Friday, February 29, 2008

"Q A quick one on Lebanon, too. Prime Minister Siniora comes out today and says he has summoned the U.S. charg d'affaires to request clarifications about the USS Cole being sent to the region; says he had nothing to do with it. Was there really no coordination between the United States and Lebanon about this show of force in the region?
MR. JOHNDROE: No, I would say we have regular consultations with Prime Minister Siniora and his government, as well as our allies, both in the immediate region, as well as in Europe on the situation in Lebanon." (thanks FLC)
" Vilnai's holocaust threat, however much Israeli officials attempt to qualify it, fits into a consistent pattern of belligerent statements and actions by Israeli officials. Israel has attempted to isolate the population of Gaza, deliberately restricting essential supplies, such as food, medicines and energy, a policy endorsed by the Israeli high court but condemned by international officials as illegal collective punishment. As The Electronic Intifada has previously reported, dehumanizing statements by Israeli political and religious leaders directed at Palestinians are common (see "Top Israeli rabbis advocate genocide," The Electronic Intifada, 31 May 2007 and "Dehumanizing the Palestinians," Ali Abunimah, The Electronic Intifada, 21 September 2007)."
My article in Al-Akhbar: "The Triumph of Sadatism: The country (and US) first."
"First it is important to establish the facts. Here are the facts: I am not a Muslim and I never have been. I never attended a madrasa. I did not take my oath of office on a Koran. I am a committed Christian. I lived in Indonesia for four years as a child, where I attended secular schools. I took my oath of office on our family Bible. People who know the facts are not worried about my commitment to Israel's security and the U.S.-Israel relationship." (thanks Amal)
"But we must act and time is running out." The Nintendo Wii is selling like hot cakes. Get your game NOW. (thanks W.)
For knowledge on Iraq and Middle East issues, I always--ALWAYS--turn to her.
"Terje Rød-Larsen, who played a key role in the so-called "Oslo Agreement" that later fell apart, has refused to turn over documents tied to negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians in the early 1990s." (thanks Badis)
"The Bush administration’s continued backing of President Pervez Musharraf, despite the overwhelming rejection of his party by voters this month, is fueling a new level of frustration in Pakistan with the United States. That support has rankled the public, politicians and journalists here, inciting deep anger at what is perceived as American meddling and the refusal of Washington to embrace the new, democratically elected government. John D. Negroponte, the deputy secretary of state, said Thursday during a Senate panel hearing that the United States would maintain its close ties to Mr. Musharraf."
The dispatch of USS Cole to the waters off Lebanon was expected. You see, most of the Syrian and Iranian intervention in Lebanon has been arriving by sea. Also, members of "the democratically-elected" government of Fu'ad Sanyurah, may be forced to flee for their lives and the presence of those ships is very reassuring to them.
"U.S. Terror Watch List Surpasses 900,000 Names, ACLU Estimates - UPDATED" (thanks Greg)
O Arabs. Your money will be funding this library: "Mr. Bush’s library, which is to include a museum and a public policy institute, is expected to cost more than $200 million, though Mr. Bush said Thursday that he could not confirm that amount. He said he would “probably take some foreign money, but don’t know yet.”"
"“I was never on his show,” Gore Vidal, with whom Mr. Buckley had a famous feud, said on Thursday. “I don’t like fascism much.” He added: “I was one of the first people he asked. And, of course, I refused to be on it. And, of course, he lied about it afterward.”"
This was an ad in an Israeli newspaper, Haaretz. (thanks Eyad)
"Likewise, physician Khaled Bsat of the Hariri Clinic in the Sunni-majority Beirut neighborhood of Tarik al-Jdeideh said his staff "give free medicine to everyone, not according to sect but because healthcare is for everyone." However, were a patient to be a member of the Future Movement, their treatment at the Hariri Clinic would certainly be a priority. "Lebanon is a sectarian country, but even if we open clinics in Sunni areas we also give medicine to everyone," said Bsat. "But as Sunnis we must take care of Sunnis before any other sect." (thanks Toufic)
"Mr Senoussi has again been banned from performing in his own country. One reason, say his fans, was that he cheekily called the king “Sa Majetski”, in reference to the monarch's love of noisy waterbikes. Bziz also recently drew attention to the plight of dissidents by appearing for an interview on the al-Jazeera satellite channel, bound and gagged. Asked to comment on a new code of ethics agreed at a gathering of Arab ministers of information to control the content of satellite television channels, Mr Senoussi said it was a wonder of Arab technological progress that their police were now patrolling outer space." (thanks Mohamed)
"IT IS the world's fourth-most-important food crop, after maize, wheat and rice. It provides more calories, more quickly, using less land and in a wider range of climates than any other plant. It is, of course, the potato." (thanks Karim)
If Prince Harry joined the British military earlier, I am confident that he would have been able to save the British Empire.
An American correspondent in the Middle East sent me this: "so LBC is starting a new show thats supposed to target youth and tackle social issues the episode they've been working on is about economic issues. they prepared a set of questions for the woman who is the economy and stockmarket expert for al arabiya. rather than asking her intelligent questions, one of them was "you sit with the kings of money, do you dream of being a queen?" then they arranged to interview a poor man who works with expensive jewelry. one of the questions they prepared to ask him was 'how much does it cost to say 'i love you''"
"So far, Obama's campaign has responded with aggressive corrections that tout his Christian faith, attack the attackers and channel a cooperative witness before the House Un-American Activities Committee. "Barack has never been a Muslim or practiced any other faith besides Christianity," states one fact sheet. "I'm not and never have been of the Muslim faith," Obama told a Christian News reporter." (thanks Ashraf)

The child, Muhammad Al-Bur`i, a victim of Israeli occupation killing rampage in Gaza, being buried. (Reuters)
"Israel warns of Gaza 'holocaust'" (thanks Laleh)

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Barak Obama always brags that he worked as a "community organizer". Personally, I would much rather be a community disorganizer.
Ibrahim Al-Amin offers a critical analysis of Walid Jumblat's political and psychological state.
Today, the New York Times carried two pictures of victims in the Gaza bombings. Both were of Israeli victims.

Flower Fatwawawa. So the Muftititi of Saudi Arabia (shown above) was asked about whether it is permissible to bring flowers to patients in hospitals. He ruled against it and the official fatwawawa said: "It is not part of the guidance of Muslims over the centuries to present flowers, real or artificial, to patients in hospitals or elsewhere but this is a habit imported from the lands of infidelity carried over by those with weak faith who are influenced by them. In reality, these flowers don't benefit the patient, but are mere imitation and impersonation of infidels, no more...." (thanks Badr)
"Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates urged Turkish leaders on Wednesday to abandon their invasion of guerrilla-controlled lands in the northernmost reaches of Iraq by mid-March."
It is over. The Taliban are now finished once and for all. Finally, a solution to the Taliban problem in Afghanistan.
"For the first time in the nation’s history, more than one in 100 American adults is behind bars, according to a new report. Nationwide, the prison population grew by 25,000 last year, bringing it to almost 1.6 million. Another 723,000 people are in local jails. The number of American adults is about 230 million, meaning that one in every 99.1 adults is behind bars. Incarceration rates are even higher for some groups. One in 36 Hispanic adults is behind bars, based on Justice Department figures for 2006. One in 15 black adults is, too, as is one in nine black men between the ages of 20 and 34. The report, from the Pew Center on the States, also found that only one in 355 white women between the ages of 35 and 39 is behind bars, but that one in 100 black women is." (thanks May)
I watched an interview with Lebanese novelist, Rashid Ad-Da`if. What an unassuming and kind man. I was so impressed with his personality: very atypical of Lebanese intellectuals. Note to self: read his books NOW. I did not know that he was a member of the Lebanese Communist Party for 20 years. (For readers: many of his books are translated into English, French, German and other languages).
The propaganda war in the current Arab cold war is so intense that it is only comparable to the Arab propaganda war of the 1950s between Nasser and his rivals. Almost daily, there are fabrications, allegations, and fake interviews from both sides (the Saudi and the Syrian).
You know what this means? More Danish cartoons' coverage, 24-7. "Doha: In the latest sign of an improvement in ties between the two countries, Saudi Arabia has appointed a new ambassador to Qatar six years after recalling its diplomat from Doha and freezing relations with the Gulf country." (thanks Laleh)
Another Palestinian child injured by Israeli bombing in Gaza.
"An Israeli airstrike aimed at the ministry of interior building in Gaza City also destroyed the nearby Palestinian Medical Relief Society (PMRS) head office in Gaza and killed a 5-month-old baby in a residential building in the same area."
"When the Palestinians aren’t making claims, their viewpoint is simply not heard. Keshev, the Centre for the Protection of Democracy in Israel, studied the way Israel’s leading television channels and newspapers covered Palestinian casualties in a given month – December 2005. They found 48 items covering the deaths of 22 Palestinians. However, in only eight of those accounts was the IDF version followed by a Palestinian reaction; in the other 40 instances the event was reported only from the point of view of the Israeli military. Another example: in June 2006, four days after the Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit was kidnapped from the Israeli side of the Gazan security fence, Israel, according to the Israeli media, arrested some sixty members of Hamas, of whom 30 were elected members of parliament and eight ministers in the Palestinian government. In a well-planned operation Israel captured and jailed the Palestinian minister for Jerusalem, the ministers of finance, education, religious affairs, strategic affairs, domestic affairs, housing and prisons, as well as the mayors of Bethlehem, Jenin and Qalqilya, the head of the Palestinian parliament and one quarter of its members. That these officials were taken from their beds late at night and transferred to Israeli territory probably to serve (like Gilad Shalit) as future bargaining-chips did not make this operation a kidnapping. Israel never kidnaps: it arrests. The Israeli army never intentionally kills anyone, let alone murders them – a state of affairs any other armed organisation would be envious of. Even when a one-ton bomb is dropped onto a dense residential area in Gaza, killing one gunman and 14 innocent civilians, including nine children, it’s still not an intentional killing or murder: it is a targeted assassination. An Israeli journalist can say that IDF soldiers hit Palestinians, or killed them, or killed them by mistake, and that Palestinians were hit, or were killed or even found their death (as if they were looking for it), but murder is out of the question. The consequence, whatever words are used, has been the death at the hands of the Israeli security forces since the outbreak of the second intifada of 2087 Palestinians who had nothing to do with armed struggle." (thanks Karim)
Enslaved by a Lebanese family here in Modesto.
"Jonathan McCullum was in excellent health at 155 pounds when he left last summer to spend the school year as an exchange student in Egypt. But when he returned home to Maine just four months later, the 5-foot-9 teenager weighed a mere 97 pounds and was so weak that he struggled to carry his baggage or climb a flight of stairs. Doctors said he was at risk of a heart attack. McCullum says he was denied sufficient food while staying with a family of Coptic Christians, who fast for more than 200 days a year, a regimen unmatched by other Christians."

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

"How the FBI’s terror informants brought down a Bronx jazz musician: Bronx jazz musician Tarik Shah told an undercover FBI agent that he wanted to teach karate moves to members of Al Qaeda. It wasn’t a smart move: Last April, he was sentenced to serve 15 years on charges of supporting terrorism." (thanks Sinan)
His baby, Muhammad Al-Bur`i, was killed by Israeli occupation bombing in Gaza. (Reuters).
Nayif Hawatimah: why he suddenly railed against Abu Mazen and PA (thanks Hussein)
Hitler had Blondie and Walid Jumblat has Oscar. Jumblt thinks that with a pet, and a subscription to the New Yorker and New York Review of Books, he really can get along with the White Man. (thanks Nadim)
"The Gaza Strip's water provider on Wednesday urged the area's 1.5 million residents to boil their drinking water, blaming a shortage of purifying chlorine on Israel's blockade of the strip." (thanks Maryam)
How I despise the Jordanian press. Instead of focusing on the ruling family and their machinations, today they united to publish a special message on their front pages regarding...Danish cartoon. Danish cartoons, for potato's sake. They said that the cartoons don't enter into freedom of expression. Maybe they should focus more on the denial of freedom of expression in their own country by their PlayStation monarch.
William F Buckley, who spent a lifetime feigning a British accent, died. Here, what Laleh sent me: "So here is what [the NYT] say about Buckley:
"graceful, often self-deprecating wit that endeared him to others"
and then this is what they quote about him:
"Everyone detected with AIDS should be tattooed in the upper forearm to prevent common needle users, and on the buttocks, to prevent the victimization of homosexuals"
and the fact that National Review
"[lined] up squarely behind Southern segregationists, saying blacks should be denied the vote. After some conservatives objected, Mr. Buckley suggested instead that both uneducated whites and blacks should not be allowed to vote."
Today, I watched Sudanese demagogic dictator, Hasan Al-Bashir, rail against...Danish cartoons. Danish cartoons: the last refuge of Arab dictatorial demagogues.
Zionist-Saudi Alliance. Today, MEMRI (and I, of course, would not link to them) issued a report in which it expressed its satisfaction with Saudi "anti-terror" campaigns. It said that Saudi Arabia will be praised for its public beheadings and for its funding and arming of fanatical kooks provided the government continues to align itself with Israeli goals in the Middle East region.
The correspondent of the New York Times spent two days in North Korea. Don't be surprised if he soon signs a book contract to write a book about the politics and society of North Korea (especially the countryside where he did not visit but had some generalizations to offer).
Foreign Aid (from Economist).
From most to least democratic. From Economist--the best magazine there is.
"Immigrants in California are far less likely to land in prison than their U.S.-born counterparts, a finding that defies the perception that immigration and crime are connected, according to a study released Monday."
"Khalidi said he supports Obama for president "because he is the only candidate who has expressed sympathy for the Palestinian cause."" When did Obama express sympathy for the Palestinian cause? Am I missing something?
"Sharon and Jumblatt, who hated Syria for murdering his father, had mutual friends, including the current head of the Mossad, Meir Dagan." (thanks FLC)
Walid Jumblat confesses--in this old video--his responsibility for war crimes. (thanks Bayt Shabab guy)
The standards of New York Times' obituary page. Arab writers, leaders, poets, and artists and barely a mention in the New York Times. Not a word, for example, on the passing of Suhayl Idriss. But today, they have a large obituary for a former Israeli army chief-of-staff (who knows how many innocent people he has killed over a life time). But anything that has to do with Israel, gets prominent feature in this paper. I swear: they once had an obituary of some chef: the headline said: he once worked in Israel.
Qaradawi Channel. I woke up, put on the news on AlJazeera: they started with this: whether a German minister really called on European media to publish...Danish cartoons. Danish cartoons, for potato's sake. Then said that hundreds of thousands took to the streets in Khartum in protest. This gives you an idea how unspontaneous these activities are: the demagogic dictator of Khartun wants any issue to ride on. The demonstration looked much smaller than what was said about the number: but maybe they have the Hariri counters of demonstrations which multiply the actual number of demonstrators by 10.
A Saudi academic received a request from a female student to meet with her for an important matter. As soon as she arrived, they were surrounded by the religious police. He was put on trial and convicted and sentenced to 8 months in jail, and 180 lashes. (thanks Haytham)
So three Indian UNIFIL soldiers donate blood to an ill Lebanese. An-Nahar (the right-wing, sectarian Christian, anti-Syrian (people), anti-Palestinian (people) gives this headline: "Indian blood...for a sick Lebanese." (thanks As`ad--not me)

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

This writer in Ash-Sharq Al-Awsat fondly remembers colonial times. (thanks Amer)
This reviewer of this book in Al-Akhbar failed to mention the most important part: that this is a classic anti-Semitic book.
Dear readers and jerks: I have no rules to speak of for the comments section. I have insisted on not censoring comments as awful and offensive as they have been (from people on opposite sides as both sides have racists and bigots in their midsts unfortunately). But I have asked that people 1) observe the laws here in the US which prohibit death threats or calls for murder or violence; 2) that they don't use other people's names; 3) that they don't out other people who choose to write under other names--that is their right; 4) that they try as much possible to reduce the level vile expressions. It being clearly understood that the comments don't speak for me and don't represent this site or its owner. I write my opinions under my own name.
The other Mughniyyah. There is a less famous member of the Mughniyyah family. Religious scholar Muhammad Jawad Mughniyyah of Tyre is an important figure in the contemporary history of Sh`iite religious thought. He wrote the book Al-Akhumayni wa-d-Dawla-l-Islamiyyah which was the first critical refutation of Khumayni's doctrine of Wilayat Al-Faqih.
I noticed that the official announcement of the Yaser `Arafat Foundation in the Arab League in Cairo today included Lebanese Shi`ite cleric, Hani Fahs. His specialty is fatwas-for-sale, and will offer special courses in opportunism at the Foundation.
On the clinical death of the Jordanian Communist Party.
In celebration of the birthday of comatose Ariel Sharon, members of US Congress agree to move their toes in unison.
"Israel Defense Forces troops killed a Palestinian farmer near the Gaza Strip's border on Tuesday, his relatives and hospital officials said."
The latest from the demagogic dictatorship: "Sudan has enacted a ban on Danish imports in reaction to the reprinting of a cartoon that satirizes Islam's Prophet Muhammad, the Sudanese state-run news agency said Tuesday." (thanks Waqaas)
The correspondent of the New York Times has been in North Korea for 24 hours but he feels qualified to say this: "Malnutrition persists in the countryside."
The other side of Dubai: "In a country where strikes are banned, the sentence issued by the Dubai Court of Misdemeanour against Indian workers reflects the coercive atmosphere that prevails in the country. The strikers were sentenced to six months in jail to be followed by their deportation for involvement in violent protests to demand pay increases last year."
"As Robert said I will also carry with me an unshakable commitment to the security of Israel and the friendship between the United States and Israel. The US Israel relationship is rooted in shared interests, shared values, shared history and in deep friendship among our people. It is supported by a strong bipartisan consensus that I am proud to be a part of and I will work tirelessly as president to uphold and enhance the friendship between the two countries. Two years ago I had a chance to travel to Israel and it left a lasting impression on me. I have long understood Israel's great dilemma, it's need for security in a difficult neighborhood and it's quest for peace with its neighbors, but there is no substitute for meeting the people of Israel. Seeing the terrain, experiencing the powerful contrast between the beautiful holy land that faces the constant threat of deadly violence. The people of Israel showed their courage and commitment to democracy everyday that they board a bus or kiss their children goodbye or argue about politics in a local café. And I know how much Israelis crave peace. I know that Prime Minister Olmert was elected with a mandate to pursue it. I pledge to make every effort to help Israel achieve that peace. I will strengthen Israel's security and strengthen Palestinian partners who support that vision and personally work for two states that can live side by side in peace and security with Israel's status as a Jewish state ensured so that Israelis and Palestinians can pursue their dreams." (thanks Greg)
By the way, Arab media are reacting (and on front pages) with disgust over Clinton's latest dirty trick regarding Obama's picture in traditional Somali dress. (No, I am not endorsing Obama and still hope that Mr./Ms. Potato head run for president).
Comrade Fawwaz on Joseph Samahah
"Dorris Wood, the board member, objected last month, with the following comments: “When I look at this proposed class, my one thought is that we know all we need to know about the Arabs and Islam. They are our enemies: pure and simple.... They have declared war on the United States and are committed to our destruction.... When our schools fail the citizens of this great country by undermining the basic principles of democracy and support the sworn enemies we will fail completely.... Study history and understand how the Muslims have over the centuries invaded other countries and forced their religion by killing, plundering, and ravaging... Now they are invading Christian countries of the world from inside, one method being through our schools and universities.... If you want to give yourselves to Islam, you have the right and freedom to do that. But don’t give my country to them.” The statement didn’t sway the board and the courses were approved, but the fact that a trustee would describe Arabs and Muslims in this way (without any distinctions among Arabs and Muslims, who are not monolithic in their views) stunned those at the meeting, and many who heard of the comments later." (thanks Julie)
Did you catch the press statement yesterday by Abu Mazen's Information Minister (former leftist, Riyadh Al-Maliki) when he criticized (on behalf of Abu Mazen's Council of Ministers) Palestinian demonstrations against Israeli occupation because "they put Palestinian women and children at risk"?
A critical evaluation of Al-Arabiya TV (not as harshly critical as needed, in my opinion).
Sen. John Kerry on the 72 virgins and martyrdom in Islam (you need to click on the link of Kerry in Texas, and he talks about this at minute 27). George W. Bush does not know what he is talking about, and it is clear that he does not know what he is talking about. John Kerry does not know what he is talking about but he thinks (and some of his audience thinks) that he knows what he is talking about. (thanks Karim)
"Lebanese professor of politics, As'ad AbuKhalil, of the blog Angry Arab, offered criticism of Arab news coverage of Obama. He wrote, "Al-Jazeera is covering Obama as if he is the political equivalent of Muhammad Ali." AbuKhalil also mocked the Islamophobia surrounding Obama, including e-mail campaigns insinuating he is a Muslim or attended religious schools. He joked that "the Clinton attack machine will now claim that Sen. Obama has pledged to ask Mahmoud Ahmadinajad to be his running mate if he wins the nomination." He compared the hysteria about Obama's religious background to Nazi persecution of Jews. "This discussion of whether Obama was ever a Muslim is not different from Nazi discussion of the Jewish heritage of certain individuals.""
PS Here, the writer in this Turkish weekly misunderstood my last point. I would be insensitive to the victims of the Holocaust if I compare the prejudice regarding Obama's background to Nazi persecution of the Jews. I did not mean that. I meant that the discussion of Obama's background is similar to when present-day Nazis (or anti-Semites) discuss the background of a person to determine whether he/she is Jewish or not.
77.4% of all Lebanese Christians support "action for the overthrow of the Zionist regime" in Israel.
A Saudi secularist describes his ordeal.
"Most of the world's Internet users lost access to YouTube for several hours Sunday after an attempt by Pakistan's government to block access domestically affected other countries."
The Libyan dictator's son is now negotiating with a Libyan Bin Ladenite group toward releasing their members from a Libyan jail. In other news, Western governments are now rushing to sell weapons to the Libyan government.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Every few days, the Syrian government asks the Saudi government if it can send its foreign minister to present an official invitation to the Saudi King to attend the Arab League summit in Damascus. And every few days the Saudi government says no.
`Amru Khalid, the Egyptian tele-Islamist, reminds me of the most corrupt of US televangelists.
White males among Super Delegates of the Democratic Party are double their percentage among Democratic voters (I just learned that from the best magazine there is--the Economist).
I read statements by the two Abu Mazen's ministers who submitted their resignations and still could not understand their reasons. They said that they were unhappy with the "situation." Can you please be more clear?
"The report shows, for example, that every religion is losing and gaining members, but that the Roman Catholic Church “has experienced the greatest net losses as a result of affiliation changes.” The survey also indicates that the group that had the greatest net gain was the unaffiliated. More than 16 percent of American adults say they are not part of any organized faith, which makes the unaffiliated the country’s fourth largest “religious group.”" (thanks Toufic)
An Israeli soldier died yesterday in...Baghdad. An Israeli newspaper said that he volunteered to fight with the US occupation forces.
The Arab League will today officially open the Yaser `Arafat Foundation in the Arab League headquarters in Cairo. The foundation will train diplomats in the art of lies, deception, trickery, double talk, equivocation, unprincipledness, shiftiness, autocracy, and submission and prostration before foreign occupation. All trainees will have their certificates signed by Muhammad Dahlan.
A Lebanese military court sentenced a Lebanese citizen for one week for insulting former president, Emile Lahhud, and current commander-in-chief of the Lebanese Army, Michel Sulayman.
"Hoschek sells the Army's elite Special Forces a T-shirt that resists burning, a feature that can save the lives of soldiers under fire. In this video, he demonstrates how various T-shirts hold up under a flame." (thanks Lawrence)
I am jealous of all of you who live in Boston. Mauritanian singer, Malouma, is coming to Boston. (I am grateful to Jamilah for introducing me to this great singer).
"The video was released as the Obama campaign was laboring to rebut assertions that he is unfriendly to Israel." (thanks Earl)
"Along with unfavourable references to the US and Japan, the reference to Israel was written in the margin by someone commenting on the opening paragraph of the Williams draft. It was written against the claim that "no other country [apart from Iraq] has flouted the United Nations' authority so brazenly in pursuit of weapons of mass destruction"." (thanks Emily)
"Mr. Abdul Raheem, the clothing store employee in Amman, said, “No one can be in the government now and be clean.” Meanwhile, his own life has been transformed, Mr. Abdul Raheem said. He ticked off a list of prices: potatoes have jumped to about 76 cents a pound from 32 cents. A carton of 30 eggs went to nearly $4.25 from just above $2; cucumbers rose to 58 cents a pound from about 22. All this in a matter of weeks."
There really should be a loud campaign to show solidarity with the bloggers who are being persecuted and banned in places like Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Iran. It just hit me how annoying it must feel to be banned as a blogger.
"By identifying Israel with the supposed underdog, ethnic Albanians in Kosovo, Haaretz implicitly recognizes that there are indeed some striking similarities though not ones it would acknowledge. Kosovo, like Israel, was illegally severed by force of arms from another country against the wishes of the majority population of the whole territory. Both entities came into being and can only survive with the sponsorship and support of the Great Powers of the day who sustain them in violation of international law because it suits their imperial interests. Furthermore, both entities are animated by a virulent ethno-nationalism that is fundamentally incompatible with the values of freedom, tolerance and democracy that they claim to have come into being to uphold. In this sense, Kosovo is the latest in a collection of Western-backed pseudo-states that also includes the Kurdish entity in northern Iraq."
All Israelis are saying, is give war a chance: "Peace will return for his family, Peretz has decided, only if Israel chooses to go to war with his neighbors."

Sunday, February 24, 2008

"Israel's Beaufort fails to win Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film" Don't worry. I am sure that they will manage to give some award to the director: maybe a Nobel Prize in Peace or chemistry.
"The demonstration was an unusual sight in the West Bank, where Abbas' Palestinian Authority has become increasingly autocratic since his Hamas rivals seized power in the Gaza Strip in June. Since then, police have cracked down on protests perceived to challenge Abbas' rule. Some 3,000 Hamas loyalists crowded the village of Kobar, carrying the body of 44-year-old Majed Barghouti, who died in a lockup run by intelligence officials on Friday, a week after he was arrested. Hamas officials said they did not trust a government investigation announced by Abbas."
Forty days since George Habash died. Why do we mark forty days in the Arab world? What is the origin of that? Why not fifty or twenty?
A beautiful tribute to Joseph Samahah.
They elect a communist president in Cyprus and Arabs live under Wahhabi-imposed Fatwawawas. "Christofias becomes first communist Cyprus president." (AP)
I saw Ma`n Bashshur on LBC-TV. I have to say this first. Bashshur belongs to a group of sincere secular Arab nationalists: there are people like Ma`n Bashshur and Kamal Khalaf At-Tawil who don't belong to sects or to narrow sectarian groups. These are people who you only know as Arabs and not as members of sects or Qutr. At the personal level, Bashshur is one of the nicest, funniest, amicable, civil, democratic, friendliest, and charming people. Even if you disagree with him--as I often do especially when he writes tributes to Saddam, you can't meet him and not like him. You would disagree with him and he would disarm you with his likable personality. Last time I saw him in Beirut, I was expressing my displeasure at a show he did with Joseph AbuKhalil in which he appeared uncritical of the latter. He said: you like eggplants. Let me tell you when Saddam Husayn would wink at me about eggplants. And he would proceed to recount a most entertaining story. But today Bashshur said, to the effect, that it is uncharacteristic of Saudi Arabia to interfere in internal Arab affairs. Come on. You know about the contemporary Arab history more than I do, and you have lived it. Has Saudi Arabia ever stopped in interfering (in money and arms) in the affairs of every Arab country since at least the 1950s?
"Infrastructures Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer spoke out strongly in support of the release of Tanzim leader Marwan Barghouti Sunday." (thanks May)
"Families: Loved ones abused, forgotten in Kurdish prisons" (thanks Laleh)
I used to think that there is no journalist who irritates me more than Al-Arabiya's Gizelle Khuri. There is: Ziyad Makhkhul of L'Orient-Le Jour.
Saudi newspaper have been talking in the last week of an alleged miraculous incident. Allegedly, an illiterate Sudanese man memorized a third of the Qur'an. Not to be outdone, Lebanese newspapers will tomorrow report that a Lebanese man was able to memorize the phone books of every Chinese city. So there.
Read the ad of the book in the bottom of the page of this issue of Az-Zaman (a newspaper of the former Saddam propagandist, Sa`d Al-Bazzaz). (It says that it is "the book that was chosen by Israel before it defeated the Arabs in '67). (thanks Amer)
"Three Palestinian men picnicking in a field in the northern Gaza Strip were killed Saturday by an Israeli tank missile, said a Palestinian official and relatives of the dead."
Sharon Stone tells the Arabic magazine, Laha, that she loves the Arabian desert. (In 1993, Al-Hayat newspaper published a full page ad about a contest to select a name for a new Arabic women's magazine. The prize was a few thousand dollars. I sent offering the name, Laha, and even did a calligraphic design. I did not hear from them. They did not announce what happened to the contest. But a few years later, the magazine was launched with the name, Laha, and the calligraphic design was suspiciously similar to the one I had submitted).
"Mr. Mughniyeh was widely credited with historic feats, including the deployment of armour-piercing roadside bombs driving Israeli forces from Lebanon in 2000 and 2006 and plaguing the U.S. occupation of Iraq. "When in doubt, and we are always in doubt about this," a CIA agent said, "blame Mr. Mughniyeh."" (thanks Regan)
Look at this from the Saudi newspaper, AlRiyadh: "US Security Officials Praise the commitment of Saudi students."
"British soldiers in Iraq may have tortured, mutilated and executed up to 20 Iraqi detainees four years ago, according to five Iraqi civilians who say they saw the murders."
Taking time off from his PlayStation III: "Jordan's King Abdullah II has been touring South Africa on a Harley Davidson motorcycle for the past week, the Sunday Times of Johannesburg reported."
"Senator Hillary Clinton won the Israel vote in the Democrats Abroad Global Primary, but was defeated in the international race by Senator Barack Obama, who captured the majority of the votes cast by American expatriates who voted in the Democratic Global Primary."
Al-Hurriyyah magazine (the mouthpiece of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine) published in its issue number 1171 the full text of a Hamas proposal submitted to Abu Mazen to resolve the difference between the puppet president and Hamas. Abu Mazen turned it down. In fact, a Hamas spokesperson told Hamas TV that the movement is ready to apologize to Abu Mazen. The latter said that he does not have permission from Israel to forgive Hamas yet. In other news, Hamas is busy banning Palestinian (not to be confused with Danish) cartoons.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

"Reforms" in Saudi Arabia: "Prosecutors in Saudi Arabia have begun investigating 57 young men who were arrested on Thursday for flirting with girls at shopping centres in Mecca." (thanks Waleed)
""I have found that at Princeton, no matter how liberal and open-minded some of my white professors and classmates try to be toward me, I sometimes feel like a visitor on campus; as if I really don't belong. Regardless of the circumstances underwhich I interact with whites at Princeton, it often seems as if, to them, I will always be black first and a student second.""
George Hawi's daughter (rightly) criticizes Hasan Nasrallah for ignoring Lebanese communist struggle against Israeli occupation.
In the memorial for Joseph Samahah today in Beirut, I am told that Ibrahim Al-Amin shocked the audience. He revealed that the late Joseph was a friend of `Imad Mughniyyah, and that he was sitting next to him in that one picture of him that was released.
"Bush library coming to SMU." It will consist of his comic book collection.
On the contradictions of Arab liberals. I should point out that, for some reason, pro-Saudi Wahhabis now refer to themselves as "liberals" just as Bush is a uniter, not a divider.
Conspiracy? What conspiracy? Hariri rag, Al-Mustaqbal, has this headline on the front page: "Tens of millions of US aid to West Bank and Gaza."
Expect AlJazeera's coverage to decline further: Prince Sultan Bin`Abdul-`Aziz will be visiting Doha this week. Yesterday, AlJazeera carried a report about "demonstrations" against Danish cartoons in Islamabad although the correspondent admitted that there were only hundreds (they looked even less).
Fu'ad Sanyurah's effort at feigning a fake British accent continues. I heard him speak in English from Berlin the other day, and he pronounced "unity" as "uniteeeeeeeeeeeeeyyyy."
"According to numerous sources inside India, when U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates visits New Delhi late in February (provided his Tuesday Potomac Primary Day broken shoulder does not alter his itinerary) he will be carrying a signed letter from U.S. President George W. Bush offering a better deal for India than the one they have been struggling to get out of Moscow for four years now. The Indian Navy will reportedly be offered the soon-to-be decommissioned USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63) aircraft carrier for free--provided the Indian Navy will agree to purchase 65 of the newest model Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornets to be operated off of it." (thanks Laleh)
"Earlier this week some Moroccan bloggers went "on strike", suspending their regular blog entries for 24 hours in protest at Mr Mourtada's detention. According to the website, he told family members who visited him in jail that he had been blindfolded and beaten unconscious at the time of his arrest." (thanks David)
"But such political maneuvers don't really matter in Iraq. Here, street politics trump any illusory laws passed in the safety of the Green Zone. As the Awakening gains power, Al Qaeda lies dormant throughout Baghdad, the Mahdi Army and other Shiite forces prepare for the next battle, and political assassinations and suicide bombings are an almost daily occurrence. The violence, Arkan says, is getting worse again." (thanks Nir)
"According to her ACT office in Virginia Beach, Brigitte hopes to host the current Lebanese Forces warlord, Samir Geagea—fives times convicted of murdering various Christian opponents and their children—during his upcoming March visit to the US. Denied a US visa since his murder convictions, Geagea has been forgiven by the US embassy in Beirut, and he will spend much of March with the Welch Club discussing military aid to Lebanon and subjects of mutual interest to the Bush administration, Israel, and the Lebanese Forces." (thanks Therese)

Friday, February 22, 2008

Israeli occupation troops killed their relative in the Nusayrat refugee camp in Gaza. (AP)
My article in Al-Akhbar: "The Return to the Armistice Agreement: Or the (Undeclared) Return to the May 17 Agreement".
"The former head of the CIA, James Woolsey, is one of the unofficial members of his faction and he is a McCain backer, as is the columnist and editor William Kristol, and Robert Kagan, who was an adviser to secretary of state George Schultz, and most likely also his brother, Fred Kagan, who wrote the plan for the surge in Iraq, as well as McCain's official adviser on matters of foreign policy, Randy Scheunemann."
Muhammad Dahlan declares his innocence.
The further degeneration of Lebanese politics. I watched the speech by Nasrallah today. I could not believe it: he challenged the other side to a contest of demonstrations to verify who can bring more crowds to the streets of Beirut. I kid you not. How petty is that? I really feel that there is a growing segment of the Lebanese population who are fed up with both sides. If only they can organize, along secular lines of course.
"A new report on the brain drain from Israeli universities suggests that the ratio of Israeli academics working in the United States to those in Israel is nearly 25 percent." (thanks Amer)

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Lebanon would benefit greatly if we impose--even for one year--Turkish or Anver Hoxa's style secularism on its state and society.
The religious police of Saudi Arabia issued a statement bragging about its accomplishment. It said that it undertook 1 million and 160,000 operations "in the service of society."
Supporters of Nasser annually commemorate the date of Syrian secession from the United Arab Republic. But this was not a shining moment for Nasser: it was a confirmation of the lousy management of the unity experiment which later only fortified the most narrow forms of nationalism and ethnocentrism in the region. Let us also not forget the the dissolution of the Lebanese communist leader, Faraj-allah Al-Hilu in H2SO4. Of course, one has to also note the reactionary (and external) orientation of the coup plotters.
US Presidential Politics. Ask Guiliani any question, and he talks about his "leadership"--I don't know what that refers to--on Sep. 11. Ask John McCain a question about his links to lobbyists (read the account about his role in Keating Five in today's New York Times--do you know that the crook, Charles Keating, was a great friend of Mother Teresa and she wrote letters to his judge on his behalf?), and he asserts that he was proud to serve his country in the Navy. Ask Huckabee a question on health care, and he reminds you that he has visited Israel nine times. Ask Obama a question, and he denies being a Muslim. Ask Hillary a question, and she responds by insisting that she sides with both sides of any issue. Ask me a question, and I will yell at you.
Today, CNN interviewed a Serbian nationalist professor (from Georgia State University or the University of Georgia). She was commenting on the Serbian mob that set the US embassy in Belgrade on fire. She said--I kid you not--that viewers should know that the "demonstration" by Serbs was "peaceful". I guess that the word mob can't be used when the White Man is involved.
Oh, no. Brace yourselves. When clerics of different Lebanese sects meet and express love for one another, it is usually a sign of looming civil strife. Prepare the bomb shelters o Lebanese. (Al-Akhbar)
Foreign-maids-in-Lebanon-update. A maid from Nepal is hospitalized after "falling" from the house where she works. Typically, there will be no investigation by Lebanese police and Human Rights Watch is busy with the health of Muhammad Mughrabi.
Look how the New York Times bury such stories: "In Gaza, a Palestinian medical official said Tuesday that a 10-year-old boy had been killed by Israeli Army fire during an incursion near the central town of Deir al Balah."
Israeli occupation soldiers killed his relative. (Reuters)
"A 22-year-old Jenin resident was arrested Wednesday for posing as an Israeli citizen in order to receive medical treatment." (thanks Ali)
Guess who just woke up? King PlayStation: "Le conflit est entre modérés et extrémistes. Si l'on échoue, c'est terrible !". (thanks Sonia)
PS How can one respect George Soros when he seeks the wisdom of this guy.
"Hummus, a Palestinian staple" (thanks Rami)
"The document reveals how the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) successfully fought to keep secret any mention of Israel contained on the first draft of the controversial, now discredited Iraq weapons dossier. At the heart of it was nervousness at the top of government about any mention of Israel's nuclear arsenal in an official paper accusing Iraq of flouting the UN's authority on weapons of mass destruction." (thanks Mal)
"U.S. Army Central is establishing a permanent platform for “full spectrum operations” in 27 countries around southwest Asia and the Middle East, its commander says....Among targeted objectives, he said: Helping Kenya deal with volatility in neighboring Somalia, facilitating Patriot missiles in Qatar and Bahrain to discourage attacks from Iran, and assisting Kuwait with plans to start a navy." (thanks Laleh)
"As street clashes between pro- and anti-government supporters in Beirut fuel fears of a new civil war, many Lebanese have started to arm themselves as they prepare for the worst, arms dealers say. "Groups or individuals, looking to make themselves more secure, are starting to buy weapons" on the black market, said one dealer, who spoke on condition of anonymity." (thanks Nick)
Jumblat in the Guradian: and Hitler loved Classical music. So war criminals will be labeled as intellectuals if they leaf through copies of the New Yorker. Notice that Jumblat always mention the New Yorker and New York Review of Books in interviews with Western journalists, and they are always impressed. And notice that Black--who I am told has a son serving in Israeli occupation army--gets so many facts wrong. Jumblat aligned with the Syrian regime right after the assassination of his father, and not after the 1982 Israeli invasion. And notice that Black shaved some of the words of Jumblat in his recent speech when he threatened to burn the "barren and the green" all over Lebanon. And notice that Black is wrong that Jumblat opposed the Syrian regime in 2000--he did, for weeks, before he postrated himself again. "Huddled over a stove by the window overlooking the snow-covered hills, Junblatt — bald, wiry and with bulging eyes — was leafing through copies of the New Yorker and a collection of essays by Susan Sontag, confirming his reputation as an intellectual with a wide range of interests – and talking all the while in Arabic, English and French." (thanks to Rime, Kamal, Ali, Lucy, and Fadi)
PS I am on the road so I don't have access to the picture of Jumblat drinking Mattah.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Kooks unto the nations. "Shas MK Shlomo Benizri blamed gays Wednesday for the earthquakes that have shaken the region in recent months, telling a Knesset plenum debate on local authorities' earthquake preparedness that government action on homosexuality would do much to prevent the tremors." (thanks Ali)
. (thanks Jake)
"Iraqi security forces have been ordered to detain beggars and mentally ill people found on Baghdad's streets." (thanks David)
"A demonstration has been held in south- east Afghanistan accusing US troops of insulting Islam after they distributed footballs bearing the name of Allah." (thanks Tara)
"Speaking days after avoiding the arrest, Almog told the Guardian he was advised not to leave the plane by the cabin crew. "I don't know how he [the military attache] found out but I am glad he did. It was also fortunate that I was flying with El Al as they are loyal. I don't know what would have happened if I had been on a British Airways flight.""
You really can't say that the US war in Iraq has not been humane: "After a 30-day quarantine, a cloak-and-dagger turnover was arranged so Charlie would not come to the attention of the soldiers' senior officers. This week, a quartet of U.S. security contractors picked up Charlie at his outpost and took him to Baghdad International Airport. Crisp, meanwhile, flew United Airlines to Kuwait, then Gryphon Airlines to Baghdad. When her plane touched down, the contractors carried Charlie in his crate across the tarmac, and he was soon on his way to the United States." (Charlie is a DOG). (thanks Sinan)
"The known fact that settlements are built on private Palestinian lands combines all too well with the general civic and institutional Israeli perception to the effect that Palestinian lands that are not privately owned, or that lack proof of private ownership, belong to the Jewish people in Israel and the Diaspora."
The Iranian president is a friend that the Palestinian people don't need or deserve.
"The Woessners found that liberal students have values and interests that point them to careers in academe, while most conservative students do not. "The personal priorities of those on the left," the Woessners conclude, "are more compatible with pursuing a Ph.D.""
I will speak tonight at Cal Poly at San Luis Obispo. The topic is Iraq.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

What do I do when I read colunmists in Saudi media complaining about lack of freedoms in Cuba? What do you do?
Eliezer Tsafrir, an ex-Mossad agent who was the Israeli intelligence organization's Beirut station chief in 1983 and 1984. (thanks Ziyad)
I never liked Castro: not even during my Marxist-Leninist days.
Russia is trying to form an organization for natural gas producing countries. Not to be outdone, Arab countries are trying to form an organization of hot air producing countries.
Dr. Bush. Dr. George W. Bush. Al-Arabiya TV introduced a segment on Bush's trips in Africa by saying that "President Bush went to personally inspect the health conditions of Africans." I kid you not. Did I not tell you that Al-Arabiya TV is even more "fair and balanced" than Fox News?
When Abu Mazen was meeting with Olmert, three Palestinians were killed (according to As-Safir).
Oh, no. Not again. Not Danish cartoons. Ayatullah Muhammad Husayn Fadlallah sent an official letter to the Danish government regarding Danish cartoons (not pastries). He express his concern that "some Jewish sides that are linked to International Zionism" may be behind Danish cartons.
Lebanese novelist, Suhayl Idriss, is dead. In addition to his novels, he had lexicographic contributions and founded Al-Adab magazine. I met him through Samah a few times but did not know him. I offer condolences to Samah, Kirsten, Rana and the rest of the family. I recommend the short autobiography that Suhayl wrote: it was rushed in the second part but the first part was very revealing and frank.
I just received the book by George Malbrunot, Les Revolutionaires ne meurent jamais. I can tell you that Malbrunot did not know much to do this book. The questions are very general. But I will say more later. There is a picture of a young Jalal Talbani with George Habash: when the former used to conduct operations for Wadi` Haddad. (I don't like seeing pictures of Habash with Hafidh Al-Asad, or Saddam Husayn or Mu`ammar Qadhdhafi).
PS For purpose of full disclosure. My opinion may be biased here because I was supposed to do a book on him but Habash told me that his wife did not approve. So there.
From Iraqslogger: The US Department of Defense "will pay the Lincoln Group 2.4 Million $ to produce 12 issues of those propaganda comics "meant to highlight the professionalism of the Iraqi Special Operations Forces and to enhance the public perception of the Iraqi Security Forces as a capable, well-trained and professional fighting force." (thanks Amer)
"After September 11, 2001, Senator Clinton called the education policy of the Palestinian Authority "child abuse.""
I am just puzzled by those who manage to pledge allegiance simultaneously to Saudi Arabia and Iran. People like: Khalid Mish`al, `Abdul-Amir Qabalan, etc.
"An Israeli general wanted for alleged war crimes escaped arrest in the UK because British police feared an armed confrontation at Heathrow airport." (thanks Breandan)
Today, Saudi ambassador in Lebanon explained the Saudi travel advisory to Lebanon. He said that all oil princes will be directed to alternative brothels in Europe and other parts of the region. For details, contact Prince Nawwaf Bin `Abdul-`Aziz (he almost died in a hotel room in Phoenicia Hotel in Beirut in 2002).
Comrade Khalid warns all Lebanese leaders: those who engage in a civil war will officially become warlords.
For real progress in the Middle East, for liberation and for gender equality, all religious states have to be abolished: Saudi Arabia, Israel, and Iran. And Dubai has to be made into a socialist republic with Sheikh Mo made to take every class taught by Judith Bulter.
George Habash never visited Iran in protest of the regime's oppression and persecution of leftists (under the Shah and under the Islamic republic).
"There are more than 2,200 dossiers pending, some of which have been on file for decades, even centuries, says the BBC's David Willey in Rome. Pope Benedict XVI's predecessor, Pope John Paul II, beatified more people than all his predecessors put together. In his 27-year pontificate he beatified more than 1,338 people and canonised 482." I never understood why Mr.?Ms. Potato head has never been beatified. (thanks Maria)
I often praise New TV--one of the few non-sectarian media outlets in Lebanon. And then they air a stupid report. Today, they aired a report that JFK was killed because he was going to end Israel's nuclear quest.
For those who asked. I have not posted poetry or art in a while. I just don't have time. I barely have time to post anything. Like recently: Lebanese poet Raji `Ashquti died. He was a progressive and wrote in Lebanese accent. I like his volume Mahrajan Tahta Ash-Shams. It begins thus: "Where are the kings of the universe...Those who were here...."
وينن ملوك الكون, امبارح الكانوا هون...
Moderate Arab regimes continue their pursuit of "reforms": "Mannequins in Sharjah shops should be headless and only model “decent” clothing, a Sharjah Municipality circular has stated." (thanks Toufic)
"The letter adds that while disagreements on policy exist, there is no disagreement regarding the special relations between the U.S. and Israel: “We have worked with Rob closely over the years and have no doubt he shares this view and has acted consistent with it.”"
I am reading the autobiography of Marwan Kanafani. It is essential for anybody interested in the history of the PLO and the role of the lousy Yaser `Arafat. Kanafani is a good writer although I don't like his politics. He likes Arafat although he unwittingly shows up the petty, petulant, vindictive, autocratic, deceptive, and unprincipled sides of Arafat.
We underestimated Anwar Sadat. All of us did. His impact on Arab politics, I now claim, has been bigger than Nasser. I will be writing an article on that soon for Al-Akhbar. He really changed a lot about Arab politics, from Maghrib to Mashriq. (Oh, and there is no one I detest in contemporary Arab politics than this Nazi).
Somebody should youtube it. Riyad Qubaysi of New TV aired a great report yesterday on the rhetoric of war in the March 14th camp.
Did you see Abu Mazen and Ahmad Quray` greeting Olmert? You have to see the footage. It is one the same day that yet another Palestinian was killed by Israeli occupation forces.
"Damage to several undersea telecom cables that caused outages across the Middle East and Asia could have been an act of sabotage, the International Telecommunication Union said on Monday."

Monday, February 18, 2008

From the front page of the Hariri, rag, Al-Mustaqbal. Look at him. Just look at him NOW.
"Saudi Shi'ites have asked the authorities to scrap plans to settle Sunni Muslim Yemenis in southern Saudi Arabia to change the demographic balance in an area where they are the majority."
You have to say this about him--as much as I think that his role in '67 war unforgivable: Only the pre-1967 Nasser would have been able to effectively deal with Saudi propaganda and plots.
Israeli bombing destroyed this school in Biqa` in the Israeli war on Lebanon in 2006. The Saudi government pledged to repair the school. Here is the school: it looks repaired, no? (Al-AKhbar)
Convicted Lebanese war criminal, Samir Ja`ja` (Ga`ga` in Egyptian accent), will be visiting Washington, DC next month. I wonder if the US press will notice that a serial car bomber has received an official invitation from the same administration that has declared a war on terrorism.
People are very nervous in Lebanon. They have every reason to be. They don't know if a civil war or an Israeli war will engulf their country. I have a hard time predicting what will happen. Anis Naqqash thinks that those who are edging toward civil war don't have the means. But that could easily change, as we have seen in the history of the last civil war.
Doha Shams on the disgraceful "document" by Arab information ministers for the control and censorship of Arab media. (This is the full text of the document: Orwell would have included it in 1984).
Arab politics is now in the hands of Sheikh Mo. You can go to sleep now.
"As for Brzezinski, Obama's circle is saying he does not advise the candidate about Israel-related issues."
What is behind the Saudi travel advisory to Lebanon? Does the Saudi government know of some influx of their exports of Bin Ladenites to Lebanon? Or do they wish to cloud the situation and hope that conflict between the factions only get worse? And this is not a coincidence. The tone of Walid Jumblat dramatically changed after his visit to Riyadh and his meeting with the Saudi king.
Did people notice that US media are not covering the Bandar's bribe scandal? Look how the New York Times is covering up his role here. (thanks Emily)
"Senior Pentagon officials are using a classified Army study on the 2006 war between Israel and the militant group Hezbollah to retool the U.S. military's combat strategy for future wars."
"Poverty in early childhood poisons the brain.” That was the opening of an article in Saturday’s Financial Times, summarizing research presented last week at the American Association for the Advancement of Science. As the article explained, neuroscientists have found that “many children growing up in very poor families with low social status experience unhealthy levels of stress hormones, which impair their neural development.” The effect is to impair language development and memory — and hence the ability to escape poverty — for the rest of the child’s life. So now we have another, even more compelling reason to be ashamed about America’s record of failing to fight poverty." (thanks May)
AlJazeera net asked me to comment on the recent plan by Arab information ministers to restrict freedoms of the TV satellite stations. Here, is my response. (They printed it as is, including my reference to the impact of Saudi-Qatari reconciliation).
"Two U.S. intelligence officials, in public appearances last week, outlined plans to join the ideological fight against radical Islam, much as the CIA worked behind the scenes during the Cold War in the battle against the creed of world communism. "How do we and our allies counter the ideology that supports violent extremism?" asked Michael Leiter, the acting director of the National Counterterrorism Center, in a speech Wednesday at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. The goal, Leiter said, is "to prevent the next generation of terrorists from emerging," and one approach he suggested is "to show that it is al-Qaeda, not the West, that is truly at war with Islam."" (thanks Laleh)

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Flash. The (Saudi-controlled) Muslim World League has spoken...against...Danish cartoons.
"All across Europe, the new breed of right-wing populists are trying to revive their political fortunes by appealing to anti-Muslim prejudice." (thanks Kamal)
"He said Mughniyeh had prepared a variety of “spectacular” attacks to be executed by Hezbollah if one of its top leaders was assassinated. These were now being dusted off and updated. On the day Mughniyeh was buried, Ehud Olmert, the Israeli prime minister, summoned Dagan from his cottage in Galilee to Jerusalem. “It was a one-on-one meeting,” said a source. But it is believed that Dagan was complimented by his boss and told that he would stay as head of Mossad until the end of 2009."
"Civilian militia groups that have sided with US troops in the battle against al-Qaeda in Iraq are threatening to withdraw after three fighters were killed in a suspected friendly fire incident."
"About half were set up in Europe, officials said -- in part to put the agency in better position to track radical Muslim groups there, but also because of the ease of travel and comfortable living conditions. That consideration vexed some CIA veterans. "How do you let someone have a white-collar lifestyle and be part of the blue-collar terrorist infrastructure?" said one high-ranking official who was critical of the program.""
Look at this headline: "U.S. military says Iraqi civilians fired on troops."
In the Saudi Wahhabi kingdom, guest workers from Bangladesh are described as "savages" and "black aunts". (thanks Hussein)
Somebody needs to find me the transcript (NOW). The answer that was given by US Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell on the assassination of `Imad Mughniyyah on Fox News Sunday today revealed something--more than he wanted to reveal, I felt. ("First, the assassination of terrorist Imad Mughniyeh this week — did the U.S. have anything to do with that?
MCCONNELL: No, Chris. I'm aware of the circumstances around it, and we are now — interestingly, from the kinds of capabilities we're talking about, we can see how various parties are commenting and so on. And the big question, of course — Hezbollah has blamed Israel. But there's some evidence that it may have been internal Hezbollah. It may have been Syria. We don't know yet, and we're trying to sort that out.")
The last line of Jumblat's passage from the speech was not accurately translated. He said that "which we will take from you" (not launch on you).
You have to read this account of a speech on the Middle East in the New York Times. What I like about the New York Times is that it does not even try to be "fair and balanced" when it comes to its coverage of the Middle East.
Sectarian politics: worse than disunity is sectarian solidarity. Read the text of this lousy letter from the Lebanese state's most senior Shi`ite cleric, `Abdul-Amir Qabalan, to Iraqi puppet prime minister, Nuri Al-Maliki. Notice that he called on him to seek the guidance of the lousy Ayatullahs in Najaf--who are still worried about Chess but not about foreign occupation--and to combat "corruption and terrorism" but not foreign occupation. In fact, he did not use the word occupation in this lousy letter. So according to Shi`ite sectarian parties in the Middle East, foreign occupation is undesirable except when Shi`ite sectarian puppets are installed by occupation forces. This explains why you will not hear one word of criticisms of the Iraqi puppet government in Hizbullah's propaganda outlets. So if Dahlan were to convert to Shi`ism, would he obtain the support of Qabalan?
"In 1986, there was one mosque for every 6,031 Egyptians, according to government statistics. By 2005, there was one mosque for every 745 people — and the population has nearly doubled."
Full text: Human Rights Watch report on "Israel’s Use of Cluster Munitions in Lebanon in July and August 2006." (thanks Nadim)
Conspiracy? What conspiracy? This is the most blatant element of the conspiracy and of the influence of the US administration in Saudi propaganda outlets. Look at this article in (popular sleaze website) Elaph: it does not even have a byline. It begins like this: "The US government, in both of its branches--the legislative and the executive--has been striving to strengthen the programs for the spread of democracy around the world...." This is something. (The website on its anniversary bragged that I criticized them).

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Nuclear fatwawawawa: Shaykh of Al-Azhar, took time from his busy schedule of book burning, to proclaim that any state may obtain nuclear technology provided it used for "good."
Much of the leaks in Syrian and Hamas media are pointing to a role by Jordanian mukhabarat in the assassination of `Imad Mughniyyah.
Did people notice that Walid Jumblat referred to the Hariri "dynasty" in his speech this week?
Ibrahim Al-Ja`fari, former puppet prime minister of Iraq, told AlJazeera TV that Iraqi military commanders and "academics"--kid you not--will decide the duration of US presence in Iraq. (Nobody in the news spoke about the ties between Ibrahim Al-Ja`fari and `Imad Mughniyyah during the Da`wah years). I have to run: there is breaking news on Al-Jazeera TV on...Danish cartoons.
"Arab families living in Israel are four times likelier than their Jewish counterparts to live in poverty, according to a report published Saturday by the Mossawa Advocacy Center for Arab Citizens in Israel."
Abu Mazen's Minister of Demagoguery, Sa'ib `Urayqat, said on AlJazeera (Arabic) TV that the "American referee" should determine who is violating the agreements between Israel and the Palestinians. (After the interview, AlJazeera resumed its wall-to-wall coverage of Danish cartoons).
Amal militia and Hariri militia are fighting in the streets of Beirut. When you watch such a clash between those sectarian forces, you understand how Henry Kissinger felt about the Iran-Iraq war. You don't want any side to win, or you want both sides to lose.
Make no mistake about it: we live in colonial times. Notice this headline in the New York Times: "U.S. Struggles to Tutor Iraqis in Rule of Law."
What is up with AlJazeera? They just had a discussion on operations to "Christianize" Algeria by Western intelligence agencies. I kid you not.
Why am I on the email list of the Syndicate of Dentists in Aleppo?

Friday, February 15, 2008

Which gang was behind this, I wonder? "A gang of gunmen attacked the Gaza City premises of the YMCA before dawn on Friday and blew up its library, the head of the centre said." (thanks Maryam)
Religious demagogues called for demonstrations in Islamabad against...Danish cartoons. Less than 200 people responded. Danish cartoons, for potato's sake.
`Ali Hasan Shibli was injured by an Israeli cluster bomb in Halta in South Lebanon. His leg was amputated.
PS New TV just reported that this shepherd's son died a few years ago from an Israeli cluster bomb in South Lebanon.
Those children were hit by an Israeli missile in Gaza. (Reuters)
An internal Fath memo against Muhammad gangster Dahlan.
There is as much religion on Hizbullah TV as there is on Saudi TV. But Syrian TV is largely secular: right now they are playing a song. "The prunes. From where? From where?"
This just in. Hariri TV is reporting that Syria was behind the earthquake in Lebanon.
Walid Jumblat sent condolences over the death of Tom Lantos.
What is Prince Muqrin, head of Saudi foreign intelligence, doing in China?
Yesterday, there were clashes between supporters of Amal and supporters of Hariri in several parts of Beirut.
There was an earthquake in Lebanon today. In Tyre, of all places. I could see my grandfather's house in one of the TV footage. Watch. Tomorrow An-Nahar and LBC will report that the earthquake is a sign that Lebanon is...special.