Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Yesterday, the Sunni Mufti of Lebanon (a Hariri appointee) blasted the ruling government and accused it of "security terrorism." He said that Sunni detainees have been subjected to torture worse than Abu Graib. That was politically significant. Cracks in the ruling coalition are expanding. Today, typically, An-Nahar newspaper reported that a Lebanese physician was "voted" as the "best doctor" for bone disease in the world, no less. Where else would I find such news. Much to report, but little time. I know, I know. I said that before. But did I tell you about the loofa in Lebanon? Do you want to know? Inquiring minds don't want to know. Will poor people anywhere ever have a TV station to represent them? I will speak about The Bush Doctrine and the Lebanese Laboratory next week in Masrah Al-Madinah at 6:30PM (July 5th). A person in Lebanon who reads my blog was surprised when I told her that I don't write my long rants under drug influence. Are you sure, she seriously asked me?

Monday, June 26, 2006

The Yemeni president, `Ali `Abdullah Salih, finally compromised. The Yemeni dictator finally succumbed to "popular pressures" and agreed to serve for yet another term. I bet the UN Security Council will not meet, and will it not issue a special resolution against this extension of his term. I bet that Chirac, who received the son of the Saudi king in his palace 2 weeks ago and is willing to receive the pet of the Saudi king at short notice, will not throw a fit. The Yemeni president agreed to receive yet another 99% of people's vote in another fraudulent and sham election. As long as he gives US forces a free reign in Yemen, to shoot, capture, and kidnap, he will enjoy his dictatorship to the last day of his life. What a scene it was: to see this autocrat thanking the people for allowing him to oppress them. Is that a farce or is that politics as usual in the Arab world? And then there was that picture of Abu Mazen warmly receiving the Israeli leader in Jordan. Did you see that picture? Did you see him almost dancing on the bodies of dead Palestinian children, with the Jordanian king cheering him on? What a sight? This Abu Mazen who used the grieving Huda Ghalyah for a photo opportunity. That was the cheapest political stunt I have seen in years. You will NEVER meet a Palestinian who really likes Abu Mazen. I mean that. This is the first Palestinian leader since Hajj Amin Husayni who is not liked by a single Palestinian. He really is proving to be a more reliable puppet than Karzai, although the new Iraqi prime minister under-foreign-occupation is a strong second. And the Dalai Lama was there in Amman too. The Dalai Lama: another proof of the absurdity of the clergy, any clergy, especially his Hollywood version of it. And I read a long interview with Bashshar Al-Asad in Al-Hayat today: what discourse. He was only clear on his views on Lebanon: on every other issue he wanted it to have it both ways. He wants to help the resistance and the occupation in Iraq; he is for Oslo and against it; for Abu Mazen and for Hamas; for the King of Saudi Arabia and for Abu Qa`qa`ah; for the Jordanian King and for his critics. It was a lousy performance, I thought. The Syrian regime is a heavy burden for its allies, not to mention to its critics and dissidents. Today, I ran into the Head of the Labor Federation of Lebanon, Ghassan Ghusn. I could not hide my contempt and my strong opposition to him and to his "leadership". The Minister of Labor was praising him to me, and all I could say to Ghusn was: you made the labor movement into a stagnant movement, and you have been asleep for years, especially during the Hariri years. I was most upset. He was used by Hariri and the Syrian regime to tame and domesticate the labor movement of Lebanon, and therefore help impose Hariri capitalism on the country. The Lufa in Lebanon, I was thinking under the shower today, is not what the lufa is in US. The lufa here is wiry and rough: the way a lufa is supposed to be. In the US the lufa is too soft and almost velvet-like. That is NOT what a lufa is supposed to be. And then there is this Lebanese crook. He sells "herbal products" although I am told he brings barrels of "stuff" from China and repackages them here, adding some ingredients, mostly baba ghannuj and hummus. I saw him promote his products on NBN TV: I swear, he recommends the same solution for hemorrhoids and for dandruff. If it works for the head, it must work for the anus, he calculates. Much to say but alas little time. I have not even had a chance to take pictures. I must take the Hariri portraits, Kim-il-sung style. That has to be immortalized here. Is Ahmad Fatfat, our proud Minister of Ping Pong, still chaging public opinion in the US? Is it true that he now is a household name? Is it true that Fatfat is now ranked the "best minister" in the world? Let me know. And a cabdriver today--don't you love the cabdriver stories in foreign correspondents' dispatches?--informed me that cigarettes are not really bad for you. You see, it all depends on the brand, he explained to me. He, for example, smokes three packs of Gitane per day, but his lungs--his Lebanese doctor assured him--are better than the lungs of non-smokers. He said that in fact: smoking Gitane has been good for his health, his doctor told him. It has made his blood: thick and overflowing--whatever that means. He urged me to smoke Gitane. He in fact was insistent. I promised him to consider this very healthy proposal once I return to the US. Did I not tell you that a Lebanese "invents" a cure for cancer almost every year, and An-Nahar is there to report it.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Not much time to blog. Much to say, especially on the Lebanese Minister of Ping Ping and acting minister of Interior, Ahmad Fatfat. He said yesterday that when he was in America he spoke to
"the American public opinion." So I ask my American readers: how many of you knew that Mr. Fatfat was in the US? How many of you felt that he was speaking to you, heart-to-heart. Is Fatfat a celebrity in the US now? Also, he was invited for a tete-a-tete with Martin Indyk during his "security" trip. Did Fatfat think that Indyk represents US public opinion? I am speaking on Tuesday morning at UN in downtown Beirut at 9:00AM (Beirut time) (it will be my first talk in English in Lebanon, EVER), and speaking at Nadi As-Sahah on Wednesday at 7:00PM (I think or 7:30PM) Beirut time. I think I will also be interviewed on Al-Hadath program on New TV Wednesday, at 10:30AM Beirut time, I think. I ran into right-wing Lebanonese lawyer, Muhammad Mughrabi at the GYM today. I expected Human Rights Watch workers to be with him, holding his towel, beverage, and clean shirts.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Graham Allison and Taqiyyah; and the new Lebanonese secret chicken recipe. Yesterday, I attended the Lebanese Communist Party's rally in memory of George Hawi. The UNESCO hall was full, and tens of people, if not more, stayed outside. It reminds one to not categorize all people, any people; dissent and anti-conformity lives on, everywhere. Foucault noted somewhere in History of Sexuality that where there is power there is opposition. And there is opposition. I listened to the speech of the Jordanian Communist Party leader's speech. It was good. And then the secretary-general of the French Communist Party made a speech, and it only bitterly reminded you of the times when the French communists were a power to contend with. And then PLO's Sultan Abu Al-`Aynayn gave the most lousy speech: he even dared to claim that Fath leaders only negotiated in the open, and that Fath never recognized Israel, etc. As the lies accumulated, Samah wisely suggested that we leave, and we left, cursing Sultan Abu Al-`Aynayn and his opportunism. Hariri Inc freed him to use him against Hamas/Syria. Najah Wakim denied to me that he supported the arrests in Syria, and said that he will soon sign a statement against them. I urged him to make a special statement to denounce the arrests in Syria. I don't think he will. Al-Hayat reported on its first page a week ago that US AND Iraqi forces have arrested "anti-Iraqi" elements in Iraq, no less. I kid you not. Look it up. The foreign occupation army now determines who is Iraqi and who is not. What a time. I ran into an official of Human Rights Watch in Beirut. They plan to open an office here covering Syria and Lebanon. He told me that he is aware of my constant criticisms of Human Rights Watch and their love affair with right-wing Lebanoneeeese lawyer, Muhammad Al-Mughrabi. He authorized me to report that Human Rights will at last begin an investigation of attacks and murders of Syrians in Lebanon. If any of you have information, feel free to send to me, and I can forward. So much to cover and very little time. And then I get this from John in Tokyo: now, Graham Allison wants to pontificate on Shi`ite Islam. Have you noticed that almost all US academics, especially those who don't know a thing on the Middle East, are now posing as Middle East experts? You have to read what Allison has to say on Shi`ism and Taqiyyah, and he thinks he is being smart. Is Richard Nixon a Shi`ite by the way, because I remember him engaging in double and triple dissimulation during Watergate, or are Westerners genetically incapable of dissimulation? Wait, as a Shi`ite-born, does that I mean that I am dissimulating? What if I am dissimulating that I am dissimulating? And what if the last line was dissimulation? Or the last line now? That would confuse you all. And I can pretend to confuse you out of a genetic propensity to dissimulate? Mini-Hariri is in France. He cried today. He wanted to meet Gen. De Gaulle, but then found out that he is dead. But he really knew that Napoleon is dead. "I am not that stupid," he told his agitated advisors. A well-connected journalist just told me that Mini-Hariri asked for a complete list of names of the staff at An-Nahar and their affiliations. I visited the offices of Al-Akhbar newspaper: Joseph Samahah gave me a tour of the place, and I was very pleased with project. I am so eager for the launch, I told them. I don't eat meat, but I tried some shish tawuq with Avian flu flavor in Beirut. I was impressed. I found out that the Avian flu adds a crunchy flavor to the chicken. In Beirut, you have to pay extra for the Avian flue flavor of the chicken. They now call it the Lebanonese secret chicken recipe. I have to run now. Turn off the light after me. And remember that the Avian flu in Lebanon is superior to all other Avian flu cases anywhere. Why? Because this is Lebanon.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

I will be on NBN's Al-Malaf on Thursday evening (Beirut time). Much more to say, but there is alas little time. Anti-royal graffiti are appearing on Amman's streets, but erased by the secret police before dawn. Two main streets have been renamed after King and his wife--both are quite increasingly unpopular. An-Nahar reported that two streets vendors in Beirut tried to jump off the Rawshah cliff yesterday after being physically and verbally abused by Lebanese police. There are pictures: no time to link. Leave me alone. The homeland (and Lady Bishwat statue) is calling. And then Manar sent me this evidence of Lebanese genius.

Monday, June 19, 2006

From Lebanonesia With...ALARM. I have known this alleged country all my life, but I don't remember a time when the clerics, Sunni, Shi`ite, Christian, and Druzes, have exercised a more influential role in Lebanese politics and society. That is most alarming for me. If it is up to me, I would send all of them into exile, and force them read the speeches of Robespierre or the Collected Works of Anver Hoxa--(I can't believe that I own the collected works of the latter. I used to be fascinated by that bizarre tyrant). They deserve no less. I ran into a college friend the other day: he was a member of a radical anarcho-syndicalist group back then. He suggested, to my horror, that I meet with this right-wing awful liberal in Lebanon. When I expressed my utter disgust for that person and what he represents, he said: But what do we have. We have the "Chadors" on the other side. I said: Why does it have to be one or the other, Bush or Bin Laden? Why not neither? Should we not insist on neither? I went to the Art show in Jummayzah last night: I have never seen such a festival of kitsch, vulgarity, cliches, vapidness, mismatchness, conformity, and vertigo in my entire life. But rest assured that I will take some pictures for immortalization on this site before I leave. There was one Rafiq Hariri picture that will be posted on this site, with an angry rant. I can't even describe it for you. I told my friend that the painting was deliberately put for me to mock. Mini-Hariri toured Sunni neighborhoods yesterday; if you only could see how out of place he looked. Where is the Dorchester when you need it? Ahmad Fu'ad Najm, the Egyptian poet, was on Al-Arabiyya last week: he said that he is against "development." He said that development turned Arab people into "terrified rabbits." We need somebody to write a PhD dissertation on Shaykh Imam and Ahmad Fu'ad Najm. What a phenomenon. My favorite Najm poem was the one when wrote when Richard Nixon visited Cairo to escape the press scrutiny during Watergate. It goes: "You have honored us, o Nixon, with the visit, o the one of Watergate; the Sultans of ful and [olive] oil have made you a quite a fanfare [try to translate "'imah w-sima" into English]." My sister, Mirvat, accompanied him 2 years ago to the Sabra and Shatila camps and she tells me that people would walk behind him in awe. Banned everywhere, and celebrated everywhere. What a talent. His collected works are now available in Arabic. Let me report this again: nobody, NOBODY, watches Al-Hurra TV. I was told that people at Al-Hurra don't even watch Al-Hurra. The right-wing Lebanonese American zealot, Walid Ma`luf is visiting Lebanon. The papers don't know of his background, it seems. They don't know how he was a errands' deliverer for Doug Feith and company. An-Nahar reported two days ago--I am not making this up--that there is now an inoculation for cancer, and that it was based on an idea by Lebanonese doctor, Philip Salim. If I want to refute lies and fabrications in Lebanonesia, I would not have time to eat or drink, etc. I watched the Simpsons with subtitles in the GYM: they translated Maple Syrup as "local juice." They must have thought that maple was local. Tomorrow, An-Nahar will report that maple was invented by a Lebanese. Lady of Bishwat statue today dripped a gallon of hummus. Celebrations will ensue. So tell me: has Bush been making "progress in Iraq"? Have they been capturing "senior aides" to Zarqawi? A cabdriver told complained to me about the Iranian team in the World Cup. He was furious that, according to him, they sent men in their 30s? Did they send their nuclear reactor's scientists to play football, he asked me? Why would I know. What do I know. I am drenched in Hummus as we speak.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Letter from Lebanonesia: The Mother of All Miracles. There are less pictures of Rafiq Hariri in Beirut than a year ago. Did somebody realize that it was overdone and that people were getting sick, literally? Mini-Hariri is living in an island, and people cant even pass on the streets around his house. Yes, even the street on which the prime minister Fu'ad Sanyurah, lives is open to traffic. And will somebody soon give Fu'ad Sanyurah the Enemy of Poor People Award? He really deserves it. The Lebanese government should be brought down, but Hizbullah--their typical foolish calculations again--is keeping the government afloat. There are severe sectarian tensions--worse even than a year ago: that is what people would tell you. I spoke to my two nephews (one in junior high and other other in high school) separately, and they both reported that same things: that Shi`ite students rally behind Hizbullah, Sunnis behind Hariri, Druzes behind Jumblat, and Maronites behind either Ja`ja` or `Awn. Last week, a Sunni insulted Nasrallah, and a Shi`ite insulted Hariri, and there was open warfare on the school campus. Even people who are not religious are resorting to sectarian impulses, and are responding to what they think are sectarian provocations. What about leftists, I keep asking. There may be one or two but mostly it is about displaying Che's images on t-shirts. If you don't belong to sects you can't survive in this place. Edmonde Rabbath (author of the fine La formation historique de Liban politique et constitutionnel, essai de synthèse) used to say that in Lebanon: you cant be born, get married, or die unless you are part of a sect, now it is even worse. You need the sectarian membership to walk and talk. In the "service" (those who travel here know what I am talking about) today, I noticed a picture of Lady of Bishwat church. It described the church as `aja'ibiyyah--miraculous. So I asked the driver about the church. He said that Lady of Bishwat is the Mother of All Miracles. I asked--with my well-earned innocence--"But what kind of miracles"? "All miracles," he said, and then proceeded to tell me about this boy, "Muhammad"--notice that her miracles are spread across sectarian lines--who was handicapped but when he saw the statue in the church calling on him, he walked. He never needed crutches again. In London, I saw a car with Iran fans in the street: the kids inside had a huge flag of Iran hoisted on the car, and the word "Iran" embolzened on the flag, just in case you missed to identify the flag. I told a friend in London: You would never see that in US. Never. Hell, you would not see a car with the Frenchflagg in US. But then again: I am writing this from the capital of Middle East jingoism. So there. People react to Iran in the World Cup along sectarian lines here. For or against. I have to go now: the statue in the Church of Bishwat is calling on me.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Zarqawi's I-pod. Just wait. In no time, they will also dig out Zarqawi's own i-pod, in mint condition, from the under the rubble of the house, bombings by 2 F-16s notwithstanding. I hear that all the codes of the insurgency are on the i-pod, and that once US occupation gets a hold of it, US occupation in Iraq and Afghanistan will become smooth and enjoyable for all concerned. I hear that the location of Jimmy Hoffa's dead body is also on it too.
These are the only time when House of Saud feigns principleness: "Saudi Arabia Boycotts Award Sponsored by Beer Company"
A Syrian women, Ghufran Baghdadi (born in 1988), was found dead near Sidon. There were bruises and signs of physical abuse on her body.
"Those deaths went largely unnoticed in Sderot, as did the destruction of another Gaza family three weeks ago when an Israeli airforce missile attack on Islamic Jihad activists also wiped out three generations of one family. Among the survivors was three-year-old Maria Aman, who is paralysed from the neck down. Her uncle Nahed can only breathe with a respirator."
I have one question: who writes their scripts? I mean, really? Do they think that they are being smart? Or are they just too dumb to notice? "Mowafaq al-Rubaie, Iraq's national security adviser, said a memory stick, laptop and other documents had been found in the rubble of the house near Baquba after the US airstrike on Zarqawi, yielding "a huge treasure of information" about the terror network."
"I think there has been a substantial revival of interest in Marx in recent years, and this has been largely because what he said about the volatility and shape of capitalism was correct - even some business people now seem to recognise this. Marx is once again somebody that you can quote [outside of the US Angry Arab may add], and this in part is due to the end of the Cold War."
A short (and long) history of British anti-Semitism
Sheikh `Ali Al-Kurani: what have you been up to? I was reading about the demonstrations yesterday by a Shi`ite crowd in Basra. They attacked the Iranian consulate there. It started according to news report when Lebanese Shi`ite cleric, `Ali Al-Kurani, attacked and mocked Iraqi Shi`ite cleric, Mahmud Al-Hasani. He said, among other things, that Al-Hasani claims to communicate and drink tea with the 12th Imam of Shi`ism. I have not heard of Kurani in recent years. This Lebanese cleric was very active in Iraqi Shi`ite Da`wa Party, before fleeing Iraq back to Lebanon under Saddam's rule. In 1982, he was a key element of the Da`wah contingent that founded Hizbullah, and to my knowledge, wrote the first book ever on the party. He then left Lebanon under unknown circumstances, and has not played a role in Hizbullah for years.
"If the US were serious about democracy in the Middle East, it would be slashing its funding for the Mubarak dictatorship"
"Domestic Vilence: A Special Report"
"It is one of those issues many Jordanians prefer to sweep under the carpet. Cases of verbal, physical and even sexual assault of migrant workers at the hands of their employers are often dismissed by the general public and exacerbated by inadequate legal safeguards. Activists and legal experts tell Sheila M. Dabu that things won’t improve until the government starts building up and enforcing the law– and the public starts seeing foreign laborers as human." (thanks Shawna)
"The Iraq War as a Trophy Photo"
"The Transportation Ministry said yesterday it would install temporary X-ray scanning machines in the Kiryat Shmona airport, in an effort to calm public protests over its policy of barring Arabs from traveling on flights from the north to Tel Aviv. " (thanks May)
"a documentary called _Death Squadron: The French School_ (2003) "shows in great detail, members of the OAS [the French Secret Army Organisation; a sort of right wing, almost neo-fascist paramilitary in Algeria] and other members of France's elite torturers became special consultants in the exportation of systematic torture around the world - including to the military juntas in Argentina, Chile, and Brazil as well as to the American military at Fort Bragg in 1961, which was eager to learn the techniques of 'interrogation' from the French as it geared up for the impending war in Vietnam"" (Le Seur, Uncivil War, 2005: 290), (thanks Laleh)
Missing complexities in Arab politics and societies. You have to visit the Arab bookshops in London to see the complexities of Arab politics and society that often elude Western journalist and sometimes academic coverage of the region. There, you shall see books on Islam side by side with books of Arab erotica; propaganda books by Arab royalty, side by side with banned books by Arab dissident groups against Arab royalties. You will see DVDs on Islam or on Nasser, side by side with sleazy DVDs.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Gizelle Khuri, again. Some of you know by now that Khuri, the TV presenter of AlArabiyya TV is my least favorite media person, assuming that what she does enters into the realm of media. She, this former writer in the magazine of the Lebanese Forces militia, epitomizes in her personality and style everything that I so detest, dislike, and abhor about Lebanonese culture. Yesterday, her Islamophobia was visible on the air. After enjoying a delicious meal at Marouche restaurant in London (or one of them anyway as there are as many Marouche restaurants in London as there are "senior aides" to Zarqawi), I watched her Bil Arabi program in my hotel room. She interviewed the first female judge in Bahrain, Muna Al-Kawwari. At one point, she asked her: How do those [Muslim] religious people deal with you when they don't even look at you? Kawwari said: I dont know what you are talking about. I never had to deal with that situation, and this was never a problem. Khuri then dared to speak about the need for democracy in Bahrain. Of course, I am for the overthrow of every Arab regime--two times over or three--but Bahrain 100 years ago was ahead of where Saudi Arabia is today. But Kawwari, who handled Khuri very well, and showed how lousy she can be in her questions--at one point she asked her about a "report on the internet"--she must have disocvered the internet like Walid Jumblat--was, I have to say, so apologetic about the royal family of Bahrain, just as Khuri is apologetic by her silence about the Saudi royal family. She mentioned women's rights in Bahrain and Kuwait, but not in UAE or Saudi Arabia where they lag so far behind.
The committee of the families of Syrian "disappeared" people in Lebanon released a statement with some figures yesterday. It said that 377 Syrians in Lebanon (names given for all) were subject to a variety of attacks that included murder, beating, arrests, or robbery. Some 1079 Syrians are still missing in Lebanon. Enjoy your "Cedar Revolution," o Lebanonese.
House of Saud yesterday arrested 8,000 beggars in the city of Riyadh alone.
You better read this most critical analysis of the Palestinian situation by my dear friend, Joseph. It is titled The (Anti-)Palestinian Authority. For purposes of full disclosure: Joseph wrote this under duress, i.e. under tremendous pressures from me. After he shared with me his insights on the situation in a phone conversation, I kept nagging him and nagging him to write it. And I am glad to say that he more than exceeded my expectations.
I read, among other things, Time magazine and the Economist on the plane, in that order. It was odd. I felt as if I switched from a conversation with Tony Danza to a conversation with Arnold Toynbee. They both covered the Zarqawi story, and how different the coverage was. But that is not surprising at all, unless you don't read the Economist, the best magazine there is. I know, I know: many American liberals don't read it because it has a conservative libertarian line; others avoid it because of the title. I don't read their editorials; just go to the articles. The quality of Time magazine is worse than ever; notice that they write a story on Iraq, say, and all those who are quoted, by name or anonymous, are US officials. I also noticed that US correspondents in Iraq, or many of them, being sequestered in the Green Zone, engage in fabrications and fibs. I am so sure of that. The Time magazine correspondent in Baghdad mentioned, matter of factly, that he interviewed a certain Abu Mara or Abu Batata, the "commander" of Al-Qa`idah in Iraq. I kid you not. I like you did not even know he was talking about. Since they don't know the language, and since they don't travel unless in a convoy of US troops (and their indispensable bevy of assistant, translators, chefs, body trainers, barbers, and bodyguards) they are now reduced to making things up. Economist's article on zarqawi was as usual careful and thoughtful, and not entirely based on blind loyalty to the US propaganda version.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

"As the war in Iraq continues for a fourth year, the global image of America has slipped further, even among people in some countries closely allied with the United States, a new opinion poll has found."
A stooge or a puppet? This is the question. "Mr. Maliki, at 56 a newcomer to government office, appeared uneasy at times during the visit, smiling when he greeted Mr. Bush on his arrival in the palace rotunda, but otherwise looking mostly somber. One Iraqi official said the visit was a double-edged sword for Mr. Maliki — allowing Iraq's 25 million people to see that he enjoyed the personal backing of the American leader, but also inviting criticism from Iraqis who regard most of the politicians who have run for office under the American-sponsored elections as American stooges."
The highest Shi`ite and Sunni religious leaders in Lebanon met before the cameras today. They denied that there is a sectarian problem in Lebanon. That only proves one thing: that there is indeed a deep sectarian problem in Lebanon.
Yesterday, I turned to AlArabiyya TV to watch Palestinian developments and the station was leading the news with footage of the Saudi king dancing the `Ardah dance. I kid you not. And my hotel in London gets Alarabiyya but no aljazeera. I am suffocating.
Urban growth. (thanks Laleh)

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Follow-up to previous post: "Al Arabiya signs-up Abdullah Schleifer for top US role"
…off to Lebanon. I will return on July 10th. I will blog from there but without poetry or art. I will take pictures—as I did last year—and then post them upon my return. I will post my speaking engagements there on my site. I am speaking on June 29th (along with my colleagues/friends, Rania Masri and Ahmad Dallal) in Nadi As-Sahah, and speaking at the UN in Beirut on the 26th (the first morning session). I am also speaking on The Bush Doctrine in the Lebanese Laboratory at Masrah Al-Madinah. Details will follow. I am also speaking at Rashidiyyah refugee camp. Please keep me updated about Bush’s “progress” in Iraq. On Lebanese Airlines (it so bothers me that they still call themselves “Middle East Airlines) I always ask for a special Hummus meal.
Goya, Francisco, The Swing, 1787.
Lebanese political cartoonist Stavro Jabra (who headed the judges' team for a contest in political cartoons which I entered at the age of 13--I won a consolation prize) suggests in this cartoon that Bush visited Iraq to offer his condolences over the death of Zarqawi.
Heroin Addicts for Bush hold their first convention.
Al-Quds Al-`Arabi published the transcript of a meeting of Palestinian organizations in Damascus. You read it and think: blah, blah, blah, and more blah.
"Mourners carry a Palestinian boy who was killed in an Israeli airstrike Tuesday in Gaza City. Also among the dead were four Palestinian medics who had rushed to the scene from a nearby hospital after hearing the first of two blasts."
"'I saw my brother. I tried to wake him. He never woke'"
Lies of Israel exposed: "But the official interpretation was strongly challenged by a former Pentagon battle damage expert who has surveyed the scene of the beach explosion. He said yesterday that "all the evidence points" to a 155mm Israeli land-based artillery shell as its cause. Marc Garlasco, who worked in war zones including Iraq and Kosovo during his seven-year stint in the US Department of Defence, called for an independent investigation into the killings after concluding that shell fragments and shrapnel from the site, the size and distribution of the craters on the beach, and the type of injuries sustained by the victims made Israeli shelling easily the likeliest cause."
"A Lebanese man has confessed to assassinating a series of senior Hezbollah and Palestinian militants over a seven-year period on behalf of Israeli intelligence, the Lebanese Army said on Tuesday."

How ironic. The Israeli occupation military lied about the last Gaza beach massacre, and then went ahead and perpetrated yet another massacre.
Iraq is supposed to be "sovereign." And yet, a foreign leader (Bush), entered the country, and the head of the "executive branch" and the leaders of Iraq did not even know that this foreign leader is on their soil. Security, it was announced. And did you see the face of the prime minister-under-foreign occupation while meeting with Bush? He reminded me of this guy.
The book burners of Al-Azhar in Cairo have banned the Davinci Code: the book and the film.
Lebanese Army Intelligence has uncovered an Israeli intelligence network in Lebanon, and it is linked to series of bombings in Lebanon in the least several years. Yet, there is no mention of that in the Western media, and the Hariri media is pushing the news to its back pages.
No, AlJazeera. No, AlJazeera. I was most distressed to see the child, Huda Ghalyah (who lost her family before her eyes on the beach of Gaza due to Israeli occupation shelling), on AlJazeera. They had her on for a live interview. It was most displeasing; it was most distressing. She clearly and visibly is traumatized, and her accompanying psychiatrist, only confirmed that, although we did not all need to know more details. It was bad, very bad, journalism. She could not talk, beyond yes or no, and sometimes she would say nothing. She would just stare. This was not a proud moment, o Aljazeera. I know that the intentions may have been good, but a child was made to suffer more.
Hodgkin, Howard, Day Dreams, 1977-80.
A reader from Syria tells me that this site has been banned from Syria. Can my readers in Syria confirm this? Thanks.

Monday, June 12, 2006

"On Sunday, Colleen Graffy, deputy assistant secretary of state for public diplomacy, told the BBC the deaths were "a good PR move to draw attention". But yesterday the state department sought to distance itself from her remarks. "We would not say that it was a PR stunt," department spokesman Sean McCormack told reporters."
No peace with Zionism: "The [Israeli] army has dropped 6,000 shells since the beginning of April, claiming the lives of elderly farmers, children and women."
LBC-TV's idea of a "fair" debate. So LBC-TV had a debate yesterday. They had AEI's Danille Pletka on. And to represent the other point of view, they invited former Crown Prince of Jordan. LBC-TV lives up to the promise of Fox News' "fair and balanced."
Even the New York Times: "It is a place where secret tribunals sat in judgment of men whose identities they barely knew and who were not permitted to see the evidence against them. Inmates were abused, humiliated, tormented and sometimes tortured. Some surely are very dangerous men, committed to a life of terrorism and deserving of harsh justice. But only 10 of the roughly 465 men at the camp have been charged with crimes. The others, according to senior officers who served there, were foot soldiers of the Taliban or men who just happened to live in a country invaded by the United States after the 9/11 attacks.Inmates at Guantánamo Bay have tried seeking help from the American courts, and one case has reached the Supreme Court. But most of these appeals were thwarted by claims of national security."
Did you notice? US criticisms of Syrian human rights are inversely proportional to Syrian help of the American occupation in Iraq.
People talk about the numbers of newspapers in Iraq: but you have to read them to know. Basically, each faction has its "Ba`th propaganda newspaper."
Today in Iraq: US troops captured a "senior aide" to the dead body of Zarqawi.
Faruq Qaddumi's criticisms of Oslo are inversely proportional to the funds that he receives from the PA to his office.
Hariri deputy, Ghinwah Jallul left an official function in Beirut because the Hariri Mufti asked her to cover her hair, and she refused. She wondered why the Hariri Mufti does not ask the widow of Rafiq Hariri to cover her hair in his presence.
AlJazeera's official cleric, the demagogic Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qardawi, found the cause of AIDS. On his weekly program on AlJazeera, which is as interesting as Larry King Live on tape, he said that the cause of AIDS is simply inhiraf (deviance or delinquency).
There is nobody that I detest in Lebanese politics and culture more than Sa`id `Aq. He is the foremost "ideologue" of Lebanonese Hummus Myths. But, I have to admit, he is a great poet. Here is one: (alas I don't have time to translate):


ألعينيكِ تأنَّى وخطرْ
يَفْرُشُ الضَّوْءَ على التَّلِّ القَمَرْ
ضاحكاً للغصنِ، مُرتاحاً إلى
ضفَّة النَّهْرِ، رفيقاً بالحَجَرْ
علَّ عينيكِ إذا آنستا
أَثَراً منه عَرىَ الليلَ خَدَرْ
ضوّؤهُ إمّا تلفَّت ددٌ
ورَياحينُ فُرادَى وزُمَرْ
يغلب النسرينُ والفلَّ عسَى
تَطْمئنّين إلى عِطْرٍ نَدَرْ
مَنْ تُرى أنتِ إذا بُحتِ بما
خَبَّأت عيناكِ من سِرِّ القَدَرْ؟
حُلْمُ أيِّ الجنِّ؟ يا أغنيةًعاشَ من وَعْدٍ بها سِحْرُ الوَتَرْ
نَسْجُ أجفانكِ من خيطِ السُّهى
كُلُّ جَفْنٍ ظَلَّ دَهراً يُنتظرْ
ولكِ النسيانُ، ما أنتِ له
هو مَلهًى مِنْكِ أو مَرْمَى نَظَرْ
قبلما كُوِّنتِ في أشواقنا
سَكِرَتْ ممَّا سيُغْرِيها الفِكَرْ
قُبلةٌ في الظنِّ، حُسْنٌ مُغلَقٌمُشْتَهًى ضَمَّ إلى الصَّدْرِ وَفَرّ
وَقْعُ عينيكِ على نَجْمتنا
قِصَّةٌ تُحْكَى، وبَثٌ وسَمَرْ
قالتا: < ننظُرُ>، فاحْلَوْلَى النَّدَى
واسْتراحَ الظِّلُّ، والنُّورُ انْهَمَرْ
مُفْردٌ لحظُكِ، إنْ سرَّحتِهِ
طارَ بالأرضِ جَناحٌ مِنْ زَهَرْ
وإذا هدبُكِ جاراهُ المَدَى
راحَ كَوْنٌ تِلْوَ كونٍ يُبتكرْ!
Husam `Itani on Walid Jumblat's praise for the "virtues of imperialism."
You have to play this video-interview with `Abdul-Halim Khaddam--a staffer of Hariri Inc. First, his memory is quite impressive, and he tells an interesting story of the 1979 rift with Saddam. And secondly, and even if you don't understand Arabic, you have to play to see that the interviewer. Quite a character. You may be amused: call the children and the neighbors for this one. After Saudi government banned Khaddam from its media, Khaddam could only appear on this website.
The domestic component of the Bush Doctrine: "FBI statistics Monday confirmed what big cities like Philadelphia, Houston, Cleveland and Las Vegas have seen on the streets: Violent crime in the U.S. is on the rise, posting its biggest one-year increase since 1991."
Shi`ite Iraqi cleric, Iyad Jalal Ad-Din, has been selected by Al-Arabiyya TV as the spokesperson of all Shi`ites. While he has no support whatever in Iraq, he is an advocate of Bush. That qualifies him.
AlJazeera International. Abdullah Schleifer used to work for NBC News, and then taught for years journalism at AUC in Cairo. He was an American leftist who converted to Islam. Like many converts, he became a hardcore believer in his new faith. But in recent years, Sschleifer sounds has become a Muslim neo-conservative. I hear that he was made director of the AlJazeera International's Washington DC bureau.
In Angry Arab republic, all those words would be banned: martyr, freedom, liberty, "peace process," October victory, Jihad, fatwa, liberation, international legitimacy, civil society, reform, and transparency. Those who violate the ban will be forced to watch either 2 hours of Muhammad Hasanayn Haykal or 2 hours of Larry King LIVE.
Please, save us, we the taxpayers, our money. Close down Al-Hurra TV. Al-Arabiyya TV is doing the job, and House of Saud is footing the bills. Please?
I was thinking the other day: which current sitting Arab leader has the most blood on his hands? It is not easy, as there is stiff competition between them. But I would say that probably the Tunisian president has the dubious honor of having the most blood on his hands, especially given his long years of service in the secret police. Oh, he also just happens to be one of the US closest allies in the region.
So according to US media, it was one man, Abu Mus`ab Az-Zarqawi, who was preventing the US from enjoying a smooth and pleasurable occupation of Iraq. OK.
Human Rights Watch wants to know. Is Muhammad Mughrabi (the right-wing Lebanese Forces advisor/supporter during the Bashir Gemayyel years) OK? Is Muhammad Mughrabi (who received a special Human Rights Watch award a few years ago) eating healthy food? Is he working out? Is he sleeping 8 hours every night? Because if he is not, Human Rights Watch, which have not been noticing human rights violations in Lebanon, from the prison riots in Zahlah to the murder and harassment of Syrian workers in Lebanon, will take a stand. Human Rights Watch's new motto is: Human Rights Watch: Working for the Human Rights of Muhammad Mughrabi.
"Human Rights First Calls Detention Center Policy an Invitation to Disaster"
Who writes those propaganda talking points? Who comes up with this? "The suicides of three detainees at the US base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, amount to acts of war, the US military says." (thanks Nir)
"Last month, we learned that horrific sweatshops in Jordan were making garments for retailers like Wal-Mart. It turned out that the workers in those sweatshops were not Jordanian but had been flown in from lower-wage countries like Bangladesh and China. The sweatshops were in Jordan for only one reason: to earn duty-free entry to our market under the United States-Jordan trade deal. These sweatshops did nothing for the Jordanian people, nor for the Bangladeshi and Chinese workers, who were forced to work 20-hour shifts, were frequently beaten and cheated even out of their miserable wages. The only ones who benefited were the foreign sweatshop owners and United States retailers."
"8th Hole, Pebble Beach," by Linda Hartough.
Full text: "Law Enforcement and Arab American Community Relations After September 11, 2001: Engagement in a Time of Uncertainty"
"British police criticized over 'bungled' counterterrorism raid: Muslim groups protest 'rising Islamophobia' as government admits to erosion of community trust."
Rules of massacres: "Attorneys for Marines being investigated for possible war crimes in the deaths of 24 Iraqis in Haditha said Sunday that their clients did nothing wrong and were following the military's rules on how to combat armed insurgents hiding inside homes."
Sometimes I don't understand `Azmi Bisharah. Not only does he refuse to criticize any Arab government by name, and continues to be close to the Syrian regime, but today he paid a visit to mini-Hariri. Why?
Reform in Saudi Arabia: "Saudi Arabia beheaded a man for murder Monday, the kingdom's second execution this year, the Interior Ministry said."
""America is with the Shiites in Iraq and against the Shiites in Lebanon, with the Sunnis in Lebanon and against the Sunnis in Iraq and Palestine. It is against the Shiites in Iran. Where is America?" Shaaban asked. "It needs Einstein to resolve it."" (thanks Ashraf)
"In prison in Jordan, back in the days when he was a mafiosi rather than a mahdi, Zarqawi would drape blankets around his bed, curtains that would conceal him from his fellow prisoners, a cave--a Bin Laden cave--from which he would emerge to stroke or strike the men in his cell. Possessive of his wife, he left her with so little money that she had to go out to work in his native Zarqa. When his mother died, Zarqawi sent no condolences."
"A controversial UN report that has been shelved for 18 months names and shames leading Afghan politicians and officials accused of orchestrating massacres, torture, mass rape and other war crimes."
"A man wanting a son reportedly forced his wife into 10 abortions in 23 years. Dhanvanti More, of Mumbai, who has four daughters, told the Hindustan Times that each time she became pregnant her husband arranged an ultrasound test to see if it was a boy. A court ordered the man detained on charges of harassment and forcing abortions. Ms More filed a complaint after her husband married a second woman and had a son."
A what "unto the nations"? "Doctors at Kaplan Hospital in Rehovot and Harzfeld Geriatric Hospital in Gedera have carried out dozens of illegal experiments on hundreds of patients in their 90s and older, a Health Ministry inquiry committee has recently found. The initial, unofficial results of the inquiry are being published here for the first time."
Even the New York Times is skeptical: "Chief among them was how Mr. Zarqawi, the terrorist leader killed Wednesday in the airstrike, could have survived for even a few minutes after the attack, as American officers say he did, when everything else around him was obliterated. Concrete blocks, walls, a fence, tin cans, palm trees, a washing machine: everything at the Hibhib scene was shredded or blown to pieces. It seemed puzzling, too, given the destruction and the condition of the other bodies, how Mr. Zarqawi's head and upper body — shown on televisions across the world — could have remained largely intact."
"Taliban Surges as U.S. Shifts Some Tasks to NATO"
"These days, you also seem down on Israel.
I am very critical of Israel, but since I don't live there, I don't feel that I should be particularly vocal in my criticisms.
Do fellow philanthropists ever criticize you for not extending your charity to Israel?
Not to my face. My foundation actually supports the rights of the Arab citizens in Israel."

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Voice of the...Secret Police, from Amman. Jordanian public security department is launching its own radio station--FM no less. Start dancing.
Escher, Maurits Cornelis, Hell (copy after a scene by Hieronymous Bosch), 1935.
Daniel Pipes finds an Arab he can like: "There are positive examples. The ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Muhammad Bin Rashed Al Maktoum, has recently come out with a book titled My Vision, for instance. He's of note, because he actually achieved something. He stayed away from ideology and built an economic success story. He did this through intelligence and good practices."
""Hadil Ralia, the 7-year-old girl who lost her parents and five of her brothers in Friday’s Gaza beach explosion, [NOTICE THAT THIS ISRAELI newspaper calls ISRAELI SHELLING "EXPLOSION"] tells Ynet, “I want my mommy and daddy.”"
I saw footage of a demonstration by Israeli communists against Israeli shelling of Palestinian civilians on the Gaza beach. Those Israeli "peace" activists could be counted on the fingers of two hands. If I hear one more Americal liberal talking about the Israeli "peace movement."

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Make no mistake about it: the conflict between February 14th Movement and the March 8th Movement in Lebanon can't be categorized in terms of right versus left. None of the two sides is associated with the Left. In fact, the Hizbullah Minister in the cabinet is implementing a lousy privatization of his own ministry. The Lebanese Communist Party is still taking a nap; a very very long nap.
"That account was disputed in a village north of Baghdad, where Iraqis said American commandos killed five civilians in a Friday morning raid. In Ghalibiya, near the scene of Mr. Zarqawi's death, a local Iraqi interviewed by telephone said American commandos dressed in black had raided the hamlet around 4 a.m. The Iraqi, a farmer named Mustafa Muhammad, said a group of local Iraqis, standing guard to protect their predominantly Sunni village from Shiite death squads, fired their guns into the air. "They thought the Americans were a death squad, dressed in black," Mr. Muhammad said. The American commandos threw a hand grenade in response, he said, killing five villagers. "The people were saying that the Americans were looking for Zarqawi loyalists," he said. Mr. Muhammad said a group of American soldiers wearing regular Army uniforms came to Ghalibiya later in the day to apologize. They promised to provide compensation for the dead Iraqis, he said."
For the history books of Arab-Israeli conflict.
Watch Hadil, and remember who killed her family. Always remember.
This is Zionism. No peace with Zionism, ever. "Seven-year-old Hadeel Ghalia was recovering from shrapnel cuts yesterday, still unaware that her mother, father, baby brother and three other siblings were killed in an Israeli shelling attack which could bring Hamas's 15-month informal ceasefire to an end."
Globalization: The Egyptian foreign minister called Israeli terrorist shelling of civilians: "excessive."
No peace with Zionism: "Eyewitnesses reported that a barrage of shells landed on the northern coast of the Gaza Strip on Friday at approximately 5:15 P.M. local time, causing the deaths of seven members of the Ghalia family and injuring close to 40 others, among them many children as well as five other members of the Ghalia family. Ayham Ghalia, 20, told Haaretz that, initially, a hollow shell landed almost 300 meters away from the family, causing a loud noise which prompted beachgoers to begin to flee the scene. Ghalia's family, however, did not manage to run away in time. "Suddenly, an explosive shell landed on us and his us directly," Ghalia said. "I got up and I couldn't believe it. Body parts were [flying] in every direction. My sister's hand was dismembered. My father was already dead, lying face down on the sand." One of the television cameras at the scene shot footage of seven-year-old Huda Ghalia running in the sand in search of a family member who was still alive. Upon discovering her father's dead body, she screamed: "My father is dead, my father is dead."
The Brown University student who was kidnapped in Nablus in Palestine was allegedly kidnapped by a gang of Muhammad Dahlan.
Under this picture, the New York Times publisehd this caption: "A girl wept Friday on a Gaza beach after what apparently was an errant Israeli shell killed seven people, five of them members of a family." Notice that the New York Times volunteers a cover story for the murder of the civilians.
"the intelligence stations that the Jordanians have, secretly and recently, been allowed to set up in Iraq itself."
"Perhaps most radically, Ferguson concludes that to see the 20th century as the triumph of the West, or the “American Century”, with its long, irreversible glide into liberal democratic capitalism (vide Francis Fukuyama’s “the end of history”), is “fundamentally to misread the trajectory of the past hundred years”. What he sees is a reorientation of the world towards the East, which redresses a balance between West and East that had been lost in the four centuries after 1500."
Treasure Trove Update: "Some of them, Caldwell said, were related to what he had called a "treasure trove" of information recovered from the bombed house."
"When U.S. forces arrived, they took the man aside, Mohammed said, and kept asking him his name. When he did not respond, the soldiers kicked him and hit him, Mohammed said, until his nose began to bleed."
The sectarianism of the Lebanese Maronite Patriarch is so extreme that today he complained that some Christians have sold "their lands." What if they sold their lands to other Christians, o Maronite Patriarch?
The Report of Brammertz. If you did not read it, I shall summarize. First, again, there is such a difference of style between Brammertz and Mehlis. The former is more cautious and careful, and certainly more professional. In the case of Mehlis, he was willing to report any rumor and any speculation provided it was incriminating to the Syrian government. I mean, if a falafil vendor would tell him that I once saw the truck in question roaming the streets of Beirut, and that Bashshar was driving it, he would include it in the report. In this report, Brammertz is saying: I don't know. I still don't have a clue. And I need another year, maybe another decade. But please, wish me luck.
Dubuffet, Jean, Dhotel nuance d'abricot, 1947.
"The hardest hit in the Israel Defense Forces artillery strike on a Gaza beach Friday was the Ghalia family, which lost six members, among them the father, one of his two wives, an infant boy and an 18-month-old girl. Less than two years ago, four members of the family were killed when IDF shell hit the family farm in the northern Gaza town of Beit Lahia. The military had been targeting the area in response to Palestinian mortar fire.* Ali Ghalia, a Palestinian farmer, had taken his two wives and nine children on a trip to the beach, and the family was enjoying a picnic when the IDF artillery shell hit them."
*Notice that whenever Israelis kills Palestinian civilians, Haaretz manages to sneak in a sentence or more to justify the killing. If I hear one more American liberal praise Haaretz to me...
Bush Doctrine Update: "Fall of Mogadishu leaves US policy in ruins"
"A barrage of Israeli artillery shells rained down on a busy Gaza beach yesterday, killing seven Palestinians, three of them children. The attack put further strain on the 16-month truce between Israel and the governing Hamas movement. Witnesses described several explosions that also injured dozens of other people who lay on the beach, screaming and pleading for help. Some ran into the sea for fear of more shells hitting the sands at Beit Lahia, in the north of the Gaza strip."

Friday, June 09, 2006

"His stature was helped by the Americans, who found it convenient to have a central figure to blame. In reality, however, it is far more complicated than that. For many months Iraqi insurgents had been complaining about Zarqawi's techniques. On the one hand they needed him for the financial support he was able to provide and his extensive network of contacts in the jihadi world, but on the other they blamed him for bringing the wrath of the Shia militias by targeting the Shia community."
"Afghan Corps Faces A Resurgent Taliban"
This is a sociological examination of Iraqi clans and their relationship with Abu Mus`ab Az-Zarqawi.
When you watch the Israeli terrorist butchery in Palestine, you think: what is the value of democracy. What does democracy do to a people (starving) under occupation? If anything democracy can be a burden for a people under occupation, especially when the likes of Muhammad Dahlan are running around fomenting a civil war.
I am so distressed over Saudi control over Arab media. I am seriously thinking about launching an Arabic internet-based newspaper-collective based on volunteers-correspondents around the world. More later.
A Palestinian holding a key to his house which is stolen from him by guiltless Israeli occupiers.
Tell that to Darfur groupies: "Israel imprisons Darfur refugees: Jewish state hit for not helping genocide survivors"
This will be used against Gaza children in the future: "While restrictions have been placed on Israel's participation in the development of a futuristic American stealth fighter jet, the Defense Ministry is currently rebuilding a "relationship of trust" with the US and planning to learn more about the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF), a senior ministry official said Thursday."
Dissent in Fanaticism Inc? I read today the statement by `Abdullah Rashid Al-Baghdadi who heads Council of Shura of Mujahidin. Again, it raised my suspicions just as the statement by `Abdur-Rahman Al-`Iraqi did. There is no praise for Zarqawi in that statement either. Something is going on. They may have gotten rid of him, just as `Abdullah `Azzam was killed in Afghanistan, and nobody knows by whom. After the last clowning-video by Zarqawi, I can see why his comrades wanted to get rid of him.
I am so glad that the biggest Tabbulah dish was made in..Palestine and not Lebanon. I prefer Palestinian Hummus over Lebanese Hummus, any day.
Commenting on Israeli crimes in Gaza, puppet President Abu Mazen wondered "why Israel does this." The reason why you don't know the answer to the question is the reason why you are the occupation puppet that you are, o Mahmud Abbas.
Is there a way I can convince governments, in the East and the West, to stop lying to me. I just don't like it. I would really appreciate if they stop. Like when they claim, for obvious silly propaganda reasons, that the "Iraqi police" was the first to arrive on the scene (of the house were Zarqawi was killed). First to arrive on the scene? F-14s were in the air, and US Special Forces were on the ground surrounding the town. Who are you lying to?
I read such crazy analysis of the Middle East in US media and in popular books. I mean, I have read over the last few days that Abu Mus`ab Az-Zarqawi is simultaneously linked to the Iranian regime, Saddam's regime, and the Syrian regime. Who writes those talking points? Is that you Elliot Abrams?
The well-informed Qasim Qasir (who writes for the Hariri rag Al-Mustaqbal but I will not reveal his private views) reports about a rapprochement between Ayatollah Muhammad Husayn Fadlallah and the Iranian regime. The new Iranian ambassador in Lebanon will even pray in Fadlallah's mosque.
An American official tells the Hariri rag correspondent in Washington, DC that what was reported in a recent congressional hearing regarding Syrian Chemical weapons is not true because "Syria is technologically and scientifically backward."
In a letter to the Syrian president, Hariri prime minister offers praise for Hafidh Al-Asad.

This is Zionism. Israeli occupation troops celebrated the World Cup yesterday in the best way they know how; by shelling civilians in Gaza. And after this latest Israeli terrorist shelling, the spokesperson of the US Department of State issued a statement which included the following: "We call on the Palestinian Authority to prevent all acts of terrorism."
Shi`ite fanatical militias in Iraq continue their attacks on Palestinians. Just yesterday, a mother and her son were killed. The father of the fatwas, Grand (not really) Ayatollah Sistani remains silent.
This is Zionism. Hadil's father was murdered by Israeli occupation forces.
"Despite the high levels of violence and the fact that we cannot yet say that the back of the insurgency has been broken, I believe that ultimately history will look kindly upon the U.S. democratization project in the region." In fact, based on this, I so nominate Makiya to be part of the Iraq "experts" invited to the Oval Office to tell the president what a great job he has been doing. But look at his racist explanation of why things went wrong in Iraq. According to the architect-turned professor of Middle East studies (having traveled to Israel and showered praise on Zionist occupation), it is all the fault of the Iraqi people. You see: "The people of Iraq emerged into the light of day in a daze." But why can't we say the esteemed "expert" is also in "a daze" too. And hear him express his firm belief in foreign occupation of "his country" although in his book, Cruelty and Silence, he stated that the happiest day of his life was when he obtained his British citizenship. I expect him in his next book to say that the happiest day of his life was when he obtained his US citizenship. "Occupation is a sensible temporary solution to the problem of government for peoples who have been defeated." Imagine somebody advocating that "his people" be occupied. (thanks Nir)
"PHILLIPS: First reaction to the capture of Zarqawi. From what I understand, you think we're going a bit overboard with this coverage and he's not as big a fish as everyone is making him out to be?
ROSEN: He certainly was a symbol. However, Zarqawi was, in a way -- the myth of Zarqawi was an American creation. In the beginning of the insurgency, the American's government, the American military, wanted to create the impression that the insurgency was foreign- dominated, was not a popular Iraqi movement. So they blamed almost every attack on Zarqawi, creating this myth of Zarqawi that then encouraged Arabs throughout the region to go join his cause.
But, in truth, Zarqawi and his group of foreign fighters were a very small proportion of the resistance of the insurgency. They were, of course, responsible for some terrible attacks. But the dynamics in Iraq and the civil war is going to persist no matter who is killed, because this is
conflict between the Shia government, the Shia population, and the Sunni population at this point." (thanks Nir)
Al-Arabiyya standards of journalism. AlArabiyya TV acts like the official outlet of the US government and its wars. On the From Iraq program, the right-wing Elie Naquzi even congratulated the US ambassador in Iraq for killing Zarqawi. Would an Al-Arabiyya person ever dare congratulate, say, a Palestinian for killing an Israeli terrorist?
So US commanders in Iraq claim that US military has infiltrated the "inner circle" of Zarqawi. Jordanian officials also claim to have penetrated the "inner circle" of Zarqawi. And Iraqi government's Muwaffaq Ar-Rubay`i also claimed on Al-Arabiyya TV the the Iraqi government has infiltrated the "inner circle" of Zarqawi. All of them are lying, of course. There was no infiltration. Somebody tipped them to get the bounty, as was the case for Saddam.
Those Arab and Muslim organizations in America. I mean, do they speak for any one or anything other than Saudi oil money? Really. I was looking at the program of the ADC convention. It reads like a celebration of FBI and Saudi Arabia combined. Did you not like the recent ADC event when Al-Walid Bin Talal gave them a check and they gave him an award in return. How nice. ADC was bad, and only got worse. In the past, at least Edward Said would be the keynote speaker, and last year a Homeland Security Official gave the keynote, and this year it is none other than the Saudi Ambassador--"former" friend of Bin Laden. And notice that Aramco will get an award, and that "the Friend in government award will go to Daniel Sutherland of the Dept of Homeland Security." How nice. And then, I read the more dumb Muslim Public Affairs Council. They asserted that Zarqawi's death may be a "turning point" for what? And then they politely said: "In its execution of military and intelligence operations, U.S. forces and officials must be sensitive to the impact of Iraqi civilian deaths on our nation's credibility with the Iraqi people and the Muslim masses." You see what they are saying? That the killing of Iraqi civilians--they did not dare use the word killing--is not bad in itself but that it is bad PR for the troops and the glory of Empire. I am more likely to join the National Potato Association than any of the Muslim or Arab American organizations.
Caillebotte, Gustave, Perissoires, 1878.
Zarqawi Media Week: I was on the road today so I was exposed to US media coverage of Zarqawi’s killing. Some of the “experts” they have on speak about a region—the Middle East—that I can’t even recognize from their analysis and generalization—and I am supposed to be a student of the region’s politics and society. The media out of ignorance and political subservience are so eager to hand deliver a political victory to Bush. You hear them talking about Zarqawi and you think that they are talking about Nasser. They talk about him as if he moved millions, or commanded thousands. This was a head of a gang, after all. The only book that really gives the real and accurate portrayal of him is the Arabic biography by Fu’ad Husayn although the latter is at times either scared or impressed by him. But he was never an ideologue of any sort, not even for the fanatical groups. Only Mary Anne Weaver in the Atlantic talks about the exaggeration of his role, even in Iraq. And Megan Stacks talks about him being more of a symbol than sweeping leader. And for years his gang did not even “qualify” to join Al-Qa`idah, so let us not be swept away with this frenzied coverage as much as the Bush administration is encouraging it with the leaks—there are good leaks and bad leaks, you know. In fact, I argued yesterday that the Iraqi insurgency will likely benefit from the death of Zarqawi. I should add that Al-Qa`idah may also very well benefit from the death of Zarqawi too. This man (especially with his graphic videoed butchery and his blatant calls for the murder of Shi`ites) was an embarrassment even to Al-Qa`idah’s image and propaganda, and to its operational capabilities. He clearly fell in love with the cameras and may have taken risks in that regard. His clowning-with-guns video may have helped in bringing about his demise. He was too showy and too publicity seeking—especially recently—for an organization that cultivates utmost secrecy. In fact, I shall raise this question: did Al-Qa`idah bring about his end? Did they deliberately betray him to put their own man in his place? And the letter yesterday by Abu `Abdur-Rahman Al-`Iraqi—his deputy—was notable for its rhetorical restraint. The statement—brief by the standards of the long-winded world of those groups—only spoke of his “good trace” in forming the Council (of “shura al-mujahidin). That was it. And Al-Qa`idah, while blatantly anti-Shi`ite, keeps its anti-Shi`ite bigotry out of its public rhetoric. And the speeches of Dhawahiri and Bin Laden steer away of it, for tactical purposes no doubt. An-Nahar’s Sahar B`asiri suggested that the killing of Zarqawi may be a result of Iranian help, but I doubt that personally. Less than 10% of attacks in Iraq are by the foreign groups, and Zarqawi does not control all of those groups. So it is some fraction of the 10%. From my visit in Lebanon last year, I came back with the firm belief that the Ba`th (or various sections of the Ba`th) is in charge of the insurgency in the country, and they are not in any way under the command of the Bin Ladenites who view them as infidels even if they may cooperate on some tactical or logistical matters. So the Ba`th may now feel free of this bloody stigma to pursue its own agenda. And who knows? Attacks on occupation troops without the car bombs may bring about more public support and sympathy especially that there are no signs that Bush is “making progress” in Iraq, except in the minds of those “experts” that Bush invited into the Oval Office. Is it not funny that Bush only invited “experts” who already agreed with him? I mean, what kind if new insights or advise can they bring when his advisors knew that those experts already support Bush and think that he is doing a great job? An American reporter was talking about the opinions of Iraqis today. But she was honest: she talked about “Iraqis I saw in the Green Zone.” I kid you not. She said that they seemed happy. She said that one Iraqi, in the Green Zone no less, told her: “Zarqawi. Boom. Boom.” That must have been insightful. She reported it after all. But then I was thinking: in every Middle East country were Western reporters report, they all operate out of a “Green Zone.” They all live and operate within a very small vicinity of the most Westernized section of the capital. I mean, how many of the Western reporters in Beirut know of the Southern Suburbs, or live there? It was amazing how you see different images on Arab TVs: even on Al-Arabiyya TV, the unofficial successor to Al-Hurra TV—Hurra what? On Arab TV, there were reports of support and sympathy among some elements of the population. But how could anybody see anything positive about Zarqawi, except those who only care about his anti-US message, although he has killed mostly Muslims, and mostly civilians. And is that Hamas statement mourning him accurate? I wanted to wait to see if this was an Israeli propaganda stunt. I also heard Sen. John (Mc)Wayne saying that Zarqawi wanted to “destroy America” and the West, no less. Was Zarqawi really planning to send his submarines and fighter jets against the US? That is scary. Jordanian Mukhabarat was bragging about “their role” although the Iraqi prime minister-under-foreign occupation denied that role yesterday. I heard that today and thought that the current king is far less intelligent than his father. His father kept those things in secret. He would not have bragged: this one is even leaking to the press the news of Fursan Al-Haqq (a special force that is managed by Jordanian Mukhabarat to track enemies of the US in Iraq). That was dumb too, but I want all Arab leaders to be dumb. Maybe that would undermine the longevity of their rule. Zarqawi’s fans and supporters in Lebanon are also funded by Hariri Inc (and by Najib Miqati). I heard that they are in mourning. Zarqawi has been killing innocent civilians in Iraq, but so has US troops and Shi`ite fanatical militias. I have been receiving information on the persecution and even murder of Palestinians in Iraq at the hands of the Badr militia. And was Israel the first country to use fighter jets as a weapon for assassination? It seems that this is now popular. I read that a woman and a child were also killed in the bombing. But don’t shed tears. I also read that the child was a “senior aide” to Zarqawi. Six other “senior aides” to Zarqawi were also killed. If I count the US news coverage of “senior aides” of Zarqwi, it would appear that Zarqawi’s army is equal in size to the Chinese Army. I read the column by `Abdul-Bari `Atawn today: and he is quite popular in the Arab world though his frequent media appearances on AlJazeera. But he could not get himself to say one negative word—not one—about Zarqawi. Why? He even spoke of his “courage.” But even the Islamist leader in Lebanon, Fathi Yakan (a fan of Bin Laden and founder of Al-Jama`ah Al-Islamiyyay) criticized Zarqawi in the piece in the Washington Post. I was watching the mourning tent of Zarqawi’s family in Jordan—it had the banner of a “wedding of martyrdom”. I am sure that half of the people in attendance were mukhabarat. We used to say that in every Abu Nidal’s cell: half were Jordanian mukhabarat and the other half were Mossad. And then, perhaps to provide me with materials for my blog, one US commander bragged about “a treasure trove” of information found on Zarqawi, or presumably in the rubble after the two bombs were dropped. But was this not the same “treasure trove” that was found in Saddam’s briefcase? See the archives for that magical briefcase. What kind of data was in it, and did help the US to end the insurgency then? And why do the media keep speaking about the “skill” and “effectiveness” of US military and intelligence when this capture, or bombing, was based—as it was in the case of Saddam’s capture—on a tip motivated by desire for the bounty. But if the tipster was a member of Zarqawi’s group, he would not get the money. Would US money go to Al-Qa`idah member? That would be illegal. On some Arabic channels the news from Iraq was not all about Zarqawi: it was also about bombings and killings and occupation of Iraq. All that is missing from US coverage. Bush scored a political victory, in their estimation. The news also covered the Israeli murder of Jamal Abu Samhadanah. I bet that the Dahlan gangs are providing the Israeli with “treasure trove” of intelligence on all Palestinian leaders and members. Is that not what they are for and why they are fully funded and equipped while the Palestinians are starving? And Al-Quds Al-`Arabi noted that the Iraqi prime minister-under-foreign occupation did not know of Zarqawi’s killing until 14 hours later, and this explains why he referred to the killing as “today” while it was really yesterday. Is it not hilarious or rather annoying when governments under foreign occupation like to act sovereign or independent? I mean, the driver of the secretary of the chef of the deputy US ambassador in Iraq has more power than the so-called prime minister. And my fears have been confirmed: Israel will increase its killing of Palestinians during the World Cup. The Arab masses now enter the “sleep of the cave people”, as we say in Arabic. The Arab masses don’t even seem to notice the daily murder of Palestinians anymore, and don’t even notice the starvation of the Palestinians people at the hands of Israel, US, EU, Arab governments, and UN. And US Special Forces had the house in which Zarqawi was located surrounded. So why did they not do the job of capturing him or even killing him? Why did they need fighter jets, I wonder? Are they not supposed to be the best of the US armed forces? And this blow up posters of pictures of dead people: do they not violate the Geneva Convention? But do the Geneva Convention apply to the only super power? In fact, in the case of Saddam’s sons, `Uday and Qusay—oh, sorry, according to common US pronunciation it should be spelled as Quuuuuuuuusaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaayyy—their faces were so brunt and actually destroyed that US troops brought in plastic surgeons and make up artists to reconstitute their faces for the public pictures. In fact, I read that the plastic surgeons did such good jobs that the one we see as `Udayy was in fact Quuuusaaaaaaaaayyy, and vice versa. It is nice to be a power that adheres to no international rules, norms, or laws, and I am not talking about Israel here, although Israel is also in that special status. I bet that since I started writing this a “senior aide” to Zarqawi has been captured or killed.
"Muslim women do not think they are conditioned to accept second-class status or view themselves as oppressed, according to a survey released Tuesday by The Gallup Organization."

Thursday, June 08, 2006

"When Children Are 'Collateral Damage'"
Do you see why US Congress finds Egyptian dictatorship to be cute and adorable? "Egyptian police shot and killed a man attempting to illegally cross the border into Egypt from Israel, security sources said on Thursday. The sources said the man had Bedouin features and wore clothes worn by Bedouin in the Sinai Peninsula, but carried no papers that could properly identify him. Police shot the man dead after he tried to run, the sources said."
""Every Israeli must support us; they must go the Western Wall and pray for us. Miami Heat is no less Israeli than Maccabi. This is also a group with Israeli ownership in which many Americans play.""
"New Scientist has discovered that Pentagon's National Security Agency, which specialises in eavesdropping and code-breaking, is funding research into the mass harvesting of the information that people post about themselves on social networks. And it could harness advances in internet technology - specifically the forthcoming "semantic web" championed by the web standards organisation W3C - to combine data from social networking websites with details such as banking, retail and property records, allowing the NSA to build extensive, all-embracing personal profiles of individuals."
"The CIA employed Syria as a contractor for detention and torture of Al Qaida suspects, a report said."
"(It was disclosed earlier this year that the military had launched a psychological campaign to magnify [Zarqawi's] role.)"
The biggest Tabbulah plate in the world is...Palestinian. And Hariri rag is not pleased. (thanks Hassan)
I wrote a week ago about the Institute for Gulf Affairs. Its director left me a phone message challenging me to a debate on AlJazeera. Tell him I accept.
Who would have guessed? While people are scratching their feet in bewilderment, right-wing (and proud holder of a Western name having dropped the Lebanese part of his name) (but fully Lebanonese) Michael Young solves US problems in Iraq. Here, he suggests that the answer (or one of them) is to send more US troops. OK. Michael Young. Keep offering advise to Bush. (thanks Manar)
Intense "liberation": "The women of Basra have disappeared. Three years after the US-led invasion of Iraq, women's secular freedoms - once the envy of women across the Middle East - have been snatched away because militant Islam is rising across the country. Across Iraq, a bloody and relentless oppression of women has taken hold. Many women had their heads shaved for refusing to wear a scarf or have been stoned in the street for wearing make-up. Others have been kidnapped and murdered for crimes that are being labelled simply as "inappropriate behaviour". The insurrection against the fragile and barely functioning state has left the country prey to extremists whose notion of freedom does not extend to women."
A what "unto the nations"? "A recent Army Radio investigation found that Nazareth student Wasim Kanaza was refused employment at three separate Arcaffe branches while reporter David Glick was hired using Kanaza's resume."
"The deputy secretary-general of the United Nations was last night accused of making "a very, very grave mistake" after calling the Bush administration hypocrites who were feeding a right-wing anti-UN frenzy in middle America. Washington's ambassador to the UN responded with undisguised fury to a speech by Mark Malloch Brown, the deputy secretary-general, in which he accused Washington of using the international body "almost by stealth as a diplomatic tool" while failing to defend it at home."
Frustrations of Empire. There is something ironic about the only super power on earth taking so much pride and pleasure in the killing of Zarqawi. These are the frustrations of Empire; an empire that moved tens of thousands of troops into Iraq and used massive violence and employed the most advanced weapons ever manufactured and yet it had to chase for 3 years a man from Jordan by the name of Abu Mus`ab Az-Zarqawi. There was something odd about the president of the US making a special speech to take credit and to derive “political capital” from the killing of Zarqawi. This is a small time criminal-turned deadly terrorist, but he alone is not responsible for the problems that US occupation face in Iraq. But I have seen this before. We all remember when we all were told that the insurgency will come to an end once `Udayy is captured or killed; no, once Qusayy is captured or killed, or Barzan or Taha Yasin Ramadan, or…We also remember the mood of self-congratulations that surrounded the capture of Saddam Husayn; we all read newspaper articles about how Saddam carried on him a briefcase which contained all the information and contacts of the Iraqi insurgency. There were analysts who predicted that the insurgency was coming to an end. For skeptics in the Arab world—including in Iraq and Muqtada As-Sadr has expressed such views among others, the news will only confirm widely held views that Zarqawi does not exist as a person and that he is a mere figment of CIA’s imagination. No matter how much I told people in the region that he is a real person, and that there are people, and journalists in Jordan, who have served time in jail with him, many refused to believe that Zarqawi ever existed. The pictures of the bloated face will not eliminate those suspicions. In fact, it can easily be argued that America’s problems in Iraq may only increase. And let us face it; US commanders in Iraq are fully aware that the hundreds of attacks on US troops in Iraq in the month of May were largely and overwhelming at the hands of groups that are not connected with Zarqawi. Furtheremore, Zarqawi was a stigma for the Iraqi resistance movement, and his death may in fact improve the image of the resistance and focus its energies on attacking the occupation troops. And the death of Zarqawi will not end the acute sectarian divisions in Iraq; those divisions have been engineered and manipulated by many factors that include Saddam’s long record in power, the policies and actions of US occupation apparatus, the policies of the ruling and actions of the ruling coalitions of Iraq, and the actions and murders by sectarian Sunni fanatical groups (like Al-Qa`idah) and by Shi`ite sectarian groups (like Badr militia). But in fact this rush to celebration by the Bush administration is a sign of incompetence and of misjudgment. This could be another small version of “mission accomplished.” This could be false assertion of optimism, but this is an election year and the president is willing to try anything new to lift up his sagging approval ratings. This is an administration that is not capable of restraint, even when it is in its own political interest. But the Bush administration is desperate for victories, and so desperate for signs of “progress in Iraq” that anything would do. Furthermore, there are still those “senior aides” to Abu Mus`ab Az-Zarqawi who are being captured—if we believe the US media coverage—at the rate of one-a-week at least. And there are those who are slated to inherited his position in Al-Q`idah: Al-Masri or Al-Baghdadi or Al-`Iraqi, or whoever. Foreign occupation always looks for signs for indications of “watershed” in the hope that occupation could become smooth and comfortable. With or without Abu Mus`ab Az-Zarqawi, US occupation in Iraq will not proceed according to those early plans of the war enthusiasts. And Zarqawi seems to feel that his bloody sojourn in Iraq was coming to an end; his latest video in which he was clowning with his guns did not seem serious and did not seem to indicate concern for security. A man who had sent scores of young people on suicide missions, may have made his last suicide video. One worries whether a cult following will soon develop among the fanatical groups. After all; he was killed by a missile and did not go through the dental exam to which Saddam Husayn was subjected.