Monday, December 31, 2012

propaganda on Syria

""Understandably, the rebel version of events is heavily biased towards their own side and demonises the Syrian government. More surprising is the willingness of the international media, based often in Beirut but also in London and New York, to regurgitate with so little scepticism what is essentially good-quality propaganda. It is as if, prior to the US presidential election in November, foreign journalists had been unable to obtain visas to enter the US and had instead decided to rely on Republican Party militants for their information on the campaign – moreover, Republican activists based in Mexico and Canada...

...Warlords, small and big, become the real rulers of the country. In Aleppo, the commercial heart of Syria, the rebels' main preoccupation is looting the city...."" (thanks Nu`man)

Zionism is always racism

 Israelis protest against African migrants in south Tel Aviv - May 23

"On Monday, right-wing activists took to the streets to protest the incident, and called for the deportation of Sudanese and Eritrean migrants from Israel. "The infiltrators come here without women and afterward people are surprised that they rape," said MK Michael Ben Ari (OtzmaLeyisrael) during the protest. "I call to issue a temporary order to deport all the infiltrators back to Africa. It is much more dangerous here than it is in Eritrea.""

The PA's Ministry of Health

Sammy responded to the reply by Muhammad from yesterday:

"Professor AngryArab,
I saw Mohamed's response to my message you posted on your blog. He challenged me to "document a single case" of Palestinians dying due to simple illnesses due to the lack of qualified doctors and adequate medical equipment in the West Bank. Well, check it out below (these are just a few, italics are mine).
You and your readers know very well the whole Palestinian Authority is a sham. Mohamed sounds more like a propagandists rather than a doctor working in the West Bank. He blames my beef with Ramallah Governor Leila Ghanam due to ‘tribal dispute’. It’s ironic how the current Ramallah governor relishes any opportunity to criticize the Israeli occupation when her previous profession was a senior security official who’s primary job (as we all know) is to protect Israel and its settlers by quelling any Palestinian resistance.
Here is “WHO’s classification on the Palestinian Medical Service”:
"At least 57% of deaths in the West Bank were preventable. " (WHO, May 12, 2012)
"This study in 2 Palestinian hospitals aimed to assess physicians’ knowledge about the risks associated with the use of radiological examinations. A questionnaire answered by 163 physicians revealed many gaps in knowledge. Only one-third of physicians had received a radiation protection course during their undergraduate study or in the workplace. Few physicians were able to answer correctly many scientific, knowledge-based questions. For example, only 6.1% of the respondents were able to identify the ALARA principle and 98.2% did not know that there is no safe dose limit according to international recommendations." ( WHO June 2011, p. 875)
"Preventable injuries from traffic accidents, burns and poisoning are prominent causes of childhood mortality and account for more than one fourth of the deaths in children between the ages of one and five. Preventable accidents and injuries are also responsible for almost one third of all deaths among the 5–39 year age group." (WHO 2000)
"Experts from Birzeit University say death rates among children and expectant mothers have failed to decline in recent years." (BBC 2009)"

liberators don't have to pay

"" "They stayed six years and only paid rent for one year," said Haji Najibullah Khan, who grew up in the Pashengar house that became a US base. He said the departing US commander warned him off pushing for rent money when they met a few weeks before the soldiers drove away in the night."" (thanks Amir)

The Syrian conflict: behadings and dogs

"“They beheaded him, cut him into pieces and fed him to the dogs,” said Agnès-Mariam de la Croix, mother superior of the Monastery of St James the Mutilated between Damascus and Homs.
Forget the familiar Arab spring narrative about down-trodden masses taking on the forces of evil: the Syrian conflict appears to have entered a darker phase in which the rebels are committing atrocities against innocent civilians. It does not bode well for peace.
The people who chopped up Arbashe did not seem to need much of a motive: his brother had apparently been overheard complaining about the rebels behaving like bandits.
Sister Agnès-Mariam, who has been keeping a macabre scorecard of such atrocities, believes that his fault, in the eyes of his killers, was his Christian faith.
“The uprising has been hijacked by Islamist mercenaries who are more interested in fighting a holy war than in changing the government,” she told The Sunday Times on a recent visit to Paris. “It’s turned into a sectarian conflict,” she added. “One in which Christians are paying a high price.”" (thanks Samer)

Erdogan as an the stereotyped Arab

From Ali, Angry Arab's correspondent in Turkey:
"Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, I wish to discuss this photo with John Berger... Yesterday Erdogan visited the border town Akcakale where Arabs are living and to present him as one of them he wears traditional Arab costumes... As if Arabs are wearing it but not.... It seems to me he needs a camel too to fulfil the imagination of Arabs in west... I cannot describe it with all aspects but does not it smell a little bit Orientalism..."

Zionism is always racism, literally

"ISRAELI Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday he aims to repatriate tens of thousands of illegal African migrants and that the inflow into Israel from the Sinai peninsula has been brought to a halt.“Our aim is to repatriate tens of thousands of infiltrators now in Israel to their countries of origin,” he said, adding Israel had been in contact with several African governments. Rising tensions over the growing number of illegal immigrants exploded into violence in May when a protest in south Tel Aviv turned ugly, with demonstrators smashing African-run shops and property, chanting “Blacks out!”" (thanks Basim)

The Israeli paper dome

Regan sent me this:  "It works awesome! Wikipedia says so...
"The exact figures are classified. 'When I talk, I quote Wikipedia,' the engineer told me.""

Syrian armed rebels are civilians too, damn it

Austin sent me this:  "I thought you might "appreciate" this dumb article about Syrian casualties which relies exclusively on unverifiable (and uncaveated) claims made by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. The ENTIRE thing is replete with stupid non sequiturs, starting almost from the very beginning. For example: "The civilian toll of 28,113 includes those who have taken up arms against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, it said." Huh? So now people who carry arms are considered civilians? What next? Well, more dumbness:

"Government troops suffered heavy losses, with 9482 people killed, while 1040 military defectors also were killed in action. Another 727 people in the 2012 toll were unidentified.
"The death toll of the regime forces is actually higher, but the government keeps these figures under wraps," said Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman.
On the other hand, he said, "the rebels are discreet about their total losses of life in order to keep up morale, while the deaths of foreign fighters are not announced in their home countries"."
I mean... seriously? Seriously?"

Dozens? Tens? Hundreds?

Saudi and Qatari media have been talking about hundreds of beheaded victims:
"It was unclear how many people had been killed in the fighting in the district. One young witness said he believed a neighbor had been killed. Two videos purportedly from Deir Ba’alba showed the bodies of about a dozen men who had apparently been executed with gunshots to the head. But there was no confirmation of claims made on Saturday by an antigovernment group, the Local Coordination Committees, that hundreds had been killed."

the heroes of YOUR Syrian "revolution"

When Ahmed, a resident of al-Ghouta al-Sharqiyeh in Damascus province, conveyed his gratitude and admiration for the courage of the Jihadi fighters to me, he said: "Although I myself haven't adopted the ideology of al-Qaeda, and I don't agree with many of their ideas, we have to admit that they are the best equipped to take on the fight against the Assadi regime because they have strict principles. You never see any of them making a song and dance in the media about what they have done – not like the others. Most of the FSA battalions want to show themselves off as being the most effective force on the ground. They're always releasing videos boasting about their power and achievements, however futile these actions may be. It's all done to get more funding, but the truth is that Jubhat al-Nusra are the real heroes".
This isn't just the personal opinion of one individual but an opinion shared by many and is growing by the day, particularly with the revelation of increasing corruption within the ranks of some FSA groups. There is a real fear that many more Syrian Islamists may deviate towards extreme positionsin the coming period. The accumulated successes of Jubhat al-Nusra and their recognition as heroes by ordinary Syrians may lead to the adoption of extreme ideas in the near, not the distant future.
Jubhat al Nusra has recently been placed on the terrorist list by the US State Department, yet at the same time on the ground in Syria a united military command has been established as an umbrella for the many diverse strands of the FSA. This has brought the FSA semi-international acceptance so that it is considered a legitimate actor by a number of states. By separating the combatants against the regime in such a way there is a danger in creating greater fissures between the two groups. The FSA may refuse to co-operate with Jubhat al-Nusra for fear of losing its recently-acquired international standing. This will result in a weakening of its fighting capabilities. Moreover, the two groups will have less co-ordination in their actions leading to the increased possibility of armed confrontations between them. The split may extend to ordinary Syrians who may find themselves split between their loyalties to Jubhat al-Nusra or the FSA. This is an option we can ill afford; such a cleavage would be too much for Syria to bear." (thanks Sultan)

When will this man really retire, once and for all? Robert Fisk at his most dumb ever

There is nothing in this article that is not borrowed from Raphael Patai's The Arab Mind. Nothing.  As if language can't be used for precision and for lack of precision.  As if one uses language imprecisely it is the fault of language.  I have seen Robert Fisk being dumb but not as bad as in this trashy piece:
"There can be a kind of imprecision in practical life. I recall arriving with colleagues in southern Lebanon during one of Israel’s five invasions and asking how many Israeli tanks were on the road in front of us. “Many,” came the reply of the refugees. How many? “Ktir” – very many. Ten? “Na’am”. (Yes.) Twenty? “Na’am” (Yes again.) A dangerous lack of clarity there, surely.
Hasan Karmi, the Palestinian lexicographer who died six years ago, nursed the theory that having learned colloquial Arabic as children before progression to the much more precise written form -- and because language is so crucial to the development of thought – “Arabs were often handicapped by a lack of precision in their thinking.” Here I am quoting from Karmi’s obituary by my mate Donald Macintyre. Hence, perhaps, the failure of Arabs to maintain their historical superiority in science and intellectual thought." (thanks Nir)

Anti-`Alawite bigotry: this is YOUR "revolution", not mine

This Syrian opposition figure, Hakam Al-Baba, is optimistic that one day there will be signs outside of Damascus declaring that the city is "free of `Alawites".  Read the comments in agreements. (thanks Samah)

Cluelessness of some Western reporters in the Middle East

It just occurred to me: there have been many profiles of individuals and artists in Lebanon and the Middle East region but I am yet to read one thing in the Western press about the cult following of Ziad Rahbani.  I don't recall reading anything about him in the Western press although his reputation and standing in Lebanon and Syria and beyond is uniquely phenomenal.  No one has that kind of cult following among the younger generations. 

Sunday, December 30, 2012

PA's Ministry of Health

Mohammad sent me this regarding a post sent to me by Sammy the other day:
"I am not in a position to be the mouthpiece of the PA, but Sammy's post is clearly a twisted Story. for the following reasons:
first: He said "many stories about people who died due to simple illnesses" and as a doctor who work in Palestine, I challenge him to document one single case. and check out the WHO classification on the Palestinian Medical service.
Second: Ministry of Health is not a charity which accepts funds according to the donor's desire. the Ministry shows the needs and the donor observe the project.
Third: If there --as he claimed-- that there are no qualified doctors in Palestine, so why Palestine is qualified to train post-graduate medical studies --specialities-- (Palestine Medical Board)
Fourth: If Sammy has 'tribal' dispute with Laila Ghannam in their village (Dair Debwan), It is Shameful to show that there is no qualifications in Palestine with no Statistical nor scientifically documented DATA.
finally: Give me one single reference other that the relative of Mr. Sammy who tried to make good thing!! "

war looters in Syria

Since the outbreak of the uprising 21 months ago, there have been reports of antiquities being stolen from sites that previously were well guarded. But now, according to a man involved in the trade, it is becoming more systematic.
“It’s very similar to Iraq,” he said. In both countries, he explained, the looting became “more organised” as time went by.
Syria is unusually rich in archaeological sites; it was at the frontier of the Roman and Parthian empires, and contains traces of all the important civilisations that had a presence in the Middle East going back to the earliest settled cultures. It is also unusual in having churches and mosques which have been in continuous use since the early days of Christianity and Islam.
Artefacts are dug up or stolen from the many sites, smuggled across the Lebanese and Turkish borders, authenticated by experts and then sold on to clients from around the world, including the US, according to people involved in the trade.
It is potentially big business. A small statue is worth $30,000, the trader said.
Another man involved in the trafficking interviewed this year said he was offered an object for $300,000.
A video posted on the internet purportedly taken in the ancient city of Palmyra gives an indication of the ravages wrought by the illegal trade. It shows several stone sculptures apparently stolen from the site being loaded on to a pickup truck.
Initially, the looting happened in an ad hoc manner, sometimes with the apparent collusion of security services.
One activist interviewed in the ancient city of Apamea said that excavating and selling antiquities there, mainly mosaics, had become a rare source of income for ordinary people in an economy ravaged by war." (thanks Joseph)

Turkey in Yemen

From Angry Arab's correspondent in Turkey, Ali: 
"Some Yemenis blame Turkey provoking civil war in the country and have said that Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan bears the responsibility of the murders in the country:

It seems to me that they are not unfair:

"The first report of gun shipments from Turkey to Yemen was in March, when UAE police said it seized 16,000 Turkish-made guns destined for Yemen. Immediately, there was talk that Turkey was supporting the rebels in Yemen, and our foreign ministry had to ban weapons exports to Yemen.
But history repeated itself and eight months later, another shipment of weapons has arrived in Yemen from Turkey. The ship carrying the container with biscuit crates full of guns made a stopover in the Saudi port of Jeddah. Turkish officials suggested the guns might have been loaded there. But documents showed that the container wasn’t opened at Jeddah, which means they were loaded at the Turkish port of Mersin."

French socialists

""But despite the praise — and protest — Hollande's comments generated on both sides of the Mediterranean, he failed to touch on two terrible, living consequences of France's legacy in Algeria. First among those is the historical background in which the continuing discrimination and ghettoization of millions of French Arabs are rooted — much like the increasingly open expression of Islamophobia within French society. Second is his failure to acknowledge the deeply corrupt, brutal and military-supported Algerian power structure that has dominated the country since independence — one that Paris has preferred to placate and patronize, even as it presses for democracy elsewhere.""

monkeys in battle

From a reader who does not want to be identified: 
"Hi As'ad, I thought you might find this amusing. Don't use my name if you post.

You may recall the reports from 2003 of Morocco providing monkeys to clear mines in Iraq (  ). We all know how crucial this was of course to ensuring US occupiers were met with flowers, candy, and bananas.

Anyhow, it turns out the Moroccan publication who reported the story may have been right when they said it "is not a scientific illusion but a well-known military tactic". I learned this reading Julia Lovell's "The Opium War" about the war of the same name. In 1841 Yijing (the Qing Emperor's nephew and inept commander of forces trying to repel the British in the south) "made room in the budget to buy nineteen monkeys: the idea was to tie firecrackers to their backs then fling them onto English ships moored nearby. 'But the fact was,' a truth-telling observer pointed out, 'no one dared go near enough to the foreign ships to fling them on board.' After the final rout at Ciqi, their keeper fled, leaving the attack-monkeys of Ningbo to starve slowly to death in his front lodge." (p. 208)

We never heard how Morocco's monkeys performed in Iraq. I am sure they learned from the problems of the Qing emperor's apes, and thus we see how monkeys too stand on the shoulders of giants."

Bluntly put: colonial aims in Africa

""In 2007, J. Peter Pham, a State Department advisor who has been a permanent member of the advisory board of AFRICOM since its creation, testified as to the core mission of the new Pentagon command, which he spelled out in fairly blunt terms. It involved, he said, "protecting access to hydrocarbons and other strategic resources which Africa has in abundance, a task which includes ensuring against the vulnerability of those natural riches and ensuring that no other interested third parties, such as China, India, Japan, or Russia, obtain monopolies or preferential treatment." "" (thanks Amir)

Pushing a Muslim off the train

"" "(She) said in sum and substance 'I pushed a Muslim off the train tracks because I hate Hindus and Muslims ever since 2001 when they put down the twin towers I've been beating them up,'" the prosecutor said in a statement."" (thanks Ali)

bankrolling the Ikhwan

"Egypt has received a final $500 million instalment of funds promised by Qatar and will get another $500 million from Turkey at the end of January, its finance minister said, in the latest aid to help balance its budget and defend its currency." (thanks Basim)

Google Earth and Israel

"There is one entire country, however, that Google Earth won't show you: Israel.
That's because, in 1997, Congress passed the National Defense Authorization Act, one section of which is titled, "Prohibition on collection and release of detailed satellite imagery relating to Israel." The amendment, known as the Kyl-Bingaman Amendment, calls for a federal agency, the NOAA's Commercial Remote Sensing Regulatory Affairs, to regulate the dissemination of zoomed-in images of Israel."

Ikhwan in business

The alliance between the Muslim Brotherhood and the Business class in Egypt.

Beirut refuses to raise the white flags?

My weekly article in Al-Akhbar: " 'Beirut burns and refuses to raise the white flags'. Who says?"

The biggest scandal of Western media

The biggest scandal of the last year in Western media is this: how Western media followed faithfully in the footsteps of the media of the Qatari and Saudi royal families on the Syria story.  Quite a shameful record.

In Arabic and in French--in Syria

In Arabic, there is a banner for Jabhat An-Nusrah, and in French--for the eyes of Western media--there is  "In Syria, we chant peace, love, and liberty".  Now try to reconcile the two messages.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Saudi Government to Shut Down Channels Threatening National Unity

"Saudi Arabia will shut down satellite television channels that threaten national unity or instigate sedition in society, al-Watan daily reported Friday. The Minister of Culture and Information Abdulaziz Khoja told the newspaper that the ministry is working on a new set of regulations to stop such channels.
“National unity is a red line that must not be crossed,” he said, adding that his ministry cannot accept any calls for hatred and division in society.
Koja decided in September 2010 to shut down al-Osra channel, owned by Saudi preacher Mohammed al-Habdan, for airing fatwas after the government decided to limit the issuing of fatwas to a number of licensed bodies."

Marzouki's humiliation

From Khelil:  "So Marzouki got the humiliation he earned for his partnership with al Nahda. The Tunisian constituent assembly yesterday voted on the 2013 budget, but instead of an omnibus budget it was divided into 29 parts specifying resources and purposes. The sole one to be voted down was an increase of less than 10% for the president's office. Marzouki's MP ally protested that it was politicized and due to Marzouki's recent criticism of al Nahda (that the party is trying to monopolize the state apparatus). al Nahda argued (correctly) that since Marzouki's duties are limited and even likely to decrease next year prior to elections, there is no need for an increase. Even al Nahda is dispensing with the silly idea that Marzouki, who could not keep the Libyan minister in Tunis, has any real power. "

record fatwawawas in Egypt

In one year, the House of Fatwawawas in Egypt has issued 471,808 fatwawawas.  (thanks Samir)

silly election in a lousy kingdom of horror

"The recent election of former soccer player Ahmed Eid Alharbi as the first freely chosen head of the Saudi Football Federation (SFF) in a country that views polling as an alien Western concept masks regional fears of the impact of popular revolts that have swept the Middle East and North Africa. It also constitutes the first time that autocratic rulers have sought to reduce their identification with soccer in a break with a tradition that employs the beautiful game in a bid to polish their tarnished images.  Mr. Alharbi, a former goalkeeper of Al Ahli SC, the soccer team of the Red Sea port of Jeddah, who is widely seen as a reformer and proponent of women's soccer in a country where women are fighting to gain the right to play football, narrowly won the election widely covered by Saudi media to become the Saudi federation's first-ever elected leader.  "Saudis were witnessing for the very first time in their lives a government official being elected through what they used to consider as a Western ballot system. People eagerly followed a televised presidential debate between the two candidates the previous day," Mr. Alsaif wrote." (thanks Basim)


""The Oct. 24 exodus was part of a wave of violence that has shaken western Myanmar twice in the last six months. But what began with a series of skirmishes that pitted ethnic Rakhine Buddhists against Rohingya, a Muslim minority, appears to have evolved into something far more disturbing: a region-wide effort by Buddhists to drive Muslims out with such ferocious shows of hatred that they could never return.""

Dutch golden age

""But this was a time of slavery and war too. Slavery was illegal in the Netherlands, but Dutch ships carried and sold slaves in Africa and Surinam, and Dutch fortunes waxed rich from the profits of the trade. The Dutch were renowned in China for their violence, and their arms industry – still the sixth-largest in the world today – was formidable. By modern standards, Dutch justice was anything but enlightened. Two ghoulish Rembrandt drawings of the public strangulation of a female murderer depict one of the many dark sides of the golden age.""

Canadian government does not mind the murder of its citizens by Israel

From Amir:  ""The Defence Department has quietly removed from the Internet a report into the killing of a Canadian military officer by Israeli forces, a move the soldier's widow says is linked to the Conservative government's reluctance to criticize Israel for any wrongdoing." [Compare this behavior of Canada to its reaction to Zahra Kazemi's death in Iran]"


Who allocated Syria to the Asad family, who?

Israeli murder of Palestinian children in Gaza

This is a comprehensive report about the Israeli terrorist murder of Palestinian children in Gaza during the recent assault.

"liberated" Syria

""The ruined corner of downtown Aleppo does not, of course, constitute a state and nor does it belong to the man claiming it in his name. But as the Syrian civil war has stagnated and Aleppo has fractured into "liberated" neighbourhoods run by different militias, Abu Ali and commanders like him have become the rulers of a series of mini-fiefdoms. These two blocks of the rebel frontline in Saif al-Dawla are his.""

She should be ignored but...

There is no one more shallow, more vapid, more silly, more sensational, more attention seeking, more uninsightful, more ill-informed, more unoriginal than this woman writing in Now Hariri.  Arab feminists mock her or mostly disregard her--to be fair--and yet she is considered by ignorant Western journalists as an "Arab feminist".   Here, she tells Muslim women how to be feminist.  What is hilarious is that this woman never ever talked about herself as a feminist and expressed hostility to feminists (read my article about her from four years ago here), until some roving Western journalist decided to refer to her as a feminist and she took that label with relish.

Another big lie of Al-Arabiyya exposed: or how Western media once again went along with the media of the House of Saud. On the recent Syrian defector

From Ali, Angry Arab's chief correspondent in Turkey:  "Another lie of Al Arabia is exposed
According to Hurriyet Daily, Turkish Foreign Ministry sources deny the defected Syrian officer is "the head of military police and Major General."   They emphasize that Abdul-Aziz Jassem al-Shallal is not the head of the military police and even not a major general but a colonel.   An opposition source has said that "He wants to present himself as a hero but only a swindler".

Friday, December 28, 2012

PA corruption

From Sammy:  "This past weekend I met a family friend (and businessman) who recently returned from Palestine. He informed me he had set up a meeting with Ramallah governor Leila Ghanam. He proposed to donate hundreds of thousands of dollars for a modern emergency room in Ramallah with all the latest medical equipment in the memory of a family member who had recently passed away. They got turned down saying the PA doesn't have the doctors to support such a plan and training for use in the equipment .. Makes you think that the fuck have they been doing with all that foreign aid over the years for them not being able to provide adequate medical care/equipment for the Palestinian people. There are stories of Palestinians dying due to simple causes due to lack of medical treatment. Anyways, further meetings with other officials such as the Ministry of Health and others came up with a better idea..have the family donate the money to them and they'll take care of the project...yeah right!

Feel free to pose anything written here.


P.S. Leila Ghanam, who is often paraded on television as being the first female Palestinian governor, is from a local Ramallah village named Deir Debwan. There, her father (Dawoud) and brother (Mohamed) do as they like with impunity. They come from a family of Palestinian intelligence officials. The local villagers are sick of them. For example, Mohamed, a mukabarat official, had his car burned earlier this year. It was reportedly blamed on settlers (link below). But my family is from Deir Debwan and settlers have never stepped foot there. It was most likely done to settle scores by other Palestinians."


"Halfway through the episode, the Femen spokeswoman began to question the feminist credentials of some of the other guests, who were questioning Femen’s tactics. For Femen, it appears that their kind of feminism is the only kind of feminism. Women who choose to wear the veil cannot and will not be called feminists, since they do not adhere to the same logic that Femen adheres to." (thanks Khaled)

Murder in Qatif

Saudi Arabia's security forces kills a young man in Qatif.


"During the operation to force that result, he spoke French and German to coalition partners, showed awareness of Arab sensitivities and served as Powell's operative man on the ground." (thanks Basim)

assisting Yemen?

""Notably, the number of American airstrikes in Yemen, largely carried out by unmanned drones, has surged over the past year, as much as tripling in frequency in comparison with 2011. The airstrikes are just one element of a multifaceted engagement in Yemen. A small number of U.S. forces are stationed there to provide strategic assistance to the Yemeni military, while Washington has provided more than $300 million, split among military, humanitarian and development aid.""

your friendly dictatorship in Bahrain

""Salman acknowledges that younger protestors also strongly oppose Western policy towards Bahrain. The EU and Britain have historically had close ties to Bahrain because of its oil supplies and strategic location in the Gulf. The US Navy's Fifth Fleet is stationed here to protect oil shipping lanes and assert US presence."" (thanks Amir)

blaming women

""Italian media reported that parish priest Piero Corsi fixed a text to the bulletin board of his church in the northern village of San Terenzo di Lerici, which said women should engage in "healthy self criticism" over the issue of femicide, or men murdering women. Domestic violence against women is a serious problem in Italy although a report by a United Nations mission in June said it was "largely invisible and underreported". "A third of women in Italy had reported being victim of serious domestic violence, a UN report citing data from Italian statistics agency ISTAT said.""

Top Syrian Military Figure

"Top Syrian military figure defects to opposition".  I mean, is there even a hint of a slight exaggeration in this sensational headline in the Washington Post?  Top Syrian military figure?  I mean, is there no foreign editor to reign in the enthusiasm of those writers and journalists in the Western media?  I mean, is there anyone who knows anything about Syria who thinks that the commander of Military Police is one of the members of the military elite in Syria? I know that Western media and Syrian revolution groupies are desperate for big gun defections, but some measured writing please.

Killing journalists in Syria

"A Syrian state television cameraman was slain outside his home in Damascus, the Syrian Arab News Agency reported Saturday. Haidar Smoudi was the ninth state-employed journalist killed by "armed terrorist groups," the news agency said."

It is all over in Syria

"Assad’s departure is likely only weeks away, a few months at the most, White predicted." We can all go home now.

The revolutionary looters

"It wasn't the government that killed the Syrian rebel commander Abu Jameel. It was the fight for his loot. The motive for his murder lay in a great warehouse in Aleppo which his unit had captured a week before. The building had been full of rolled steel, which was seized by the fighters as spoils of war.
But squabbling developed over who would take the greater share of the loot and a feud developed between commanders. Threats and counter-threats ensued over the following days.
Abu Jameel survived one assassination attempt when his car was fired on. A few days later his enemies attacked again, and this time they were successful. His bullet-riddled body was found, handcuffed, in an alley in the town of al-Bab.
Captain Hussam, of the Aleppo military council, said: "If he had died fighting I would say it was fine, he was a rebel and a mujahid and this is what he had set out to do. But to be killed because of a feud over loot is a disaster for the revolution.
"It is extremely sad. There is not one government institution or warehouse left standing in Aleppo. Everything has been looted. Everything is gone."
Captured government vehicles and weapons have been crucial to the rebels since the start of the conflict, but according to Hussam and other commanders, and fighters interviewed by the Guardian over a fortnight in northern Syria, a new phase has been reached in the war. Looting has become a way of life.
"Spoils" have now become the main drive for many units as battalion commanders seek to increase their power.
The problem is particularly pronounced in Aleppo, according to Abu Ismael, a young lieutenant from a wealthy family, who ran a successful business before joining the fight against Bashar al-Assad." (thanks Ali)

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Heroes of the Free Syrian Army captures a most dangerous shabbih

And notice that he was treated very kindly

(thanks Nir)

Do you notice that Western media--so eager to chip in in the propaganda war--hail the defection of Syrians one-by-one?

"“He’s contaminated from top to bottom,” the captain said. “Tomorrow he will be a hero.”"  Enjoy him.

Why he left Aljazeera

Translation of the letter by "Akhtham Suliman, Al-Jazeera’s longtime Germany correspondent, in which he details the reasons for his recent resignation from the station." (thanks Sultan)

"Tel Aviv University’s role in settler-run archaeological dig "playing into hands of BDS," Israeli academics complain"

"Dozens of academics from Israel and abroad, worried about the threat of academic boycott, have sent a petition to Tel Aviv University (TAU) requesting the cancelation of the university’s participation in the settler-run archaeological dig in the Silwan neighbourhood of occupied East Jerusalem.
The partnership between TAU and Elad’s project was revealed in October, and TAU’s Institute of Archaeology began digging in the “City of David” national park last week. Elad “is responsible for settling over 500 Israeli Jews throughout Silwan,” and the organization’s director “has himself been caught on tape admitting the digs he oversees endanger Palestinian homes situated above.”
The university’s response to what TAU archaeologist Prof. Rafael Greenberg has called “a clear politicization of research” has been to defend the dig on the grounds that it “will be carried out using modern scientific methods, at the highest professional standards, with particular attention paid to professional ethics.”
TAU is not alone in its relationship with the settler group’s project in Silwan; Hebrew University now offers an “Archaeological Field Summer School." (thanks Ben)

stabbing Santa Claus in Turkey

From Ali in Turkey:  "Members of an Islamist youth organization in Turkey protest those who are celebrating the new year and stab a model of Santa Claus for showing their anger."

“will respect the will of the [Americans] when they elect the country’s [forty] fourth president”

"I certainly didn’t hear that Kenya’s Foreign Affairs minister had issued a statement saying that Kenyans “will respect the will of the [Americans] when they elect the country’s [forty] fourth president”. So why do we allow foreign envoys to tell us with such smug condescension that they will accept our choices? Why do we care whether or not they will do so? Are we not financing 95 per cent of our annual budget from our own local sources? What is it exactly that we need from these countries that we must stand at attention and be inspected at every turn without us ever mentioning the atrocities of Guantanamo Bay and Iraq? International relations are unfair and unequal, yes, but when will Kenya learn to call the bluff of international bullies in the eloquent way Julius Nyerere and Nelson Mandela used to? Our last election ended in the pain of fratricidal blood. But if we learnt nothing from it, if the spectacle of IDPs and the number left dead has taught us nothing, then a coterie of imported nannies will not succeed in wiping our noses clean." (thanks Buush)

Your Prince Bandar

""Prince Bandar, while ambassador to the U.S., was used by the Saudi government to negotiate a wide range of arms deals around the world, which included the biggest arms deal in history, a deal called the al-Yamamah deal between the United Kingdom and Saudi Arabia worth 43
billion British pounds. Around six billion pounds of bribes were paid on that deal alone. Over one billion pounds of those bribes flowed through Prince Bandar's accounts that were held in Riggs Bank in Washington, D.C., as it then was. Bandar describes a 15-minute conversation with then
British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, in which he says he told the prime minister that the Saudis had certain special needs, the prime minister said she fully understood that, and that was the end of the negotiation, the easiest negotiation he's ever had for an arms deal.  Prince Bandar has effectively acted as bag man on all sorts of international arms transactions going back to the Iran-Contra imbroglio of the Reagan administration, up until fairly recent times."" (thanks Dale)

Why only 237?

""In the last 10 years, 237 soldiers killed themselves, according to official statistics released by the Israel Defense Forces. That works out to an average of 24 conscripts taking their own lives each year.""

US and human rights

""With rare exceptions, the only people delusional and naive enough to believe the US is serious about its "commitment-to-human-rights" rhetoric - as opposed to exploiting human rights concerns as a tool to undermine regimes it dislikes - are found in the west. In the regions where the US enthusiastically supports even the most repressive regimes provided those regimes show fealty to US dictates, the stench of this hypocrisy, of this radical dishonesty, is so potent that it cannot be evaded.""

western governments will fund armed groups in Syria, but not hospitals

""Pharmaceutical factories, which used to produce more than 90% of the country's drug needs, are down to one-third of their former production, according to Elizabeth Hoff, the representative of the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Syria. Many have been destroyed or damaged in the fighting – sometimes directly targeted by the opposition. The northern city of Aleppo, one of the worst affected, was home to most of the factories. Other factories are struggling to import raw materials due to sanctions imposed on Syria by western countries. Insecure routes have affected supply lines." "The shortage and price of medicines are just the tip of the iceberg. Fighting has partly or completely destroyed half the country's 88 public hospitals, with 23 of them not functioning at all. Of 1,919 health centres, 186 have been damaged, and 106 are no longer functional." "The UN appeal for humanitarian funding, revised in September, included more than $53m in health-related projects for 2012 – but remains less than one-third funded."" (thanks Amir)

plotting to celebrate Christmas in Saudi Arabia

"Saudi religious police stormed a house in the Saudi Arabian province of al-Jouf, detaining more than 41 guests for “plotting to celebrate Christmas,” a statement from the police branch released Wednesday night said.  The raid is the latest in a string of religious crackdowns against residents perceived to threaten the country's strict religious code." (thanks May)

Bernard Lewis and his love affair with Middle East dictatorships

If you read Notes on a Century by Bernard Lewis you will understand more about him than if you read all his other books.  I mean, he makes it clear that he has a long-standing love affair with Middle East dictatorship.  This is a man who was so close to Turkish generals and even advised them on by matters of foreign policy.  The Turkish dictatorial government even offered to pay his legal fees when he was sued in French court for his claims about the Armenian Genocide (he even does a worse job in this book asserting that the Armenian genocide was not a genocide because the Armenians were mounting an armed opposition to the Ottoman Empire).   He was on close terms with the Shah and his government and even interceded with Princeton University to prevent the granddaughters of the Shah from being expelled from the college (he gleefully reports that he was rewarded for his effort with a large tin of caviar by her family).  He met with Qadhdhafi as part of a PR effort by his regime (he says that the interpreter--I thought that Mr. Lewis spoke Arabic fluently?--was a graduate of Purdue and I thought that it must have been none other than Mahmud Jibril who did research at Purdue).  He was close to the Hashemite dictatorship in Jordan and seemed cozy with Prince Bandar bin Sultan.  Of course, his relationship with the Zionist regime is too well-known, as his relationship with the Sadat regime.  This is the man who advised George W. Bush and Dick Cheney on matters of spreading democracy in the Middle East.  What a joke.

Where is Jihad Makdisi?

A reliable source who has been reliable all along tells me that Jihad Makdisi is in London while his family is in Beirut and that he has been sending messages to the Syrian government about his return.  He was told that he could return but that he won't return to an official position. 

Sunni-Shi`ite discord

Qasim Qasir has an important article on the state of Sunni-Shi`ite discord in the Arab world.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The mini-scandal in Israel

"And there was a mini-scandal when the girlfriend of Yair Netanyahu, the son of the Israeli prime minister, posted a photo of the youth wearing a Santa hat and posing next to a Christmas tree, on Facebook. Under the photo was the caption “My Christian boy.”
The prime minister’s office was forced to issue a statement that the image was a joke and that Yair had been attending a party hosted by “Christian Zionists who love Israel, and whose children served in the IDF,” Israel’s Channel 2 reported. Nevertheless the photo was removed from Facebook."

So it is only true if confirmed by Israel?

"Israel voiced doubt on Tuesday about claims that chemical weapons had been used against rebels fighting to topple President Bashar Assad.
Activists on Monday claimed civilians had suffered injuries consistent with exposure to some kind of poisonous gas.
"We have seen reports from the opposition. It is not the first time. The opposition has an interest in drawing in international military intervention," Vice Prime Minister Moshe Yaalon said on Army Radio.
"As things stand now, we do not have any confirmation or proof that (chemical weapons) have already been used, but we are definitely following events with concern," he said."

Richard Engel and his saga

Do you notice that the story of Richard Engel's kidnapping has died down?  The truth came out and it is too embarrassing to the cause of the armed gangs that the Western media are enamored with.

Israeli headline

Look at the question mark in the headline.

PA collaborationist regime supports "honor killing"

"President Mahmoud Abbas has no plans to amend laws that reduce sentences for suspects who claim an "honor" defense for murdering women, his legal adviser says.  "Why change it? This would cause serious problems," Hassan al-Ouri told Ma'an, adding that such a reform would "not benefit women.""

Human Rights Watch

Are you aware that Human Rights Watch's office in Beirut has hitherto refrained from issuing one word of protest or complaint against the Hariri-Salafite-led pogroms against `Alawites in Tripoli?  Not one word.  Shops of `Alawites in Tripoli were set on fire, and `Alawites in the city were driven out of their homes and their property stolen and many were shot. 

In one year, Israel kidnapped 900 children: imagine if this was perpetrated by Arabs

"The Palestinian Ministry Of Detainees reported that this year witnessed a sharp increase in Israeli violations against Palestinian children, and said that Israeli soldiers kidnapped this year 900 Palestinian children comparing to 700 kidnapped last year."

Israel's war on x-mass

"Netanyahu’s professions of tolerance would have come as news to Palestinian Christian students at Safad Academic College in the Galilee. There, students who could not get home for the holidays bought a Christmas tree and set it up outside their dorm.
But in the evening when they got back from class, they found the tree was gone, Israel’s Walla! News reported.
“This is the saddest Christmas,” said Gabriel Mansour, 24, a third-year political science student, identified by Walla! as a representative of Arab students. “All we wanted to do was provide some good cheer for all the students who remained alone in the dorms, and who were unable to go home to their families.”
When Mansour investigated, he was told by college officials that the tree had been hidden lest it spark riots among the Jewish students.
“I was angry to hear this,” said Mansour of the claim that the tree might spark riots among Jewish students and residents of Safad. “Unfortunately they don’t respect our holidays. We fully respect all Israeli holidays. Why can no one respect our traditions? Why can’t we put up a Christmas tree?”
“I do not think Christmas should be marked with such ostentation,” Walla! quoted an unnamed Jewish student saying. “The college has a distinctly Jewish character. It’s not healthy for anyone to be able to do whatever he wants.”"

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without clothes

"According to Ahrar Center Prisoners studies and human rights that the occupation violates specificities of the Palestinians and does not respect them during the arrest operations, especially in recent times that there was a high number of citizens who were arrested from their bedrooms although they are without clothes." (thanks Khaled)

Palestine Supplement

As-Safir's newspaper has an excellent record on service to the Palestine question.  It has been publishing a weekly supplement on Palestine.  They now have been collected in a large volume (and sister Mirvat sent me a copy).  They are edited by Palestinian journalist/historian, Saqr Abu Fakhr.  They are an excellent record on Palestine history and politics.  Ghassan Kanafani had published a Palestine supplement for the Al-Muharrir newspaper back in the 1960s (Al-Muharrir stopped publication after armed thugs of Syrian regime bombed its offices).  There are things I disagree with in the supplement (like the inclusion of certain writers here adn there) but this is a rich resource that I recommend to all.

Fires in Istanbul

From comrade Talal: "Istanbul has had in its history a large number of fires, some resulting in a full burn down of the city. This relates to the prevalence of wooden houses characteristic of the city. Many burnt houses can still be found to this day in the old city, a reminder of which is the Bayazid Fire Tower which bisects its skyline. The fires of old Istanbul are mentioned in Pamuk's books (My Name is Red and Istanbul)."

Sons of Zayid are secular?

""The United Arab Emirates supports a non-sectarian future change of government in Syria," Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahayan said late on Tuesday after he met with the opposition National Coalition's chief, Ahmed Moaz al-Khatib, in Abu Dhabi." (thanks Basim)

It is their country?

""Yet when Americans visit Aamal's base, they are not searched. They are offered chai tea. And they bring half a dozen soldiers armed with M-16s, so-called Guardian Angels on the lookout for "insider attacks" by Afghan soldiers. "Afghan generals get searched by low-ranking foreign soldiers," Aamal said. "Our soldiers see this, and they feel insulted." "The Americans have the weapons, so they go wherever they want. It's like this is their country," the brigade's public affairs officer, Maj. Ghulam Ali, said with a weary shrug."" (thanks Amir)

Israel is offended

""Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor spelled it out. "We're fighting terrorism, which comes under very specific geopolitical and military circumstances. This is not something that compares with the situation in the US," Palmor said." "The gap between Israeli gun ownership and US gun ownership is consequently staggering. A total of 170,000 guns are licensed for private use in Israel, or about one gun for every 30 adults." "By contrast, US authorities estimate that at least one-third of all American households have firearms — and in many cases, not only one.""

`Abdul-`Aziz bin Fahd

From a reader:  "Hi As'ad, Saudi tele-cleric Mohammed Al Arefi has been clashing with MBC, saying their children's channel promotes atheism. MBC. MBC responded by issuing a statement suggesting that Arefi was mentally unstable (really).
Then Arefi write to your favourite prince [`Abdul-`Aziz bin Fahd], who responded saying he me withdraw his shares in MBC. Truly amusing."

Turki Al-Hamad's arrest

Several Saudi dissident wrote to me and maintained that the real reason for the arrest of Turki Al-Hamad has been his tweets against `Abdul-`Aziz bin Fahd.

Why Turki Al-Hamad was arrested in Saudi Arabia

Often times in Islamic history governments use the charge of atheism or insults to religion to arrest or even kill individual writers who offended those governments politically.  This may be true about the cases of Ibn Al-Muqaffa` and Bashshar Bin Burd or even Al-Hallaj.  This is now true in the recent case of the arrest of Saudi liberal, Turki Al-Hamad.  The government is claiming that he was arrested for his tweets that were deemed offensive to religion.  That is a lie.  Saudi dissidents tell me that he was arrested for tweeting this: (I love House of Saud and I can't imagine the country without them.  But they have to respond to our love with love, and our respect with respect.  But what is happening does not express love or respect.)

"أحب آل سعود..ولا أتصور هذا البلد بدونهم..ولكن عليهم أن يبادلونا حباً بحب..واحتراماً باحترام..ولكن ما يجري لا يعبر عن حب أو احترام.."

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Firemen in Istanbul in 1869

I doubt that they ever extinguished any fire, EVER.  

Potato spokeswoman outed

"Wisconsin potato spokeswoman outed as prostitute". (thanks Laleh)

Who killed Abu Furat?

A Turkish journalist sent me this:
"This is just a rumour, I cannot confirmed it: One of the rebel leader was killed in Aleppo last week. His name is Abu Fourat. He is the commander of Tawheed Brigades. (Liwa Al Tawheed) He is opposing the theft and sectarianism. And it is announced that he was killed during the combat in infantry school in west of Aleppo. But some people do not believe this story. They say that he was not killed by army but the leader of Banner of Tawheed Brigades. His name is Abdelqader As Salah the leader of Banner of Tawheed Brigades. This group has direct relations with Turkish intelligence and as I told you he is the organizer of this looting. Banner of Tawheed are also very sectarian (they raided the villages of Alawites in last summer) They told said that this assassination is somehow related with this looting, "they eliminated a big obstacle for them"".

the dog and the whistle

""In the case of Syria, Al Jazeera barely reported about the rebellion in the first few weeks. Some of my colleagues and I protested, pointing out that there was stuff happening in Syria and we needed to report on it, regardless of our personal opinions. Back then, however, the ruler of Qatar was trying to change the Syrian president's mind and encourage him to take certain steps toward political reform.

When Assad didn't respond, Al Jazeera then said: Now get to work on Syria! It's not a good feeling when you have the impression that you're no longer a journalist, you're basically just a guard dog responding to your owner's whistle when he tells you to go after this state or that government. It was really quite extreme: this long silence at the beginning, then the frantic involvement afterwards - and with the Qatari ruler always the one calling the tune."" (thanks "Ibn Rushd")

There is no such ethnic group as Rohingya

""The resolution adopted on Monday is identical to one approved last month by the General Assembly's Third Committee, which focuses on human rights. After that vote, Myanmar's mission to the United Nations said that it accepted the resolution but objected to the Rohingyas being referred to as a minority. "There has been no such ethnic group as Rohingya among the ethnic groups of Myanmar," a representative of Myanmar said at the time. "Despite this fact, the right to citizenship for any member or community has been and will never be denied if they are in line with the law of the land." ""

US in Africa

"A U.S. Army brigade will begin sending small teams into as many as 35 African nations early next year, part of an intensifying Pentagon effort to train countries to battle extremists and give the United States a ready and trained force to dispatch to Africa if crises requiring the U.S. military emerge.""

The Yemeni dictatorship and US drone attacks on civilians

""Suddenly a missile hurtled from the sky and flipped the vehicle over. Chaos. Flames. Corpses. Then, a second missile struck. Within seconds, 11 of the passengers were dead, including a woman and her 7-year-old daughter. A 12-year-old boy also perished that day, and another man later died from his wounds. The Yemeni government initially said that those killed were al-Qaeda militants and that its Soviet-era jets had carried out the Sept. 2 attack. But tribal leaders and Yemeni officials would later say that it was an American assault and that all the victims were civilians who lived in a village near Radda, in central Yemen. U.S. officials last week acknowledged for the first time that it was an American strike. "Their bodies were burning," recalled Sultan Ahmed Mohammed, 27, who was riding on the hood of the truck and flew headfirst into a sandy expanse. "How could this happen? None of us were al-Qaeda." "

How Aljazeera operates

""The long-time Berlin correspondent for Al Jazeera, Aktham Suliman, recently resigned from his post. The journalist tells DW that the Qatari government is exercising undue influence on Al Jazeera's reporting."" (thanks Amir)


From Angry Arab's Bahrain correspondent:  "This youtube video which has gone viral in Bahrain clearly shows a police officer slapping a Bahraini citizen:
Of course it is by no means an isolated incident. But now that they have been caught on tape, the ministry of interior promises an investigation. Of course we all know what that means in Bahrain.

Here's a helpful list:

Al-Arabiyya: the fabrication industry: the case of Jihad Makdisi

Al-Arabiyya (the news station of King Fahd's brother-in-law) is one of the most unreliable and laughable media of all members of the Saudi royal family.  Yesterday, they "reported" that Jihad Makdisi was kidnapped by Hizbullah.  Today, without even referring to their own report from yesterday, they are headlining with the story that Makdisi fled Syria with the assistance of the US government.  So let me try to reconcile Al-Arabiyya's accounts from yesterday and today: Mr. Makdisi was whisked out of Syria by the CIA and then kidnapped by Hizbullah on the road to Beirut and then Hizbullah surrendered him to the US government.  OK.

Asad's options in the New York Times

I read this article in the Times and here are my thoughts: 1) it is all based on rumors and innuendos and speculations. 2) the diplomat cited as an authority on Asad is either the US ambassador or the French. 3) I knew that this article is not reliable when it cited a "friend of Bashshar".  Bashshar has no friends, to my knowledge, and if he has any they would not be talking to the New York Times.  But there is no evidence that he has real friends outside of Sulayman Franjiyyah who would never speak to the Times.  4) The article does not mention that Bashshar's presidential palace was constructed by Rafiq Hariri. 5) Typical of such articles in the Times and Western papers, all the speculation are heard from day one by exile opposition media.

Elliott Abrams on the Israel war on Lebanon

Norman Finkelstein sent me this:  "Just read Elliott Abrams new "memoir," TESTED BY ZION: The Bush administration and the Israeli-Palstinian Conflict (Cambridge University Press: January 2013).

Here's what he has to say about the 2006 Lebanon War:

p. 180/ “Given that Hizballah was a Shia group armed by and allied with Iran, it elicited no sympathy from the Arabs, who looked forward to seeing Israel thrash it—and told us so.”
p. 181 recalls sacrifices of Abrams et al. during Lebanon war: “we flew first to Beirut to see Siniora; the war was now in its third week. It was not safe to use the airport in Beirut, so Rice’s plane landed in Cyprus and we jumped over to Beirut in a helicopter. The ancient military craft was deafeningly loud and leaked oil all over us, ruining suits, dresses, and hairdos as we flew the 125 miles. We rigged up plastic sheeting over Rice to protect her from the steady dripping.” (Pity no one lit a match.)

p. 182/ "[Siniora] denounced in propaganda terms that Israel''s actual conduct of the war belied. The Beirut International Airport was closed, but Israel was careful not to damage it beyond making a runway temporarily unstable; it reopened within a week of the passage of Security Council Resolution 1701. Same for the port. Same for downtown Beirut. Driving near the port, we had seen a lighthouse whose beacon was shot out by an Israeli missile. But the missile had been guided to hit only the beacon, leaving he entire structure intact and obviously capable of quick restoration. Only the Dahiye neighborhood of Beirut, a southern suburb that is Hizbollah headquarters, was badly damaged.”

p. 182/ "[Siniora] himself gave a tearful presentation about how Lebanon was being completely destroyed, which was false but moving”".

Jordan's crown prince

Did people notice that the spoiled royal brat of Jordan, the crown prince, now attends official meetings with the King?

chemical weapons in Syria

It is getting ridiculous.  The folks in the propaganda department of the Free Syrian Army are desperate for Western NATO attacks.  So they read the headlines that Obama stated that chemical attacks by the regime in Syria are the "red line" (meaning, that the regime will be excused and forgiven for any other attacks on the people of Syria short of chemical attacks).  So once a week, they put a video on youtube that alleges a chemical attack.  What is hilarious is that the people there are so deficient in scientific knowledge that they post a video in which a man or a two women are showing "suffering" from a gas attack.  They basically imply that gas attacks are like a bullet: they hit only a person or two and don't affect a larger surrounding. 

gas masks in Israel

Every few year, the Israeli government engineers a spectacle of distributing gas masks to its citizens to protect them from some impending chemical danger from an Arab or an Iranian attack.  Every spectacle of the sorts is known in Israel and outside of Israel as a cheap publicity stunt that is intended to exploit the holocaust for political purposes (which is a sport in Israel).  And every time, the Western media dutifully goes along with the propaganda ploy and circulates the images and headlines.  I mean, at what point someone in the West will protest and boycott the stunt?   But my favorite parts of the stunt is that some Israeli citizens are shown wearing the damn masks as if there was some attack and they are protecting themselves.  How dumb is Israeli propaganda? Less dumb than the Western media that goes along with it.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Youtube reproting on Syria

According to this youtube by Syrian armed groups, the weapons of Asad regime has a Star of David.

So who really kidnapped Richard Engel: my early skepticism is being confirmed

"First, the sources say the gunmen who seized the crew may also have included rogue members of the rebel FSA–something top FSA commanders are keen to obscure. According to one source, “NBC’s security advisers were convinced that there was some FSA involvement in this and contacted wealthy Syrian-American donors of the rebel group, pointing out that Richard had been supportive of the uprising against Assad. They urged them to put pressure on the FSA. They really screwed down on them.” Top FSA commanders were alarmed and promised to help.  The disclosure that rogue FSA fighters may been involved in the abduction of the NBC crew will alarm Western correspondents working in Syria, who have to rely on FSA rebels for their safety in a particularly testing war zone of constantly shifting frontlines." (thanks Eric)

murdering civilians in Syria: regime and armed groups

So there is a report and headline about Syrian regime shelling that killed civilians.  That would not surprise me and it won't be the first time that the Syrian regime killed civilians.  But the story of threats against Christians by Syrian armed groups is always buried in stories, as in the NYT: "On Friday, a group of rebel fighters posted a video in which they threatened to shell Christian villages unless residents forced government loyalists to leave. Local church leaders have pleaded for peace and an end to sectarian strife."  Here is more on the threats to Christians.

Human Rights Watch and defending Israel

"Human Rights Watch says Gaza militants violated laws of war by launching hundreds of rockets at Israeli civilians during last month's fighting. The Israeli military says 1,500 rockets were fired at Israel during the eight-day offensive against Gaza militants, including the first rockets from Gaza to strike the Tel Aviv and Jerusalem areas. The rocket attacks killed three Israeli civilians and wounded dozens. HRW's Sarah Leah Whitson said in the group's report on Monday that "Palestinian armed groups made clear in their statements that harming civilians was their aim.""  I don't know which statements Sarah is referring to, but is she implying that threats are more deadly than actual harming of civilians, or does she mean that Israel should be forgiven for killing and injuring Arab civilians because it did not make clear statements that harming civilians was their aim?  (thanks Basim)

Zionist methods and terrorism

Comrade Joseph writes:  "Launching terrorist attacks against the British forces, the Jewish colonists were adamant that Britain had betrayed them. In the period between 1944 and 1948 Jewish terrorism and the British response to it led to the killing of 44 Jewish terrorists and 170 British soldiers and civilians, a ratio of 4 to 1 in favour of the terrorists. Unlike other anti-colonial struggles where the casualty figures would be astronomically in favour of the colonisers, Zionism would begin to call its terrorist war against Britain a "war of independence", casting itself as anti-colonial movement.
Now that Zionists began to recode their colonial project as "anti-colonial" while proceeding with colonisation, they understood that they could capitalise on the recent hostility to anti-Semitism in European public opinion. As the Palestinian people mounted their resistance to Jewish colonisation year after year, and decade after decade, Zionism began to fight them by labelling them anti-Semites.
Indeed, it was then that any call for the end of Zionist colonisation would be confronted with the argument of anti-Semitism. Israel decided then that if state anti-Semitism did not exist, it must be conjured up, if attacks on Jews qua Jews did not exist, they must be engineered, if an anti-Semitic attitude could be discerned, it must be capitalised on, generalised and exaggerated. For the only defence Israel could mount in the new world."