Friday, September 30, 2016

Interviewing activists in Syria on Democracy Now

This baffled me. That Amy Goodman still, like the Western correspondents in the Times and Post talk to what they call "activists" in rebel-held areas.  What does that mean? There was activism in Syria during the early months of the uprising before it became a civil war with outside intervention from all sides. Do they mean that you can live in Nusrah-held area or other rebel-held areas and be an activist?  An activist for what? democracy and feminism in Ghutah?  What does that mean? And how do they obtain the phone numbers of those "activists"? This like saying that the Syrian regime allows activism and dissent in its areas.  It is sad that even leftist Democracy Now does not deviate ONE BIT from the mainstream media narrative on Syria.  Not one bit.  From Democracy Now to WSJ, passing through the Economist, they all sound the same.

The real picture of Saudi Arabia

"Mohammed bin Salman’s treatment of domestic affairs seemed as headstrong as his treatment of foreign ones. Apparently in return for sanctioning the youngster’s accumulation of power, the clerical establishment secured the dismissal of the country’s first female minister, appointed in laxer times by Abdullah, the late king. Religious police resumed their raids on private premises. A young female accountant told us how they had detained a male colleague sharing her office, in violation of their codes. A spring festival in the south was shut down after prepubescent girls joined in a folkloric dance. McDonald’s revamped its fast-food franchises, and renovated signs segregating their counters and seating areas by sex.
At literary salons, writers recounted stories of people jailed for blaspheming. Some were fed watermelon to fill their bladders, they said, and then had their penises tied. In November 2015 Ashraf Fayadh, a Palestinian poet raised in Saudi Arabia, was sentenced to death for voicing religious doubts. “I am Hell’s experiment on the Planet Earth,” he had written in his offending volume of poems. (After much international protest and a worldwide reading of his poems, a panel of judges upheld the verdict of apostasy but commuted the sentence to eight years in prison and eight hundred lashes.) “For the first time in my life, I’m truly afraid,” a news editor told me. The dearth of names in this review is testimony to how nervous even prominent figures have become."

Begging US Congress to not upset Saudi Arabia

"Obama and CIA Director John Brennan practically begged Congress to refrain from the override, to no avail. Senate leaders said they might consider legislation limiting the bill’s scope if it provoked strong foreign reaction. Perhaps we have become a country where Congress has to go over a cliff before it thinks about a parachute. That has been the case with budget issues, and now foreign policy."

Amy Goodman of Democracy Now

It seems that Amy Goodman and the Saudi Foreign Minister see eye-to-yet on Syria. Those two are the last people still speaking about "a Syrian revolution".  


How many of those pundits angrily denouncing US Congress for passing the JASTA bill are affiliated with DC-based think tanks which are funded (partially at least) with Saudi and Gulf money?  I like how angry the folks at Center for Strategic and International Studies are.  No, the best part is when they interview "experts" affiliated with Gulf lobbies in DC without identifying them as such in  US papers.  

When Christians engage in "honor killing" in the Middle East, it never gets reported in Western media

So 24 hours after the buffoonish King of Jordan appointed Malik Haddad as a Minister of Transportation in his new cabinet, Haddad had to resign.  Why? Because people on social media reminder Jordanians that back in 1980, this minister (who comes from a Christian family) had killed his own sister because she married a Muslim man.  He served only 5 years in jail.  When asked about the matter yesterday, Haddad said it was a "personal matter".

Don't forget that Obama is also bombing Somalia and bombs are also falling on the "wrong people"

"An airstrike in northern Somalia killed as many as 22 troops overnight, local officials said Wednesday, and one region said the United States had been duped into attacking its troops.  Galmudug’s security minister, Osman Issa, said 22 of his region’s soldiers were killed in the strike, adding that the rival neighboring region of Puntland had requested it on the pretext that the men were al-Shabab militants.  “Puntland misinformed the United States and, thus, our forces were bombed,” Issa said.  In Washington, a Pentagon spokesman told reporters that the United States had carried out a “self-defense airstrike” after Somali troops faced fire from militants as they tried to stop an explosives-making network.  Capt. Jeff Davis said that nine al-Shabab militants were killed in the strike but that the Pentagon was looking into reports that the strike could have killed others."

The Economist strongly lobbies for Al-Qa`idah in Syria

"The main purpose of the JFS tactic of distancing itself from al-Qaeda was to reassure other less extreme outfits that it shares their patriotic ambitions and does not have some wider jihadist agenda. It is apparently working. In Aleppo, the sense of abandonment by the West has driven more moderate groups into the arms of JFS. "  So according to the Economist, the Jihadis of Al-Qa`idah who swore allegiance to Bin Laden, don't really have a Jihadist agenda. But the second part of the passage is classic: so secular and democratic and feminist rebels, simply join Jihadi terrorist organizations because they feel abandoned by the West.  So if the correspondent of the Economist in the Middle East feels abandoned by the West, will she also join Al-Qa`idah alas?

US media did not dare to mention any negative aspects about the career of Shimon Peres (not that he had any positive aspects)--not even what was mentioned in Israel

Here at least the Economist, which usually lousily rarely deviates from mainstream media in its coverage of the Middle East: "Rabin called him, aptly, “the tireless intriguer”. Though politics obsessed him from childhood, driving out (some said) all other interests, he was wooden on television and was perhaps too fond of aphorisms (“You can turn eggs into omelettes, but it is very difficult to turn omelettes into eggs.”) Personal political relationships were difficult. His closest ally was Moshe Dayan, but the adoration he bestowed on the dashing former general was not reciprocated. David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s first prime minister, appreciated his talents, but would not confide in him...Throughout his career he was ribbed for his vanity, including plastic surgery..."

PS New York Times called his silly aphorisms poetry and philosophy.  

NYT: U.S. military intervention in Syria is not intervention

"Since 2014, according to official Pentagon figures, the US has carried out 5,337 airstrikes in Syria. According to the monitoring group Airwars, these airstrikes (along with a few hundred strikes by US allies) have likely killed between 818 and 1,229 Syrian civilians. Nor is direct US military intervention in Syria limited to aerial attacks. In May 2015, the New York Times (5/16/15) reported on a combat raid by US Delta Force commandos in eastern Syria." "The Times, for its part, is engaging in some kind of linguistic contortion of its own to make none of this qualify as “direct military intervention in Syria.” Presumably it has something to do with the airstrikes and special forces not being aimed at the Syrian government of Bashar Assad, but at the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS—a rival to Assad’s power in Syria that the US is semi-officially at war with, even as Washington provides arms and training to other armed groups trying to overthrow Assad."

U.S. sends more soldiers to Iraq

"The addition of more than 600 additional troops in the coming weeks will bring the force management level to 5,262 U.S. troops as of today, said Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, director of Pentagon press operations."

"The U.S. military activity in Niger is not isolated"

"The files obtained by The Intercept attest to the importance of Agadez for future missions by drones, also known as remotely piloted aircraft or RPAs. “The top MILCON [military construction] project for USAFRICOM is located in Agadez, Niger to construct a C-17 and MQ-9 capable airfield,” reads a 2015 planning document." "The U.S. military activity in Niger is not isolated. “There’s a trend toward greater engagement and a more permanent presence in West Africa — the Maghreb and the Sahel,” noted Adam Moore of the department of geography at the University of California in Los Angeles and the co-author of an academic study of the U.S. military’s presence in Africa."

US & EU sanctions are punishing Syrians

"The sanctions and war have destabilized every sector of Syria’s economy, transforming a once self-sufficient country into an aid-dependent nation. But aid is hard to come by, with sanctions blocking access to blood safety equipment, medicines, medical devices, food, fuel, water pumps, spare parts for power plants, and more." "Around the same time, the CIA began directly shipping weapons to armed insurgents at a colossal cost of nearly $1 billion a year, effectively adding fuel to the conflict while U.S. sanctions obstructed emergency assistance to civilians caught in the crossfire."

Shimon Peres oversaw a bloody massacre in Lebanon, among many other massacres and war crimes on his resume

"From April 11 to April 27 that year, under the leadership of then prime minister Peres, the Israeli military launched 600 air raids and fired about 25,000 shells into Lebanese territory." "About 400,000 Lebanese civilians were forced to flee their homes in the war. Roughly 800 civilians sought refuge in the U.N. compound in the southern Lebanese village of Qana because Israel was bombing their homes. “Most of the civilians at the U.N. compound were women, children and elderly people who were too poor or otherwise unable to get transportation out of the areas of shelling,” the Center for Constitutional Rights noted in a fact sheet. In one day alone, more than 100 Lebanese civilians were killed in an Israeli attack on a U.N. compound. Nearly half the victims were children, and U.N. personnel were wounded. The incident is now known as the Qana massacre." "An Israeli magazine later published an interview with a military officer who called the victims “just a bunch of Arabs,” adding, “A few Arabs die, there is no harm in that.” " (thanks Amir)

Young Arabs on social media prepared a "black list" about the Arabs who participated in the funeral of Shimon Peres

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Of course, American Zionists can't get to admit that Arab detested Shimon Peres, so they now stick to the mantra: that he was "complicated"

"The Israeli-Palestinian issue is not high on the region's agenda these days, amid other wars and crises, noted Michael W. Hanna, a Middle East expert at the New York-based Century Foundation. "Besides, Peres left behind a complicated legacy," he said."  There is nothing complicated in war crimes and those who commit them.

Those civilians in a bomb shelter in Qana (where my aunt lived) were ordered murdered by Shimon Peres

So according to Thomas Friedman (which has been his theme for years), Israel is forced to be brutal by the brutality and savagery of Arab "neighbors"

"He knew that the Middle East was not Scandinavia — that Israel faced merciless enemies and that the Jews could carve out and sustain their own state in such a region only if they, too, were merciless when they had to be. "  So they let her do it.  Arabs made Israel commit all those war crimes and massacres over the years.

Invocation of the word Holocaust about Syria

Many in the West have consistently argued that it is anti-Semitic to throw casually the word "Holocaust" to describe current evil in the world.  Personally, I avoid using the terminology out of respect for the solemnity of the victims of the Holocaust. Yet, over the last few weeks, US journalists and Syrian supporters of the "revolution" have been casually describing the horrors of Aleppo as "holocaust".  How come that does not produce charges of anti-Semitism?

How US Zionist media just don't want to concede that Arabs hate and despise Israeli war criminal, Shimon Peres

This is what the Times said: "Mr. Peres was seen as a more complicated figure among Palestinians, who remembered his role in advancing settlements in the West Bank and in ordering a brief but intense military campaign against Hezbollah in Lebanon in 1996 that led to civilian deaths."  No, Arabs don't see him as "complicated" at all. They hate him and despise him.  And no, it is not only about settlements and the "brief" war crime in Lebanon. It is about a long career of war crimes.  As Minister of Defense, he ordered countless bombing raids on civilians in Lebanon in the 1970s.  To say that Palestinians view Peres as complicated is like saying that Jewish people (and others) view Hitler as a complicated figure.  

The New York Times is so protective of Shimon Peres in its obituary that it didn't want to mention that his wife had left him

This is what the times said: "Mr. Peres was married to the former Sonya Gelman, who shunned the spotlight to the point of refusing to move into the president’s house when he took his last public post."  It implies that she did not move into the apartment because she shunned the limelight, when Peres had admitted that she had left him.

Jordan and free speech in the New York Times

Comrade Joseph Massad wrote this response (I cite with his permission): "This article by Hiber’s Lina Ujaylat is true to the liberal commitments of her organization. What is frustrating, however, is the offensive appeal to an American imperial and liberal audience about the question of free speech without bringing in similar limitations in the US. Had she published the article in Arabic in Jordan, that would have been fine, but choosing to publish it in the NYT places an ethical responsibility on ‘Ujaylat, which she did not shoulder.  Anyone who is familiar with free speech issues in the United States knows the limitations on so-called “Hate Speech” in US juridical practice and on opinions that call for the violent overthrow of governments or support for terrorism. In addition, the idea that all views are allowed in the New York Times itself where self-censorship on questions related to “defense” or “national security” is routine, let alone views that are always banned from national newspapers, especially as pertains to Israel, is naive at best.  Had Lina coupled the limitations in the US, both legal and extra-legal, with her important, though by no means original criticisms, of Jordanian government and legal practice, she would have been more convincing in situating Jordan with the US and other liberal countries in limiting free speech —after all, the difference in practice between liberal and conservative dictatorial countries on speech is a difference of degree not of kind— and would have made an ethical intervention rather than a naive and West-worshiping appeal to white imperialist liberals (of course, had she compared Jordan to Israel on the questions of limitations on free speech, as she knows well, the NYT would not have published her piece at all). "

Foreign policy establishment

"For this reason, having the bulk of the mainstream foreign-policy establishment in her corner may not be a great asset for Clinton, and that impression increases when one reflects on how that establishment has behaved in recent decades."

Don't hold your breath

"Like all U.S. presidents, Hillary Clinton would undoubtedly strive to keep the United States No. 1 in the critical areas of global power, and no doubt she’ll talk a lot about America’s global responsibilities, “exceptional” character, and indispensable leadership, blah, blah, blah. But if she’s smart, it will be mostly talk, and not a lot of action, while she focuses on fixing our crumbling infrastructure and repairing our fractured politics. And make no mistake: Those two tasks are a hell of a lot more important to America’s future than trying to determine who’s going to run what’s left of Syria or who gets to pretend to be in charge in Kabul."

Shimon Peres and the 300 Bus Affair

"We must remember the defense minister who flew his helicopter over the settlement of Sebastia to the settlers’ cheers, his dirty political conniving against Yitzhak Rabin, his opposition to the attack on the Iraqi nuclear reactor, the Iran-Contra affair, spy Jonathan Pollard, Operation Grapes of Wrath in Lebanon, his political defeats, and his desperate clinging to power at all cost. There were also the self-aggrandizing shows he put together, his recommendation letters for white-collar criminals and his ties to shady tycoons and machers. There was also his obsession with himself and the countless broken promises. “His head is in the sky but his feet are stuck firmly in the mood of the day,” someone close to him once said. His light cast many shadows. In 1986, just as he was handing over the premiership to Yitzhak Shamir, Peres met with the Shin Bet’s outgoing deputy head, Reuven Hazak. In the months before, Peres worked tirelessly to cover up one of the most serious affairs in Israel’s history: the Bus 300 affair."

Joseph Massad on Arab Orientalism

An interview with comrade Joseph on Arab Orientalism in UAE's Al-Ittihad.

According to Roger Cohen, Palestinians forced Shimon Peres to commit war crimes

"The killing in Gaza of a leading Hamas operative in January 1996 led to a wave of horrific Palestinian suicide attacks against Israelis over the next two months. These weakened Peres; they undermined Oslo."

Peres and Begin

In Israeli, before this Western festival of eulogies, Peres was also remembered from being the one Labor politician who "mainstreamed" Menachem Begin.  

The real Shimon Peres

This uniform bizarre image of Peres which is being constructed and promoted by Western media has no connection with reality. Read the opinion of none other than Rabin in Peres: he called him a liar and non-trustworthy.   

Who speaks for the Arab people? Well, an Israeli historian of course, according to Roger Cohen of the New York Times

In several days only, I have come across numerous instances in Western media in which readers are informed of what Arabs think, by asking Israelis to speak for them.  This is another: "As the historian Avi Shlaim has written, the Palestinians “regarded Rabin as much more reliable than Peres because with Rabin yes meant yes and no meant no, whereas with Peres both yes and no meant maybe.”"  Of course, Rabin was as despised and distended as Peres.  

Who speaks for the Arab people? Well, obviously the former Minister of Defense of Israel, according to the LA Times

This is classic bit: "Today, Arabs and Israelis are in the same boat, facing Iranian-backed threats all around us".  Of course, by Arabs they mean "Our beloved Gulf potentates".

US liberal media: Huffington Post

Have people noticed that for a whole week Huffington Post agonized and fretted worrying that Kim Kardashian my not vote for Hillary Clinton?

Huffington Post US: it is becoming almost indistinguishable from Huffington Post Gulf regime

Huffington Post really hearts Gulf regimes.    This is my favorite argument: that Saudi regime has been responsive for all those decades to criticisms about their human rights abuses and that JASTA will make them less likely to be responsive.  That would be terrible indeed: "But when the Saudis see American lawmakers glorifying disproven allegations, the president saying theirregion is essentially hopeless and international media chasing gratuitous stories about Saudi moral hypocrisy, they’re less likely to accept criticism based on real concerns."

Let me guess: Western correspondents in Beirut won't be tweeting their concern about those civilian casualties of US bombing.

"A suspected U.S. drone strike against Islamic State in Afghanistan killed 18 people on Wednesday, most of them militants but possibly including some civilians, Afghan officials said. Civilian casualties in U.S. airstrikes against Taliban and other militants inAfghanistan have long been a source of friction between the allies who have been fighting since 2001 to end militant opposition to the government in Kabul. The strike in Nangarhar province, on the eastern border with Pakistan, killed 18 people, 15 of them militants and three civilians, said Mohammed Ali, police chief of Achin district where the attack occurred. “They were in a house to visit someone who had just come from the Hajj pilgrimage,” he said. “A drone targeted the house and killed most of them.”"

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Who speaks for Arab public opinion? An Israeli of course, according to NBC News

This is what this Israeli dude said about Arab opinion of Peres: ""From the Arab point of view, they will look at him with mixed feelings — part positive and some negative," Mekelberg added."  This is like saying that a patient looked at cancer with mixed feelings.  Mixed feelings? Arabs--get it in your head or look around Arab social media for the last 24 hours--despise and detest Peres.  There are no mixed feelings whatsoever.   The same lousy article cited someone else describing Peres as a "fox".  Western Zionist media are really trying hard to reduce the level of Arab contempt for Peres.  And then NBC wrote: "Peres' legacy was also tarnished in the Arab world by the 1996 shelling of a U.N. compound in the village of Qana, Lebanon".  So this massacre tarnished his image among Arabs? So prior to this massacre he was a popular figure? People forget that Arabs are fully aware of his role in the construction of Israeli nuclear arsenal, and the Tripartite invasion of Egypt in 1956, and his successive role in the Israeli government and ordering various bombing raids on refugee camps and villages in Lebanon.  

Hillary versus Trump

The dangers of Trump are too obvious. The dangers of Hillary are more dangerous because they are a bit disguised.

There are really two Shimon Peres

If you go to Arab social media, you would see the anger expressed by Arabs at, Israeli war criminal, Shimon Peres, and the Western sympathy he is receiving.  And then you go to Western media, and you feel that they were talking about some pacifist philanthropist.  Two strikingly different worlds.

Arab media and war criminal, Peres: Haaretz mistranslations

Haaretz wrote: ""“The Zionist Shimon Peres dies. Born in Poland, he carried out countless crimes against the Palestinian people over the past 70 years. His death will not be mourned,” tweeted Abdulkhaleq Abdulla, a political science professor from the United Arab Emirates to his 101,000 followers." 
Actually, what Abdulkhaleq wrote was this: "The death of the Zionist, Shimon Peres, who was born in Poland, and who--like other Zionists--committed countess crimes against the people of Palestine in the last 70 years.  His death is not sorrowful."

a man whose career began with ethnic cleansing

"Peres was born in modern day Belarus in 1923, and his family moved to Palestine in the 1930s. As a young man, Peres joined the Haganah, the militia primarily responsible for the ethnic cleansing of Palestinian villages in 1947-49, during the Nakba." (thanks Basim)

Shimon Peres: the invention of the Western media and governments

You will not read in the next few days about the real Shimon Peres, a seasoned war criminal who never met a warcrime or a massacre or an occupation which he did not like or engineer.  People forget that people of my generation or older know the real record of the Labor Party and its leaders in the history of Israeli war crimes and occupation.  People of my generation are far less likely to see any difference between a Netanyahu and a Peres.  The racism of Netanyahu and his love of war crimes and massacres have all been preceded by same tendencies in the Labor Party leaders. You won't read in the next few days about the man who helped in the construction of the Israeli nuclear arsenal, and yet had the chutzpah to rail against an incomplete Iranian nuclear program.  This is a man who spoke about peace in the west, while ordering massacres of civilians in Qana and in all the refugee camps of Lebanon during my youth.  This is a man who spoke about the two-state (non)solution in the West, while he engineered the occupation and settlement of the West Bank and Gaza and the repression of Palestinians in 1948 occupation of Palestine.  This is a man who engineered the evil but logical alliance between Apartheid South Africa and Apartheid Israel.  But then again, the West never talked about the real Israel. Their Israel is an imagined Israel which Western liberals loved to fantasize about and treat as a reality.  Their Israel never existed: it was an invention of their racism and callousness.  It is not that Western governments and media who will ignore the war crimes of Shimon Peres did not know about the war crimes by Peres: they know of course but their racism will prevent them from remembering the victims, for example, of Qana massacres in a UN shelter.  Those victims never matter for those Westerners mourning a major war criminal in our region.

This picture will not appear in any US media

Chadia Bitar protests a 2003 visit by Shimon Peres in Dearborn, Michigan, to receive the John P. Wallach Peacemaker Award. Bitar’s two young sons were among 100 civilians killed by Israeli bombs in Qana, Lebanon, in April 1996. Peres was Israel’s prime minister at the time of the bombing.
Rebecca CookReuters/Newscom

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Two War Criminals in one picture

Richard Engel as a judge of the debate

There was nothing more comical than bringing Richard Engel of NBC last night to fact-check the debate on foreign policy.  This is like having George W. Bush assess the accuracy of the latest edition of the collected works of Karl Marx.

"The New $3B USS Zumwalt Is a Stealthy Oddity That May Already Be a Relic"

"The Zumwalt-class destroyer program started in the early 1990s and has been a problem child ever since. At first, the Navy planned to purchase 32 of the stealth vessels. Then it said it would buy seven. Then three. Now, it may buy just two. After decades and billions of dollars spent, the DoD may instead choose an updated version of the Arleigh-Burke DDG-51 destroyer, a model that entered service in 1991."

On Veiling and Unveiling in the US: one experience

"While attending college full time, I worked in an Italian restaurant part time as a waitress. I was working the evening shift and upon leaving for my car, I was attacked. A man yanked my scarf off and shoved me down to the ground. “Go back to your country, towel head,” he snarled through clenched teeth. I laid on the ground both angry and helpless. After three months of fighting against other people’s opinions, I was faced with the hardest one of them all, my father’s. “You will take off your higab tomorrow,” he demanded of me.  “Dad, I am supposed to wear it! God says so,” I shouted back.   “There is no mention of the word higab in the Quran!”  That comment sent chills throughout my body. He was right. And I hated that. But it was that moment that I began to study what modesty really means. Despite my father’s personal view on higab, that does not mean I am taking a position to deconstruct the role higab plays in Islamic modesty. In addition, to my father’s defense, he was acting out of his own fear for my personal safety. Rightfully so, he feared for my security.  I thought the higab represented faith, protection and security. Thus, not wearing it meant I would be weak in my faith. To my classmates and the Muslim community I found that I wasn’t considered “Muslim enough”. To them, being a good Muslim was in outward appearance. Although I fought with my father to wear the higab, I finally gave in and gave up wearing it. At first, I felt a sense of relief combined with an insurmountable amount of shame and guilt. But then I noticed something odd. I was no longer judged as a Muslim, but as a person.  De-veiling was liberating.  Not once throughout my experiences did I feel safe behind the scarf. Even if I had had the support from my loved ones, I still would have felt isolated. The environment I was living in was hostile. The community I lived in, post 9/11, created an enormous amount of fear around Muslims and the Islamic identity. I realized, after I de-veiled, I did not take into account the tremendous amount of strength, courage and family support it takes to wear higab."

UNESCO (after is subjugation to US) honors a Saudi regime propagandist for his promotion of "freedom of the press"

"Turki Al-Dakhil (Saudi Arabia), Director General of Al-Arabiya TV, for his outspoken advocacy of tolerance, freedom of the press, the rights of minorities and women in the Gulf region."

Between Netanyahu and the Palestinians (even the PA), the Saudi regime will certainly side with Netanayahu

"The Palestinians should not be too quick to dismiss the invitation extended by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to address Israel’s parliament in return to “gladly come to speak peace with the Palestinian parliament in Ramallah.” Netanyahu’s gesture was quickly rejected by the Palestinians as a “new gimmick” but the invitation is reminiscent of the one issued by former Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin to former Egyptian President Anwar Sadat to visit Israel — and the rest is history."

Canadian firm sells Bahrain software to censor Internet

"Researchers have identified a Canadian company at the centre of a small Arab nation’s online censorship system — a finding that sits awkwardly with Ottawa officials’ public support for digital freedoms." (thanks Amir)

David Frum tells Americans that Pierre Manent's anti-Islamic views are not illiberal because he supports Israel

"Manent stresses that he does not write as a Catholic, or even as a believer. A former student of the French sociologist Raymond Aron, he upholds France’s embattled liberal tradition. He writes generously and movingly of France’s Jewish minority, of Christian Europe’s guilt in the Holocaust, and of the meaning and importance of the state of Israel. " (thanks Nabeel)

Typecast as a terrorist

“What kinda film you making? Did you become an actor to further the Muslim struggle?” an officer screamed, twisting my arm to the point of snapping."

Hillary Clinton and Muslims: from last night debate

She basically said that we need to be nice to Muslims because the US government needs them so that they can spy on one another.

From Jadaliyya: Hattar assassination and Jordanian elections

"Yesterday, someone murdered Nahed Hattar because a cartoon Hattar shared on Facebook offended that person. Yes, there are those in society who would kill others for expressing different views. But there are those who do not allow different views to be aired in the first place. They give weight to the idea that speech should be regulated, criminalized, and silenced. How many people has the regime harassed, arrested, or imprisoned over the past decades for making statements it did not agree with or were critical of Jordanian official policy? How many student organizations did it disband, publications did it block, and individuals did it refer to the State Security Court for merely engaging in critical debate?
But why dwell on these issues? Let us instead join the media chorus of celebrating the elections for a parliament with no power, the endless reform initiatives without structural change, and the wonderful PR machine of stable Jordan. Let us champion the path that has been announced, without looking at the road that was paved by the very same people."

Monday, September 26, 2016

When the Guardian shows off its knowledge of the Arabic language

""the gunman, bearded and in his 50s, was wearing a traditional Arab dishashada worn by ultra-conservative Sunni Salafis who adhere to a puritanical version of Islam and shun western lifestyles."  I think that the Guardian expert on Arabic confused Dishdashah (the garb) and Shahadah (the first pillar of Islam). (thanks Maddy)

Can you get me some?

"There are certain things that pair really well with cookies — like milk, for example — but Islamaphobia is not one of them. On Monday, police were called to a gas station near East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, when a customer panicked at the sight of a box with Arabic lettering on it, WNEP-TV reported. The supposedly suspicious box turned out to just be a box of Halwani Bros Maamoul Date Filled Cookies — something easily purchased on Amazon. " (thanks Marc)

assassination in Jordan

So Jordanian regime agitation and takfir of a Jordanian citizen (who was subsequently killed) is merely a "blunder":
"The way the government handled his posting of a caricature on Facebook they deemed to be offensive has been a blunder from start to tragic finish."  How do we reverse that famous saying if Talleyrand? 
"Yes, this isn’t the Jordan we know, and this does contradict our history. But we’re not living in the 1950’s anymore."
Oh, yes, the good old 1950s, when British military ran the Jordanian army, and when the King canceled the political system to rule by decree, and when the regime sponsored Islamist kooks to thwart off secular leftists and Arab nationalists. The good old 1950s.

This is what BBC calls "reform" in Jordan

"Under Jordanian law, 15 seats are automatically reserved for female MPs. A reduction in the number of MPs as part of reforms announced last year means women will have a higher overall proportion of seats than before."

Rana Sweis in the New York Times: about Jordan

"As Jordan strives to stay neutral in Syria".  Yes, Jordanian regime strove to remain neutral while arming and training Syrian rebels, and allowing Jordan to be used as a base for Syrian rebels and Western and Gulf regimes aiding the rebels.

Jordanian regime sponsorship of Jihadi terrorist ideology

This is what is left unmentioned about Jordan: I know that US media (from Jon Stewart on the left to Fox News) are enamored with the Jordanian king but: since the days of the Cold War, and to thwart off the threat of secular leftism and Arab nationalism, the regime has cuddled and armed and sponsored a variety of Jihadi terrorist ideologies.  To this very day, the regime plays the game of manipulation of Jihadis.  The theoretician of Jihadi terrorism in the world, Abu Muhammad Maqdisi, has been a guest of the mukhabarat for many years and when they sometimes announce his imprisonment, it does not last and he basically is allowed to have an office in jail.

Censorship in Jordan

""Nahed Hattar's killing is a direct result of lack of commitment to freedom of expression by Jordanian authorities," said Sherif Mansour, CPJ's program coordinator for the Middle East and North Africa. "We call on the government to bring the killer to justice and to change its approach to freedom of the press to foster openness and protection for critical voices."
While the gunman has not been identified, some social media accounts of conservatives in Jordan and elsewhere celebrated Hattar's death and said he deserved it for blasphemy, Al-Jazeera reported.
On a mission to Jordan in August, CPJ found overt censorship by Jordanian authorities as well as self-censorship by journalists fearing reprisal for their work. Officials defended the role of the government as an arbitrator of public debate at a time when the country is facing challenges, including the fight against terrorism and a flood of refugees arriving from neighboring countries."

Why you go to jail in Saudi Arabia

A young man was arrested in Saudi kingdom for not appearing well (or appearing "inappropriately") in a video chat.  

Zionist classifications

""Jewish descendants in Kaifeng do not automatically qualify as Jews under Israeli law because their ancestry has been so diluted. But Michael Freund, the chairman and founder of Shavei Israel, said the Israeli government should raise their treatment with Chinese officials." (thanks Nikiloi) 

Jordanian regime bans publishing any news about the assassination of Jordanian writer, Nahid Hatter

Royal censorship decree has been issued.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

The hypocrisy of the Jordanian regime

The Jordanian despot and his wife: they are for the right to mock Islam in France, but are strictly opposed to the right to mock ISIS in a cartoon on Facebook.  

Jordanian regime responsibility and the assassination of Nahid Hattarin Amman--under the watchful eyes of the Jordanian mukhabarat

I will merely translate what I have written in Arabic on social media about the assassination of Nahid Hattar in Jordan under the title Jordanian Regime Responsibility and the Assassination of Nahid Hattar
There is nothing with which I don't disagree with Nahid Hattar over, and between he and me there was a political and ideological dispute which has only deepened with time.  But this assassination is not about one person.  The impudent Jordanian regime bears responsibility for this crime.  The regime protects with all that it got all the staff of the Israeli embassy in Amman and it protects--resident and visiting--Mossad agents in Jordan, but it never bothered to protect Nahid Hattar, especially that the regime and its official media led the campaign of Takfir and criminalization against Nahid Hattar.  As usual, there will emerge voices which will talk about ISISism in Arab society.  No, this repression and criminalization and tabooing is the problem of Arab regimes and the Iranian regime and the colonial West which--over many decades--have fought with the sword of the Islamic religion and "sacred" beliefs only when their interests and quackeries are threatened or criticized.  This is a moment for unity and solidarity between all the ranks of protesters against repression, killing, and terrorization in the name of religion and sacredness.  We live under regimes like the Saudi regime, the Qatari regime, the Emirati regime, and the Jordanian regime which sentence writers of poetry and tweets, which deviate from their extremist, reactionary, and strict interpretation of religion, to imprisonment and lashes.  There is a law in Jordan against "extending one's tongue" to the royal family--the historical supporter of Zionism.  And the Iranian regime spilled the blood and hanged communists and Baha'is in the name of a religious doctrine.  Communists have been killed in our lands at the hands of Sunni AND Shi`ite merchants of sectarianism--followers of Arab regimes and the Iranian regime.  And Western colonialism collected over the decades of the Cold War the ranks of kooks of religion in our countries to fight the Soviet Union--and thus they got rid of the secular and feminist (communist) regime in Afghanistan--the likes of which Afghanistan has not seen before.  Leftists and communists have been silent for too long about the murder of their comrades at the hands of Sunni AND Shi`ite merchants of religion and sectarianism, and it is high time that we raise the voice of our sacred beliefs which don't belong to "divine books".  We have our sacred beliefs just as you have your sacred beliefs.  And you--and the regimes of strict religion which sponsor you--insult the sacred beliefs of leftism, communism, feminism, and anarchism day and night, and there is no one to hold you accountable because you are protected by the repressive regimes which kill in the name of religion.  The burning of the Aqsa and the occupation of Palestine and the conquest by Western countries of our region did not offend your ultra-sensitive religious sensibilities and did not move you.  But a cartoon on Facebook offended your beliefs.  And what are those (religious) beliefs which are shaken by seeing a cartoon drawing on Facebook?  Western governments are redesigning your religion and are ordering you to delete Qur'anic verses and religious sermons which offend them and offend the Israeli enemy and you are silent and obedient.  But a drawing on Facebook ignited your religious rancor.  This is a moment to revolt against the intimidating hegemony of Sunni AND Shi`ite merchants of religion and sectarianism in our lands.  Those two sides (Sunnis and Shi`ites) disagree over everything but agree on tabooing, takfir, and criminalization in the name of religion.  What killed Nahid Hattar is his faith in the Jordanian Zionist regime, and its obedient judiciary.  And if the cartoon (below)--and which shows that the cartoonist clearly distinguished between the religion of ISIS and the religion of Islam--bothered you and raised your ire, maybe its reposting will remind you of the occupation of Palestine, and may move you, o folks of hypocrisy in our countries.

PS And Hattar, mind you, criticized me viciously on Facebook and I frequently, without naming him, criticized the Jordanian "royal left".

Saturday, September 24, 2016

U.S. is using white phosphorus that kills by burning to the bone

"Photos posted on a Pentagon-managed public affairs website show a U.S. Army artillery unit in Iraq using white phosphorous munitions, specifically M825A1 155mm rounds." "The United States has used white phosphorus in Iraq before, notably in the 2004 battle for Fallujah, when Marine artillery batteries were scrutinized for firing the munitions on entrenched insurgents. In Afghanistan, white phosphorus was used by U.S. troops, primarily in the country’s restive east. In 2009, NATO forces there were accused of burning an 8-year-old girl with the munitions."

On the Middle East

New York Times, Washington Post, Economist, the Nation Magazine, Ash-Sharq Al-Awsat and Al-Riyadh have all become indistinguishable.

NYT's support for wars

"However, it’s worth noting, The New York Times‘s editorial board has supported every single US war—Persian Gulf, Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq, Libya—for the past 30 years."

German-Israeli covert operations

"According to the documents — which were submitted for the trial of a former German spy — Western surveillance agencies, Israel likely among them, operated a tax-haven company to fund various security-related operations." "Mauss claims that the fund in question was opened in the mid-1980s in Panama by Western security services for various activities, and has served since then for covert security operations around the world."

Israel & Paraguay

"And while Paraguay stands little chance of ousting Colombia as Israel’s regional BFF — the current Colombian president has, after all, boasted of being “the Israelites of Latin America” — Paraguayan President Horacio Cartes has put a lot into the relationship, particularly during his recent visit to Israel." "Cartes himself, meanwhile, was described in a leaked cable from the U.S. embassy in Buenos Aires in 2010 as the head of an “organization believed to launder large quantities of United States currency generated through illegal means, including through the sale of narcotics, from the TBA (Tri-Border Area) to the United States.” All the more reason, presumably, to shift the blame for illicit Tri-Border Area activity to other parties. Looks like Paraguay and Israel will make one hell of a team." (thanks Amir)

Facebook disables accounts of Palestinian editors

" “There has been no given reason for closing the accounts,” Quds’ al-Akhras said. “We believe this is the result of the agreement between Israel and Facebook. It is very strange that Facebook would take part in such an agreement, given that it is supposed to be a platform for free expression and journalism.” Al-Akhras said that it was particularly dismaying that Facebook would take this action as Quds got its start in 2011 as a Facebook-only platform." 

This is how the US ignited the Lebanese civil war

My weekly article in Al-Akhbar: "This is how the US Ignited the Lebanese Civil War: Secret Negotiations with Israel in the Administration of Franjiyyah."

Ian Black citing Faysal Qasim of Aljazeera

Faysal Qasim of Aljazeera has become known for posting the most sectarian, vulgar, sexist, and exterminationist posts about Syria (he used to be pro-Syrian regime by the way).  Ian Black is citing him below.  But in this week, I have noticed that most if not all Western correspondents on the Middle East have lost all sense of pretense of professionalism and are posting crude propaganda.
Ian Black (@ian_black)
‎Putin and friends who "kneel only before God״ ⁦‪…‬⁩

Friday, September 23, 2016

John Kerry explains why the alliance between his "moderate" Syrian rebels and Jihadi terrorists is perfectly logical

"But, he said, “it’s very hard to separate people when they are being bombed indiscriminately and when [Syrian President Bashar al-]Assad has the right to determine who he’s going to bomb, because he can, quote, ‘Go after Nusra,’ but go after the opposition all at the same time because he wants to. You create a confusion that is impossible to separate out.”"

Saudi rehabilitation of terrorists

In this interview with the mouthpiece of King Salman, Ash-Sharq Al-Awsat, an American official praises the Saudi program for the rehabilitation of terrorists, which recently produced the successor to Abu Muhammad Al-`Adnani.

This dude makes it sound as if 20 books per year is a lot of books

"Since we’re well aware of how much the president reads — something like 20 books a year, I’m told — it would be presumptuous of me to suggest anything to him."

When Nation magazine covers the Syrian war: Syrian writers against US and Russian military intervention in Syria

Is this a joke? I know that you can't trust anything on the Middle East from the Zionist Nation magazine but this is like a farce.  The signatories to this statement, like Sadiq Al-Azm, have been advocates of NATO intervention from the very beginning and most of the writers here work in Gulf regimes media, which have been calling for MORE--not less--US intervention in Syria.  Burhan Ghalyun is even one of the signatories.  Their protest is not against US military intervention in Syria but against US agreement with Russia over the cease-fire.  But those nuances are too inconvenient fro the Zionist policies of the Nation magazine.

When the Syrian rebels impose sectarian sieges: rarely in the US press: not in the WP or the NYT

"A punishing siege imposed by Islamist rebels has cut off these two sister towns in northwest Syria for the last 18 months, leaving them at the mercy of truck bombs, mortar barrages, and the terrifying staccato of sniper fire.
The two towns lie in Idlib province, a predominantly Sunni Muslim region southwest of Aleppo. In March 2015, the entire province was overrun by a powerful jihadist coalition known as the Army of Conquest.  The exception was Fuah and Kefraya, two Shiite villages whose roughly 17,000 residents have remained, even under a devastating blockade, loyal to the government. For most, there has seemed to be little choice: Shiite Muslims are seen as apostates by Islamist hard-liners, and the Army of Conquest has threatened to wipe them out.  “A massacre is inevitable — maybe not for everyone, but certainly for the young men. They are always sending them threats on walkie-talkies,” said Mohammad Hassan Taqi, head of the towns’ crisis committee. “But all the possibilities are there: killing, rape, imprisonment of some, to be used as bargaining chips with the government,” he said. The plight of these two Shiite towns says much about how Syria’s sectarian mosaic has been fractured since the onset of the war. In a country where Shiite and Sunni villages were once spread across the landscape in relative harmony, more and more Syrians are being uprooted into sectarian blocs, their borders becoming new fault lines in the greater Sunni-Shiite conflict. A key to the fate of Fuah and Kefraya — and one of the only things keeping the towns intact — is the Four Towns Agreement, a complex truce forged in September 2015 linking the fate of the two Shiite communities in Idlib province to that of Zabadani and Madaya, a pair of Sunni towns controlled by Syrian rebels near the capital, Damascus. Those towns have also been subjected to a relentless siege, in this case by pro-government forces, that has left residents on the verge of starvation."

U.S. forces will be in the Middle East long after ISIS, Carter says

"The Pentagon's two top leaders said Wednesday that the U.S. military will keep forces deployed to the Middle East long after the defeat of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria."

more U.S. soldiers sent to Iraq

"If President Obama signs off on the military’s plan for more troops, the number would rise above 5,000. There are other U.S. troops inside Iraq that the Pentagon claims are on “temporary” assignments, though some of these deployments last up to one year in country. Counting these troops, the new forces going to Iraq will push the unofficial number of American forces on the ground in Iraq to over 6,000 troops." (thanks Amir)

The politics of US aid to Israel

"Grants started to replace loans in 1974. The U.S. government shortly afterwards started to permit Israel to spend twenty-six percent of the annual military grant on purchases in Israel—a unique arrangement, since by law recipient countries must spend all of their Foreign Military Financing in the United States. The result of this has been the build-up of a large Israeli military industry. This industry often relies on U.S. technological inputs, and the United States forbids Israel from manufacturing crucial heavy weaponry, such as fighter jets, in order to maintain control over Israel.
It trusts Israel—a settler-colonial state—with its own weapons industry since the chances of a peoples’ revolt amongst the dominant Jewish sector of the Israeli population is slim-to-none; the weapons will not be turned against the Israeli elite, let alone the United States, as they might one day in Arab countries where revolt is more likely. But it trusts the Israeli elite only so far—for that reason it maintains a monopoly on many of the production lines the Israeli army needs, in order to maintain a veto over Israeli foreign policy.
Furthermore, as the Times suggests, public U.S. military aid can be embarrassing for the Arab states. Several of these states have pretended to be at war with Israel even while maintaining friendly terms with the United States, Israel’s main patron. Although this dynamic was less of an issue after the Camp David Accords with the Anwar Sadat dictatorship in Egypt in the ‘70s, the 1994 peace treaty with Jordan and increasing ties between Israel and the Gulf States, Israel’s colonial repression of the Palestinians continues to be an issue for the surrounding Arab populations. Hence the need for some subterfuge as to who’s actually building Israel’s weapons, and indeed for the United States’ commitment to the peace process—a shadow-play meant mainly for the consumption of the Arab popular classes.
Earlier U.S. military grants, in the 1970s, often went to subsidiaries of U.S. corporations based in Israel, which devoted a significant portion of its budget to developing a trained and educated work-force, capable of aiding in technological development and working in highly-skilled positions in the arms industry.
Later U.S. military grants to Israel were often a quid pro quo, as Israel increasingly took on the work for which the United States could not publicly take responsibility, given popular unease in the States over aid to fascist dictatorships. As the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network note in their well cited report, Israel’s Worldwide Role in Repression,
In the 1970s, Israel armed the brutal military regime of the Argentinian Junta that imposed seven years of state terrorism on the population, including the torture and “disappearance” of an estimated 22,000-30,000 left-wing activists, trade unionists, students, journalists and other alleged anti-regime civilians."

Selective definition of terrorism

"The US has spent the bulk of its war-on-terror existence raining terror on various parts of the globe - a factoid that should have by now become tiresome to repeat, save for the fact that it has not yet managed to cross the threshold of mainstream discourse. Even before the attacks of 11 September 2001, the US had already carved out a name for itself in the realm of extremely violent behaviour, ranging from more blatantly violent campaigns of indiscriminate bombing to the less overt starvation of an estimated half a million Iraqi children via sanctions."

Zionist and racial/ethnic purity

Max Blumenthal: "Explicitly racist and quintessentially liberal Zionist full page ad in NY Times by @AbrahamCenter warns of Israel's loss of ethnic purity"

Thursday, September 22, 2016

The courageous George and Amal Clooney

"AMAL CLOONEY SAYS SHE AND GEORGE ARE 'AWARE OF RISKS' IN TAKING ON ISIS". And this man was the cheearleader for the creation of the war criminal state of Souht sudan.  I am not yelling but this headline came in capital letters and it makes me type in capital letters.  

The best summary of Jordanian election results

A reader summarized for me the results of the Jordanian elections: 2/3rd of the members were reelected, and the rest are Muslim Brotherhood and the filthy rich.  Congratulations. Give the King Mo' Money.

Israeli settlements and international law

see this file. (thanks Yasmine)

Zionist-Saudi Alliance

Joe Lieberman serves Saudi regime propaganda

Syrian rebels returning spies to Israel?

"Syrian Opposition forces will return the body of Eli Cohen, the Israeli spy who penetrated the Syrian regime during the early 1960s, the Lebanese news network LBC has reported."

Remember the articles in which Thomas Friedman was praising and his corrupt Kurdish tribal party? Super embezzler, Hoshyar Zebari, sacked

"Embattled Finance Minister Hoshyar Zebari, facing accusations of financial and administrative corruption, was sacked Wednesday by Iraq’s Parliament. 
Zebari lost a vote of confidence 185-77, with 14 abstentions, Iraqi MP Baker Amin told Anadolu Agency.  Haitham al-Jubouri, an MP for Iraq’s State of Law coalition, has accused Zebari of allocating state funds for his personal use, including some $2 million for his personal security detail."

the risk to an American of being killed by a refugee in a terrorist attack is 1 in 3.64 billion

"The Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank, published a report last week finding that, each year, the risk to an American of being killed by a refugee in a terrorist attack is 1 in 3.64 billion — a far cry from the three-in-a-bowl notion expressed in Trump’s tweet."

Blame the US government for those innocent Iranian civilians who were killed in plane crashes in Iran

"Over the past four decades, hundreds of Iranians have died in crashes caused by malfunctioning or poorly maintained aircraft."

New York Times explains the rise of ISIS, Nusrah, and Ahrar Ash-Sham and various Islamist Jihadi variants in Syria

"Communities took up arms to defend themselves".  And where did those communities buy the arms from, and who funded the arms sales?

Ba`thist "elections"

Jordanian elections deserve the same respect that Ba`thist elections deserve. Do you respect Ba`thist elections? 

Understatement about Jordanian "elections"

"leaving the government firmly in control of an institution that has little real authority in this monarchy anyway."

Why US gives billions in aid to Jordanian regime

According to the Times it is for the refugee crisis: "Maintaining stability in Jordan is a top American priority in the region and the United States is providing $1.6 billion this year to help it cope with the crisis". Excuse me but Lebanon has also accommodated 1.2 million Syrian refugee and never got anything  near that figure from the US. Did you forget the payback for peace agreement with Israeli occupation state?

An American professor explains why US bombing of civilians is acceptable

"As long as there are airstrikes, “there’s always going to be some percentage of the strikes that are going to go awry,” said Robert Farley, a professor at the University of Kentucky who has written about the use of American air power."

Zionist “whitewash protocol.”

"Israeli and Palestinian rights organizations have challenged the credibility of Israel’s inquiries into possible military misconduct during the 2014 war in Gaza, with one group describing the internal legal process as a “facade” intended to try to stave off a war crimes investigation by the International Criminal Court.
In a report released on Tuesday, the group, B’Tselem, a left-wing Israeli organization that focuses on allegations of rights abuses against Palestinians in Gaza and in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, characterized the military’s system of internal investigations as a “whitewash protocol.”
“The work of the military law enforcement system does nothing more than offer the illusion that Israel is fulfilling its obligations to investigate breaches of law,” the group said."

US-backed coalition air strike hit a house, killing 19 civilians

From a reader: ""At least 19 civilians were killed on Wednesday when a Saudi-led coalition air strike hit a house in western Yemen, according to residents, medics and a local official."
The victims
Yemen: On the brink of starvation