Sunday, May 31, 2009

The private party of the Iraqi trade minister

It is not about corruption (as if the rest of the cabinet are not corrupt), it is about this private video. (thanks A.)

University of the Pacific introduces its definition of rape

"In May 2008, a female basketball player at the University of the Pacific claimed that she was raped by three male basketball players at a party. The University's officials, however, don't consider it "outright rape." "We would consider it date rape," says University spokesman Richard Rojo, noting that he believes that "outright rape" only involves "a rapist jumping out of bushes and attacking people randomly." It only gets worse from there: Rojo, who admits that the incident was, indeed, sexual assault, downplays the woman's rape as "a social situation and unfortunately an all-too common problem at universities."" (thanks Julie)

Al-Hurra TV: changing hearts and minds?

"Results from the largest public opinion poll in the Arab world indicate that Alhurra [1], the U.S.-funded Arab satellite station that has cost U.S. taxpayers more than half a billion dollars, is the least-watched station in the region and is losing viewers. The annual poll [2], by the University of Maryland and Zogby International, was conducted in Egypt, Morocco, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Residents there were polled on a wide range of issues including their views of U.S. foreign policy, the American presidency and their media habits. The 2008 poll showed Alhurra with about a 2 percent audience share across the Muslim world's largest and most-influential countries. That share fell in this year's poll to 0.5 percent. Shibley Telhami [3], a leading Middle East expert at the University of Maryland and The Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C., said Alhurra's rating was so low that for the first time, it fell below the poll's margin of error."" (thanks Regan)

Nasser and "Ful"

I read in the memoirs of Samy Sharaf that Nasser ate "ful" (fava beans) for breakfast. I like ful very much. But in Egypt, they dont add lemon juice to it. In the East, we add lemon juice and garlic. Wait: I should not be giving any recipes from the Middle East. Israeli media will quickly steal them and claim that they are classic Israeli recipes.

Tears of Haaretz

"Gaza war kept tourists away from Israel"

One speech by Obama will fix everything

"U.S. trade ties with many Muslim countries are restricted by tariffs or sanctions, while the United States is deeply dependent on others for imported oil." (thanks Dina)

Saudi-Zionist conspiracy? What Saudi-Zionist conspiracy?

"A plan to link Makkah and Madinah by train has become the subject of controversy, as Palestinian officials try to persuade Saudi authorities to withdraw the rail contract from a company alleged to be complicit in Israel's expansion in occupied East Jerusalem." (thanks Laleh)

Fath official explains why killing of other Palestinians is important

Palestinian Fath leader explains that killing other Palestinians is required by an understanding with Israel. (thanks Rashid)

These are the contributions of House of Saud

"Italian paper La Stampa confirmed Saturday rumors that Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, one of the richest men in the world, was the mystery "Arab sheikh" who purchased Carla Bruni's family castle in February." (thanks Olivia)

Ronald Takaki died

This great man and pioneering scholar of Ethnic Studies died. He sadly killed himself. I did not know him well but he was the nicest person and was loved by his students and colleagues--really.

When Lebanon defended Palestine

Do you see that guy wearing the Tarbush in the back seat (to the right)? He was for years the Lebanese Minister of Defense. Prince Majid Arsalan bragged that he slapped women. He was assigned the task of defending Palestine from Zionist forces in 1948. This buffoon was the Lebanese contribution to the struggle for Palestine. (The picture is lifted from the website of the Lebanese Army). (thanks Karim)

The plagiarism by Der Spiegel

Syrian dissident, Nizar Nayyuf, will be suing Der Spiegel because its report on alleged Hizbullah role in the assassination of Rafiq Hariri was lifted (almost word-for-word) from this article published months ago.

Grading and watching

How am I supposed to grade while following the Lebanese elections?

Hizbullah and Saudi Arabia: the flirtation has begun

The new Saudi ambassador in Lebanon has met with deputy Hizbullah leader, Shaykh Na`im Qasim. Hizbullah said afterwards that it is "keen on cooperating with Saudi Arabia." May we be spared the fruits of that cooperation.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

An accused Israeli spy in Lebanon

An accused Israeli spy being arrested in South Lebanon. (thanks Amer)

Great progress

"Obama noted that Palestinians also must improve security as part of their commitments under the 2003 "road map" for peace, though he added that the Palestinian Authority had made "great progress" with the assistance of a U.S. general."

Obama rules

""But deciding to cover the photos up in order to manipulate world opinion ... I believe this is another crime against the Iraqi people and humanity in general.""

Shame on Aljazeera: promoting Zionist propaganda

"In making this film, Naiman gained the contact necessary to create the later, 28-minute movie which grabbed the attention of Al Jazeera and PBS. " He then explains his propaganda motives: "Asked about the decision to focus on Arabs, he says: "It takes a high level of understanding about the Middle East to realize how Arabs are under fire from other Arabs when those other Arabs are trying to kill Jews. Most Americans don't have that level of understanding. This film affords them that understanding."" (thanks Marcy)

Obama coverup

"The Daily Beast has confirmed that the photographs of abuses at Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison, which President Obama, in a reversal, decided not to release, depict sexually explicit acts, including a uniformed soldier receiving oral sex from a female prisoner, a government contractor engaged in an act of sodomy with a male prisoner and scenes of forced masturbation, forced exhibition, and penetration involving phosphorous sticks and brooms. These descriptions come on the heels of a British report yesterday about the photographs that contained some of these revelations—and whose credibility was questioned by the Pentagon as well as the British newspaper's source, who claims he was misunderstood." (thanks Dina)

Zionism is racism and fascism and terrorism

"Israeli Arab leaders have called an emergency meeting today to discuss their growing alarm over a series of "racist and fascist" bills being promoted by right-wing members of the country's parliament. One of the bills has already brought fierce accusations from two prominent Jewish Knesset members that its backers are trying to create a "thought police" and "punish people for talking"."

The other side of Dubai

"A major property development firm with links to the ruling family of the UAE city-state, and the firm’s marketing agency, are accused by investors, many of whom are UK citizens, of obtaining millions of pounds through the use of false construction photographs. On Thursday, after local and regional media had been alerted to the situation by angry investors, news agencies across the city said they were silenced by senior representatives of the Government of Dubai, as orders were issued for reports of the storm to be pulled." (thanks Zainab)

Incompetence of Israeli intelligence

"Israel's ability to wage another war against the militant Shia movement Hezbollah may have been compromised by an unprecedented wave of arrests of people in Lebanon alleged to have been spying for the Israelis. Experts say the arrests appear to add up to a major strategic blow to Israel. Mobile phone footage circulating in Beirut shows one of the suspected agents being slapped and insulted as he was manhandled out of his house and into the boot of a car."" (thanks Nabeel)

Obama's Justice Department: I told you so, damn it

"The Obama administration is supporting efforts by the Saudi royal family to defeat a long-running lawsuit seeking to hold it liable for the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks."

The Holocaust Denier (and friend of Israel and Obama)

The PhD dissertation of Mahmoud Abbas: "In his book, Abbas described the Nazi Holocaust as "The Zionist fantasy, the fantastic lie that six million Jews were killed."[36] He also wrote:

"It seems that the interest of the Zionist movement, however, is to inflate this figure [of Holocaust deaths] so that their gains will be greater. This led them to emphasize this figure [six million] in order to gain the solidarity of international public opinion with Zionism. Many scholars have debated the figure of six million and reached stunning conclusions—fixing the number of Jewish victims at only a few hundred thousand."[37][38][39]

Additionally, he claimed that the much smaller number of Jews which he admitted that the Nazis did massacre were actually the victims of a Zionist-Nazi plot:

"The Zionist movement led a broad campaign of incitement against the Jews living under Nazi rule to arouse the government's hatred of them, to fuel vengeance against them and to expand the mass extermination."[40]" (thanks Mouin)

Simple fine

"An 85-year-old former civilian employee of the US Army has been fined for passing classified documents to Israel in the 1980s." If he passed secrets to Syria or Iraq or Egypt, he would have been fried, rotisserie style, by now. (thanks Olivia)

A Man of Piety

I am not religious and I don't belong to any religion (although I do like banana desserts to a very extreme point) but it does affect me deeply when I see pictures of Mini-Hariri praying. I mean, look at him: have you ever seen more piety and devotion than this? Look at him. Does he not remind you of Sufi dervishes? (Al-Mustaqbal)


For incisive, sophisticated, and non-polemical analysis of Lebanese affairs, I turn to NowHariri: "Hezbollah, the liberators of the South, the defenders against further Zionist aggression have, since those heady days in May 2000, shown scant regard for the real concerns of Lebanon and the Lebanese."

Al-Azhar Muftitititi and his kooky Fatwawawas

Al-Azhar Muftititi who enthusiastically shook the hands of Shimon Peres issues a most intolerant fatwawawa against the Baha'is. The ruling said that Baha'ism does "not belong in any way to the heavenly faiths, and it is far removed from religious teachings, and those who follow it are (misguided) and have no relations to religion." The kooky fatwawa also added that Baha'ism is a "Zionist movment and it serves Zionist goals and interests around the world." The fatwawa council also had time to rule against any "literal" translation of the Qur'an.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Cacophony of the Lebanese elections

My weekly article in Al-Akhbar: "Cacophony of the Lebanese Elections: Joe Biden loves Life (and Israel)"

Clinton on Egypt

Isn't this nice? "The United States has spent billions of dollars in Egypt in recent years, "promoting civil society, democracy, good governance, rule of law," she said."

Jaysh Al-Ummah

A reader from Gaza sent me this but she does not want to be identified: "The Jish El-Ummah is something funny, they are mainly based on some families in Gaza, originally Gazans and working class ( for the lack of a better expression) anyhow, this Jish is another branch of Dahlan financed gangs, they bombed the YMCA and attached the Latin church etc.. in Gaza to show how intorelable Hamas is but everyone know that Dahlan is behind them, if Mao pays them they will become Maoists tomorrow. something similar to the Iraqi sunni clans finaiced by the americans and switch sides. Jish el-Ummah is mainly composed of Dughmosh family. a family that no one wants to get into trouble with back home. if you want i will search in my files, i had few vidoes and bullshit stuff. in a nutshell, they are not al-qaida (though they can become).Oh, they also cooperated with Hamas when needed, they also get paid to kidnap on anyone's behalf and then "deliver" the hostage to whoever pays, they did the actual kidnapping of many individuals (non-Palestinians) and get paid for this. I will refrain from elaborating but check the 2006 "kidnapping" in Rafah."

In Syria: rules of the Asad regime

Syrian dissident, Walid Al-Bunni, is facing trial in Damascus on charges of spreading "untrue news." I kid you not.

Hariri Inc and the main synagogue in Beirut

"The ruined main synagogue in central Beirut is due to be renovated in the coming weeks, after an agreement between various religious denominations and permission from the Lebanese government, planning authorities and even Hezbollah. Several dozen Jews still living in Lebanon will fund the project, along with others in the Diaspora. Renovations will include mending the gaping hole in the Magen Avraham synagogue's roof and repairing the chandeliers that once hung from it. The Torah ark and prayer benches will also be refurbished to their former states." In fact, the Hariri family through its share in Solidaire has been the main force opposing the renovation.

This is Zionism

"Israeli police shut down a Palestinian theater in East Jerusalem on Thursday, forcing foreign writers taking part in an international literature festival to move elsewhere for the second time in a week. The police action was the latest in recent weeks against what Israel sees as attempts by the Palestinian Authority to host political activities in the city, where both sides in the conflict have staked claims to have their national capital." (thanks Marcy)

French arms sales to Israel

"French arms sales to Israel are "in total contradiction" of European Union rules on the defence industry, the author of a new study has said. Between 2003 and 2007 France issued licences worth more than 446 million euros (623 million dollars) for arms exports to Israel. This made France by far the largest supplier of weapons to Israel in the EU." (thanks Farrah)

Hasan Nasrallah

My mother, who is a Sunni Arab nationalist admirer of Hasan Nasrallah (but from a secular point of view and largely out of opposition to March 14) has been complaining to me about the too many frequent speeches by Hasan Nasrallah. She thinks that he is talking too much and getting into too many details of Lebanese politics.

Compare the Guardian (with its flaws) to the New York Times

"In Gaza the shells of buildings have been labelled and collated, exhibits from a violent event already passing into history after only half a year. G1086-01 designates the parliament building, a collapsed grey ribcage of concrete. The site of the ruined ministries in the Tal al-Hawa district of Gaza City is recorded as G10177-01, green and grey towers gutted by the bombs dropped from Israeli F-16s. The numbers are entered in the book of Gaza's destruction. There are houses – more than 1,300 of them – and police stations, apartment blocks and offices, schools and hospitals, each labelled with neat spray-painted letters. Tagged fetishistically in blue and green." (thanks Gottfried)

Clerical kooks

"Radical Iraqi Shiite cleric Moqtada Sadr has ordered the "depravity" of homosexuality be eradicated but warned against the anti-gay violence that has recently erupted, a spokesman said on Friday."

The pride of Lebanon: smoking

"Want to indulge in a guilt-free tobacco experience? Then head to Lebanon, a smoker's paradise where you can work, dine and have your hair styled in a cloud of smoke. The anti-smoking lobby is barely a blip on the radar and the government cares little about the issue. So the price of Cuban Havanas is among the world's cheapest, cigarettes are free of punitive pricing and the health warnings are barely visible on the side of packs -- a far cry from the bold warnings and images the World Health Organisation (WHO) is promoting this Sunday on "World No Tobacco Day"."

Lebanon's Minister of Tourism

One of the many fools of Lebanese politics is the Phalanges' Minister of Tourism, Elie Maruni. He is funding (at taxpayers' expense) an extensive TV campaign urging all Lebanese to vote on some internet site to make one of Lebanon's caves as one of the seven wonders of the world.

Jaysh Al-Ummah

I have received information on Jaysh Al-Ummah in Gaza since I posted something about Gaza's arrests of some members. I am told that this is a Bin Ladenite group which (suspiciously) operates only in Gaza but not in the West Bank. Apparently they are behind the destruction of internet cafes.

The crude Zionist propaganda of Ethan Bronner

I strongly and enthusiastically recommend Ethan Bronner for a top job at MEMRI or any any organization run by Zionist hoodlums. When Zionists feign sensitivity they are at their worst. You want to beg them to not show any sensitivity and to not pose as humane. So in the article on Gaza today, he begins with a clear and categorical (and in passing) justification of the Israeli terrorist assault on Gaza: "Four months after Israel waged a war here to stop Hamas rocket fire..." So he establishes the justification and then he moves on. He then wants to convince you that the starvation and hunger in Gaza is not that bad: thanks to Israeli military sensitivity: " There is no acute malnutrition, and infant mortality rates compare with those in Egypt and Jordan, according to Mahmoud Daher of the World Health Organization here. This is because although Israel and Egypt have shut the borders for the past three years in an effort to squeeze Hamas, Israel rations aid daily, allowing in about 100 trucks of food and medicine. Military officers in Tel Aviv count the calories to avoid a disaster." That sentence speaks volume about the propagana interests of Bronner (assisted as always by Taghrid El-Khodary who has established a journalistic record of shame in one year only). First, he tells you that there is no "acute malnutrition." Don't you like the word acute here? This is like talking about a society in which there is no "acute slavery" or no "acute injustice", etc. He then tells you that the reason there is no "acute malnutrition" is because of the humanity of Israeli colonizers. But Bronner so strongly identifies with the oppressors that he parrots what he is told without realizing the Orwellian dimensions of the language used. He tells you that Israeli terrorist military officers "count the calories" but Bronner does not realize how awful and cruel and bizarre that sounds because his job is to serve Israeli military propaganda and that he does. He then justifies the bombing of the tunnels: "Israel periodically bombs those in hopes of weakening Hamas." So the goods and cattle that are smuggled are Hamas goods and Hamas cattle.

Where is Foucault when you need him

"All across the Middle East, indeed the world, authoritarian governments use the power of punishment to try to intimidate and silence." This sentence by Micael Slackman in the New York Times cries out for the intervention of Michel Foucault. I mean it can be easily argued that "democratic" governments spread and institutionalize their domination and control by introdcuing an artificial seemigly rigid distinction between authoritarian and democratic government. I mean read that sentence above: why would it not apply to democratic governments, especially the US. As if democracies don't rule by punishment and intimidation.

Some good news

"Egypt’s culture minister, a painter named Farouk Hosny, has tried to save his candidacy to be the next director general of the United Nations cultural agency, Unesco, making a public apology for suggesting last year that Israeli books in Egyptian libraries should be burned. But in the complicated international politics of United Nations agencies, Mr. Hosny’s chances appeared to be slipping, with new candidates appearing just before the May 31 deadline."

Your man in Ramallah

"On the Palestinian side, Obama is talking to the wrong man: more than half of residents in the occupied territories do not consider Abbas the "legitimate" president of the Palestinians, according to a March survey by Fafo, a Norwegian research organization. Eighty-seven percent want the Fatah faction, which Abbas heads, to have new leaders." (thanks Olivia)

Walid Jumblat

Walid Jumblat is considered an intellectuaaaaaaaaaaaaaal in Lebanese politics. To be an intellectuaaaaaaaaaaaaaaal in Lebanese politics you only need to subscribe to the New York Review of Books. And the man subscribes. So when he is interviewed, he is asked about books he is reading. A year ago, he was recommending books by Bernard Lewis and Lebanese right-winger, Waddah Shararah. Yesterday, he was asked about books and he recommended Tareq Ali. As Jumblat switches positions, he switches book recommendations. (Unlike previous interviews with Jumblat, this one will not be covered by MEMRI because he railed in it against Israel and the US).

PS But then again: with mini-Hariri as a political leader, a potato can be seen as an intellectual.

Al-Arabiyya TV

Yesterday, Al-Arabiyya TV (the station of King Fahd's brother-in-law) had a special town hall meeting kind of show: (unlike US town hall meetings--or most of them--the audience members are carefully screened and selected). The show had sponsors. They were: Al-Watan newspaper (Prince Khalid Al-Faysal), Al-Hayat newspaper (Prince Khalid bin Sultan), and the Bin Laden Group. Now you can better understand Saudi media.

MEMRI Defines "Liberal

I have mentioned before how the Zionist propaganda service, MEMRI defines all those who write for Saudi princes as "liberal" only because they views are now consistent with Israeli designs for the region. Similarly, any scribe who is a tool of the Mubarak regime is now identified as "liberal" in the MEMRI lexicon. So basically, any Arab who support a regime that favor Israeli designs in the Middle East is introduced by MEMRI as "a liberal."

Thursday, May 28, 2009

MEMRI and its standards of anti-Semitism

Do you notice that MEMRI does not cover the anti-Semitic statements by its Arab allies? I mean, no Saudi prince is capable of opening his mouth without vomiting anti-Semitism and yet MEMRI and other Zionist hoodlums cover up their bigotry in the interest of the usurping entity just as American Zionists cover up the anti-Semitism of Evangelical Christians.

A low for New TV

Shame on New TV. So they want to attack Faruq Husni (Egypt's culture minister) who is an Egyptian candidate for the position of UNESCO director. So instead of attacking his record and his statements, they decided to attack what New TV referred to as his "sexual deviance." Like brands of yellow journalism, New TV talked about a picture of him participating in a gay rights' demonstration in Italy when he was the cultural attache at the Egyptian embassy in Rome.

Walid Jumblat: unplugged

Al-Akhbar publishes a transcript of a private meeting between Jumblat and Druze religious leaders. (MEMRI will not translate it because he spoke ill of Israel).

Egyptian foreign minister

Egyptian foreign minister--a well-known buffoon in Cairo--told Al-Arabiyya TV that an Iranian nuclear bomb would be threatening to Egypt but not an Israeli bomb.

Potato falafel

"Baked Sweet Potato Falafel Recipe"
PS Don't try that at home. (thanks Adam)

This is Zionism

"The Carmel Academic Center in Haifa shut down the concentration in accounting within its Department of Business Administration because a majority of the students applying were Palestinian citizens of Israel. This was revealed in a news item reported on Israeli news Channel 10 on 24 May (in Hebrew only)."

An account of a prisoner in Syria

Read the vivid account of a female prisoner in Syria. (thanks Hani)

the other side of Dubai

"Far from only selling diamonds, Leviev is busy inside the occupied territories, principally constructing a road which links the illegal settler colony of Zufim, which he owns, to Israel – part of the ongoing process of confiscating Palestinian land. His company is also active in Bil’in where, on 17 April, the Israeli army killed a peaceful protestor, Bassem Abu Rahmeh, 29. This same company now has two boutique outlets in Dubai." (thanks David)

I don't like flags...

I don't like flags, and I don't like nationalisms but...for Palestine and the Palestinians anything and everything. (AP)

From Gaza

"A Palestinian girl whose home was destroyed during the massive 22-day onslaught unleashed by Israel on the Islamist Hamas-run Gaza in December, is pictured inside the tent housing her family in the northern Gaza Strip Jabalia refugee camp on 27 May, 2009." Notice that they insist on saying "Hamas-run" to justify the assault. (thanks Julie)

the size of the Israeli "peace camp"

"Dozens protest Nakba bill." Dozens: that is the exact size of the so-called Israeli peace camp--when it peaks. (thanks Marcy)

A stance of defiance

" Saudi-Iraqi relations are at a low ebb and Baghdad has no intention of making goodwill gestures because Riyadh sees them as a sign of weakness, Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said on Thursday." So the tool of Iran and the US refuses to be a tool of Saudi Arabia. What a stand.

Obama in Saudi Arabia

It is significant that Obama has decided to visit Saudi Arabia and meet with King `Abdullah before making his speech in Cairo. It only shows that those who expected major changes in US foreign policy in the Middle East will surely be disappointed. Obama will still deal with Wahhabi king as if he actually speaks for all world's Muslims, and his coziness with the Wahhabi royals will not be different from how it was under Bush.

Husni Mubarak's grandson

How did the Egyptian media deal with the death of Mubarak's grandson?

Potato government

"Mr. Moussavi’s supporters have been chanting “death to the government of potato,” referring to Mr. Ahmadinejad’s distribution of 400,000 tons of free potatoes around the country." (thanks Nicholas)

King PlayStation: in Disguise

Jordanian and Saudi media are now bragging that King PlayStation went disguised to a government office and mingled with citizens to hear first hand the grievances and complaints of ordinary citizens. A picture of King PlayStation of Jordan appears above (he is in disguise--you may not be able to recognize him).

King `Abdullah and the health of Prince Sultan

King `Abdullah gave an interview to the Kuwait sleaze newspaper, As-Siyasah. He was first asked about the health of Prince Sultan. He said that he is in an excellent health and that he is recovering well in Morocco but that he would return to Saudi Arabia. In Saudi Wahhabi lingo, this means one thing: Prince Sultan is resting undergound and he is quite comfy in his grave. It means that Prince Sultan finds the grave accommodation to his satisfaction and his dead body will soon be brought to the kingdom for burial.

For secularism

Note to self: for secularism in the Middle East, it would be essential to overthrow the Iranian and Saudi regimes. Arrange for that, NOW.

Abu Mazen: the historian

"Trained as a lawyer and historian, Abbas came to power from a career spent burrowing into the fine points of peace talks." Historian? Historian my...potato. He studied for his PhD in order to deny the Holocaust. In fact, his PhD dissertation at the Patrice Lumumba University for the Cooperation between Peoples dealt exclusively with Holocaust denial. By the way: it is no accident. Find me an Arab friend of Israel, and I will find you an anti-Semite. Name them: `Ali Salim, Muhammad Dahlan, Abu Mazen, Anwar Sadat, Hasan of Morocco, Faruq Husni, Charles Malik, the Phalanges of Lebanon, and the House of Saud as of late. (thanks Olivia)

The Lebanese Supreme Defense Council

Yes, there is such a council, I kid you not. It met the other day to discuss the massive Israeli maneuvers inside the usurping entity. The official spokesperson said after the meeting that the decisions are secret in accordance with the mandate of the council. A source leaked some of the decisions: it was agreed by a unanimous vote that the number of Shish Tawuk and Kafta sandwiches shall be increased during the Israeli exercises in order to please the Lebanese soldiers and officers. It is with sandwiches and baklava that Lebanon defends its territory.

The North Korean Nuclear...test

So US media are outraged. They say that the nuclear test in North Korea had the magnitude of the Hiroshima bomb. So according to them, the nuclear test of North Korea is worse than the actual bomb that was dropped on civilians in Hiroshima. But the White Man is very cute when he kills, ain't he?

This is the US

"Two founding members of what was once the largest U.S. Muslim charity were each sentenced to 65 years in prison Wednesday for funneling millions of dollars to the Palestinian militant group Hamas." If you funnel money to the Israeli terrorist army, it is tax-deductible in the US. And if you funnel money to any Palestinian group, you serve time in jail.

Faruq Husni: begs and prostrates

Faruq Husni grovels and prostrates himself before Zionist hoodlums to obtain their support for his candidacy as director of UNESCO. Do you know how this man rose in the Egyptian government? Once Susanne Mubarak was visiting Italy and the dude showed her around (he was some attache at the Egyptian embassy in Rome) and groveled before her, and she was so impressed that she asked La Vache Qui Rit to make him a minister. La Vache qui rit obliged. "Je suis un homme de paix. Je sais que la paix passe par la compréhension et le respect. Au nom de ces valeurs qui sont les miennes, je veux revenir sur les mots que j'ai prononcés en mai 2008 et qui ont été perçus comme un appel à brûler les livres en hébreu. Ces mots ont choqué et je le comprends...Certains me reprochent également, je le sais, ma position quant à la notion de "normalisation culturelle" entre le monde arabe et Israël. J'assume ces doutes, pour la simple raison que la normalisation ne se décrète pas : elle sera le fait des peuples, quand la paix - et tout ce qu'elle implique - sera une réalité dans toute la région." Faruq Husni speaks for the Egyptian masses like I speak for the American masses. (thanks Dina)

Ahmad Mansur: a new low

People have criticized Ahmad Mansur before: his interview shows (Shahid `Ala Al-`Asr) showed his interviewing skills but also exposed his political biases. Last week, I saw him interview Michel `Awn: and he grilled him in the most inquisitive and tough way, which is more than fine provided he uses that style of interview with all his guests. I watched it because I heard that he has become a tool in Hariri Inc. Sure enough: I watched his interview with Mini-Hariri today: what a contrast. He was so soft with mini-Hariri that it was liked when Larry King interviewed Frank Sinatra. Yet, the multiple questions unwittingly showed the viewers how dumb mini-Hariri is despite Mansur's efforts to throw soft balls at him. But I heard before that Mansur has been receiving his marching orders from Hariri press office, and today--without requiring any evidence--he proved it beyond the shadow of a doubt. Jut compare last week's style of interview with today's style of interview. He even let mini-Hariri say that he does not use money for political purposes. And he let him say that his camp never interfered in the Hariri tribunal when the tribunal sources told the New York Times that the Hariri camp tried to postpone the release of the four generals until after the election. But I never trusted Mansur: ever since I watched him interview Jihan Sadat.
PS MEMRI would not translate this interview because mini-Hariri spoke ill of Israel. Do you notice that MEMRI carries remarks by Lebanese leaders against Syria but always manages to skip their remarks against Israel. Relying on MEMRI to know about the Arab press is like relying on Bush's rhetoric to learn about the English language.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


""You bet we're seeing [added demand] from some of our customers for more oil and we're providing it," Mr. Naimi told reporters during a 45-minute walk in the Austrian capital. "There is a lot of optimism in what I am saying because I see the recovery coming," said Mr. Naimi, who often fields questions from a pack of reporters while he exercises." (thanks James)

The racism of Israeli liberals: Amos Elon

When you encounter Israeli liberals in the US or in Europe, they present a different face. They never reveal what they actually had written in their books. This is very true of Amos Oz but also true of Amos Elon. You need to read the books of those Zionist liberals to realize that when it comes to the fundamental racism at the heart of the movement that founded the usurping entity, the left-right divide is rather meaningless. Obituaries of Amos Elon now fill the US newspapers and he is being presented as a humane and compassionate writer. Here is a sample from Elon's book Herzl: "There was no symmetry between Arab and Jewish grievances. The Jews were always ready for a compromise; the Arabs have not yet contemplated the possibility of accomodation. The Palestinian dispersion was largely self-inflicted; unlike the Jews, they could live full Arab lives in any of a dozen other Arab countries." (p. 407) So Elon had a long career of outright lies and fabrication. Read his biography of Herzl and you know what I mean.

Spies, torturers, murderers, thugs, collaborators, and rejects

""Out of 7,000 people who moved from Lebanon to Israel, only 2,600 remain," Claude Ibrahim, a former advisor to SLA Commander Antoine Lahad, told Ynet. "The majority live in Nahariya, Ma'alot, Carmiel, Tiberias, Kiryat Shmona, Safed and Haifa." (thanks Olivia)

No fingerprints

"A Singapore cancer patient was held for four hours by immigration officials in the United States when they could not detect his fingerprints -- which had apparently disappeared because of a drug he was taking. The incident, highlighted in the Annals of Oncology, was reported by the patient's doctor, Tan Eng Huat, who advised cancer patients taking this drug to carry a doctor's letter when travelling to the United States." (thanks Marc)

An Orwellian Racist State Unto the Nations

"The Knesset on Wednesday morning approved in a preliminary reading a bill introducing one year in prison for anyone speaking against Israel's existence as a Jewish and democratic state, should the call contain a reasonable possibility "that it may lead to acts of hatred, scorn or lack of loyalty to the State or its government authorities or law systems which have been established legally."" (thanks Marcy)

the promises of Obama

"The Pentagon is prepared to leave fighting forces in Iraq for as long as a decade despite an agreement between the United States and Iraq that would bring all American troops home by 2012, the top U.S. Army officer said Tuesday." (thanks Karim)

Racist An-Nahar newspaper

Algerian newspaper An-Nahar (not to be confused with the racist Lebanese newspaper by the same name) offers its brand of racism: "The major Italian cities of Rome, Naples and Palermo look more to African cities than to European ones because of the dirty streets and graffiti covering the walls, said Monday the head of government Silvio Berlusconi." (thanks Hisham)

Barid Musta`jil

"The Feminist Collective and IndyACT are launching “Bareed Mista3jil: True Stories,” the first book by and about queer women and transgenders in Lebanon. You are more than welcome to join us at the launch of the book on Saturday, May 30, 6 p.m. at Masrah Al Madina, Beirut

where there will be a reading of a selection of “Bareed Mista3jil” stories, in English and Arabic. The book will also be available for purchase at the launching, and in all major bookstores as of June 1." (thanks Farah)

PS On rare occasions, I give plugs.

Israeli Orientalism

Israeli Orientalism is so amusing as far as I am concerned because they write about a region no expert can ever recognize. I will not link to Israeli propaganda but I have to say something about a recent release from the Dayan Center (what is called Tel Aviv Notes). The two authors are arguing that there was a major shift in Arab culture in the wake of the Israeli terrorist assault on Gaza. I kid you not. The two clueless authors are arguing that there is now strong denunciation of the Palestinians--yes, the Palestinains in general--in Arab political cutlure. What evidence do those dude provide? Three articles by three columnists in Saudi media. I kid you not. One of the three, Ahmad Abu Matar, is presented as "Palestinian scholar." But Abu Matar himself never refers to himself as "scholar." He once was presented as "a writer" on some TV program and somebody called the program and said: I know Mr. Abu Matar in Oslo and he is an electrician. Now, of course, there is nothing wrong in being an electrician but it shows you how MEMRI and other Zionist propaganda outlets always embellish and distort the credentials of writers (in Saudi media ALWAYS) who happen to favor a point of view that is consistent with Israeli regional interests. Just yesterday MEMRI sent out a bulletin about some things that "a Lebanese writer" has said. I never heard of that guy in my life and I am supposed to be a close watcher of things Lebanese (and Lebanonese). (thanks Laurie)

PS Ibn Rushd reminds me that the same "Lebanese writer" quoted approvingly by MEMRI yesterday was the same Lebanese right-wing writer who only months ago was cited (mockingly) by MEMRI for presenting a "Jewish conspiracy theory" of the rise of Obama. No lie and no fabrication is too fat for Israeli propaganda.

What one meeting with Prince Bandar can do

Lebanese journalist, Charles Ayyub:
One year ago and now. (thanks Hussein)

An ordeal of foreign maid in Lebanon

A foreign maid from Madagascar complained to the police about her rape. The police arrested her for fabricating the rape story. She is serving a sentence now. And the Hariri rag, Al-Mustaqbal, which specializes in mocking and denigrating foreign maids in Lebanon, makes fun of her.

The Little Lebanese Nazi: AlJazeera's Documentary on his assassination

So I finally managed to watch the AlJazeera documentary on the assassination of the little Lebanese Nazi, Bashir Gemayyel (or the WLE, Worst Lebanese Ever). I was angry just watching that little Lebanese Nazi speak. I detested him from his early rise: he lied to the Lebanese about all his plans and objectives. This is an Israeli tools who would audaciously tell interviewers that he would never "deal" with Israel (see the reference to him in Tim Weiner's Legacy of Ashes and in Bob Woodward's Veil). But the program on AlJazeera was quite lacking in background and in key critical information that it can be considered a whitewash of Bashir Gemayyel. Where do I begin: the narrator for example--echoing the bogus claim by the Phalanges' Joseph AbuKhalil--that the 1976 trip to Israel by AbuKhalil was the first contact between the Phalanges and Israel. Are you kidding me? The contacts between the Phalanges and Israel preceded the establishment of the usurping entity in 1948. In fact, the Phalanges received their first Israeli cash payment for elections in 1951. Joseph AbuKhalil should not be permitted to reiterate his lies without any rebuttal: and the rebuttal by SSNP's Jubran `Urayji was not sufficient. And the entire relationship between Bashir and Amin was also mischaracterized. There was nothing in the program about the war of the Phalanges not only against the Palestinians but also agianst Muslim Lebanese (the program only referred to Bashir's wars against his rival among the Maronite militias). And this is an important fact to Arab viewers because the Lebansese Forces and the Phalanges are now trying to claim that they only fought against the Syrians and the Palestinians (as if their war on the Palestinians justified their massacres in all the refugee camps in East Beirut). Amin Gemayyel is a congenital liar and he was allowed to lie in every word he said. You felt that the producer didnt prepare well for the program. The most infuriating moment was when LF's As`ad Ash-Shaftari (deputy to the notorious Elie Hubayqah who swtiched from being an Israeli agent to being an agent for Rafiq Hariri and the Syrian regime) claimed that Elie Hubayqah did not torture Habib Shartuni, who killed Bashir. Let me tell you this: Habib Shartuni was so mercilessly tortured that a senior figure called Pierre Gemayyel on the phone and told me in clear terms that if Shartuni dies in their custody, Pierre would lose another son. The torture continued but he was kept alive. When Shartuni was finally freed in 1990, it required several months to rehabilitate him by specialists due to the long years of torture and mistreatment. Also, the account of his release by SSNP leader Jamal Fakhuri was rather funny: he said that the Syrian forces entered and opened the gates of the prison. That was not what happened: in fact, an armed group of 400 showed up at the gates and threatened to storm the prison if Shartuni was not released. He was immediately released. Some people have asked me whether "the Dangerous Man" that I had written about is in fact Habib Shartuni.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Will liberate you--at any age

"An Afghan who has spent over six years at the U.S. military's Guantanamo Bay prison was only around 12-years-old when he was detained, not 16 or 17 as his official record says, an Afghan rights group said on Tuesday."

This is Zionism

"Members of Khatib family, which was unwillingly made a part of Jewish neighborhood after segment of separation fence was built on its land, claim Jerusalem Municipality making their life intolerable by confining them to their home, separating them from relatives, friends living just hundreds of meters away in home village of Hizma."

The usurping entity has decided

"Israel demands world 'respond decisively' to North Korea nuclear test". The usurping entity should keep them coming: the more it acts and speaks the more it ensures the final demise of Zionism in the land of Palestine. I mean, what chutzpah. Respond decisively? So the Zionist usurping entity wants the world to bomb North Korea, Iran, Syria, Sudan, Lebanon, and Palestine in order to ensure the safety and security of the Zionist usurping entity. Of course, the Arabs would like nothing more than the world acting decisively to Israeli nuclear ARSENAL. Israel also added that it wants the world to provide beverages to all citizens of the usurping entity.

Wahhabi Fatwawawa

A senior Saudi cleric rules that the court testimony of a person who raises pigeons can't be accepted. (thanks Mal)

Sana Hassan

"Shortly after the 1973 Arab-Israeli war he had a chance meeting at Harvard University with Sana Hassan, the daughter of Egypt's ambassador to the United States at the time. That led to a series of conversations between them, published the following year as "Between Enemies: A Compassionate Dialogue Between an Israeli and an Arab."" Read that book by Sana Hassan. She is so boring and...not very bright. But this is something I like: why are none of Israeli admirers among the Arabs (they are a handful, really) ever smart? I mean, take Egyptian clownish playwright, `Ali Salim. In fact, Tahseen Bashir was so embarrassed by his wife's ramblings in favor of Israel that he divorced her, and he was the official spokesperson of Sadat.


The on-going flirtation between Walid Jumblat and Nabih Birri is rather sickening. But then again: both have a history of thuggish militia rule.

Human Rights Watch: But Sarah...

""Human Rights Watch provided the international community with evidence of Israel using white phosphorus and launching systematic destructive attacks on civilian targets. Pro-Israel pressure groups in the US, the European Union and the United Nations have strongly resisted the report and tried to discredit it," said Sarah Leah Whitson, director of HRW's Middle East and North Africa Division." But Sarah: you forgot to mention that HRW also equates the suffering of the colonized with the suffering of the colonizers. But Sarah: you forgot to mention that HRW is obsessed with its "pro-Israel donors"--as your director calls them--and that this obsession affects its coverage. But Sarah: you refused to mention that Israeli lives are always treated as more precious with the lives of Arabs. But Sarah: you forgot to say that Hamas kitchen-made fireworks' "missiles" are treated by HRW as more lethal than bombs from Israeli fighter jets. But Sarah: you forgot to mention that you never produce a report critical of Israel without matching it with a report critical of the victims. But Sarah: you forgot to mention that pro-Israeli groups are not as critical of your reports as anti-Israeli groups.

Armenians in Lebanon

What this article by Robert Worth is missing is this: 1) that the Armenians in Lebanon have a problem with Rafiq Hariri and his X-Box son because they insist on selecting Armenian (and Christian) representatives without any regard to the preferences of Armenians and Christians; 2) Worth missed the biggest part of the story: that March 14 unleashed an unabashed racist anti-Armenian wave and bigoted campaign last year when Amin Gemayyel lost the by-election in Matn, and he blamed the Armenians and he (and others in March 14) referred to them as "prasites" and "externals" and "outsiders", etc. In fact, this racist campaign made it impossible for the Tachnaq (the largest Armenian party in Lebanon) to run with March 14. But do you notice something: you never EVER read anything negative story about March 14 in the US press. Never. I mean this is the coalition that comprises some of the worst of the Nazi militias in Lebanon for potato's sake.

`Abdul-Karim Qasim

I have noticed that there is in Iraqi political culture a degree of nostalgia for `Abdul-Karim Qasim. The reason is that he was most humble and was uncorruptible. Here, he is shown sleeping in his office. When he died, he had a fistful of dinars on him. Compare that to Saddam or to the Al-Hakim family today or to the Barazani family or to the Talabani family or to `Allawi, etc. (thanks A.)

Samy Sharaf's File on Camp David

Nasser's loyal adviser and confidante, Samy Sharaf, prepared a whole file about the Camp David accords. (thanks Samy)

Terrorists that the New York Times likes

The New York Times describes a notorious Zionist terrorist thus: "Pre-State Jewish Underground Leader Dies." (thanks Michele)

All that you have done to our people [and trees] is registered in notebooks

"The so-called Israel’s Land Authority uprooted on Monday nearly 250 olive trees and several fig trees and grapevines south of Shqeib Al Salaam Arab village in the Negev."

In the footsteps of Fath: Dahlanism with Religion

"A Palestinian armed group said Hamas security forces arrested seven of its members who were on a “Jihad mission” against Israeli forces in the southern Gaza Strip. The Jaysh Al-Umma (Army of the Nation) group said the men were detained near the city of Khan Younis." (thanks Olivia)

Threat Israeli threat

"It is believed that Hezbollah would like to deploy SA-8 batteries in Lebanon. Such weapons could pose a threat to Israel Air Force jets flying over the country." Look at the Zionist language in this article. So the audacious Zionist terrorists basically want to be able to threaten Lebanon without any responses or defenses. Did you get the logic here: Israel wants no threat to its threats to Lebanon, and want to be able to invade and violate without any defense from Lebanon. But: do you see why the usurping entity is doomed? The Zionist entity is doomed not only by its history of mass violence against Arabs, but also by its insistence on provoking every Arab everywhere.

The Story of An Arab-American who solved the Arab-Israeli Conflict

"Dayan and Ibish agreed that there should be no new settlements in the West Bank, that Hamas can’t be included in political negotiations and on where exactly the eventual borders should be drawn. Debate resulted in understanding even on the right of return. “The point is ultimately that you do as much as you can for the refugees so that everyone can move on without violating the basic precept of the agreement, which is that you have two states, and without asking Israel to do something that sovereign states would not do,” Ibish said." It is settled. The dude now speaks for not only all Arab-Americans, but has now officially been tasked by Muhammad Dahlan to speak for all Palestinians. (Scroll down to the fourth item). (thanks Electronic Ali)

Lebanese genius

I have written before about the phenomenon of Lebanese genius: it has several components. It first claims that the Lebanese people are somewhat genetically superior to their neighbors and that they are as superior in "stock" as...the White Man. It is a complex, really. Another component of it is the notion that every Lebanese, especially when he or she travels abroad, shows exceptional skills and talents that so impress the White Man. The problems with this myth are obvious but I argue that it should be urgently discarded: not only because it carries more than a tinge of racism but it places burdensome pressures on every Lebanese who travels to prove to his family and kinsfolk that he/she has made a great discovery--usually "inventing" a cure for cancer. So yesterday, I saw a clip from an interview with the Lebanese musician Walid Ghulmiyyah. He is a talented musician who made great songs back in the 1960s and early 1970s: I particularly like his songs for Fadwa `Ubayd and his one song for Sabah: "May God preserve Lebanon for us." So Ghulmiyyah (in the interview with LBC-TV) was bragging about his composions of musical scores for films. He said that he composed 7 or 8 socres. He was asked what was the most famous film for which you composed a score. He said: it was an MGM film starring David Niven and titled Passport to Oblivion. Personally, I am always suspicious of Lebanese claims to fame or fabrications of greatness. So I looked on the internet (which was invented by Lebanese deputy, Niqula Fattush--I am sure), and found that there was no film by that name but that the book with that title was made into a film with the title Where the Spies Are. I examined the credits to see no mention alas of Walid Ghulmiyyah. I was supposed to be grading and writing but the waste of my time on this yesterday was all worth it. Good night.

Arab Communism: Some Reasons for Its Fall

Laura and Fadwa kindly translated this article of mine from Al-Akhbar.

Arab Communism: Some Reasons for Its Fall, As`ad AbuKhalil

The Arab Left didn’t just collapse of its own accord, and the method of its collapse was not fast or sudden. A generation of Arabs today forget that the Arab communist parties in Iraq and in Sudan, for example, were the biggest Arab parties, and without artificial support from the military establishment in those countries. The communists were deeply embedded throughout Iraq, and the religious schools in Najaf suffered the loss of the youth to the Iraqi Communist Party. All that has changed. Some of the elements of the phenomenon of the fall of the Left were local, and some of them were regional, and some of the others were global. The French Communist Party is about as powerful as the Wa’d Party in Lebanon, and the Italian Communist Party lost its luster some time ago. What has changed?

One can go back to the beginnings. There are those who talk about a delegation from the Comintern, but studies of the beginning of Communism in the Arab world lie in Hanna Batatu’s book (this great man who died unknown in the Arab world) about the class history of Iraq and in the book of Mohammad Dakrub about the deep roots of the Communist Party. American propaganda and even Western academic studies on the spread of Communism in the Arab world exaggerate in the glorification of the role of the Comintern in spreading Communism: this is a conspiracy theory which is not subjected to derision because it came signed from the American State Department and its propaganda systems. It is true that the Soviet Union worked to spread communism, as the United States worked to spread … reaction around the world - and still does, but the seeds and conditions were local. There were prevalent revolutionary and leftist stirrings, and especially in the political and literary spread at the dawn of a bygone century. The Communist movement was promising in the beginning, but its fall was hard before – not after – the demise of the Soviet Union.

It is possible to analyze the reasons for the fall of the Left, but it is necessary to link the fall with announced and secret methods which successive American administrations resorted to in fighting not only Communism, but also ideas of enlightenment and progress and freedom wherever they appeared. And the book “The Cultural Cold War” (which has appeared in Arabic translation) contains a lot about that era, but it doesn’t include information about the Middle East for one simple reason: scrutiny of the American archive hides documents related to the Middle East because the ruling families are the same and the American government wants to protect its alliances and clients from exposure, even though the time of scandals has passed by since Mohammad Dahlan appeared on the screen of al-Arabiyya television. There are some Orientalists (including the late Hana Batatu) who talk about the phenomenon of the past prominence of sectarian and racial minorities in the leadership of the Arab Communist parties. They forget that the Communist members are liberated from the sectarianism within the parties of the Left in spite of the factional schisms that ate away at the body of the Lebanese Communist Party in recent years, as it ate away at Leftist and Nationalist parties before, but most of the time that was by external influence. Then in the era of the 40s and 50s it wasn’t influenced like today by what Gamal Abd-al-Nasser one day called (in a hint towards the pious King of Jordan) “religious seizure.” Secular thought spread and Western Orientalism hesitated perplexed, and American imperialism, hiding behind a fig leaf, nurtured and financed the reactionary religious movements which failed at the time in polarizing the youth.

But it’s possible to sum up the reasons for the fall with the following:

First, the American conspiracy around the world which used houses of worship and governments and cultural offices and the media to fight leftist and communist thought. For example, how it is possible to talk about the failure of Communism in Afghanistan when the American government became allied with the kings of Shakhboot, foremost among the Arabs in financing most of the reactionary gangs in the world and arming them to overthrow the regime there: there was born Bin Laden and his group in the terrorist darkness. And the biography of the former Pope by Carl Bernstein revealed the extent of the cooperation of the church in Eastern Europe with the American intelligence apparatus in fighting Communism. And the United States threatened governments – like Italy – and directly interfered in elections around the world to keep the Left out of power, like the way it interferes today to remove those it doesn’t like in the Islamic movements.

Second, Arab Bakdashism broke the back of the Left. There is no doubt that the early model in the 20s and 30s of Arab Communism was the romantic goal which differed from the era of the 40s and after, when Arab Bakdashim prevailed. And the personality of Khalid Bakdash who personified the characteristics of contemporary Communism: he who received Stalinist training in the age of Stalin in Moscow and returned with the intention of spreading the influence of the Soviet Union more than his interest in spreading Communism or Leftist thought. And he had a narcissistic personality (Maxime Rodinson wrote about him in his book about his experiences of Communism in Syria and Lebanon, Qadri Kala’ji also wrote about him, but the latter cannot be trusted. The first Former Leftist in the Arab world changed from an enthusiastic Communist and supporter of the working class to carrying a suitcase of Kuwaiti money to buy newspapers in Lebanon, as Ibrahim Salamah related in his memoirs which is appropriate because it’s a biography of the contemporary Arab media and its corruption) in addition to his outstanding Leninism in organizing, devoted to a model to be followed in Arab Communist organizing, from Morocco to Lebanon. And Arab Bakdashism brought together a number of characteristics, among them:

Khalid Bakdash considered himself to be the proper authority to correctly decide the Arab Communist position in considering himself the connecting link with the home of Communism.

The insistence on a rigid Marxism – Leninism – Stalinism not accepting any modification or addition or even slight local interpretation. And the Moscow translations of the Marxist tradition not only suffered from very bad translation but also suffered intentional changes to some of the meanings (review the translated introduction of al-A’fif al-Akhdar - before he turned to Liberalism - of the book “The Communist Manifesto.”) Bakdashism never accepted or benefitted from the Marxist inheritance of Trotskyism or Maoism or Korsch or even later the new Leftist currents. The program which was decided in Moscow was the one followed and whoever tried to veer away was denounced as an apostate, or forced to admit his fault as happened with Salam.

Bakdashism considered the local and international interests of the Soviet Union to be above the interests of Arab Communism. And the biggest example here is represented by the state of the Egyptian Communist Party itself in 1965 honoring Abd-al-Nasser according to the orders of the Soviets which cannot be refused (analyzed in Joel Benin’s book about the history of Egyptian communism). This solution gives the worst example in being subjected to the interests of the Soviet Union, in addition to a decrease in principles. How can the party be convinced to dissolve itself with conviction? And the mortgaging of the party to Moscow effectively damaged the party’s reputation, especially after the unjust decision to partition Palestine. The Soviet Union prioritized its interests and alliances with repressive regimes hostile to communism over the interests and even lives of local Communists as happened in Egypt and Iraq.

Arab Bakdashism depended on a model laid out by the central goals of Lenin: the leader here alone possesses the leadership of the party and that was to make it easy for the passing of decisions of Soviet intelligence which dealt with the regular citizens over the heads of the members. And if differences got out of control within the party, they could return to Bakdash, and if the conflict deteriorated and spread, the matter could be referred back to the Soviet leadership, as happened with the Syrian Communist Party (go back to the book – the source – “Secrets of Divisions in the Syrian Communist Party”).

Arab Bakdashism opposed revolutionary action of the communist parties in anything related to the issue of the struggle against Israel, and it paid the price. And the Lebanese Communist Party refused to adopt armed struggle against Israel until the 70s, and under pressure from the southern and student base, and in competition with the Palestinian revolutionary organizations.

And the phenomenon of Arab Bakdashism wasn’t limited to the experience of Syrian communism, where Bakdash tried to organize it to stop its’ offspring. And he interfered in appointing leaders in the body of the Arab communist parties, as happened in Lebanon where the two Bakdashist [Niqula] Shawi – [George] Hawi rose up after the third conference in 1972. Third, that the departure of the leadership of the Arab communist parties (Bakdash left early to Prague in the 50s) from the Arab world because of closing in, oppression and exile and the distance between this leadership and the people. The model of Aziz Al-Haj (the one who bears the responsibility for the beating and killing of the leadership of the Iraqi Communist Party as a result of his confessions and acceptance of and work as an informant for the regime of Saddam Hussein). It’s very obvious: how could an Arab communist leader turn into a propagandist for Bush’s wars and one of the writers in the Wahhabi media?

Fourth, indeed the failure of the Arab regimes that were falsely called developing (in Egypt and Syria and Iraq and Yemen and Libya) reflected on the reputation of the Arab communist parties, and especially since some of the leaders of these parties allied with these regimes – like the alliance of Bakdash with the Syrian regime, or the alliance of the some of the symbolic figures of Egyptian communism with the Egyptian regime or Aziz Al-Haj’s television program. As for the Lebanese Communist party, it didn’t ally with the Lebanese regime, but it did form alliances through the years with the Syrian, Iraqi and Libyan regimes, especially during the Hawi – Shawi era. And the alliance with regimes hostile to communism (even though they used the slogans of the Left). This damaged the reputations of the parties and tarnished them with opportunism as they gave legality to oppress the people in these parties and were showered with popular legality in repressing these parties, and especially since the repression was accompanied by the confessions (like the appearance of the Secretary General of the Tudeh Party on Iranian television) that Arab intelligence were very skilled in extracting. These confessions changed the communist leadership into a model of submissiveness and surrender, in addition to deadly ignorance in alliances (the Iraqi Communist Party was proud of its alliance with Saddam’s regime, as the Tudeh Party defended Khomeini).

Fifth, the Arab communist parties (Stalinist – Bakdashist and even revolutionary) didn’t try to build a type of Communism independent of Moscow, for they became agents of intervention on behalf of Western communist intelligence. And the KGB controlled the traditional communist parties while the revolutionary communist parties built (like the Wadi’a Haddad organization and the Socialist Arab Action Party and others) father/son relationships with East German intelligence and Bulgaria. And these relationships only served to alienate the masses from the ideas of these parties because they depended on outside orders even for matters of party education. It’s true that George Habash tried in the beginning of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine to create its own brand of Asian Marxism, but the first contact with Moscow killed those attempts as it frustrated some of the revolutionism of the Popular Front, because Moscow opposed “in principle” any Arab project to get rid of Israel. And the bad slogan “remove all consequences of aggression” was the furthest that the Soviet Union would go.

Sixth, the behavior of the Arab communist parties suffered from political practices characterized by fluctuation, fickleness, vacillation and opportunism. Yasir Abd-al-Rabbu, for example, changed from a former Leftist before he split from (accompanied by his driver and escort) the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine. And the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine which started out as a “pure” Leftist Arab organization, possessing a revolutionary breath, in no time joined the Arafat organization, and they started to theorize for the benefit of this deformed entity before the Fatah movement openly declared this. Preferring the phenomenon of useful former Leftists – from Qadri Kala’ji to Jalal Kashak to Nasib Namr, who wrote for the newspaper of the party of Camille Chama’on at the peak of the civil war – followed by Karim Marawwah the Hariri propagandist and Elias ‘Atta allah, the activist in Sa’d and Nadir Hariri’s entourage.

Seventh, the Arab communist parties suffered from disgraceful negligence on the main issues of concern in the Arab world. For on the issue of liberating Palestine, the communist parties clung to Moscow’s position, which cannot be forgiven in spite of the passage of time, also they didn’t raise the slogan or adopt the practice of armed struggle until much later. The Arab communists didn’t join in the ranks of the resistance until the end of the 60s and the beginning of the 70s., which gave the reactionaries and nationalists to manipulate the slogan. Also the Arab communists did not join the battle for freedom and they had to bow to Soviet Union policies in the Middle East. And the communist parties - who unlike the ostracized Maoists had strict orders from the Soviets - they disregarded the peasant element in the struggle, even their programs lacked any hint of an agricultural reform program, while Akram al-Hourani and Nasser understood the importance of this issue. And these parties also disregarded the women’s issue and the role of these women in these parties was much weaker than the role of women in some Islamic movements.

Eight, money from Arab oil (reactionary and progressive) and from the Soviets to the Arab communist movement hurt them, not only because of buying consciences and people and writers but also because of the many members who had connections to the organization moved away as happened in the Palestinian revolution and the Lebanese national movement and organizations. They turned into (in the best cases) mercenaries. Also the secret work . . . was very effective in attracting elements that were very ideologically enthusiastic in the 50s and 60s. Also a large part of the Arab oil money, especially after the death of Nasser and the rise of oil in the 70s, was used to fight ideas of liberation and enlightenment and communism. And also to spread the ideology of the dark Wahabism which bin Laden grew up in while he was under the care of the royalty.

Nine, the Islamic Revolution in Iran changed the political map in the Arab world. The people who were resigned to depending on changing governments that dragged us to defeat looked with admiration at this experience in the heart of one of the most powerful governments in the area. A model of religious mobilization filled the vacuum which the failure of nationalist and Leftist ideologies had left in the Arab world.

Ten, the element of mercenaries and benefiting from this element, as we have explained before, played a very important role. As in the East and the West, for a lot of the Communist leaders who worked in the media and in publishing and in literature and education. But Saudi money, especially in the second Saudi era which followed the Kuwait invasion in 1991, overwhelmed all the media and publications and research centers. And the money of Rafiq Hariri and his successors was unlimited. And the media that was financed by Libya and Iraq disappeared. Many writers chose to be subjected to and to co-exist and cooperate with the Saudis. And the two brothers of George Hawi concentrated on writing about the co-existence between the communist thought of George Hauoi and Hariri-Wahabi thought.

Eleven, the Israeli Communist Party and those Arabs who joined the Arab Communist Movement harmed communism because they marketed the model of co-existence with the Zionist state. Because all the Arab world public opinion rejected it and still rejects it. The scene of members of the Communist Party sitting in the Israeli Knesset was and still is something infuriating to opinion in the Arab world. And the marriage, in people’s minds compared communism and subjugation to Zionism.

Twelve, Arab communism, unlike Spanish communism or the Frankfurt School or the French Left, did not create any theory or local school for its’ Leftist model and they were satisfied with having examples from Abi Dhurr and some folklore proverbs from the Arab tradition. It’s true that Hadi al-A’laoui and al-A’fif al-Akhdar and Husayn Muruwwah - Who killed Husayn Muruwwah? And why don’t we raise the issue of the knowledge of the killer wherever he is? - It’s true that they tried to dig into the Islamic and Arab traditions to find a kind of common ground between Marxist and religious tradition but all the attempts were by individuals. The concerns of some parties were more militia, intelligence or those who work for themselves.

Thirteen, the Arab communist movement could not deal with the Soviet Union’s collapse. Some of them collapsed, some hid in the corner ashamed, and Naif Hawatmah started visiting Amin Gemayyel to greet him and praise him for his deep-rooted history in fighting for the Palestinian people. And the Lebanese Communist Party started hiding their picture of Marx and bringing out only the picture of Guevara because he was handsome, and some Arab communists turned to Hariri and Wahabi activists.

It was possible for Arab Communism to rise again and re-write its ideology based on international developments. There was a possibility of spreading Marxism again, and the ideas of the Communist Manifesto are especially still vital and current. The Arab communist movement was using repeated words about democracy and development without criticizing the two ideologies from a Leftist perspective.

Fourteen, the Arab communist parties turned a blind eye to the “complex” of religion as Yasin al-Hafiz called it. It contained individuals from different ethinc and religious backgrounds, but it did not stand up against the consequences of the material ideology which “in theory” they followed. Elias ‘Atta allah, for example, calls on the Lebanese people to follow the ideas of the Maronite patriarch who has one of the most rigid rightist ideologies in the country, and most of the communists followed a policy of not going against religious ideologies often to protect their own necks.

Fifteen, no political or ideological movement faced what the Arab communist movement did. Because all the enemies from all over fought the Communists, from the Ba’th to Nasserism and Wahabism and the American empire and Liberal thought (which is always cooperating with colonialism in different forms, and with modern Wahabism) in addition to Zionism and all the Arab governments. What made Arab communism’s tragedy worse over the decades was that those who fought against it used groups of former communists who occupied very high positions in Rightist governments and their media.

Sixteen, these communist parties lacked the charismatic/magical personalities and the George Habash experience remains very unique. If it wasn’t for him, the communist ideology wouldn’t have spread in the Palestinian refugee camps, because the personality of Abu al-Nouf was very effective among people whose numbers were not more than one hand. Of course, the need for charismatic leadership is not a main condition, but it is very effective in all societies. The personality of Shawi was like the personality of Qasim Hashim, it was hurtful to the idea he carried and it limited its spread.

This is not a call for desperation. On the contrary. From Lebanon to Morocco, there is still a unique chance to reactivate the Arab Left and revive it, especially in the shadow of the world economic crisis, of the alliance between Wahabism and Liberalism and in the shadow of the very shallow thought of the Islamic fundamentalist organizations. But a revival has to free itself from the remains of Liberal thought which unites progress and welcome in different forms and doesn’t hide from colonialism, as it allies with the American – Saudi – Israeli axis. As for the Left, if it re-emerges, it won’t depend on any soldiers: it forms a special camp, which doesn’t include countries but the poor, and those who are crushed and tortured and marginalized everywhere.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Am I supposed to feel sad here?

"Madoff Loss Hits Art Aid for Young in Israel". The New York Times wants you to feel more sad for those so-called Israeli artists than for the Palestinian children who were butchered by Israel in Gaza, and whose butchery was justified and rationalized by the NYT.

Leisure sexism

"DESPITE changing attitudes and even laws to promote equality between the sexes, it appears that women still have their work cut out. Men enjoy more leisure time than women in every one of 18 countries examined by the OECD. Italian men have it easiest in comparison with women, lazing around for nearly 80 minutes more each than women who, apparently, clean the house. Other staunch Catholic countries also see big gaps between the sexes, and even in egalitarian Norway men manage to sneak an extra four minutes more to themselves." (thanks Julie)

Ethan Bronner (like Israel) hearts Fatah Movement

"In the past year, each of 14 West Bank regions has elected a new Fatah chief, most of whom are college-educated and professionally engaged. They meet weekly and rotate the leadership to avoid power plays. In addition, Fatah has taken a lesson from Hamas, seeking to make an impact at a grass-roots level by opening a 24-hour satellite television station and providing free lunches and book bags for needy schoolchildren." For a second, I thought he was talking about a socialist party in Sweden or Denmark. He does not mention that the satellite station is funded by polygamous princes in the Gulf. (thanks Olivia)

Israel's day of humiliation

On this day in 2000, Israeli occupation forces humiliatingly fled South Lebanon.

Think tanks

"When the Shalem Center was established in 1994 with the aim of bringing neoconservative thinking into the Israeli political and cultural discourse, along the lines of American think tanks it was thought to be on the margins of Israeli intellectual life. Yoram Hazony, the center's provost and one of its founders - who is also one of Netanyahu's friends and former advisers - said when the center was established that Israel was in the midst of an "ideological degeneration" that had to be stopped. The institute was founded with the aid of American Jewish donors, including the Bernstein family, Sheldon Adelson, George Rohr and Ron Lauder. " (thanks Laleh)

Not in the US or Arabic press

"The Committee to Protect Journalists writes to express its concern about your government's recent crackdown on media outlets that have covered civil unrest in the southern part of Yemen." (thanks Mariwan)


Jamal Mubarak (whose political prominence is unrelated to the fact that he is the son of the dictator--I am sure he rose only on merit and talent) opines that maldistribution of income is not that bad. (thanks Mohammad)


"Britons who invested hundreds of thousands of pounds in unbuilt property during Dubai's boom years face losing the money after a collapse in the market." (thanks Saeed)

Military bases are now dubbed "peace camps"

"PRESIDENT Nicolas Sarkozy is set to open France's first permanent military base in the Gulf on Monday, giving Paris a strategic role in a region roiled by Iran and a key supply route for oil. He will be paying a visit to Abu Dhabi, the wealthiest and largest of the United Arab Emirates, to formally inaugurate the base announced in January last year. Dubbed 'Peace Camp', the base will host up to 500 troops stationed in three sites on the banks of the Strait of Hormuz, just across from Iran: a navy and logistical base, an air base with three fighter planes and a training camp." (thanks Dina)

Wahhabi rules

"Last month, a decree was issued to close all unlicensed women’s gyms. The closure angered women but pleased the clergy, who have often warned of the evil of playing music during aerobics or the lewdness of women seeing each other changing." (thanks Sana)

Prince Turki

Two people I know met with Prince Turki. Both would not let me use the information. But I can report that Turki is feuding with key elements of government in Saudi Arabia, and his relations with the king has deteriorated. Turki has been on non-speaking terms with Prince Bandar for a while.

Mubarak goons

You will not hear about this in the US press. Two goons (most likely working for Mubarak regime) set the face and hair of Egyptian opposition figure, Ayman Nur, on fire. This came just as Nur was supposed to be part of an opposition group that was slated to meet with Obama. (thanks Hani)

"There is no Israel"

Angry Arab child. Watch minute 2:43. (thanks J.)

PS But I don't like parents who pressure their kids to perform. At some points the father sounded too stern and pressuring for my taste.

It is not the economy..

"Jamal pointed to the precarious economic situation of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank as a prime source of instability in the region." Eh, no Amaney. It is not the economic situation. It is the colonization and murder of the Palestinian people. The Palestinian people have not been fighting and dying for better economic conditions. That is not the essence of their struggle, as uncomfortable as this is for American audiences to hear.

Threats to Arabs

"On the other hand, asked to name which two countries posed the biggest threat, 77% named the U.S. and 88% named Israel, while only 13% named Iran -- for comparison's sake, 9% named China."

I told you

"“This whole operation was a foolish waste of time and money,” claimed Terence Kindlon, a defence lawyer who represented the last terror suspect to be tried in New York state. “It is almost as if the FBI cooked up the plot and found four idiots to install as defendants.”" (thanks Soheil)

friend or foe?

Identify the friends and foes of the US in this picture. (NYT)

This is Israel: You are forced to celebrate colonial birth

"Public commemoration of Israel's independence as a day of mourning could become a crime subject to prison penalty, should a bill approved on Sunday by a ministerial panel be brought to the Knesset and cabinet for vote. The Ministerial Committee for Legislation on Sunday approved a preliminary proposal which would make it illegal to hold events or ceremonies marking Israel's Independence Day as a "nakba," or catastrophe.""

Israeli orientalism

"But official UN confirmation of the report could alter this picture, causing some Shi'ite voters to switch to the rival Shi'ite party, Amal, and floating Sunni, Druze and Christian voters to switch to the anti-Syrian coalition led by Saad Hariri." The quality of Israeli expertise on the Middle East never ceases to make me chuckle. Look at these brilliant insights from Middle East experts at one of the top Israeli newspapers. They are predicting that some Shi`ite voters may swithc their votes from Hizbullah to Amal. Can somebody tell them that they can't do that because Hizbullah and Amal are ON THE SAME ELECTORAL LISTS?? How dumb is Israeli orientalism?

Sunday, May 24, 2009

The Christian vote

March 8 and their supporters are denying the ovious: that Gen. `Awn has lost support among Christians since 2005. I saw one survey in Matn which indicated that `Awn support among Maronites stands at no more than a third while support for the various groups of March 14 stands at antoher third. This is a substantial reducation of support for `Awn. But the many who defected from `Awn may stay home and not vote for March 14. It may be class: Professional Christians seem to support March 14, while lower middle class and poorer Christians seem to support `Awn. What about Sunnis, Druzes, and Shi`ites: all indications are that the entire sect is sectarianly mobilized in all three cases.

Lebanese elections

Some people in Lebanon have been writing me asking me how I would vote if I were in Lebanon. My answer: I never voted in my life, nor would I ever vote. Not in the US and not in Lebanon. Don't get me wrong: if Mr./Ms. Potato head ever runs for office, I may reconsider.

Hariri and House of Saud

There are indications that some princes of the House of Saud are not happy with mini-Hariri or with the Hariri family in general. I usually don't link to MEMRI or to its sister website, Elaph. But this article is indicative: Only Prince Salman seems to be keen on the Saudi sponsorship and support of Hariri family. It may have become a burden for the kingdom. (thanks Hisham)

Read this book: The Siege of Mecca

I thought that I was going to dislike this book. The author is rather a conservative reporter for the Wall Street Journal. But this should teach you that you should never judge a book by external factors: only by the contents. This is a superb book. It really reads like a thriller and you won't be able to put it down once you start. The author, Yaroslav Trofimov (the full title of the book is The Siege of Mecca: The 1979 Uprising at Islam's Holiest Shrine), did an outstanding job in assembling and collecting every bit of evidence and information from Arabic, French, and English sources and on the basis of interviews with witnesses and key players. I am most enthusiastic about this book: I can even recommend this book for lay readers because it is a riveting tale. It is suspenseful and gripping and has lessons about Middle East and international politics. The story is about the 1979 rebellion at the Grand Mosque in Mecca by religious zealot, Juhayman Al-`Utaybi, has not been told before: except in some dissident Saudi literature. But this is a story that is worth telling becaus it gives a context to the rise of fanatical Salafi terrorism that spawned out of the kingdom and with the blessing of Ibn Baz and some elements of House of Saud. I am most impressed with the efforts of Trofimov: how he traveled the world to collect the various bits of the story, and then masterfully assemble all its elements. The author did not need to have a small section to introduce Islam and the Middle East to the reader but I think that he did that for the general reader. The author should certainly not have used one footnote from the lousy and trashy book, the Saudis, by Sondra Mackey. But these are small pionts that don't detract from the value of the book (thanks to R. who urged me to read this book). The author is flat wrong (on page 248) when he assumes that the Egyptian academic who assembled, edited, and published Juhayman's epistles is "admiring" of Juhayman. The man in question is a leftist secularist who published the letters to embarrass the House of Saud. The book provides the reader with an unusual window into decision making at the top echeleons of the House of Saud, and it also relates the events at the mosque with the context of the times in 1979. This is a book that can be recommended in undergraduate courses in Middle East studies becuase it tells a story with wide consequences and links. But Trofimov is too hasty in drawing conclusions about Bin Laden's views about Al-`Utaybi: we still don't know the full view of Bin Laden on the matter, his one passing reference to the matter notwithstanding. (Oh, you should also read Terry Pinkard's book on Hegel but it is in more than 750 pages long).

Who killed Rafiq Hariri? Who Cares?

I don’t know who killed Rafiq Hariri, nor do I care. The matter does not occupy me: not for one second. I would rather find out who killed the children in Gaza in 2008 and who killed the children in South Lebanon in 2006. But the recent “leak” in Der Spiegel is part of what seems to be an orchestrated Western campaign to influence the results of the Lebanese election. To go back to the assassination matter: I still maintain that I don’t know who killed Hariri and I still maintain that those who were responsible for the assassination should be forgiven but should be told in no uncertain terms to not do it again, or else. But the Hariri tribunal and investigation has been tainted and for that nothing that comes out of the tribunal will carry national credibility or legitimacy. Go back to the first Mehlis report: are you aware that thus far the Hariri investigation team has accused 1) the Syrian government; 2) the Syrian Social National Party; 3) the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-GC—I remember that shortly after the assassination, Rafiq Hariri adviser/speech writer, Rudwan As-Sayyid, told me that the Hariri family accuses Ahmad Jibril because “he is an explosives’ expert; 4) Al-Ahbash group in Lebanon; 5) Lebanese security services or one of them; 6) the pro-Syrian Ba`th party in Lebanon; 7) and there were some leaks that even fingered Libya. So now add Hizbullah to the mix. Why not say that all those who defy the House of Saud and the House of Hariri are suspects in the assassination of Rafiq Hariri. Why not say that all those who ever mock or attacks Rafiq Hariri are suspects in his assassination? So no matter who killed Hariri, the credibility of the Hariri tribunal from the very first Mehlis report has been tainted beyond repair. It is over. So spare us time and money (the Lebanese government is spending some $30 million per year on that lousy tribunal—let the Hariri family pay for that. But going back to the election, Western governments are clearly nervous: the Biden visit (and his advice to the March 14 gang that they should target “the undecided”—why don’t liberals in the US make fun of Biden? I mean, he is as dumb as George W. Bush—to be fair), and the sudden leak to Der Spiegel. Personally, I have a bet with As`ad—not me (for $100 worth of Arabic sweats) that March 14 will win. Up until recently, I thought I may lose the bet, but the speech by Hasan Nasrallah about May 7th may have swung the undecided among the electorate toward March 14. This may have been calculated as Hizbullay may not want to govern Lebanon, especially that they can now get what they want without winning an election. Also, according to Der Spiegel that suspicion about the Hizbullah unit stems from the fact that they bought cellphones prior to Hariri assassination and then they did not use them after the assassination? OK. Present that in court as evidence.

PS Raed liked this particular line in Der Spiegel and he suspected that it may have been written by a scribe in the Hariri press office: " In 2005, the billionaire began to outstrip the revolutionary leader in terms of popularity."