Sunday, April 30, 2006

"As the U.S. military struggles against persistent sectarian violence in Iraq, military officers and security experts find themselves in a vigorous debate over an idea that just months ago was largely dismissed as a fringe thought: that the surest -- and perhaps now the only -- way to bring stability to Iraq is to divide the country into three pieces."
Mark another victory for the Bush Doctrine: "Egypt Extends Restrictive Emergency Laws: Laws Permit Indefinite Detention Without Trial and Limit"
Anthony Shadid is a fine foreign correspondent. Read this piece on Dubai. I have read many articles on Dubai, in more than one language, and none are as good as this one. Notice that he tries to cover all the bases, and does not allow himself to be duped by the glitz. Notice that he wrote about the foreign workers, and their plight, and he even made a passing reference to the sleaze and prostitution of the city, sanctioned by the ruling family no doubt. Some elements were missing: like nothing about women, and not much about the politics of the royal family, and their foreign connections, and the politics of the UAE, or the presence of US. Also, the quotation attributed to Lebanese economist (and pro-Gulf regimes) Nasir S`idi, about absence of corruption in Dubai is just outright silly and false. But Shadid writes unlike most American foreign correspondent. He has become the resident correspondent-specialist: not like the roving and rotating US correspondent who pontificates on issues under the sun.
I told you that rich white kids have found a safe cause in Darfur. It has been turned into kitsch. I read today that 10,000 people showed up for the rally in DC. How many of them showed up to spot Cloony or other celebrities? What is next for the Darfur-is-Kitsch crowd? Will they now sell dolls of Darfur refugees? Hollywood celebrities are capable of ruining or spoiling even the most just causes.
"In Zarqawi's home town"
"An American journalist jailed for two years in Afghanistan on charges of torturing terrorists in a makeshift jail was freed yesterday, two months early."
"A US congressional inspection team set up to monitor reconstruction in Iraq today publishes a scathing report of failures by contractors, mainly from the US, to carry out projects worth hundreds of millions of dollars. In one case, the inspection team found that three years after the invasion only six of 150 health centres proposed for Iraq had been completed by a US contractor, in spite of 75% of the $186m (£100m) allocated having been spent."
James Zoghby was in Saudi Arabia. He met with Prince Al-Walid Bin Talal, who now supplies him with an annual sum. A press release later quoted Zoghby offering effusive praise for the Prince. But the money that Al-Walid gives to Zoghby is one where the conditions of "no strings attached" apply. Of, course. to Washington, DC. Will return Monday night.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

"Mr. Lewis's ideas about the Middle East are also more current today than they were 30 years ago. His name is invoked almost constantly by critics of neoconservatives for the counsel he provided to Vice President Cheney about Iraq and the Middle East. Mr. Lewis first met with the vice president in 1990 on the eve of the first Gulf War. On the eve of the Iraq war, Mr. Cheney went on NBC's "Meet the Press" and called Mr. Lewis "one of the great students" of the Middle East."
"Vice President Cheney will speak Monday at the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia, at a conference titled "Islam and the West." Cheney will speak at a luncheon honoring Bernard Lewis, a historian and Princeton University's Cleveland E. Dodge Professor Emeritus of Near Eastern Studies. The daylong conference includes speeches by Cheney, U.S. Sen. Joseph Biden (D., Del.), and others. Biden, the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, will "lay out a new strategy for how to move forward in Iraq," according to a news release from his office."
"He doesn't know why he was brought to Guantanamo Bay. He had hoped he would be freed at his military hearing in December 2004. Instead, he was accused of associating with the Taliban and of funneling money to anti-coalition insurgents. When he asked for evidence, he was told it was classified. And so he sits in prison, far from his wife and three children. More than anyone, he misses his 11-year-old daughter, Hajar. When he talks about her, his eyes fill with tears and his head droops."
"In corrupt and capitalist LA the rich and famous fight in the foyer"
Full text. "When President Richard Nixon took office, he was confronted with evidence that Israel would soon have nuclear weapons. Now, with the aid of recently declassified documents, Avner Cohen and William Burr recount the untold story of the tense debate that erupted in the Nixon administration over whether Israel should be prevented from crossing the nuclear threshold. Nixon's final decisions would form the basis for the U.S.-Israeli policy of "don't ask, don't tell" that Cohen and Burr argue is now a burdensome anomaly."
" Iraqi oil gangs syphon off billions"
Miss La La at the Cirque Fernando, 1879. Degas.
"A majority of Iraqis say their country is in dismal economic shape and getting worse, according to a new poll conducted by a conservative American think tank, with three of four respondents also describing security in the country as "poor....Only 1% said they trusted American and coalition forces for their personal protection."
Bush Praises "dear Dictator".
"Parsons Corp., the Pasadena engineering firm that won one of the largest rebuilding contracts in postwar Iraq, fell dramatically short of a number of goals, according to interviews and documents that cite shoddy work and negligent government oversight. The firm was to have rebuilt Iraq's health and security infrastructure. However, an audit and interviews show it will finish only 20 of 150 planned health clinics, and nearly $70 million of medical equipment meant for the clinics sits unused."
""There's two kinds of Iraqis here, the ones who help us and the ones who shoot us, and there's an awful lot of 'em doing both," said Hoover, 26, of Newark, Ohio. "Is it frustrating? Yes, it's frustrating. But we can't just stop working with them.""
Book Burners that you find cute and holy: "The Vatican stepped up its offensive against "The Da Vinci Code" on Friday when a top official close to Pope Benedict blasted the book as full of anti-Christian lies and urged Catholics to boycott the film."
" With the reptilian nickname "Professor Crocodile", Ayatollah Mohammed Taqi Mesbah-Yazdi is seen as the real ideological force behind the president."
" With their bare hands and the most basic of tools, prisoners at Guantanamo Bay have fashioned a secret garden where they have grown plants from seeds recovered from their meals. For some of the detainees - held without charge for more than four years and who the US say are now cleared for release - the garden apparently offers a diversion from the monotony and injustice of their imprisonment."
"In further evidence of their astute connection with the Iraqi culture, the cabinet secretaries showed up there without even knowing the correct name of their latest puppet. It turned out that Jawad al-Maliki, the new prime minister-designate, considered "Jawad" his exile name and had reverted to Nuri Kamal al-Maliki....A State Department report on global terrorism counted 8,300 deaths of civilians in Iraq from insurgent attacks — more than half of all those killed by terrorists worldwide — and noted that violence is escalating. The elections have clearly not quelled the violence, and terrorists are said to be trying to turn Iraq's Anbar province into a base for Al Qaeda and other militants. (And since it's our State Department, you've got to figure it's soft-peddling things.)"
"Settlers attack IDF jeep driving Palestinian children from school"
"Palestinian sources reported that five people were injured from Israel Defense Forces artillery fire on Saturday.... According to the sources, one of the five casualties, a 49-year-old man, was seriously wounded. The other four, a 50-year-old woman and three children, ages 14, five, and three, were all lightly wounded."
"the Raging Grannies of Tucson, Arizona"

Friday, April 28, 2006

Hazem Saghiyyah: is a competent and effective Arab neo-consrvative, as much as I stand opposed to all what he says and writes. And he has all the flaws and inconsistencies of Arab "liberalism." I can never reconcile myself to Saghiyyah's views after he said this to the Washigton Institute for Near East Policy, of all places: "Hence, the Arab mainstream has yet to internalize President Bush's vision of democratization." I like the old writings of Saghiyyah: I think that his old (funny) writings on Lebanon were the best, especially his book Mawarinah min Lubnan. Now, I never agree with Saghiyyah. But I saw him on Future TV: he referred to the March 14th Movement as "sectarian." I agree with him in his call for the non-intervention of clerics, ALL clerics in Lebanon of all sects, in politics.
"Reform" in Egypt. Bush Doctrine marches on.
From a Hizbullah parade: please, PLEASE, keep the kids out of these shenanigans. And shame on the parents who sent their kids, and shame on the party that put them through this. Comrade Che turned away anybody who was less than 18. These are children. CHILDREN.
"Breaking the Last Taboo: The United States of Israel?"

The Boulevard Montmartre at Night, 1897. PISSARRO, Camille.

"Ferment Over 'The Israel Lobby'"
Terry Roed-Larsen is one of the most detestable characters on the world stage today. He is the UN High Commissioner for Lebanon, and interferes in the most minute details of Lebanese affairs, to the glee of the Lebanese groups that chant and shout about Lebanon's sovereignty and independence, and his latest report even dared to speak about foreign (only Syrian and Iranian) intervention in Lebanon, without darling to speak about other foreign interventions in Lebanon. He never embarks on a mission in the Middle East before taking his orders from the National Security Council at the White House. Yesterday, on LBC-TV he explained the "UN' position on Emile Lahhud: he said that the secretary-general can't deal with leaders unless they are legally and constitutionally elected. I kid you not. Of course, you don't expect an LBC-TV anchorperson to challenge him on that point. If that was true, the UN would not be talking to any Arab leader.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

"It's guilty until proven innocent for U.S. Muslim charities"
" Nearly five years after the fall of the Taliban, Afghanistan's security situation continues to be dragged down by endemic corruption, roving militias, and a growing nexus between narco-warlords and remnants of the Taliban, officials and analysts say."

Now I understand why the Bush administration keeps praising "reforms" in Egypt.
"Israel was elected to be a vice-chair of the UN Disarmament Commission" (What is next? Saudi Arabia as vice-chair of the UN Feminist Commission?)
"Correspondent Helen Thomas has interrogated every US leader since Kennedy"
"Musharraf insists: I'm not George Bush's poodle"
"Of all the religions in the United States, Islam is the only religion for which the government has a foreign policy, according to Abukhalil. “You do not have American foreign policy for Buddhism, for Judaism, Presbyterian [or] Quakers, but for Islam, you do,” Abukhalil said. “This is because Islam is not a reference to a religion here. Muslims are referred to as people who inhabit a world that is apart from anything else.”"
All these armed Israeli occupation soldiers are needed to subdue this....CHILD.
Lebanese security forces practicing how to defeat "bad guys." Oh, ya.
I previously mocked the practice of placing laptops before Lebanese ministers during meetings of the Council of Ministers. I stand corrected. I am told that the Ministers run regressions during the meetings.
Rich kids at Harvard don't plagiarize: they "internalize" other people's works. (And the word "internalize" was supplied to them by the PR expert that parents provide when their kids get caught): "Ms. Viswanathan's parents sent her to a private college counselor, Katherine Cohen of IvyWise, who is also the author of a book on writing college applications. Ms. Cohen showed some of Ms. Viswanathan's writing to Suzanne Gluck, her agent at the William Morris Agency. Ms. Viswanathan said that she had written a piece in the vein of "The Lovely Bones," the 2002 best seller by Alice Sebold, but that Ms. Gluck thought that it was too dark. "They thought it would be better if I did a lighter piece. They thought that was more likely to sell.""
"One-third of about 410 military and civilian personnel investigated by the authorities on accusations of abusing detainees in Iraq, Afghanistan or Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, have faced disciplinary action, according to a report issued yesterday by human rights groups."

'Une Baignade, Asnières', 1884. Georges Seurat.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Egyptian state police arrested AlJazeera's correspondent in Cairo. Do you think that "democracy advocates" in the US government (and Congress) will utter a word of protest?
"Iraqi Strife Seeping Into Saudi Kingdom" (thanks Kamal)
"We didn't invite them," said Kamal Saadi, a Shiite legislator close to the new prime minister-designate, Nouri Maliki. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld paid a surprise visit to Baghdad on Wednesday to express support for Iraq's new leaders, but drew criticism from Iraqi politicians who said they feared the unannounced visit might do more harm than good."
This MAY get American public attention: "The cost of the war in Iraq will reach $320 billion after the expected passage next month of an emergency spending bill currently before the Senate, and that total is likely to more than double before the war ends, the Congressional Research Service estimated this week."
I can't believe that the Independent newspaper would print this pro-Saudi propaganda piece as a "news dispatch."
"A prisoner at Guantanamo Bay, held without charge for more than four years, has tried to kill himself a dozen times in an attempt to escape the misery and isolation of his incarceration. On one occasion he tried to take his life during a visit by his lawyer."
"Children of Kyrgyzstan" (Make sure to listen to the Kyrgyz music when you put the slideshow on)
"The CIA has operated more than 1,000 secret flights over EU territory in the past five years, some to transfer terror suspects in a practice known as "extraordinary rendition", an investigation by the European parliament said yesterday."
Critics of Hariri and supporters of Syria are pushing and peddling a new book that appeared in German about Hariri assassination by some German journalist. New TV first reported about it, and then it was circulated on the "internet"--where Walid Jumblat finds his documents. But I have not commented on it because it has as much credibility as the kooky conspiracy-theory books on Sep. 11. The book contains not a shred of evidence, and even distorts some facts, and quotes some Lebanese who blamed the Mossad as "evidence." The book also inaccurately reports that some right-wing Lebanonese group in the US had Hariri on an "assassination list" that was posted on its website. How silly is that?
Unarmed Palestinians facing their armed occupiers.
"The Swedish government has suddenly cancelled plans to take part in international air force exercises because Israel will also be participating." (thanks Julie and Rania)
A "highly-placed" source in Beirut tells me that Sanyurah's government may not be getting the US military assistance that Sanyurah had requested or hoped for during his excellent adventure in Washington, DC. Apparently, the US will make any military or security assistance to Lebanon conditional on disarming Hizbullah.
Musa Abu Marzuq on Syrian TV: I was taking a look at Syrian TV the other day. Syrian TV is very schizophrenic these days. It shifts from LBC-TV-style dance and music, to a very tedious political discussion. I saw Musa Abu Marzuq, deputy chairperson of Hamas' politburo, the other day. How incredible was his analysis of world developments. He basically was taking note of a non-existent difference between EU and US as far as the policy toward Hamas is concerned. He kept elaborating on this ostensible European position, and was banking on a "positive development" in EU's foreign policy apart from the US. He was analyzing a European stance that does not exist, except in his imagination.
And there are still some Arabs who really eagerly expect Russia to re-emerge as a superpower the Arabs. Russia will sell all the Arabs for a free potato: "Russia Helps Israel Keep an Eye on Iran"
Oh, ya. Rich white college kids now found a new safe cause. How nice. Their parents will be so proud of them. They should buy them new SUVs for x-mass.

First Bin Laden, and then Zarqawi. Bin Laden a pothead? My friend Amer is now convinced that Bin Laden is either a pothead, or a person who suffers from a severe case of ADD, or both. He was comparing him to a pothead he knows who also is afflicted with ADD. We were discussing the latest Bin Laden tape, and Amer was amazed at the extent to which Bin Laden rambles on and on, and then tediously elaborates and then goes back to the first topic, and on and on and on. But then again: he must have so much time on his hands. Again: this was your typical Bin Laden speech, when he has plenty of time on his hand, and he wants to comment on all issues around the world. But Bin Laden is not Nasser, and the “masses” are not hanging on his every word. But he does not know that. Cults, and Al-Qa`idah is a cult, are often so divorced from reality that they are certain of their own victory and of their imagined omnipotence, even when evidence to the contrary surrounds them. They become prisoners of their own bizarre world, and their own closed rhetoric, and totally divorced of reality. This allows Al-Qa`idah types to conclude from all what transpired after Sep. 11 that Islam (their version of Islam to be more precise) is spreading, and that Westerners are converting to Islam in record numbers. I read that on their sites. It was not easy reading the (incomplete) text that Al-Jazeera posted. I wonder what was missing. I know something is missing because at one point it says that he attacked Saudi Labor Minister, Ghazi Al-Qusaybi, and Saudi and other Gulf journalists. I wanted to know who they were. But it was not easy for me to read the full text, twice: it was quite rambling and tedious: his speech making is now similar to Saddam in that regard. Where are the polemicists of the French Revolution, or of the First International, or of the Russian Revolution? Bin Ladan made one effective (from his perspective) speech following Sep. 11, and then his speeches were not effective in delivering the message that he wanted to deliver. When I saw Zarqawi (more on that later) today, I thought that Zarqawi is articulate but not eloquent. Bin Laden is more eloquent, sometimes, and is as articulate. And Bin Laden can play to the camera, and is more media savvy than Zarqawi who was most awkward today when he was speaking: he looked shy when he started to speak, and his eyes were cast down, while the camera moved, perhaps to signal to him to look up, to no avail. Bin Laden sounded strong and firm in this speech, unlike previous speeches. But the content is not new at all. Different people are offering differing opinions of Bin Laden: some are saying that he is strong and others are saying that he is desperate. Only the White House can spin the situation to the effect that the production of Al-Qa`idah’s propaganda is evidence of the success of the Bush’s Doctrine. Bin Laden seems to feel safe enough to offer this long speech. There is a lot on the Danish Cartoon controversy: a whole lot. He started with it, and then came back to it before the end. And that poem at the end: it is so weak and unoriginal (First line: “The darkness of night is erased by day; and the humiliation of the face is erased by weapons”). Where is the good enthusiastic Arabic poetry when you want it? And who is the poet dude? No imagery and no allegories: just direct messages, and the rhymes are so predictable. I don’t know what to make of Bin Laden’s strong emphasis on the Danish cartoons: he also, typically, offered the opinions of the classical (most extremist) jurists: certainly Ibn Taymiyyah, Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, and Ibn Qayyim Al-Jawziayyah. That only confirms in my mind the need to write a book someday on Ibn Taymiyyah. But that really requires time: Ibn Taymiyyah was most prolific—his collected works are in tens of volumes, large volumes, but I am most stunned at his influence among present-day Muslim fundamentalists: the mainstream and the Bin Ladenite. French Orientalism early in the 20th century took note of Hanbalism and Ibn Taymiyyah. Of course, studies of Salafism is now trendy: but much of what I have seen is tabloidish. Bin Laden also mentioned Salman Rushdi: was that a secret message, a call to violence? You don’t know with those people; you don’t know their modus operandi. He spoke about Sudan, Iraq, Palestine, Kashmir, East Timor—kid you not, Afghanistan, and the Clash of Civilization, which he endorsed. But after reading it carefully, I was stunned how different the text was from the Western media reports about the text: who are the people who translate for the Western media? Is that MEMRI too? Or is that the MBNBC translator of Arabic—one of the worst, who translated once fava beans as “victory,” kid you not? The message was all over the place that it is not clear what to make of it. I still believe that Bin Laden’s messages are aimed at the larger Arab and Islamic worlds, and not to the followers and core members of the movement, as the messages of Zarqawi and Dhawahiri are. Bin Laden wholeheartedly endorsed the Clash of Civilization thesis, and identified China as a Buddhist nation—just as Huntington strained to identify countries and cultures with identifying religions. He was quite indignant on East Timor, for some reason, and of course on Sudan. But unlike what was reported in the Western press, Bin Laden made it very clear that it is Iraq that is the center stage, not Sudan. So keen Bin Laden is on speaking to the larger Islamic and Arab worlds that he did not rehash Al-Qa`idah’s disagreements with Hamas, which you read on their websites and in their magazines. He only mentioned in passing that Al-Qa`idah is opposed to elections in Palestine. Now Zarqawi was a different show altogether: it was rather bizarre: showy and macho. Certainly he was feeling safe enough in the presumably Sunni areas of Iraq, to wonder around in open air, and in areas that can easily be identified by somebody who wants to know. Zarqawi was surrounded by his “senior aides”, not to be confused with the hundreds of Zarqawi’s “senior aides” who have been killed by US troops in the last few years. His message was bombastic and purely rhetorical. It had the logo of Shura Al-Majahidin: the organization (comprising some 8—or 6 in some accounts--different groups fighting in Iraq) that was announced back in January. We still don’t know if Zarqawi leads Shurah Al-Mujahidin or `Abdullah Rashid Al-Baghdadi does. Zarqawi gave no hints, although he spoke as Khadim (servant) of Jihad, thus mocking the title of the Servent of the Two Holy Sites in Saudi Arabia (in English the word “khadim” is wrongly translated as “guardian”—a classist translator for sure). Zarqawi was seen huddling with “senior aides” over a large map, and at one point somebody showed him a laptop, and there were plenty of weapons around. He did his usual pejorative reference to Shi`ites as “rafidah”—rejectionists, and attacked Sunnis in Iraq too. Zarawi does not approve of anybody, it seems, while Bin Laden divided the Muslims into three categories: 1) a group that aligned itself with the enemies of the Prophet; 2) a group that did nothing regarding the “insults to the Prophet”; 3) a group that went about fighting on behalf of the Prophet. Again, this is a movement that has no chance of mass success, although it aims at mass appeal. It reminds me of Duverger’s distinctions between parties that seek to win elections, and parties that stick to its ideology no matter what. Certainly, Al-Qa`idah is not eager to win elections any time soon. But Hamas went form one to the other in 10 years. Most ominous was an opinion that was offered by Lebanese Islamist thinker, Fathi Yakan (whose writings have influenced fundamentalists in the Arab and Muslim worlds in the last 50 years, and who recently broke with Al-Jama`ah Al-Islamiyyah which he had helped found) in an interview with NBN-TV. He said that somebody more scary and more tough than Bin Laden will be coming out. All of us today are not lucky to be living in the age of Bin Laden and…Bush.

Bathers at La Grenouillère, 1869. Monet.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Visiting Jordan, Abu Mazen expressed his "total care for the security and well-being of Jordan, just as Jordan cares over the security and well-being of Jordan." Oh, ya. Jordan really cared about the well-being of Palestinians when Jordanian troops shelled the hell out of refugee camps.
"The Overseas Class"
"Lebanon's Sri Lankan maids tell their story"
"Oh, I normally would not accept such a role, but this one was compelling." Ya. "Playing a Terrorist: An Actor's Dilemma"
Another evidence of the Bush Doctrine: "In Egypt, resurgence of militant Islamists"
I will wear my Ghawwar's Qibqab: "Webb was wearing combat boots with his suit Tuesday, in contrast to the cowboy boots that Allen is known for. He said he is wearing them to show support for his son and others in the military and urged supporters to put on boots -- "any kind other than cowboy" -- and "join this journey.""
Non-Muslim suicide bombers don't get any press coverage.
Lies and Fabrications...FROM LEBANON. The daily From Lebanon segment continues on LBC-TV. The other day, they featured Gavin Malouf. Yes, that Gavin Malouf. The world famous Gavin Malouf who apparently played ping pong or some other sport while attending a university in New Mexico. According to LBC-TV, Malouf inherited some company form his American father, Sir George (I kid you not, they referred to his father as "Sir George" perhaps not knowing that we don't--not yet anyway--have those titles here in the US). After he inherited the company, Gavin, according to LBC-TV, became "the youngest director" in the history of sports companies, EVER. And his company was "rated" the most philanthropic. Today, LBC-TV featured Abu Salim At-Tabl. I kid you not. But toward the end of the segment, they said that Abu Salim's fame reached "Africa, Australia, and America." Now that is true. I was quite surprised when I came to the US that average Americans all seem to know Abu Salim At-Tabl and Fahman. But I wonder why LBC-TV did not think that Abu Salim was famous in Japan and China? I mean, if Abu Salim is famous in Iowa, why can't he be famous in China and Japan? Come on. Don't be modest, o Lebanonese buffoons. O Lebanonese nationalists: do you know how easy it is to mock you and ridicule you? No, you don't. You have no idea.
Now this one. Nadim Gemayyel wants to be a leader. Oh, ya.
The racist Hariri rag, Al-Mustaqbal, uses the phrase "Syrian barbarism" (under the picture below).
Here, Munah As-Sulh describes Faruq Al-Baz as the "greatest physicist in the US."
804 innocent Syrians are still missing in Lebanon.
The Absurdity of Lebanonese Nationalism. Finally: a cure for cancer...from Lebanon. This Lebanonese newspaper would like to report to you that the internationally-known Lebanese chemist, Nabil Habib, discovered a cure for cancer (and that he registered his breakthrough in US and Belarus--oh, ya). He--the proud Lebanonese that he is--named the medicine Lebanus Cedra, after the Cedars of Lebanon. Is that not nice? Is that not sweet? Would you not say that this person, to whom humanity owes a great deal, deserves an award? We don't know how this chemist "discovered" the cure, but my speculation is that he mixed olive oil, hummus, ful, and Baba Ghannuj together. What a potent mixture. (To its credit, the Ministry of Health (and the Minister of Health in Lebanon is one of the few really qualified ministers) prevented this charlatan from his using his cure anymore.)
"Journalists of color represented only 13.87% of the staff in America's daily newsrooms in 2005, according to the American Society of Newspaper Editors' (ASNE) 29th annual newsroom census released Tuesday."
I received an email addressed to me as "Dear Tikkun Ally." Please put me on the Dear Tikkhun Enemy list. Thanks.
I never enjoy Lebanese imports from the West: and that applies to everything. I now have been reading and hearing about the play, Haky Niswan, playing in Beirut, and based on the Vagina Monologues. Has any of my friends in Lebanon seen it? I saw the director on NBN-TV and she did not strike me as a sophisticated or unsophisticated feminist.
So Lebanese economist, Marwan Iskandar, who never ever held a principle and who was made known only because An-Nahar Inc promoted him, has a book-homage to Rafiq Hariri. I am told that Robert Fisk, whose writings on Lebanon for the last year should be ignored, discarded, and refuted, has a blurb for the book. (thanks E.)
Rich kids and their advantages: "Ms. Viswanathan said that while she was in high school, her parents hired Katherine Cohen, founder of IvyWise, a private counseling service, to help with the college application process. After reading some of Ms. Viswanathan's writing, Ms. Cohen put her in touch with the William Morris Agency, and Ms. Viswanathan eventually signed with Jennifer Rudolph Walsh, an agent there."
"Al Jazeera International, the 24-hour English-language news and current affairs channel, headquartered in Doha, announced today that they have appointed Ghida Fakhry as lead female news anchor at their Washington DC broadcast centre. "Ghida Fakhry is an accomplished on air and print journalist, in both English and Arabic, with extensive international experience, which makes her the ideal candidate for our goal of reaching a global audience hungry for news that offers analysis and context. We are overjoyed to have her as a member of the Washington team," said Washington D.C. bureau chief, Will Stebbins, on her appointment....In addition to covering the events leading up to the invasion of Iraq in March 2003 from LBC's headquarters in Beirut, Fakhry conducted exclusive in-depth interviews in Washington D.C. with U.S. Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, and Secretary of State, Colin Powell, as well as several other senior State Department and Pentagon officials. She further reported on location from Baghdad and Kabul in the summer of 2003 while travelling with Rumsfeld during his first trip to Iraq after the US-led invasion and covered his visit to the Abu Ghraib prison." (thanks John)
The Petit Bras of the Seine at Argenteuil, 1872. Monet.
"In February 1848 Rep. Abraham Lincoln explained his opposition to the Mexican War: "Allow the President to invade a neighboring nation, whenever he shall deem it necessary to repel an invasion and you allow him to do so whenever he may choose to say he deems it necessary for such purpose -- and you allow him to make war at pleasure [emphasis added]. . . . If, today, he should choose to say he thinks it necessary to invade Canada to prevent the British from invading us, how could you stop him? You may say to him, 'I see no probability of the British invading us'; but he will say to you, 'Be silent; I see it, if you don't.' ""

Monday, April 24, 2006

Free (and legal) movies of Shadya on-line.
"Study reveals domestic abuse is widespread in Syria" (Studies reveal domestic abuse is widespread in US)
"The world's largest foreign aid organisation is accused today of deception and medical malpractice that has contributed to the unnecessary deaths of hundreds of thousands of children from malaria. The World Bank, which has a $20bn (£11.2bn) budget and a mission to reduce poverty, is alleged to have published misleading financial claims and false statistical accounts and wasted money on ineffective medicines for treating the disease, which kills more than a million people a year, 90 per cent of them children."
If you ask me to explain the difference between a European newspaper and a US newspaper, I would say this is the difference: "Israel - which is the only Middle Eastern state to possess nuclear weapons - reacted strongly to Mr Ahmadinejad's comments." That line would never appear in a US newspaper.
"An official U.S. terrorism finance expert arrives here [in Israel] Tuesday to discuss economic measures against Iran and the Palestinian Hamas government. The official, Stuart Levey, is Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence in the Department of the Treasury. It was reported this week that Washington was planning a "financial assault" on Iran that would include targeting Iranian bank accounts in Europe and Iranian-owned financial institutions."
"Liberation" contamination: "More than 1,000 Iraqis who live south of Baghdad within the bombed and looted complex that was once the centre of Saddam Hussein's nuclear programme are at acute risk of radioactive poisoning, the UN's nuclear authority said yesterday."
"Iran biggest threat since Nazis, says Israel" (Israel biggest threat since Iran, says Angry Arab)
"This is no rah-rah revolt": "the US has told citizens except for "essential diplomats" to leave the country, usually a good sign....It is a two-way trade and ever since the declaration of the "war on terror", the corrupt and brutal royal apparatus has been supplied with weaponry by its friends: 20,000 M-16 rifles from Washington, 20,000 rifles from Delhi and 100 helicopters from London."
"Latin America's Left Turn"
Do you notice how the formerly staunch "supporters" of democracy are suddenly now not keen on free elections? This is Natan Sharansky: "But I believe that too much focus has been placed on holding quick elections....I believe that such a mistaken approach is one of the reasons why a terrorist organization such as Hamas could come to power through ostensibly democratic means in a Palestinian society long ruled by fear and intimidation."
"Mill left no systematic legacy— there is no "Millism.""
Saudi newspaper, Al-Hayat carried this headline: "[Ahmadi]Najad defies Security Council." This very newspaper would not dare say that Israeli defies, and has for decades defied, the Security Council.
In the footsteps of Middle East dictators: all Middle East dictators have their own presidential guards (under different names sometimes): in Syria, Saddam's Iraq (or the current one), Jordan, Saudi Arabia, etc. Abu Mazen in his tour of Europe, reports Al-Quds Al-`Arabi, is collecting funds ($55 millions reports Al-Jazeera), not for the Palestinian people, but for the expansion of his Presidential Guard force. So this will be added to the Kata'ib Shuhada' Al-Aqsa militia which he had bought, literally from funds that come to him from Western governments in the name of "helping the Palestinians". Are you enjoying the new Middle East? A place where "freedom", "equality," and "peace" prevail? Brought to you by the Bush Doctrine.
This columnist at An-Nahar decides that Spielberg's Munich is a "prayer for peace." Do you see now why I am so fiercely opposed to that right-wing, sectarian propaganda mouthpiece?
This Hariri rag, Al-Mustaqbal, is nothing but a racist anti-Syrian (PEOPLE) publication, especially on its crime page.
The outlines of the Middle East conspiracy, and the roles of the various sides, are quite clear now. You really can tell who is playing what role, and what the contours of the conspiracy are--and I am deliberately using the word conspiracy because American propaganda (and Saudi propaganda) want us to deny the existence of conspiracies in general, and in absolute terms. I mean, you look at Hariri Inc media and you see how clearly they are aligned with Abbas against Hamas, for example, when in the past Hariri media did not take sides in such matters. Lines are drawn, and trenches are fortified, and you know where very mini-Hariri is. US puppets are now making a stand: they are fighting--in many cases--for survival. The future is not on their sides, and US troops can't prop them up forever. This is why they are now more desperate than ever. The other side, or the counter-conspiracy is an alliance of fools and mullahs. The Syrian and the Iranian regime and their allies are quite dizzy dealing with the situation, although Iran is far less stupid than the Syrian leadership in reading foreign policy developments, and reacting to them. Hamas looks quite confused, and its leaders seems surprised that there is a plot against the results of Palestinian elections, as if the US alliance really meant it when it babbled about democracy and elections. Hamas still does not seem to realize what is going on, and yesterday Palestinian Prime Minister talked about "respect" for Abbas, while the latter is touring Western governments to fund a private militia that he wants to use against Palestinian voters, and their preferences. You watch these developments and wonder about Arab public opinion: and you also wonder how the US/Israeli/Saudi conspiracy requires a deepening of the Sunni-Shi`ite divide in order to weaken the appeal of the counter conspiracy among the Sunni Arab public opinion. Neither side may win, and Arab public opinion, as Arafat used to say in private, is asleep, or watching Hayfa Wahbi sing and dance on LBC-TV. The masses; the masses. I lost faith in the masses a very long time ago. Hell. I lost faith in the workers a very long time ago; in my first year in college to be exact. I worked hard day and night that year with the janitors at the American University of Beirut to prepare for a general strike. After hours of meetings and gallons of ink, we set up a date. The labor aristocracy (the vanguard of the workers) heard of the preparations. They asked to meet with us (my friend `Isa and I). So we go to meet with this "labor leader" from the Progressive Socialist Party and we both hated him, despised him, and we both knew that he just wanted to abort the movement. So we ignored him and continued in the preparations. On the designated day, tens of them showed up, but not one of them dared to strike. There was no strike. I remember that I devoured so much anarchist anti-Leninist literature that week. And that was that. Good night.
Yet another "witness" in the Hariri investigation paid for by Hariri Inc. This only confirms my earlier suspicions: that we shall never know the results of this investigation.
Nihad Al-Mashnuq mentions in his article in As-Safir today the Lebanese member of parliament, Nadhim Al-Qadri, who was assassinated (most likely by Syrian mukhabarat) in 1989. Al-Qadri had been one of several Lebanese members of parliaments who used to receive monthly payments from Yasir `Arafat.
The new Iraqi prime minister-under-foreign-occupation, Jawad Al-Maliki: before and after the US war.
Lebanese Armenians: in memory of the Turkish genocide of Armenians.
A decent man (Salim Huss) on an indecent man (Samir Ja`ja`).
'An Autumn Landscape with a View of Het Steen in the Early Morning', probably 1636, RUBENS, Peter Paul.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

"Western pressure irks average Iranians"
"As a youth, [`Adil] Imam was a communist activist, but during government crackdowns in the '50s, his father ripped up Maoist and Marxist literature he discovered in his room. Imam once rejected a screenwriter's remark that he is a political party unto himself, but he occasionally blurts out strong political opinions. He said Egyptians are "schizophrenic" about the United States. "We send lots of immigrants to America," he said, "but we dislike its bias to Israel."He called Gamal Abdul Nasser, the army officer who overthrew Egypt's monarchy and became a hero throughout the Middle East, "Egypt's first true president." Asked whether he was Egypt's last true president, Imam was silent."
"Last Nov. 13, U.S. soldiers found 173 incarcerated men, some of them emaciated and showing signs of torture, in a secret bunker in an Interior Ministry compound in central Baghdad."
Oh, Haaretz found an agreeable Arab. Oh, he is a Zionist too. OK. (thanks to tons of you out there)
"Iran could tempt Mideast states to go nuclear" (Angry Arab: And Israel had tempted Mideast states to go nuclear DECADES AGO. Did you hear that Schiff? And could Arab newspaper really decrease their excessive citations of Schiff's articles, please? I know that they think that it is quite "modern" and "enlightened" to read the Israeli press, but wisdom lies elsewhere).
"The atrocities committed against the Armenian people of the Ottoman Empire during W.W.I are called the Armenian Genocide. Genocide is the organized killing of a people for the express purpose of putting an end to their collective existence. Because of its scope, genocide requires central planning and a machinery to implement it. This makes genocide the quintessential state crime as only a government has the resources to carry out such a scheme of destruction. The Armenian Genocide was centrally planned and administered by the Turkish government against the entire Armenian population of the Ottoman Empire. It was carried out during W.W.I between the years 1915 and 1918. The Armenian people was subjected to deportation, expropriation, abduction, torture, massacre, and starvation. The great bulk of the Armenian population was forcibly removed from Armenia and Anatolia to Syria, where the vast majority was sent into the desert to die of thirst and hunger. Large numbers of Armenians were methodically massacred throughout the Ottoman Empire. Women and children were abducted and horribly abused. The entire wealth of the Armenian people was expropriated. After only a little more than a year of calm at the end of W.W.I, the atrocities were renewed between 1920 and 1923, and the remaining Armenians were subjected to further massacres and expulsions. In 1915, thirty-three years before UN Genocide Convention was adopted, the Armenian Genocide was condemned by the international community as a crime against humanity."
The epitome of Chutzpah: "Palestinians need an alternative to Hamas, one which works for peace and the interest of the Palestinian people." What? The spoiled brats of the Harvard Crimson know what the interest of the Palestinian people are? They even dare give advise to the Palestinian people? How dare they?
Harvard "Sophomore’s New Book Contains Passages Strikingly Similar to 2001 Novel"
Human Trafficking: "Germany, Greece and France are among about a dozen countries identified as having a "high" incidence of acting as transit countries. Ten countries are named as the top destinations for trafficking victims: Belgium, Germany, Greece, Israel, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Thailand, Turkey and the US. Britain is on the "high" index of destination countries."
"An ethnic Armenian teenager was stabbed to death in a metro station in central Moscow on Saturday night - the latest attack in a growing wave of racist violence in Russia."
I still find the mentality of the White Man appearing in the UK press' coverage of Zimbabwe.
"Bush ignored intelligence on Iraqi weapons, says ex-CIA officer" (Nooooooo. No way. Bush would do that?)
The new Iraqi speaker-under-foreign-occupation, Dawud Al-Mashhadani was a member of the (Salafite) Supreme Committee for Da`wah and [Religious] Guidance. Enjoy the "new" Iraq.
Fu'ad Sanyurah:
"Why don't you normalize relations with Israel?
We will upon the finalization of the peace process.
Didn't Hizbullah kidnap three Israeli soldiers in 2000?
Didn't Israel kill tens of thousands of civilians?"
(If Lally Weymouth's family did not own the Washington Post, do you think that she would have ever had a journalist career?) (thanks Amal)
Saudi (American) Reform: The Saudi Minister of Islamic Affairs, Endowments, and Guidance, Salih Al-Ash-Shaykh, told Saudi journalists that his ministery will begin "imposing electronic surveillance" of all mosques in Riyadh (and later to spread throughout the kingdom). He said that officials will be able to to know "the situations of the mosques day by day, and in extreme accuracy." Now I know that reform is spreading in Saudi Arabia.
Does not John Kerry sound quite pathetic and desperate when he attacks the US war in Iraq when he, as a candidate, wanted to increase US troops AND firepower?
"Don't dream about full exits. The military is in Iraq for the long haul."
Iraqi Musician, Nasir Shammah is losing it. He told Al-Mustaqbal newspaper that he can predict "events, times, and things" and even deaths. OK, Nasir. Play the `Ud, now.
Sultan abu Al-`Aynayn is increasingly allowing himself to serve as a tool for Hariri Inc and Abu Mazen (tell him I said that, Mirvat).
Ilyas `Atallah, head of the Hariri Left Movement, would do anything to get before the cameras. He is worse than Sen. Schumer of New York. `Atallah used to beg journalists to put him on the air--and he did that in phone calls to live programs. Now, `Atallah is willing to invent assassination plots against his person, only to stay in the news. Do you know that Syrian mukhabarat selected `Atallah to lead the pro-Syrian forces that attacked tripoli in the 1980s?
Who is the Best US Puppet? Karzai or Abbas? The Competition Continues. In an interview with the Jordanian (mukhabarat) newspaper, Al-Ra'y, Abu Mazen said that Israeli withdrawal from Gaza was "not unilateral." The entire world, and Israeli leaders call it "unialteral" but not Abu Mazen.
A prisoner died apparently of torture in Syrain jail, and the fate of writer `Ali Al-`Abdullah (and his two sons) is still not known.
Jordan yesterday "uncovered" yet another Al-Qa`idah plot. Jordan now uncovers Al-Qa`idah plots at the same rate that US kills "senior aides" to Zarqawi in Iraq.
SLA of Palestine. Abu Mazen never had an popular base of support (outside of Sharon's farm that is), and yet lately has been buying, literally buying, the Kata'ib Shuhada' Al-Aqsa as his private militia. There is no question that the sparks of civil war in Palestinian society are part of a US/Israel/Dahlan-Abu Mazen plan to seize power by force, having lost resoundingly in the last Palestinian election. But this again proves my theory: civil war looms over any place where Bush's Doctrine rears its ugly head.
Militias And US Foreign Policy. The Iraqi president-under-foreign occupation is against disbanding Kurdish militias, but in favor of disbanding Sunni militias. Shi`ite militias in Iraq are against disbanding their militias, but in favor of disbanding Sunni militias. Druze, Sunni, and Maronite militias in Lebanon are in favor of disbanding Shi`ite militias, but in favor of keeping their own militias. Abbas wants to disband Hamas militia, but in favor of keeping Fath's militias. US supports pro-US militias, but waxes Weberian (on the need to monopolize the use of force) when it comes to anti-US militias in the Midde East.
The Fath Conspiracy: I have been calling for the revival of conspiracy theory in Middle East political analysis. A Fath conspiracy theory is being hatched and implemented before your eyes. Fath leadership under the corrupt Abbas and Dahlan--mere tools of US/Israel--has turned the movement into gangs acting on behalf of US/Israeli plans for--and against--the Palestinians. I have never been a fan of Hamas, but Dahlan's Fath is very much akin to the South Lebanon Army: they steal, blackmail, murder, kill, torture on behalf of Israeli occupation. There is no question that this Fath's militia's thuggery is coordinated with US/Jordan/Israel/ and the rest of Arab clients of US Empire. And to hear Jibril Rajjub talk about "peace" and "reform" is like the Hariri thieves in Lebanon speaking about reform. And we should also blame `Arafat for the mess in Palestine.
This writer in Ash-Sharq Al-Awsat who, like every other writer in Saudi-funded media, never met an oil prince that he did not find to be brilliant, says: "Outside of "the Million-martyr-revolution" in Algeria, colonialism was more merfiful toward the Arabs."
Opinion columns in Israeli newspapers are often assassination plots. (thanks Laleh)
The Hay Wain, 1821, CONSTABLE, John.
"HOLLYWOOD, long accused of promoting Godless amorality, has found religion. Studio executives are praying that a flood of Christian films will rescue them from a slump by performing miracles at the multiplex."
Stories in the Western press that include rumors often include an Israeli reporter in the byline.
"True, the average American is around 30 times richer than the average Chinese. Yet that latter statistic is partly because there are four times as many Chinese as Americans. More importantly, the Chinese economy is growing at a rate roughly three times that of the US. According to some projections, it could catch up in terms of gross domestic product as early as 2041."
"President Hu Jintao of China flew into an enthusiastic welcome in Saudi Arabia yesterday to negotiate new oil supplies, safe in the knowledge that the closely controlled kingdom will not allow embarrassing protests like those he faced in America last week."
"Export This?"
"I think Iraq may end up being one of the worst disasters in American foreign policy."
"In an interview with SPIEGEL, television imam Yusuf al-Qaradawi, perhaps currently one of the most influential Islamic scholars around, magnanimously conceded that there is also room in heaven for devout Christians and Jews. But on his Arab-language website a short time later, he made it clear that he believes that Christians and Jews are ultimately nothing more than infidels."
Muhammad `Ali Al-Atasi here criticizes the lousy Easter speech by Patriarch Sfayr, and his references to Palestinians. I was pleased to read it especially that nobody, NOBODY, criticizes the man in Lebanon.
A Palestinian woman confronting an Israeli occupation soldier with her shoe.
The interview that Palestinian novelist, Suheir Daoud, conducted with me was printed in Al-Quds Al-`Arabi.
"Then, around January, Wolfowitz changed gears. In a series of tough and surprising decisions, he froze loans to India, Bangladesh, Kenya, Chad and Argentina"
"Details of the plans are secret, but in general they envision a significantly expanded role for the military -- and, in particular, a growing force of elite Special Operations troops -- in continuous operations to combat terrorism outside of war zones such as Iraq and Afghanistan. Developed over about three years by the Special Operations Command (SOCOM) in Tampa, the plans reflect a beefing up of the Pentagon's involvement in domains traditionally handled by the Central Intelligence Agency and the State Department. For example, SOCOM has dispatched small teams of Army Green Berets and other Special Operations troops to U.S. embassies in about 20 countries in the Middle East, Asia, Africa and Latin America, where they do operational planning and intelligence gathering to enhance the ability to conduct military operations where the United States is not at war."
"The wait is long for US visas: Applicants face years of hurdles"
"A Lobby, Not a Conspiracy"
Iraq is now a sovereign country, you know: ""Today was a major positive, but there are tough days ahead, especially with regard to the selection of ministers," Zalmay Khalilzad, the American ambassador to Iraq, said in an interview. He said he told Mr. Maliki on Friday of the importance of independent ministers, and of the need to eliminate militias from the Iraqi security forces and to scale back the Shiite-backed program that bars former Baathists from many jobs in the Iraqi government and institutions. "I met with him for a long time today and he was very positive," Mr. Khalilzad said." As for the new Prime Minister, "Mr. Maliki pushed proposals aimed at the Sunni-dominated insurgency that called for the death penalty not only for those who commit murder but also for anyone, he said last year, found to "finance, propagate, cover up, support or provide shelter for the terrorists, no matter how involved they are.""

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Andrew Wyeth's "Public Sale" (1943).
"For nine months, a small U.S. military team has been courting reporters at Arabic-language news outlets based in Dubai, a charm offensive aimed at reversing negative coverage of the United States." ""Nakhle Elhage, news director at Al-Arabiya TV, said the U.S. military has won more airtime since the Central Command team arrived." “Al-Jazeera has gotten better,” [US Navy Capt. Frank] Pascual said. “They call us now. I think we've made great progress.”"(thanks Amer)
"Ten Middle Eastern Subjects in mid 20s involved in some form of religious exercise." When I was at UC, Irvine, a colleague showed me a copy of a Campus Police Log for the month of March: it contained the following item:
"Social Science Parking Structure: Ten Middle Eastern Subjects in mid 20s involved in some form of religious exercise". Naturally, or naturlich as they say in German--I like that word; it was my favorite German word--there was no uproar on campus.
Kata'ib Shuhada' Al-Aqsa: what do they do? In Lebanon, `Arafat's slogan "Revolution Until Victory" was mocked as "Revolution Until The End of the Month"
(ثورة حتى آخر الشهر)
The Kata'ib were bitter foes of Abbas when he had his conflict with `Arafat. Today, they pathetically paraded to express support for Abbas. They only confirmed my suspicions that they are loyal to whomever pays them their salaries. Suddenly, when Abbas started to pay their salaries, they became devoted followers, and a private thuggish militia aligned with the gangs of Muhammad Dahlan. And what do they do anyway, I mean aside from performing for the TV cameras?

Friday, April 21, 2006

In Lebanon, Hariri Inc, Hizbullah, `Awn, UN, and Jumblat want to forgive all those who collaborated with Israeli occupation, and killed and tortured on its behalf. This is France after its liberation from Nazi occupation: "These women suffered brutal punishment during l'Ãpuration—the savage purges after the liberation, described by Mr Vinen in a chapter entitled "Sunset of Blood"”. Their heads shaved, the women were spat at and marched down the streets by jeering crowds."
"Indeed, the book frequently seems more about BHL in America than about America itself. The self-obsession can be comedic, as when Lévy cannot fathom why John Kerry—pilloried during the 2004 campaign for his European air—keeps putting off a meeting. Do Kerry’s handlers not realize who he is?"
If you are wondering where Arab oil profits are going: "The Ras al-Khaimah Government and the PDSI Development Group have launched a $5.44 billion real-estate project that will include a mountain resort, wildlife sanctuary and marina. The two parties have already signed an agreement for a fifty-fifty joint venture on a freehold basis that is open to foreign investors. Construction will commence within six months, said a Gulf News report. The resort will be built on Al Jees Mountain and it will be accessible only by helicopter and gondolas, Peter Dalkeith Scott, president of PDSI, was quoted as saying in the report."
"The economic rift that opened between the Middle East and the United States after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks has widened into a chasm. While the United States was once the first stop for goods and services, Middle Easterners are turning to what many see as more Arab-friendly environments in Europe and Asia."
Sanyurah's Reception at the Four Seasons in DC. A source in DC sent me this post:
"He talked about they came to meet Bush and present to him the Lebanese cause and also the Arab cause. They want to liberate Shebaa Farms and extend Lebanese government control over all of Lebanon. I'm sure you've heard all this crap before. But what was interesting was what happened during the reception itself. One of the people that was with the delegation that met with Bush (they will remain anonymous) told me about how Bush might appear very stupid on TV, but in person he is quite charming. I took this with a grain of salt of course. Before the reception started, the Embassy staff checked people's names off the invitation list. There was a group of men (about 7-10) that came up to the table and shook hands with a few of the Embassy staff...perhaps they knew them. These men were unusual though because they weren't wearing the Hariri pins that the other guests were wearing. They wore Lebanese Forces pins! They were not invited and just walked past the table to go into the reception. The Embassy staff asked one of the diplomats if they were allowed to go in and he replied by saying, "We cannot turn anyone away." X told me later about how they would never have dared to come until Gaegea was released from prison. They used to be banned from setting foot in the embassy because they were wanted for crimes from the civil war. X told me that one of them in particular was wanted for his role in the assasination of Tony Franjieh,or so X thought. X couldn't quite remember if it was Tony or someone else. But a couple of weeks ago, one of them came in the embassy to do a power of attorney, and the diplomats told the staff to go ahead and do it.."
"Hungry and shell-shocked"
Olmert accuses Syria, Venezuela, Cuba, Zimbabwe, Hizbullah, Peru, China, the new Italian government, and Iran of involvement in Tel Aviv suicide bombing (US Congress agrees).
Cheney denied that he was sleeping when this picture was taken. As for the loud snoring: he said that he keeps a noisy frog in his pocket.
Sometimes, the right-wing, sectarian Christian newspaper, An-Nahar (the unofficial mouthpiece of Lebanese Forces), carries translations from different sources. Often, they print translations and they cite the source as "the internet." Here, an article was translated from "the internet." Walid Jumblat, as you may remember, found documents and maps on Shib`a Farms "on the internet." He now receives millions from a widow of a Nigerian dictator though "the internet." Did a Lebanese invent "the internet" by accident while she/he was making Hummus one day?
Hilmi Musa of As-Safir reported about the last meeting between Isma`il Haniyyah and Abu Mazen. There were three points of disagreement. The first one was about the checkpoints. Haniyyah wanted the new elected government to take control of the checkpoints of Gaza. Abu Mazen informed him that the "international observers" will withdraw if the government (and not "the presidency") were to maintain control of them. Haniyyah agreed. On the second point of the control of the Security forces, Abu Mazen said that Israeli planes would raid all centers if Hamas takes them over. Haniyyah agreed that they would remain in Fath's hands. On the last point of security in the territories, they disagreed.
Suddenly--and finally, I notice that Talal Salman and As-Safir have become critical of Fu'ad Sanyurah. I am pleased.
Fu'ad Sanyurah's excellent adventure in US: he was told to go to New York. He went. He was told to meet with Annan, he did. He was then told (somewhat unprecedentedly) to go to UN Security Council and make a speech to embarrass the Syrian delegate; he obediently followed orders. He did what he was told. (His speech by the way was clearly written in Arabic. He said that when Israel withdrew "until the international borders." He was translating "hatta" in Arabic, but he it should have been translated as "to" and not "until.")
Don't you like ironies? Isma`il Hanniyyah is now protesting against Abu Mazen's autocratic style, the way Abu Mazen protested against `Arafat's autocratic style. The difference is that `Arafat relied on Palestinian popular support, while Abu Mazen relies on US, Israel, and Muhammad Dahlan. If you say that Dahlan is corrupt, he will now sue you. I swear. OK. Dahlan is corrupt.
I have been criticizing Hamas since the last election. I don't hide my true opinion of the movement. I have never admired its ideology or practices. But I have become convinced that the movement is now being subjected to a deliberate, deceptive propaganda campaign that is intended to throw off its leaders, and to make them look bad in the eyes of the Palestinians. I say this because I have noticed that something suspicious is going on: every few days, Western media report about some statement by a Hamas official, that Hamas officials seem to not have made. "Psychological Operations" are being run as we speak, I am convinced. Remember the stories and lies that have been planted by US in world newspapers? Israel and US are doing the same regarding Hamas.
Al-Mustaqbal TV's correspondent in Washington, DC, Maysa Zaydan, sounds like a Fox News correspondent. The other day she was attacking Democratic criticisms of Bush with such vehemence and agitation.
"Foes of Syrian leaders no friends of the U.S.: Activists regard both governments as enemies of freedom"
The 7-minutes Meeting between Bush and Sanyurah. Sanyurah's meeting with Bush. Lebanonese media (and Saudi Arab media) have been talking about a 2-hour meeting between Bush and Sanyurah, but that includes lunch. And Laura Bush met with Mrs. Sanyurah when her husband was with Bush in the Oval Office, and that meeting between the "ladies" lasted for 45 minutes. So the actual meeting between the Sanyurah and Bush lasted for less than 45 minutes (and that Oval Office meeting was all about "kidding and joking" as one member of the delegation admitted later). And there was a 7 minute private tete-a-tete between Bush and Sanyurah, so the real meeting was for a full and long 7 minutes.
Guston, Philip, Sleeping, 1977.
Having saved the Middle East, Thomas Friedman now wants to save the environment.
"Doha: Five Asian workers died of asphyxiation by toxic gases in a manhole here on Wednesday evening after descending into the sewage network without safety equipment, a diplomat said here yesterday." (thanks Laleh)
"'Compassionate Colonialism'" (thanks Laleh)
"Dominicans Wary of U.S. Military Presence"
"Case of Lobbyist Fired by Pro-Israel Group Puts Spotlight on a Murky Type of Advocacy"
("When he worked at the Rand Corp. think tank in the early 1980s, one of the research fellows in his department was Condoleezza Rice.")
This right-wing reporter (and an eager pleaser of the White Man) in Lebanon simply tells the Palestinians: "There is little hope for the Palestinians." (Angry Arab: There is little hope for Michael Young).
"In 2005:
  • at least 2,148 people were executed in 22 countries
  • 94% of them were killed in China, Iran, Saudi Arabia and the USA
  • An additional 5,186 people were sentenced to death
"The American businessman at the center of a widening corruption inquiry in Iraq pleaded guilty on Tuesday to federal charges of conspiracy, bribery and money laundering for illegally obtaining millions of dollars of construction contracts at the heart of the American-led rebuilding program in 2003 and 2004. The court papers describing the plea agreement, motions filed by the legal team representing the businessman, Philip H. Bloom, 66, and interviews with contractors and government officials in Iraq make it clear that the case is certain to expand. The court papers, focusing narrowly on Mr. Bloom's contracting work in the south-central Iraqi city of Hilla, indicate that at least three more senior Army Reserve officers are likely to be implicated."
Not only is Sen. Christopher Dodd (or Sen. Dude as New TV called him) visiting Lebanon, but he is also offering opinions on Lebanon. What does he know, and who cares what Dodd think of Lebanon, or of any other country in the world? I mean, I know that he is party days with Sen. Kennedy are behind him, but...maybe you should learn to play chess.
"Pentagon releases names of 558 prisoners held at Guantanamo" (One was Lebanese, apparently). LBC-TV will tomorrow claim that the Lebanese prisoner is "the best looking", the most "intelligent," the most enterprising, the most violent, the most famous, the most effective, and that he invented a cure for cancer in his cell, and that he once had an affair with Princess Diana. He will soon be featured on "From Lebanon.")
The US press, which did not even--contrary to Hariri media claims--notice the visit of Sanyurah, also did not notice that Sanyurah was banned from visiting the US after Sep. 11 because he gave a donation to a "terrorist organization" (the charitable organization run by Muhammad Husayn Fadlalllah).

Thursday, April 20, 2006

On the occasion of the 20th anniversary of Patriarch Sfayr assumption to the Patriarchate, I wish to send him...this request: release the text of the 1946 treaty between the Maronite Patriarchate and the Zionist movement.
I noted earlier that US, EU, UN, Israel, and Arab governments are all participating in starving the Palestinian people to punish them for their electoral behavior. I forgot to add to the list Abu Mazen and his version of the PLO. They also are deliberately depriving the Palestinian people from Palestinian funds--funds used in the past to send millions to Suha Arafat, and to build Abu Mazen's mansion, and to pay for fancy wedding of his son, etc.
News from "liberated" Iraq: "In the wave of sectarian violence that has hit Iraq since the destruction of one of the country's holiest shrines in February, many mosques around Baghdad have become training grounds and weapons stores as much as places of prayer."
"Full Program for Mrs. Sanyurah." As you remember, Hariri rag, Al-Mustaqbal, reported last week that Laura Bush had organized a "full program" for Mrs. Fu'ad Sanyurah. Today, An-Nahar reported that Laura Bush received Mrs. Sanyurah and her daughter, Zeina, for 45 minutes and that the two women held "talks about what unites Lebanon and US in terms of civilizational and cultural values....And there was a talk about the joint interests and the role that is played by women in the renaissance of societies., and the role that the Lebanese mother is played in preserving the unity of the family and its tradition". So much to talk about: But what are the Lebanese family traditions? Is that a reference to transmitting Hummus recipes from one generation to another? Or is that a reference to the tradition of sectarian hatred and incitement?
Apparently, Jumblat's visit to Saudi Arabia was preceded by a lot of pleading and groveling on the part of Jumblat. In fact, since his return from Saudi Arabia, his tone toward Syria has softened and changed.
The Ja`fari's announcement yesterday only confirms this: an Ayatollah rules Iraq.
Talal Salman has a very strong denunciation of Jordan's policy in the Middle East.
From this week's Economist: "Since the downfall of the Taliban, the Supreme Court has been controlled by hardline clerics, led by the septuagenarian Fazul Hadi Shinwari, whose office is adorned only with a Koran and a whip. He said recently that women could not become Supreme Court justices because they menstruate, rendering them unfit to handle the holy book for several days each month." Enjoy the "new" Afghanistan ("liberated" by Bush and the Feminist Majority--Bush's cheerleaders for war).
"Militias roil Baghdad streets"
"Mideast 'axis' forms against West" (This sounds like the title of a book by Bernard Lewis--Is this like "Islam" and the "West"?)
Knowing their priorities: "Police in Tehran ordered to arrest women in 'un-Islamic' dress"
"Israeli shop opens only to women"
Vice Squad. (thanks Laleh)
"For most men, one wife is enough. But Rabbi Philip Sharp has one for every day of the week. They all live in a house outside Brighton with five children, three dogs and two horses." (thanks Laleh)

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

"The 'American Inquisition': In the past few months, Americans have been treated to the extraordinary spectacle of a U.S. president arguing for torture in the lofty staterooms of the U.S. government. Memos float around his Department of Defense, stressing that U.S. interrogators should cease their persecution if their victims come close to "organ failure." The world wants to know what is going on in the star chambers of secret U.S. prisons around the world. The U.S. administration scoffs. The Geneva Conventions are called quaint, and the court in The Hague, Netherlands, cannot touch us. Standards for war crimes and crimes against humanity are for non-Americans."
Qana: "Massacre in Sanctuary; Eyewitness" (thanks Amina)
There is nothing like the sophisticated and insightful anlaysis of foreign policy that I read in NYT and Washington Post. Here, WP attributes all the problems of Iraq to a family feud. OK.
Saudi Foreign policy has three foundations: 1) stay in power at all cost; 2) please the US no matter what; 3) feud with Qatar. When I read that Qatar is donating $50 million to Palestinians, I knew that Saudi government will follow, and with an amount exceeding that of Qatar. Typical.
"The United States emitted more greenhouse gases in 2004 than at any time in history, confirming its status as the world's biggest polluter. Latest figures on the US contribution to global warming show that its carbon emissions have risen sharply despite international concerns over climate change."
I am so glad that Lebanon does not have nuclear weapons. If Lebanon has nuclear weapons, Lebanonese would be: "Our nuclear weapons, are the best nuclear weapons there are. Our uranium is the best quality uranium. Our labs are the best labs." By the way, Lebanese newspapers today has a front page story about a certain Lebanese medical discovery that I am sure that no medical school in the US will ever hear about. I swear that I am not kidding when I say: that An-Nahar newspaper on average has a story once a year about a certain Lebanese who "discovered" a cure for AIDS or cancer, or BOTH. Kid you not.
2% of my amusement in life comes from LBC-TV's From Lebanon segment. It better continues, unendingly.
"America meets the new superpower"
This is a very long interview conducted with me by Palestinian novelist, Suheir Daoud. My Lebanonese "fans" will love its headline: "He feels more Palestinian than Lebanese."
In one day, Egypt and Jordan both discovered nepharious plots against "stability." US Congressional aid will follow soon.
"The High Court of Justice will allow the State of Israel to complete the construction of the separation fence surrounding Jerusalem, it emerged Wednesday." (Notice that it is a "fence" after all, according to Haaretz. If I hear one American liberal praise Haaretz for me one more time....I may start enriching uranium myself, in my kitchen, but for peaceful purposes, of course.)
You name any organization that the US government does not like, and the Jordanian mukhabarat will discover a plot by it in a day or two. PETA? The Jordanian government will discover a plot by Peta.
From an editorial in this week's Economist: "the new wall does not follow the old border: it swallows into Israel both the new Jewish suburbs Israel built in east Jerusalem after 1967 and most of the Arab city. When the wall is finished, and if its gates are closed, Arab Jerusalem will then be cut off from its hinterland in the West Bank."