Saturday, August 31, 2013

gas masks in Israel: for Jews only

From John:  "Just to let you know - regarding gas masks - that i am living in a Palestinian israeli village and have been asking people today if they have a gas mask - Judging by their responses, I think its safe to say that very few of Israel's 20% (mostly living in the north) have one."

Not in the US media: a demonstration in support of Bashshar in Pennsylvania

Sisi forces

"Egyptian naval forces on Friday shot two Palestinian fishermen near the Egypt-Gaza border and detained five others, Palestinian sources in Gaza said."

"critical services" to the Syrian people such as Shari`h courts: CNN

"Despite these civilian casualties, the group has been able to garner considerable support from Syria's Sunni population, not only because it is the premier fighting force in the campaign to topple al-Assad but also because it is involvedin providing critical services such as food, medical services and Sharia courts to the embattled population." (thanks Osama)

Israel's dirty hands in Syria

"Israel is evidently the source of ambiguous SIGINT [Signals Intelligence] regarding Syrian military activities."

Why didn't the administration act three days before the launch of chemical weapons, according to its own chronology?

"Zanders said he also was surprised about the revelation that the U.S. had collected intelligence from multiple sources in the three days prior to the attack that showed Syrian weapons personnel were preparing chemical munitions. "Was this something the U.S. had in real time or did it get it (and) appreciate its significance after the attacks?" he said. "If not, then my question is why the Obama administration did not issue a public warning to deter the attack?" "

What John Kerry Knows

"What "we know," according to the Obama administration, is the case for war. But surely we know too that the U.S. continues to send aid to the Egyptian army, which has carried out three massacres in so many weeks, killing hundreds of Islamist protesters. What "we know" about the Syrian attack, the facts cited by Kerry and in the administrations unclassified report, fails to account for the complex nexus of geopolitical relations that mean some facts of despotic horror get to be arguments for war, others just get to be."

BBC Middle East website

"Raffi Berg was promoted to head the BBC website's Middle East desk earlier this month, having already worked as a journalist with that desk. His emails, which have been posted on a pro-Israeli site, were sent during Israel's eight day assault on Gaza in November 2012, which killed nearly 200 Palestinians. In one, he asked BBC colleagues to word their stories in a way which does not blame or "put undue emphasis" on Israel for starting the prolonged attacks. Instead, he encouraged journalists to promote the Israeli government line that the "offensive" was "aimed at ending rocket fire from Gaza." "


Comrade Maya reported on Facebook that someone on MSNBC reported that ""rebel forces are infested with Al-Qaida and Hezbollah".

The Sisi "revolution"

The Sisi "revolution" names a square after the Saudi King. (thanks Hossam)

Western moral outrage

"So a little less western moral outrage, please, particularly from the Brits whose own sainted Winston Churchill authorized the use of poison gas against rebellious Iraqi and Afghan tribesmen. Let’s also recall how North Vietnam was drenched with the toxic Agent Orange, how the resisting Iraq city of Falluja was showered by white phosphorous, how Iraq was permanently contaminated by radioactive depleted uranium. These foul weapons also kill babies."

Western wars against natives

From Daniel:

"From <em>Culture and Imperialism</em> by Edward Said:

<blockquote>The core of French military policy as Bugeaud and his officers articulated it was the razzia, or punitive raid on Algerians' villages, their homes, harvests, women and children. "The Arabs," said Bugeaud, "must be prevented from sowing, from harvesting, and from pasturing their flocks." Lacheraf gives a sampling of the poetic exhilaration recorded time after time by the French officers at their work, their sense that here at last was an opportunity for guerre à outrance beyond all morality or need. General Changarnier, for instance, describes a pleasant distraction vouchsafed his troops in raiding peaceful villages; this type of activity is taught by the scriptures, he says, in which Joshua and other great leaders conducted "de bien terribles razzias," and were blessed by God. Ruin, total destruction, uncompromising brutality are condoned not only because legitimized by God but because, in words echoed and re-echoed from Bugeaud to Salan, "les Arabes ne comprennent que la force brutale [Arabs only understand brute force]."</blockquote>

From <em>Recovering the Sacred</em> by Winona LaDuke, quoting George Washington:

<blockquote>The immediate objects are the total destruction and devastation of their settlements and the capture of as many prisoners of every age and sex as possible. It will be essential to ruin their crops now in the ground and prevent their planting more....Our future security will be in their inability to injure us, the distance to which they are driven, and in the terror with which the severity of the chastisement they receive will inspire them.</blockquote>"

tools of God

Qatari-run tele-Islamist, Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, considers Westerns nations that will attack Syria as "tools of God."  (thanks Ahmad)

American democracy in action

The US Congress often reminds me of the Syrian regime parliament or of the Saudi shura council. I saw Representative Peter King insists that the president needs not consult with Congress and that he can bomb anywhere and anytime without congressional approval--provided the targets are brown and black people, I am sure.

NSA hacks Aljazeera

"One such document, dated March 23, 2006, reveals that the NSA's Network Analysis Center managed to access and read communication by "interesting targets" that was specially protected by the news organization. The information also shows that the NSA officials were not satisfied with Al Jazeera's language analysis.
In addition to cracking the airline reservation services for Russian airline Aeroflot, accessing "Al Jazeera broadcasting internal communication" was listed as a "notable success," the document shows. The NSA said these selected targets had "high potential as sources of intelligence."
The encrypted information was forwarded to the responsible NSA departments for further analysis, according to the document, which did not reveal to what extent the intelligence agency spied on journalists or managers of the media company, or whether the surveillance is ongoing.
Previous documents seen by SPIEGEL have not specified that the media were spied on by the NSA. But as more information emerges, the massive scope of the organization's international surveillance of telephone and Internet communication continues to grow."

so how many died in the Syrian chemical attack? It depends on who you ask?

From Basim:  "Unveiling a U.S. intelligence report on Syria’s use of chemical weapons, Secretary of State John F. Kerry said Friday the evidence shows President Bashar Assad's government killed at least 1,429 of its own citizens ...
Last week, the observatory said it had confirmed at least 322 deaths in the attacks, including at least 90 rebel fighters, 82 women and 54 children ..."

What gas mask shortage in Israel?

From comrade Fahd:  "Le Monde of today has solved the question of the gas masks distribution in Occupied Palestine.  Under the first page title, the picture shows bins of masks located in an industrial building.  I leave the acerbic comment to you.


Vive l'Union des Egoistes

The article itself:".

And now a word from the patriotic Syrian "revolution"

"Qassim Saadeddine, a former Syrian army colonel and spokesman for the rebels' Supreme Military Council, said the council had sent a selection of rebel groups a military plan of action to use if strikes took place. "The hope is to take advantage when some areas are weakened by any strikes. We ordered some groups to prepare in each province, to ready their fighters for when the strike happens," he told Reuters, speaking by Skype." (thanks Amir)

Obama and Congress

There is no mystery in Obama's request to Congress: this is like saying, I won't go to war until the Saudi King permits me.

A Congressional vote

Now that is not a mystery: when does the US Congress ever oppose the use of force by a president?

Joe Biden

To see Joe Biden behind Obama is to lose more confidence before hearing a word.

American standards of sympathy

The Syrian people face the onslaught of a US war of aggression and the only sympathy exhibited in US media and by US politicians is reserved for the...Israeli people.  

poverty of American liberalism: the case of Nicholas Kristof

Look at this liberal case of this American columnists who brags that he "saves" brown and black "girls" in Africa and Asia from their male oppressors:  "But in conjunction with diplomacy, military force can save lives."  This sums it up.  I mean, that was exactly the logic of George W. Bush.  And of course, he does what every US supporter of war does: cites the authority of one Syrian in support: "We ask for God’s help in ending this, and Obama’s,” she said."  Anecdotal evidence reported by the White Man always trumps any other available evidence from the natives.  But he concludes his article by deep insights about Syrian politics and society--you have to admit:  "Look, Syria is going to be a mess, whatever we do."

Hazim Al-Biblawi: the prime minister of Egypt

Hazim Al-Biblawi is a very smart and educated man.  To reacquaint myself with his thinking, I just read his: (Arabic) "We and the West: the Era of Confrontation or Convergence" (Dar Ash-Shuruq).  He is very analytical and keeps up with the literature in French and English and I was pleased to find a healthy dosage of hostility to Israel in the book.  But I am not sure about his political thinking or orientation.  It is no exaggeration to maintain that this book is pretty much a Nasserist treatise until the last chapter where he sounds like a Sadatist.  Kid you not. 

Saudi Arabia and the Muslim Brotherhood

Missing from present-day (since Sep. 11) writings on Saudi Arabia's relations with the Muslim Brotherhood is a very long history of sponsorship by the Saudi royal family which started even in the days of the founder, Hasan Al-Banna, who was very early on asked about the sudden sources of funding.  I just finished reading a book on the early relationship (and sponsorship) between Saudi Arabia and the Muslim Brotherhood (of course, during the days of Nasser, Saudi Arabia's sponsorship of the Ikhwan only intensified).  The book is by Muhammad Abu Al-Is`ad, and is titled:  (Arabic): "Saudi Arabia and the Muslim Brotherhood".

Exclusive: Anne Barnard has a scoop. She says that "no one in the Middle East" oppose US strikes

"All that said, no one is suggesting that the United States or other countries should turn a blind eye to the use of chemical weapons or the suffering of civilians."

For some reason, dumb Western media still can't believe that there are Sunnis who support the regime

The quality of foreign coverage in US media is so dumb that they can't deviate from their dogmatic false assumptions, no matter what.  But what do you expect from media that can't tell Lebanon from Libya.  The other night, I was watching CNN and the anchor woman said that here we go to our correspondent across the border from Syria in...Libya.   Kid you not.  In the same segment, the anchorwoman "reported" that the Syrian regime "forced" people to go down to the street and waive Syrian flags.  They just can't believe that there are Syrians of different sects who still support the regime.  I know of Syrian-American professionals (Sunnis) who still support the Syrian regime.  I know of Sunnis here in the US who were opposed to Asad but who switched in support of the regime after they visited Syria in the last year and learned first hand about the crimes and theft of the armed groups there.  Why can't you believe that?   Look at this dispatch from Reuters carried by Anne Barnard in the Times:  "Reuters reported Friday that many Sunni conscripts have been effectively imprisoned on bases because they are not trusted, leaving them vulnerable, too."  This statement is so dumb. The country is so out-of-control now and no Sunni is held against his well on the side of the regime. They can leave if they want to.  And notice the trickle rate of defection (and no senior defectors except the former prime minister and Mr. Tlas): for whatever reasons, even if you don't like it, the regime has popular base of support, as does the Iranian regime, but that is a different story.

Anne Barnard makes things up, yet again

"While Hezbollah has said it would wait to see the scale and nature of the attacks before responding..."  In fact, Hizbullah said nothing about the subject.  This woman makes things up as she writes her dispatches.

Do you want to know what American political science look like?

Here is a sample:  "Bomb Syria, Even if It Is Illegal".

Friday, August 30, 2013

A war Without End

My weekly article in Al-Akhbar: "War without End: The US plan for Syria"

Nobel Prize

Don't be surprised if this US attack on Syria results in a second Nobel Peace prize for Obama. 

Thug and a murderer

It is hilarious that Kerry referred to Bashshar as "thug and a murderer" because he had intimate dinners and meetings with this thug and murderer. 

Amnesty International

If this organization was around in WWII it wd have urged Hitler to play music for victims before gasing them.  

Doctors without Borders is now a tool of the US war machine

Did u notice that the lousy US report referred to the equally lousy report by MSF?  It is now on the record as a tool of war. 

The biggest moral question to John Kerry and the silly report

The report maintains that the US knew a few days before the attack that the Syrian regime was preparing to launch chemical attacks.  If true, why did you not tell the world? Why did you not warn the Syrian government then to stop such attack?  So either you are lying and fabricating evidence or you have blood on your hands. 

Aggressive hacking by the US

"The CIA and the NSA have begun aggressive new efforts to hack into foreign computer networks to steal information or sabotage enemy systems, embracing what the budget refers to as "offensive cyber operations." "

Israel's dirty hands in Africa

"The chairwoman of parliament's committee on foreign workers, Michal Rozin, speaking by phone, said there were "rumours" that Uganda may have agreed to the arrangement in exchange for a deal for money and weapons."

Moral activities of Western powers

""A unit of elite Australian special forces troops is under investigation for mutilating the body of at least one Afghan insurgent. The ABC understands the hands were removed from an insurgent's corpse and taken back to the Australian base at Tarin Kot.""

Rebel leader: war as a moral responsibility

""The head of the Western-backed Syrian opposition says that the British parliament's failure to endorse military action in Syria isn't enough to hold back strikes by other allies." "Al-Jabar said that strikes contemplated by the United States, France, and, originally, Britain are a moral responsibility that can level the playing field militarily. He said that "strikes can paralyze a large part of the regime and raise morale" within the opposition." (Thanks Amir)

The moving of prisoners to likely targets

Oh, come on. The story in the mouthpiece of sons of Zayid, The National newspaper, about moving Syrian prisoners to likely targets of US attacks, and which is being circulated by Western media, is attributed in that paper to "pro-democracy activists".  Enough said. 

The John Kerry intelligence report: where is Colin Powel?

Well. I have just finished reading the stupid US intelligence report which is intended to impress ignorant and lazy minds (pretty much like members of US Congress). Don't get me wrong: the use of the word "geospatial intelligence" impressed the hell out of me.  But the report could have easily been written by Anne Barnard as it uses the same sources of documentation.  I mean, social media "reporting" as a source for this highly anticipated US intelligence report? Worse, at one point the report refers to local Middle East "reporting". I swear they either are referring to Israeli papers or to Now Hariri website or to Saudi princes' media.  Let me conclude.  The Bush administration was less dumb in its propaganda.  As for ruling out the possibility of rebel attack the report simply says that it can't be.

Comrade Bassam sets the record straight

"BASSAM HADDAD: Well, absolutely. The British have, you know, made their say, and the Americans, the U.S. government, and France is pushing forward. What I think we should do first, before we actually begin to talk about any of this, is to recognize that this is not—no longer about the Syrian regime and whatever atrocities it may have committed and whatever atrocities the rebels may have committed. This is about invading a sovereign country before even the evidence is out, before even the U.N. inspectors are out. There are decisions to already invade, to attack, to launch a strike on Syria, by a country that we should actually check the record of. The United States is not qualified to do what it claims it wants to do, as a result of its own record in violating international law for a very long time and supporting dictators and rogue regimes and the apartheid state of Israel in opposition to all manners of international law. The United States violated international law by attacking and invading a country on false premise, which is Iraq in 2003. And most importantly, the United States, in Iraq, has actually used nerve agent, mustard gas and/or white phosphorus in Fallujah and beyond, left depleted uranium all over the country in Iraq, ruined and destroyed the lives of generations as a result, and now claims that it needs to do this to protect Syrian civilians, which is exactly the opposite of what will happen in any invasion or any strike on Syria".

If you want sophisticated non-simplistic answers to Middle East problems, Fouad Ajami is your man.

You can ask him any question and has analytical answers.  OK. Who ignited the Sunni-Shite war, Mr Lebanese Likudnik?
Ajami: "He (Bashshar Al-Asad) had ignited a religious war between Sunni and Shiite Islam". 
Who ignited the Israeli war on Lebanon, o token Arab?
Ajami: "In 2006, the leader of Hezbollah ignited a war on the Israeli-Lebanese border."  This man should be crowned as the clown of all Middle East analysts.
(Thanks Basim)

Making the case for war

Basically the liberal position on Syria is that was is great but that Obama should make a stronger case publicly.  Why not send Colin Powell to UN to make the case to the world? Did he not do a great job in the case of Iraq? Give the man his dues. 

Criminal regime

A Syrian sent me a letter in which he expressed anger at the impending US war and concluded with: "Today, I stand with the criminal Syrian regime."


I dreamt last night that I was in Syria and that I was fired upon by the Syrian Army and the Free Syrian Army.  US cruise had not arrived. 

There is no lie that is fabricated by the Syrian exile opposition of Saudi Arabia and Qatar that is not believed

Western media are even now peddling the hoax that Bashshar's 12 year-old son has called for an invasion of his country on Facebook no less.  How dumb can you be. 

The vulgar sectarianism of former secular Sadiq Jalal Al-Azm

""De même, les discours internationaux ont exprimé une grande inquiétude concernant les minorités syriennes et leurs droits (Kurdes, chrétiens, alaouites, Druzes), au moment où les sunnites, qui sont la majeure partie de la population du pays, étaient sauvagement frappés par les troupes d'assaut, les milices et les Scud, envoyés par une petite minorité militarisée alaouite, celle qui s'est approprié l'absolu monopole du pouvoir et des richesses du pays. En fait, villages, villes et quartiers des cités qui ont été bombardés sont surtout arabes sunnites. Les minorités sont restées plutôt indemnes jusqu'à présent. La grande majorité des 100 000 morts, blessés ou handicapés à vie, des disparus, des emprisonnés, des torturés sont des sunnites. La plupart des déplacés et des réfugiés font également partie de la majorité sunnite. Ceux qui sont persécutés aujourd'hui en Syrie représentent la majorité de la population du pays."

"...une petite secte minoritaire (alaouites), utilise les armes les plus modernes pour écraser la révolte de la majorité sunnite du pays. Il n'y a pourtant pas eu, à notre connaissance, de mesures massives de représailles contre les villages alaouites par des villageois et/ou des soldats sunnites."" (Thanks "Ibn Rushd").


Did you see the big main headline of the Egyptian daily, AlAhram, yesterday? It says "(Egyptian) political forces reject aggression against Syria". 

Bombings in Tripoli

I don't know whether the lousy Syrian regime was behind the car bombs in Tripoli as Hariri media are reporting but it is possible. and Ibrahim al-Amin in Al-Akhbar today confirms for the first time that Syrian intelligence officers were indeed involved in the Samahah-Mamluk conspiracy.  How could Hizbullah remain silent about such crimes by the regime if proven?

Another question

None of the media bothered to link the coverage of the chemical weapons with the big story from Le Figaro last week, about this big US-designed invasion of Damascus by rebels trained in Jordan and which was foiled by the regime in the days leading up to the news of the chemical attack.   Was this Plan B by the US in case of failure?

Who used chemical weapons in Syria

As I raise questions about compliant Western reporting on Syria I clarify my position here: both sides in Syria are war criminals who are capable of such and worse atrocities. 

Phone intercepts from Damascus

The evidence or one of them that the US is invoking about Syrian government responsibility is about intercepted phone calls from someone in the Syrian Ministry of Defense and a field officer. But the media don't bother with the contradiction.  CNN yesterday reported that the former and the latter were high ranking but other media said they were not. And if they were high ranking they would have been named. Furthermore, the Syrian government discovered months ago that there were US intercepts on their communications and fixed it accordingly: this was also reported in US media (I didn't sleep last night reading all there is on the matter). So the Syrian regime which pretty much learned how to be immune to US intercepts took a break just to yell in the phone about chemical weapons right after they used them? Why don't the Western media raise questions, damn it. 

Correction: on the role of the US regarding UN inspectors

Regarding this post:
Joe Lauria, the UN correspondent of the Wall Street Journal, sent me a copy of the article that he wrote for the Journal for Sunday in which he was first to report on what the ipsnews later reported.  I stand corrected.  

The role of the social scientist

It is not only Fouad Ajami who is too predictable, which makes him the most boring, but read around you: when did the role of the social scientist change to that of one who suggests bombing targets to policy makers?

Thursday, August 29, 2013

IPad, damn it

Is there a way to put a hyperlink in a post using the blogger application on IPad???  Email me the answer now. 

World exclusive. Read all about it. Iran is also an accomplice in the Syrian chemical attack. David Ignatius found the evidence.

David Ignatius, the uncritical recipient of reports from Jordanian and Saudi intelligence services, found a slam-dunk evidence of Iranian complicity: " Is it possible that the Syrian chemical weapons attack was planned or coordinated with its key ally, the Quds Force of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps? Surely, it was in the loop. “After all, they’re running the show,” argues a Lebanese analyst who knows the Quds Force well."

Worse than fake emotions...

Worse than fake emotions are the fake emotions of leaders colonial powers who attempt to disguise their reasons for war.  "Cameron’s voice cracked with emotion as he spoke of the videos of victims after the attack."

And now a word from the land of the French revolution: "French men beat woman, tell her 'dirty Muslim go back to your country'

From Amir:  "Two men with shaved heads approached the Muslim girl with a “sharp object,” ripped off her headscarf, shouted Islamphobic insults and hit her on the shoulder before fleeing by car, a judicial source told French media."

Le 1er individu était de taille moyenne entre 1.70m 1.75m pour 70kg à peu près dans la vingtaine, habillé avec un t-shirt noir et jean bleu, avec le crâne rasé de type européen, il m'a insulté en me disant "Sale noire, sale musulmane, retourne dans ton pays, retire moi ça !"

Arab public opinion and the attack on Syria: from Carol Samahah


Not known for expressing political views, Lebanese pop star, Carol Samahah today posted this picture on her twitter account (she is shown, front).  The caption says: "No, to foreign intervention in our affairs".

Damascus: between two newspapers

I read this article about Damascus on the eve of Western attack in the Washington Post: it gives the impression of a city in panic.  And then I read the front page story in As-Safir today about Damascus, and talks about full restaurants and life-as-normal.  Who do I believe? Not the WP.

Israeli gas masks

Somebody should do the math: I read every two months or so about how Israel is distributing gas masks to its citizens.  This has been a staple of Israeli propaganda since at least 1990. So by now, every Israeli house should have at least 1000 gas masks, so why the need to redistribute?

gas masks in...Israel

Any publication (Arab or Western) that publishes yet another seasonal story about the distribution of gas masks in Israel is participating willingly in Israeli propaganda campaigns.

What Western human rights organizations are about

This historic statement by Amnesty International should put to rest any illusion that people may carry about the true nature and purpose of such organizations.  They truly are a mere propaganda arm of US foreign policy.

I like this line: to engineer an opposition

"The administration has spent many long months trying to engineer a viable Syrian opposition".  A viable Syrian opposition is one that is not engineered by an outside power, the US no less.

Western intervention in Syria

It would become comical for Western governments to call on Hizbullah to refrain from interfering in Syria if its on-going intervention expands to military strikes. 

Not in the mainstream US press

"After initially insisting that Syria give United Nations investigators unimpeded access to the site of an alleged nerve gas attack, the administration of President Barack Obama reversed its position on Sunday and tried unsuccessfully to get the U.N. to call off its investigation." (thanks Joerg)

role of UNIFIL

As for protecting Lebanon from "hostile activities of any kind", UNIFIL has dutifully registered ineffectual complaints regarding Israel's pathological violation of Lebanese airspace, while its services during the 2006 war included denying refuge to a civilian convoy fleeing the village of Marwahin in accordance with an evacuation order from the Israeli military." (thanks Belén)

Palestinian child laborers

"Depending on the season, around 10,000 to 20,000 Palestinian laborers work in Israeli agricultural settlements in the Jordan Valley. Approximately five to 10percent of these workers are child laborers, according to the Maan Development Center." (thanks Sultan)

Just another way

“The Pentagon was not so horrified by Iraq’s use of gas…It was just another way of killing people.”[5][5] 
Just another way! 
Some twenty years later, tens of thousands of Iranians continue to suffer and die from that “just another way.” (thanks Farhad)

House of Saud research: WIKIPEDIA

You see a lot in the Arabic press from Wikipedia. But this mouthpiece of Prince Khalid Bin Sultan, Al-Hayat, translated and published a long article from Wikipedia.

Time magazines awards the West Bank to Israel

From Mahmood: "I was reading this article on NYPD's spying on Muslims and Arabs until I reached this passage, where they author shamelessly slipped the following nugget:
"Rimawi, 59, came to the U.S. decades ago from Israel’s West Bank.""

So guess where the "evidence" for Syrian chemical weapons came from?

"The bulk of evidence proving the Assad regime's deployment of chemical weapons – which would provide legal grounds essential to justify any western military action – has been provided by Israeli military intelligence, the German magazine Focus has reported." (thanks Krim)

So according to House of Saud media, the Salafis are the moderates

"The al-Nour party tried to mediate and convince the Brotherhood to take specific measures to contain the situation, starting with admitting that the Islamists are losing their popular support and that there is no way out of this impasse, except through real efforts to build bridges." (thanks Basim)

Flash. The US ambassador in Egypt denies that she is involved in a conspiracy

"I am writing to adamantly deny the outrageous, fictitious, and thoroughly unprofessional headline article that appeared in your paper on August 27. Your article’s claim that I personally am involved in a conspiracy to divide and destabilize Egypt is absolutely absurd and dangerous." (thanks Reem)

US wars and international law

I like when I read in the stupid mainstream US press (like the Washington Post and New York Times) about how the US can't move before it obtains a justification under international law for its military action.  Like we can ever read that the US government has decided today that it will refrain from military action because its lawyers at the State Department have ruled that its actions would violate international law.

Amnesty International advises the West on how to best attack Syria

From comrade Asa: "As'ad look at this friendly advice from Amnesty International on how the
West can make its Syrian bombing campaign more "humanitarian". It includes such points as "Take all necessary precautions in attacks to spare civilians". I await with baited breath the same line directed at Hizballah during the next Israeli aggression on Lebanon."

The new Iranian foreign minister

I thought that the new Iranian foreign minister looks familiar.  Does anyone know if he was in the US back in 1993?  I remember that I had met him (I think) that year when he introduced himself to me at the Middle East Institute and said that he was affiliated with the Iranian mission at the UN and that he studied political science.  Anyone knows if it was him?

uglier than Saddam

On the sectarianism of the Syrian (exile) opposition:  in the long years of the most bitter feud with the Syrian regime, not once did the tyrant Saddam Husayn resort to sectarian language in attacking the Syrian regime.  Not once.  So the Syrian opposition of Qatar and Saudi Arabia is really uglier than tyrant Saddam.

Who can do this with a straight face except the New York Times

As the Syrian people face a direct attack by the fleet and military bases of Western powers, the New York Times has a front page article about those poor...Israelis.  I kid you not.  I am not making this up.

Hizbullah intervention versus US intervention in Syria

Think about the audacity.  US officials and diplomats were going around the world preaching that Hizbullah should not interfere in Syria and yet the US has dispatched its fleets to...intervene in Syria. 

Iraqi WMDs Arabs were circulating this on FB.  It says: A memorable photograph of an American soldier with WMDs in Iraq...From the splendor of political literature.  

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

John Kerry and his wife and Bashshar Al-Asad and his wife: warning. It is an intimate dinner

Embedded image permalink  This is from 2009.  I think it is at Bashshar's favorite restaurant, Naranj, no?  I love this restaurant and it has some traditional dishes on the menu that you would not find in other Middle East restaurants.

Same Iraq play book

And now let the exaggeration of Syrian military power begin.   The second most powerful army in the galaxy.  

This is hilarious: New York Times refers to Western wars as "humanitarian causes"

"The vast majority of Arabs are emotionally opposed to any Western military action in the region no matter how humanitarian the cause".

The unreported achievements of US forces in Iraq

"After the first gulf war, an American Army unit near Kuwait breached chemical weapons while destroying conventional munitions at Khamisiyah, creating an environmental hazard that persisted throughout the American occupation of Iraq after the invasion in 2003.

Similarly, airstrikes in 1991 on bunkers at the Muthanna chemical weapons complex near Samarra, Iraq, led to security and environmental problems that continue to the present day."

Highly accurate weapon means that only innocent Arabs but not Westerners would die

"Each ship carries about two dozen Tomahawk cruise missiles, a low-flying, highly accurate weapon"

Samantha Power

To prove that she now loves Israel, Samantha Power posts a picture of her with Elie Wiesel on her Twitter account.  I recommend that she displays a picture of her fighting with the Israeli terrorist army.

Hitti and Near East Studies

From Nikolai:  ""My dad actually knew Hitti as a student (in the 1960′s). He said that one day during a meeting with students, Hitti explained the difficulty of setting up the Near Eastern Studies program; “They were all archaeologists, and wanted to keep on teaching Akkadian and Hebrew. They didn’t think they needed Arabic. I told them, ‘people live there now! You have to understand them now!’”"

ha ha ha: New York Times on Syria coverage

From Michael:  "While reading this I couldn't help but think of of all the praise you heaped on Anne Barnard's 'flawless' Syria reporting...

"(In general, The Times’s coverage of Syria, in recent weeks, has avoided the mistakes made before the Iraq war — which were less the product of anonymous sources than of flawed reporting. And 
its editorial page has been appropriately cautious on the same subject.)"

Compilation of Church statements against military intervention in Syria

From Alan:  "Please see below a compiled list of Church positions against military intervention in Syria, you might find these of interest. I have compiled them in one blog along with a selection of other news stories related to Syrian Christians over the course of 2013. Although each of the links below are back to the specific blog each post has at the end the original link to a mainstream media website where they appeared.  I do think there are important viewpoints here that should be referenced in the general discourse on the issue. Not sure if you will want to post them but just want to pass them on to you anyway.
Kind regards

VATICAN: The Vatican's official daily on Tuesday blasted western powers for preparing possible military action against Syria despite an ongoing UN investigation into an alleged chemical weapons attack near Damascus.... “Various international actors appear no longer to consider the investigation a determining factor” L’Osservatore Romano. 27/08/2013                                                            
VATICAN at the UNITED NATIONS: Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, Permanent Observer of Holy See to the United Nations stated that "There should not be a judgement until there is sufficient proof"...... "What immediate interest would the government in Damascus have in causing such a tragedy?"...... "Experience has shown with Iraq and Afghanistan that armed intervention does not bring any constructive results," he said. 22/08/2013
PRESIDENT OF CARITAS (Catholic Aid Agency) SYRIA: "If there is an armed intervention, that would mean, I believe, a world war.” Chaldean Bishop of Aleppo, Antoine Audo. 26/08/2013
SYRIAC CATHOLIC CHURCH: Syrian Catholic Patriarch Youssef III Younan “We Syrian Christians, sold by the West for oil.”... In the days when discussing military intervention, the patriarch once again criticizes "the cynical and machiavellian politics" of powers in these two and a half years they have armed the rebels, only to realize that there can be no military solution to the crisis.” 26/08/2013
MARONITE CATHOLIC CHURCH LEBANON & THE MIDDLE EAST: The Maronite Patriarch, Cardinal Bechara Rai "there is a plan to destroy the Arab world for political and economic interests" 24/08/2013
RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH: Russian Orthodox Church strongly criticised the US position, which is "completely one-sided.".... "Once again, as was the case in Iraq, the United States is acting as an international executioner" said Metropolitan Hilarion, head of the Department for External Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate...... "Without the endorsement of the United Nations, they want to decide the fate of a whole country of millions of inhabitants." 27/08/2013
ORTHODOX ARCHBISHOP JERUSALEM: Archbishop Theodosios (Atallah Hanna) of Sebastia Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem, "we appeal to all those of goodwill and good intentions in this world to work to prevent any military action against Syria because this will bring more destruction and devastation, murder and the fall of innocent people.” ......”Syrians are the ones who decide the fate of their country without any foreign intervention.”

Western assumptions

From Adam:  "In order to rebut the claim that the rebel groups wouldn't have had access to chemical weapons, sarin gas in this case, all we need to do is remind (or inform if they are particularly ignorant) them that Turkey found sarin gas in the home of some Nusra Front members in southern Turkey.  Why in the world would it be safe to assume they didn't have access to or possession of more, AND it wasn't used near Damascus by someone connected to them? 

Wouldn't this be worth considering before launching the missles?  I guess that depends on a person's goal, doesn't it?"

Turkish-Israeli trade growing

"More than 20 trucks line up at the Israeli-Jordanian border, bearing Turkish goods ranging from carrots and fabrics to steel. Another two carrying clothing are heading in the opposite direction, back to the Israeli port of Haifa and from there to Turkey, all of them part of a little-known but expanding regional trade corridor running through Israel for Turkish hauliers heading to and from Jordan and the Arab countries of the Gulf."

Al-Qa`idah Air Force

"Airstrikes on Syria would turn the U.S. military into "al Qaeda's air force," former Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) told The Hill." "So what, we're about to become Al Qaeda's air force now?" Kucinich said. "This is a very, very serious matter that has broad implications internationally. And to try to minimize it by saying we're just going to have a 'targeted strike' — that's an act of war. It's not anything to be trifled with." "

Russia and its Syrian ally

From a reader:  "Russia will not fight with anyone over Syria

Saudis offer Russia secret oil deal if it drops Syria

Saddam's chemical weapons

I know full well about US complicity in Saddam's use of chemical weapons.  In the late 1980s, I was at a x-mass dinner party in Washington, DC and seated next to the Iraq desk officer at the US Department of State.  I kept badgering him about US silence regarding Saddam's use of chemical weapons against Kurds.  And he kept repeating the same response: the US does not have evidence of Saddam's use of chemical weapons.

The US government knew of the fact that Iraq was using chemical weapons, and did not deter them

"The United States helped protect the last Middle Eastern tyrant thought to use chemical weapons. That dictator was Iraq’s Saddam Hussein." "It's quite selective. The government knew of the fact that Iraq was using chemical weapons, and did not deter them," Joyce Battle, an analyst at the National Security Archive, a nonpartisan research center, said in an interview Tuesday. "But when it's thought to be in U.S. interests, the government will adopt a moralistic stand when it wants to justify its policies." Put another way, foreign policy calculations are invariably cold-blooded, notwithstanding moral declarations." (thanks Amir)

more than 15,000 Syrian refugees

Call them the Obama Liberation refugees: more than 15,000 Syrian refugees arrived in Lebanon today upon hearing the news of an impending US attacks.  I am sure that this is never factored in in US national security meetings.

Terrorist mosques

From Christians:  "The New York Police Department has secretly labeled entire mosques as terrorism organizations, a designation that allows police to use informants to record sermons and spy on imams, often without specific evidence of criminal wrongdoing.
Designating an entire mosque as a terrorism enterprise means that anyone who attends prayer services there is a potential subject of an investigation and fair game for surveillance.
Since the 9/11 attacks, the NYPD has opened at least a dozen "terrorism enterprise investigations" into mosques, according to interviews and confidential police documents. The TEI, as it is known, is a police tool intended to help investigate terrorist cells and the like.
Many TEIs stretch for years, allowing surveillance to continue even though the NYPD has never criminally charged a mosque or Islamic organization with operating as a terrorism enterprise.
The documents show in detail how, in its hunt for terrorists, the NYPD investigated countless innocent New York Muslims and put information about them in secret police files. As a tactic, opening an enterprise investigation on a mosque is so potentially invasive that while the NYPD conducted at least a dozen, the FBI never did one, according to interviews with federal law enforcement officials.
The strategy has allowed the NYPD to send undercover officers into mosques and attempt to plant informants on the boards of mosques and at least one prominent Arab-American group in Brooklyn, whose executive director has worked with city officials, including Bill de Blasio, a front-runner for mayor.""

such skeptical views don't appear in major US newspapers: they simply are not allowed

"The U.N. inspectors in Syria are professionals and — let's repeat — they are actually on the ground in Syria. Their direct access as well as their expertise in chemical forensics and weapons analysis gives them a level of credibility that is unsurpassed by any other intelligence agency.
Rebels have claimed the Syrian army fired the chemical weapons, but given the rebels' extreme self-interest in pointing the finger at the government and ginning up U.S. military action, we must be wary of letting the tail wag the dog.
It has been widely reported that some of the rebel forces in the Damascus area are extremists with links to Al Qaeda. The sniper fire and continued threats that blocked the U.N. team from inspecting chemical attack sites Tuesday may have come from those extremists. The Pentagon reported that Al Qaeda used chlorine gas bombs in Iraq in 2006 and 2007, and in June of this year, the Iraqi military claimed it broke up an al Qaeda ring manufacturing sarin and mustard gas. So it is surely not inconceivable that Al Qaeda, rather than the Syrian army, might be the responsible party for the recent attacks. All this deserves serious consideration." (thanks Robert)

Evidence of the CW in Syria

So we are told that the evidence of Syrian regime use of Chemical Weapons is found in intercepted calls.  Intercepted calls is the evidence? How?  Like the US possesses recording of Syrian intercepted calls in which the Ministry of Defense talks to the office in charge thus:  Hey, Mahmud.  Did you use the Chemical Weapons that we ordered you to use?  And then Mahmud answers: Yes, boss. I just used the Chemical weapons that you ordered me to use and which ordered by Bashshar to use.  All was accomplished. 

what? By what logic?

"Bashar al-Assad's defeat in Syria will translate into a Hezbollah defeat in Lebanon." Ehhh Hizbullah lasted for much of the 1980s with a state of enmity between it and the Syrian regime, lest we forget.

grotesque propaganda for Syrian rebels

I mean, how could you achieve more crude levels of propaganda than in Arab regime media? (thanks Mack)

How could?

How could those liberal Arab-American and non-Arab American academics who advocated against war on Iraq back in 2003 be silent this week regarding an impending war on Syria?

"Good" Western war of aggression on Syria versus "bad" war of aggression

The intellectual of the Syrian "revolution", Yasin Hajj Saleh (who had written in the New York Times that he had become communist in his youth to fight for democracy--kid you not), draws a distinction between a "good" Western war of aggression on Syria, i.e., hugely destructive, and a "bad" Western war of aggression on Syria, i.e. not hugely destructive.  (thanks Raed)

Anne Barnard seeks Answers

When Anne Barnard seeks answers to her questions, she seeks the wisdom of any Lebanese March 14 supporter. 

The token Arab errand boy: Cicero of Syria

When Zionist likudniks used to call for yet another war on an Arab or Muslim country, they always relied on a token Arab errand boy, Ammar Abdul-Hamid to sign their declarations for war.  Now they have another boy: none other than the Cicero of Syria.

what is missing?

The only thing missing from the spectacle is for Obama to invite Colin Powell to give a speech at the UN in which he details the stories of mobile units of the Syrian Army.  He can also have the director of the CIA to sit behind him for added credibility. 

Foreign interventions in civil wars

"The policy implications of these results are fairly stark. If the objective of an intervention is to shorten the length of a civil conflict, then an outside military or economic intervention is not a terribly effective strategy to do so. Regardless of how the intervention is conceived – or empirically operationalized—there seems to be no mix of strategies that lead to shorter expected durations. Even maintaining a neutral posture or organizing the intervention under the auspices of a multilateral rubric is not sufficient to form an effective means of conflict management (p. 31)." (thanks Maria)

Arab League

I start my day by reading the Washington Post and the New York Times (I read Arabic newspaper the night before).  I read in the Washington Post today that the Arab League is supporting the attack on Syria, while I read in the New York Times that the Arab League has rejected the attack on Syria.  Figure it out.

Syria is under attack

Syria does not belong to the Asad ruling dynasty, just as Iraq did not belong to the Saddam ruling family.  And we saw how the US fights its war: brutally, indiscriminately, savagely, and recklessly.  There is every reason today to stand with Syria and its people: the people in Syria have been victims of the Asad regime and the criminal gangs of Qatar and Saudi Arabia.  Now the Western coalition will serve as a third party that will also participate in killing Syrians. 

The "Resistance" Media

The media of the "resistance camp" is most dumb, and is getting dumber by the day.  It is enough that Hizbullah media still relies on the analysis of Franklin Lamb who invents conversations and off-the-record" interviews with Washington "insiders".  There are such delusions about the Russian role in such media:  NBN TV (the TV of Amal Movement in Lebanon) aired a report that Putin ordered his forces to prepare to strike at Saudi Arabia.  Do people forget that the last time the US bombed Syria back in 1983, the Soviet Union did not do a thing?  And you expect the Russian government to do something to defend Syria today?

Supporting Obama

Any Arab, nay any liberal and any peace advocate, who had supported Obama should feel very dumb these days.

I want you to know this: Washington is a humane and sensitive place where emotions flows at the drop of a hat

"Images of the glassy-eyed corpses of civilians, including children, killed in last week’s chemical attack in a Damascus suburb struck a powerful chord in Washington,".   So it is all about emotions and love for the Syrian people.  I really never knew that and now I have to reconsider.

How can you take seriously Western media, including the "respected" Washington Post, when it comes to foreign affairs

"the administration earned key support from the Arab League. In an emergency meeting in Cairo, the influential organization..."  I mean, the level of ignorance of ignorance is just staggering.  This is as dumb as referring to the IRS as "the organization that Americans love and cherish".  To refer to the Arab League as influential as as dumb as to refer to Joe Biden as the "strategic thinker" of the US administration.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

And now a word about a massacre that does not move the hearts of Western nations because it was perpetrated by your gangs in Syria

Look at the ages and gender of the victims from the Lataki sectarian massacres. (thanks Amani)

Arab reactions to Western attacks.

No, Abdulkhaleq: it won't be fine if Syria is attacked by Western nations.  ""Don't expect a big cheer from us," said AbdulKhaleq Abdullah, a political-science professor in Dubai, of the likely response from the region. "If the results are fine, and the damage is very limited, I think that is gonna be a good sign. Maybe, 'Wow, give America a D.' ""  The Abdulkhaleq that I knew (and loved) would not utter those words.

These are not Muslims: if they were some Western feminists would be calling for an invasion

"It is governed by ultra-Orthodox rabbis, with prayer areas segregated by sex, and women are required to dress modestly and refrain from singing aloud. Since the late 1990s, mixed prayer has been allowed at Robinson’s Arch, by appointment, during limited hours and for a fee.

After 25 years in which legislation and legal rulings barred women from wearing prayer shawls and phylacteries at the site, the activist group won a court victory this spring allowing members to pray as they wish. Over the past several months, thousands of ultra-Orthodox young people have crammed the site to prevent the women from using it,creating a new set of problems."

Egyptian tamarud movement on possible US attack on Syria

Badr:  "In support of the Syrian army against the Americans, and whoever welcomes them on his soil is a traitor". (thanks Falih)

This is the clearest and most honest expression of American goals: that the US aims at prolonging the Syrian civil war

"Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., the senior Republican on the Foreign Relations Committee, emphasized that a U.S. strike should not be directed at altering the dynamic of Syria’s larger civil war."

Sixty-six former U.S. government officials and foreign policy experts sent a letter to Obama urging war on Syria

Read the names: the same people who urged war on Iraq.  The same names. (thanks Hadjar)

Western media never learn

You would think that after the Iraq war fiasco of 2003, that Western media have become immune to manipulations by the US government.  No evidence of that. There is no evidence that they have become more skeptical and critical.  They still allow to serve as advocates for whatever military action the West takes.

Flash: MSF: Doctors without Borders as a tool of US foreign policy

I can report to you this: there was internal conflict within Doctors without Borders' unprecedented political announcement about the use of chemical weapons in Syria.  There were people within the leadership of the organization that opposed the statement but the pro-US lobby prevailed.

PS My sources are inside sources, obviously.

psychological operations in the Arab media

Whenever the US prepares to attack an Arab country, the mouthpiece of Prince Khalid bin Sultan (Al-Hayat) and the mouthpiece of Prince Salman (Ash-Sharq Al-Awsat) publish full pages with pictures and illustrations of the devastating powers of US weapons.  Kid you not.  I have never seen a more obvious use of psychological operations.

Israelʼs new tactic: Classifying Eritreans as Ethiopian to deport them

From Daniel:  "Israelʼs new tactic: Classifying Eritreans as Ethiopian to deport them
Only one petition against the Interior Ministryʼs classifications has been accepted by a judge, out of 19 submitted.The Interior Ministry is challenging asylum claims by Eritreans who, it says, are Ethiopian and thus eligible for deportation. A Central District Court judge has ruled in favor of the state in 18 out of 19 petitions against the ministryʼs classification."

The humane West has humane "indispensable partners" in Syria

"It was Prince Bandar’s intelligence  agency that first alerted Western allies to the alleged use of sarin gas by the Syrian regime in February." "The CIA is believed to have been working with Prince Bandar directly since last year in training rebels at base in Jordan close to the Syrian border. The Saudis are "indispensable partners on Syria" and have considerable influence on American thinking, a senior US official told The Wall Street Journal yesterday. He added: "No one wants to do anything alone"."

don't worry and don't read: crimes by Syrian rebels are not of interest to you

"The Britain-based monitoring group also said it had obtained a photograph showing the execution of Alawite cleric Badr Ghazal by hardline Islamist rebels, highlighting the growing sectarian bloodshed of the 2-1/2-year conflict. The Observatory, which opposes President Bashar Al-Assad's rule, said rebels took control of Khanasir, a town that sits on the government supply route connecting Aleppo with the central city of Hama."

For potato's sake: how many times do Israelis receive gas masks because I read an item about that almost once a week

"Thousands of Israelis are lining up for gas masks or ordering them by phone, spurred on by fears that any Western military response to last week's alleged chemical weapons attack in Syria could ensnare their own country in war." "Israel has provided its citizens with gear to cope with possible chemical or biological attacks since the 1991 Gulf War, when U.S.-led troops drove Iraq out of Kuwait."

France's humanitarian wars

"France insists its recent military interventions abroad are grounded in humanitarianism and counter-terrorism, to safeguard "the fate of the local population and French nationals." Germans perceive instead a French sense of entitlement in a region rich with extraction and infrastructure contracts, and refuse to play a supporting role."

Thermobaric bombs?

From Göran:  "I completely agree with your description of both sides of the Syrian civil war as liers and killers. But I stumbled on this description of the effects of Fuel-Air explosives (or thermobaric bombs) in a report by Human Rights Watch (2000). As I understand Syria has such weapons and has used them before in the civil war. The problem with FAE is that everyone uses them and that they are therefore considered "legal".

According to a 1993 study by the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency:  The [blast] kill mechanism against living targets is unique--and unpleasant.... What kills is the pressure wave, and more importantly, the subsequent rarefaction [vacuum], which ruptures the lungs.... If the fuel deflagrates but does not detonate, victims will be severely burned and will probably also inhale the burning fuel. Since the most common FAE fuels, ethylene oxide and propylene oxide, are highly toxic, undetonated FAE should prove as lethal to personnel caught within the cloud as most chemical agents.(8) 
According to a separate U.S. Central Intelligence Agency study, "the effect of an FAE explosion within confined spaces is immense. Those near the ignition point are obliterated. Those at the fringe are likely to suffer many internal, and thus invisible injuries, including burst eardrums and crushed inner ear organs, severe concussions, ruptured lungs and internal organs, and possibly blindness.""

US attack on Syria

The US attack on Syria does not aim at ending the war in Syria; it aims at prolonging the war.

stop the presses: Israel has the evidence

"According to the report, IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz informed US Joint Chiefs Of Staff General Martin Dempsey that Israel has evidence of use of chemical weapons."

and would Israel lie?

"According to the report, IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz informed US Joint Chiefs Of Staff General Martin Dempsey that Israel has evidence of use of chemical weapons."

"U.S. wars since 1980s, excluding covert wars"

US wars since the 1980s.

Mossad's Ulysses Project: psychological operation

"Uri Yisrael served as a fighter in Caesarea, the Mossad Special Operations Division, and has a unique record: He lived under an assumed identity for the longest time period – 15 years." "They were planted as Arabs, married Palestinians, had children and were incorporated into the Palestinian community as businessmen. They were the first to provide intelligence regarding the establishment of Fatah, and took part in the first plans to kill Yasser Arafat and Abu Jihad."

The Mossad and the attack on Syria

From Amir:  "This supposedly 'Syrian Army News' Facebook page claims that Syria used chemical weapons! Syrian Army and Syrian Government have already refused chemical weapon use. So, who is behind this page?

Here is a clue: I
srael provided evidence of chemical weapon use".

What is "other critical Alawite infrastructure"? Imagine if someone talked about "critical Jewish infrastructure" in Israel to justify bombing

"other critical Alawite infrastructure".  (thanks Sean)

Don't forget

The same Syrian regime had baked the US attack on Iraq in 1991.  I don't forget that.

Arab League

Do you know why the Arab League convened?  John Kerry called Nabil Al-`Arabi and ordered him to convene the Arab League to cover the US attack. Kid you not. 

And now a word from the Israeli sponsor: he wants you to bomb Iran too, while you are at it

"Mr. Steinitz said Iran, which provided arms to the Assad government and sent members of its paramilitary Quds force to fight with the Syrian military, should also be held responsible."

US bombings of the Arab world

Since I came to the US in 1983, the US has bombed the following Arab countries:  Somalia, Libya, Lebanon, Syria, Yemen, Iraq, and Sudan. 

Philip Hitti: problems

Lest there be any misunderstanding, I was praising the literary quality of Philip Hitti's work and his mastery of knowledge about the subject he was writing about. It is like the joy of reading the first 100 pages of Seven Pillars of Wisdom.  Hitti was most skilled in writing about events and in keeping the attention of the readers. He can be criticized for failing to provide grand theories or approaches to history, and for being cautious in drawing conclusions and in identifying underlying causes.  Albert Hourani once told us about meeting Hitti at his parants' home in the UK: Albert was a young student at the time and asked Hitti about his History of the Arabs.  Hourani asked Hitti was to why he ignored the Ottoman centuries from his history, and Hitti answered by saying that the Arabs had no history under the Ottoman.  Hourani told us that he wrote his history book to compensate for that shortcoming (of course, Hourani's History of the Arab Peoples is the weakest of his work and fell way short of the scope and grandiosity of Hitti's history--it reads as a rushed work and Hourani wrote it in his waning years).  Hitti also suffers from a particular (non-historical) interest in the plight of Christians in the Arab world at the expense of other minorities. But he was not an apologist to any side and would--on account of historical evidence, or lack there off--dismiss a major element in the popular history of the region, as he did when he maintained that the `Umar ibn Al-Khattab's Pact about Christians probably did not exist.  He unwittingly contributed to the formation of Lebanese ahistorical nationalism, among other problems.  Hitti's history (as opposed to Hanna Batatu) was focused more on the upper classes and royal households. 

Philip Hitti at Princeton

"Interviewer: What were your early days at Princeton like?
—Hitti: They were not without dissatisfaction. I was a full professor at AUB, but I came here as assistant professor of Semitic literature. And we started—my dear sir, you won't believe me—we started in the tower of the old library building. They gave me a desk and a chair in the stacks. Pages and readers were coming and going, picking up books, and I would be holding my classes. My work seemed very peripheral."

PS Hitti had a fallout with Princeton in his last years (anyone knows more about this matter?) and he removed his book collection from Princeton to the University of Minnesota, where they are now.

Israel and the Chemical Weapons Convention

"The only countries that have not signed the treaty are Angola, Egypt, North Korea, South Sudan and Syria. Israel has signed but not ratified it."

Please, please, please. No cause for alarm. The US keeps its chemical weapons in a secure place

"The undertaking gained steam as the United States ratified the Chemical Weapons Convention treaty in 1997 and vowed to get rid of its roughly 30,500 tons of munitions by 2012. Washington missed the deadline, but the Army remains committed to destroying the chemical weapons still securely stored at a handful of sites."

Why the Muslim Brotherhood Will Not Go Away

My latest blog post for Al-Akhbar English: "Why the Muslim Brotherhood Will Not Go Away I"