Monday, September 30, 2013

The Army of Islam and the Army of Muhammad in Syria

In the last few days alone, important developments occurred in the landscape of Syrian rebels: but those developments went unnoticed in the Western press although they occupied headlines in the Arabic press.  Three armed groups, Ahrar Ash-Sham and Liwa' Al-Islam and Liwa' At-Tawhid declared a joint army called the Army of Muhammad.  Yesterday, 43 different military organization declared the formation of the Army of Islam: its members are required to be part of Sunnah wa-l-Jama`ah and it aims to combat "the Nusayri [`Alawite] occupatio and its Shi`ite allies and Zoroastrian".  Please, don't take this information as a refutation to the persistent Western media stories to the effect that Syrian rebels are a bunch of secularists, liberals, feminists, and with a touch of Sufis. 

Spain and chemical weapons in Morocco

Joerg in Berlin sent me this:  "Spain still does not recognize the use of chemical weapons against the Moroccan Rif Republic under the Emir Abdelkrim in the 20s. These weapons were delivered by Germany and France, though Germany was not allowed to produce, host, or export it, because of the WWI peace treaty. Normally this subject is "tabu" in Morocco. In 2001 (?) Morocco cancelled an international conference about the War in the Rif Mountains, probably because they did not want to embarrass Spain." (I remember that I read once that France used chemical weapons in the 20s in Syria, but I do not find it anymore".)

returning a stolen artifact is called a gift by the US

"Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Saturday brought home a 2,700-year-old Persian artifact the US administration gave him as "a special gift" to Iranians, media reports said. "The Americans contacted us on Thursday and said 'we have a gift for you'," Rouhani told reporters upon arrival at the airport in Tehran, the ILNA news agency reported. Rouhani was speaking of a 7th century BC silver Persian drinking cup in the shape of a winged Griffin, a legendary creature with the head of an eagle and body of a lion. After being looted from a cave in Iran, the cup was seized by US custom officials in 2003 when an arts dealer attempted to smuggle it into the country, according to a State Department tweet." (thanks Basim)

Rape victim sentenced 200 lashes by Saudi court

"A Saudi court sentenced a woman who had been gang raped to six months in jail and 200 lashes - more than doubling her initial penalty for being in the car of a man who was not a relative, a newspaper reported Thursday.

The decision by the Qatif General Court came in a case that had sparked rare debate about the kingdom's justice system when it surfaced more than a year ago.

In its decision Wednesday, the court also roughly doubled prison sentences for the seven men convicted of raping the 19-year-old woman, the Arab News reported on its English-language Web site.

According to Arab News, the court said the woman's punishment was increased because of "her attempt to aggravate and influence the judiciary through the media."

The New York Times reported that her lawyer, Abdulrahman al-Lahem, is a well-known human rights activist who angered the court by publicly criticizing the verdict. He said the verdict was too lenient for the rapists and unjust for the victim.." (thanks Laure)

Israeli racists and terrorists are always welcome in Western capitals

"Far from being a slick spin-doctor, Rotem is overtly racist in his pronouncements. While two MEPs have landed themselves in hot water this year for applying the term "bongo bongo" to Africans, Rotem is able to make vile statements about Palestinians without fear of censure."

Et Tu Sweden?

"The one thing everyone in the registry has in common is that they themselves are Romani, or have a relationship with a Romani." "Ethnic registration is illegal in Sweden. DN has spoken to several lawyers, who say that the registry is in violation of several laws pertaining to Swedish law enforcement. The document, containing personal relationships, addresses and information, may also violate the European convention on Human rights, article 8, which provides the right to respect for ones private and family life."