Thursday, August 31, 2006

"The report condemned the World Bank for forcing privatisation or inappropriate private sector projects on developing countries, and criticised Western governments for signing up to the so-called Washington agenda.It said the scale of the problems in areas such as sub-Saharan Africa was so vast it could be solved by direct government action - in the same way the industrialised world tackled its own health and water issues in the 19th century."
Fatwa-to-go. Tele-Islamist Yusuf Al-Qardawi offers a verbal fatwa to Palestinian singer, Mays Shalash (seen above with her mother). He said that she can sing provided that she sings for the ummah. O.K.
Many Arabs did not admire Mahfouz until the White Man expressed his admiration. The colonized still mimic their colonizers.
"Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, marked the 37th anniversary of the coup d'etat that brought him to power on Thursday by urging his supporters to "kill enemies" if they asked for political change."
"Rosa Luxemburg argued that: ‘society faces a dilemma, either an advance to socialism or a reversion to barbarism’; either ‘rebirth through social revolution’ or else ‘dissolution and decline into capitalist anarchy’. [54]"
A new history of the crusades. The crusaders were peaceful tourists. I never knew. "The crusading movement started as an outgrowth from peaceful pilgrimage. Increasingly in the 10th and 11th centuries, Christians made the difficult journey to Jerusalem — and a few other holy destinations — as an act of penance. Because of disorder in the Islamic world and the selective persecution of Christians, Holy Land pilgrimages became armed expeditions."
Yesterday, I gave an Arabic link to the article "Shame, shame" by `Alya As-Sulh. Here is an English translation. (thanks Lisette)
The matter has been settled. Today, Hizbullah issued an official statement in which it categorically denied the "Turkish" interview with Nasrallah that was posted on Counterpunch. The official statement is printed below. The Anatolian News agency has issued a similar report in English of the denial (thanks to Assaad and Gabriele).
نفى مسؤول العلاقات الاعلامية في حزب الله الدكتور حسين رحال، ردا على سؤال صحافي عن اللقاء الذي نسبته صحيفة "إفرنسل" التركية الى الامين العام ل حزب الله السيد حسن نصرالله ونشر في تاريخ 12/8/2006، "حصول هذا اللقاء او اي لقاء آخر مع صحافيين اتراك او صحف غير لبنانية خلال شهر آب الحالي".
واوضح الدكتور رحال انه "حيال نشر مقابلات مختلفة وغير صحيحة، فإن الحزب يحتفظ لنفسه بكامل الحقوق القانونية تجاه الجهات التي قامت بهذا العمل المسيء الى الصحافة والامانة والموضوعية".
المصدر:وكالات ـ "الوطنية". بتاريخ 31/08/2006 الساعة 17:06
Israeli army: their days of glory are behind them. Way, way behind them.
The New York Times explains the literary significance of Naguib Mahfouz: "Mr. Mahfouz supported President Anwar el-Sadat and the Camp David accords that led to the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty, and he was denounced by many of his countrymen."
And then the New York Times writer said: "Arabic has a rich tradition in poetry, but the novel was not a strong art form until Mr. Mahfouz made it accessible." First, there is also a rich tradition of Arabic prose (maqamat, essays, history writing, etc), but the New York Times did not know about it because Ibn Al-Muqaffa` and Al-Jaziz and many others did not support Sadat's trip to Jerusalem. And so many other writers wrote novels before Mahfouz: Karam Milhim Karam, Muhammad Husayn Haykal (credited with writing the first Arab novel, Zaynab), Amin Rihani, Jubran Khalil Jubran, Micha'il Nu`aymah, `Abbas Al-`Aqqad, Taha Husayn, Tawfiq Hakim, and others.
The Boating Party, 1893-94. By Mary Cassatt.
"This from a translation service of the Hebrew press. No link:
- Maariv: Maariv has learned that US human rights activist, the Reverend Jesse Jackson, was sent to Lebanon and to Syria at the directive of Israel, in order to bring new information about the condition of the abducted Israeli soldiers. Jackson reported to Israel's Ambassador to Washington immediately after his meetings with Khaled Mashal and President Assad: the abnducted soldiers are alive." (thanks Mouin)

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

It should be "nudhal" and not "nuzal", ok?
Here, the Los Angeles Times argues for the return of the warlords in Somalia. It will be good for the women, it argues.

Naguib Mahfouz (this is the mistransliteration of Western media) died. What can I say. As an avid admirer of classical and modern (up to 1960 with few exceptions) Arabic literature, I was never a huge fan of his works. I certainly will argue that his prominence in Western eyes rose in the Sadat era—when Sadat’s trip to Israel made Egypt an acceptable model of Arab countries, when things Egyptian became less controversial than things Arab or Muslim in general. The respect for Mahfouz was a reward for Sadat. This explains why Chirac, who took time from his busy schedule of meeting daily with rich Arab royals, hailed Mahfouz today as a "man of peace." And do you think that the Nobel Committee or Western literary critics are qualified judges about Arabic literature? And why was Mahfouz not discovered back say in the 1960s? Or during Suez? This also was possible because Mahfouz was never offensive—in Western eyes. He knew what to say, and he certainly does not deserve awards for courage—he was not courageous under King Faruq, or under Nasser, or under Sadat, and certainly not under Mubarak. His criticisms of regimes were most general and least offensive—as in Miramar. Mahfouz would never be considered the best choice to represent Arabic literature in the 20th century. If you look at the 20th century, you can think of so many other more qualified candidates: Mikha’il Nu`aymah for Sab`un (his autobiography), Taha Husayn for several of his works, including Al-Ayyam; Jubran possibly for Al-Mawakib or for his Al-Arwah Al-Mutamarridah; Tawfiq Al-Hakim for his plays or for his work especially `Awdat Ar-Ruh; Tawfiq Yusuf `Awwad for Ar-Raghif; or Jurji Zaydan for his historical novels; and obviously`Abdur-Rahman Munif for many works; even `Abbas Mahmud `Aqqad; or even Yusuf Idriss. I never thought of Mahfouz as an adib (a man of belle lettres); I always viewed him as a successful writer and novelist, only a step ahead of Yusuf Sib`i and Ihsan `Abdul-Quddus. As Faysal Darraj, or was it Edward Kharat, said: he was a traditionalist adherent of the extreme realism school. I enjoyed reading the trilogy and his other works, but still did not think of his books as “literature.” And if you want to give awards for Arabic literature: you think of the poets too: Adonis, Mahmud Darwish, Nazik Al-Mala’ikah, Badr Shakir As-Sayyab, Khalil Hawi, `Abdul-Wahab Al-Bayyati, and others. So o Nobel Committee: please, don’t tell me what is and what is not Arabic literature, ok? Stick to your awards for Sadat and Kissinger and others like that.

"Back from the Middle East"
"Hopping mad: Tyre-born UC Berkeley visiting political science professor As'ad AbuKhalil is Shiite on his dad's side and Sunni on his mom's. He ditched religion after "I discovered Marxism and leftism by the time I was thirteen," the author of Bin Laden, Islam, and America's New "War on Terrorism" (Open Media, $8.95) told the Los Angeles Times. Now he runs, where he offers this tease: "For my Arabic readers, I shall soon be writing for Al-Akhbar" — a new Lebanese newspaper. "And I plan to be out of control.""
That is their new house in Ghanduriyyah in South Lebanon.
"Expect chaos if Siniora's Cabinet falls" (Well. I don't know about you. But between Sanyurah and chaos, I choose chaos. Any day.)
" End Times had its coming-out party in the mainstream media via a now-notorious editorial penned in the Wall Street Journal on August 8th by former Princeton scholar Bernard Lewis. In it, Lewis posited that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was planning a "cataclysmic event" on August 22nd (the same date Beck was focused on), because that was the date that corresponded, on the Islamic calendar, with the 27th day of Rajab of the year 1427, said to be the date when Muhammad flew on a winged horse to heaven and back. Why that means anything, you'll have to ask these people: None of this stuff ever makes any fucking sense to me at all."
"Pressure for an international ban on cluster bombs has intensified as Israel stands accused of littering southern Lebanon with thousands of unexploded bombs in the final hours of its war against Hizbollah. Campaigners yesterday accused the Israel Defence Force of leaving a "minefield" of deadly bomblets in villages and fields after firing hundreds of cluster shells, rockets and bombs across its northern border in the three days before hostilities ended earlier this month."
Prime minister of boo hoo hoo today pledged that Lebanon will be the last Arab country to sign a peace treaty with Israel. Too late. Lebanon was the 2nd Arab country to sign a peace treaty with Israel during the Gemayyel regime in 1983. That was later bravely annulled.
Hariri Inc is trying to boost the cult of Musa As-Sadr in Lebanon in the hope that the (dead) man would compete with Hasan Nasrallah. But Hariri Inc forgot that As-Sadr was the most loyal and faithful client of the Syrian regime in Lebanon.
Hariri Inc should take down all posters and pictures of Rafiq Hariri in Beirut and replace them with pictures and posters of Pierre Laval. Otherwise, it is false advertisement.
"The platoon commander for the squad of Marines who killed as many as two dozen Iraqi civilians during an attack in Haditha last year recommended later that the sergeant who led the attack receive a medal for his heroism that day, according to military documents."
"Israel faced a stinging rebuke from the UN yesterday when the world body's humanitarian chief expressed shock at the "completely immoral" use of cluster bombs in Lebanon and Kofi Annan called for a rapid end to the conflict in Gaza. Jan Egeland said civilians were facing "massive problems" returning home because of as many as 100,000 unexploded cluster bombs, most of which were dropped in the last days of the war. "What's shocking - and I would say to me completely immoral - is that 90% of the cluster bomb strikes occurred in the last 72 hours of the conflict, when we knew there would be a resolution," Mr Egeland said. "Every day people are maimed, wounded and are killed by these ordnance.""
The premise of Israeli propaganda in the West is very simple. It does not merely want that the Israeli perspective prevails; it seeks to eliminate any manifestation of the Palestinian perspective.
Since MEMRI will not translate this: "Shame, shame" by `Aliya As-Sulh.
"Could it be that you are all in favor of a racist Citizenship Law that forbids an Israeli Arab from living with his family in his own home? That you side with further expropriation of lands and the demolishing of additional orchards, for another settler neighborhood and another exclusively Jewish road? That you all back the shelling and missile fire killing the old and the young in the Gaza Strip? Could it be that you all agree that a third of the West Bank (the Jordan Valley) should be off limits to Palestinians? That you all side with an Israeli policy that prevents tens of thousands of Palestinians who have obtained foreign citizenship from returning to their families in the occupied territories?"
"UN faces rising anger in Lebanon: Cluster bombs and blockade fuel resentment towards 'unjust' world body as Annan leaves for Israel"
""Journalists' access to the battlefield is controlled exclusively by the IDF," said Simon McGregor-Wood, Chairman of the Foreign Press Association, and Bureau Chief of ABC News."
"Iraqi official: Security condition improving"
"A daily report from Unifil that Mr. Annan gave to Israel’s defense minister, Amir Peretz, Tuesday evening showed that Hezbollah had violated the cease-fire four times, while Israel had done so nearly 70 times. “Hezbollah is showing incredible discipline,” Mr. Annan said."
Summertime, c. 1894. Mary Cassatt.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

My sources in Lebanon tell me: Hariri Inc representatives have sneakily been visiting villages in South Lebanon. They are donating cash and...Hariri pictures. So in a week or two, Hassan Fattah and other Western journalists will start writing about signs of Hariri popularity in South Lebanon. They take the cash, post the pictures, and curse Hariri Inc.
I watched a propaganda report on LBC TV from Libya. It was about a Libyan military exercise which was attended by Western diplomats and military attches. There was the US military attache beaming, and praising the performance of Libyan soldiers. What is next? US officials attending exercises of Al-Qa`idah?
This is from the New York Times 10 years ago: ""Hezbollah is shining now because no one else is fighting Israel," said Arda Ekmekji, a member of the board of directors of the Armenian Evangelical College, a private coeducational high school in Beirut. "But when a political solution is found, Hezbollah will fade away." (April 21, 1996.) And in 2000, NYT correspondent John Burns wrote this: "So Hezbollah could could end up isolated, its 1,500 guerrilla fighters too weak to maintain dominance in areas it now controls, and in effect consigned to the diminished role of a political party competing in Lebanon's sectarian politics." (February 28, 2000).
Yossi Melman, who has reported for US media, has been a loyal propagandist for the Israeli intelligence apparatus. Look at this sentence: "Commando raids mounted by elite Israel Defense Forces units deep in enemy territory sowed fear among Hezbollah." Oh, yes, Mr. Melman. The "daring commando raid" that captured Hasan Dib Nasrallah was most impressive. Lebanese are still talking about it.
The New Rhetoric of US Middle East Policy: there is a new language. This is most interesting. You notice a new trend in how US officials now articulate the US "vision" for a "new" Middle East. Here is Rice: "Who could have imagined the positive changes we have already witnessed in places as different as Egypt and Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait and Morocco, and Jordan?" (thanks Mounzer). Notice that she talks about "positive changes." The US has now settled for Arab governments' support for Israel and its wars instead of superficial cosmetic "reforms." Arab rulers learned the trick. I mean, when she talks about "positive changes" in a place like Saudi Arabia she can only be referring to Saudi support for Israel's war on Lebanon.
The news of Jesse Jackson's foreign trips is as interesting to me as the news of Saddam's jail stories.
Bushra Al-Khalil (one of the lawyers of Saddam) is looking for a role. She was an advocate of the right-wing, sectarian feudal leader, Kamil Al-As`ad, before she became, suddenly, a Saddamist Ba`thist.
Those who study Lebanon, should read Halim Barakat's new autobiographical novel, Al-Madinah Al-Mulawwanah. Halim, who comes across in person as reserved and timid, is in fact fierce. When he analyzes Lebanese politics, he is most uncompromising. I liked that he was quite candid in his evaluation of the SSNP (of which he was a member although he later became disillusioned). (How come right-wingers rarely get disillusioned?)
An Israeli director and the LBC documentary.
Hariri Classs: look at the ad section to the left. Several ads announcing the "flight" of foreign domestic servents from their houses of work. They probably fled for their lives.
Prime minister boo hoo hoo is relaxing. Prime minister boo hoo hoo yesterday wanted to say that he was "pleased" (murtah) with his meeting with Annan. But he LOVES to speak in English, although is English is often an inaccurate translation of his Arabic thoughts. So instead of saying "pleased" (as a translation of "murtah" which he wanted to say), he said that he was "relaxed" with his meeting with Annan.
The Syrian Minister of Defense said today that his army will confront any attack on "Syria's coasts." He left the room open for attacks on Syria's heartland. Those attacks, he implied, will not be confronted.
This is quite hilarious. Michael Husayn Young questions the reliability of a poll (which does not differ from another poll by a right-wing firm that he should trust--him being a right-wing, fanatic Lebanonese) on Lebanese public opinion. Why does he question the survey? Because he said--I am not kidding--the results of the survey of Lebanese public opinion do not conform with his impressions of the Lebanese he talks to. I mean, you can't even make that stuff up. Can you imagine that guy in graduate school? He would raise his hand to protest the results of empirical research because the results don't conform with his "impressions." So Michael Young: please, tell me what your impressions are of offshoots. Thanks.
Stehende Figur mit blauer Flache, 1933. By Willi Baumeister.
Angry Webcam. So AlJazeera English TV has not started yet. It is still in the experimental (pre-launch) stage. They have been talking to me about doing some webcam reports. I have just successfully installed the webcam they sent me, and sent my first webcam report. Will let you know.
I swear. If given enough time, Bush is capable--through his wars, policies, and propaganda--of bringing Islamic rule to every Middle East country: "Islamic Revival in Syria Is Led by Women"
"ADL Calls Amnesty International Report 'Bigoted, Biased and Borderline Anti-Semitic'" (thanks Badis)
"The [Jordanian] government brushed aside criticism by human rights activists and Islamist deputies that the laws were part of a crackdown on public freedoms and a pretext to suppress peaceful expression."
This is what you read in Saudi media: "Saudi Arabia corrects the thought of 700 sympathizers of Al-Qa`idah"
"Many political analysts believe the Saniora administration will pay a heavy political price for its handling of the war, starting in the premier's birthplace: Sidon."
"Saudi Arabia said it had beheaded two Saudi border guards found guilty of smuggling drugs into the kingdom, taking to five the number of reported executions in 2006." (thanks anonymous)
"the White House is making arrangements to host the leader of Kazakhstan, an autocrat who runs a nation that is anything but free and who has been accused by U.S. prosecutors of pocketing the bulk of $78 million in bribes from an American businessman. Not only will President Nursultan Nazarbayev visit the White House, people involved say, but he also will travel to the Bush family compound in Maine."
"More than 10,000 Iraqis - the vast majority in Baghdad - have been killed in the past four months alone, a figure that would send shockwaves through the international community were it in any other part of the world."
The honeymoon between House of Saud and Zionism is in full force: "LBC is Saudi-owned and is considered to be highly credible." "Credible"? Oh, yes. It is the same TV channel that found Elia Kazan to be Lebanese. Enjoy. But LBC is quite "credible" when reporting the news of Fifi `Abduh. Let's be fair here.

Monday, August 28, 2006

"In this way, Foucault boldly upends the modern narrative of progress. What we have customarily interpreted as evidence of expanding civic freedom — that is, the triumph of rights-based liberalism — when viewed in a Foucauldian optic has in fact produced more effective mechanisms of social control. Foucault audaciously stands the standard, Enlightenment view of the relationship between insight and emancipation on its head. Knowledge, which we traditionally thought would set us free, merely enmeshes us more efficiently in the omnivorous tentacles of "biopower." The popular Foucauldian coinage "power/knowledge" suggests that the modern ideal of value-free knowing is illusory. Instead, knowledge is perennially implicated in the maintenance and reproduction of power relations."
"Israel weighs massive increase in defense budget" (Even that would not save Zionism.)
"Saudi clerics want to restrict women praying at Mecca"
On the man who met Bin Laden, but forgot why he met him (he also is a key US ally).
This is funny. When Kofi Annan met with Nabih Birri, he brought up the issue of the two captured Israeli soldiers. Birri told him that he no more is in charge of the negotiations, and that he can bring up the issue in his meeting with Hizbullah minister, Muhammad Fnaysh. But when Annan met with Fnaysh, and brought up the issue of the two Israeli soldiers (which apparently have been keeping Annan awake every night), Fnaysh told him to discuss the issue with Nabih Birri. He said that he is not in charge of that file. By the way, the people of the southern suburbs widely and intensely booed Annan during his 4-minutes visit to the suburbs. And Annan found time to visit the Hariri grave-site, but did not find time to visit the grave-sites of the poor victims of Israeli war on Lebanon.
My article "Walid Jumblat: For And Against".
"British director Ken Loach backs Palestinian call for boycott on Israel"
Israeli propaganda is still dreaming (like Al-Qa`idah, still hoping for a Sunni-Shi`ite war): "Could this war produce a Sunni-Israeli alliance?" (And who do you ask about Sunni-Shi`ite matters except Martin Indyk, a qualified authority on Sunni AND Shi`ite matters? (thanks Peter)

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Lordship Lane Station, 1871. C. Pissarro. (Cick on image to enjoy. NOW).
Nation magazine: a press office for Israeli officials. Look at this odd article in the Nation magazine. What is the purpose of it? Did you notice that it nowhere says that their beloved Beilin supported the Israeli war of aggression on Lebanon? So do Nation magazine reporters follow all interviews with Israeli officials in order to promote them in the magazine?
Khaddam: the tool of one regime becomes the tool of another regime. You can easily now tell the state of Syrian-Saudi relations. When the relations improve, `Abdul-Halim Khaddam is banned from Saudi-owned media. When the relations worsen, Khaddam is unleashed on Saudi media. Khaddam is now unleashed.
The executioners of SLA: ""All Israel succeeded in doing," he says sadly, "was to turn the Lebanese people into Hizbullah supporters.""
US allies in Lebanon, and their alliance with Al-Qa`idah. Sectarianism and Al-Qa`idah: the last refugee of a Lebanese scoundrel. So Ahmad Fatfat has been in trouble for his role and deception in the humiliating fiasco of the Lebanese Internal Security Forces in the barracks of Marji`yun. Today, hoping to bolster his (sectarian) standing, he resorted to meeting with Fathi Yakan (an Islamist extremist), who a few weeks ago sent his salutations to Al-Qa`idah. So Fatfat is now hoping that Al-Qa`idah will keep him in his job. (This same Fatfat was recently hosted in Washington, DC. I bet he did not talk about his Al-Qa`idah supporters in Dinniyyah).
"Israeli Siege Leaves Gaza Isolated and Desperate"
"Environment Minister Gideon Ezra claimed Sunday that Arab towns "acted normally during the war" and therefore there is no reason for them to receive aid intended for the north."
According to certain very well-researched numerological calculations by Bernard Lewis, it may rain on Tuesday. Beware.
Well, it is official. Egyptian dictator Husni Mubarak found his son, Jamal, to be the most qualified Egyptian to succeed him. Celebrate.
People of Lebanon should be proud. They have their own Hamid Karzai now, and he is willing to cry for a...pat on the back by US officials.
Former Iraqi puppet prime minister/car bomber/Saddam's henchmen/embezzler-in-Yemen, Iyad `Allawi was prevented by Israel from flying from Amman to Lebanon on a "solidarity" trip. `Allawi is close to Nabih Birri and to Hariri Inc.
AlJazeera interviewed this Iraqi "writer", Harun Muhammad, from London. He spoke like a Saddamist Ba`thist, and expressed the most bigoted and prejudiced views about Kurds.
Several of you sent me this piece by Shah's propagandist, Amir Taheri. I did not want to address it. It contains so many inaccuracies and so many mistakes that it is not worth my time, or your time. And Taheri makes things up (the position of Gen. `Awn for example). (By the way, the Mufti of Tyre, `Ali Al-Amin, was part of Hizbullah (in its most dangerous phase in the 1980s), but when he did not rise in the organization, he joined Amal. He also failed to rise within Amal, so he "joined" Hariri Inc.) But Amir Taheri has been exposed as a fraud before: "It was in 1989 that Taheri was first exposed as a journalistic felon. The book he published the year before, Nest of Spies, examined the rule and fall of the Shah of Iran. Taheri received many respectful reviews, but in The New Republic Shaul Bakhash, a reigning doyen of Persian studies, checked Taheri's footnotes. Suddenly a book review became an investigative exposé. Bakhash, a history professor at George Mason University and a former fellow at Princeton's Institute for Advanced Study, detailed case after case in which Taheri cited nonexistent sources, concocted nonexistent substance in cases where the sources existed and distorted the substance beyond recognition when it was present. Taheri "repeatedly refers us to books where the information he cites simply does not exist," Bakhash wrote. "Often the documents cannot be found in the volumes to which he attributes them.... [He] repeatedly reads things into the documents that are simply not there." In one case, noted Bakhash, Taheri cited an earlier article of his own--but offered content he himself never wrote in that article. Bakhash concluded that Nest of Spies was "the sort of book that gives contemporary history a bad name." In a response published two months later, Taheri failed to rebut Bakhash's charges."
"Who is killing the Syrian workers in Lebanon?" You really don't know?
Did the Guardian apologize or print a correction for publishing an article that actually made up a quotation?
Are you kidding me? Walid Jumblat is a member of the Socialist International? I mean, does the SI even think that Jumblat has a "political party", let alone a socialist one? Not that I have any respect for the SI which has a history of covering up for Zionism.
Not that anybody asked my opinion, but Al-Akhbar newspaper needs to chart a more independent political line, some voices critical of Syria, Iran, and even Hizbulllah. It should not formulate a predictable line.
Khalid Saghiyyah responds to Sa`ud Faysal.
Do you know that the two Fox reporters were kidnapped near a building in Gaza occupied by the gangs of pro-Israel/US Muhammad Dahlan?
"Halutz smiled with relief and called Ehud Olmert, the prime minister, who was enjoying a cigar as he waited by a secure red phone at his residence in Jerusalem. “All the long-range rockets have been destroyed,” Halutz announced proudly. After a short pause, he added four words that have since haunted him: “We’ve won the war.” Even as Halutz was declaring victory, 12 Israeli soldiers from the Maglan reconnaissance unit were already running into an ambush just over the border inside Lebanon near the village of Maroun a-Ras. “We didn’t know what hit us,” said one of the soldiers, who asked to be named only as Gad. “In seconds we had two dead.” With several others wounded and retreating under heavy fire the Maglans, one of the finest units in the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF), were astonished by the firepower and perseverance of Hezbollah."
"Time for Marji`yun Mentality to Fall," says Joseph Samahah.
Nasrallah’s interview on New TV. So Hasan Nasrallah appeared in a long interview on New TV. The interviewer was Maryam Al-Bassan, the political director of New TV, and the brains behind the excellent news division of the station. She is the one who personally writes the political introduction of New TV’s evening news broadcast. She, more than anybody else, is responsible for the sharp and independent news coverage of New TV. Al-Bassam was one of three journalists who were selected last year to interview Nabih Briri on LBC-TV. She was so tough and so unrelenting that I heard that Birri was not amused afterwards. I was not sure how she will be in the presence of Nasrallah. She did say in her introduction that she “dreamt” of this moment during the war. I was not sure at that point whether she will live up to her well-earned reputation for an unrelenting interviewing style. She did, and exceeded expectations. Her interview was much better and more sharp than the one with Ghassan Bin Jiddu on AlJazeera during the war. She did not leave a question that can be asked by friends and foes of Nasrallah that she did not ask. I also liked that in the interview she did not hesitate to interrupt Nasrallah with a quip or a question or a point of clarification. Nasrallah clearly gave this interview for the Lebanese audience. It dealt mostly with Lebanese issues, and he wanted to address not only the audience of Hizbullah, but the larger audience of Lebanese public opinion. He seemed comfortable and confident. He denied rumors, and admitted at one point of engaging in “psychological warfare” but added that he would not, for religious reasons, lie. He addressed the allegations that are regularly made by the liars and fabricators of Israeli propaganda (repeated verbatim in Anthony Cordesman’s reports as of late—it is incredible how he is analyzing this war but by referring to the claims and allegations of one side only) to the effect that some 400 or 500 Hizbullah fighters have been killed by Israel. I never believed those lies that are now regularly reproduced in the US media. Hizbullah is holding funerals every day for all their fighters—so they can easily be counted, and he said that you can count Hizbullah casualties by reading the account of funerals in the Lebanese press. You just can’t hide those casualties, he said. He also denied the rumors that some mid-level Hizbullah leaders (some Israeli and US media still talk about Hizbullah leaders being killed not knowing that all the top leaders have appeared in public since the end of the war). He explained that there are four levels of the Hizbullah organization: the top leaders are at the top level, while the fighters are at the fourth level. He said that three people from the third level (at the level of logistical officers) were killed, and 4-5 village leaders (i.e. leaders of Hizbullah cells in their villages) of Hizbullah were killed. He denied the presence of Iranian officers and said that all Hizbullah officers are Lebanese. She asked him about the extent to which the arsenal of Hizbullah was damaged. He said that Hizbullah had been prepared for a prolonged war with Israel since the humiliating Israeli withdrawal back in 2000. He said that the preparation expected that Israel would bomb bridges and roads, and thus Hizbullah ensured the autonomy of each small region by itself, and that local regional leaders for each of the autonomous region would be in charge. They were entrusted with the decisions of steadfastness and retreat if the need be, he said. He also said that the party was able to fire missiles on Israel from near the border to the very last day of the war. He said that he in the past had said that Hizbullah owned more than 12,000 missiles, and that “more” does not mean it is 13,000 but “could” mean much more than that figure. He said that the party is still in possession of its arsenal, and is even prepared for an Israeli embargo. He also seemed clearly following not only the Lebanese press, but also the Israeli press, which he follows closely and on a daily basis. He spoke about Iran and Syria in the same typical language—and he did not distance himself from the speech of Bashshar Al-Asad. That was a weakness, especially if he wishes to win over some of the wavering Sunni Lebanese opinion. He mentioned (in favorable terms) Gen. `Awn or his movement at least three times, and that indicates that Hizbullah is quite grateful for the role that `Awn played in support of the party during the Israeli war of aggression. His references to Fu’ad As-Sanyurah (also known as Pierre Laval of Lebanon or prime minister boo hoo hoo), finally indicated frustration and some indignation. He mildly was critical of him and even implied that the delay in Lebanese government’s relief efforts is not innocent—it is not, of course. He said that Hizbullah did not even consider a 1% possibility of a war at this scale when it kidnapped the Israeli occupation soldiers. Had the party known, it would “categorically” not have kidnapped the soldiers he added. This admission was important because some supporters of the Syrian regime are engaged in bombastic rhetoric in that regard—just watch that silly speech by Bashshar Al-Asad. Al-Bassam asked him about his stature in the Arab world, and he deflected the question and stressed the policies and principles that the party supports. He categorically dismissed any reference to a Shi`ite republic in Lebanon (this was in response to Duri Sham`un—a right-wing sectarian leader in Lebanon, whose party sponsored Antoine Lahd in the past) and said that in the past enemies of Hizbullah spoke about an “Islamic republic” to scare Christians in Lebanon, and now they speak of “a Shi`ite” republic to scare Christians and Sunnis in Lebanon. But that is not fully accurate: Hizbullah itself used to speak about an Islamic republic in Lebanon. But he more than ever categorically rejected any religious state in Lebanon. It seems to me that in this regard Nasrallah played an important role in steering the party away from the idea of an Islamic republic, which was supported by some figures in the party (Ibrahim Al-Sayyid, Husayn Musawi, and Muhammad Yazbak) and by some factions in Iran. He also said that most missiles that were fired by Hizbullah targeted Israeli military installations. He said that he would not return to the National Dialogue meetings because he did not want to endanger the lives of Lebanese leaders. It bothers me how he avoids criticizing Arab governments and that may indicate Iranian—not Hizbullah—calculations but may also reflect some naïve calculations on the part of Hizbullah leaders in their dealings with Hariri Inc. Al-Bassam asked him whether Hizbullah manufactures some of its weapons. He said that “we don’t answer security questions.” He also announced an Iranian initiative for relief work in Lebanon: an Iranian official will arrive into Lebanon tomorrow, he said. He also spoke that Hizbullah is willing to support At-Ta’if accords, although the party had rejected Ta’if in the past. He called for a national unity government (to include representatives of the `Awn movement) and said that the Christians in Lebanon have been marginalized by virtue of the policies of the ruling clique in Lebanon.
For those who care, I shall appear (via satellite) tomorrow on Al-Jazeera's From Washington program at 12:00PM (Pacific Time). Mersheimer and Walt will appear to discuss their study of the Israeli lobby, and I will give my critique.
View of l'Hermitage, Jallais Hills, Pontoise, c. 1867. C. Pissarro. (Nobody does green better than C. Pissarro).
"Israeli troops still occupy nine positions in southern Lebanon two weeks after a ceasefire between Israel and the Shiite militia Hezbollah ended more than a month of heavy fighting. Israeli troops also continue carrying out nightly incursions in border villages, "taking advantage of respect for the ceasefire from the Lebanese side," the Lebanese military official, who did not want to be named, told AFP Sunday."
"One of Hizbullah's telling successes is that it has acquired such a fierce reputation for its tough toe-to-toe battles with Israel that no sentient prime minister wants to send his or her soldiers to complete a job that Israel failed to do. Even Turkish generals, who lead a revered army, are balking at the prospect of sending fighting units as peacekeepers to Lebanon". (thanks Mouin)
"U.S. Military Assistance and Arms Transfers to Israel" (thanks Mounzer)
Hayfa Wahbah denies the statement that was attributed to her by unnamed (Israeli) sources.
"Hassan Daoud is a novelist and the editor of Nawafez, a cultural publication in Beirut." Nawafidh is the "cultural" weekly supplement of the Hariri rag, Al-Mustaqbal. Why did you not mention that, o New York Times Magazine?

Saturday, August 26, 2006

How many of you know that during the Israeli war of aggression on Lebanon, there were non-Hizbullah Lebanese fighters who died fighting Israeli occupiers? There were members of the Lebanese Communist Party, SSNP, and the Amal movement, among others.
"Abizaid: Pakistan Not Aiding Taliban" (Angry Arab: US Aiding Taliban)
"One morning in 2002, Yadlin recalled, he "woke up horrified" to learn that 15 Palestinian civilians had been killed in an operation. That afternoon, Yadlin called Asa Kasher, a philosophy professor, and began working on ethical guidelines for fighting terrorism. They also asked a mathematician to write a formula to determine acceptable civilian casualties per dead terrorist." (Look at the casual (im)morality of Zionism).
"On their first day at the resort, the princesses were reported to have spent £676,000 on a single diamond pendant. Their fruit bill was put at £2,000 a day and fresh orchids every day cost £1,000. A retinue of 300 local servants has been hired, ranging from chauffeurs and butlers to hairdressers and nannies."
"Tinseltown Backs Terror Fight -- Thanks to Israel Consul General Danoch"
"Humbling of the supertroops shatters Israeli army morale"
"Amnesty International is alarmed at the recent measures of intimidation and harassment of human rights activists in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Over the last months the organization has received information about the arrest of a prominent lawyer and a court action against another in order to put an end to their human rights activism and the freedom to practice their work."
"A Syrian blogger has been arrested by the country's security forces without explanation" (His name is `Ali Shihabi--reported on AANS two days ago).
US media are barely reporting the story of the return of the Taliban--brought (back) to you by George W. Bush.
Cedar Revolution: yet again. Some 18 tents where Syrian workers live in `Akkar were set on fire by Bush's Cedar Revolutionaries in Lebanon.
Alexander Cockburn and the Humorless Left. Cockburn must have been deeply offended because I had declared a certain ostensible "interview" conducted by Turkish leftists with Hasan Nasrallah to be a hoax. I did not blame Counterpunch, and did not hold them responsible. I thought that I was doing them a free service. Here, Cockburn addresses the issue, without adding any thing to change my mind, and he does not seem convinced himself. He inexplicably refers to "blustering denunciation by As'ad AbuKhalil, on his Angry Arab website." What? What blustering denunciation? You judge for yourselves what I had said about it. Cockburn then refers to "the outburst on Angry Arab which seemed to verge on a sort of "proprietary" bark, almost as if he owned Nasrallah and resented trespass." He then adds: "There was even a whiff of orientalizing, about what a Shi'a leader should or should not be capable of saying." Oh, please spare me that Orientalist charge--I did not even know that Orientalism is a mere "whiff." Little did I know. No, Mr. Cockburn. I did not say that Shi`ites can't speak the leftist talk contained in the interview (there are scores of Shi`ite AbuKhalils in South Lebanon who talk that leftist talk)--I merely said that Nasrallah did not, and does not, use that language, and I am quite familiar with his style of speech. It may very well be a Shi`ite who said those words, but it was not Nasrallah. But Mr. Cockburn: if you remember my earlier brief and civil post on the matter, you realize that I did consider the possibility that Counterpunch did indeed publish an authentic interview with Hasan Nasrallah--Hasan Dib Nasrallah, the Lebanese grocer who was kidnapped in a "daring Israeli raid" near Ba`lbak." And Hasan Dib Nasrallah as I can tell from the interview does indeed speak an anti-imperialist discourse. Hasan Dib: who would have thought that your name would be so well-known that even interviews with you would appear on Counterpunch. Counterpunch does not know how certain it is that the interview is fake. There is a Central Information Unit in Hizbullah which distributes the transcript (in Arabic) of ALL interviews with Hasan Nasrallah (not the grocer) to the Lebanese and Arab media. And any interview with him would be considered front-page story. And Nasrallah gave only ONE interview since the war started--to Ghassan Bin Jiddu of AlJazeera. I don't want to make a big deal out of this lest I live up to the reputation that we radical leftists have for relishing internecine bloodlettings. Tomorrow on Counterpunch: an exclusive interview with the three dead Iranian bodies that were found in South Lebanon (the interview was conducted in Persian, and then translated into English). And I should say that I consider myself a fan of Alexander Cockburn (and of Counterpunch), and have admired his consistent courage and firm stance on Middle East issues (read his latest excellent article here). I also enjoy reading him: he, unlike Dennis Kucinich, is not boring at all. But the outburst of Cockburn to a light-hearted remark that I had made only reveals a deep problem that afflicts the American Left (the real left, and not the "Nation" magazine left)--and I consider Cockburn a real leftist--who am I to judge (except being the all-knowing, Wise One of course). Cockburn only reinforces the perception that is deeply held by non-leftists about leftists: that leftists have no sense of humor, and not even a sense of irony. So in the spirit of internationalist solidarity I say: lighten up, comrade Alexander. Finally, I think that I need to remind leftists out there: Hasan Nasrallah is NOT a leftist, ok? (his "interview" in Counterpunch notwithstanding)
Avenue de l'Opera: Morning Sunshine,1898. C. Pissarro.
Highly-placed sources in Beirut inform me that the all "those suspects in Germany's train bombings are members of" the political arm of Hariri Inc. So basically, US allies in Lebanon are now aligned with Al-Qa`idah--well, they have been for a while now.
"Confronted by Iraqi troops, the Iraqi major said, some looters continued to ransack the base, taunting the security men by saying, "Shoot me!" They then burned what remained of the facility, which had been an Iraqi army camp before the British moved in after the fall of Saddam Hussein in April 2003."
The New York Times identifies the reasons of conflict between Lebanon and Israel: the conflict is "a result of Hezbollah's refusal to recognize Israel'’s legitimacy" (thousands of Israeli attacks on Lebanon prior to the founding of Hizbullah notwithstanding, of course).
The puppet (and former Taliban fundraiser) is not pleased: "President Hamid Karzai on Friday ordered an investigation into the deaths of eight people in a raid that the U.S. military said targeted al-Qaeda members but police said killed civilians. It was the second time in a week his government has questioned the military's tactics. The inquiry into Thursday's deaths in eastern Konar province was Karzai's latest show of displeasure with the foreign forces that he depends on to protect his weak government from resurgent Taliban and al-Qaeda fighters."
Sectarian Dirty Tricks. Did you see Ahmad Fatfat being interrogated on New TV? That was one of the best political TV I have seen. It was about Ahmad Fatfat's role in the humiliating episode at Marji`yun barracks. The commander of the barracks--who does not belong to the Lebanese Army but to the Internal Security Forces which follow Hariri Inc--took orders from Fatfat. After holding the commander for 3 days only (having served tea to the Israeli occupiers and violating Lebanese criminal and military laws on several counts), Fatfat exonerated the commander, and he then said that he referred the matter to Nabih Birri. By referring the matter to Nabih Birri, he knew that nothing would happen because the commander is Sunni and Birri (a Shi`ite) would be reluctant to act. This is the real Lebanese politics where sectarianism clashes with the requirements of justice. That Lebanese state will never emerge.
"Since the guns fell silent on Aug. 14, unexploded cluster bombs dropped by Israeli warplanes or duds fired by artillery have killed 12 people and wounded 39, according to Chris Clarke, head of the U.N. Mine Action Coordination Center attached to the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon. Of those, two of the dead and 11 of the wounded were children. Todd Hart, another U.N. de-mining specialist, told journalists Thursday that U.N. and Lebanese government mine-disposal teams have discovered and destroyed a dozen normal bombs, plus 1,800 smaller bomblets sprayed out from cluster bombs."
"Then the French would send another 2,000, making their total contribution 2,600, including the company that has remained in Unifil since the French were hurled out of the peacekeeping organisation back in 1986 after fighting Shia militias in the Lebanese village of Marrake (of which no mention will be made, any more than it is on the BBC). And now the Belgians might send 700. And the Turks? Well, the Lebanese Armenians are objecting to their contribution on the grounds - perfectly accurate, though the BBC will not tell you this - that the Turkish army perpetrated the genocide of one and a half Christian million Armenians in 1915. Oh, what a wondrous plot we weave when first we practise to deceive."
"Nato pilots have been accused of killing 13 Afghan civilians, including nine children, during an attack close to the British base at Musa Kala in Helmand province."
"Women in the war-torn region of Darfur are suffering rising levels of sexual abuse in the refugee camps that have sprung up to house the hundreds of thousands of civilians escaping spiralling violence in the region."
"Unexploded "bomblets" from cluster munitions have emerged as the most lethal obstacle to the return of refugees to southern Lebanon after the month-long war between Israel and Hizbullah. The UN said the fist-sized bombs had been found in nearly 300 locations and about two-thirds were American-made."
"The US is unable to contribute, partly because it is overextended elsewhere but mainly because of an unwillingness to re-engage in a country in which it lost 241 servicemen in 1983, its biggest single military loss in a day since the Second World War."
Footprints of Zionism.
"The Netherlands is the rich country most committed to fighting poverty in the developing world, according to an annual index created by the Centre for Global Development. The Dutch are generous donors, but aid is only one of seven policies it considers. Countries gain points for admitting migrants, for example, and for policing sea-lanes, but lose them for selling arms to undemocratic regimes—one reason Britain is ranked 12th."

Friday, August 25, 2006

The American Left and the Middle East: the farcical saga continues. Dennis Kucinich is visiting Lebanon. What did he do? Well, he made the same foolish foreign policy statements that you expect Kucinich to make. He in fact said, like Bush, that he sees an opportunity from Israel's war of aggression in Lebanon. He said that it can be good for "peace and security."
"In the West Bank, the Lebanese militia has become an inspiration to Palestinians and a source of profound concern in the Israeli cabinet"
"Israel has essentially given up hope of Hizbullah being disarmed"
This is the kind of a story that you read and see the evidence of Israeli propaganda in it.
"1. We're coming up on the five-year anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. Is the country safer or more vulnerable to terrorism?
On balance, more vulnerable."
"Several current and former officials said that they doubted the investigation would lead to sanctions against Israel but that the decision to proceed with it might be intended to help the Bush administration ease criticism from Arab governments and commentators over its support of Israel’s military operations. The investigation has not been publicly announced; the State Department confirmed it in response to questions." (Let me predict that the investigation will conclude that Israel did not use enough cluster bombs on Lebanese civilians, and that Israel should use more of them in the future).
Thomas Moran's "A Midsummer Day, East Hampton, Long Island," (1903).

Thursday, August 24, 2006

I hurt the feelings of the commander-in-chief of the Lebanese Army. So I was talking to my mother on the phone. She did not like my appearance (via phone) on New TV. She thought that I was not analytical, and that I was merely criticizing, "right-and-left" as she put it. I had to explain to her that it was my exact purpose. During my appearance on New TV, I, among other things, criticized and mocked the Lebanese Army. I talked about what happened in the Marji`yun barracks, and how the army presented tea to the Israeli occupiers. I asked if the Army's official policy is to offer cookies and tea to Israeli occupiers. So my (cell)phone rang, and the director of the Directorate of Guidance in the Lebanese Army was on the line. He said that Gen. Michel Sulayman, the commander-in-chief of the Lebanese Army was hurt by my remarks and by my criticisms of the Lebanese Army's role. He said that they would like to explain the situation to me. He said that there was no Lebanese Army in the barracks, and that it was Internal Security forces. I told him that there was the elite mukafahah troops there too. He said the only a small number of them were there but as a support (musanadah--auxiliary?) force. He said that the entire force in the barracks was under the command of the Minister of Interior and not the Lebanese Army. He said that the Lebanese Army has a "patriotic doctrine" and that they would never ever serve tea to the occupiers. I told him that my view that there is a very suspicious role intended for the Army by UNSC 1701. He said that they are only directed against the Israeli enemy and that they "will never fire at the resistance fighters" in South Lebanon. He also said that he liked my article in Al-Akhbar about the Arab TV media during the war.
Al-Quds Al-`Arabi is reporting that Abu Mazen has diverted funds collected by Hamas to pay salaries of PA employees to pay for Fath-run, PLO-institutions.
Hizbullah has a hard time shedding its sectarian image when you follow its position on Iraq. Today, I watched Al-Manar's newscast via the internet and was surprised (not really) how it basically propagandizes for Nuri Al-Maliki.
"The most recent survey, done in April this year, found almost no Iraqis who felt the United States had invaded to liberate their country from tyranny and build a democracy. Asked for "the three main reasons for the U.S. invasion of Iraq," fully 76 percent cited "to control Iraqi oil." That was followed by "to build military bases" (41 percent) and "to help Israel" (32 percent). Fewer than 2 percent chose "to bring democracy to Iraq" as their first choice." (thanks Amer)
She is holding pictures of the victims of the Israeli massacre of Marwahin.
"This is a government which always turns to the outside world for help and support. Somebody once in the State Department described Lebanon as “the crying game.” And I think there is a certain brutal truth to this as a description of how it behaves under pressure.""
"Most controversially, he describes widespread abuses against Iraqi citizens, including hostage-taking, murder, torture and theft, committed by American soldiers who did not understand why they were in Iraq or what they were supposed to be achieving there. Only a small minority of these crimes, perhaps, such as those at Abu Ghraib prison, have so far come to light."
"In the past month, say Egyptian newspapers, no fewer than 124 babies born in the city of Alexandria have been named Nasrallah. For good measure, one mother called her newborn twins Hassan and Nasrallah. The name of Hizbullah's chief also topped the list of the most popular political figures in Egypt, in a recent opinion poll, followed by two other bearded Islamists, Khaled Meshaal, the exiled leader of Hamas, the Palestinian movement, and Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. By way of contrast, when Gamal Mubarak, the Egyptian president's ambitious son, hitched a lift into Beirut airport with a highly publicised relief cargo from Cairo, text messages in Egypt's capital joked that he was “waging jihad in the cause of photography”."
"One clear failure was the inability to understand how the Lebanese would feel about being attacked. Current and former army officers say that there was a hope that the first few days of air strikes would focus domestic anger on Hizbullah and force it to back down. Instead, the anger was focused on Israel, which responded by ratcheting up its campaign step by step."
"Some Americans blame rising anti-Semitism in Europe, which they also attribute in part to its growing Muslim population. But there is a difference between being anti-Semitic and being anti-Israel. And in any case, it is not obvious that anti-Semitism is a big factor. In central Europe, for example, there seems to be both greater anti-Semitism and more support for Israel. And some polls suggest that more Americans think Jews have “too much influence” in their country than do Europeans. It is also often the right in Europe, linked with anti-Semitism in the past, that is most supportive of Israel today. Britain's Conservative Party, for instance, not always known for its admiration of Jews or Israel, is now the most pro-Israel party. In Italy, which invented fascism, Silvio Berlusconi's Forza Italia and Gianfranco Fini's formerly neo-fascist National Alliance, are more pro-Israel than the government."
"The New York Times has announced the appointment of its first perfume critic"
""Hezbollah is a mirror that shows the flaws of the Lebanese state," said Joseph Samaha, editor in chief of the Al-Akhbar daily. "As a secular leftist, I'm behind the resistance while wanting a real, active, credible state that meets its responsibilities. If that's there, I'm happy to say there's no justification for your existence as an armed group. Give me a proper state and I'll hand you the resistance.""
Bernard Lewis is still celebrating. He made it through the most scary moment of his life. You should be worried that this man advises the president and the vice-president on the Middle East. Be very worried.
Hasan Dib Nasrallah tells the press that when he arrived in Israel (after being kidnapped in a "daring Israeli commando raid") the Israeli soldiers were eupheric upon seeing him. They explaimed: Wow. Hasan Nasrallah.
Today, I watched the head of the Maronite League, Michel Iddi, analyze Israeli affairs on NBN TV. This former minister (and current presidential candidate) is seen as an "expert" on Israeli and Jewish affairs in Lebanon. I once had a fight with him 3 years ago. He was saying during one lunch that we both were guests at that there were no Jewish Americans who died on Sep. 11. I was furious: I told him that this is absolutely rubbish, and that many Jewish Americans died on Sep. 11. He still did not believe me and said that they were all alerted by the Israeli government the day before. So I asked him: Please explain this to me, because you are the first person I meet who believes in this crazy theory. How could the "so-called" 4000 not reveal the information when contacted the night before by the Israeli government? So 4000 kept the secret?
Lebanese public opinion. IPSOS (a right-wing polling firm in Lebanon) released the results of a new survey in Lebanon. Among the findings: 65% of all Lebanese believe that Hizbullah emerged stronger from this war, while 14% believe it is weaker; 51% of Lebanese believe that Hizbullah won the war, while 47% believe that nobody won the war, and a mere 2% believe that Israeli won the war [especially with the "darling Israeli commando raid" that captured Hasan Dib Nasrallah]; and 91% of Lebanese believe that Israelis are worse off from this war; and 44% of Lebanese believe that UNSC 1701 was in the interest of Lebanon and Israel, while 17% believe it is in the interest of Lebanon, and 28% believe that it is in the interest of Israel.

Mourning the victims of Israeli bombs in the massacre of Marwahin.
I have a strong--very strong--urge to tell you, rather frequently, that Al-Arabiya TV's Gizelle Khuri really really bothers me. I so can't stand her. I have not been able, for years now, to see her on TV without yelling out "criticisms"--out loud.
Khalid Saghiyyah on Prime Minister boo hoo hoo (II)
“Sugaring Off,” circa 1945. Grandma Moses.
"Amnesty International accused Israel on Wednesday of war crimes in its monthlong battle with Hezbollah, saying its bombing campaign amounted to indiscriminate attacks on Lebanon’s civilian infrastructure and population. “Many of the violations examined in this report are war crimes that give rise to individual criminal responsibility,” Amnesty International, the London-based human rights group, said in a report on the Israeli campaign. “They include directly attacking civilian objects and carrying out indiscriminate or disproportionate attacks.” “During more than four weeks of ground and aerial bombardment by the Israeli armed forces, the country’s infrastructure suffered destruction on a catastrophic scale,” the report said, contending this was “an integral part of the military strategy.” “Israeli forces pounded buildings into the ground,” the report went on, “reducing entire neighborhoods to rubble and turning villages and towns into ghost towns as their inhabitants fled the bombardments. “Main roads, bridges and petrol stations were blown to bits. Entire families were killed in airstrikes on their homes or in their vehicles while fleeing the aerial assaults on their villages. Scores lay buried beneath the rubble of their houses for weeks, as the Red Cross and other rescue workers were prevented from accessing the areas by continuing Israeli strikes.”"
From NYT: "A man stood Wednesday on the site of a building in a southern suburb of Beirut destroyed by an Israeli attack. A sign, left, blamed the United States."
Ziyad Rahbani's letter to mini-Hariri:
"مش انو الناس بالناس ونحنا بسعد، بس يعني كيف بدنا نقنع الجرايد اللبنانية انو توقف تبخير لحمامة السلام سعد الحريري؟

يعني كيف بدنا نقنعو لسعد انو هوي كان في يرجع علبنان من زمان، وانو هوي شاب تمام بس مش زابطة معو بالسياسة لا بالطول ولا بالعرض، وخصوصي انو الانتصار يللي جرب يبعينا ياه مبارح، لما رجع بالهليكوبتر الفرنساوية طلع مش انتصار، وانو رجعتو بطيارة فرنساوية ما بتشتبه رجعة الخميني بشي؟

يعني مثلاً ليش ما رجع مع السنيورة من روما؟

لش ما رجع مع الامير تركي بن طلال، يللي هوي سعودي كمان واجا على بيروت 5 مرات مع مساعدات؟ ليش ما رجع مع الخطوط الجوية العربية على شي طيارة اماراتية او مصرية او أردنية؟ لش ما جاب معو شوية دوا أحمر لأهل صيدا؟

بسيطة منيح يللي رجعت حمامة السلام، بس كمان عنا سؤال: انو لش القذيفة الاسرائيلية على منارة بيروت القديمة رسالة لسعد الحريري ومش لفؤاد السنيورة؟ بيت السنيورة اقرب للمنارة مش هيك؟ قريطم وينك ووين، رغم انها مفتوحة للاخوة السعوديين متل ما قال الشيخ الحمامة بأول ايام العدوان ورجع تذكر بعدين انو كمان بلبنان في لبنانيي وقال كمان قريطم بخدمتهن ... بس يضلو بعيد!

انو كيف طلع مع خمس جرايد لبنانيي انو القذيفة رسالة لقريطم ومع ثلاثة عنوان "قصف قريطم"؟؟؟ يا خيي وين قصفوا قريطم؟؟؟

يعني السنيورة بيطلعلو رسالة بكل هالعدوان، استكتر عليه سعد القذيفة وبدو ياخدها لالو.

طيب معليش، قبلانين معك انك مقاومة من الاليزيه وانك عذبت حالك وجيت من الرياض عالاليزيه وقطعت المساج مرتين لتعمل اجتماعات، بس المصيبة يا شيخ مش اذا نحنا صدقنا لكن اذا الاسرائيلي صدق وقام بعتلك رسالة عنجد!! هونيك البلوي لكبيرة!

بعدين، يا شيخ، سؤال: ليش النازحين المهجرين المخروبة بيوتهن نايمين بالطرقات والجنينات (صنايع وغيرو) وملاعب الفوتبول من بيروت لطرابلس، وفي بهالوقت اكثر من الف شقة فاضية بالسوليدير؟ انو فكرك مطولة القصة هيك؟

يعني اذا طلع انو معقولة تشتي الدنيي بآب أو اذا طلع أيلول أولو مبلول، فكرك سوليدير بتضل عاصمة موناكو، ولّا المهجرين بيعملو موناكو اختها؟

يا شيخ، يا حمامة السلام وسلام الحمامة، افتح قبلك وبيتك وروّقها شوي، بلا نفخ وبعدك ما وصلت عالبلد، وبلا هيدا اللف والدوران كلما سألوك عن المقاومة. عفكرة بدك تحاسبون مش هيك؟ بدك تحاسب المقاومة؟ مش هيك قلت ب"عكاظ" وعلى ال"سي ان ان"؟

شو بدك بهالقصة، بلاها أحسن لأنو ديوان المحاسبة مفتوح ببير العبد والمربع بالحارة وبكل ضيعة ... شو بدك بالمحاسبة لانو يا ما إلها ستي عند سيدي، وأحسن ما تبتطل الطيارة، الهليكوبتر يللي جابتك قادرة ترجع تنزل وتاخدك.

الحمدلله عالسلامة يا شيخ، بدك تطول بالك على هلكم نازح ومهجر وتطول بالك اذا سمعت هيك يعني شوية حكي بغير لهجة بالحمرا وغيرها (هيدا جنوبي على بعلبكي على لهجة اهل برج البراجنة)، وحياتك ما بدهن يقعدوا ولا دقيقة بس صحابك قالوا انو خليهن يتحملوا مسؤولية مغامرتهن..

رح ناخد بنصيحتك وبدعوتك ونتضامن كلنا سوا، مع انو في ناس قادرة تتحمم وفي ناس انجأ قادرة تتيمم، معليش كلنا سوا وكتر خيرك على كل شي، بس عنا سؤال زغير بالنسبة للتضامن والوقفة كلنا سوا، انو يعني بس لنعرف قديش رح تضل واقف معنا: قديش فيك تقعد بلا مساج؟


Afraid of the truth: "After being remade in recent years into a monument to political atrocity, the jail at Khiam now lies destroyed by Israeli strikes"
"Evolutionary biology has vanished from the list of acceptable fields of study for recipients of a federal education grant for low-income college students." (thanks Laleh)
"A weaker US hand in the Mideast"
"Israeli shelling left carpet of bomblets"
"Nine black children attending Red River Elementary School were directed last week to the back of the school bus by a white driver who designated the front seats for white children."
"U.S. authorities have arrested a New York man for broadcasting Hizbollah television station al-Manar, which has been designated a terrorist entity by the U.S. Treasury Department, prosecutors said on Thursday."
"Sadr's Armed Movement Becomes Pivotal Force in Fractured Country"
"In Zibqin itself, I found one especially poignant ruin..."
An example why knowledge of the language of the country that you are covering is important for foreign correspondents. I was reading an article by a correspondent of Guardian today. You find more foreign correspondents talking to Michael Young than to, say, Joseph Samahah--the dean of columnists in the Arab world. The reason why they interview Young is because he writes in English.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Khalid Saghiyyah on Prime Minister boo hoo hoo.
`Ali Shihabi was arrested by the Syrian regime for being a leftist.
"The Old Oaken Bucket" (1943). By Grandma Moses.
Israel brags: "Summary of IDF airstrikes during Operation Change of Direction:
  • More than 7,000 targets struck in Lebanon
  • 15,500 sorties flown over Lebanon, including:
    • More than 10,000 combat missions
    • 2,000 helicopter combat missions (most of them looking for Hasan Dib Nasrallah)
    • 1,000 helicopter search-and-rescue missions
    • 1,200 transport missions
    • Over 1,300 reconnaissance missions
    • Summary of IDF naval operations during Operation Change of Direction:
    • Navy vessels sailed over 8,000 hours along the Lebanese coast
    • The Navy conducted 2,500 bombardments of targets along the Lebanese coast including missile launch sites, missile launchers, weapons storage sites, coastal roads, other Hezbollah infrastructure, Hezbollah radar installations, and fuel stations and depots
    • Blockade of Lebanese coast for 33 days, while permitting over 200 vessels through for purposes of evacuating civilians or providing humanitarian aid"
"The documentary spends almost no time with critics in the Arab world who see Mr. bin Laden as a dangerous fanatic who may have pushed the world to the brink of a global catastrophe. Hasn’t Mr. Bergen learned anything in the eventful nine years since he met the terrorist?"
I am sorry. But your Afghan puppet is falling, and he can't get up.
John Kifner makes a brilliant observation here: "Hassan Nasrallah, the name of the leader of Hezbollah, is a pretty common name in Lebanon, it turns out."
"Enrollment in Arabic courses is way up. So are the job opportunities for graduates."
"One In Five Female Citadel Cadets Report Sexual Assaults"
"Two Asian students have revealed their shock and despair after being thrown off a plane because other passengers feared they were suicide bombers."
He is alive. He is alive. Bernard Lewis is alive; he made through one of the most difficult days of his life. He must be most grateful.
The Lebanese "Cedar Revolution" continues. A Syrian worker, Raghib Yasin, 39, was found dead in Khaldah, in Lebanon yesterday. He was shot in the side.
"Amnesty International says attacks on civilian targets by Israeli military forces during the recently ended fighting in Lebanon look like deliberate war crimes."
"Iraq violence: Facts and figures"
""I insisted that I am only a regular man who owns a mini-market and a store that sells ammunition for hunting rifles. I don't belong to any group," Nasrallah said Tuesday, a day after he was returned to Lebanon."
What do Lebanese want? Lebanese Public Opinion. Well, there is a new public opinion survey released by the Beirut Center (thanks Abdo for sending it to me). Quite revealing. 72 % of Lebanese believe that the resistance (a reference to Hizbullah) came out victorious from this war (70.8% of Sunnis; 96.3% of Shi`ites; 62.8% of Druzes; and 59.7% of Christians. To the question "Was the Israeli war on Lebanon due to the capture of two Israeli soldiers or to a premeditated plan, 84.6% of Lebanese believed it was due to a premeditated plan (81% of Sunnis; 97.2% of Shi`ites; 76.7% of Druzes; and 79.7% of Christians). 25.5% of Lebanese believe in the possibility of "peace with Israel" (21.3% of Sunnis; 1.9% of Shi`ites; 32.6% of Druzes; and 41.9% of Christians.)

Those pictures were taken by John Waterbury, president of the American University of Beirut, during his recent visit to the southern suburbs of Beirut. (Click to enlarge, and to see the signs).
For those who care, I shall speak today Wednesday (tonight at 10:00PM Beirut Time, 12:00PM Pacific Time) on New TV's Al-Usbu` Fi Sa`ah.
"Plainte belge pour crimes de guerre" (thanks Latifa)
You know that the US is in trouble in the Middle East when Sa`d Iddin Ibrahim, the supporter of Bush's wars, comes out against US and Israel, and for Hizbullah.
What arrogance. What absurdity. David Ignatius who wrote this sentence does NOT know Arabic: "And as a journalist, I have often found its coverage unbalanced. It tries too hard to present the Arab news, rather than just the news."

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

The program of the Commonwealth Club (this evening) will air on some radio station. You may consult the site for that. If somebody finds the link, let me know. (I think that Angry Arab was...angrier).
This is my first article in Al-Akhbar: "Critique of the War Media [coverage]: TV (I)." (Non-PDF version here).
Today, marks the 23rd year in the US for me. With that, I have spent half of my life in the US, and the other half in Lebanon.
"“Don’t think that they were picking and choosing their targets,” he said. “Everybody was hurt by this, Sunni, Shia and Christian. The pain goes all around.”"
From NYT: "A woman stood Monday near a row of graves being prepared for a funeral this week for 23 civilians, including 17 children, in Marwaheen, a predominantly Sunni Muslim village."
""The Old checkered House" (1853-1959)". By Grandma Moses.
"Lebanon's 15-year economic and social recovery from civil war was wiped out in the recent Israeli offensive against Hezbollah, the UN development agency has said." (thanks Mouin)
I just heard that Paul Wolfowitz's World Bank will oversee all foreign aid to Lebanon. Is that not nice? I mean, is that not kind? I mean, is that not just sweet.
Even Human Rights Watch is saying this: "Why did so many Lebanese civilians lost their lives to Israeli bombing? The [Israeli] government line is that the IDF was doing the best it could, but these deaths were the result of Hizbullah hiding its rockets and fighters among civilians. But that assertion doesn't stand up to the facts."

Pictures from Bin Jubayl (by Darine Za`tari--you sister, Darine, gave me the wrong credit information).
"An Homage to C. Wright Mills"

Monday, August 21, 2006

I saw footage of the village of Qulaylah (south west of the city of Tyre)--the hometown of the AbuKhalil family on New TV. It was most devastated. I am told that my (late) aunt's house was totally demolished. I thought I saw that in the footage. Some places I could not recognize. Another (late) aunt lived in Qana; her surviving son still lives there. The AbuKhalils are not Christians. They will not forget; they will not forgive.
Why all this talk about reconstructing the state in Lebanon? I have lived under and experienced first hand the Lebanese state, and don't wish it on any human being. If it is broken, don't fix it, or break it further, or something like that.
I never was much of a fan of "democracy" as a solution to the problems in the Middle East, or anywhere else for that matter. but I am even less able to stomach talks of "democracy in the Middle East" these days. What does democracy mean when 25% of the elected representatives of the Palestinian people are in an Israeli jail.
"Five Lebanese citizens, including two elderly men, were imprisoned for four days in a bus, reserve soldiers serving in the Military Police told Haaretz Monday. The reservists said that arguments in the Israel Defense Forces prevented putting the prisoners in a POW compound. The prisoners were released when it transpired that they were not associated with Hezbollah."