Tuesday, August 31, 2004

The Banquet of the Physicians (Syria, 1273).
 Posted by Hello

Balance of power? Posted by Hello
The End by Syrian poet Nasib `Aridah (my translation):
Shroud them!
And bury them!
Place them deep into the grave
and leave, do not mourn them
It is a people that are dead,
and will not awake
It was humiliated,
It was killed,
It was burdened,
beyond its capacity,
It endured humiliation for ages
It is a veteran in humiliation
Violation of honor,
theft of a land,
hanging of some,
did not enrage it
So why waste our tears?
A piece of dead wood will
not live!
No, by God!
A people without a heart
will only be granted death
So let history fold down
a chapter of weakness,
and settle the books
And let us engage in commerce
in exile
And let us brag about
our fine virtues
Why do we care if the entire
people perishes,
Are we not safe!
How many revenge,
how many shame,
how many fire,
have moved the heart of a coward
It is all in us, but it has
only moved our tongue
Iraq's forgotten hostages.
Top U.S. general in Iraq sent memo authorizing use of dogs to scare prisoners.
The war on "terrorism" continues in Afghanistan: "Local police and aid workers said that between six and eight villagers were killed and nine wounded by U.S. bombing in Weradesh, in Konar province's Manogi district. They said several houses were also destroyed."
Army investigators have recommended bringing abuse-related charges against 26 soldiers stemming from a probe into the deaths of two detainees in Afghanistan in December 2002.
And this is supposed to be the "only democracy in the Middle East"? The decision on whether to screen a movie, A MOVIE, on Jenin in Israel, had to go to the Israeli Supreme Court. That only proves this: Cyprus is the only democracy in the Middle East.
Hostage crisis unites France behind headscarf ban. I sure am glad.
George W. Bush wants you to vote for him because he pledges to win the war on terrorism, although he thinks that it cannot be won. OK!
The Archbishop of Canterbury has allowed Muslims to go to "heaven."
Today, 27 million people are enslaved, more than at the height of the transatlantic slave trade.
Kidnappings backfire on Iraq militants: The kidnapping of French journalists has sparked anger across a broad spectrum of the Muslim world. (I can attest to that from watching Arabic media).
"Federal air marshals have slept on the job, tested positive for alcohol or drugs while on duty, lost their weapons and falsified information, the Homeland Security Department's inspector general said Monday in a scathing report on the air marshals program."
This is the show on PAX TV to which I was invited (I declined).
Abu Aardvark says this: "Want another reason to oppose Porter Goss's nomination to head the CIA? Mark Huband's new book "Brutal Truths, Fragile Myths" offers this doozy: "In a November 12, 2002, statement broadcast by al Jazeera, in which he highlighted the plight of Iraqis and Palestinians, bin Laden sought to drive a wedge between the United States and its Western allies. Porter Goss... told me that the tape "is a total admission of the linkage [between Iraq and al Qaeda]. I think we don't need to release any more information about Iraq [and al Qaeda] because bin Laden did it on al Jazeera last night." (page 120) Wow. That's the kind of non-partisan, probing, analytical mind that...who, exactly?... wants heading the CIA."
"We were supposed to humiliate them": Interview with US Staff Sergeant Ivan Frederick on torture at Baghdad's AbuGhraib prison. (thanks Sami)
This is Zionism: Jewish residents in Ramle are trying to block the opening of an Arab school in the Kiryat Menachem neighborhood, fearing it will harm property values and increase crime. (thanks Haifa)

Monday, August 30, 2004

Solon and His Students. Posted by Hello
"An FBI investigation into the handling of highly classified material by Pentagon civilians is broader than previously reported and goes well beyond allegations that a single analyst gave a top-secret Iran policy document to Israel."
Listening to the speeches of Sen. John McWayne and Giuliani is quite an experience. If I can find a device that would block the words "freedom" and "liberty" from my radios and TV, I would buy it and install instantly. What a vapid word it has become; the word "potato" carries more meaning to me these days. Sen. McWayne talked about war (and promised future wars) with such enthusiasm and zest. And the crowd cheered; actually cheered. He invoked the Republican formula in this election: you are "safer but not safe," i.e. so Bush has done a great job, but we want you to be scared. Because fear is an instrument in this presidential campaign, the success of which requires a permanent state of popular fears and apprehension. Only years from now will these schemes ("miscalculations" Bush has called them) be exposed, and by then nobody would care. His reference to Iraq would have been adequate had it been given prior to the execution of war, and the subsequent occupation. It ignored the simple facts: that it turned out that 1) Iraqis do NOT want the US (or Macedonia) ; 2) that Iraq has NOT been liberated; 3) and that the place is a bloody mess for all with more foreign fighters and Al-Qa`idah influence than existed prior to war. (Not to mention that Saddam's brutal henchmen are back in power, including the car bomber prime minister). But these are details that would distract from the patriotic festivities. Giuliani's speech was the quintessential vulgar jingoism that you would expect from him, and he for sure would not miss taking digs at Arabs (Palestinians in particular). As I had said earlier, the election season is over. Bush has won a while back. His rival is a lousy campaigner who does not 1) engage in the nasty and dirty campaigning that are necessary in US (and other) politics; and 2) he also does not know who he is. Giuliani was right in pointing out the dramatic shift in Kerry's position on the racist Israeli separation wall. (Giuliani also made it a point to tell the audience that Kerry spoke his words to an Arab-American audience). And at the end, Giuliani--appealing to Christian Taliban in the audience--talked about Christian victims of Sudanese government without mentioning the pagan and Muslims victims. The Sudanese government's bloody record of oppression in South and Dharfur include those victims who do not belong to the "right religion."
What a mess. The terror factor in Afghanistan and Iraq.
This is Zionism: Israel Defense Forces soldiers killed early on Thursday a 14-year-old Palestinian.
According to a confidential US poll in Iraq, Sistani is the most popular Iraqi leader, and As-Sadr is viewed positively by 57.19 percent of Iraqis. (When I read about popularity of clerics anywhere or about popularity of religious demagogues in civilian clothes, I confirm my admiration for French secularism).
"The Brazilian authorities believe that hired death squads or "social cleansing" groups are the most likely perpetrators of attacks which have killed at least seven homeless people in Sao Paulo."
How ironic. I hear the speeches on TV outside (the Republican convention) talking about the defeat and the end of the Taliban, and then I read this: "Taliban warn of more attacks."
"Bodies left unburied on Darfur hillside tell story of executions by Sudanese army and Janjaweed militia."
It is time that you dispel your myths about Israeli kibbutzim.
If anybody knows anything about a TV channel called PAX TV, please let me know. (They invited me to a show on Sep. 11 issues).
Jürgen Habermas: "Certainly, the patriotic upsurge following upon September 11, had an American character. But the key to the curtailment of fundamental law, which you’ve referred to, to the breach of the Geneva Convention in Guantanamo, to the creation of the Department of Homeland Security, etc., I would locate elsewhere. The militarization of life domestically and abroad, the bellicose policies which open themselves up to infection by their opponent’s own methods, and which return the Hobbesian state to the world stage where the globalization of markets had seemed to have driven the political into the wings, all this the politically enlightened American populace would have overwhelmingly rejected, if the administration had not, with force, shameless propaganda, and manipulated insecurity, exploited the shock of September 11. For a European observer and a twice-shy child such as I, the systematic intimidation and indoctrination of the population and the restrictions on the scope of permitted opinion in the months of October and November of 2002, (when I was in Chicago), were unnerving."
More from the government newspaper, New York Times. It carried this headline today: U.S. and Russia Still Dominate Arms Market. And when you read the full article you read that in fact, "the United States maintained its lead in worldwide weapons sales in 2003, signing deals worth more than $14.5 billion, or 56.7 percent of all arms agreements, up from $13.6 billion in 2002, the study showed. Russia ranked second, signing agreements worth $4.3 billion, or 16.8 percent of all global arms sales deals in 2003. That figure was down from nearly $6 billion in 2002."
"To the Editor:
If Leon Wieseltier and the Book Review think that his review of ''Checkpoint'' (Aug. 8), Nicholson Baker's novel about a man who wants to kill President Bush, largely on account of the war with Iraq, was an appropriate occasion for Wieseltier to tell us where Janet Malcolm lives and to fret about her and other liberals' demonizing of Bush, why didn't Wieseltier also tell us about a letter Bush received on Sept. 20, 2001, as the country was reeling from the terrorist attack?
The letter said that ''even if evidence does not link Iraq directly to the attack, any strategy aiming at the eradication of terrorism and its sponsors must include a determined effort to remove Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq. Failure to undertake such an effort will constitute an early and perhaps decisive surrender in the war on international terrorism.'' It was signed by Wieseltier and 40 other neoconservatives, on the letterhead of the Project for the New American Century. Why isn't it as important to understanding Wieseltier's review as his own claim that the time has come to admonish liberals not to become like conservatives?
Jim Sleeper,New Haven"
Interview with MIRA NAIR:
"Have you been mistaken for a Muslim on the streets?
Last time I checked, Muslims looked like every other human being..."

Sunday, August 29, 2004

A Wedding Banquet (Baghdad, 1225-1235).
 Posted by Hello

Posted by Hello
From the poem Lamentation in Baghdad by Iraqi poet Abdul-Wahab Al-Bayyati (my translation):
I am searching for a cloud,
that is green
to wipe out melancholy
from me
to carry me
to the mainland of my homeland
to the fields of lilies
to grant me
a butterfly and a star
and a drop to wet my thirst
and a word
because the waters of the Tigris
have been muddied
and have not run
except to flood dams
and villages
So who will, I wonder,
wash me with its water
and under the shadow of its
palmtrees bury me?
Or in a line of poetry, a thousand
years from now, chant me?
My homeland is far
And between us are these black nights
and ink and paper
and a wall of sentiments
Ma`arrat An-Na`man, oh
garden of gold
Summer has come and left
And you are laughing,
distracted, with sands playing
A crow has landed on your balcony
and the loved ones have departed
they dispersed into tribes
and brushwoods have dried up
and nightingales have immigrated
at dusk
Only death in the remains and temples
has stayed
And only poetry has stayed
in the memory of epochs
After a thousand years the grapes
will ripen
and glasses will be filled
and the singer will be revived
Oh, and Oh, my longing and
my sadness
Iran-Contra II?
"For all of his feisty promises to crush the insurgency with military force, Allawi appears to have concluded that forging peace deals with enemies may be better for him -- and his country."
Documents Helped Sow Abuse in Abu Ghrayb, Army Report Finds.
Damage at Shi’ite cemetery stirs up complex feelings in Najaf.
This article is too soft on the House of Saud.
Standoff bolstered Sadr's support.
Despite official ban, slavery lives on in Mauritania Bondage was outlawed for 3rd time in '81. (You will not hear about the violations of human rights here. The dictatorship there has excellent relations with both US and Israel).
A neo-Ba'athist dressing down in Najaf.
There are two chants that I really do not like:
1) when Arabs chant: "With spirit, with blood, we shall sacrifice ourselves for you...Mr/Ms Potato head"
2) when Americans chant: "USA, USA, USA."
I was watching (or listening while working) to a weekly talk show program on Al-Manar TV called Bayna Qawsayn. It featured separately a representative of Sistani and a representative of As-Sadr. As-Sadr's representative (his spokesperson in Baghdad) was talking about the Mahdi Army. The Mahdi refers to Al-Mahdi Al-Muntadhar (the Awaited Rightly-guided One) which is a reference to the 12th Imam who the Shi`ites believe disappeared but will return one day to spread justice on earth. He said that he had read that the 12th Imam had appeared mysteriously in the past to help members of the community in difficult situations. He then proceeded to tell about an "episode" that he has witnessed "himself" recently when mortars in Najaf started firing by themselves at US targets. He said that it was so ferocious that enemy planes were falling off right and left. I could swear that I saw the able host (Batul...I forgot her last name) smile. She had to keep a straight face though. And then the representative of Sistani. The Sistani camp are believers of what Hengry Kissinger called "constructive ambiguity." She asked him a simple question about whether Sistani supports armed resistance to US occupation. He answered by talking about how much he loves peaches when they are ripe. She asked him again, and he answered by telling her how much he loves bread fresh out of the oven. And when she asked him the 3rd time, he indicated that Legally Blonde I was much better than the sequel (I happen to agree). That particular question, you will never get a Sistani representative to answer, although he did talk about the role of the clerics in leading "Jihad" against the British in 1920.
The pro-Saudi, pro-American daily Ash-Sharq Al-Awsat (used to be edited by the current head of Al-Arabiyya TV) has an interesting story today. It says that the recent US raid on the headquarters of international embezzler Ahmad Chalabi's "party" was related to suspicion that Chalabi was behind the sudden return of Sistani into Iraq, and his presentation of a new initiative that wound up saving Muqtada As-Sadr. The paper says that Chalabi also urged Sistani to call on Shi`ites to go toward An-Najaf to save it. It looks like Chalabi is cementing his alliance with Muqtada As-Sadr. The paper also said that As-Sadr was injured in his hand when some of his followers attempted to stab him when he considered negotiating directly with the Iraqi puppet government of `Allawi. Did I tell you that Tommy Franks mentions in his memoirs that Chalabi had told him that he was going to unite all Iraqis behind him when he leads the country after liberation? Did I? Hello? Is anybody there? Why won't you answer me, damn it?
What is the deal with the title "Grand" as in Grand Ayatollah. Yesterday, the 4 Grand Ayatollahs in Iraq met. I wondered: did they have Grand beef, and Grand rice, and grand stew? Did they sip Grand beverages? And would it not be nice to attain the title Grand in every occupation, as in Grand Plumber, Grand Carpenter, Grand Potato Slicer, Grand Truck Driver, Grand Lawyer, Grand Professor, etc. Wait: I like the last one. Grand Professor. Or Grand Arab, Grand Angry, or Grand Angry Arab. I am increasingly liking the sound of that. This was a Grand post, by the way. I am typing this on my Grand computer, in my Grand house. I think I will fetch me a Grand beverage right now.
So there is an article in the New York Times about this: "While American troops have been battling Islamic militants to an uncertain outcome in Najaf, the Shiite holy city, events in two Sunni Muslim cities that stand astride the crucial western approaches to Baghdad have moved significantly against American plans to build a secular democracy in Iraq. Both of the cities, Falluja and Ramadi, and much of Anbar Province, are now controlled by fundamentalist militias, with American troops confined mainly to heavily protected forts on the desert's edge." And then suddenly you encounter this passage--in passing--: "American efforts to build a government structure around former Baath Party stalwarts - officials of Saddam Hussein's army, police force and bureaucracy who were willing to work with the United States - have collapsed." What?!!!
A very informative article by Abbas on Shi`ite clerical leadership (I just did not like his phrase "the gullibility of the people.")

Two Seated Men (from the Maqamat of al-Hariri, Syria, 1237). Posted by Hello
Club of the Most Powerful Gathers in Strictest Privacy.
Beyond Hero-Worship
How US government evaluates the Iraqi puppet prime minister/car bomber/former Saddam's assassin/embezzler-in-Yemen: "Allawi 'is the perfect leader ... at the moment,' one former official says."
One More Casualty of the War on Terrorism: The Dangers of Making the United Nations Subservient to U.S. Goals.
Pakistan Losing Grip on Extremists.
"Before former U.S. Central Intelligence Agency head George Tenet retired, he made stinging comments on various occasions to Israeli officials in the intelligence community, especially the Mossad, saying Israel had a spy in America."
I love it when US officials imply that the Iraqi puppet government makes security deicisions.
Hospital's hope for Ethiopian women.
From the banks of the Mississippi, violent convicts are preaching religious conversion.
"It is funny that we boycotted the 1980 Games [in Moscow] in support of Afghanistan, and now we're bombing Afghanistan," said Carl Lewis.
On the ruthless tactics used by US forces to oust Moqtada al-Sadr.

Saturday, August 28, 2004

Is this an American thing that I can not comprehend? I really get bothered with that increasingly common feature on most liberal and leftist web sites that shows a counter for the (financial) cost of the war. Is this what this is all about? Is this the only way that we can argue against the war? Is the human cost less relevant? Does that mean that sites that carry the counter are in favor of cheap wars?
"In his first comments on the two major investigative reports issued this week at the Pentagon, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld on Thursday mischaracterized one of their central findings about the American military's treatment of Iraqi prisoners by saying there was no evidence that prisoners had been abused during interrogations. The reports, one by a panel Mr. Rumsfeld had appointed and one by three Army generals, made clear that some abuses occurred during interrogations, that others were intended to soften up prisoners who were to be questioned, and that many intelligence personnel involved in the interrogations were implicated in the abuses. The reports were issued Tuesday and Wednesday. But on Thursday, in an interview with a radio station in Phoenix, Mr. Rumsfeld, who was traveling outside Washington this week, said, "I have not seen anything thus far that says that the people abused were abused in the process of interrogating them or for interrogation purposes." A transcript of the interview was posted on the Pentagon's Web site on Friday. Mr. Rumsfeld repeated the assertion a few hours later at a news conference in Phoenix, adding that "all of the press, all of the television thus far that tried to link the abuse that took place to interrogation techniques in Iraq has not yet been demonstrated." After an aide slipped him a note during the news conference, however, Mr. Rumsfeld corrected himself, noting that an inquiry by three Army generals had, in fact, found "two or three" cases of abuse during interrogations or the interrogations process. In fact, however, the Army inquiry found that 13 of 44 instances of abuse involved interrogations or the interrogation process, an Army spokeswoman said. The report itself explicitly describes the extent to which each abuse involved interrogations."
Full text: Fair Labor Association report finds Western firms 'abuse Asian workers.'
Iraqi puppet Prime Minister/car bomber/former Saddam's assassin/embezzler-in-Yemen, Iyad `Allawi believes U.S.-funded satellite TV station Alhurra is "a waste of money," according to a Southern California congressman who recently returned from Baghdad. (thanks Shirin).

Friday, August 27, 2004

Those who are opposed to me are not acting very intelligently. The attempts to sabotage the comments' section will only deprive people who are on "their" side from expressing their views. I can easily eliminate the comments' section (or make its use restrictive) which will make it impossible or more difficult for people to post comments critical of me or of my stances. But then again; not all act rationally.

Abu Zayd leaves al-Harith during the Pilgrimage (Illustration from Maqamat of al-Hariri, 13th century).
 Posted by Hello
More than 1 billion people drink unsafe water and more than 2.6 billion, about 40% of the world's population, have no access to basic sanitation.
Militiamen Meld Into Shiite Throng but Vow to Return on Leader's Orders.
This is Zionism: "The Israeli military has arrested two soldiers on suspicion of murdering an unarmed Palestinian and arrested two officers from their platoon for allegedly trying to cover up the killing."
John Kerry promises to make the suspected Israeli spy at the Department of Defense his Secretarty of Defense.
Global shame: A UN appeal for $210m to aid flood-ravaged Bangladesh has raised less than $1m from donor governments.
The blatant lies of the Sudanese government notwithstanding, Janjaweed Camps Still Active.
NO WAY! Bush Support Among Arab Americans Tumbles.
The top US commander in Iraq approved severe interrogation practices that violated the Geneva Conventions.
Is it "peace" if the dead are everywhere in Najaf?
State of the Union, 2004, (by by Gore Vidal.)
Full translation by Angry Arab of the Sistani accord:
"1. Removal of weapons from the cities of Najaf and Kufa, and the withdrawal of all armed elements from the two cities, and their categorical non-return.
2. That Iraqi police assumes the responsibility for security and law preservation in Najaf and Kufa.
3. The withdrawal of the multinational forces from the cities.
4. That the Iraqi government pays reparations to those harmed in the recent battles.
5. It is incumbent upon all political, social, intellectual parties and sides to be part of the political process which will lead to general elections, arriving toward full sovereignty."
There are Arab press reports regarding secret elements, pertaining to the release of prisoners on both sides. There is no question after reading this that As-Sadr got what he wanted, and the Iraqi puppet government demands were not met. After all, a similar offer of these terms were submitted last week by As-Sadr and were rejected by `Allawi. On the most important issues, As-Sadr did not compromise: he did not surrender his weapons, and Arab media are widely reporting that most weapons were placed in special hiding places. He refused to commit to join the political process leading to the puppet elections. And finally, he refused to recognize the Iraqi puppet government. As-Sistani (as my friend Amir was commenting) had to return to Iraq and offer this deal, to save his own "neck." Had Sistani returned to a destroyed Najaf with US (or Iraqi puppet) forces inside the Imam `Ali mosque, he most likely would have been met with rotten tomatoes (or potatoes). This deal saves Sistani and Sadr's political fortunes. It was also surprising to see former Iranian president Rafsanjani heaping praise on Sistani yesterday. This, again, proves that Sistani seems to be playing a very sneaky game.

Sudanese military dictator is responsible for the plight of those refugees. Posted by Hello
The dead in Afghanistan are registered to vote: Fears are growing that the numbers of people registered to vote in Afghanistan's presidential elections simply do not add up.
Full text: H. Kissinger to THE ARGENTINE GENERALS IN 1976: "If there are things that have to be done, you should do them quickly. But you should get back quickly to normal procedures."
This is John Kerry: "American leadership is needed to bolster Israel's security at home as well as in the region. I believe that we must stand with Israel, supporting our ally's right to build a security fence and to allow its own Supreme Court -not the International Court of Justice - to address the issue of the route of the fence. The fence has proven its value as an anti-terror measure.I believe, in addition, that the withdrawal from Gaza, which Prime Minister Sharon announced in April, holds great promise. Indeed, this step enjoys overwhelming support among Israelis. It must receive our support and backing as well."

Thursday, August 26, 2004

The Physician Andromakhos watches agricultural activities (Northern Iraq, 1199). Posted by Hello
Frogs by Iraqi poet `Abdul-Wahab Al-Bayyati (my translation):
The frogs of sadness
on the lake of the evening
were pouring water in the
mills of night
competing in praise
among each others
and displaying laundry
in the air
sipping tea in the white
elegant offices
and yellow newspapers
They were vomiting
hatred on the masses,
on the giant while breaking
frogs that called themselves
I saw them in the cities of the world,
in the streets of fog
in the market, in the cafe,
without a conscience
distorting the future,
the dreams, and destiny
I saw them building fortresses
higher than clouds
from the sweat of the hungry,
and from the blood of the toiler
And when dawn breaks,
I would see the blind frogs
on the chair of power,
flirting deceptively with the hungry
and spreading flowers and basil
on the ground for them
What a loss of humans,
sir, in these times
as long as there is something
called forgetfulness in the lexicon
Military officials are cracking down on blogs written by soldiers and Marines in Iraq.
"We are not popular in the Shiite areas," he told me, "and many saw this violence as a way of getting the U.S. out. It is also clear that many resent the Iraqi government. We did a miserable job training the Iraqi troops, and now people are also coming in from Fallujah to fight in Najaf -- it is no longer only Shiite."
Some Abu Ghraib Abuses Are Traced to Afghanistan.

The Eye (1946) by M. C. Escher. Posted by Hello
"The number of Americans living in poverty rose by 1.3 million last year, to 35.9 million, while those without health insurance climbed by 1.4 million, to 45 million."

Iraqi puppet president and prime minister/car bomber/former Saddam's assassin/embezzler-in-Yemen Posted by Hello

This is Zionism. (Israeli tanks and bulldozers demolished around 20 houses and shelters). Posted by Hello
Who are these people? I have never heard of any of them. Official list of entertainers at Republican convention next week: "Country music superstars Brooks & Dunn, Grammy Award-winning Country singer Lee Ann Womack, Latin Grammy Nominee Jaci Velasquez, Grammy Award-win ning rock band Third Day, the inspirational Gracie Rosenberger, rock band Dexter Freebish, Country star Darryl Worley, and Grammy Award-winning Donnie McClurkin."
And who rules in Iraq? From a statement issued yesterday by Iraqi puppet prime minister/car bomber/former Saddam's assassin/embezzler-in-Yemen, Iyad `Allawi: "...I have sent the morning of yesterday a telgram on behalf of the people and government in which I welcomed his excellency Grand Ayatolah the esteemed Sayyid `Ali As-Sistani upon his auspicious return, safe and recovered to his dear country `Iraq, and its people which persevere in praying and hoping for an end to this matter..."
As-Safir newspaper reported that an Egyptian Nile-sports sportscaster was commenting on an Olympic boxing game in which an Egyptian was featured, and he started yelling live: "God is Greater, God is Greater. Oh, God, let us hope that the leader is watching...Congratulations, oh leader. Do you see what your children are doing?? Oh, leader, the protector of of sports and athletes. God is Greater. Oh, no: the leader must be watching boxing. Congratulations, oh leader."

Posted by Hello
Something happened to the comments' section. Let us hope that it is innocent this time.
I was reading the details of the new As-Sadr-Sistani agreement. I think that As-Sadr may wind up gaining, yet again. Contrary to widespread press and government speculation in the US, Sistani seems to often come to the rescue of As-Sadr, perhaps because he is sensitive to his popular base. In the last speech on Iraq by Hasan Nasrallah last week, I also noticed that he defended "those Shi`ite authorities" that are being criticized--in clear reference to Sistani who has been coming under criticisms in the Arab world. Nasrallah asserted that those "authorities" are not far from the position of As-Sadr. It seems that he was right. Based on what I have read so far from tomorrow's Arabic papers and sites, all in all, As-Sadr is still ahead of the puppet government--in political calculations. I also believe that the Iraqi puppet government and US forces did not think that the Najaf battle would drag that long, and they also miscalculated in trusting that the Iraqi puppet forces would be willing to do the killing job. And "Bush" was not going to allow the matter to overshadow his crowning convention...In other news, the New York Times is still busy celebrating the Israeli win in the Olympics, and they will have a special pull-out section tomorrow in celebration.
I do not mean to alarm you, but...Israel is testing missiles here in California (test failed yet again).
The clown who has been trying to sabotage the comments' section is back. I traced his IP address to San Juan, PR (and then to the DC area!, and then to Australia!). I contacted his/her IP's company, but I am not sure that I can figure out how to stop this. Any ideas? He/she used different IP addresses, that can be traced to different places.

Do you think that she is an admirer of US wars and occupations? (Picture in Najaf).Posted by Hello
The New York Times, Boston Globe, and tons of other US newspapers are going crazy. An Israeli won an olympic Gold medal. The New York Times has a picture of the winner on the front page today (and 2 pictures inside the paper), and the paper thinks that this is the first time ever that a country has ever won that gold medal. (Tomorrow, the paper may carry a correction to the effect that indeed some 80 other countries have also won the medal; but Israel is special--only for the US that is). And US media can afford to cover that story as all is calm and peaceful in Iraq.

The Shaikh al-Islam Discoursing to an Audience: Page from a dispersed Divan of Mahmud `Abd al-Baki, 1590-95; Ottoman Iraq (Baghdad). Posted by Hello
The Thieves by Iraqi poet Nazik Al-Mala'ikah (my translation):
It is the night; all the borders
sank in its pitch-darkness
and it wrapped the existence
Oh, Arab beware
The desolate open ranges
are filled with the steps of enemies
from behind the banks of
the Euphrates and the Gulf,
to San`a'
And numerous thieves,
all are greedy and deceptive
They came from behind the seas
stealing the food of the hungry
They descended upon the dark-skinned
stealing fruits and dates
taking away the ground and air
capturing dew and light
They will deprive you, if they can
the green of the smiling trees
suffocating the tender songs
preventing sleep and dream
They are blocking the road,
obstructing all paths
Wake up, Ye noble Arab
Three-Star Bigotry

How could US plans ever succeed in Iraq? Members of Iraqi puppet police do not even dare to show their faces. Posted by Hello
U.S. Judge Blasts FBI Case Against Albany Muslims: Bush immediately sends him to Guantanamo.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Sadr loyalty grows, as Sistani returns
News from "liberated" Afghanistan: Corruption gives impunity to Afghanistan's drug lords. (I strongly recommend the formation of a new group: Heroin Addicts for Bush. They have Bush to thank for the influx of heroin to US from Afghanistan.
I am not making this up: Israel to deport UK journalist for being "naive."
American "liberation" of Iraq continues: "Iraqi puppet police last night abducted around 60 journalists in the city of Najaf, after bursting into the hotel where they have been covering the battle in the city for the Imam Ali shrine, and dragging them off at gunpoint."
Some clown has invaded and sabotaged the comments' section. Neal is suggesting that we shift to another system for comments. I do not know. I just do not understand: by sabotaging the section, the culprit prevented people of DIFFERENT viewpoints from expressing themselves.
Restoring the British Empire: UK Soldiers arrested after Iraqi beaten and drowned.
"At least 20 Israeli defense and security companies have won contracts in Greece's $1.5 billion security project for the Olympics."
Stinky Zionism: Israeli army set to unveil stink bomb.
I do not understand Democrats, and their whiny protests about "unfairness." This Democratic Party candidate will lose the election, because his party is not good at the necessary dirty and nasty campaigns that are required to win elections. This is universally true. In the 2000 parliamentary elections in Lebanon, I was talking to then prime minister Salim Huss who headed the opposition against the horrible present-day prime minister billionaire Rafiq Hariri. I asked Huss whether he will respond to the very sectarian and dirty campaign that Hariri was running against him. Huss told me firmly that he would not stoop to that level. I said: You will lose if you do not stoop; that is politics. He wound up losing big, and retired (in theory) from politics. Here, Kerry went to a government commission to stop the ad by the Swift Boat Veterans for Potatoes. I am not on their side (nor on Kerry's side) but I do believe some of the accusations leveled against him. There is increasing evidence that he did indeed embellish his military records, and is exploiting it for political purposes. Yet, he wants the public to just applaud his military record without asking any questions. That will not work. You can all go to sleep now. NOW.

Israel continues to fight "terrorist"...children. Posted by Hello

A "liberated" Iraqi. Posted by Hello
A US Army investigation offers an explanation for the systematic torture at Abu Ghrayb: "There is no single, simple explanation for why the abuse at Abu Ghraib happened." Well, that explains it for me.
Do you love democracy too? I just watched the head of the Iraqi puppet police force that shot at demonstrators in Kufa. He told LBC-TV: "We love democracy." I thought that I would tell you that, in case you wanted to know. In related news: "Iraq Witnesses and Iraqi hospital officials say two people are dead after gunmen fired on people demonstrating northeast of Najaf."
If you want a definition of a kangaroo court, this is: A U.S. Defendant Scolds Afghan Judge on Law.
How can I ever, EVER, be critical of US wars. This is mercy that I have not seen in my life. US wars and occupation are now kind and polite: "U.S. military apologizes for deaths of three unarmed Afghans at road checkpoint."
Bush administration's misuse of science in environmental policymaking. (thanks R.A.)
Al-Quds Al-`Arabi (which manages to combine admiration for Saddam and Bin Laden) published an interview with a "member of the command of the "Iraqi Resistance." The leader said that the "resistance" is now organized and united, and is responsible for 70% of "attacks." He also said that the movement does not agree with Abu Mus`ab Az-Zarqawi because he "violated" Islamic ideology. This leader was (according to the paper) "closely related" to Bin Laden until 3 years ago. He added that there is one command for the "resistance" and it comprises Iraqis and other Arab citizens, and that it supervises 70 % of operations in Iraq against "Americans and their collaborators." This source also said that the resistance command threatened Zarqawi with "restraint by force after his repeated violations of Islamic ideology." He also adds that the resistance prevented Zarqawi from issuing statements and from violating "its rules and regulations." He also said that the resistance "did not welcome" the beheading of Nick Berg, and that "there was no evidence that he was an American agent." But the source argued that it is permissible to kill members of the Iraqi police and National Guard because they are "humiliated agents who receive funds from the Americans and are responsible for the killing of hundreds of Iraqis." He said that Zarqawi "excels" when it comes to "explosives and planning of military operations" and that he has received support from the resistance but that most members of the resistance are now against him due to "deep ideological differences." The source said that supporters of Saddam Husayn constitute no more than 15 % of the resistance and that they are under the command of `Izzat Ibrahim Ad-Duri, and that "they" are "very useful for the resistance, especially the former Mukhabarat [intelligence apparatus] officials", who provide "valuable information about places and people." He confirmed the presence of Saudi fighters, and said that funding comes from "wealthy Iraqis, but mostly from Saudi citizens."

Leaf from an Arabic translation of the Materia Medica of Dioscorides ("The Pharmacy"), dated 1224 ( Iraq, Baghdad School)
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Iraqi soccer players kick the stuffing out of Bush's fantasy: Competition in Olympics doesn't make Iraq a democracy.
Full text: The Independent Panel to Review Department of Defense Detention Operations.
Mahdi Militia's other weapon: videos.
A new definition of torture by Rumsfeld's handpicked "independent" commission on Abu Ghrayb. Torture is: freelance activities on the part of the night shift at Abu Ghraib.
I have talked before about the weekly program on AlJazeera featuring the quintessential Arab pontificator (and Nasser's and Sadat's propagandist) Muhammad Hasanayn Haykal. When he has nothing to say, he makes things up. In his last program, he said--nay asserted--that Gen. Richard Myers has told Congress that he cannot sleep because Iraq keeps reminding him of Vietnam. Myers has never said such a thing, of course. I do not want Arab audiences (or any audiences for that matter) to be deceived.
Having splendidly engineered a regime change in Iraq: "US seeks 'coalition' to force Zimbabwe regime change."
Rumsfeld implicated in Abu Ghraib abuse by damning report.
THIS IS ZIONISM: Israel declared its hospitals off-limits yesterday to the 2,800 jailed Palestinians on hunger strike.
Mahdi army flees shrine as US steps up offensive (and people like the 79-year old B. Ibrahim remains inside).
"...only around ten per cent of the [American] public has what can be called, even generously, a political belief system."
Democracy Matters Are Frightening in Our Time (by Cornel West).

Monday, August 23, 2004

"Nearly two months after the establishment of a sovereign Iraqi government, the violent attacks on U.S. and Iraqi forces show no sign of flagging. U.S. military officers say it may take time — possibly years — to crush the insurgency in Iraq...A USA TODAY database, which analyzed unclassified U.S. government security reports, shows attacks against U.S. and allied forces have averaged 49 a day since the hand-over of sovereignty June 28, compared with 52 a day in the four weeks leading up to the transfer."
The AlJazeera DC bureau chief cited an incredible figure in his congressional testimony yesterday: he said that AlJazeera has aired more than 500 hours of Bush's speeches since Sep. 11. And yet people still complain about the less than 10 hours of Bin Laden tapes since Sep. 11, and Bin Laden's silly calls for Jihad fell on Muslim deaf ears mind you. He did not make a dent in Muslim public opinion (with the unfortunate exception of Saudi Arabia, I should add). But I can feel the increasing impact of US pressures on AlJazeera: the coverage of Najaf bombing has been pushed back.

Khusrau Hunting: Page from a manuscript of the Khusrau and Shirin of Hatifi, dated 1498; Ottoman Turkey (probably Istanbul). Posted by Hello

Tomorrow they will tell you that all the Iraqis inside the Imam Ali mosque are terrorists. Don't believe them. Here is elderly man Bakka Ibrahim, 79, resting inside the mosque. Posted by Hello
FBI Comes Calling on Activist Software Engineer.
The Thief of Baghdad
"A memo issued last summer by a U.S. Army military intelligence officer appealed for suggestions on how to extract information from prisoners in Iraq and called for tougher means of getting intelligence."
Tell that to "Bush", will you? "We're No Symbol of Freedom, Iraq Coach Says: "You cannot speak about a team that represents freedom. We do not have freedom in Iraq, we have an occupying force. This is one of our most miserable times," he said."
Senior Muslim figures back Iraqi insurgents.

An Iraqi reacts to Bush's "liberation" of his/her country. Posted by Hello
"Less than $900 million has been spent of $18.4 billion that Congress approved in November. Of 2,800 projects designed to make life better for Iraqis — and in the process, safer for U.S. soldiers — only 214 are under construction."
Iraqi national guard members reluctant to fight Mahdi Army. I wonder why.
From a poem by Palestinian poet Kamal Nasir who was assassinated by Israeli terrorists while he was sleeping in 1973 in Beirut (my translation):
What, you are crying?
Your father has died,
And so has your brother?
And you have been listed
in the procession of refugees?
Get up and let us
tighten our pride
on the playground of dignity
I am your father and brother,
grew up on the agony of refugees
and silenced the wailing on my side
Get up and let us
tighten our pride
on the playground of dignity
I am the comrade in the
strange conflict,
the comrade of
the beloved garb
I worry about you
I worry about suffering,
I worry about eulogy
killing the traces of pride
and bloodying in your chest
the meaning of sacrifice
And existence gets sweeter,
and you stay in loss
in the procession of refugees
You know what is being debated in Israel? Whether the Geneva Convention applies or not?
For the grief-stricken of Iraq, burying the dead is a dangerous business.
Jacques Derrida, critical of Israel in his last days: "...à commencer par la politique désastreuse et suicidaire d'Israël - et d'un certain sionisme (car Israël ne représente pas plus à mes yeux le judaïsme qu'il ne représente la diaspora ni même le sionisme mondial ou originaire qui fut multiple et contradictoire..."

(Translation: "You have to respect THESE holy sites.") Posted by Hello

Sunday, August 22, 2004

The Assembly of the Birds: Page from a manuscript of the Mantiq al-tair (The Language of the Birds) of Farid al-Din cAttar, ca. 1600; Safavid. (Painted by Habib Allah
Iran (Isfahan) ).
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