Tuesday, September 30, 2008

"President Hamid Karzai said Tuesday that he had repeatedly sought the intervention of the Saudi royal family to bring the resurgent Taliban to peace negotiations. But Mr. Karzai said his appeals had failed to yield any talks, and his tone suggested a degree of frustration with the Saudi government for not having acted more decisively."
Bahraini foreign minister calls for the creation of a regional organization that includes Arab countries and Israel, Turkey, and Iran. He then added: I am only doing what I am told. I don't understand. I am not very bright. I am not bright at all, in fact.
I was summoned for jury duty. It was the most boring experience ever, although I was not selected. Everybody I know assures me that I only need to open my mouth to be excluded by both sides. I took with me the autobiography of Shakib Arsalan (nicknamed Amir Al-Bayan). Why is this guy considered a liberal reformer? This guy advised Jamal Pasha and Anver Pasha, before AND after the hangings. And this book was not really an autobiography, and not even a memoirs. He writes about the history of the era but from his perspective. He told us about his childhood and education but only to share the praise of his teachers (he studied under some remarkable teachers, like Abdullah Bustani and later Muhammad `Abduh). He claims that he suggested to Egyptian poet, Ahmad Shawqi, to name his first Diwan, Shawqiyyat. Some people don't know that this Shakib Arsalan is the grandfather of Walid Jumblat (on his mother's side).
"As Williams read English translations of Adonis’ poetry, Adonis recited his works in Arabic." (Above, Adonis proving his humanity by hugging the White Man).
PS A member in the audience told me that Adonis also kissed him on the head.
Western liberals will not declare this as the most humanitarian gesture in the entire history of humankind: "Israel has cut purchases of US-made cluster bombs, defense officials said on Tuesday, stocking up on supplies of M-85 bombs from the state-owned Israeli Military Industries (IMI). The report has not yet been confirmed by the IDF." (thanks Marcy)
Meet the next prime minister of Israel: "Binyamin Netanyahu will resume building in existing West Bank settlements if he is elected prime minister, the opposition leader told Walla! News on Sunday."
"Yet life for these 300 Palestinian families and their thousands of other kinsmen displaced from Nahr al-Bared - some for the third time in their lives - might very soon be getting a lot worse, in large part due to the neglect of the region's Arab states." The last sentence must have been inserted by a foreign editor. I mean, the responsibility of Arab states is undeniable but Arab regimes now have to be treated no more than stooges of Israel. They receive orders and implement: UAE, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Egypt now merely follows Israeli dictates when it comes to the Palesitnian question.
"Hundreds of protestors demonstrated agains the proposed $700 Billion bail out plan for the finance and banking industry, yet the national news media in America didn't even report it!"
American capitalists are freaking out: "Bailout marks Karl Marx's comeback". I wish.
Guess who will now "liberate" the Shi`ites of Lebanon? A Lebanese Forces dude in Washington, DC.
Palestinians are being shot regularly by Israeli occupation troops and occupation settlers and only when an Israeli is attacked (by other Israelis) the Western press takes notice. "To Ezrahi, there is a clear connection between an upsurge in violence perpetrated by settlers against Palestinians in the territories, particularly in the northern West Bank, and the reemergence of Israeli-on-Israeli acts of violence inside the Green Line, Israel's pre-1967 borders".
I don't know who Khaled Amayreh is but I read two silly articles by him (sent to me by well-wishers, I think) in two days. In one of them, he argued that Ahmadinajad's nutty thesis of Zionist control of the world is factual. In the second article, he informs me that Yusuf Al-Qaradawi is "wise." I expect to read a third article by him tomorrow in which he argues that Banana cream pies are NOT delicious.
"Obama argues that the war was a mistake to begin with, that it led us to "take our eye off the ball" and allow Osama bin Laden to escape and al-Qaida to regroup, and that it has strengthened Iran. He says that if elected he will withdraw American troops in stages over a 16-month period." Yes, Obama will transfer the surge from Iraq to Afghanistan, and will initiate bombing of Pakistan. And with his Zionist advisers, I am sure that he will bless all Israeli wars on their neighbors--far and near. Obama and McCain: the same foreign policy, and that was clear with Obama non-stop agreements with McCain during the so-called debate. Don't get me wrong: McCain is a dangerous man: he is impulsive, reckless, and arrogant and thinks he knows about foreign policy although he is the least knowledgeable of the four in the two tickets. His running mate would have been a good leader for those who used to burn witches in medieval times. (thanks Olivia)
How did Salah Jadid die? I was surprised that Salah Jadid still has some appeal among the secular Syrian opposition based on reactions I received regarding my last article on Syria in Al-Akhbar (the issue of Al-Akhbar on Saturday was not distributed in Syria, I am told). Many people (including some with connection to his family) wrote to me regarding his death. One of the Syrian political prisoners who last saw him wrote this:
"بالنسبة لصلاح جديد ' أبو أسامة ' ، في الواقع أنا السجين الوحيد ـ ربما ـ الذي رآه وتحدث معه قبل وفاته بثلاث ساعات ونصف فقط ، إذا استثنينا رفاقه في القيادة السابقة الذين كانوا معه في غرفته . وتفصيل الأمر كما يلي :

تم نقلي من سجن تدمر الصحراوي إلى سجن المزة العسكري ( عبر شعبة المخابرات العسكرية التي مضيت فيها 40 يوما ) ظهر يوم السبت 7 آب/ أغسطس 1993 . وبالنظر لأن أمر الشعبة المذكورة كان يقضي بإبقاء سجني انفراديا ، لم يجد مدير السجن العقيد بركات العش سوى غرفة رئيس الوزراء الأسبق الدكتور يوسف زعيّن ليضعني فيها ، وهي في الطابق الثاني . كانت الغرفة فارغة منذ إطلاق سراح زعين في العام 1981 ، وكان جرى تحويلها إلى مستودع . أما جدار حمامها ومرحاضها فكان مشتركا مع حمام ومراحيض جناح القيادة السابقة ( صلاح جديد ، رئيس الأركا ن الأسبق اللواء أحمد سويداني ، ضافي الجمعاني ، كامل حسين ، عبد الحميد مقداد ، مصطفى رستم ، عادل نعيسة .. إلخ ) .

لم يكن صلاح يخرج إلى التنفس الصباحي أو المسائي مع رفاقه منذ 15 سنة خلت ، احتجاجا على الإهانة التي وجهها له ذات يوم أحد السجانين حين كان في التنفس يستمع إلى راديو ترانزستور في يده ، حيث طلب منه تخفيض صوته بعد أن وصفه بـ ' الحمار ' ! وكنت أغتنم الفرصة للحديث مع ' أبو أسامة ' ـ عبر فتحة صغيرة في الجدار المذكور ـ خلال وجود رفاقه في التنفس . ( طبعا لم يكن ذلك من وراء ظهورهم ، فهم من ساعدني من الطرف الآخر للجدار على إحداث ثقب بالقرب من فتحة يمر منها أنبوب توصيل المياه ، حيث يكون الجدار هشا ، ليؤمنوا الاتصال معي ومعرفة أحوالي من حين إلى آخر . وقد أرسلوا لي الكثير من المساعدات بالنظر لأن لم أكن مُزارا في حينه ) .

مساء 17 آب ، أي بعد وصولي إلى السجن بعشرة أيام ، وعند حوالي السابعة مساء ، كنت أتحدث معه . لم يكن يشكو من أي مرض سوى الضعف البسيط الناجم عن الاعتقال الطويل وسنه المتقدمة ( 67 عاما ) ، وبعض الآلام في الجهاز البولي من حين إلى آخر ، كما فهمت منه ومن عادل نعيسة وضافي الجمعاني و من العقيد بركات لاحقا. وبتعبير آخر : لم يكن يعاني أي مرض يمكن أن يؤدي إلى الموت أو حتى إلى العجز ولو جزئيا .

بعد حوالي ساعة على انتهاء التنفس ، جاء طبيب السجن ، برفقة أطباء آخرين من خارج السجن (؟) ، والعقيد بركات ، وأخذوه . وقد رأيته بأم عيني من نافذة زنزانتي ( الواقعة فوق ديوان السجن مباشرة ، والمطلة مباشرة على البهو الداخلي للسجن المؤدي بدوره إلى بابه الرئيسي الداخلي) يمشي مع الأطباء والمدير بشكل طبيعي . وقد علمت لاحقا من مدير السجن ( الذي أصبحت علاقتي به ممتازة في السنوات اللاحقة ، إذ كان يحرص على تقديم نفسه كتلميذ لالياس مرقص خلال دراسته الثانوية ، وعلى تمييز المعتقلين اليساريين إيجابيا ، وقد سرّح تعسفيا من الجيش صيف العام 2000 بعد اتهامه بتقديم مساعدة وتسهيلات ' غير قانونية ' لي !) بأنه نقل صلاح إلى مشفى المزة العسكري بسيارته المرسيدس الخاصة على خلفية شكواه نفسها ( كريزا في الجهاز البولي ) . وأجزم أنه كان صادقا . فقد كان يحترمه جدا ، ويحرص دائما على مخاطبته بـ ' سيدي اللواء ' .

أنظمة السجون والمخابرات لا تمنح مدير أي سجن عسكري صلاحية نقل أي سجين مريض ، أيّا كان ، سوى إلى المشفى الذي يتبع له السجن ( مشفى المزة العسكري ، 601 ، بالنسبة لسجن المزة ، ومشفى التل العسكري بالنسبة لسجن صيدنايا ) . وفي حال قضى الوضع الصحي للسجين /المريض نقله إلى مشفى تشرين العسكري ( الأكثر تطورا) ، فإن الأمر يحتاج إلى موافقة الجهة المسؤولة عن اعتقال السجين ( مخابرات عسكرية ، مخابرات جوية ، أمن دولة ... ) . وبالنسبة لصلاح ورفاقه تحديدا ، كان نقل أي منهم يقتضي موافقة رئيس شعبة المخابرات العسكرية شخصيا أو مساعده . وفي حالة الطوارىء العاجلة ، كان الأمر يحتاج لاتصال هاتفي فقط . ( في الحالة غير العاجلة يقتضي الأمر توجيه طلب عبر البريد الرسمي للسجن ) .

ما قاله لي العقيد بركات لاحقا هو التالي على نحو شبه حرفي :

' بعد أن أوصلته إلى مشفى المزة بسيارتي ، وليس بسيارة اللاندروفر المرهقة له وغير اللائقة به ، قال الطبيب إنه بحاجة لنقل إلى مشفى تشرين العسكري . فأجريت الاتصالات اللازمة من أجل الموافقة ، وبعد قليل جاءت سيارة من شعبة المخابرات ونقلته إلى تشرين ، فلم يكن من صلاحيتي نقله إلى هناك . وقد توفي بعد وصوله إلى مشفى تشرين بقليل . وكانت حوالي منتصف ليلة 17 / 18 آب ' . وهذا يعني أنه توفي وهو رهن الاعتقال ، بعكس ما نشر في الإعلام لاحقا ، حيث قيل ' إنه توفي بعد صدور أمر بإطلاق سراحه ' . وهذا لا أساس له من الصحة .

هل جرى تسميمه حسب بعض المعلومات المتداولة ؟

ليس ثمة أي دليل على ذلك ، خصوصا وأنه لم يجر أي تشريح للجثة ، ولم يذكر ذووه وجود أي عرَض من أعراض التسمم على جثمانه . ولكن من المؤكد أنه قتل عمدا . والأرجح خنقا بواسطة فصل الأوكسجين عن جهاز التنفس الذي وضع له 'دون مبرر ' كما أخبرني المقدم الطبيب المخبري ' أ. ج . ح ' في مشفى تشرين العسكري قبل يومين من إطلاق سراحي بتاريخ 6 أيار / مايو 2001. وطبقا لأدق المعلومات المتوفرة ، فإن من نفذ الجريمة هم زبانية مصطفى طلاس شخصيا . فمن المعروف أن طلاس كان يكن له كرها وحقدا أعمى . وكان يحرص دوما خلال خطبه وأحاديثه العلنية العامة ( أحدها نشر في الصحف الرسمية) على شتمه والقول عنه حرفيا إنه ' كان يحارب الناس في أرزاقهم وأخلاقهم ' ، في إشارة إلى راديكاليته في عمليات التأميم وملاحقة الفاسدين وطهرانيته ' المتطرفة ' ، وفي وقوفه وراء العديد من كراريس التثقيف السياسي الصادرة عن القيادة القومية والقطرية ، والتي كان ينشر من خلالها مفاهيم المادية التاريخية ، والإلحاد الماركسي ، وبقية أقانيم المعرفة الماركسية وتراثها الفكري والنقابي ، فضلا عن نظريات غيفارا وماوتسي تونغ في حرب العصابات والحرب الشعبية . وقد قرأت بنفسي العديد من هذه الكراريس التي كان يحتفظ بها والدي في مكتبة المنزل .

هل كانوا 'مضطرين ' لقتله ، وفي ذلك الوقت بالضبط ؟

أعتقد نعم . فقد كانت السلطة قد اتخذت عمليا قرارا بإطلاق سراح من تبقى من القيادة السابقة ( كانوا 17 سجينا على ما أذكر ) . ولم يكن بإمكانهم إطلاق سراحه معهم للأسباب التي تعرفها ويمكنك تقديرها ، لاسيما وأن حافظ الأسد لم يكن ليقبل بوجوده حرا طليقا وهو على رأس السلطة ، إلا إذا أعلن ولاءه له ، أو التزم الصمت. وهذا كان مستحيلا ، كما يستشف من المساومات التي حاول النظام فتح بازارها معه. فقد كان لا بد من التخلص منه . وهذا ما حصل . وقد جرى إطلاق سراحهم تباعا بعد بضعة أشهر من وفاته !

هذا بالتفصيل ما أعرفه عن القضية وبمنتهى الأمانة ."

""It's not based on any particular data point," a Treasury spokeswoman told Forbes.com Tuesday. "We just wanted to choose a really large number."" (thanks N.)
""If I had enough funds to assist the American economy, I would do all that I can." (thanks Kamal)
"Jiao Weixin of Peking University says that with the development in the next few years of a new rocket, the Long March V, with a heavier lift capability, “it’s a matter of time” before China formally announces plans for landing a man on the moon. According to the Washington Post, Michael Griffin, the head of America’s space agency, NASA, has given warning that if China were to achieve this before the return of a manned American spacecraft to the moon for the first time since 1972, “the bare fact of this accomplishment will have an enormous, and not fully predictable, effect on global perceptions of US leadership in the world.” The newspaper said this comment appeared in a draft of a statement Mr Griffin was preparing to submit to Congress this year, but it was deleted by White House budget officials."
This is a member of the Sahwah council: are you not proud? I don't think that there has ever been a more professional army than this.

Monday, September 29, 2008

CSI: Lebanon (it is a farce show)
Comrade Ra'id dissects Walid Jumblat. (Warning: it is very delicious.)
I am speaking this Friday at this Mahmud Darwish event in San Francisco.
The Wahhabi clerics who still insist that the earth is flat (according to Bin Baz's verdict) have just spotted the moon of `Id Al-Fitr.
My Berkeley email is not working. Use my other (Stanislaus) email. Good night.
You can never accuse Western media of ignoring the suffering of people in Africa (often due to Western interventions): "Elephants in Congo: Big and helples"
"The Maoists say that the contest discriminates against certain ethnic groups and demeans women." Notice that the BBC News item is totally outraged at the feminist complaints of the Maoists here. And why do Western media think that beauty pageants are a sign of women's liberation? (thanks Hicham)
I don't like this guy, but this is an important point that is not made in the media: "Less violence, however, is not the same thing as success. The United States did not go to war in Iraq for the purpose of ending violence between contending sectarian forces. Success has to be measured against US objectives. John McCain proclaims his goal to be victory and says we are now winning in Iraq (a victory that will, of course, be lost if his allegedly pro-surrender opponent wins). He considers victory to be an Iraq that is "a democratic ally." George W. Bush has defined victory as a unified, democratic, and stable Iraq. Neither man has explained how he will transform Iraq's ruling theocrats into democrats, diminish Iran's vast influence in Baghdad, or reconcile Kurds and Sunnis to Iraq's new order. Remarkably, neither the Democrats nor the press has challenged them to do so." (thanks Nir)
Jerusalem Post is not pleased with how Islam and Muslim are presented in text books in the US: "The same glossary describes the Koran as a "Holy Book of Islam containing revelations received by Muhammad from God" - without a conditional qualifier." And what do they mean by conditional qualifiers? Like the setence should add: and Muslims are a bunch of blood-thirsty terrorists?
"Doctors in Iraq will have the right to carry guns to protect themselves, the government said on Monday, in a bid to address the security concerns of a profession that has been targeted by gangsters and militants." That is odd. Because watching the report on Iraq on 60 minutes yesterday made Iraq look like Disney Land (or World). My favorite part was when the reporter asked Iraqis about their views of the US (while she was surrounded by the commander of US troops and a whole army of soldiers and helicopters). This counts as a public opinion survey in a land under occupation. Surprisingly, the Iraqis still managed to offer criticisms of the American occupation. And the US military's translator was very funny: he would use his tone of translation to make the answers of Iraqis less offensive to American ears. When Iraqis would say that they don't want the Americans, he would translate it in a tone of: welcome to Iraq. He reminded me of the translator in Woody Allen's Movie, Banana, when the escapee from a mental asylum translated English into Spanish-accented English.
Just look at this paragraph by Ethan Bronner: "Some Muslims defy archaeology and history by saying that Jews have no link to the site and that it is purely Muslim sacred territory. The same problem exists on the other side as well — some Jews believe that the holiness here is theirs alone." Notice that outrage (on his part) is only expressed at the position of the Muslim in the paragraph.
There are stories that you read which give you goose bumps. This is one of them. "The Israeli and Palestinian leaders have called to congratulate each other ahead of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, and Id al-Fitr, which ends the month of Ramadan."
"Iraq has taken delivery of U.S.-built Beechcraft spy planes to bolster its security forces, Defence Minister Abdel Qader Jassem Mohammed said Sept."
"But the project, begun early this year, was more than that. It was a challenge to long-held conventions regarding the roles of women and girls in the community. For some local residents, the sight of adolescent girls running and leaping on a basketball court was an indecent public spectacle, an affront to female modesty mandated by Islam. There had never been a basketball program for teenage girls in Jabal Mukabar, or any other sports program for girls that age, whose place traditionally was seen as either in school or at home, helping with household chores and looking after younger siblings. Abdo wrote letters to parents of girls who wanted to join the program, soliciting their permission. The school principal, Ghazi Souri, promised to take the heat from opponents. The idea, Abdo said, was to find allies who would make it easier to stand up to the inevitable criticism.""
Hassan Fattah brings you hard-hitting, investigative journalism the likes of which the world media has not seen: "In a comprehensive address to the UN General Assembly, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, covered issues ranging from the measures needed internationally to deal with the crisis in world financial markets to efforts by the UAE to protect the environment and improve the lives of women and migrant workers." And notice that the UAE suddenly (on orders from Bush) remembered its Iranian-occupied islands. Why did you not remember them earlier?
Robert Baer is very inconsistent: in some interviews with media outside of the US, he is willing to be critical of Israel. But in interviews and articles inside the US, he sounds like Joe Biden, or McCain, or Palin, or Obama, or Bush--you get the picture.
"In short, today Dubai is in danger of loosing its lustre and has to work to maintain its brand reputation. Inflation is in double digits, regional competitors – like Qatar or Kuwait – are growing stronger, and India – which supplies thousands of low- and mid-level employees – is providing ever more well-paid jobs domestically. As a result, Dubai has increasing difficulties recruiting and retaining the first-class workforce it needs to make its plans and projects succeed." (thanks Nabeel)
"It is believed to be the first time American personnel have been stationed in Israel since the 1991 Gulf war, when Patriot anti-missile batteries were deployed - to little effect - against Iraq's Scud missiles. In spite of the close strategic relationship between the two countries, Israel has traditionally preferred to staff its own defences and not depend on foreigners." (thanks Marcy)
"A 20 year old resident of the village of Ni’lin was shot in the back of the neck by Israeli forces at around 5:30am." (thanks Olivia)
Not worthy of national coverage: "Njie was one of several affected when a suspected chemical irritant was sprayed into the mosque at 26 Josie St., bringing Dayton police, fire and hazardous material personnel to the building at 9:48 p.m." (thanks Emily)

Sunday, September 28, 2008

This is a sample of the Lebanese press (by the dean of Lebanese journalists): "Le roi Abdallah Ben Abdel-Aziz, “Serviteur des deux saintes mosquées”, n’a pas besoin d’être comparé à Bismarck qui a présidé l’Union prussienne en 1863, unifié le territoire de l’Autriche et du Danemark et vaincu la France. Puis, il s’est hissé à la position de conseiller de l’empire allemand dont il a fortifié la naissance après la célébration de Versailles en 1871. Les circonstances historiques sont différentes, de même que les défis et les paris. Cependant, un dénominateur commun entre les deux leaders s’impose sur cette approche: c’est la lutte contre le régionalisme, le tribalisme et la tendance à embrasser le nationalisme en le renforçant par l’immunité et la force." (thanks Ziyad)
"An Egyptian appeals court on Sunday upheld a guilty verdict against a newspaper editor who wrote stories questioning the president's health and sentenced him to two months imprisonment."
This is the Cuban song from which Asmahan's song was taken. (thanks Brenda)

"Can you see the differences between the above two pictures of Queen Rania? The same picture has been taken while she was receiving the david rockefeller prize in New York. The first one is posted on Slate Magazine website on the page of the Queen's diary while the other one is posted at our government news agency petra. Petra didn't like the Queen with a sleevless shirt, so they covered her arms with some photoshops touches! I am glad they didn't cover her head! They are busted with their covering tendencies! I wonder, what else do they cover?" (thanks Jordanian anonymous)
"But as the Lebanese political scientist Amer Mohsen told me, it would be more accurate to talk of a general resurgence of sectarian identities across the Middle East: “There is a Shiite revival, a Sunni revival, a Druze revival, an Alawite revival and a Kurdish revival – all happening simultaneously.”"...and not spontaneously. When will we speak of a leftist revival? (thanks Nir)
"Europe's 'last dictator' set to reap rewards for courting the West"
"In the eight years since the start of the Al-Aqsa Intifadah Israel has destroyed Palestine’s infrastructure and killed 5,389 Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem."
"The Israeli High Court of Justice is slated to convene on Sunday in order to discuss an urgent appeal filed by Ashraf Abu Rahma, a Palestinian resident o Na’lin village near Ramallah, who was kidnapped by the soldiers, cuffed and blindfolded before a soldier shot him in the leg."
A reliable Palestinian source sent me this: "The PA illegally confiscated 8 dunums to use for the burial of Mahmoud Darwish. The 8 dunums are owned by three families, including the 'Uways
family. Darwish's posters are everywhere on government buildings etc. The PA insisted that his funeral march comes out of the Muqata'ah which meant that only 120 people marched behind him as people refusedto go there to start the march. Outside they were met by a maximum of 5000 for the rest of the funeral --exaggerated and inflated figures notwithstanding."
"A Palestinian shepherd has been shot dead by Israeli settlers in the occupied West Bank, according to Palestinian security and government officials."
"Iraqis don't share an American concept of "personal space". True. Feel free to sit on their laps. (thanks Edgar)
"Bearded and in traditional dress, he has unsurprisingly needed the help of the Saudi Arabian and British intelligence services - among others - to pass unhindered between capitals. He has always travelled in great secrecy, his movements known only to a few individuals at the highest levels of the Afghan government, in Riyadh and among certain Western allies. His mission: to talk to the Taliban leadership about a possible peace deal." (thanks FLC)
When Now Hariri website says "Well-informed Syrian sources" it is referring to Saudi intelligence sources.
"A leader from Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah movement on Sunday admitted that Washington vetoes talks between Fatah and its rival Hamas movement." (thanks Olivia)
I worry about the plight of the Kurds when US troops leave Iraq. "The effects of Saddam's "Arabisation" have been rapidly undone by the Kurds. But this has sparked new tensions with Baghdad, particularly over peshmerga influence in the region."
People often say that one can't dispute the translations of MEMRI but that one can dispute their selections. No, I have often said: you can--I certainly can--dispute their lousy translations too. Somebody send me a link of a recent Saudi video clip (no, I don't provide links to Israeli propaganda outlets), and the translations were so bad that it provided a chuckle for those who watched it.
Also, what Robert Worth's article did not say yesterday was that the Saudi kooky fatwawawas as of late have been resoundingly mocked and ridiculed in Arab media, and even in some Saudi media. Without House of Saud's support, Saudi clerics would be spat on in every street of the Arab world.
"Eleven Israeli backpackers were stranded in a snowstorm in northwestern India during the weekend, and rescued in a complex mission launched by the country's air force. But two other Israeli backpackers were left behind – refusing to be rescued as it would constitute desecration of Shabbat."
Joseph tells me that "Asmahan's song is copied from Cuban singer Antonio Machin's 1938 song El Huerfantito (The Little Orphan)!" If only Joseph learns how to send me a song as an email attachment.
"And who cares what Henry Kissinger thinks? He was wrong 35 years ago, and it’s only gotten worse since then."
According to the New York Times, when a politican--anywhere--receives cash payment, it is considered a scandal and a disgrace. But when an Israeli politician receives cash payment it is a Greek tragedy.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Zionist Historiographical Trickery: Benny Morris and 1948. When I read Benny Morris' massive study, 1948, I became convinced that many of the reviewers in the press did not probably read the whole thing. I say so because even reviews in serious publications, like the Economist--the best magazine there is--did not note the racist and disturbingly political biases of the author. The agenda of the author (who at least has revealed his true colors when he expressed his acceptance of ethnic cleansing of Palestinians) is not hidden if you bother to read the book and the endnotes. But at least one thing made me laugh: Israeli historians now have a habit: they of course continue to ignore and disregard Palestinian narratives from their histories, but they include a token account, that of the diaries of Khalil As-Sakakini, and only those diaries. The diaries have been published in Hebrew so it does not require knowledge of Arabic: even Tom Segev in his really massive, One Palestine: Complete, ignores Palestinian but manages to include that Sakakini account. Morris does the same, but it is hardly surprising. In fact, it is very clear in the book by Morris that he really does not think that Palestinians amount to humans. He not only ignores their sufferings but ignores their deaths. Only Zionist victims are mentioned and counted. Now you are by now wondering (assuming that you have not dosed off) about the trickery I mention in the headline: you see, I have encountered this feature in Israeli historiogrophy, like in Yehoshua Porath in his history of the Palestinian national movement. You would be reading some analysis of account on Palestinian public opinion or even sentiments and feelings, and then you look at the endnotes only to find a Jewish Agency's report, or some report by some Zionist organization. Do you see what I am saying. For example, Morris is keen in this book to assume throughout that Palestinian Christians and Muslims were at each other's throats since the beginning of the Zionist invasion of the land. So keen, that I encountered only one reference to the Muslim-Christian associations when they were the nucleus of Palestinian national organization in Palestine. On p. 13, he goes on about fears and hatred between Muslim and Christian Palestinians (and slogans that were invented by agents of the Zionist organiztion), and then you go to the endnote and you find some silly reference to a silly report by some silly agent of the silly Zionist organization at the time. No evidence, whatever, at a time when a Christian Palestinian (Emile Ghuri) was chosen to lead the party of the Mufti (Hajj Amin Al-Husayni). Morris also typically identifies any Palestinian opposition to Zionism as anti-Semitic (p. 8); he finds some obscure article by some obscure person and yet he does not cite the thousands of Palestinian statements, poems, flyers, and proclamations that clearly expressed opposition to anti-Semitism. He could have bothered checked the private collection of Akram Zu`aytar which contains all that and more, but he did not. And Zionist discussions about the explusion of Arabs from their land is discussed casually by Morris (see pp. 18-19). His account of how Palestinians fared under Zionism is as fictious as was the account in Herzl's work of fiction, Alteuland. Morris says that Palestinian assets "grew substantially" under Zionism (p. 25). And when he cites outrageous statements by Zionists, he never offers any comments, when he is unrestrained if any Palestinain said anything that bothered him. He again casually cites Ben Gurion when he said about Arabs: "And it is better to expel them than jail them." (p. 52) And what is hilarious about this book is that--typical of Zionist accounts--there is such love expressed for the Hashemites, presumably due to the their services to Zionism over the decades. (He says that the Jordanian regime "flourishes" (p. 419) under King PlayStation). He even maintains that all Arab leaders at the time suffered from a crisis of legitimacy..except King `Abdullah (p. 66), as if he died from high cholesterol. And the notion that Plan D did not intend to expel Arabs because it did not say so on paper (p. 121) is as ridiculous as the claim by anti-Semitic David Irving when he talks about the smokin' gun and the Nazis. He admits in the book (twice) that Zionists killed more POWs than the other side did but he always finds excuses to justify the deed and to justify the FACT that more prisoners were killed by Zionists than by the Arabs by talking about Zionist military victories and control of more lands.(p. 153) The conclusion of this propagandistic book is clearly written for the readers in the West in post-Sep. 11 world. He goes on (in a section that is written by the style you read by anti-Islam haters in neo-con media these days) to elaborate on the "Jihadi impulse." (p. 395) He wants to convince the reader that Palestinian Arab opposition to Zionism was rooted in religious bigotry: as if the Palestinians would have acted differently if their lands were stolen and occupied, say, by Buddhists or Hindus or atheists. But then Morris has to contend with the fact of Palestinian Christian opposition to Zionism. He has to explain it. So what does Morris do here. I kid you not, he says this: "Even Christian Arabs appear to have adopted the Jihadi discourse." (p. 395) I kid you not. Is that not funny? So George Habash and Nayif Hawitimah and Edward Said and `Azmi Bisharah are all motivated by Jihadi impulses. Thus is Zionist historiogrophy. It is also equally comical when he maintains that the Arabs were stronger than the Yishuv in Palestine. To bolster his case, or to make it sound less ridiculous, he says that they were stronger in "geopolitical terms"(p. 398)--whatever that means. Maybe by that token, Panama is stronger than the US in "geopolitical terms". He does not shy away from invoking the racist arguments of Patai and others about Arabs: he talks about Arab traditions of "disunity, corruption, and organizational incompetence." (p. 399) I guess that Olmert is resigning due to the Arab tradition of corruption. And is Morris trying to make us laugh when he refers to the Zionist forces as "ragtag Jewish miltia"(p. 400). Ragtag in comparison to what? The Arab forces with their 19th century rifles in some cases? He does admit that both sides killed civilians but he argues that the Arabs killed civilians "deliberately" while the Zionists did so accidentally or recklessly but provides no evidence for the claim (p. 404). He then adds that massacres decreased after the transformtion of forces on both sides into regular armies but then adds casually "except for the series of atrocities committed by IDF troops..." (p. 405). Is this guy for real?
"U.S. European Command has deployed to Israel a high-powered X-band radar and the supporting people and equipment needed for coordinated defense against Iranian missile attack, marking the first permanent U.S. military presence on Israeli soil." (thanks Olivia)
Regarding my reference to Salah Jadid in my last article in Al-Akhbar, informed sources say that the family of Jadid believes he was poisoned in jail.
Raghidah Dirgham (columnist for Khalid Bin Sultan's mouthpiece, Al-Hayat) berates Condoleezza Rice for not liberating Lebanon for her: "QUESTION: There is – people are saying that you lost Iran because there is no great option and that you also lost Lebanon because, practically, it’s – you know, Hezbollah won, they have the military power, it’s practically a base for the Iranians in Lebanon. Do you want to refute that?" (thanks Marian)
This Makhoul guy is considered a journalist in the Batata homeland: "depuis 2005, les Américains n’ont pas glissé la moindre peau de banane sous les pieds du Liban, ni envisagé le moindre petit coup fourré, ni planté quelque poignard dans un cœur de cèdre. Au contraire : Washington, qui ne rate naturellement pas la plus infime des occasions de servir ses intérêts, soutient cette vision d’un Liban indépendant, souverain, démocratique, libre." (thanks N.)
`Isa sent me this picture from Damascus.

Annie visited Tyre recently: she took those pictures of what is left of my grandfather's house. How did she find the house? I told her to ask the fishermen at the port.
A highly reliable Afghan journalist sent me this: "A high-level Afghan official told Bush during a visit to the U.S.: "Sir, your hair stylist is an Afghan, did you know?" Bush responded: "Yes, an Afghan also shines my shoes."
Robert Worth is one leave for one year from the New York Times to study Arabic. His editors expect him to start composing classical Arabic poetry after that one year. But I notice that he is already assigned stories that deal with Arabic culture: take this one on Arabic TV serials in Ramadan. And then Worth said this: "Many of the shows are religious...." Where on earth did you get that, Mr. Worth? Did you get that from MEMRI by any chance? I dare say that I can't think of one hit Ramadan serial that was religious in the last 25 years. Not one. But Mr. Worth: if you see some characters in Ramadan wearing turbans, it does not mean that the show is religious. These are historical shows like the current one about an Arab caliph. Religious shows are way too boring for popular taste to be included in Ramadan serials. The shows are either historical or social: that is it. The most popular ones this season are social-artistic (about the signer Asmahan), and historical-political (about Nasser), or comedic. And then Worth introduces the worst transliteration of an Arabic word since the Washington Post spelled the name of the Libyan dictator. Worth wrote "muselselaat" for musalsalat (TV serials). We may put Robert Worth on a decade-leave from the New York Times to really learn Arabic.
Yesterday, in my class on Middle East politics, one of my students who served in the US military in Iraq was telling me about a manual that he was given upon arriving in Iraq, and it had references to shoes and Iraq culture. I saw many of the students smiling widely: these are the ones who read the blog although they did not say so as I never EVER mention the blog in class. So I had to speak on shoes and Arab culture in class.
My sister and mother did not like my last Al-Akhbar article about Syrian diplomacy.
Do you notice that I am now only invited to speak on US affairs on AlJazeera? I notice. To be fair: I also was invited weeks ago to speak on....Georgian affairs. Gone are the days when I used to be invited to speak on Saudi or Jordanian policies.

Friday, September 26, 2008

My article in Al-Akhbar: "Refusalness...and Desire: On the Multi-coloredness of Syrian Diplomacy"
"I learned it from Esperanza Basson, the mother of Moshe Basson, an Israeli chef who spends a lot of time thinking about food. I have followed Mr. Basson’s career since he ran a very simple restaurant called Eucalyptus with a eucalyptus tree growing right in the center of the tiny dining room, on the outskirts of Jerusalem." Of course, you followed his career. The New York Times would follow the career of a banana if it is Israeli.
I can't get this Asmahan's song off my head:
يا حبيبي تعال الحقني, شوف اللي جرالي
(o beloved, come and follow me and see what has befallen me).
PS: Ilhaqni, as AZ reminds me, can also mean in Egyptian accent, "come and rescue me".
"I'm bringing a message of peace, and I think that's what the region needs." You know what you should do with that message of peace?
Anti-Semites for Israel.
"In July 1954 Gibli ordered the activation of a sabotage network comprised of young, idealistic Jewish agents. Moshe Sharett was prime minister, Pinhas Lavon was defense minister and Moshe Dayan was the IDF chief of staff. The network's members were trained as "sleeper agents" who would be ordered to sabotage strategic installations in Egypt, such as bridges and pumping stations, in the event of a major crisis. But in July 1954 a decision was made to use them for a mission for which they had not really been trained - planting bombs in movie theaters and American institutions in Cairo and Alexandria. The person who gave that short-sighted order hoped it would be a strategic move that would make President Abdel Nasser's regime appear unstable and persuade Britain not to evacuate its military bases in the Suez Canal, a move the Israeli leadership feared." Do you notice that Israeli terrorists are always referred to as "idealistic"? (thanks Mouin)
"Tourists and locals alike can now choose their meals from a menu painted on to the West Bank barrier."
Conspiracy? What conspiracy? "Palestinian sources confirmed on Friday that Israel has granted amnesty to another group of men belonging to Fatah's military wing."
""There is no doubt that you have done a great deal, Mr. President, and you have exerted a great deal of efforts aiming at achieving that vision that we will work together to achieve. Your efforts, Mr. President, as well as your vision, both help us and the Israelis to work very hard during the last year," Abbas told Bush." Abbas then added: Is that dust I see on your shoes, Mr. President? Oh, please, Mr. President. Give me the honor, please.
""It's frightening. My children don't sleep well at night. They wake up from nightmares of Israelis attacking us," he says. "They are doing this so we will leave our homes," he adds."
A reader in Louisiana sent me this (regarding a post from yesterday): "e Representative John LaBruzzo of MetairieHe [LaBruzzo] currently occupies the legislative district formerly represented by David Duke. The sterilization proposal has a great deal in common with a previous proposal by Neo-Nazi David Duke, who formerly occupied LaBruzzo's seat in the Louisiana House of Representatives. To wit, "David Duke, the unsuccessful candidate for governor, proposed legislation offering $100 a year to welfare recipients who used Norplant. That, too, was defeated." (source: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9D0CE3D61030F93AA15752C1A967958260&sec=health&spon=&pagewanted=2) LaBruzzo's proposal goes even farther than Duke's, as he has proposed permanent sterilization, as opposed to temporary birth control. Norplant, which Duke proposed using, has a 5-year period of effectiveness." (thanks Jedd)
"Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi is no stranger to public scrutiny. The Sunni Muslim preacher is the star of his own highly popular show on al-Jazeera TV, which is watched by millions for his advice on sharia law. But he may have miscalculated when he warned recently that "heretical" Shia Muslims were "invading" Sunni countries." This is not accidental and not unrelated to Saudi policy. Qaradawi has not been in the habit of making such statements before, and used to meet (without publicity) regularly with Hasan Nasrallah, and used to complain (privately) about Salafi anti-Shi`ism. (thanks Kamal)
"The Military Advocate General filed grave charges against two soldiers for the alleged severe abuse of a third, Ynet has learned Thursday. The two were charged with several counts of assault and battery, destroying evidence and witness intimidation." (thanks Olivia)
Assuming the debate takes place, I shall appear on AlJazeera Arabic tonight at 10:00PM (Pacific Time) and 8:00AM Saturday, Beirut and Batata time.
"Upon meeting the Israeli president Palin told him she has wanted to meet him and get to know him for years. She added that the only flag in her office, aside from the American flag, is the Israeli flag, stressing that she wants Israelis to know that she's been a longtime friend of the Jewish state, and will remain such." Of course, she is a "longtime friend" of Israel. She is a Christian fundamentalist kook, and all Christian fundamentalist kooks are longtime supporters of Israel. (thanks Marcy)
Ralph Nader: the most qualified to be president. Just read this.
Look how blatant An-Nahar's (the right-wing, sectarian Christian, anti-Syrian (people), anti-Palestinian (people) propaganda on behalf of the Bush administration. The main headline is this: "Bush to Sulayman: Our mission is your mission, a strong and able country."

Thursday, September 25, 2008

A well-connected Jordanian sent me this: "X... in Jordan doubts that Queen Youtube is capable of writing that silly blog. She does not have the skills. It looks like the work of a professional PR agency to try to burnish her image. WIll any enterprising journalist investigate or will they continue to fawn over this vacuous and greedy character?"
Queen Youtube versus Angry Arab. I really really would rather read the phone book. Or I would really really rather read the manual of the space shuttle. Or I would really really rather read the directions to hell. Queen Youtube is keeping a diary in New York City: and if there is somebody who writes in cliches that we abandon in our early teens, it is her: "The great thing about having jetlag in New York is that I'm up so early I get the best of the morning—the crisp, fresh, sunny starts that make you feel like you can take on the day ahead with gusto." And then she tells me this: "Can't help but wonder if the average New Yorker is counting the hours until the U.N. General Assembly and everything else that's happening around it are over so they can get their city back." I don't know about New Yorkers, but I live in California, and I can't wait until you get the hell out of the US so I don't get subjected to your silly and vapid diaries. And then: "So, I'm in NY this week wearing a couple of hats." Oh, you think that you are funny now? Am I suppsed to laugh here or chuckle or smile? Because I did not. I just cringed. Also, you may wear the Tarbush for all I care. And then: "It's something we're very interested in, in the Arab world." We? In the Arab world? You think that you and King PlayStation speak on behalf of the Arab people? I wish to escort you down any street you select in any Arab country and let you hear what people REALLY think of you and your PlayStation husband. Here, she is dazzling the White Man with her knowledge of architecture (like Adonis will dazzle the White Man at Columbia University with his knowledge of music, especially Ms. Yo-Yo Ma): "the awesome and inspiring architecture of Gotham Hall." Wow? How many staffers it took for you to come up with "awesome and inspiring" adjectives for architecture? Did you just have to say that to sound artistically literate? And here you are supposed to feel that she is a great mom: "My husband told me that Hashem, my 3-year-old, has been coughing all night and has a temperature, and my stomach lurched with guilt for not being there to cuddle and soothe him. Why do they always get sick when I'm away? It kills me." I don't know why they get sick, but it could be excitement. If you were my mother, I would get sick to my stomach when you are around, but different kids react differently to differnt situation. But don't worry o British-titled Queen Youtube. King PlayStation is with them, and I am sure his promotion to the Wii will keep all family members busy. (thanks Ramiz)
Damn. Adonis has not delivered his talk at Columbia, Sinan tells me. He will give his talk next week, and he does not know that Darwish was invited and they invited Adonis as a replacement. (So don't tell him, as you may hurt his global ego). So he gave the text of his speech in advance to the mouthpiece of Prince Khalid Bin Sultan (Al-Hayat). So now somebody may correct his reference to "Ms. Yo-Yo Ma." But I heard that he will try to impress the audience with knowledge of music: he believes that Valdimir Horowtiz was the best fluit player there was.
This is a silly story. As if this is the only case of disregard of due process in occupied Iraq. I would rather focus on all those innocent Iraqis who have been victimized during this period of "liberation." For potato's sake, there are unnamed American advisers who run Iraqi puppet ministries and you talk to me about "due process" in Iraq?
Trying to impress a Columbia University audience with his knowledge of high culture, Adonis said that his favorite Beethoven's symphony is number 12.
This just in. Adonis said that he really enjoys listening to Charles Aznavour but that he never met her.
"The defense establishment is currently assessing the possibility of reducing commodities transferred daily to the Gaza Strip in an effort to press Hamas to proceed with negotiations on the release of kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit."
"The Iraqi prisoner had valuable intelligence, U.S. special forces believed, and they desperately wanted it. They demanded that expert American military trainers teach them the same types of abusive interrogation techniques that North Korea and Vietnamese forces once used against U.S. prisoners of war."
Flawed but not criminal murders, pillage, plunder, occupation, mutilation and torture: "The response submitted to the High Court of Justice claimed that the commander's behavior was indeed flawed, but his motive was not criminal."
This just in. Adonis, hoping to impress a New York audience with his knowledge of Western culture, said that he really admires the art of Mr. Frida Kahlo and that Edith Piaf is the best male vocalist that he has ever heard.
I can't make up my mind: I have had this dilemma for years. Do I despise Shimon Peres more than Elie Wiesel or do I dispise Elie Wiesel more. I am not sure.
Now Hariri. This Hariri website is officially revealing Hariri-Saudi endorsement of John McCain: "This American election year marks the first time a major US political party and its presidential candidate, Republican Senator John McCain, have included clear support for Lebanon in its most important strategic policy document. Lebanon's inclusion in the platform represents the fruits of the efforts of Lebanese advocacy organizations in the US, lead by the Lebanese American Coalition, which have worked hard to give a voice to a constituency that has been underrepresented in contemporary American politics until now." (thanks Karim)
It is sexist how people focus on Palin as the least qualified member of the two main tickets in this presidential campaign. I mean, she met with Hamid Karzai and if that does not enhances one's foreign policy credentials, nothing is. In fact, I once ate at Karzai's brother restaurant in SF: and I felt more qualified on foreign policy after the eggplant dish. But seriously: the person of the four who has committed the most mistakes and gaffes is John McCain himself: he repeatedly misidentified the sectarian affiliation of Al-Qa`idah, he repeatedly confuses Sunnis and Shi`ites, and he said that Pakistan shares a border with Iraq. But don't you like it how if you stay a senator for a long time in the US, you are considered a foreign policy expert.
"State Representative John LaBruzzo of Metairie said many of his constituents are tired of paying for children from poor families and that is why he is considering proposing legislation that would pay women on government assistance $1,000 if they choose to be sterilized."
"Another, proposed by a 12-member commission led by two former secretaries of State -- Republican James Baker and Democrat Warren Christopher -- but not yet introduced as a bill, would dangerously expand the authority of the president to order acts of war without authorization by Congress. Baker and Christopher are scheduled to testify before Congress on Wednesday about their proposal." (thanks Olivia)
A profile of a really good man in Lebanon: George Corm. (thanks Raed)
Project Censored. (thanks Bert)
On the footsteps of Hariri cult in Lebanon: "The name of Nawabshah district has been changed to District Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto and the Sindh government has issued a notification in this regard." (thanks Sultan)
OK, somebody needs to tell mini-Hariri that it is really not cute. Mini-Hariri still keeps a picture of his dead daddy near him when he meets with delegation. Somebody needs to break it to him that his daddy is really dead, and that the picture will not speak any time soon. OK? And he is meeting with a Hizbullah delegation here: the honeymoon between the two is quite nauseating. (As-Safir)
Iran must be really nervous now: "A top security officer warned Iran against involving the GCC in any conflict with the West, saying that the GCC will react strongly to any threat against its stability." (thanks LS)
"Figures from Israel’s Ministry of Agriculture, however, indicate that bilateral trade is in fact on the rise, with the volume of exchange jumping from $1.6 million in 2003 to $14 million in 2007, representing a nine-fold increase. Jordan exports also increased from $5.3 million in 2003 to around $13 million. The main products imported to Israel from Jordan are fresh vegetables, which top off the local Israeli produce when there’s a shortage, and olive oil." I want Queen PlayStation to Youtube that.
"Prior to the raising of Israel's flag, U.S. Marines will first raise the American flag, followed by members of the California National Guard raising California's flag. History will follow when Israel Defense Forces soldiers will then raise the flag of Israel. Consul General Dayan explains, "This triumvirate of flags symbolizes the strong, mutually supportive bond that's been built between Israel and the United States as a whole, as well as between Israel and California specifically." Adding, "We deeply value these relationships and wanted to take the occasion of Israel's 60th anniversary to recognize these bonds in a big way."" (thanks Marcy)
"The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, four princes and other Saudi entities are immune from a lawsuit filed by victims of the Sept. 11 attacks and their families alleging they gave material support to al-Qaeda, a federal appeals court ruled on Thursday." (thanks Seham)
This is Zionism: "Earlier this summer, Israel's parliament, the Knesset, passed two troubling pieces of legislation: the first (which still awaits final ratification) exempts the state from compensating Palestinians harmed during Israel Defense Force (IDF) operations in the territories. The second, aimed at curtailing the travel of Arab members of the Kenesset (MK), states that any Israeli who has visited an "enemy country" shall be considered a supporter of armed struggle against the Jewish state (unless proven otherwise), and will be prevented from running for parliament in the seven years following the visit. That law's drafter, Zevulun Orlev, the head of the parliamentary faction of the National Religious Party, explained that the statute will prevent the election of "trojan horses" into the legislature. Arab MKs would now be forced "to decide between the Syrian parliament and the Israeli parliament." On the same day these votes took place, the Knesset's Constitution, Law, and Justice Committee extended the validity of a provision exempting police from videotaping interrogations touching on security matters. The extended immunity is good for four years." (thanks Sellam)
"Ikea is investigating how Israel was blacked out from world maps that the Scandinavian furniture store sells in its Abu Dhabi store."
Adonis thinks that Yo-Yo Ma is a woman. So here is a lousy text of Adonis' speech at Columbia University in honor of Edward Said. I can't speak on behalf of Edward Said but he would have been nauseated by this lousy speech. It is another low for a desperate man who wants the Nobel Prize, even if he receives it while crawling at the entrance of AIPAC in Washington, DC. He is trying in the introduction of the speech to dazzle the White Man in New York City with his knowledge of high culture. He makes a reference to "the famous female musician" Yo-Yo Ma--I kid you not. And notice that he gives Israel specific instructions on how to become "an organic member" of the Middle East and speaks--like members of Congress--about "the guarantee of Israeli security." I don't know who invited him to Columbia but he clearly harmed the memory of Edward Said's work with this lousy (in style and substance) speech.
Let me explain this to the Lebanese people once and for all. Every time a Lebanese prime minister or president visits the US, Lebanese media publish a story that his wife met with the American First Lady. Gen. Sulayman's wife, we are told, met with Laura Bush. Let me explain it: during UN session, the American First Lady shakes hands with the spouses of all the visiting leaders from around the world. So the "meeting" with Gen. Sulayman's wife was really a hand shake. The transcript of the meeting goes something like this: so who are you? Lebanon? How nice. Come and take a picture. Goodbye. That is the door. Next?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Try to count the elements of the Israeli-Saudi conspiracy on the front page of the mouthpiece of Prince Salman (Ash-Sharq Al-Awsat).
A history of (leftist) resistance against Israeli occupation of Lebanon by comrade Iskandar.
Attack on communist graves in South Lebanon by comrade Khalid.
"Governor Palin knows a lot about the End of Days from her years at the Pentecostal Wasilla Assembly of God, which had preached (after a war in the Middle East about light vanquishing darkness) that Alaska would be a shelter for Rapturous “saved” Christians at the end of times when they ascend to heaven."
""Section 8. Review. Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency." In other words, no lawsuits allowed by aggrieved investors or American taxpayers. No complaints later from ignorant pols who didn't know what they voted for. Take it or leave it, suckers."
"Palestinian medical sources announced late on Tuesday that five bodies were recovered from collapsed tunnels in Gaza. Civilians in Rafah said that Egyptian security forces detonated the tunnel."
"30 Jewish hesder students to move to port city’s Arab residential area. Tel Aviv Councilman Jimmy Turk calls initiative a ‘provocation’ saying, ‘It is very unfortunate that they are doing this’. (thanks Marcy)
There is somebody who knows less about world affairs than Sarah Palin: "“I've heard so many great things about Tel Aviv and Israel, but hearing is one thing and experiencing it for yourself is another,” he said before his departure. “We are planning to have a great time and a great evening with the people of Tel Aviv and we can't wait to get out there and rock.”" (thanks David)
"An Afghan journalist held for nearly a year in Afghanistan said Tuesday he would stop at nothing to get justice to compensate for the "hell" he went through at the torturing hands of the U.S. military." (thanks Olivia)
"A TEENAGER who hurled a potato at a man's groin has been admonished by a sheriff after a report from a children's hearing." (thanks Bert)
"In the U.S. military cells where he saw daylight only once a week, where he says they broke his ribs with beatings, his captors gave him a nickname: "the Canadian reporter."" (thanks Tanweer)
"The Smiling Oppressor." (thanks Mariwan)
No big deal. Just give his family $20. "American soldiers accidentally shot and killed the leader of a local U.S.-allied Sunni group Tuesday after coming under attack in a volatile area north of Baghdad, the military said."

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Thus spoke Ahmadinajad. Let us not dance around it: Ahmadinajad is a reactionary anti-Semite. I watched the speech live and something about him bothered me: he seemed so sincerely and feverishly religious, and that is scary for me. You see we in the Arab world are accustomed to fake shows of piety on the part of leaders (see the bunch above for example). The theological part of the speech does not really differ from the world view of Bush and Palin, with the exception of the references to the safe "and healthy" return of the 12th Imam. He invoked the word love that I thought he was quoting Lennon. His ascetic posture fit into the descriptions of St. Augustine in City of God. I hate this insistence of translationg "Allah" in Persian or Arabic as....Allah in English. How silly is that? And they annoy me by insisting on pronouncing it as: Allaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhh--and they do it in a scary tone as in boooooooooooo. Weird. Make no mistake about it: the speech will go well among Arabs and Muslims: because they will notice that he dares to rail against Israel and US while their leaders are too afraid to do so. Even the Syrian presidnet: when he speaks about Israel and US he adds more nuances and qualifications than US Democratic presidential candidates in answering any question posed to them. But the repugnant part of the speech was his references to "Zionist" control over various aspects of the world. The fact that he used Zionist did not mask the anti-Semitic feature of that view. And I hated his attack on animal instincts: what is wrong with animal instincts? So much of our pleasures are from animal insticts: and animal instincs give me more pleaures than, say, human insitincs like colonization, rape, global domination, racism, concentration camps, domination-in-the-name-of-liberation, and misogyny. Finally, I have one question to the Zionist hoodlums demonstrating in New York City, including Hillary Clinton: do they think that we don't notice Israeli WMDs when they rail about possible Iranian nuclear weapons? Do they require us to suspend memory to believe their warnings? And do they also want us to forget that Israeli leaders threaten (and manage to actually kill) Arabs daily?
PS Shortly after the speech, I received a call from Al-`Alam (Iranian) TV from New York City. They asked me to comment on Ahmadinajad's speech. I told the reporter that I would but that I would be critical of him. He thanked me and said goodbye.
An irate reader in Jordan sent me this regarding a link I put to a story about the closure of a cafe: "I wish you would stop advertising the fake oppression of Madian al-Jazeera, the part-owner of the gay hangout Books at cafe where he insisted even 15 years ago to employ the son of the then Israel ambassador as a waiter and is currently (meaning Madyan) the closest personal friend of the current Israeli ambassador. Madyan was so excited about the signing of the Wadi Araba agreement because it meant he... As a friend of her majesto Queen Rania since school days in Kuwait, he has always had access to authority." But I don't understand what the reader is saying? that King PlayStation and his Youtube wife are so opposed to Israel that they decided to punish the cafe for alleged ties with the Israeli ambassador?
"Men who grow up thinking women should stay at home may be labelled "old-fashioned" - but could end up well ahead in the salary stakes. A US study, published in the Journal of Applied Psychology, suggests that they will consistently out-earn more "modern-thinking" men." (thanks As`ad--not me).
Sexist hypocrisy: "An Emirati housewife (of Indian origin) and a Pakistani electrician have been charged with polygamy and forging their marriage contract. Under Sharia law, a woman cannot have two husbands at one time." (thanks Dina)
Lebanese media are ecstatic: that the third wealthiest member of Congress is of Lebanese origin (although he is a fanatic Zionist like the rest). (thanks Nadim)
For those who care, I shall provide commentary on the American presidential debate next Friday on AlJazeera (Arabic). It will be at around 9:30PM Pacific Time Friday (Saturday morning Middle East time).
Lebanon is ranked 102. I am sure that An-Nahar and LBC will think it is a great honor just to make it to the list. (thanks N.)
"Morocco’s Supreme Scientific Council condemned a fatwa issued by a Salafi preacher that permits girls to marry at the age of nine. The council filed a complaint with the Rabat preliminary court, which has opened an investigation."
""From what I read and what I saw in the facts and what I was presented, the defense didn't even have to stand and say anything because the prosecution failed completely," juror William Neal said in a radio interview days after the mistrial." (thanks Laila)
"The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by the abduction for nearly two hours on Saturday of Internet journalist Slim Boukhdhir, who has been continuously harassed since he was freed in July after a politically motivated imprisonment. Boukhdhir, who spent eight months in prison for writing articles critical of President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, told CPJ that he was abducted Saturday evening as he was heading to an Internet café in Sfax, Tunisia’s second-largest city. He said he was forced into a small French-made car and taken first to a police station near the city’s old district and then to an isolated area about nine miles (15 kilometers) west of Sfax. There, he said, his captors threatened him before forcing him from the car." (thanks Mariwan)
"According to a study released by the Egyptian Center for Women's Rights (ECWR) in July, 62 percent of Egyptian men admit to sexually harassing women, and 83 percent of Egyptian women reported being harassed. Half say it happens every day. It was the first study of its kind."
In facing the financial crisis, Walid Jumblat calls for the return to the principles of Karl Marx. Is that why neo-cons are no more quoting and citing him?
"A former Iraqi official estimated yesterday that more than $13 billion meant for reconstruction projects in Iraq was wasted or stolen through elaborate fraud schemes." (thanks Olivia)
Saddam was a lousy novelist, and Bin Laden is a lousy poet.

Monday, September 22, 2008

I met Lebanese sociologist Salim Nasr in the mid-1980s. I had read his book (with Claude Dubar) on social classes in Lebanon. It was (and is) one of the best class analysis of pre-war Lebanese society. Helena Cobban, I think, told me that he was coming to DC and we met then in the mid-1980s. He was a progressive Christian in college, and then becamse an independent (or academic) Marxist. I got along with him until 1988. Nasr became influenced by Michel `Awn (of that era) and him and I had a big fight (and some shouting on his part) about the matter. He became very agitated during that argument, I still remember. I also blamed him for an op-ed piece he wrote in the New York Times in which he referred to "Kurdish terrorists". Things changed between us since. I rarely saw him until 4 years ago when I spoke at the UNDP in Beirut, and he was attending. We greeted each other and I felt he was very subdued--presumably due to illness. I read today that Salim Nasr died. He carefuly avoided taking positions in the last few years, although I would assume that he was with March 14th.
"Having a declared Zionist as the vice president of Israel’s most ardent—to the point of irrational—ally waves a shoe in the face of Arabs..." And we all know how Arabs (but not other people) feel about shoes thrown in their face. (thanks Julie)
"Al-Alusi said he went to Israel to seek international support for Iraq as it struggles against terrorism." This is like going to North Korea for advice on democracy and human rights.
"The uproar shows how far Iraq has moved from the early U.S. goal of creating a democracy that would make peace with Israel and remove a critical force from the Arab-Israeli conflict."
"A group of Saudi women beat two young men who sneaked into a mosque in the northwestern city of Hail to watch women praying during the taraweeh, a nightly prayer recited during Ramadan, the Saudi newspaper al-Riyadh reported on Sunday."
"The Saudi government should end its systematic discrimination against its Ismaili religious minority, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. Human Rights Watch called upon the government to set up a national institution empowered to recommend remedies for discriminatory policies and responding to individual claims."
"Lami estimates that about half of the approximately 6,500 men in the Rusafa complex have been held at least three years. They are among about 26,000 detainees in Iraqi-run prisons; in addition, 18,900 prisoners are held in U.S.-run facilities in Iraq."
"He noted that after the Soviet Union launched Sputnik, the United States urgently worked to develop a cadre of Russian speakers and scholars. But after the Sept. 11 attacks, he said, neither the military nor other government agencies executed a similarly ambitious program for Arabic speakers."
"One former editor said the staff had drunk Champagne in the newsroom in 2003 when the American-led invasion of Iraq began. As at least one commentator noted in the wake of Mr. Lipsky’s letter, The Sun, in editorials, had mentioned Vice President Dick Cheney as “the one who would bring the most to the race” for president this year."
"A: During detentions, they do not heed human rights. They carry out raids without reason. They shoot more than necessary. They shrink from quickly determining the exact relations between the two states so that the situation no longer is that one occupies while the other obeys." (thanks Olivia)
"A company that supplies knives, flashlights and other equipment to the Canadian armed forces referred to Muslims as "rag-headed, heathen bastards" on its website as recently as Sunday when the federal government complained." (thanks Zainab)
A Lebanese politician writes a letter to George W. Bush. (thanks Fady)
You can take this as a standard test: Arabs favored by the New York Sun are despised by Arabs outside of the New York Sun. "Will Iraq become a model of freedom for the Middle East, or will its politics devolve into the same cycle of corruption and violence that plagues its neighbors?" Let me answer this one. Yes, Iraq will become a model of freedom for the Middle East. In fact, Iraq is already a model of freedom for the Middle East, provided you define freedom by the number of car bombs that explode daily. (thanks Armin)
"The Education Ministry has disqualified the matriculation exam in Jewish philosophy administered at an ultra-Orthodox girls' school in Jerusalem this past summer, after the institution refused to allow a ministry proctor into the classroom because it said she was not properly attired." (thanks Therese)
If this does not count as foreign policy credentials, nothing does: "Republican vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin will meet with Afghan President Hamid Karzai and former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger in New York City early next week, according to a senior campaign aide."

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Regarding the new book by Ron Suskind. I want to make it very clear that the book does not identify the Lebanese journalist, and that I--as you all remember--did not identity the Lebanese journalist in my original post (linked above), and I did not speculate on the identity of the journalist. I don't know the identity of the journalist, and those websites that speculated on the identity did that on their own. I am only responsible for what I write here, and not for what others write on their websites, rumors to the contrary notwithstanding.
The most important journalist in the Middle East. You have not read about her in the European press. The New York Times was busy writing an article about how Saudi people love Oprah. I can't imagine the Economist--the best magazine there is--writing such an article. But Ghadah `Id of New TV may be doing the most important journalistic work in the entire Middle East region. Her program Al-Fasad (corruption) exposes corruption in every corner and place in Lebanon and beyond. Today, the Maronite Patriarch (while giving his sermon to a crowd of four people) attacked `Id and her program in strong abusive terms because she dared to expose corruption in the church.
Chic Racism. To review a book by a former leftist, the New York Times Book Review section asks a former leftist. But it is hilarious that Hitchens admits that he shared a panel with Levy: "on the same side concerning the veiling of Muslim women in Europe." Yes. Two European men--not known for their feminism mind you, but known for their hostility to Arabs and Muslims--lecture Muslim women on how to dress. And then Hitchens tells you why racism is now chic among former leftists: "Muslim youths of Arab and African provenance have long been staging a rolling showdown with the French police. Some secular liberals and leftists agreed in general with Sarkozy when he referred to the rioters as “scum” or “riff-raff.” These racaille were not deprived, but depraved."
An Egyptian poet pays tribute to Husni Mubarak. (thanks Laurie)
""If Gaza remains mutinous the Palestinian Authority will have no choice but to use force against it," Ali said in a recent interview with Haaretz at his Ramallah offices."
A History of U.S. government bailouts. (thanks Ross)
"And while the presence of homosexuality can be spotted in every country in the region, governments and societies are still intolerant to such life style." Oh, yes. This is unlike in the U.S. where tolerance of homosexuality spreads in every city and corner of the country, and where homosexuals are accorded equal rights under the law. Oh, yes. And please stop using the word "lifestyle" here.
Tell Queen Rania to youtube this: "Books@Cafe and many other establishments have been closed this week. Here is what I witnessed and what happened to us at Books@Cafe: The night before Ramadan, the police violently stormed into the café and asked us to close down. “This is the holy month of Ramadan!” they barked. Since we are officially licensed and they could provide no official papers, we refused to close." (thanks Sophie)