Monday, March 31, 2008

So this guy, who for years has been referring to Jews AND Christians in the most hateful and vulgar terms, is going to preside over a Wahhabi conference on inter-faith dialogue. An Israeli newspaper reported that he has contacted an Israeli organization to send official religious representatives. It is possible that he will invite Al-Qa`idah to send representatives too. By this guy's definition, 99% of the people of the world (including the majority of Muslims) are infidels. He also announced the name of the official beverage of the conference: Kool-aid.
Take it easy. They are only "liberating" the hell out of you. (thanks As`ad--not me). (Al-Balad newspaper).
Al-Akhbar reports that the demonstration against the appointment (by whom?) of Carlos Ghosn in the AUB's Board of Trustees attracted only tens of students. And the AUB's Dean of Students (who is doing his best to muzzle any protests) is a well-known Phalangist who supported Amin Gemayyel during the May 17 days. I was a student then but I remember.
The times are changing. The daughter of Jamal `Abdun-Nasir was ordered by an Egyptian (puppet) court to pay a settlement to the daughter of Anwar As-Sadat. And both daughters were ordered by the same court to prostrate before the son of Husni Mubarak. As my father used to say in Egyptian accent (that he had acquired during his law studies there):
ودي تيجي؟
The mouthpiece of Khalid Bin Sultan promotes...Khalid Bin Sultan as a "water sociologist." Oh, yeah. Does that make his brother, Prince Bandar Bin Bribe, a potato anthropologist?
Hazim Saghiyyah only criticizes the Syrian and the Libyan governments. But the fact that those two regimes are the only ones that the Saudi government opposes is a mere coincidence, of course. Of course. It could be that the rest of the Arab regimes follow the secular and liberal models that Saghiyyah esposes. Of course, both governments of Syria and Libya deserve heavy criticisms (and overthrow) as do ALL other Middle East governments. Now, if the Saudi government reconciles with the those two governments, Saghiyyah will face a dilemma. Not really.
Guess who was mediating in the conflict between the sectarian militias of Badr and Mahdi? None other than the "secular-liberal"--that was how the US press referred to Ahmad Chalabi prior to the US invasion--Ahmad Chalabi. He was negotiating on behalf of his ally, Muqtada As-Sadr.
An adviser (Nimr Hammad, I think if I heard his name correctly while in the shower) to Abu Mazen told AlArabiya that Bush is exerting great effort to solve the Palestinian problem. Oh, yeah. Wait until his last week in office: he will liberate Palestine for you too.
"This incident is just another example of the cavalier way in which the US military treats non-American lives. We've witnessed this over and over again in Afghanistan and Iraq where families have been incinerated for driving too close to US Army vehicles, entire villages were bombed under suspicion they were harbouring "terrorists" and wedding parties wiped out all because of celebratory gunfire." (thanks Haisam)
Habib Yunis responds to my critique of his obituary of May Murr.
"A total of 76 percent of Israeli Jews give some degree of support to transferring Israeli Arabs to a future Palestinian state, a poll commissioned by the Knesset Channel revealed, Monday." (thanks Ali)
"The last days of Mubarak" by `Abdul-Halim Qandil (who was beaten up by Mubarak goons a few years ago) (thanks Kamal)
Who is worse than Al-Qa`idah, and worse than who is worse than Al-Qa`idah? Iraqi puppet prime minister (former Da`wah leader, and the party specialized in car bombings), Nuri Al-Maliki (loyal to both Iran and US) said that he is going after Al-Mahdi militia because they are worse than Al-Qa`idah. But after the failure of his offensive, he said yesterday that his offensive is not necessarily targeting Al-Mahdi militia? So who is he targeting them??? "The failure of Mr Maliki to make good his threat so far to eliminate the Mehdi Army and growing signs of dissent in army units is damaging his authority, "It is possible that Muqtada and the Mehdi Army will emerge from this crisis stronger than they were before," warned one Iraqi politician who did not want his name published."
""There are few foreigners who have had as much impact as Ahmad Chalabi has had on U.S. government policy and perhaps even on U.S. history. And none except Chalabi have done it fully funded by the U.S. taxpayer."" I detest the man but I am amused when they now try to blame all the mistakes and debacles of US foreign policies and wars on this one man.
"But in the final months of the Bush presidency, Rice isn't pursuing only Middle East peace. There is a North Korean nuclear deal to complete. There is a missile defense pact with Russia to negotiate. There is a civil nuclear deal with India to save. And, of course, there are wars in Iraq and Afghanistan." Make no mistake about it. She will solve all those problems in no time. I have no doubt whatsoever. The only thing that disturbed me is that they did not mention Sanyurah or mini-Hariri here. That can only mean one thing: Sanyurah will go boo hoo hoo on me. Damn. to DC, and then to Pomona College until Sunday.
The New York Times gets it: Zionism fuels Palestine crackdown.
Very casually the New York Times wrote this caption under this picture: "An Israeli soldier throwing noise grenades on Sunday at Palestinian demonstrators during a protest near Nablus, West Bank."

Hariri Big Brother. The Hariri militia came to a woman's house in Hamra and forced to fill in the form. She refused. They came the next day with an order from the security forces that they control. (Notice the question about whether her house overlooks the house of "the ra'is"--a reference to the dead Hariri guy). (thanks Z.)
Unlike other leftists and liberals at the time (like Adonis, Foucault, and Anwar Abdul-Malak), I never harbored any sympathy for the Islamic Revolution in Iran: "In February 1983 Maryam, who was then 70, and her husband were imprisoned, and Kianouri was accused of spying for the Soviet Union. That April the party was banned and many of its members were executed. Maryam was kept in solitary confinement and fell ill. The severity of her illness eventually led to her release to house arrest. She rented a house with her daughter Afsaneh and lived on her German pension. A year later, her husband was allowed to join them, on the understanding that he would never speak to the media. In an open letter to Khomeini, Kianouri recorded a horrific catalogue of maltreatment and tortures meted out to him and his wife during their imprisonment. His death in 1990 was a sad blow to Maryam, whose health deteriorated."
A Horror Unto the Nations: ""These are women who may be defined as homeless," explains Yifat Ben-David, the director of the sexual-health clinic operating on Levinsky Street. "They sleep in yards and on the street, are undernourished and don't have anything, sometimes even the clothes on their backs are torn, they are rejected by their families and by society, lonely and exposed to the extreme dangers present on the street: they are raped frequently, beaten by clients, pimps and drug dealers and by users."
"By contrast, neither Senator Joe Lieberman...nor Senator John McCain have been required so publicly and so repeatedly to repudiate extremist and racist comments by Israeli leaders or some well-known radical Christian leaders supporting the Republican party. Foxman, whose organization devotes enormous resources to burnishing Israel's image, has rarely spoken out about the escalating anti-Arab racism and incitement to violence by prominent Israeli politicians and rabbis. That is no surprise. African Americans, Arab Americans and Muslims all share some things in common: individuals are held collectively responsible for the words and actions of others in their community whether they had anything to do with them or not. And the price of admission to the political mainstream is to abandon any foreign policy goals that diverge from those of the pro-Israel, anti-Palestinian lobby."
The American University of Beirut has a new member of the Board of Trustees: "Carlos Ghosn, the president of the French-Japanese car manufacturer Renault Nissan, is expected to visit Israel on January 21, and take part in the inauguration event of the Israeli electric car enterprise. Members are now selected in Israel. There are protests on the AUB campus but I doubt that the spoiled brats of Beirut will mount a serious challenge. (thanks Daniel)

Sunday, March 30, 2008

"The Supreme Council was the power behind the Shiite governorates in the south and was steadily expanding its influence over the Iraqi police. It was clearly positioning itself to counter Mr. Sadr’s popular support and preparing for the provincial elections scheduled for Oct. 1. American military and civilian officials were candid in telling me that the governors and other local officials installed by the central government in Basra and elsewhere in southern Iraq had no popular base. If open local and provincial elections were held, they said, Dawa and the Islamic Supreme Council were likely to be routed because they were seen as having failed to bring development and government services."
"Egypt's arrests of hundreds of opposition Islamists, including would-be candidates in local council elections due on April 8, amount to a "shameless bid" to fix the vote, Human Rights Watch said on Sunday."
"Clashes have been breaking out among Egyptians waiting in long lines for subsidized bread and the president has ordered the army to start baking more to contain a political crisis." Of course, the Egyptian army should be baking bread. Hell. The Egyptian army which needs Israeli permission to deploy or to mobilize or to move, should be baking bread and cookies, and making mulukhiyyah for the people of Egypt. What else do they do, besides oppressing the Egyptian people and keeping the Mubarak dynasty in power.
I know that I mock the puppets of US and Israel among Arab rulers and officials. But I have to admit this: many of them even appear full of dignity and pride. Look at the Palestinian puppet prime minister, Salam Fayyad, for example. Does he not look like somebody brimming with dignity and pride?
Guess which Arab delegation made it to the front page of the Hariri daily rag?
"“This plan will enhance the human capital, will broaden the basis of knowledge and experience in the various fields of economy, and will stimulate Israel’s economic activity,” Finance Minister Roni Bar-On said in unveiling the new program."
"In April 2002, while Israel butchered Palestinian refugees at Jenin in the West Bank, AFL-CIO President John Sweeney was a featured speaker at a belligerent "National Solidarity Rally for Israel." In 2006, leadership of the American Federation of Teachers embraced Israel's war on Lebanon" (thanks Nevin)
"Others, like former FBI agent John Paige, who had regular contact with Qatanani as the FBI's supervisory special agent in West Paterson, and Gov. Jon S. Corzine, who spoke at Qatanani's mosque in 2006, have declined to comment."
This is a classic one: "a former resident of Beirut". I just blogged about this. How the required qualifications for Middle East analysis and policy making in the US are now confined to Zionist fanaticism. That is all what you need. If you are a Zionist fanatic, like say Elliott Abrams, you can even run Middle East policy at the National Security Council. So the New York Times wanted somebody to review a book on Lebanon (by the lousy Sandra Mackey), and they asked a blogger who, just happens to be, a Zionist fanatic. The blogger never studied the Middle East, does not know any Arabic, and has not lived in any ME country, but the New York Times found a way to explain his Middle East qualifications: "He is a former resident of Beirut." So the man visited Beirut, is that not enough? So I visit China will I be asked to review books on Chinese history for the New York Times? Yes, I will, if I visit China and report that the Chinese people love Israel, and they hate Israel's enemies (which is what the blogger does on his visits to Lebanon).
PS Laleh found why the blogger was chosen to review a book on Lebanon in NYT, in addition to the qualification that stemmed from his visits to Lebanon, he said this about the Israeli war on Lebanon: "I sympathize one hundred percent with what Israel is trying to do here."
""For the first time in history we are no longer at the top: the Muslims have overtaken us," Formenti told Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano in an interview, saying the data referred to 2006."
"Mr. Maliki has staked his reputation on the success of the Basra assault, fulfilling a longstanding American desire for him to boldly take on militias." We need a team to deconstruct the language of the New York Times on daily basis. Take this lousy sentence. Staked his reputation? Where? In Iraq or in Washington, DC? Certainly not in Iraq as the failed assault has been unpopular. Yesterday, the Maliki sectarian (pro-US, pro-Iran) puppet government said that Mahdi sectarian militia is worse than Al-Qa`idah, and today the same government praised the stance of Mahdi militia. Then the sentence speaks about "longstanding American desire for him.." Desire? Are you kidding me? US makes its desire known? How do you define desire? Like I desire that you bow down to me? I desire that you go and fetch me a beverage. I desire that you shine my shoes, o puppet prime minister of Iraq. And then it talks about "taking on" militias. Oh, no: there are militias and there are militias. The US wants him to take on the Mahdi militia but not the sectarian militias of Badr and Da`wah, or the US funded sectarian militias of the thugs of the tribal chiefs.
The Clinton administration inaugurated this principle: that the only required qualification for Middle East analysis and policy making is fanatical Zionism. This article about Iraq cites two "experts": Dennis Ross and Aaron Miller, neither of whom is a trained expert in the Middle East, and both who worked on Arab-Israeli issues are asked to analyze the situation in Basra. They know about Basra and Iraq as much as I know about potato science.
"But the Pentagon researchers found no documents that referred to a plan to kill Bush. The absence was conspicuous because researchers, aware of its potential significance, were looking for such evidence. "It was surprising," said one source familiar with the preparation of the report (who under Pentagon ground rules was not permitted to speak on the record). Given how much the Iraqis did document, "you would have thought there would have been some veiled reference to something about [the plot]."" (thanks May)
Al-Arabiya is reporting with great fanfare (this word is from an Arabic word, by the way) and neon lights that Israel plans to remove 50 checkpoints. We used to speak about the liberation of Palestine, and Wahhabi media now celebrate the removal of 50 checkpoints.
Ethiopia is bombing the shit out of Somalia. Somebody should compile a list of countries that were bombed by the US or its allies during the two terms of the Bush administration.
Al-Arabiya TV yesterday reported that Rice will criticize Israel during this trip. Yes, the US administration did not dare criticize Israel in 7 years, and will do so in the last months of the administration.
Conspiracy? What conspiracy? ""And we try to convince the people about the US, about British. They came here to give you peace."" (thanks Laleh)

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Ash-Shraq Al-Awsat, the mouthpiece of Prince Salman, noted that Bashshar Al-Asad did not preface his speech to the Arab summit with "In the name of God, the merciful, the compassionate."
Even the liberal pretender, the Wahhabi Saudi advocate who edits the mouthpiece, complained about that. In Saudi Arabia, it is a required refrain, you must understand. It is uttered even before beheading a victim, or stoning lovers.
To protest the attempt (by the Lebanese security services to please Iran and its supporters in Lebanon) to ban the film in Lebanon--it has since been unbanned, Persepolis, Al-Akhbar published illustration from Persepolis.
(Al-Akbar was the only paper to do so in Lebanon. Yet, Hariri propagandists and hoodlums continue to wrongly associate the newspaper with Iran. I defy you to look at all the issues of last year to try to find one article in Al-Akhbar that praises Iran. I have criticized Khumanyni's Islamic Revolution, the Iranian president, Iranian policies, and the spiritual guide of Iran in Al-Akhbar. And I also defy you to look at the Hariri rag issues from the same year and try to find ONE issue in the same period that does NOT contain praise for Saudi Arabia. Start the exercise NOW).
The Muslim World League (which was founded by Saudi Arabia (with US support) to spread fanatical religious thought and practices against Nasserism and communism during the Cold War) has spoken: it condemned Danish cartoons and the Dutch film. It does not speak about the oppression of Muslims by their own governments, of by foreign occupiers.
My response to the obituary of May Murr by Habib Yunis in Al-Akhbar.
Did you see Muqtada As-Sadr on AlJazeera after two years of absence from the media? He is very changed, in appearance and in personality. As if he underwent a PR course. He never used to smile in interviews: in fact, he used to scold and sneer at journalists. In today's interview: he did not stop smiling, and he seemed so far more articulate. He used to insert the expression "if the expression is correct" (Idha Sahha At-Ta`bir) in every sentence, and he rarely used it today. He also said that he loves Sunnis: you would believe him if his sectarian militia has not been killing Sunnis. He is at once critical of Iran, and supportive of Iran: but he criticizes Iran more than say, the Sadr militia and the Da`wah militias in power. Yet, only As-Sadr is described as "pro-Iranian" in the US media but not the sectarian militias of Badr and Da`warh. Also, what happened to Da`wah's past experience of car bombing? Are they still using that method against their enemies in Iraq? But I must confess that I was surprised to see how much he has worked on himself, or how much somebody has been working on him--at least in matters of PR and public speaking. The man was pretty lousy. He predicted that Iraqi municipal puppet elections will not take place. And do you notice that Iraqi puppet elections are always planned very close to US elections? Was that timing intended as a boost of McCain to show the easily impressionable US public (on matters of foreign affairs) that there is a political process in Iraq, and that democracy is flourishing?
Michael Husayn Young cites in a recent article Paul Berman citing Camus. I don't know about you, but does that not certifiably promote Michael Young to the status of an intellectual? And let us not forget the man's contribution to the literature on offshoots.
Return? Today, in his speech, Bashshar Al-Asad talked about "the return" (`awdat) of occupied lands and not tahrir (liberation). I have never heard of a liberation movement talks about the "return of occupied lands". As if occupied lands just return on their own, or they fall from the sky. But then again: in the era of Bush, they are afraid of using the word liberation. Arabs need to liberate not only their occupied lands, but also their own countries from those lousy regimes.
I actually watched the speech of Mu`ammar Al-Qadhdhafi. I am bitterly disappointed how much New TV promotes that mentally disturbed man: the promotion of him by New TV is only increasing. The fact that New TV has been signing agreements (to train and advise the launching of new Libyan TV stations) with the Libyan government and ruling family is irrelevant of course. New TV declared Qadhdhafi "the star of the summit." Arab summits have no stars, and certainly Qadhdhafi is less of a star than a potato. I know that Western governments often dismiss leaders they don't like as "crazy," but in the case of Qadhdhafi it really applies. And Qadhdhafi's pontifications are now more jarring than ever: he wants us to ignore his radical foreign policy shifts. Today, he gave a speech that he used to give when he used to espouse a rejectionist foreign policy. It is cute that the US administration lets him get away with a fiery speech here and there provided that he continues in his subservience to US political, economic, and military interests. Personally, I can't, as a teacher on a college campus in the US, forgive this dictator--assuming I want or can forgive him for his crimes--for the downing the of a plane that was carrying mostly college students from Syracuse University. Shame on the families of the victims who accepted to forget their loved ones in return for sums of Libyan cash.
US-approved Wahhabi moderation: "In places as different as Saudi Arabia, they have been looking for moderate voices among the imams."
Dubai, trying to show how environmentally enlightened it is, today turned off its lights for an hour. The ruling family, however, stressed that all brothels in Dubai will stay well-lighted.
"U.S. jets widened the bombing of Basra on Saturday, dropping two precision-guided bombs on a suspected militia stronghold north of the city hours after strafing a house and reportedly killing eight civilians, officials said."
Learning from MEMRI. Just as MEMRI makes all the Arab Zionists it likes "prominent" and "celebrated", Haaretz is doing the same: "Magdi Allam, the most famous Muslim in Italy, and one of the leading and most courageous intellectuals in Europe today." I am sure people will go: Magdi who? (thanks Mick)
"As protests spread across Iraq, US aircraft also attacked Sadr City in eastern Baghdad, killing at least five civilians, according to Iraqi police and hospitals. "There have been engagements going on in and around Sadr City. We've engaged the enemy with artillery, we've engaged the enemy with aircraft, we've engaged the enemy with direct fire," Major Mark Cheadle, a US military spokesman in Baghdad, said later."
"According to a Unesco publication, the creation of the Sharjah Quranic Garden has been supervised by Shaikh Abdul Nasser Abul Basar, dean of the faculty of Sharia and Islamic studies at University of Sharjah. The garden will host samples of regional flora mentioned in the Quran and medicinal plants, which have been used in the Islamic traditions." (thanks Aida)
Look how innocent the US is: "Maliki decided to launch the offensive without consulting his U.S. allies, according to administration officials." And don't you believe that? I do. Iraq, in case you have not heard, is a sovereign nation. As a result, Iraqi puppet rulers are permitted to make their own decisions. (thanks Amer)
Ziyad Makhoul: is a "journalist" in the Lebanese press which is doing its best to imitate North Korean press in its praise for the ruling family, and its appointees: ""...littéralement transfiguré, devenu même cet étourdissant homme d’État – bien plus haut, bien plus loin, bien plus fort..." (thanks Ziyad)

Friday, March 28, 2008

Samera: on Israeli cows. (thanks Melanie)
"One can only celebrate the creation of the Israeli state through the deliberate burying of the following historical facts: that the creation of the Israeli state was made possible at the expense of the indigenous population; that its creation was legitimized through racist Zionist narratives that depicted Palestinians in the words of Zionist leader Moshe Smilansky as “semi-savage” and incapable of self-governance; that it actively engages in the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from Palestine through expulsion, massacre and state terrorism; that Israeli “democracy” privileges its Jewish citizens and actively discriminates against Palestinians; that it has left Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza cut off economically and politically; and finally that Israel continues to employ racist and exclusionary legislative policies that prevent the seven million Palestinians living in the diaspora from returning to their homeland."
"Charges against a US Marine allegedly involved in the killing of 24 Iraqi civilians in the town of Haditha were dropped on Friday ahead of his trial, the military said in a statement."
The Phoenicians. You will not find this in Lebanese history books: "[The Phoenicians] were despised as cheaters and hucksters, who could not be trusted; as insatiable mongers and unscrupulous profiteers, who kidnapped the helpless and traded in human lives; and as a licentious and morally corrupt race of people, who prostituted their daughters and butchered their infant children in honour of their gods. The Phoenicians' pejorative image as schemers and connivers has survived in the modern vernacular; 'Jezebel', our term for the quintessential shameless woman, was, in fact a Tyrian princess." From Glen Markoe, The Phoenicians, (Berkeley: University of California Press, 200), p. 10.
My article in Al-Akhbar: "To a Sri Lankan maid: On Her day."
"The dialogue call prompted bitter criticism from As'ad Abu Khalil, a Lebanese political scientist and popular blogger, who compared it to a call by Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels for "a conference on tolerance"."
"The object of Mr. Abu Safia’s contempt — Highway 443, a major access road to Jerusalem — has taken on special significance in the grinding Israeli-Palestinian conflict. For the first time, the Supreme Court, albeit in an interim decision, has accepted the idea of separate roads for Palestinians in the occupied areas."
Conspiracy? What conspiracy? This same headline appeared in both An-Nahar and Al-Mustaqbal; "Five million dollars from the US embassy to strengthen the role of civil society."
From electronic comrade: "Anti-Arab racism and incitement are persistent and growing problems in Israel and symptoms of hyper nationalism that seeks to consolidate and justify the state's "Jewish character." For decades, the mistreatment of Palestinians in Israel has been virtually ignored by Palestinian national leaders, as well as by international policymakers and organizations under the doctrine of non-interference in the internal affairs of sovereign states. Yet, the precarious position of Palestinian citizens of Israel is closely linked to the fate of Palestinians under military occupation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and refugees outside the country. It stems from the same set of historical events 60 years ago. All three categories of Palestinians are targets of discriminatory or abusive Israeli policies intended to preserve Israel as a "Jewish state." In the context of a "solution" to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, some Israeli politicians increasingly speak of population or territorial "exchanges" that would strip Palestinian citizens of Israel of their citizenship and otherwise violate their fundamental human rights. Palestinian citizens of Israel have raised the alarm about this growing existential threat, but they have received little international solidarity."
Arab delegates to the Arab summit in Damascus asked the Syrian government to show them what it does best. Delegates were immediately placed in old tires, and were mercilessly beaten on their feet. Dignateries were impressed.
The Demise of Al-Jazeera. Within one year, you shall no more tell the difference between Al-Arabiyya and Al-Jazeera. This is the most recent example. Al-Jazeera was doing extensive coverage of the Arab summit in Damascus but something happened yesterday. Qatar's foreign minister suddenly left Damascus, and Qatari representation in (the foreign ministers' meeting in) the summit was downgraded, just like Egypt, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia. Fresh orders must have come from Washington, DC where the Bahraini King was. He too suddenly decided not to show up. Today, Al-Jazeera's coverage changed: the coverage was cut substantially, and Isma`il Haniyyah's speech was interrupted after a minute only (and as you know Qatar has been supporting Hamas for a while now--just after Saudi Arabia stopped its support for Hamas under orders from Bush administration after Sep. 11). And then Al-Jazeera got busy to what it has been doing best: coverage of a Dutch movie and Danish cartoons. Expect to watch wall-to-wall coverage of Danish cartoons and the Dutch movie. This is permissible for the lousy Arab media: the oil and natural gas media. And then Al-Jazeera went to cover the war in Iraq between the Badr and Mahdi sectarian militias. It referred to aerial bombing from "coalition forces." The report from Iraq referred to the participation of "foregin troops." Not once was the word "American" used in the report, even when the US media themselves are open about US military occupation's participation. So it can only mean one thing: Mongolian air force is back in full force in Iraq. And what is annoying is that Syrian propaganda vehicles still like to pretend that all is well in Syria's relations with Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries. Saudi media (and yesterday Egyptian media joined in) are full of insults and offenses to Syria, but the Syrian government--with a long experience in fabrications and lies--does not notice.
That is a sign that Badr sectarian militias are not doing well against the sectarian militia of Muqtada As-Sadr. As for the surge, it is still working. Why do you ask? How dare you ask?

Thursday, March 27, 2008

I don't like flags, and I don't like nationalisms but for Palestine and the Palestinians, anything and everything.
The press office of the Lebanese Forces militia in Lebanon said that Samir Ja`ja` (Ga`ga` in Egyptian accent) continued his tour of the US, and that he gave a speech "in the state of Cleveland." Kid you not.
Kim Philby. In his autobiography, My Silent War, Kim Philby, obviously, takes issue with John Bullock's account of the Philby's spy case. Philby said: "I have even read recently, in John Bullock's Akin to Treason, that Lebanese security is "very efficient"--a misuse of language by any standard." (p. 135 of the American edition). I have been doing binge reading of the Philby case after watching on DVD the BBC mini-series of the case. So many aspects of the BBC account were not true, of course. (For example, Philby and Maclean did not stay in touch over the years). Personally, I think that those who were motivated in their loyalty to the Soviet Union during the pre-WWII by idealism and keen interest in fighting against the threat of fascism and Nazism should have broken with the USSR in 1939--at least, with the Soviet-Nazi agreement. Philby does not mention much about his stay in Beirut (for years) in his autobiography: it is probably part of the large chunks that were deleted by the KGB censor which had to screen his book, according to Philby's biographer, Philip Knightley. (In Beirut, Philby was of course serving two masters: British intelligence for which he did work in Lebanon, and the KGB. British intelligence did not want to discuss that because it would have been embarrassing for them admit that Philby's services continued long after his forced resignation). Now as is well-known, Philby's father was the Orientalist, St. John Philby, who advised the Saudi King (and predicted to him the victory of Nazism). (Did I tell you that a former US ambassador to Saudi Arabia told me that the current Saudi King keeps a dagger with Nazi symbols on it in his desk--a gift to his father from you know who. And whatever happened to the two kids that St. John Philby fathered with his Saudi concubine?
In his new book, Sen. Chuck Hagels said that Rafiq Hariri had told him that Saddam had no WMDs.
The most competent and qualified Lebanese official ever. Lebanon has over the years sent official representatives and delegates to international and regional meetings and conferences. Meet above the most competent and qualified Lebanese official.
Tyre in the 1880s. Badr Al-Hajj is probably the foremost expert (and publisher) of old photographs of the Middle East. He sent me this picture: "a view taken in 1880's by a French photographer residing in Beirut. His name is Jean-Baptiste Charlier (1822-1907). He owned a book shop at Suq al-Tawila and a silk factory at Ain Hamada in Matn region."
I hate it when people try to validate their religions and holy books with science. Science is science and religion is religion, and a potato is a potato, and they will never meet. OK? So NASA posted pictures of the moon showing evidence of cracks. Some Islamic religious group is asserting that this had been predicted in the Qur'an in this verse: اقْتَرَبَتِ السَّاعَةُ وَانْشَقَّ الْقَمَرُ وإن يروا أيةً يعرضوا ويقولوا سحرٌ مُستمر
Oh, please.
This will be a cause for celebration. The Lebanonese will declare it evidence of the presence of the White Man in them: "The team says it found a particular DNA signature which recently appeared in Lebanon and is probably linked to the crusades." (thanks Kawkab, Jens, and David)
I am not making this up. Arab League clown-general, `Amr Musa, spoke at a press conference in Damascus today. He was asked by a reporter whether the delegates discussed the issue US ships off the coast of Lebanon. He answered by saying that the delegates did not discuss the US war ships off Lebanon because they are not in Lebanese waters but said that Arab delegations discuss and denounce Danish cartoons at every Arab League meeting. Kid you not.
I should have a regular feature titled MEMRI lies and propaganda. So MEMRI sent out a new item titled: "Lebanon publishes New Evidence of Ties between Syria and Fath Al-Islam." You read the item further and you discover that it refers to a Hariri family-appointed prosecutor who submitted a report which, in MEMRI's own words, "implies a possible connection between Fath Al-Islam and the Syrian regime."
"Mr Strasler did not mention the recent declaration – equally remarkable in the eyes of many secular Israelis – by one of Shas's most prominent Knesset members, Shlomo Benizri, that recent mild earthquakes in the Middle East were caused by Israel's permissiveness towards gays. Unfazed by the fuss caused by his remark – which anyway he must have anticipated – Mr Benizri, himself a rabbi, stood firmly this week by his reference to the third-century Jerusalem Talmud which does indeed cite "sodomy" as one of several reasons for earthquakes. He insists that "I am not proposing to lock up homosexuals or send them to gaol for what they do at home", he explained. Instead he is against the Israeli state – which recently approved adoption by gap couples – legitimising "public acts" by homosexuals."
Don't you like it when the Israeli state, which routinely kills innocent Palestinian women and children, feigns feminism? "Together with leading figures in the Bedouin community, the state will initiate a program to address the problem of polygamy, which Social Affairs Minister Isaac Herzog described as an "epidemic.""
Don't you like it when US liberals say: ...But Israel does not have the death penalty. And you want to tell them: ...but Israel--of all countries--should have the death penalty because it routinely kills without trials or due process. "The Israeli human rights organization B'Tselem has requested a criminal investigation into the deaths of four wanted Palestinian militants in Bethlehem on March 12, saying that the deaths during the Israel Defense Forces raid appeared to have been an execution."
"In England, Elizabeth I declared that she bathed once a month “whether I need it or not.” In Spain during the Inquisition, Ashen­burg says, Jew and Muslim alike could be condemned by the frightful words “was known to bathe.” Nor was sanitation prized in France, where feces left in the halls of Versailles were carted away once a week. Instead of bathing, smelly, grimy people changed into fresh linens, which became a consumer craze among the Dutch. When John Wesley famously re­marked, in 1791, that “cleanliness is, indeed, next to godliness,” he wasn’t talking about the body, but about ­clothes."
Kissing fatwawawa: Jamal Al-Banna's fatwawawa permitting kissing between unmarried men and women.
Domestic violence and national security: "Once, according to the file, his behavior included “shoving her to the ground and refusing to allow her to leave during a verbal dispute.” Other times, she reported, Mr. Diveroli arrived at her home unannounced and intoxicated “going about the exterior, banging on windows and doors.” The woman worried that she could not ignore him, court records said, because his behavior frightened her. Mr. Diveroli sought court delays on national security grounds. “I am the President and only official employee of my business,” he wrote to the judge on Dec. 8, 2005. “My business is currently of great importance to the country as I am licensed Defense Contractor to the United States Government in the fight against terrorism in Iraq and I am doing my very best to provide our troops with all their equipment needs on pending critical contracts.”"
Clerical kooks Update. The chief of culture, guidance, and Qur'an matters in regional Awqaf in Egypt, Shaykh Husayn Sa`d Ad-Din, said in an interview here that the Prophet visited him in "dream visions" and gave him on five different occasions letters to Husni Mubarak. One of the letters dealt with the reform of the people in Mahrusah. He was asked how Mubarak appeared in "the vision". He said: "The president was very good indeed, and beyond what you imagine. President Mubarak is "pretty pretty" in the [full] meaning of the word, and all will chant for him. And the president is very simple, and loved by people." (thanks Laure)

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The humiliation of the Iraqi Communist Party. Today, the bloc of former puppet prime minister/Saddam's henchman and European enforcer/embezzler-in-Yemen/car bomber, Iyad `Allawi, announced the expulsion of the Iraqi Communist Party. Any humiliation of the Iraqi Communist Party is deserved and hard earned. In fact, after the announcement, an official of the ICP pleaded that the expulsion has not been officially announced.
Look how the AP's phrasing provides justification for US occupation troops: "Several Iraqi civilians were killed or wounded Wednesday in a gunbattle between U.S. troops and suspected al-Qaida in Iraq insurgents in northern Iraq, the American military said. Iraqi police and witnesses said at least seven civilians were killed, included a local judge, and nine wounded when U.S. troops came under fire and called in an airstrike while raiding two houses in Saddam Hussein's hometown of Tikrit."
So the surge shifted the war between sectarian militias of different sects into a war between sectarian militias of the same sect.
In Lebanon, one is not permitted to offend either Saudi Arabia or Iran. "The Oscar-nominated film "Persepolis", which has annoyed authorities in Iran for its critical portrayal of the Islamic revolution, has been banned in Lebanon, officials said on Wednesday, sparking an outcry. General Wafiq Jizzini, the head of the general security department at the interior ministry, told AFP he had approved the ban after Shiite officials expressed concern that its content was offensive to Muslims and to Iran."
"The American media has a script to which they loyally adhere. The U.S. can make mistakes and government leaders can be criticized for incompetence, but we can never do anything that is actually destructive or evil or which justifiably provokes hatred towards us by people in other countries -- not even bombing them and occupying them for years and imprisoning tens of thousands of them with no charges and replicating the behavior of their hated dictator. Any views that suggest such a thing are simply not heard." (thanks Laleh)
If you want to see the extent to which the New York Times has historically been a mere vehicle for US and Western (government) propaganda, go back to the archives. Check the scant coverage that it gave to the Kim Philby spy scandal. In fact, in the first article after his defection in 1963, the paper spoke about him betraying his "class." Betraying his class? I sure hope to spend my life betraying my class. It is an honor indeed.
Surprising, no? Bush raises concern about Palestine with Israelis.
"Saudi Arabia should urgently enact a penal code to protect all criminal suspects against arbitrary arrest, Human Rights Watch said in two reports released today. Criminal defendants, especially children, need greater protection against gross abuses during interrogation and unfair trials. The new reports are the result of a yearlong examination of the criminal justice system and draw on hundreds of interviews with Saudi officials, current and former detainees, their lawyers, and their families.The first, 144-page report, “Precarious Justice: Arbitrary Detention and Unfair Trials in a Deficient Criminal Justice System,” documents the arbitrary arrest and detention of individuals for vaguely defined crimes or behavior that is not inherently criminal. Once arrested, suspects often face prolonged solitary confinement, ill-treatment, forced confessions, and are denied a lawyer at crucial stages of interrogation and trial. “Current practices in Saudi justice cannot be seen as fair,” said Joe Stork, acting Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “Suspects are stuck in a faulty system without any semblance of due process and fair trial rights.” “Precarious Justice” also documents how defendants face prolonged detention before being brought to trial, at which they cannot question witnesses, examine evidence or present an effective defense. “Under Saudi justice today, the presumption is guilt, not innocence,” Stork said. The second, 82-page report, “Adults Before Their Time: Children in Saudi Arabia’s Criminal Justice System,” documents the routine arrest of children for such “offenses” as begging, running away from home, or being alone with a member of the opposite sex. Prosecutors can hold children, like adults, for up to six months before referring them to a judge. In the case of girls, authorities can detain them indefinitely, without judicial review, for what they say is “guidance.” Detention centers mix children under investigation or trial with children convicted of a crime and sometimes with adults. Judges regularly try children without the presence of lawyers or sometimes even guardians, even for crimes punishable by death, flogging, or amputation."" (thanks Nadim)
"“If America wants to see itself clean of terrorists, we also want that our villages and towns should not be bombed,” he said at a news conference here. Mr. Sharif, a former prime minister, added he was unable to give Mr. Negroponte “a commitment” on fighting terrorism."
Why can't the people of Tibet resort to peaceful struggle? Why do they provoke the Chinese government which only wants peace? Why don't the terrorists of Tibet not talk directly to the Chinese government? And why can't the people of Tibet produce a Sadat or a Dahlan? And if the Chinese leader enters into a coma, the people of Tibet should watch for the slightest move of his toes.
"Syria is cracking down more on Internet use, imposing tighter monitoring of citizens who link to the Web, as well as jailing bloggers who criticize the government and blocking YouTube and other Web sites deemed harmful to state security. The tighter hand is coming even as Syrian officials show off a press center with fast Internet access and wireless technology for journalists covering this weekend's Arab League summit. The clampdown doesn't appear to be tied to the summit. In recent days, authorities extended restrictions on Web use by requiring owners of Internet cafes to keep detailed logs of their customers, apparently to make it easier to track down anyone deemed to be a threat." (thanks Sellam)
"No government in the world likes to be accountable; the UAE government is no exception. It has done everything possible to gently court the media, keep it happy but under its tight benevolent watch. The government has made sure that the media does not develop an independent mind of its own. A media that lacks independence is a great loss to good governance and the building of a healthy society. Yet it is not all the government's fault. Ironically, the government in the UAE looks much more open minded than the society. Politically, the UAE society has always acted conservatively and modestly. It still remains pretty much a tribal society in essence. As progressive as it looks to outsiders, the UAE society is very cautious with regards to demand for democracy, transparency, political reform and press freedom. These are hardly hot societal issues in the UAE." The writer was my classmate and friend in graduate school. He is one of the most decent human beings I have known. Yet, our political disagreements have increased over the years. (thanks Ahmad)
Amy Chua wrote a good review of this book by Pagden: "In the end, however, “Worlds at War” is another book about the clash between the Enlightenment and religion, and its central target is Islam, which, Pagden argues, is incompatible with the Western principle of separation between church and state. The “fundamental theological difference between Islam and Christianity,” he tells us, lies in “the association between religion and the law.” Unlike Christianity, Islam supports “the complete identification of the secular realm with the sacred and the corresponding elevation of the ruler.” Christianity recognizes both the Kingdom of Heaven and the governments of earth. In Islam, by contrast, “there can be only one law”: the Shariah, which is God’s law and thus “eternal” and “unchanging.” According to Pagden, the history of Islam is unified “by a continuous and still unfulfilled narrative, the story of the struggle against the ‘Infidel’ for the ultimate Muslim conquest of the entire world.” In Pagden’s Islam there is an odd echo of the Islam offered by the bearded mullahs who espouse violence from their mosques or caves. Indeed, Pagden quotes Osama bin Laden at length for the view that the greatest crime of the United States — for which 9/11 was punishment — was that “you separate religion from your politics, contradicting the pure nature which affirms Absolute Authority to the Lord your Creator.” Pagden adds that “most Muslim theologians and jurists would have to agree” with bin Laden. Such passages are bound to infuriate many, including those Muslims who see themselves as reaffirming a well-rooted Islamic tradition of diversity in opinion against a rising trend of rigid fanaticism." So the New York Times was not satisfied. They asked for yet another review two days later: "The civilizing missions of the West come in for acerbic commentary...." But when you read this you really get mad at Muslims and Arabs: how dare they foil the civizilizing missions of Napoleon and Bush, among many others. How dare they?
Leon Wieseltier is outraged. He does not think that the New York Times is sufficiently hostile to Islam and Muslims. This is liberalism in the US. (thanks Amer)
Pardon me but there is a fly in your soup and a madrassassa in your home.
On Sandra Mackey. When Sandra Mackey's first book, the Saudis, came out, I immediately read it. I could not believe my eyes. I was told that the National Inquirer thought about serializing it--kid you not. I read astonishing things as in "science failed to penetrate the minds of Saudi men". She wrote that Saudi women drool when they eat, that Muslims stock for Ramadan like "nocturnal animals, and on and on. She also said that Saudi men and women keep their clothes on when they have sex. I was particularly curious of course. It was mentioned in the book that she lives in Atlanta with her husband, a physician. This was in the 1980s, prior to the time of the internet. So I called two or three physicians in Atlanta with that last name before I reached her husband in his clinic. He politely gave me his wife's number. I called her and told her that I just read her book and was quite displeased. I asked her whey she did not explain to the readers that she knew no Arabic (or any other Middle East language) when she was making generalizations about Arabic culture AND language, and offering suggestions on generalizations. I shared with her some of her silly sentences and reached my real purpose for calling. As I was going on, she kept telling me: I support the Palestinians. I am very critical of Israel. To that I said: I don't care where you stand on the Arab-Israeli conflict, and this is not why I am calling you. In fact, people like her are the last thing the Palestinians need. So I asked her: let us assume that Saudi men and women keep their clothes on when they make love, how would you--living in a separate compound for the White Man in Saudi Arabia--know about it. To that she said: "Well, everybody knew that in Saudi Arabia." I said: if this is your level of documentation, there is no need to continue further with this conversation. Of course, the book went on to become a best-seller and she proceeded to write several (all lousy) books on the Middle East. CNN made her their in-house resident-expert on the Middle East and Islam. Now she has a new book. "Although Mackey surely would not say the Arab world is timeless or uniform, her descriptions reinforce a picture of the Middle East as mired in its desert-dwelling past. Take, for example, this description at the beginning of a chapter titled "Identity in Pursuit of a Nation": "Day after day, year after year, the fellah scratches the dense, black soil with the same crude hoe devised by his ancestors, and milks the water buffalo that powers the same primitive apparatus that dips water from the river."" (thanks Nouri)
I would like one order of fries and two orders of ethos to go, please. Can Robert Worth of the New York Times explain this to me? What on earth is "Muslim ethos"? As in "But as the conservative Muslim ethos of Dubai’s native Arab minority..." And is there a Jewish ethos and a Christian ethos and a Buddhist ethos? Thanks. Oh, one more thing, when you say: "Ms. Musabih is still unmistakably American, from her moralistic zeal", are you implying that feminist advocacy and zeal is mistakenly American? Excuse me but I have lived in this country for 24 years, and I am still searching--as was the case with Elizabeth Fernea when she searched for Muslim feminism--for American feminism.
The fruits of Bush's Doctrine--or what Sa'ib `Urayqat calls "the vision of president Bush": "The official Saudi Press Agency says authorities have beheaded a Yemeni man convicted of fatally stabbing a Saudi citizen during a dispute. Quoting an Interior Ministry statement, the SPA says Fuad al-Akhram was beheaded Wednesday in the holy city of Mecca....Wednesday's execution brings to 35 the number of beheadings in the kingdom this year, according to an Associated Press count. Saudi Arabia beheaded 137 people last year, up sharply from the 38 executed in 2006." (thanks As`ad--not me)
When it comes to Zimbabwe, British press is willing to print anything: any claims or allegations.
This is Zionism: "The chief rabbi of Safed, Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, is calling on the government to carry out "state-sanctioned revenge" against Arabs in order to, in his words, restore Israel's deterrence...In the newsletter, which was distributed to synagogues around the country, Eliyahu proposes "hanging the children of the terrorist who carried out the attack in the Mercaz Harav yeshiva from a tree."" (thanks Ali)
A hand-written letter from Carlos written to the director of a documentary on Jacques Verges. But Carlos can't be trusted: he did not know much about the inner working of the PFLP, and even Haddad did not trust him much about the inner working of his own organization. Here, Carlos talks about refusing the $50 million from then Prince Fahd. But a former chief of operations for Saudi intelligence told me that he personally hand delivered money from Saudi Arabia to Carlos, and even showed me where Carlos sat in his home. (thanks Ziyad)
"Outspoken Egyptian editor Ibrahim Eissa was sentenced to six months in jail on Wednesday for writing rumours about President Hosni Mubarak's health, a justice official told AFP."

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

This is Zionism: "Morcos said Palestinian gays were sometimes targeted by the Israeli secret service (Shin Bet) and told they must collaborate or face being outed." (thanks Maryam)
"The Dalai Lama, whom Larry King, on CNN, once referred to as a Muslim, has also received the Lifetime Achievement award of Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America. He is the only Nobel laureate to appear in an advertisement for Apple and guest-edit French Vogue." (thanks Mary)
Saudi King's call for an inter-faith dialogue is akin to a call by Goebbels for a conference on tolerance.
Many people pointed out to me the irony that Ilyas Khuri wrote his good critique of May Al-Murr in Al-Quds Al-`Arabi and not in his own "cultural supplement" of An-Nahar which has a wider readership.
"Jewish settlers living inside the occupied Palestinian West Bank complained when they found their addresses identified them as living in Palestine, rather than Israel. More than 400,000 people live in settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, all of which are widely considered illegal under international law." (thanks Andrea)
"COME BACK Karl Marx, all is forgiven. Just when everyone thought that the German philosopher's critique of capitalism had been buried with the Soviet Union, suddenly capitalism reverts to type. It has laid a colossal, global egg and plunged the world economy into precisely the kind of crisis he forecast." (thanks Karim)
"The thousands of Christians who converged on Jerusalem's Old City on Good Friday could help to make 2008 the busiest year for pilgrimages to the Holy Land since the millennium, church officials said." They are celebrating war on earth.
What is Iran doing with all that oil revenues?
I really don't like flags and I don't like nationalisms. But for Palestine and the Palestinians, everything and anything.
"Nor is the failure limited to U.S.-based independent media. Al-Jazeera (both Arabic and English) has scores of staffers in Washington, but not one gets into the White House to ask a tough question. Al-Jazeera reporters in Afghanistan and Iraq have braved U.S. missiles, but Al-Jazeera reporters in Washington have not braved White House news conferences." (thanks Sam)
"Afghanistan is being deprived of $10bn (£5bn) of promised aid, and 40% of the money that has been delivered was spent on corporate profits and consultancy fees, according to a hard-hitting report by aid agencies released today. The failure of western donors to keep their promises, compounded by corruption and inefficiency, is undermining the prospects for peace in Afghanistan, it warns. Civil aid programmes are a fraction of what is spent by America, Britain and other countries on military operations there. Much of the money earmarked for aid is diverted to political or military purposes."
Can this story be better described than by this very accurate headline? " Israel to allow Abbas' security forces to deploy in Jenin."
"Dalai Lama can appear a bit dull..." A bit dull? Are you kidding me? I would rather read from the phone book than read his speeches. I would rather watch Tony Danza make a speech than watch him? I would spend an hour with Larry King than Dalai Celebrity-worshiping Lama. A bit dull? How about hugely and intensely dull?
Today, in tributes to dead US soldiers, the New York Times has a picture of one posing with an Israeli flag. Electronic Ali wondered to me what would happened if a US soldier were to pose with a Syrian or Saudi flag? Court martial?
"In the months leading up to the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, the Bush administration threatened trade reprisals against friendly countries who withheld their support, spied on its allies, and pressed for the recall of U.N. envoys that resisted U.S. pressure to endorse the war, according to an upcoming book by a top Chilean diplomat. The rough-and-tumble diplomatic strategy has generated lasting "bitterness" and "deep mistrust" in Washington's relations with allies in Europe, Latin America and elsewhere, Heraldo Mu¿oz, Chile's ambassador to the United Nations, writes in his book "A Solitary War: A Diplomat's Chronicle of the Iraq War and Its Lessons," set for publication next month. "In the aftermath of the invasion, allies loyal to the United States were rejected, mocked and even punished" for their refusal to back a U.N. resolution authorizing military action against Saddam Hussein's government, Mu¿oz writes."
Don't you like it when the media refer to Iraqi "security forces" battling Mahdi militia. It should be pro-US sectarian Shi`ite militias of Badr are battling Mahdi militia.
"A new study finds that women who describe themselves as feminists are more forgiving than other women when assessing the attractiveness of women who are either very underweight or very heavy."
Ilyas Khuri: writes an excellent article about the horrible May Al-Murri, who just died. The Lebanese media only printed tributes to her--and she was literally crazy.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Fida' `Itani on Jumblat.
"The service also had another meaning to some. Holding a religious service in an area that once had no religious freedom is a milestone, Stockeland said. “I think it’s pretty significant to hold Easter sunrise in an area where folks didn’t have the freedom to do so.”" (thanks anonymous)
An Ethiopian maid was found dead in South Lebanon in the home where she worked. She died from hanging with a piece of cloth.
A Saudi father blames "suspicious sides" for sending his son to Iraq.
"Iraq coverage by major American news sources has plummeted, to about one-fifth of what it was last summer, according to the Project for Excellence in Journalism."
This picture was published in the New York Times today. When the rioters set Chinese stores on fire in Tibet. If the Palestinians did that to Israeli stores, the leftists and progressives in the US media would cry out: why do the Palestinians have to do that? Why can't the Palestinians engage in non-violent struggle? Why can't the Palestinians just stick to civil disobedience? Why do the Palestinians have to tarnish their cause like that? And then the Nation magazine would publish an editorial supporting Israeli right to shoot at the rioters. Spare me.
MEMRI is again promoting some guy from the Saudi sleaze website, Elaph (which it calls "liberal"). Defense of House of Saud is now called "liberal" in Saudi and Israeli media. And then it says this about the Libyan dude: "Libyan-European liberal thinker and entrepreneur Muhammad 'Abd Al-Muttalib Al-Houni." Wow. The guy manages to combine thinking and enterpreneuring. What a fete.
"Philippine health officials Wednesday warned people taking part in Easter crucifixions and self-flagellation rituals to get a tetanus shot first and sterilise the nails to avoid infections." (thanks Victoria)
"Ugandan clerics pointed out the Bible was written before Muhammad was born." (thanks John)
Israel plans to reduce restrictions on...collaborators. "Barak is considering a series of gestures ahead of US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's visit to Israel next week aimed at easing restrictions in the West Bank and including lifting a number of temporary roadblocks, opening a VIP lane at checkpoints, and exempting Palestinian businessmen who are approved by the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) from inspections." (thanks Joey)
Now they very calmly debate torture and torture techniques in US media, like NPR. Notice that torture is called "tough interrogation" just as the Israeli supreme court once ruled in favor of "physical pressure." (thanks Sinan)
"On avait appris le limogeage de M. Guigue samedi, à la suite de la publication sur le site Internet d'une tribune violemment anti-israélienne. Dans ce texte, publié le 13 mars sous le titre "Quand le lobby pro-israélien se déchaîne contre l'ONU", M. Guigue estimait notamment qu'Israël est "le seul Etat au monde dont les snipers abattent des fillettes à la sortie des écoles"." (thanks Assila)

Sunday, March 23, 2008

"Meanwhile, a U.S. helicopter fired on two checkpoints manned by U.S.-allied Sunni fighters near Samarra, 60 miles north of Baghdad, killing six and injuring two, Iraqi police said. It was the latest in a string of controversial "friendly fire" incidents in which U.S. forces have called in strikes on their new allies. Thousands of Sunnis have abandoned the insurgency and joined pro-U.S. defense groups, known as "awakening councils," a move credited with helping reduce violence in recent months. An Iraqi army commander and one of the paramilitary group's leaders both said the men were staffing a checkpoint when they came under fire."

"Pagden adds that “most Muslim theologians and jurists would have to agree” with bin Laden. Such passages are bound to infuriate many, including those Muslims who see themselves as reaffirming a well-rooted Islamic tradition of diversity in opinion against a rising trend of rigid fanaticism. Pagden tends to treat Islam as a monolith; at one point he describes Islam as intellectually “simple.” Given Islam’s long and variegated history, not to mention its abstruse jurisprudence, many will disagree. It’s a good bet that “Worlds at War” will appeal more to admirers of Samuel Huntington’s thesis about the clash of civilizations, which Pagden calls “a crude but useful phrase,” than to fans of Edward Said’s book “Orientalism.”"
I watched Ahmad Chalabi on Al-Arabiya TV with...Gizelle Khuri. I failed again: every time I watch her on any subject, I try to discipline myself to refrain from yelling at the TV when she speaks. She is without a doubt the most annoying person who appears on TV, as far as I am concerned, and she combines the worst traits of the worst Lebanonese. But something has happened: Chalabi, who often changes his tune, has changed his tune. Only a few months ago, he was railing against the American occupation in the British media. In this interview, he took a different course. He was very favorable toward the occupation although he talked about "mistakes." He was right when he said that his early sponsors and supporters in Washington, DC were DEMOCRATS. Did you hear that: Democrats. He also justified his alliance with the sectarian forces of Muqtada As-Sadr by attributing it to a family connection. Did you notice when Khuri expressed outrage because "Christians are being killed in Iraq"? This sectarian Samir Ja`ja` (Ga`ga` in Egyptian accent) advocate did not notice all the other who are being killed in Iraq. Also, when Chalabi spoke about Saddam's cruel regime, he confined it to "1979-2003" as if the regime did not come to power in 1968. He is up to something: something not good, of course.
Jalal Talbani funding the DFLP?
I don't like flags or nationalism but...for Palestine and the Palestinians, anything and everything.
"Pope Benedict XVI rejoiced over conversions to Christianity a day after he baptized a prominent Muslim." Prominent? This is like MEMRI: if they like an obscure Arab writer somewhere, they label him as "prominent." Mr./Ms. Potato head becomes prominent if it expresses pro-Israeli views.
Today, Shimon Peres said that Israel does not want any Iranians on their borders [with Lebanon]. I don't think that the people of South Lebanon disagree. But I would add that the people of South Lebanon don't like Israelis on their border either.
"Shortly thereafter, a Croatian couple, Snejana and Zeljko Mikulic, holders of an account at Die Erste Bank in Vienna, ordered $2,649,000 in bank transfers to the account of Bassam Abu Sharif, one of Yasser Arafat's closest advisors, at Arab Bank in Geneva." (thanks Anonymous)
Angry Arab versus Gen. Richard Myers. Part I. Part II.
Sa'ib `Urayqat says the US is the "honest broker" according to "the vision of President Bush." Here is the evidence: ""America's commitment to Israel's security is enduring and unshakable, as is our commitment to Israel's right to defend itself -- always -- against terrorism, rocket attacks and other threats from forces dedicated to Israel's destruction," Cheney said. "The United States will never pressure Israel to take steps that threaten its security.""

Saturday, March 22, 2008

"More and more of his foot soldiers now come from Third World countries, and his corporate network is aggressively pitching for business from foreign governments. (It has already trained naval commandos in Azerbaijan and has been hired to train special forces troops in Jordan.)" (thanks Friday Lunch Club)
Oh, please. Please. I worship Hollywood celebrities and the White Man. Let me kiss the hand of the White Man, please. (thanks Kamal)
"Syrian security forces have killed three Kurdish men in north eastern Syria who were celebrating on the eve of the Kurdish new year, a Syrian human rights organisation said on Friday."
Al-Quds Al-`Arabi is reporting that former PA's puppet interim president, Rawhi Fattuh, blamed a "conspiracy" for the smuggling of 3,000 cellphones in his car.
"These groups hate criticism almost as much as the Chinese government does. Some use questionable information. For example, the Free Tibet Campaign in London (of which I am a former director) and other groups have long claimed that 1.2 million Tibetans have been killed by the Chinese since they invaded in 1950. However, after scouring the archives in Dharamsala while researching my book on Tibet, I found that there was no evidence to support that figure. The question that Nancy Pelosi and celebrity advocates like Richard Gere ought to answer is this: Have the actions of the Western pro-Tibet lobby over the last 20 years brought a single benefit to the Tibetans who live inside Tibet, and if not, why continue with a failed strategy?"
Do you notice that the New York Times refers to anti-Islam bigots as "controversial." And would the New York Times writes a full page--almsot--about some right-wing nut who produced and directed an anti-Semitic movie? But the New York Times has always found anti-Islam bigotry to be adorable and charming. But do you know why the NYT likes this guy? Well, "he has visited Israel at least 40 times and maintains close contacts there."
Stop the presses. Wake up the children and release the pigs from the barn. Flash. Flash. And flash. Time magazine finds a good Muslim. Read all about it. "...her cat Hussein pads around and a veiled assistant fields phone calls..." (thanks Junaid)
We have a proverb in Arabic: "And one of their own kinsfolk testified [to that]." Here, one of the old timers in Fath says that "corruption and corrupt people rule over Fath." Really? I did not know that. I thought that Abu Mazen (and his sons), and Ahmad Quray` (who reportedly helped himself to the funds of Sadid), and Muhammad Dahlan are models of integrity and high ethical standards.
"Rafi Dajani, who was the American Task Force on Palestine’s second-ranking official and one of the country’s most visible speakers on Palestinian affairs, was fired in late January due to an “apparent breach of his fiduciary responsibilities,” according to a statement issued by the group February 29. Sources outside the organization said Dajani was allegedly responsible for tens of thousands of dollars that had gone missing from the group’s funds." Now I don't appreciate your snickering. I really don't. Here, I am sharing some news with you, and I encounter your snickering. You stop that right NOW. We all know that if there is one thing--one thing--that advocates for Muhammad Dahlan care about it is transparency and integrity. In fact, Muhammad Dahlan and his supporters worldwide are known for being the stalwart enemies of corruption. And when this man allegedly embezzled "tens of thousands of dollars"--all collected in small donations from fans of Muhammad Dahlan in the US--, the Dahlan task force acted firmly.
"Over nearly five hours, Cheney and the king also discussed "Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Pakistan, energy, Israeli-Palestinian issues, some bilateral questions before us," the official said. Asked whether Cheney had pressed the king to increase oil production, the official said "as a general matter, the United States believes there ought to be a lot more investment in our own production capabilities.""
Saudi King personally bestows the highest Saudi honor on Dick Cheney. (AFP) By the way, the Saudi King now imitates Bush by receiving his most important guests at his "ranch" or "farm" in Jandiriyyah. (thanks ls)
On July 9th, 1972, the New York Times reported on the car bomb that killed Palestinian writer/artist, Ghassan Kanafani and his neice. It was on page 7, and had this headline: "Beirut Blast Kills Guerrilla Leader."

Friday, March 21, 2008

For a fistful of Dinars. I thought that this was--as Bush said--a "large scale Arab uprising" against Al-Qa`idah. Al-Hayat is reporting that Anbar tribal thug leaders (who worked for Saddam, and then for Bin Laden, before working for the US occupation) has threatened to end their relationship with the Americans because they have not received their cash payments from US occupation. These news would be fabricated if they were not true.
I am not making this up. Al-Arabiya TV just aired a special report that US occupation authority in Iraq has released a whopping 13 Iraqi prisoners from their custody in Baghdad. That only leaves a mere 19, 987 Iraqis in US custody.
"The Bush administration won a commitment Thursday from two prominent foreign government investment funds to disavow “geopolitical goals” in their investments in the United States and elsewhere, a step the administration hoped would set an example for other funds. The commitment came from the so-called sovereign wealth funds controlled by the governments of Singapore and Abu Dhabi, which is part of the United Arab Emirates. Both funds have stepped up their American investments in the last year and played a major role in purchasing stakes in Citigroup." Geopolitical goal? What on earth is that? And how do you promise to forswear geopolitical goals?
The president of Afghanistan is seen to the right. To the left is Hamid Karzai.
Yesterday, the New York Times had a little item about the dissolution of parliament in Kuwait. For the picture of the Emir of Kuwait (a man in his seventies), they had a picture of some Arab with a head dress who is probably in his 20s. They all look like, don't they o New York Times? (It was later removed from the site).
The New York Times had this caption under this picture: "Brig. Gen. Mutaa al-Khazraji, center, an Iraqi Army commander in Mosul, discussed a joint security operation with his American military advisers last month." Advisers? They advise the Iraqi commander? Oh, really. Advise, is the word here? So the Iraqi guy commands and the American advisers merely advise? Oh, really? Inform me some more about the advising business, as I am very intrigued, o New York Times. Do they advise him as in: Sit down. Take a five minute bathroom break NOW. Come here and fetch me a beverage, o Iraqi commander. Hey, Gen. Al-Khazarji: come and massage my feet NOW. Advise my...potato.
How typical. How convenient. Fath crooks, thieves, and murderers often blame somebody else--somebody who works for them usually--for their crimes and corruption. "Fattouh, who served as acting PA chairman for three months following the death of Yasser Arafat in November 2004, claimed that it was his driver who had tried to smuggle the phones across the Allenby Bridge on their way back from Jordan." Fattuh, I will keep stressing, was an interim president of the puppet Palestinian Authority when the commander of the Fath crooks, thieves, and murderers, Yasir `Arafat, died.
"A Hamas spokesman said security forces had demanded to know about Hamas leaders' movements and the location of captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.... There has been no comment about the Hamas claims from the Egyptian authorities..." (thanks Ussama)
More secretive than Skulls and Bones is the Board of Trustees of AUB. Does anybody know how they select the president of AUB? This is a board that selected Tom Lantos as president of AUB back in the 1960s (he turned them down). Would it surprise you if the board selects, say, Doug Feith?
I watched Sinan on Charlie Rose. He was angry and he kicked ass--big time. His point about the myth of "mere mistakes" in Iraq is very important. The other guest, Ali Fadhil, was most annoying and did not make one intelligent point. But I have one complaint about comrade Sinan: why did he have to punch Charlie Rose? Did you see Charlie Rose's black eye? You did not have to do that, Sinan. Really. Now giving a black eye to Ali Fadhil? That is a totally different question.
"According to Long, there's no grand Saudi strategy to influence America's view of Islam."Yes, they want to help Islam, just like we have foreign missionaries," Long explained." Oh, Mr. Long. Please, please, please. You really think that vast Saudi expenditure on propaganda and on weapons is motivated by the desire to help Islam? And if so, which Islam, Mr. Long. Which Islam? (thanks Amer)
Finished reading a new book: Who Speaks for Islam? What a Billion Muslims Really Think By John L. Esposito and Dalia Mogahed. It is a small interpretive book that analyzes for the readers the views and opinions of Muslims worldwide based on the Gallup surveys in Muslim countries. It succeeds in dispelling--based on evidence and not generalizations--various misconceptions about Muslims that are peddled in the American press. The only criticism I have is that I wish there was an appendix to include some of those polls so that the readers can see for themselves. Go read it NOW.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

"Mr. McCain's national security adviser, Randy Scheunemann, told The New York Sun, "There is ample documentation that Iran has provided many different forms of support to Sunni extremists, including Al Qaeda as well as Shi'ia extremists in Iraq. It would require a willing suspension of disbelief to deny Iran supports Al Qaeda in Iraq.""
Here and There. Al-Qa`idah's translation of the Bin Laden speech is off. When Bin Laden addressed "al-`uqala'" in the EU it was translated as "the intelligent ones" when it should have been "the reasonable ones." This is ironic because on some other websites, Al-Qa`idah has called for accurate translations of the speeches of its leaders. The tone of Bin Laden's delivery has become more monotone for some reason. On another note, I heard Karl Rove quote Bernard Lewis today. And Frank Zappa was right: Discovery Channel is very suspicious. Just the other day, they ran a tribute to the Mirkava tank: less than two years after its humiliation in Lebanon. Not a coincidence. Also, when I am on the road, I get to watch US TV. US entertainment TV is not watchable: too many commercials. In fact, it has become channels of commercials with some programming inserted in between.