The language deficiencies of Western correspondents are staggering. They render the Syrian town of Da'il as "Dael".
Sunday, March 31, 2013
" Some explosions are near plausible military targets, like the army headquarters adjacent to the engineering campus. But with weapons that are indiscriminate, many of the victims — like those killed in government airstrikes and shelling in rebel-held neighborhoods — have been noncombatants."
Thursday, March 28, 2013
Wednesday, March 27, 2013
Another flight of executions might stand in the way of this age-old migration across the Arabian sea. In 2011 Saudi Arabia publicly beheaded eight Bangladeshis for their alleged involvement in an armed robbery in which an Egyptian security guard was killed. (Never mind that in 2012, a speedy tribunal in Dhaka sentenced five Bangladeshis to death by hanging for the killing of a Saudi diplomat in Dhaka. Even by the principle of an-eye-for-an-eye, Bangladesh’s executions would be judged to fall short.) If, as is widely expected, the entire leadership of the Jamaat is found guilty in the ongoing war-crimes trials in Dhaka, they could be sent to the gallows this year." (thanks Mohammad)
Tuesday, March 26, 2013
PS Notice that the Times reduced the number of years of Israeli occupation.
The enemies are Sunni rebel "terrorists," he says, who target Jamal and his neighbors because they are Shiite Muslims.
"Imagine, these people used to be our neighbors," said the 40-year-old farmer, perplexed by the transformation. "Now they want to kidnap and kill us."
Tensions gripping the villages along the border here between northeastern Lebanon and Syria illustrate the increasingly sectarian nature of the 2-year-old Syrian conflict and the risks it poses for the entire region.
The predominant narrative of the Syrian war is that of a tyrannical government largely run by members of a Shiite sect, the Alawites, brutalizing a people yearning for freedom.
However, in the largely Shiite towns and villages of Lebanon's Bekaa Valley, people who have fled Syria tell a different story. They speak of an "ethnic cleansing" campaign carried out by rebels intent on creating an Islamic state run by Syria's Sunni majority.
In the face of rebel attacks, Shiites in dozens of villages just inside Syria have fled here to a part of Lebanon dominated by the Shiite militant group Hezbollah, the villagers and Hezbollah representatives say. Those who have been displaced credit Hezbollah, which is considered a terrorist organization by the U.S., with providing shelter and security." (thanks Khelil)
“She is like someone suffering from a serious and contagious illness and she must be secluded and treated,” he added."
So what do Shi`ite Twelvers think of `Alawites: agaisnt the misconeptions of the Arabic and Western media
Monday, March 25, 2013
" American promises to help shape a stable democracy in Syria have been met with skepticism by some Iraqi officials. In an interview late in 2012, Sheikh Humam Hamoudi, the chairman of the Iraqi Parliament’s foreign affairs committee, recalled a visit in September from A. Elizabeth Jones, the acting assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern Affairs. “What she said was that they would educate the Syrians on how to be a democracy,” Mr. Hamoudi said, adding with a hint of sarcasm, “just like what happened in Iraq.”"
This included the names of Lebanese nationals Ziad al-Homsi and Mustafa Ali Awadeh, who were arrested in May 2009 on charges of spying for Israel and later sentenced to several years of hard labour.
The report said Israeli security authorities had told Zygier after his arrest that they wanted to make an example of him and demanded a prison sentence of at least 10 years."
The heightened conflict has dominated American politics. The partisan battle over how to fix the nation’s budget deficit has been, to a great degree, a class struggle. Whenever President Barack Obama talks of raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans to close the budget gap, conservatives scream he is launching a “class war” against the affluent. Yet the Republicans are engaged in some class struggle of their own. The GOP’s plan for fiscal health effectively hoists the burden of adjustment onto the middle and poorer economic classes through cuts to social services. Obama based a big part of his re-election campaign on characterizing the Republicans as insensitive to the working classes. GOP nominee Mitt Romney, the President charged, had only a “one-point plan” for the U.S. economy — “to make sure that folks at the top play by a different set of rules.”
Amid the rhetoric, though, there are signs that this new American classism has shifted the debate over the nation’s economic policy. Trickle-down economics, which insists that the success of the 1% will benefit the 99%, has come under heavy scrutiny. David Madland, a director at the Center for American Progress, a Washington-based think tank, believes that the 2012 presidential campaign has brought about a renewed focus on rebuilding the middle class, and a search for a different economic agenda to achieve that goal. “The whole way of thinking about the economy is being turned on its head,” he says. “I sense a fundamental shift taking place.” (thanks Jinan)
*Through your long confrontations with the Middle East, professionally and culturally, who is your favorite contemporary writer in the Arab world?
* من خلال مواجهاتك الطويلة مع الشرق الأوسط مهنيا وثقافيا، من هو كاتبك المعاصر المفضل في العالم العربي؟
- رفاعة الطهطاوي
PS * Tahtawi died in 1873.
Sunday, March 24, 2013
Here's my rejected piece. I see that the Post is now defending killing the article because it didn't offer sufficient "broader analytical points or insights." I'll let you consider if that's true and why they might have rejected it. "
The offensive was spearheaded by Jabhat al-Nusra (which the U.S considers a terrorist group with ties to al-Qaeda), the Salafist Ahrar al-Sham brigade and Jabhat al-Wahda al-Tahrir al-Islamiya (a grouping of some two dozen battalions)–all non-FSA groups who prefer the term Mujahedin (holy warriors) to revolutionaries, the label many FSA use to describe themselves.
A special unit of Ahrar al-Sham called Liwa Omana al Raqqa (or the Brigade of Security for Raqqa) was tasked with securing government installations after they fell, protecting public and private property and maintaining services to the city. The unit was specifically formed with this aim, according to its commander, Abu Tayf, a history graduate who used to work in real estate. “We had sleeper cells inside the city for a long time. When we entered the city, they rose and implemented the plan,” he says. “The project was devised a long time ago.”
There are also spray-painted messages around the city warning against theft. “A thief’s hand will be cut. Signed Jabhat al-Nusra” is plastered in many places, including outside the Real Estate Bank, which like the other banks in the city, is guarded by Nusra.
Several commanders of various Islamist units said they prevented some FSA units from entering the city, either during or after the battle, because they feared they might be more interested in looting than fighting. In at least one instance, an FSA unit was turned away by force, after an exchange of gunfire. “We did not forbid the free army, we forbade people who we suspected wanted to cause trouble in the city,” says Dr. Samer, “emir” of Jabhat al-Wahda al-Tahrir al-Islamiya who formerly went by the nom de guerre Abu Hakam. “I’m talking about certain individuals or battalions, but we don’t forbid people from Jihad.”
From Tunisia. (thanks Ahmad)
There are all sorts of vital issues I don't write about much or even at all, and that's usually true for several reasons. In general, those include: time constraints, a lack of expertise, ambivalence, the fact that others are saying everything I would want to, a belief I couldn't make an impact, the opportunity costs of focusing on that topic versus other topics, etc.
As for Syria, US involvement there has been relatively minimal. But it's a very complicated case and passions and emotions are very high, so it's the kind of issue I avoid unless and until I'm able to give it the attention it deserves and feel a reason to do so. I've often cited As'ad AbuKhalil as a great source on all matters Middle East and - without adopting all or even most of what he has said - he covers Syria almost every day and does it very well."
Saturday, March 23, 2013
Flash: Freedom House is worried about repression in the UAE only becausae it tarnishes the image of the pro-US polygamous rulers
"Over the last few decades, the authorities in Burma have trained the population to hate Muslims. Many leaders use derogatory terms for Muslims in public, like "kalar". Recently, things have become even worse with the conflict in Rakhine state and the increasing influence of a powerful monk in Mandalay, Wirathu [Editor’s Note: Wirathu is known for his anti-Islam views. According to several Muslim Burmese activists, he recently visited Meikhtila, where he reportedly criticised the fact that many businesses were owned by Muslims]. We don’t have anyone to turn to for help. Not even Aung San Suu Kyi [Burma’s opposition leader, who after years of house arrest, now has a seat in parliament] will help us, because in Burma, speaking out for Muslims means losing votes." (thanks Carlos)
"Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan underlined the importance of strong cooperation and friendship between the Turkish and Jewish nations in a telephone conversation with his Israeli counterpart on Friday, his office said. "Erdogan told (Israeli premier) Benjamin Netanyahu that he valued centuries-long strong friendship and cooperation between the Turkish and Jewish nations," the statement from Erdogan's office said."
"Burmese monks have often been involved in sectarian violence, with anti-Muslim protests in Mandalay led by the saffron-robed religious leaders last year. Meikhtila is no different."
This same Al-Qaradawi is now shedding crocodile tears about Al-Buti. (thanks Ahmad)
This picture celebrating the Palestinian student, Rabi` `Id, who interrupted Obama's Zionist rhetoric in Jerusalem to speak about Palestinian rights is widely circulating on Facebook by Arabs and supporters of Palestine. Rabi` requested my friendship on Facebook yesterday, and I of course accepted and we communicated some yesterday. I asked him a few questions about the experience and here are some of his answers (I cite with his permissions): He said that he was not arrested but that they (Israeli security) at first handcuffed him (after they forced him out of the hall) and told him that he was under arrest. But after some journalists went out and started taking pictures, the chief of security said that he does not want to cause noise especially before the cameras and ordered that he be forced out and released. He is a political science student at Haifa University and works as a journalist in Arabs 48 website and in the Fasl Al-Maqal publication. He is active in the Hizb At-Tajammu` Al-Watani ad-Dimuqrati. He said that he listened to the first 15 to 20 minutes of the speech before speaking out. I asked him what provoked him most. He said: Obama's adoption to the Israeli historical narrative and his justification to the Zionist hegemony in Palestine: that he talks about democracy and justice and then supports a racist Jewish state. How does he feel as a black man about the segregated Jews-only buses, he wondered. He told me that he views Obama as a white colonialist man.He said that he has been receiving an avalanche of letters of support and congratulations, in the hundreds, and from all around Arab world and the world at large, and from Palestinians around the world. He said a small number of Israelis sent support, and some are not Zionist and some are leftist and some he did not know. HE said that one person clapped for him in the hall and yelled: Free Palestine. I encouraged him to respond to media interview requests.