Friday, November 30, 2012

On Clerics, `Ulama', and Fuquha`

My weekly article in Al-Akhbar:  "On Clerics, `Ulama', and Fuquha'".

Comrade Joseph on the UN vote

"The vote is essentially an update of the partition plan of 1947, whereby the UN now grants Jewish colonists and their descendants 80-90% of Palestine, leaving the rest to the native inhabitants, and it risks abrogating the refugees' right of return.  A small minority native to the West Bank (about 1.3 million people), for whom the PA claims to speak, will gain UN status as a state under occupation, while the Palestinian refugees in the West Bank (1 million people), along with six million other refugees, risk losing their right of return.
By recognising a diminished Palestinian state, the vote effectively abandons the UN understanding of the "Jewish state" as one that has no right to discriminate against or ethnically cleanse non-Jews. The new arrangement confers the blessing of this international forum on the Israeli understanding of what a "Jewish state" entails– namely, the actually existing legal discrimination and ethnic cleansing practised by Israel –as acceptable. That this occurred on 29 November, the date of the partition plan, reiterates this date as one of continuing defeats for the Palestinians who continue to suffer from Israel's colonial laws, and repeats UN guilt in denying Palestinians their rights not to suffer dispossession and racism. The Palestinians, however, whose majority is not represented by the PA, will no more heed this new partition plan than they did the last one and will continue to resist Israeli colonialism until it comes to an end and until Israel becomes a state for all its citizens with equal rights to all regardless of national, religious, or ethnic background."

Lies of Israel about Paper Dome

" Some American technical experts also say they want hard evidence before judging whether Iron Dome knocked out as many rockets as Israel has claimed. Iron Dome’s most salient feature, according to American experts now examining after-action reports from Gaza, may well be its software...
But some antimissile experts have expressed doubt about Israeli claims for Iron Dome, which is built by Israeli defense firms but has received about $275 million in financial support from the United States. Bright flashes can create a visual impression of overwhelming interceptor success, when in fact they may represent nothing more than the interceptor warhead blowing up, these skeptics warn.

“I’ve met the guys in Israel, and they’re smart,” said Richard M. Lloyd, an antimissile expert with more than a dozen patents and two major textbooks on warhead design to his credit. “But I’m not seeing the things I want to see” to prove that Iron Dome actually succeeded to the extent described by Israel.

Mr. Lloyd, who works for Tesla Laboratories Inc., a defense contractor in Arlington, Va., said he had studied dozens of publicly available photographs of spent rockets that landed on Israel. Few of them, he said, showed signs of damage from Iron Dome’s exploding warhead and the specific mechanism by which the interceptor is designed to make its kill — a dense spray of speeding metal fragments.". But notice that the headline of this piece only implies success.

Protests against the Free Syrian Army in Syria

Apparently, there were today protests by Syrians against Free Syrian Army thuggery.  Some slogans called for an Islamist Army instead.  (We want the Islamist Army.  The Free [Syrian] Army is a thief).
"بدنا الجيش الاسلامي، الجيش الحر حرامي"

This, of course, won't be reported in the US press

"In its Weekly Report On Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territories for the week of 22 -29 Nov. 2012, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) found that during the past week, Israeli Forces killed a Palestinian civilian in the Gaza Strip, while 5 others, including 2 civilians; one of whom is a woman, died of wounds they had sustained in the latest Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip. Moreover, Civil Defense crews found the corpses of 2 civilians, including a child, in the rubble of their house that was destroyed by Israeli forces last week."

talk of the nation

Houssam sent me this:  "On NPR's talk of the Nation today, guest Robert Kagan, a senior fellow in foreign policy at Brookings Institution says, and I am quoting as closely as I remamber:

"the only thing i worry about now is that, we have not seen the worse from Bashar yet. If Bashar crosses the red-lines. ..… in which case the US and the wold would hold a heavy burden…... and then we need to respond to massive slaughter that we cannot tolerate anymore."

I just could not believe that he said that. I called the program to protest and asked the phone operator if 40 thousand Syrians killed "can be tolerated", what would the number that Mr. Kagan consider "a slaughter?" Of course, I was not put on air.

I am waiting for the program script to come out so I can quote more accurately, I just quickly wrote a note on my phone with what I thought I heard as closely as possible."

Burning Israeli flag in Bahrain

In protest against the recent Israeli war on Gaza, Bahraini lawmaker Osama Al-Tamimi, torches the Jewish state’s flag in parliament. (Photo courtesy Gulf News)
"Bahraini MP, Osama Al-Tamimi, smuggled in fuel in parliament to torch the Israeli flag without any warning, the UAE-based Gulf News reported Wednesday." (thanks Sultan)

What Israel shares with the US?

""Barak said the United States and Israel share the same beliefs in freedom, liberty, democracy and human dignity. The United States, he said, is a "moral beacon" to the people of the turbulent region."
"One concern Israel has is that Palestine's upgraded status could lead to a similar move on the International Criminal Court, where the Palestinians have tried for years to carve a role but were stopped by ICC officials who said the U.N. General Assembly must first sort out its status. The fear is that Palestine would try to bring war crime charges against Israel.""

Informal US role

""It would appear that regional integration will need the USA to link these assets and emerging centers to its own cutting edge command systems, creating the missing piece of this regional puzzle for activation as needed. This has long been the USA's informal role, but instantiating it in technology would offer a strong regional boost, along with a form of quiet but very significant military influence.""

Even Sweden heart House of Saud

""Defense Minister Karin Enström denied any foul play in the removal of the documents but has stopped short of supporting the inquiry sought by the main opposition parties. These parties claim the missing documents contained sensitive information about defense agency plans to deliver a weapons plant to Saudi Arabia, and that these same agencies planned to use a shell company, called SSTI, to oversee project negotiations with Saudi Arabia relating to the delivery of the plant.""

Turkey which is keen on minority rights in Syria...

""More than 40,000 people have been killed in the conflict between Turkey and the PKK since it took up arms against the state in 1984 with the aim of carving out an ethnic homeland in the southeast.""  When the killer is an ally of the US, it is never said that it killed....

British civilization

""The full story of the British government's attempts to mount a cover-up following a massacre of unarmed prisoners during the 1950s Mau Mau insurgency in Kenya has been disclosed with the declassification of hitherto secret files from the era. The documents - held for five decades in a secret Foreign Office archive - show that ministers and officials were claiming that the men had died after drinking contaminated water long after they had been informed of the truth: that all 11 had been been beaten to death."" (thanks Amir)

Time plagiarizer is back: the counts GCC countries as seclar states

"Iran remains a real threat, but it is isolated, sanctioned and contained like few other countries in history. It is roiled by discontent at home and facing the combined opposition of the secular Arab states, Israel and the Western powers." (thanks Ammar)

Mossad recruits in Saudi Arabia now

"Military sources said the Intelligence Division has been increasing recruitment for such tasks as collection and analysis. They said MI sought to improve its capability in such countries as Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Turkey." (thanks Ali)

Insulting Sunni Islam

"A prominent Kuwaiti Shiite lawyer and parliamentary candidate filed an appeal on Tuesday against a one-year jail sentence he was given on charges of insulting Sunni Islam, he said. Khaled Al-Shatti, who is running for parliament in elections on Saturday, said a court had sentenced him on Monday over statements deemed insulting to Sunnis. Shatti's comments in March last year allegedly criticised former Saudi religious leader Abdul Aziz bin Baz and Sheikh Mohammad bin Abdul Wahhab, the founder of the strict Wahhabi school of Sunni Islam." (thanks Basim)

This is what I call an independent and sovereign opposition that the Syrian people can be proud of

"At an appearance here on Thursday, Mrs. Clinton expanded on Ms. Nuland’s remarks. “We have been deeply involved in helping stand them up, and we’re going to carefully consider what more we can do,”".  So it is like a baby that the US is helping to stand on its feet.  This how the colonial powers talked about Africa.

Hizbullah in Syria

It just hit me.  The treatment of Hizbullah role in Syria is rather hilarious.  So all of Hizbullah's enemies--in Lebanon, in the region, and around the world--are gathering in Syria to fight against the regime but they have the audacity to insist that Hizbullah stay out of the picture entirely out of respect for the sovereignty of Syria.  This is at a time when the US is contemplating plans to deploy CIA and special forces in the country.  Rather hilarious, if you think about it.

This is what the Muslim Brotherhood means by Jihad

From Ahmet of Tunisia:  "Asad, here is it: " Egyptian media reports said Gaza was the intended destination for the weapons, which included 185 crates filled with 5,000 rounds of bullets, anti-tank and anti-aircraft munitions, rocket-propelled grenades, landmines and explosives. The value of the shipment was estimated at $3.3 million. It was the second weapons shipment from Libya that Egyptian authorities intercepted in less than a week. Last week, a convoy of pickups was stopped near the Egyptian town of Marsa Matrouh, not far from the Libyan border. The trucks were carrying, according to Egyptian reports, 108 Grad rocket warheads."

This is how the New York Times counts the dead among Palestinians

"The operation killed scores of Palestinians".  And notice that Israeli wars and assaults and aggression are referred to as "operations".  So let me show you the difference: in the Munich Operation in 1972, 11 Israelis were killed (most by German police) and yet the operation is consistently referred to as "massacre".  So killing 11 Israelis is a massacre but Israeli killing of Palestinians (more than 160 in the recent war on Gaza) is never referred to as a massacre.  And you think that we don't notice?

Lies of the Times

The New New York Times had this headline today about the PA UN Bid:  "Both Israel and Hamas are critical".  (Later edition of the Times removed the lie that is contained in the headline).  And the story itself then said this: "Israel and the militant group Hamas both responded critically to the day’s events".   But there is absolutely no evidence of criticisms by Hamas: if anything, Hamas (wrongly in my opinion) supported Abbas in his silly exercise.   But the article in the Times insisted that Hamas was critical:  "While Hamas had officially backed the United Nations bid of Mr. Abbas, it quickly criticized his speech because the group does not recognize Israel.  “There are controversial issues in the points that Abbas raised, and Hamas has the right to preserve its position over them,” said Salah al-Bardaweel, a spokesman for Hamas in Gaza, on Thursday."  Tha  t passes as criticism?  Am I missing something here?  The reason for this deception in the headline and the article is that the Times did not want show that Israel was the only country that was critical--along with the US, of course.

A ballot with no choice: this is what the US and GCC engineered in Yemen

(thanks Fadi)

No Victory for Palestine: Abbas’ Farewell Speech at the UN

My blog post for Al-Akhbar English on the PA bid at the UN:  "No Victory for Palestine: Abbas’ Farewell Speech at the UN".

Thursday, November 29, 2012

I Call On You

From the poem I Call On You by Palestinian poet Tawfiq Zayyad (my translation):
“I call on you
I press your hands
I kiss the ground under your feet
and I say: I sacrifice myself for you
I give you as a gift
the light of my eyes
and the warmth of heart, I give you
My tragedy that I live
Is my share of your tragedies
I call on you
I press your hands
I kiss the ground under your feet
and I say: I sacrifice myself for you
I did not humiliate myself in my homeland
and I did not lower my shoulders
I stood facing my oppressors
orphaned, naked, and bare foot
I call on you
I press your hands
I kiss the ground under your feet
and I say: I sacrifice myself for you
I carried my blood on my palm
I never lowered my flags
and I cared for the green grass
over the graves of my ancestors”

Don't be deceived

This is no major achievement at the UN.  Palestine will not be liberated from New York City.  I write about that tomorrow at Al-Akhbar English.

Vote on Palestine: Yes, No, and Abstention

Toward Palestine

(thanks Mirvat)

Who Voted "NO" on Palestine at the UN

"Just nine nations voted against the Palestinian Authority's upgrade to nonvoting observer state status, which passed the General Assembly 138-9, with 41 abstentions.  Voting "no" Thursday were Israel, the United States and Canada, joined by the Czech Republic, Panama and several Pacific island nations: Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru and Palau. The Pacific nations typically support the U.S. and Israel at the U.N. on key General Assembly resolutions."  (thanks Joseph)

How could he not not tell Obama?

From Ahmet in Tunisia: "Asad, look at the mindset of the US press: you can power-grab but give a heads up: "Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi poses a quandary for the Obama administration as it struggles to respond to the democratically elected Islamist leader’s power grab -- which he made without any advance notice to Washington.""

10,000 Palestinian women arrested by Israel since 1948

"The Palestinian Center for Prisoners' Studies stated, in its report issued on Tuesday on the occasion of "International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women ", that the occupation has arrested more than 10 thousand Palestinian women since the start of the Israeli occupation in 1948, more than 950 of them were arrested during the last twelve years (since the Al-Aqsa Intifada in 2000)."

Why can't Israel enjoy war crimes, says the UK

""Britain is prepared to back a key vote recognising Palestinian statehood at the United Nations if Mahmoud Abbas pledges not to pursue Israel for war crimes and to resume peace talks.""

She communicated with Electronic Ali: it means she needs an adult to supervise her work

"Now The Times is taking steps to make sure that Ms. Rudoren’s further social media efforts go more smoothly. The foreign editor, Joseph Kahn, is assigning an editor on the foreign desk in New York to work closely with Ms. Rudoren on her social media posts."

Saudi repression

"Some 15 Saudi Arabian men detained on Tuesday must be released unless they are charged with a recognizable criminal offence, Amnesty International said following their arrest during a peaceful protest at the continued detention and ill-treatment of relatives.  Police arrested the men outside the offices of the Human Rights Commission in the capital Riyadh.  According to eyewitness accounts, 22 women and eight children were also detained for taking part in the protest. They were later released."

Arab oil money

""Industry insiders say the deal, dubbed the Kuwait Security Programme, is expected to earn the UK £100-150m ($160-240m) every year for the next seven years.""

Saudi services to US government

"From 1991 to 2003, Saudi Arabia was the top supplier of foreign crude to U.S. refiners, a position it maintained as a way of supporting its political alliance with the United States. To keep the flow of Saudi crude to the U.S. high amid growing competitions from countries like Mexico, Saudi Aramco, Saudi Arabia’s national oil company, put a lower price on the crude it sold to the U.S. than to other countries. ...To judge from the political contributions they made, the refiners appreciated the gesture." (thanks Khelil)

Israeli science teachers trained not to teach evolution

This of course would not get any coverage in the US press. (thanks Ella)

science in the service of freedom

""In the lawsuit, filed in the US district court in Washington on Wednesday, Olson's sons Eric and Nils claim their father was murdered after he witnessed extreme interrogations in which the CIA killed suspects using the biological agents he had developed." "Olson began work at the special operations division (SOP) of the army's biological laboratory at Fort Detrick in Maryland in 1950. The CIA worked with the SOP researching biological agents and chemical weapons. In 1952 and 1953, he was focused on bioweapons that could be transmitted through the air, according to the lawsuit.""

What US media would not report about Israeli crimes

""Despite an Israeli concession to permit Gazans to fish up to six nautical miles from shore rather than three, Israeli forces detained a Palestinian fisherman and seized two boats as their crews tried to venture farther into the Mediterranean Sea."   "Officials in Gaza said Israeli troops shot and wounded five Palestinians along the border Wednesday and arrested nine fisherman at sea, a week after the two sides agreed a truce."

But the New York Times insists that they obtained the weapons on their own from Syrian warehouses

""Syrian rebels have acquired as many as 40 shoulder-fired missile systems in recent weeks to counter assaults by Syrian military aircraft, introducing a possibly decisive new weapon into the conflict, Western and Middle Eastern intelligence officials say." "At least some of the missiles were supplied by Qatar, which has provided most of the weapons smuggled to Syria's rebels across the Turkish border, according to two Middle Eastern intelligence officials briefed on the matter."" (thanks Amir)

Armed groups in Aleppo and Idlib

As-Safir correspondent summarizes the ideological orientations of the armed opposition groups in Syria:  "Moderate Islamist, local Salafite Islamist, and foreign Jihadi Salafite".  But what I want to know is this: who are the secular moderate groups that the New York Times and other US media keep talking about? Who?

Please identify the seculars among the Syrian armed rebels

I would argue that the man second from left is a true, hard-core secular that the US can safely transport arms to.  Yalla. 

secular and demcoratic children--I am sure

"Armed opposition groups fighting in Syria are using children for combat and other military purposes, Human Rights Watch said today. Children as young as 14 have served in at least three opposition brigades, transporting weapons and supplies and acting as lookouts, Human Rights Watch found, and children as young as 16 have carried arms and taken combat roles against government forces."

Human Rights Watch--unless they are by Israel

Just look how little coverage and attention the Israeli war on Gaza received.

The spokesperson of the Israeli terrorist army on why shooting at journalists is justified

"Such terrorists, who hold cameras and notebooks in their hands, are no different from their colleagues who fire rockets..."

Look at the audacity of the US and Israel: they don't want the PA to complain about war crimes by Israel and they make it clear

"A major concern for the Americans is that the Palestinians might use their new status to try to join the International Criminal Court. That prospect particularly worries the Israelis, who fear that the Palestinians might press for an investigation of their practices in the occupied territories."

The New York Times' caption under the picture of the Gaza girls

I commented on that picture here.  Here is the lame response of the public editor: "The caption certainly could have been better. But after gathering information from the photographer and an assistant foreign editor, looking at the photographer’s original description of the photograph, looking at other photographs from the same shoot and thinking about the caption’s multiple purpose, I think that criticism is overstated.   Douglas Schorzman, an assistant foreign editor, told me that it wasn’t clear to editors in New York how damaged the building was. “If it was leveled, we just should have said so,” he said. But “on deadline and in the moment, we may not have known that.” And in fact, it wasn’t leveled, so it made sense to be cautious.   I exchanged e-mail messages with Mr. Hicks, who wrote that the school was not “completely destroyed.”   “The building was still standing but not safe or in any condition to be occupied by students,” he said. His original written description, provided to editors on Saturday, said only that the school was damaged." (thanks Luay)

I am dying to know this: who are the "secular opposition groups supported by the West" who are fighting in Syria? Give me one name, or one unit? Who?

"evidence that most arms sent to Syrian opposition fighters are going to hard-line Islamic jihadists, not to the more secular opposition groups supported by the West."

car bombs by allies of the US

Notice how the news of the two car bombs by allies of the US/Qatar/Saudi Arabia/Turkey/UAE is buried toward the end of the story in the Times.  And notice that unlike the Arabic press there is no account of the squabbling and infighting in the conference in Cairo. 

This is what Arab regimes like to support: this is a Lebanese disease that is spreading in the region

"A local company on Wednesday unveiled plans to make the largest flag in the world, in cooperation with various other organisations." (thanks Laurie)

Gulf oil money and the University of Exeter

Gulf money in British education. (thanks anonymous)

Tune in: the Hariri-`Uqab Saqr secret tapes

A glimpse of the story.   It will be revealed in those released tapes and transcript that Hariri funds "Abu Ibrahim"--one of the most notorious of the thugs of the "Syrian revolution"--who holds Lebanese hostages.

Egyptians were quick to parody Time magazine cover

This is what Karl Marx would describe as a full revolutionary situation in Syria

"The weapons, including automatic rifles, rocket-propelled grenades and ammunition are funneled mostly across the Turkish border by way of a shadowy network of intermediaries overseen mainly by Saudi Arabia and Qatar, American officials said."

The noble motives of the US in Syria

"“The administration has figured out that if they don’t start doing something, the war will be over and they won’t have any influence over the combat forces on the ground,” said Jeffrey White, a former Defense Intelligence Agency intelligence officer and specialist on the Syria military. “They may have some influence with various political groups and factions, but they won’t have influence with the fighters, and the fighters will control the territory.”"

Muhammad Mursi bows down to Obama

He says that Obama was very helpful in the Gaza crisis.  I am sure: he was most helpful to Israeli ability to perpetrate any war crime and massacre. Most helpful indeed.

Qatar repression: the Emir who wants to bring democracy to the Arabs sentences a man for life for a poem that offended him

"Qatari poet Mohammad Ibn al-Dheeb al-Ajami has reportedly been sentenced to life in prison in a local court this morning.   It remains unclear what Al-Ajami was convicted of, but he was arrested in Doha last November and eventually charged with “inciting to overthrow the regime” and “insulting the Emir.”  Amnesty International, which confirmed this morning’s ruling to Doha News, said Al-Ajami has one week to submit his appeal."  (thanks Michele)

Shari`ah: keep it away from us

I woke up thinking about this line of poetry for some reason. Early in the 20th century, an obscure Lebanese poet, Tanyus `Abduh, wrote: (If their laws reached us, given the lewdness that we are in; our women would be without noses, and our men without eyes).

 "فلو وصلت شرائعهم إلينا, على ما نحن فيه من مجونِ. لأصبحت النساء بلا أنوف وأصبحت الرجال بلا عيونِ"

Dubai International Film Festival

The Dubai International Film Festival banns Syrian movie because they clashed with the policies of the princes of oil in the UAE.  (thanks Sanaa)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Anne Barnard has meticulous methods of documentation

I have one question to my colleagues in academia: would you accept this method of documentation in an undergraduate student paper?  "Citing a witness, an activist in Idlib also suggested that the crowd had been targeted...Another activist in the area who gave only the name Alaa said cluster bombs had been dropped onto the area..."  What a joke.  An activist who cited a witness and another activist who saw cluster bombs.  And this is a respected paper--in the US that is.

The Saudi King is alive--but is he?

Hizbullah in the Syrian conflict

""A sober assessment of the claims repeated by the Syrian opposition regarding Hizb Allah’s activities in Syria finds that many tend to be outlandish and exaggerated. Many of these accounts appear crafted to achieve broader political goals aimed at undermining Hizb Allah’s reputation and further weakening Syria. This tone of reporting also tends to misrepresent the true nature of Hizb Allah’s role in the Syrian crisis." (thanks Mike)

Marj Al-Sultan airbase

From Akram:  "A military pilot adjusted my information about the results of the attack on Marj al-Sultan airbase that I reported in a previous post:

Marj al-Sultan helicopter airbase, was already abandoned in the moment when it was attacked. All the military helicopters there, even those under maintenance with most of the airbase personnel, (pilots, weaponizing and maintenance teams), except the soldiers charged of protecting the place, and all the air defense weapons and all the ammunition have been transported to another airbase (I keep the name uncovered for understandable reasons) few months ago and that only one helicopter in retirement was left behind (and this is actually the helicopter that appeared in the videos distributed by the rebels). Asking him about the radar station that was destroyed by the armed groups, he said that the situation isn't catastrophic the way I think and that the destroyed radar system wasn’t a critical part of the aerial reconnaissance system and that it has been superseded, long time ago, by more sophisticated systems that work safely."

PS This is Angry Arab.  But would the Syrian regime admit otherwise, if true? 

Caught lying

From akram:  " Dear Mr. Abou Khalil:

Yesterday midnight, while I was enjoying an American movie during an exceptionally quiet night, a friend called me saying that al-Arabyia, the lousy House of Saud’s propagandist TV station (both lousy actually), followed directly by Sky News Arabic, was displaying, with bold font on a red background, the following “Breaking News”: Intense clashes in al-Abassyieen quarter (this is exactly where I live)

This isn’t the first time al-Arabyia is caught red-handed. We all remember its scandalous Syria leaks fabrications. But this time, I caught it lying... personally... not analytically, nor have been told through someone else."

Look at this wisdom on foreign policy

Look at the arrogant and colonialist tone and substance:  "“The biggest issue in the world today is growth, and the world is divided into two groups — those who get it and those who don’t,” said Michael Mandelbaum, the Johns Hopkins University foreign policy expert. “If you’re dealing with the Middle East, it might actually be helpful to have someone who can tell some of the parties why they are going in the wrong direction and how their problems are not what they think they are, nor are their solutions.”"  Yes, Mr. Mandelbaum and his friend Friedman want to tell the natives that they are wrong and they are right and that the natives should listen to them and do what they are told.  Is this guy for real?

Can you imagine the uproar and mockery if this was a Muslim organization?

"Four gay men accused a New Jersey organization of fraud Tuesday for selling “conversion therapy” with false promises to make them straight.   They said during a Manhattan news conference that they were subjected to humiliations that included stripping naked and taking a baseball bat to effigies of their mothers.  The four attended sessions at the Jersey City, NJ-based Jews Offering New Alternatives to Healing, or JONAH. The nonprofit advertises in Jewish publications and claims to rid men of same-sex attractions.   Three of the men are Jewish — Chaim Levin, Benjamin Unger, and Sheldon Bruck. The fourth, Michael Ferguson, is a Mormon now living in Salt Lake City who was a college student in New York when he signed up for the services."

Zionists for Morsi

Youssef sent me this:  "I thought I would share, considering I know how much you are a fan of Feldman ;) He seems to think that Morsi is the quintessential democrat. It is quite stunning actually how many people in DC are willing to entertain this argument."

"New Berkeley chancellor must renounce divestment position!"

Yaman sent me this:  "This is amazing, it's like those televized confessions where they admit they were wrong all along in exchange for freedom. Now academics, lifelong thinkers, have to admit they weren't thinking before and publicly renounce support for divestment before they can be university administrators! Now we know the cowardice Israel relies on for support."

Freedom fighters for the US

""The Syrian government has named 142 foreign jihadists that it reportedly says were killed fighting alongside rebels in the country's civil war." "Among the 142 it named 47 Saudis, 24 Libyans, 11 Afghans, 10 Tunisians, nine Egyptians, six Qataris and five Lebanese.""

Those injuries don't get counted like Israeli "shock" injuries

""According to studies published by Sarraj's program, the vast majority of Gaza's roughly 950,000 children already suffer from psychological and behavioral symptoms associated with PTSD, including aggression, depression, bedwetting, flashbacks and "clinging" behavior like physically latching onto their mother.""

Canadian Foreign Policy

""These snippets into the mind-sets of Canadian elites are part of a wider case that Engler portrays in this book. Whether it is through entering agreements for military bases with Kuwait and Germany, threatening the government of Iran, being "the most pro-Israel country in the world", or turning a blind eye to human rights violations on the part of monarchies in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, Canada's foreign policy has consistently followed a pattern of profit-seeking and war-mongering. Perhaps these are more widely-recognised as features of U.S., Israeli and British foreign policies, but, as Engler concludes, "like a good follower, [Canadian Prime Minister Stephen] Harper has enthusiastically gone along with his friends." "" (thanks Amir)

Freedom fighting by clients of the US/Saudi Arabia/Qatar

From Angry Arab's chief correspondent in Syria:  "The blood smeared the exhausted face of Damascus this morning, when synchronized explosions hit Jaramana. The terrorist attacks occurred in a crowded street during the morning rush hour, in time when thousands of people head toward their works and schools.  The state-run news agency Sana said that “two car bombs loaded with large amounts of explosives [blew up] in the Main Square in Jaramana city in Damascus Countryside, killing a number of citizens and injuring others and causing huge material damage to the residential buildings and shops”, while local residents reported two other explosions in a nearby neighborhood that were probably the result of explosive devices. Reports about the human losses also varied. While Sana said 44 people were killed and 83 injured, Jaramana News Network reported 56 victims and 127 injured.  Jaramana, a Damascus suburb populated mainly by Druze and Christians, has been the scene of several terrorist aggressions the most recent of which occurred in the last month, killing 5 with 69 others injured."

The new Hamas

From Akram:  "Antoine Zahra, a leader in the Lebanese Forces and the commander of the infamous Barabara roadblock with the Palestinian Kaffiah visiting Gaza (or should we say Hamas?)

Part of this war criminal's resumé here(Arabic)."

PS The other person to the right of Haniyyah is a most unsavory character, Lebanese Hariri MP, Jamal Al-Jarrah.  (Incidentally, he is the uncle of Ziad Jarrah.)  Jarrah used to help `Abdul-Halim Khaddam hide his wealth and cars. 

Guess the country in question, please

""The diagram was leaked by officials from a country critical of Iran's atomic program to bolster their arguments that Iran's nuclear program must be halted before it produces a weapon. The officials provided the diagram only on condition that they and their country not be named.""  (thanks David)

How Israel counts its injured

Gordon sent me this:  "Here is an example of the famous BBC news "impartiality" in particular I would like to know why they put the word terrorists in inverted commas.  but elsewhere on the BBC we can find genuine impartiality. The recent radio 4 program More or Less looks at the use and abuse of statistics. Tim Harford quoted a tweet from an IDF spokesman "Unbelievable but true 111 Israelis injured today."   He looked into the numbers of Israelis treated by the ambulance service on that day & there were in fact 112 but the definition of injury is interesting: 3 shrapnel, 27 hurt while running for cover and 82 for 'shock'.   I wonder if anybody was counting the 'shock' victims in Gaza?
Harford gave the only meaningful figure up to that day (before the ceasefire) which was deaths: Israelis 5 Palestinians 162."

If this was a Muslim....

""Man says prayer group leader told him to kill his wife"". (thanks Mohamed)

Those poor FSA gangs

""I can only think that the FSA’s desperation is why they’re incorporating jihadist groups into their ranks."" (thanks Laure)

Israeli humane behavior

If Arabs were to call Israeli leaders on their cellphones before killing them, Western media would have reacted with outrage and various people in the US would have been up in arms against the savage and cruel behavior.  But not if Israel does it:  ""The Israel Defense Forces often call the militants in Gaza whose homes it intends to strike minutes before doing so, a way of minimizing the deaths of any women and children who might be inside." (thanks MT)

The war in numbers

(thanks Fatima)

Aljazeera: the funny network

The propaganda game of Aljazeera has turned it into a funny network, literally.  I watched its coverage of Egypt yesterday and it was quite a show.  They referred to Mursi's degrees as "fortification (tahsin) of the presidency".  Kid you not.  If those decrees had been issued by Mubarak, Aljazeera's coverage would have been headlined thus: the Arab Hitler strikes again. 

Western car bombs

Western governments and media often feign outrage about the resort to car bombs--when they are directed against their interests and against the interests of their allies--like Husni Mubarak or other Arab potentates loyal to US.  But the US has resorted directly and indirectly to car bombs against their enemies.  The famous car bomb that was aimed at Muhammad Husayn Fadlallah is known because Bob Woodward uncovered it.  But there are many others, I am sure.  Look at Syria today: agents of the US/Saudi Arabia/Qatar/Turkey/France/Germany/UK/UAE are casually resorting to car bombs and yet they receive fawning coverage in the Western press. 

Daily Star

So Daily Star is owned jointly by Sa`d Hariri and the Prime Minister of Qatar. So it makes full sense that they would host Zionist opinions, including Zionist plagiarizers.  (thanks Basim)

King Abdullah Inter-faith Dialogue center does not want people to know that there is an Israeli on its board

"Rabbi David Rosen was the Chief Rabbi of Ireland and the senior rabbi of the largest Orthodox Jewish Congregation in South Africa. Today he is one of the most prominent Jewish leaders in the field of interreligious affairs."  They don't mention that he is Israeli.  (thanks Karim)

Who runs Saudi Arabia?

I asked this question to someone in the know and "inside".  He tells me: Prince Muhammad bin Nayif (on the domestic front), and Khalid Bin Sultan (to my surprise) and Prince Bandar in foreign policy.  It is fair to say that the grandsons of the founding King have finally taken over.  This requires an article. 

US embassy in Cairo

I have not seen any media report that Egyptian protesters who clashed in Cairo with security forces were actually approaching the US embassy in Cairo.  I guess the news is too embarrassing for those who have been reporting about how Sunni ascendancy is aligned with Washington, DC.  Wait: is Egypt Sunni or Shi`ite? It must be Shi`ite based on the narrative of the Times today. 

"Sunni leaders gaining clout in the Middle East"

Such was the main headline in the Times today.  But it does not make sense: if by Sunni leaders, the Times mean the Saudi King and Husni Mubarak, then yes.  The US can be very pleased.  But Mubarak is gone and Saudi King is having make-up applied to his dead corpse as we speak.  Furthermore, the premise of the article is funny: it implies that America's troubles in the region over many decades since WWII, were not with Sunni Arabs but only with Shi`ites.  I find that notion his hilarious.  So the US, according to the premise of the article, has absolutely no problems with Sunni Arabs, and that only the Shi`ite troublemakers are the problems.  But those who attacked the US consulate in Benghazi were also Sunnis, as are all the radical Jihadi groups.  The Muslim Brotherhood which used to be an enemy of the US is also Sunni, as are the people the US fought in Iraq and Afghanistan.  And in Iraq, the US was aligned with Shi`ite groups, and opposed to Sunni groups.  The reduction of America's troubles to a sectarian element is absurd.  Don't take my word for it, just enjoy the ride for the next few years.  In fact, for much of the cold war, the Shi`ite political movement was largely conservative and aligned with the US in various places. 

When conventional US media wisdom is just patantly false

"Hamas — which received missiles from Iran that reached Israel’s northern cities — broke with the Iranian axis last winter, openly backing the rebellion against the Syrian president".  Take this sentence which expresses a view that I read daily in the Western press.  I say: find me one statement or interview by any Hamas leader--minor or major--in which he (I can't say she because they keep women hidden in the movement, just like Hizbullah) "openly backed the rebellion against Bashshar Al-Asad".  One statement.  You won't find any, why?  Because there are none.  No Hamas leader ever openly backed the rebellion against Bashshar.  Hamas has been very cautious and very cunning and hedging its bets.  It has not taken an open stance.  None whatsover.  The one detailed statement on Syria by Mish`al since the rebellion began contained praise for the Syrian regime.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Zionist propaganda trickery in the New York Times: the false symmetry trick

Look at this sentence:  " Israel bombed more than 1,000 targets in Gaza and the militants fired more than 1,500 rockets into Israel..."  They counted the number of rockets that were fired on Israel but they did not count the number of bombs, rockets, missiles (from the air, land, and sea) that Israel dropped on Gaza.  In fact, Israel often drops more than 10 or 20 bombs on the same target.  So the sentence should have read: militants fired weak 1500 rockets on Israel, while Israel dropped more than 15000 (at the very least) bombs, missiles and rockets on Gaza.  Who do you think that you are fooling with these numbers?  Do you have a doubt that Israeli terrorist military released this count to the media to make it look as if Israel dropped less bombs and rockets than the other side?

Take this quizz


Here is a fighter from the Free Syrian Army.  Is he secular?

Brought to you by the press offices of Hariri and their allies among the pro-Saudi and pro-Qatari gangs in Syria

Should not this propaganda piece by Anne Barnard carry the official stamp of approval from the Free Syrian Army?  What is the gist? And what is the secret of the new savvy tactics?  It is called "tactical withdrawal" which has been the signature line of the FSA.

A call for self-government in Syria

"For the first time ever Kassioun, the mouthpiece of the popular will party (Qadri Jamil, the Syrian PM deputy), calls on the Syrian people to form local committees of self-governance, "after the state apparatus became incapable of securing their most basic needs.
Is it Qadri Jamil himself the "political editor" who wrote this?"

Saudi King is dead. Saudi King is dead. The word is out. When the Crown Prince assures us that the King is in "good health" it can only mean that he is dead

From an alert reader:  "Saudi crown prince says King Abdullah "in good health"
They said the same a week before Nayef died

Thomas Jefferson is looking for his slave

For Gaza

"Thousands of Afghan students protest against Israel over recent Gaza offensive"

friends of Feltman

"« La rumeur annonce son retour à Washington », affirme un diplomate français à Paris. Après avoir été Secrétaire d’État adjoint aux affaires du Moyen-Orient, Jeffrey Feltman a été nommé cet été au poste stratégique de responsable des Affaires politiques auprès du secrétaite-général de l’ONU, Ban Ki-moon. Depuis, M. Feltman est le bras armé du Département d’Etat à l’ONU. Il a notamment insisté pour nommer son ami Tarek Mitri au poste de représentant des Nations unies en Libye. Jeffrey Feltman avait connu M. Mitri lorsqu’il était ambassadeur au Liban entre 2004 et 2008. Il y avait alors tissé des liens étroits avec le camp sunnite proche des Hariri. C’est lui qui avait largement rédigé avec l’ambassadeur de France, Bernard Emié, la résolution 1559 de l'ONU, qui demandait en septembre 2004 aux troupes syriennes de quitter le Liban." (thanks "Ibn Rushd")

achievements of the Israeli terrorist army

"Testimony: Iyad Abu Khusah, a year-and-a-half-year old toddler, killed in bombing while playing in yard of his al-Bureij home with two 4-year-old cousins, both injured".

the new NATO Libya

"An extremist militia in Libya has captured twelve men and promised to mutilate and execute them for being gay. The group posted pictures of them on Facebook, describing them as the “third sex,” a regional derogatory term comparable to “queers.” Human Rights Watch Libya identified the group as Al-Nawasi militia, know for championing Salafist jihad. Al-Nawasi has claimed to have become a legal part of the Libyan Ministry of Interior, pledging to remove “corruption” and “vice,” such as alcohol and homosexuality:" (thanks Khelil)

Ahmad Mu`adh Al-Khatib: now the Zionists are not so sure anymore

I don't care about credit but can people just give credit to Angry Arab who stayed up all night unearthing writings by Mr. Ahmad Mu`adh Al-Khatib, the new hope of the Syrian exile opposition?

nuking the moon

""Additionally, NASA didn't want to jeopardize any future non-nuclear-explodey missions to the moon with leftover fallout. One of the scientists on the project was a very young Carl Sagan. After the project Sagan went on to host the Emmy-winning 13-episode PBS show Cosmos, where his distinctive voice ushered a generation of young inquisitive minds through outer space.""

back in business

""Palestinians wielded shovels and planks Monday to reopen tunnels used to smuggle in goods from Egypt to the Gaza Strip after Israel's eight-day offensive against Hamas."" (thanks Michele)

A coup to pre-empt a coup

Fahmi Huwaydi (probably the most widely read Arab columnist--he is a "moderate Islamist"), writes that Mursi's decree was a preemption of a legal coup being prepared against his rule.

From paper to digital

Yesterday, was an important and significant day for me.  I have been holding a hard copy of a newspaper ever since I was a teenager when we received tons of daily Arabic newspapers at home (in Beirut and in the mountains, in Sawfar).  But yesterday, I decided to switch my subscription of the Times and Economist to digital only:it is good for the environment and is less messy as I leave sections of the New York Times lying around for days.  I now will read them on tablet and phone. 

Zionism is always racism

"The young Israeli officer who leads the campaign to cast his nation’s military in a positive light on social networks restricted access to his own Facebook account on Sunday, after a Lebanese blogger discovered that the soldier had uploaded an image of himself with mud or dark paint on his face captioned, “Obama style.”" (thanks David)

Yusuf Qaradawi: chief of Islamist clerical kooks

"There were a number of noteworthy points in the November 25 episode of Sharia and Life. Certainly one of the most striking, though, was Sheikh Yousef al-Qaradawi’s characterization of recent protests against President Muhammad Morsi’s constitutional declaration as khurouj ’ala wali al-amr and fitna. These (related) charges are grave. I’ve left these terms untranslated below, as they have no immediate English parallel, but they basically amount to “rebellion against the legitimate ruler” and “chaos and discord,” respectively. These ideas were among those deployed by authority-friendly clerics (Egyptian and otherwise) during Egypt’s January 25 Revolution to discourage protesters and discredit their actions as un-Islamic. Qaradawi has now turned them on those organizing and participating in Tuesday’s planned mass protests." (thanks Sam)

Prince Hamzah of Jordan

I commented on the long story in the New York Times about Prince Hamzah and smelled a US effort to promote him.  This interesting article raises questions about the article as well.  And the author says in bewilderment that while the article talks about people championing Hamzah, he never ever seen anyone or group or party or current championing Hamzah in Jordan.  So there was a PR deceptive promotion for him in the long article in a newspaper that rarely bothers with long article about the country at peace with Israel--before it was even created.  He also talks about the mysterious tweet sent by Hamzah in October which was interpreted as a swipe against his brother, and in classical Arabic poetry--so the insult is double. (thanks Yusuf)

Map of control between Syrian regime and armed groups in Damascus

I sent the map that is being circulated about areas of influence in Damascus to Akram in Syria to ask for his opinion. He wrote:

"It’s true to a large extent but the map should be read with cautious and in the light of the following remarks:

  • I can’t explain the difference between the light and the dark degrees of the same color. Dos the darker color mean tougher control? I can’t tell.
  • Important part of the countryside of Damascus is absent from the map: al-Kalamoun Plateau located to the north of Damascus (on the map to the above al-Tall). This plateau contains many major towns:
  • Seidnaya, Ma’aloula: Christian majority, label is green though the roads to these towns are dangerous.
  • Yabroud, Qara: Christian-Muslim, dominated by local militias with some unwritten understanding with the military. In Yabroud for example, as I’ve been told, the gunmen organize the traffic within the town!!!
  • Nabeq, Deir ‘Attyia: Christian-Muslim, label is green
  • The term “controlled” should be taken in its relative meaning which varies with each case:
  • In areas colored with red the presence of the government is reduced to the “long arm” of the air force and the artillery and to the basic services that can be described as remote (drinking water and sewerage, electricity and telecom) when they are available. I also can tell that the government is still supplying flour to the bakeries and the government employees are still receiving their salaries even in cases where they can’t reach their workplaces (schools, municipalities, police stations,…). While the armed groups are deployed extensively in these areas, they can’t (and possibly they don't care to) impose a government-like authority, even if they claim the contrary, though they roam these towns and between them with their 4x4 vehicles or set up roadblocks and checkpoints and inspect the passing cars.
  • The case of Jobar: Jobar, located in the eastern part of Damascus, is, administratively, one of the Syrian capital’ neighborhoods, but from both demographic and urban-texture points of view, it can be considered a separated town that belongs to the countryside more than to the city itself (if you look at Google Maps you can see that it’s connected to the neighboring town of Zamalka (which, in turn, is connected to Irbeen and so on, while it’s separated from Damascus by a tiny open terrain). Until three or four months ago, Jobar was under the full control of the regime, but since then, it started to be infiltrated by the armed groups, with few gunmen in the first days, then with tens and then with hundreds or perhaps thousands (I can’t tell) under the nose of the lcorrupt security forces and with collaboration of sympathized residents. However, it’s hard to say that Jobar is a red area. Labeling it with blue would be more accurate (at least for the time being).
  • The case of Jaramana: Jaramana is a town located to the east of Damascus and is mainly resided by Christians and Druze (the readers can refer to some of my previous post about this town). The green in the case of Jaramana means that the town is under the control of the Popular Committees (local armed groups who bear the responsibility of protecting their own town with very loose coordination with the security forces). The municipality and the other public services are fully operable.
  • The case of Zabadani: this town is located to the north east of Damascus bordering Lebanon (the upper-left corner of the map) in the heart of an area known for its touristic advantages (Bloudan, Boukein, …). As far as I know, the town is controlled partially by local militias and it’s better to be labeled with blue.
  • Some places labeled with blue can’t be considered “under mixed control”, but rather under no control. They resemble the Wild West of the 19th century more than anything else where law is enforced selectively and with a discretionary manner by local armed groups of both sides and random killing, looting and mutual kidnapping (for ransom or for hostage exchange) are very common practices committed by all parties and by security personnel working on their own. This case applied particularly on Qadam, Haoush Blass, Sbeineh (located in the map center).
  • I can’t describe myself as a military expert nor do I pretend that I know every in the battleground, but he are some remarks that must be taken with great cautious:
  • The human losses of both sides (and among the civilians of course) are much, much, much bigger than it is announced. Each side knows very good its own losses and the losses of the other side but they are accomplice to hide the exact numbers. It’s also amazing to notice that the number 30-39 thousands dead, , circulated in the international media, is still steadfast for several months without being challenged by any of the regime’s backers or enemies. Is this the limit that the great forces (US, Russia) can bear before they feel the need to intervene to stop the this senseless massacre in Syria.
  • Large part of Damascus countryside is under the rebels de facto control. For the Syrian regime, the first concern for the moment is to keep “the core” Damascus (excluding Jobar which is officially part of the “city”) under its firm control, while the outskirts (except Jaramana) remain a battleground of an endless number of attacks and counter-attacks that continue until the regime falls or an international solution matures."

Cover of Ka`bah

When Ibn Jubayr visited Mecca during the reign of Salah Ad-Din, the Kiswah (cover) of Ka`bah was green.  There is a dispute among historians as to when the cover turned black.  It is often claimed that this happened during the Abbasid reign. 

Chants from Cairo

From a reader who wishes to remain anonymous:

"On the occasion of revolutionary crowds back in public squares in Egypt, I thought you would enjoy some quality chants. A couple are great and a few are severely lame:
  • احلق دقنك، بيّن عارك، تلقى وجهك وجه مبارك(shave your beard, show your shame. Find your face like that of Mubarak)
  • علي وعلي وعلي الصوت، دول عايزين الثورة تموت(Raise, raise raise your voice.  They want the revolution to die)
  • قالوا حرية وقالوا دستور جابوا مرسى الديكتاتور(They said freedom and said constitution but brought Mursi the dictator).
  • أول قراراته الثورية شال السلطة القضائية (His first revolutionary decision is to remove the judicial authority).
  • الإخوان المسلمين باعوا الثورة وباعوا الدين (The Muslim Brothers sold the revolution and sold the religion).

cyber learning

""Students learn not only how to rifle through trash, sneak a tracking device on cars and plant false information on Facebook. They also are taught to write computer viruses, hack digital networks, crack passwords, plant listening devices and mine data from broken cellphones and flash drives." (thanks Amir)

Muslim Brotherhood of Jordan: savior of the monarchy

From Ahmet of Tunisia: "Asad, A study in political cowardice. Those folks are literally begging a tottering potentate for a crumb that even the US is thinking two steps ahead. From the same guy who coined the term "clean repression" of the King, the number two of Brotherhood, Zaki Rashid. A translation from Alquds Arabi dispatch: " Rashid said the Muslim Brothers movement is institutional, and is not subject to the emotions of the street. For that, the Shuraa Council of the Islamic Action Front [political wing of the Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan] hurried to meet two days ago in order to renew their commitment to the slogan of " regime reform" and to disown the slogan of "the downfall of the regime" in parallel with a rising trend emanating from the circles of power which continues to mislead, strike the national unity chord by producing connotations which aims at provoking the Jordanian tribal and social bases, mobilizing the street through the spread of rumors that the the Muslim Brothers are behind the the "downfall of the regime" slogan.

"رشيد اعلن بأن حركة الأخوان المسلمين مؤسسية ولا تخضع لإنفعالات الشارع.. لذلك سارع مجلس شورى جبهة العمل الإسلامي قبل يومن لتجديد ثقته بهتاف وشعار 'إصلاح النظام' وبراءته من شعار إسقاط النظام بالتوازي مع بروز نغمة في مؤسسة القرار تحاول الإستمرار في التضليل واللعب على وتر الوحدة الوطنية عبر إعادة إنتاج الدلالات التي تستفز العشائر والقواعد الإجتماعية الأردنية عندما يتم تعبئة الشارع بإشاعات مسؤولية الأخوان المسلمين عن هتاف إسقاط النظام.""

Extremism and reform in Jordan

"partly due to a backlash against these more extreme slogans among a generally reformist opposition".  So reformism is avoiding criticizing the monarchy, and extremism is the call for overthrow of the Kingdom. 

Monday, November 26, 2012

War of Gaza in numbers: from the Economist

Why don't they just retire? Why don't Saudi prince stay in the job no matter what?

A Saudi reader sent me this recent video of Prince Saud Al-Faysal with the comment:  "retirement is eliminated in their dictionary.  Amazing."

How Bashshar Al-Asad spends his day

This vulgar pro-Syrian regime propagandist in Lebanon, Charles Ayyub, details the daily activities of the Syrian tyrant.  He tells you that he works out every morning and that he has maintained his weight for 12 years and that he orders every bombardment from the air.  So admitting responsibility for atrocities?

The Intellect of Prince Salman

Prince Salman calls for writing the history of Saudi Arabia through the telephone. 

Neil MacFarquhar and Arabic

Readers on Twitter initiated an exchange between Neil MacFarquhar of the New York Times and me on Twitter regarding post about Arabic, when he noted that Samar Yazbak spoke to him in Arabic.  I noted that I heard that he conducted interviews through an interpreter.  He wrote:  " 1. Since u asked, studied Arabic @ Esso Elementary, Berkeley, Stanford, Cairo & Middlebury. It is..2 Since you asked My Arabic unkempt but works well. Dialect, subject, circumstance decide translator... 3 Recent solo Arabic interviews: Prof. Talal Atrissi, minister Ali Qanso, Syria actv Roshak Ahma."  I then noted that Yazbak's name was not mentioned in the list of people in "solo Arabic interviews".  He wrote:  "Arabic 90 min. Her translator inserted Eng book titles & plots, odd word, long end riff on democracy."  I stand corrected, I guess.  

uncovered news


I am sure that you did not know that a march of tens of thousands of people took place in Morocco in solidarity with the Palestinian people. 

This is a big headline in Al-Quds Al-Arabi

The Qatari daily, Al-Quds Al-`Arabi, has a big headline today about "five young men" defecting from the Syrian regime army.  I kid you not. 

Sunni-Shi`ite conflict in Kabul

Regarding the on-going Sunni-Shi`ite conflict in Kabul.  I mean, is it a coincidence that this conflict all across the Muslim world erupted after the US invasion of Iraq in 2003? Of course, it is not a coincidence and it was a deliberate policy pursued with the full participation of House of Saud. 

sterilizing the people of Gaza

Hussein sent me this:  "Can you imagine the uproar if the comment was made about Jews or African Americans?

"De Winter responded in his speech to the accusations of genocide leveled against Israel, saying that the population of Gaza had only increased over the last few years. “Maybe we should secretly add some means of birth control to Gaza’s drinking water,” De Winter proceeded to propose."

Traitors and collaborators are the only Palestinians liked by the West

Francis from Birmingham sent me this: "I thought you might appreciate this shocking example of media bias in the UK's Daily Mail (see below). It is about the family of the man killed recently in Gaza for supposedly being a traitor and providing information to the IDF. Look how the article treats the man and his family as human beings; shows the families suffering; shows the picture of the poor little girl with her father's photo. When have the deaths of any of the Palestinians killed by the IDF ever been covered in this way? When it is the IDF that is responsible, they are just numbers. They don't have faces, they don't have families. The only death that they covered like this, is the guy who was killed by Palestinians! So only when we can use the story as a stick to beat the Palestinains, only then can we show something of the reality of the suffering in Gaza."

Jim Muir of the BBC

I had a dream that I had a heated argument with Jim Muir of the BBC.  I am not thrilled with this coverage of Syria (from Lebanon) although I really liked his coverage of Lebanon when he wrote for Middle East International years ago.

BBC and the Palestinians

"This is notably true in the Middle East, where the Israeli state has successfully intimidated the BBC into presenting the theft of Palestinian land and the caging, torturing and killing of its people as an intractable "conflict" between equals. Standing in the rubble from an Israeli attack, one BBC journalist went further and referred to "Gaza's strong culture of martyrdom". So great is the distortion that young viewers of BBC news have told Glasgow University researchers they are left with the impression that Palestinians are the illegal colonisers of their own country. The current BBC "coverage" of Gaza's genocidal misery reinforces this."


"""To say they are rewriting the rulebook implies that there isn't already a rulebook" said Jameel Jaffer, the director of the American Civil Liberties Union's Center for Democracy. "But what they are already doing is rejecting a rulebook – of international law – that has been in place since [the second world war]."""

quiet: notice that he only says that after Hamas began to accept the two-state non-solution

""The United Nations envoy to the Middle East acknowledged in an interview with McClatchy Sunday that he has maintained quiet contacts with the Islamist group Hamas for "years," despite the international community's official policy to isolate the group.""

Hamas and Iran

Western media, or experts cited in Western media, are often so ignorant of the realities in the Middle East.  They have been railing about Iranian role in the war on Gaza in the last few weeks.  Most analysts cited did not even know that there has been conflict between Iran and Hamas over the last several months.  Khaild Mish`al relations with Iran has deteriorated as he has been receiving more cash support from GCC countries--not only Qatar. 

split in Hamas

""But the leaders of Hamas's military wing, which is largely based in the Gaza Strip, have taken a different stance, analysts say. In recent years they have received financial and military assistance as well as training from Iran, one of President Bashar al-Assad's closest allies, and have remained supportive of the Syrian government.""

full withdrawal from Afghanistan

""President Barack Obama's administration has planned to keep around 10,000 US troops in Afghanistan after formal combat operations in that country end in 2014.""

Lousy Syrian regime repression

The lousy Syrian regime gave assurances to a group of Syrian dissidents that they would be safe if they were to return to Syria for a conference guaranteed by the Russian government.  Well, they returned but one of them, `Abdul-`Aziz Al-Khayyir (a leftist from the Communist Action Party) was kidnapped by the Syrian regime upon his arrival.  He is now languishing in jail and there is news that his health has deteriorated. 

Free Syrian Army blocks up a mosque

"Leaked,,,Video showing free syrian army blowing a mosque to accuse the syrian army of doing it".   or this
(thanks Amir)

Mursi and his clan

Hamdi Qandil writes about Mursi and his clan.  (thanks Joseph)

He is not a racist, just a candid Zionist

"In an ”official comment” published on Facebook yesterday, the Israeli army’s social media guru, Sacha Dratwa, bemoaned the “cynical use” of his “private pictures” (which are actually public, as he himself goes onto say in a muddled statement.)
Boxes & Briefs reported Friday about a photo posted by Dratwa on his Facebook profile, which depicted him posing with brown mud on his face under the caption “Obama Style.”
Dratwa appears to have since removed the photo, but maintains that he has always been “completely candid about [his] beliefs and ha[s] nothing to hide.”" (thanks Emily)

Re: Neil MacFarquhar inaccuracy re Syria

Alan sent me this: 

"Neil MacFarquhar inaccuracy re Syria
Contrast and compare
Neil says: “only eight foreign aid organizations to operate”
European Union say: “granted formal approval to 8 additional International Non-Governmental Organisations”
Neil MacFarquhar in the NYT “Cold Ravages Syria Refugees as Aid Falters” November 24, 2012
“The Syrian government has allowed only eight foreign aid organizations to operate; all were already working in Syria before the uprising started in March 2011, helping Iraqi refugees.”
European Union HIP (Humanitarian Implementation Plan Syria Crises) Version 2 update 20/07/12 ECHO/SYR/BUD/2012/91000
“Despite the escalation of fighting and access concerns, humanitarian assistance is steadily scaling up and is now being mobilised and implemented. The Government of Syria (GoS) has by and large delivered on its commitment to facilitate humanitarian aid (made in June at the 3rd Syria Humanitarian Forum) and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) has granted formal approval to 8 additional International Non-Governmental Organisations (INGOs) to work in Syria, expanding the number of possible implementing partners in the country (namely Action Contre La Faim, Première Urgence, Danish Refugee Council, International Medical Corps, Help, Institut Européen de Coopération et de Développement, Secours Islamique France, Terres des Hommes-Italy).”

Note to As’ad: I attach a copy of the European Union’s Humanitarian Implementation Plan - Syria Crises document as the updated revised edition has removed this reference, perhaps it is seen as to favourable toward the Syrian government / regime."