocates: now you see the board member, now you don't

I have heard stories of how the Dahlan advocates at the Dahlan Task Force for Israel assembled its board. But the recent White House State Dinner crasher is a case in point. The fellow is a member of this lousy board of this lousy organization: it says so on Wikipedia. But suddenly, the organization's website first removed the picture and then the name of its proud board member. And to see the orientations of those Dahlanists, look at this: "Tareq gave just $1,600 in political contributions ($600 to George Allen, $1,000 to Jim Moran) over the past nine years." And for those who are not in the US, I can tell you that George Allen is one of the most fanatically anti-Arab, anti-Muslim, pro-Likud and generally racist politicians in the US. My theory is this: if Meir Kahane was still alive, he would have been invited to serve on the board of the Dahlan Task Force for Israel.

Explaining Yemen

This Saudi writer does an excellent job in explaining the Yemeni conflict. (thanks Hussein)

Socialist-Al-Qa`idah-Iran conspiracy in Yemen

`Ali `Abdullah Salih is losing his mind, literally as Joe Biden ends every sentence. I heard him make speeches this week, and I heard official statements by the Yemeni government. Basically, the Huthi rebels are accused of links with Iran, although no evidence has thus been produced. The Yemeni government and media keep promising us some damning evidence, to no avail. And the government is also accusing the Huthi rebels of connection with Al-Qa`idah, although the latter was very clear in a recent statement about the need to combat Shi`ites in the peninsula. And this week, Salih topped himself. He accused the separatist movement in the South, which is led by socialists, of links with Al-Qa`idah. I am not making this up, by the way. And the events in Yemen have to be studied in the context of the power struggle inside the Saudi royal family. As is known, many Saudi princes are assigned certain regions in the Arab world. Like Prince Muqrin deals with Lebanon, and Crown Prince `Abdullah (when he was Crown Prince), dealt with Syria, while Prince Sultan (who is dead in Morocco where his body is rotting comfortably) dealt with Yemen. After the Yemeni decision to align with Saddam back in 1990, and to refuse to vote for war at the Security Council, the Saudi government decided to sponsor and fund the socialists of South Yemen to stir up trouble for Salih. You may read about that in David Ottaway's new book, The King's Messenger. Damn. I am supposed to write something about this book here. Remind me.

Suide of foreign maids in Lebanon

Al-Akhbar puts the story of suicide of foreign maids in Lebanon on its front page.

Thursday, November 26, 2009


Bassam Haddad of George Mason University, Tartus took this picture of me while preparing for my talk this week.

Mut`ah Marriage in the southern suburbs in Beirut

A Lebanese academic who does not want to be identified sent me this about that ridiculous story about temporary marriage in the southern suburbs in Beirut: "Ridiculous. I mean I lived in Dahia all my life (Hayy al-sellum and later haret hriek)and never got to hear these stories except from people who are very foreign to the place (both Lebanese and Westerners). But even so, whatever happens there is to be criticized: whether sex was allowed, encouraged, banned or discouraged. It sucks."

‘Real Americans’ Pissed at Best Buy for Extending Holiday Wishes to Muslims

"Best Buy has struck a nerve deep in the heart of Americaland for including a “Happy Eid Al-Adha” note to Muslims in a holiday circular." (thanks Maria)

Female happiness in the US

"By most objective measures the lives of women in the United States have improved over the past 35 years, yet we show that measures of subjective well-being indicate that women's happiness has declined both absolutely and relative to male happiness. The paradox of women's declining relative well-being is found examining multiple countries, datasets, and measures of subjective well-being, and is pervasive across demographic groups. Relative declines in female happiness have eroded a gender gap in happiness in which women in the 1970s typically reported higher subjective well-being than did men. These declines have continued and a new gender gap is emerging—one with higher subjective well-being for men. Our findings raise provocative questions about the contribution of the women's movement to women's welfare and about the legitimacy of using subjective well-being to assess broad social changes." (thanks Nabeel)

NowHariri in Foreign Policy

Look at this lousy ill-informed article that mostly is based on rumors and prejudices of Saudi-financed media who only see Shi`ites through the prism of Taqiyyah and Mut`ah marriage. What Foreign Policy does not tell you is that this writer works for Hariri media in Lebanon and that the people she sites are affiliated with Hariri Inc in Lebanon. This writer works for the lousiest and most unprofessional Hariri propaganda outlet in Lebanon: Now Hariri. Just look at her articles and judge for yourselves. But you know how it is in US media: as long as the target is the enemy of the US/Israel, contributions from reporters for National Inquirer, or Hariri Inquirer, are welcome. On the topic of Mut`ah marriage in Lebanon: I can tell you this. Those reports are wildly exaggerated, and spread by the same Wahhabi/Hariri media outlets that have been spinning fitnah between Sunnis and Shi`ites. (thanks Michel)

An Army that does not defend Lebanon but bullies the refugees

"Access to Nahr al-Bared's outskirts as well as to the construction site is still controlled by the Lebanese army. Amr Saededine, a journalist closely following developments in Nahr al-Bared points to the army as a big obstacle to the reconstruction process. "The army interferes in anything. Nahr al-Bared was declared a military zone. But this here is a civilian area, not an army base!""

Mr. and Mrs. God

"In another revelation not usually found in Sunday School classes, Mr. Wright cites Biblical evidence that God (both El and Yahweh) had a sex life, rather like the Greek gods, and notes archaeological discoveries indicating that Yahweh may have had a wife, Asherah."

Make peace with Israel and your country will suddenly become pleasant and pretty, according to the New York Times

Do you notice that the Israeli-centric standards of the New York Times even influence its non-political sections? Look at this case for Jordan: "But treat Amman as a mere way station between destinations and you miss discovering what is perhaps the most pleasant city in the Middle East. Calling a place “pleasant” may seem like faint praise, but in Amman pleasant covers areas like religious tolerance, personal safety, an agreeable climate (at more than 3,000 feet above sea level, Amman is delightful spring, summer and fall) and the availability of French Champagne and excellent sushi. In this strife-torn region, pleasant is no small shakes." (thanks Basel)

The Dahlan advocates are embarrassed

"One would think an organization based primarily on high-level access to power would be happy to have a board member at President Barack Obama’s first state dinner. The American Task Force for Palestine (ATFP), however, has removed from its website Tareq (Tarek) Salahi, the most famous party crasher in the world. He, along with his wife, snuck into the state dinner Tuesday night. This screen shot of their website shows Salahi listed as a member of the board of directors less than a week ago. Today, his image is gone."

Lebanese Air Force

Zee planes. Zeee planes. (thanks Yassine)

The Lebanese Quack

Laure sent me this about Zayn Al-Athat (the Lebanese quack that I wrote about yesterday): "I have to comment of this Zayn Al-Athat. Once a woman calls on his show and asks him "Do you have a cream to enlarge cheeks. My face is too skinny. I lost weigh lately". He was puzzled for a moment then found the solution and he said "You know I have this cream to enlarge boobs, put some on your face. It has the same effect."

Horrors that the West likes

"The New York-based group Human Rights Watch has called on Saudi Arabia to overturn a death sentence given to a man convicted of practising witchcraft."

Not with Israelis or with Algerians: for Jamal Mubarak only

This Egyptian soccer player does not want to play with either Israelis or Algerians. (thanks Khalid)

The Israeli people heart Ethnic cleansing

"Transfer of Arabs from the Palestinian Authority to actual Arab countries was the most popular solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict, according to a poll this week by Israel National News. Of the more than 6,400 people surveyed, 53.2 said 'Transfer of Palestinians to another Arab country' when asked, "What's the best solution for the Arab-Israeli conflict?"" (thanks Ghassan)

Ray Hanania: neither funny nor smart

"2. I oppose violence of any kind from and by anyone. I reject Hamas' participation in any Palestinian government without first agreeing to surrender all arms and to accept two-states as a "final" peace agreement. But I also reject allowing Israeli settlers to carry any weapons and believe Israelis must impose the same restrictions on them." Notice that he wants to completely disarm Hamas, while only wanting to "restrict" settlers' arm, while allowing Israel to continue to enjoy its massive arsenal of WMDs. Oh, but this dude wants Israel to offer an apology. Oh, yeah? That will settle it for you? If Ray Hanania is funny, I would have said stick to comedy, but he is not. So I will only say: try something new. Carpentry or retail or something. (thanks Olivia)

Ignorance mixed with bigotry=Caldwell

"The most egregious examples of Caldwell's aliens are Muslims, because, as he sees it, they are less susceptible to European cultural influences than other immigrant groups such as Slavs, Sikhs, Hindus, non-Muslim Africans, and African-Caribbeans....Nor does Caldwell exhibit any familiarity with the rich literature describing the spread of Islam in peripheral cultures such as sub-Saharan Africa or South Asia, where a religion originating in Arabia proved every bit as adept as Christianity in adjusting to local conditions. He has similarly failed to familiarize himself, even superficially, with the vast literature charting the encounter between Islam and modern Western society. In his review of Western attitudes toward Islam he prefers to celebrate the prejudices of writers such as Ernest Renan (in 1883) or Hilaire Belloc (in 1938) than to engage with significant Muslim thinkers such as Muhammad Iqbal, Fazlur Rahman, Muhammed Arkoun, or Abdullahi an-Naim who might challenge his essentialist assumptions. Caldwell's "Islam" owes more to tabloid headlines than to responsible research. To borrow a phrase of Philip Lewis, it exemplifies the need for greater religious literacy in the post–September 11 era." (thanks "Ibn Rushd)

Most influential?

"He is followed by Iran's Supreme Leader Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, King Abdullah II of Jordan and Turkish Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan." How accurate or credible is this list which puts the King of Jordan in the "most influential" category. Just ask yourselves: do you know of any Muslim anywhere in the world who considers the King of Jordan influential in her/his life? Enough said. (thanks Suad)


I have a video recording file of my talk at Harvard Law School from this week. But it only plays in Quicktime. Can somebody email me to help in putting it on youtube so that I can link to it here? You may email me if you know how.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Lebanese military parade

So I was away but made sure to record the Lebanese military parade on Independence Day. I am not exaggerating when I say the parade consisted of showing trucks, jeeps, fire trucks, and ambulances. Kid you not. The funny thing about Lebanon is that there is no notion of scale or of appropriateness or of standards or of insanity.

Infomercials in Lebanon

Infomercials in Lebanon are huge now. They are everywhere. One of them is by this alleged crook called Zayn Al-Athat. He promotes various "health" products. He sells a cream that you can use on your head to grow hair, or in...not your head for hemorrhoids. Kid you NOT. Today, he was selling a shampoo; it comes in two flavors. One will put you to sleep--yes, the damn shampoo--and the other will wake you up and give you energy. I was told that the Amal Minister of Health, Muhammad Khalifah (a competent physician) wanted to ban this guy and restrict his activities but that Nabih Birri reigned him in because Randa Birri is allegedly a partner with Atat.

Demographics of this site

The demographics of this site has been changing. Increase in visits from Middle East countries for some reason.

It is not a conspiracy when it is annouced in broad daylight

"He said the Israeli government and the Obama administration are both committed to strengthening the leadership of Mahmoud Abbas."

Hassan Fattah and his brand of investigative, daring journalism

For you, o House of Nahyan:
"On the correct way to act during a chance meeting with Emirati royalty."

Countries of the Arabian Peninsula

""[T]he countries of the Arabian Peninsula are key partners... CENTCOM ground, air, maritime, and special operations forces participate in numerous operations and training events, bilateral and multilateral, with our partners from the Peninsula. We help develop indigenous capabilities for counter terrorism; border, maritime, and critical infrastructure security; and deterring Iranian aggression. As a part of all this, our FMS [Foreign Military Sales] and FMF [Foreign Military Financing] programs are helping to improve the capabilities and interoperability of our partners' forces. We are also working toward an integrated air and missile defense network for the Gulf. All of these cooperative efforts are facilitated by the critical base and port facilities that Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, the UAE [United Arab Emirates], and others provide for US forces."" (thanks Dale)

A Palestinian propped up by the enemies of the Palestinians

"Abbas, for his part, holds sway in the occupied West Bank, his administration largely propped up by Israel." (thanks Olivia)

When it comes to US puppets in the Middle East, US media peddle propaganda stories only

"For the past several years Palestine Prime Minister Salam Fayyad's name on the streets of the West Bank and Gaza has become synonymous with the words credibility, honesty, and transparency." And you want me to believe that all those fawning stories on this man who received 1% of the support of his people in the last legislative election are purely coincidental and not orchestrated? If you don't call me conspiracy theorist, you insult me. (thanks Emily)

House of Saud and House of Obama

"Holbrooke virtually confirmed media reports that Saudi intelligence is engaging the hardcore Taliban leader, Mullah Omar. He admitted, "We would be supportive of anything that the kingdom chose to do in this regard.""

Obama propaganda

"The VOA effort to grow its Latin American audience comes as the Obama administration tries to counter the attacks on U.S. policies by several presidents in the region: Hugo Chávez in Venezuela, Evo Morales in Bolivia, Rafael Correa in Ecuador and Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua." (thanks Dina)

This is in France

"Les violences faites aux femmes font énormément de victimes. En France, en 2008, cent cinquante-sept femmes sont mortes sous les coups de leur compagnon, ce qui représente un décès tous les 2,3 jours. "Dans de nombreux cas, le meurtre est l'ultime étape d'un continuum de violences, puisque, dans un quart des cas, il existait une violence connue antérieure", soulignait, en juillet, une mission d'information de l'Assemblée nationale, dont la présidente (PS) était Danielle Bousquet et le rapporteur (UMP), Guy Geoffroy." (thanks Karim)


"Foreign Ministry director-general Yossi Gal has held secret state-level meetings in Oman's capital Muscat, a senior official in Jerusalem told Haaretz. Diplomatic relations between Israel and Oman were cut off in 2000 at the start of the second intifada." I mean, Qaboos does not sip a beverage before receiving orders from his Western handlers. (thanks Mariam)

Sale Arabe

"Allez, dégage sale Arabe. On peut vous tabasser comme on veut". Michèle, a French citizen, sent me this and asked me to express her apology to all French citizens of Arab distraction. I have heard that Arabs at French schools are commonly referred to as "sale Arabe".

One day, you will be made to pay: for all that you have done to our people

"The human rights organization Yesh Din says not one of the 69 complaints filed during the past four years on damage to Palestinians' trees in the West Bank has resulted in an indictment. The organization released a report on the matter Tuesday and makes specific reference to damage caused to olive groves, central to the livelihood of Palestinian villagers." (thanks Sarah)

Will he resign now? After Scahill's article?

"In his statement to the senate standing committee on interior, Malik said Blackwater was not operating in Pakistan and if proven wrong he would tender his resignation." (thanks anonymous)

The Battle for America

By the way, if you didn't follow the American presidential election, or if you did but want to know more about the behind-the-scenes, or if you teach American politics courses, I highly recommend the book by two serious reporters, Haynes Johnson and Dan Balz, The Battle for America: 2008. And if you want banana ice cream, I recommend Cold Stone.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

That Qaboos coup

""History records that it was a family affair, but documents reveal London's hidden hand. Offically, the architect of the coup was the Sultan's son, but in papers seen by the programme, Britain is seen to be calling the shots. Worried that the country's faltering regime could fall to communism and so threaten its vital oil interests, London decided to act. Formerly secret documents clearly show British civil servants and military leaders plotting regime change in Oman, by the use of force if necessary. They concealed their plans and only nowcan the real story be told." Asa sent me this and added: "Very interesting. There's a part where a radio interview from from the time asked Qabus how he managed to pull of the coup and his reply is "I have some friends and they helped me".." I still have not listened to it yet.

NowHariri: Now Racist

The picture in this article has been changed. The original article is displayed above. (Thanks Matthew)


Soldiers of the House of Saud celebrate shooting at refugees. (thanks John)

Comrade Zeina

Comrade Zeina is profiled in Al-Akhbar.

Obama's Empire

"The United States is massively building up its potential for nuclear and non-nuclear strikes in Latin America and the Caribbean by acquiring unprecedented freedom of action in seven new military, naval and air bases in Colombia. The development – and the reaction of Latin American leaders to it – is further exacerbating America's already fractured relationship with much of the continent."

Too many Arab lands

"Other complaints from Egyptian holidays include “Too many Arabs in Egypt”, “Too much sand on the beaches”, “loud moaning” from a local mosque." (thanks Emily)

Photoshop journalism

This Bahraini government newspaper published what it said was a picture of Kofi Annan meeting with its correspondent in New York City. But the picture was doctored, or photoshopped from this picture of Annan. (thanks anonymous)

"Masculine performance"

Husni Mubarak congratulated the Egyptian soccer team, which lost to Algeria, for their "masculine performance".

This is Zionism

"The social, economic, health and educational gaps between Israel's Jewish and Arab citizens are continuing to grow, mostly as a result of unfair government policies and prejudice from the Jewish population, a study published Wednesday has found. Now in its third year, the Equality Index of Jewish and Arab Citizens in Israel, published by Sikkuy, the Association for the Advancement of Civic Equality, cites growing housing shortages and a looming welfare crisis as the main concerns facing the country's 1.5 million Arabic-speakers. "The index shows an alarming picture: that the gap between Jews and Arabs has increased by almost five percent in just two years," commented Ron Gerlitz, co- executive director of Sikkuy." (thanks Olivia)

Zionism is racism

"An Arab student who wanted to enroll in a university mentoring program told Ynet Monday that he had been rejected by the program's sponsors because of his race." (thanks Rashid)

Kingdom of Horrors

"Human Rights Watch conducted research missions to Saudi Arabia in November and December 2006, and again in May 2007. We found pervasive injustices in the Saudi criminal justice system and systematic and multiple violations of defendants' rights. Individuals in Saudi Arabia may find themselves detained and arrested for behavior that is not inherently criminal, or for apparently (and unwittingly) offending vague legal prohibitions. They may then find themselves in solitary confinement and subject to forms of ill-treatment. The authorities often do not inform individuals of the crime of which they are accused, or the evidence supporting the accusation. An accused person typically does not have access to a lawyer, faces abuse when refusing to incriminate him or herself, and waits excessive periods of time before trial, where he or she is often unable to examine witnesses or evidence and present a legal defense, not least because of a presumption of guilt and shifting charges." (thanks Nadim)

Disgrace unto the nations

"Some 79 percent of single women and 15 percent of married women suffer sexual harassment in the workplace, but only 3 percent of those women ever complain, according to a new study by Dr. Abigail Mor of Tel-Hai Academic College." (thanks "Ibn Rushd")

Obama Watch

"At a covert forward operating base run by the US Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) in the Pakistani port city of Karachi, members of an elite division of Blackwater are at the center of a secret program in which they plan targeted assassinations of suspected Taliban and Al Qaeda operatives, "snatch and grabs" of high-value targets and other sensitive action inside and outside Pakistan, an investigation by The Nation has found. The Blackwater operatives also assist in gathering intelligence and help run a secret US military drone bombing campaign that runs parallel to the well-documented CIA predator strikes, according to a well-placed source within the US military intelligence apparatus." (thanks Nabeel)

Peace? What Peace?

"Angry Arab take
“The paradox is that despite Arab leaders’ willingness to make Israel a natural addition to the region, Israel itself continues to generate its unequivocal rejection through ongoing massacres, which renders all Arab overtures of normalisation obsolete. It is a kind of dialectical argument: the Zionist oppression and tyranny is built on violence, meaning Israel needs violence to maintain its existence. In the meantime this violence hampers any chances for its acceptance in the region among the region’s populations.”" (thanks Musa)

Poor US marines

I mean US marines go to a foreign country to occupy it, and in the course of occupation they face so many hardships and obstacles. Most unfair, really.

My talk last night

"As’ad AbuKhalil—a politics and public administration professor at California State University Stanislaus—offered a blistering critique of the Obama administration’s record thus far, focusing on combating beliefs that Obama’s foreign policy has marked a departure from the expansionist philosophy he said was espoused by the Bush administration." (thanks Nimer)

Israel would like to invite you to fight wars on its behalf

"With an American public increasingly tired of war, any war, the US president is unlikely to send in the air force, navy and special forces to smash the Iranian nuclear installations." And who will smash Israel's nuclear installations? (thanks Dina)

`Abdur-Rahman Munif

"The positive reception of the novel encouraged Munif to leave his dreary job in the Oil Ministry in Damascus and move to Beirut, working as a journalist. He arrived with an unpublished second novel, Sharq al-Mutawassit (East of the Mediterranean), which Munif held back from publishing for three years. Its subject was political torture and imprisonment, a theme that would become one of the most prevalent in modern Arabic literature, and had already produced a certain body of fiction. [8] Munif’s novel, however, was of exceptional power and ambition, aspiring to write the ultimate political prison in all its variations, for it takes us to seven political prisons and lives with its hero in them for five years, during which there is scarcely any kind of torture he does not suffer. An epigraph from Pablo Neruda speaks to the need never to forget such suffering." (thanks Hassan)

Monday, November 23, 2009

zeee planes, zeee planes

Lebanese Air Force still dominates the Middle East skies: "Six Hawker Hunter jets took part in the parade, performing low-level acrobatics." (thanks Bart)


"South Africa deported an Israeli airline official last week following allegations that Israel’s secret police, the Shin Bet, had infiltrated Johannesburg international airport in an effort to gather information on South African citizens, particularly black and Muslim travellers."

House of Saud goes to war

"Indeed, Saudi Arabia has fought every "ism" that has sought to dominate the Middle East, including Nasser's pan-Arabism, communism, and today's Islamism of the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas, the terrorism of al-Qaida and the Shi'ism of Iran. The tools it relied upon were oil money and Wahhabi Islam. During the 1980s, Saudi Arabia spent more than $75bn on the propagation of Wahhabi doctrine, funding schools, mosques, and charities across the Islamic world in an effort to bolster its influence. A large share of these resources was reserved for its back garden, Yemen. Thousands of schools were established, covering every city and village in Yemen. Saudi Arabia created in Yemen a strong Wahhabi current that was politically and ideologically loyal to the ruling al-Saud. Indeed, Yemen's president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, used imported Wahhabism to defeat his domestic opponents – first the communists, then the Houthis – despite being a Zaidi Shia...Both the Saudi and Yemeni governments have also claimed that there are strong links between the Houthis and al-Qaida, thereby gaining American support. But the Houthis are not terrorists. Abdul Malik al-Houthi, a leader of the insurgency in Yemen's Sa'dah region, said this month that the Houthis, who are Zaidi Shia, are ideologically and strategically antithetical to Wahhabi Sunni al-Qaida...But the Saudis are unlikely to succeed militarily in Yemen. Yemen's army of 700,000 could not suppress the Houthi rebellion, despite five attempts since 2004. Now they are leaving Saudi Arabia's untested army of 200,000 men to do the job for them. And, while the Saudis are currently relying on their air force, a full-scale land battle will have to follow – on the same harsh terrain that helped defeated Nasser's battle-hardened troops in the 1960s."

In every sense of the word, Israel is a disgrace unto the nations

"Independence Park in Tel Aviv has for years been known as a meeting place for gays looking for casual sex as well as relationships. Poems and books have been written about the park, and it inspired several films. The park retained its popularity as a discreet and convenient location, even as other venues catering to the LGBT community emerged in Tel Aviv over the years. Now, community members say, the Tel Aviv municipality is trying to evict them from the park - installing stronger lighting, getting rid of bushes and trees, and increasing harassment by municipal patrols. Visitors say that for the last two months, city inspectors have been blocking them from entering areas with shrubbery." And yet, I still have to read in the Western press about how Israel is this great haven for gays. Give me a potato, NOW. (thanks Olivia)

Queen Youtube: She is just like you and me

"Her Majesty Queen Rania tours Al Bokharyeh and Al Balabseh souks - two of the oldest markets in downtown Amman - on Sunday. Marking the Eid Al Adha holiday season, the Queen spoke with shopkeepers and salespeople to check on their situations during what is considered to be a peak shopping period." (thanks Marcy)

Ruling dynasties that you like and arm

"Saudi Arabia, long the major arms-buyer in the region, is now being overtaken by relative minnows such as the United Arab Emirates as they share their neighbour's fear of the growing military strength of their Shia neighbour...BAE Systems, Britain's biggest arms manufacturer, is currently delivering to Saudi Arabia an order for 72 Eurofighter Typhoon jets, which it makes as part of a European consortium.Defence spending in the kingdom is projected to rise from $43.52 billion this year (pounds 26.17 billion) to $47.4 billion (pounds 28.5billion) in 2010. But other Gulf states are catching up. Eurofighter's chief executive, Enzo Casolini, told the show he thought the Middle East would buy half the 300 Eurofighters he has set as his target sales figure by 2020. The United Arab Emirates is now the third largest arms importer in the world, after China and India, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute." (thanks Dina)

Chief PA buffoon

Yesterday, a member of Sa'ib `Urayqat's family told me stories about him but she would not let me use any of them here. Just want to tell you that.

I am not a monster, damn it

So I am around MESA (the Middle East Studies Association) convention here in Boston, as my talk (at Harvard Law School) is not until tonight. So I enter this hall yesterday to attend a panel dealing with Lebanon. First, a dear colleague asks me not to criticize the presentation of one of the speakers because she is her student. Then, another speaker comes to the podium and says to the audience: "I am sorry but I feel very nervous because I see Dr. As`ad AbuKhalil in the audience and I am afraid that he would be critical of my presentation on his blog." I felt bad. I am not like that. And I am particularly sensitive to people working on their PhDs or are early in their careers,. I can be, politically speaking, mean and nasty but that is directed at the people who deserve it, I believe. Of course, I may add: just dont mess with Palestine and the Palestinians.

Hariri Inc hearts right-wing Zionist Americal journalists

"My host on the trip was New Opinion Group, a Lebanese NGO. Created in the wake of the March 2005 Cedar Revolution, it is dedicated to "achieving a nonsectarian, democratic, and sovereign Lebanon." The small group of American journalists, policy analysts, and scholars of which I was a part met with civil society activists, professors, journalists, TV personalities, and leading politicians representing Lebanon's major sects." And then this Zionist fanatic reports this from Beirut, having spent a few days there and feeling the authority to report on Lebanese public opinion throughout the country: "One hears from all sections of Lebanese society that Israel is the key to reining in Hezbollah." And he does not shy away from offering policy advice: "Second, the United States can expand programs to support civil society in Lebanon, particularly K-12 education, and also economic development, particularly in the south..." I mean, if only the US governments heeds his advice, all Lebanese Shi`ites would be paying tribute to Alan Derwhowitz. This brilliant foreign policy brain is onto something, big. (thanks very anonymous)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

To the Editor of the Economist

I read three issues of the Economist yesterday, and I counted several usages of the word "reckon". How many time do I have to tell you that it is overused in the magazine. Stop. Please.

White Farmers in Zimbabwe

As for as the British press is concerned--and that includes the Economist, there is no injustice in the world or in history that is more cruel and more savage than what befell the white farmers in Zimbabwe. The press goes nuts on that, for some reason. Race, of course, is not a factor. In fact, as far as the British press is concerned, the plight of white farmers in Zimbabwe is worse than colonialism itself.

David Ottaway

Remind me to write about the new book by David Ottaway on US-Saudi relations and the role of Prince Bandar. I finished it yesterday. I may write a long article about it for AlAkhbar, and a brief response here. David Ottaway is a serious and decent American journalist. He is not somebody to write a fawning book on the House of Saud. He has too much of self-respect. Bye for now.

Saudi Arabia

I was thinking on the plane yesterday, King `Abdullah is the weakest king ever in Saudi history. He has no constituency and no major factions within the royal family. To be sure, King Khalid who followed King Faysal did not rule much: but that was by choice. He was more into prayer and falconry, and he did not mind that Fahd rule on his behalf.

Saudi foreign policy: dissent from the neighbors

"His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohammad Al-Sabah is going to pay a two-day official visit to Iran today, leading a high-level delegation. The visit, which comes at the invitation of Iran's First Vice-President Mohammad Reza Rahimi, aims to further promote and cement historical relations between Kuwait and Iran." By the way, Oman, Qatar, UAE, and Kuwait have problems with Saudi Arabia and its foreign policy. The Arab press is not free to report on this, and the Western press has other concerns.

Lawmakers in Egyptian parliament

"Lawmakers applauded Mubarak's comments Saturday." What is the job of Egyptian lawmakers except to applaud the comments of the president. Some of the lawmakers were friends of my father, and they applauded for Nasser, and then applauded for Sadat, and then applauded for Mubarak. Do you know that the Mustafa Khalil, who led Egypt's peace with Israel process was a staunch Nasserist, under Nasser?

Israel's ambassador

I am told that the Israeli ambassador in the US, Michael Oren, is speaking at Harvard Law School a few hours before my talk. I asked the students whether I should show up at his talk to inquire about the conflict.


"Palestinian Ambassador to Iraq Dalil Al-Qasus called on Arab countries during a celebration of Palestinian culture in Baghdad on Saturday to close their embassies in Israel as a sign of support to the Palestinian people." The audacity. The (un-elected) president of this ambassador takes his orders from the Israeli government, and this ambassador has the audacity to call on Arab c ountries to close their embassies?

The actual record

"The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has claimed almost 8,900 lives in two decades, the vast majority of them Palestinians, the Israeli human rights group B'Tselem said in a statement published on Sunday. Israeli forces killed 7,398 Palestinians, including 1,537 minors, both in Israel and the occupied territories during that period, while Palestinians killed 1,483 Israelis, including 139 minors, B'Tselem said."

Egypt versus Algeria: all for you, Jamal Mubarak

An Arab journalist in Cairo (who does not want to be identified) sent me this (I cite with his/her permission): " I was at that demonstration in Zamalek, Cairo. The protestors were chanting slogans along the lines of these two, the most common two by the way: "Algeria, get lost: you're the country of one million prostitutes" (ya gaza'ir imshi foot, ya balad millyun sharmout) "1,2,3 fuck Algerie" (1,2,3, qus umm Algerie) It was "respectable" because many of the protestors were rich kids with blackberrys. State tv would only carry images with no audio of the protest, while the anchor women called it "well mannered." One young woman in the protest, dressed fashionably, had a sign saying "get out" in English and in Arabic a call for the expulsion of "the ambassador and all Algerians" I have heard not one dissenting voice on the street toward these racist sentiments. I have been shocked to find most people, aside from a few leftists and Islamists, agree with them. The independent media--Shurouk and Al Masry Al youm--insist that the "barbaric Algerians"--and there is absolutely no distinguishing between people and government--faked the attack on the players' bus. They insist they treated the Algerians here with hospitality, although buses carrying Algerian fans were stoned after the match in Cairo and then hooligans fought with Algerians outside their hotel. 20 Algerians and 12 Egyptians were injured in that clash according to the health ministry. They insist that they are entirely innocent, that Egyptians are the most hospitable people in the world, that Umm el Dunya welcomes everyone to her bosom. This is the rhetoric flooding daily from government and independent media alike. At the same time, they insist that what happened in Sudan was a "bloodbath." Masry al Youm, like the government media, are bringing in psychiatrists to give quack analysis on why the Algerians "have mental problems" and why they are "viscious." I have had Egyptian colleauges and friends calling me to tell me that the Algerians are "a viscious people." They insist that the attacks by Algerian fans against Egyptians in Sudan, which according to the Egyptian health minister injured 21 people--"lightly", Hatem el-Gabali said--was an attack organised by the government. They compare the behavior of these hooligans with the "Egyptian character", as one psychiatrist did today in an interview with state television, which is "respectable" and "beautiful" and "creative." There is no difference between Shurouk and Masry al Yawm and state media in this regard. The liberals, too, are spouting racist invective. Egyptian actors lined up in the Cairo film festival to attack the Algerians, one artist emphasised: "I am against the Algerian government and I am against the Algerian people." And they're getting in the same trench with the government, the ones who actually did muster thugs carrying swords and machetes in 2005 to terrorize voters in the parliamentary election': the ones who brutally tortured a Hezbollah operative to elicit a confession and information on the workings of the group, which they then boastfully published in their Ahram mouthpiece; who annually kill about 10 Egyptians in prison by torture and who have done more than anyone--Israel or Algerian football fans--to chip away at each Egyptian's self respect and sense of dignity and promote the bakshish and ya basha culture."