Thursday, September 30, 2010

Don't you want to pinch the cheeks of the son of the North Korean dictator?

Palestinian posters

A project for the preservation of Palestinian posters. (thanks Shadi)

Israeli cyber terrorism

"Israel's reportedly used electronic warfare to neutralize Syria's air defense systems.  Pinhas Buhris, who served as director general of the Defense Ministry at the time, in discussing Israel in developing state-of-the-art electronic warfare capabilities, said at the time: "You need this kind of capability. You're not being responsible if you're not dealing with it. And, if you can build this kind of capability, the sky's the limit.""

Big liberation of Iraq planned

"The Pentagon issued a proposal on Monday to sell weapons worth $4.2bn to Iraq, including 18 F-16 fighter aircraft, Sidewinder air-to-air missiles, laser-guided bombs and reconnaissance equipment, according to a report from the Financial Times."

Tunisia's repression

Khelil sent me this (I cite with his permission):  "Anyway, reading Robert Worth it is B.S. to state that Syria "may be the most restrictive of all", this dishonor goes without question to Tunisia. As a Tunisian I closely follow repression there, and since 2001 the Ben Ali regime has imprisoned more journalists than any other Arab country according to the Committee for the Protection of Journalists. Which also writes that Tunisia has "prompted more alerts and reports and letters to its president than any other Arab ruler from international groups committed to freedom of expression." And this is a 10.3million nation with a small journalist class, just to emphasize how repressive the regime is. Even the most inconsequential dissident is immediately crushed. Dissident websites have not only been censored, but the secret police has hijacked some of them and deleted their entire archives. Even Twitter accounts are banned. But the regime has grown sophisticated. Instead of banning, say, the New York Times website it now only bans the offending page and therefore can claim that Western news sources are not banned in the country. And much of the "private" press is on the payroll of the Interior Ministry, the Tunisian female journalist who uncovered this fact was mercilessly beaten up by the plain-clothed regime thugs. And this regime, which likes to hide been its status code law (which admittedly is better than all other Arab countries), is not above beating women: human rights activist Radhia Nasraoui was savagely beaten by similar thugs back in 2006 while attending a rally in protest of the decision by Ben Ali to welcome Shimon Peres for a UN conference. Nasraoui's daughter was also beaten and required heat stitches, and I have attached an image of Radhia. I could go on and on, but one last thing. Le Monde's correspondent sent to cover the 2009 sham election was denied entry under the official pretext that she had "adopted an obvious malevolence toward Tunisia" and two days after she was turned back from the airport Tunisia indefinitely banned Le Monde and all its sister publications from the country. The website may still be visited, but of course anything critical of Tunisia is censored.   And all of this is to say nothing of the Ben Ali in-laws, Trabelsis, who are turning the nation into a Banana Republic and literally stealing left and right, read La Regent de Carthage on that. The book has, of course, been banned in the country and the first lady sued the two journalists authors in French court but lost and was forced to pay them something like 1,000 euros. "  Here's the CPJ link

Dubai: the standards of the New York Times

"it remains the most Westernized and tolerant society in a region challenged by rising Islamic fundamentalism."  Are you kidding me? Dubai?? I bash Beirut right and left, but Beirut is certainly more tolerant.  Unless the New York Times measures tolerance by the number of high rises in a city.


"More private contractors than soldiers were killed in Iraq and Afghanistan in recent months, the first time in history that corporate casualties have outweighed military losses on America’s battlefields.  More than 250 civilians working under U.S. contracts died in the war zones between January and June 2010, according to a ProPublica analysis of the most recent data available from the U.S. Department of Labor, which tracks contractor deaths. In the same period, 235 soldiers died, according to Pentagon figures."

70,000 Palestinian prisoners

"The Prisoner Studies Center issued Thursday on the tenth anniversary of the Aqsa intifada a comprehensive report which found that Israeli authorities have since the intifada arrested 70,000 Palestinians, around 6,800 of whom remain scattered in more than 20 prisons and detention centers in inhumane conditions.  The center said there are nearly 300 minors in the Damon, Megiddo, Hawara, and other prisons and 35 female inmates in the Hasharoun and Damon prisons. There are around 210 prisoners in administrative detention, dubbed “unlawful combatants”, whose terms have ended, or who are held without charges or tried under undemocratic emergency laws."

Prince Salman's propaganda

Prince Salman's propaganda is clearly in solidarity with Netanyahu.  Ash-Sharq Al-Awsat put a headline to improve the image of Netanyahu.

This is Zionism

As-Safir interviews this kid who was terrorized by Israel and arrested.

Computer work

You have to read this article in the New York Times (on the front page).  Notice how lighthearted and humorous it is.  For the New York Times Israeli terrorism and crimes, including cyber warfare, are quite funny.  Can you imagine if this was done by an Arab regime against the Zionist entity? (thanks Olivia)

Mistakes happen, every single day

"Tribesmen in Pakistan's most notorious militant stronghold observed a shut-down Thursday to protest against a major surge in US drone attacks, witnesses and elders said.  “We are protesting against the drone attacks. Americans are killing innocent civilians but the government has completely failed to protect us,”Malik Jalal, a tribal elder and one of the strike organisers told AFP." (thanks Nabeel)

U.S. government bombs Guam with frozen mice to kill snakes

"In a spectacularly creative effort to rid Guam of an invasive species, the US Department of Agriculture is planning to 'bomb' the island's rainforests with dead frozen mice laced with acetaminophen. The mice-bombs are meant to target the brown tree snake, an invasive species which has ravaged local wildlife, and angered local residents, since arriving in the 1940s." (thanks Ali)

Mossad and the Phalanges

"The Mossad is simply an instrument. Our job was to provide intelligence and to create contacts with the Christians in Lebanon. These contacts began as far back as the 1950s and 60s, as part of an all-encompassing policy conceived by David Ben-Gurion."" (thanks Hala)


"I don’t recall the exact date of my story but I believe it was 1987.  My sources were senior U.S. serving counterintelligence (CI3) officials.  According to them, the Israel-Soviet deal on emigration was made on Cyprus in 1981 and was the brilliantly cunning idea of top Israeli defense official Ariel Sharon.  (CI3 officials also told me at that time that Mossad was “full of Soviet moles.”)   The recruitment of Pollard was not an aberration – he became an operative of Israel as early as 1981 when he was working for the U.S. Navy’s Field Operations Intelligence Office. Israel was targeting certain oil fields in southern Russia and Pollard’s task was to gather information on the targeting.   In any case, although Sharon appears to be the initial villain, high level Israeli officials including Shimon Peres, Yitzhak Rabin, Yitzhak Shamir and others knew of Pollard’s existence. Shamir, for example, was very active in peddling the Pollard data to the Soviets.  At the time of his arrest, the Justice Department alleged that Pollard had provided Israel with 1,800 documents or 100,000 pages. The damage Pollard inflicted on U.S. security was enormous.  Senior DOD officials told me that Pollard stole from the Navy's Sixth Fleet Ocean Surveillance Information Facility  (FOSIF) in Rota, Spain, the daily report, a top-secret document filed every morning at 0800 Zulu time (Greenwich Mean Time) that contained NSA data on events in the Middle East and North Africa during the previous 24 hours. NASA and Navy Intelligence shared the site." (thanks Marc)

Robert Worth on Syria

"Other Arab countries regularly jail journalists who express dissident views, but Syria may be the most restrictive of all."  What about Tunisia, Bahrain, Oman, UAE, and Saudi Arabia? Wait.  I forgot.  Pro-US dictatorships don't count because they are just when they jail, oppress, and torture.  I get it. 

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Rabid American writing today

"A few months after 9/11 I was invited to a conference at Tufts University on "Arab-American Writing Post 9/11." I submitted an abstract for a paper entitled "A Rabid American Writing Today." The organizers corrected the title thinking "Rabid" was a typo! To write and try to publish (let alone work, and live) in the U.S. while Arab or Muslim after 9/11, means choosing one of two paths. The first entails self-orientalization and on it one proceeds to perform one's circumscribed role as the entertaining, but always safe and grateful Arab in the grand political and cultural circus. There are always openings and many Arab-Americans are more than willing to play the role (you know the names). There might be an improvised moment here or there and some indignation, but the narrative is, more or less, fixed for the Uncle Toms. The other path is that of standing outside the coliseum and distracting and disturbing the citizens-spectators on their way in or out. Screaming at times, if necessary, to point to other directions. Whispering, at others, into their ears stories about barbarians both in Rome itself and abroad. It's not easy being a barbarian in Rome. The Romans rarely listen, but the barbarian has to keep it real." (thanks Sinan)

Without protection

"This 54-page report reviews 114 Lebanese judicial decisions affecting migrant domestic workers. It finds that lack of accessible complaint mechanisms, lengthy judicial procedures, and restrictive visa policies dissuade many workers from filing or pursuing complaints against their employers. Even when workers file complaints, the police and judicial authorities regularly fail to treat certain abuses against domestic workers as crimes."  The lousy Lebanese Minister of Labor, Butrus Harb, said that the report was bad because it harmed the "image" of Lebanon.

Clinton presses Pakistan to raise taxes on wealthy

"The Obama administration is not just seeking to end tax cuts for America's rich -- it's also calling on the Pakistani government to raise taxes on its wealthiest citizens if it still wants to receive U.S. financial assistance."

Obama's wars

"One major revelation to come out of Bob Woodward's new book, "The Obama Wars," is the news that "many Westerners, including some U.S. passport holders," were killed by a CIA-operated drone strike in Pakistan in November 2008. It remains unclear whether the victims were specifically targeted or collateral damage. (See the Washington Post's Jeff Stein for more.) Here

If you are a Zionist, you will find that Salam Fayyad has charm

"“Prime Minister Fayyad’s spirit of hope was extremely welcome,” said Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi, the founder and president of The Israel Project. “We know that some people will criticize us for falling for a Palestinian ‘charm offensive.’ However, there is nothing offensive about charm. More Jews and Muslims, Israelis and Palestinians, should sit together over dinner and exchange ideas -- especially when it can help lead to security and peace.”"   Hell, if you are a Zionist, you will find that the shoes of Anwar Sadat have charm.  (thanks Olivia)

Palestinian posters

These are images of early days beautiful Palestinian posters. (thanks Ali)

Pressures on Yemen

There are pressures on Yemen to normalize with Israel. (thanks Farah)

Hariri designs

"The statistics are troubling. Officials estimate that a mere 400 out of 1,200 old mansions that were inventoried in the mid-1990s by the Lebanese culture ministry are left, according to Agence France-Presse. In a bid to prevent more mass destruction of Beirut's historic architecture, any demolition order reportedly must now carry the signature of the Lebanese culture minister, Salim Wardy."  That is silly.  Wardy is Lebanese Forces Minister and the LF supported the Hariri takeover of downtown Beirut.

New York Times describes resumption of settlement activities

"Small, mostly symbolic, projects in the settlements of Ariel and Kiryat Arba, among others, were begun on Monday to mark renewed settlement building."

France assists the Lebanese Army

I am not making this up: with big fanfare, France offered these devices to the Lebanese Army.  They even had a special ceremony to receive them.  It took France one trip to Radio Shack to obtain them.  (thanks Wassim)

Mubarak versus Nasser

This has been making the rounds on the internet.  (The caption says: "The difference...dignity").  (thanks Khodor)

He does not get it

"As for the average Palestinian, settlements are a poke in the eye."  No, dude: Israel itself is a poke in the eye of every Palestinian.  This "liberal" has written racist articles against African-Americans.

"I'm a Christian by choice," Obama told his audience here.

So are you sure that you are not a Muslim? Can you prove it, please?  I mean, before the elections.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Lebanese freedoms

Comrade Khalid writes about arbitrary freedoms in Lebanon.

Americans were tested on their knowledge of world religions: atheists won

They tested Americans on their knowledge of world religions:  "Those who scored the highest were atheists and agnostics, as well as two religious minorities: Jews and Mormons."

Monday, September 27, 2010

Clovis Maqsud: what is wrong with him? What is wrong with you, Clovis?

Did you read his piece in As-Safir yesterday in which he called for normalization with the Zionist entity in the wake of Israeli "withdrawal" from 20% of Palestine?


The Encyclopedia of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in three volumes has just been published.  I have several articles in it, if you care.  It is edited by Cheryl Rubenberg.

Egypt Air and Palestinians

A keen foreign correspondent in the Middle East sent me this (he/she does not want to be identified):  "EgyptAir has been given instructions now to hassle Palestinians with Egyptian-issued travel document for Palestinians flying to Egypt. They didn't want to let one on a flight from Dubai last week, one whose mother is Egyptian. She got on in the end, but imagine EgyptAir trying to do that to Palestinians or Egyptian-Palestinians with documents issued from Egypt itself. How low.   I also called up M., who appeared on an al-Jazeera discussion a few months ago about governments refusing children nationality of the mother. On the show she claimed things were about to change. Inspired by what happened last week, I wanted to speak to her to see if some action was imminent to force the Interior Minister to honour the law -- feted on al-Arabiyya a few years ago -- that Egyptian-Palestinians can also obtain nationality. What I found was her selling the idea that it's perfectly normal for each and every child of an Egyptian mother and Palestinian father to have to hire their own lawyer to raise a case with the Supreme Court (maglis al-dawla) to force the Interior Ministry to give them a passport. Apart from issues of cost and effort, what is astounding is that she knows very well the government will still ignore the courts. In fact, she is a lawyer, running a 'rights group' or NGO with a lofty title about defending mothers' rights, w hen in fact she is just living off the misery of others - though her group helps 'those who are unable' to bear costs, she says. "

Abu Mazen

Do you notice that when the PA chief collaborator, the unelected Abu Mazen, travels he now meets with Zionists in the capitals he visits and not with Palestinians?  Well, that is his real constituency after all.

Both Hamas and Fath torture: both don't deserve to lead the Palestinian people

"A Palestinian human rights group says two Gaza brothers were beaten and tortured while they were detained by Palestinian Authority security forces in the northern Gaza Strip."

This is supposed to be a democracy: hahahahaha

"The Education Ministry summoned the principal of a Sderot area high school for consultations after the school was found to be using a banned textbook that includes material on the Palestinian narrative of the Israel-Arab conflict." (thanks Olivia)

Jamal `Abdun-Nasser

I saw a long interview with Jamal `Abdun-Nasser's youngest son, `Abdul-Hakim on Dream TV.  He was named after `Abdul-Hakim `Amir, of course.  He is most unimpressive.  But it would be unfair to expect him to inherit the qualities and charisma of his father.  But he was really unimpressive, did I say that?

PR experts to market Israel

"After creating US President Barack Obama's successful online campaign and introducing Lance Armstrong's yellow wristbands to the world, American marketing agency SS+K faces a new challenge – branding the State of Israel among American youths.  The company has been hired in order to come up with various marketing schemes for diverse target audiences, and also to provide general guidelines for an Israeli public relations campaign in the United States."  (thanks Sarah)

Abu Maher Al-Yamani

This is a great Palestinian struggler.  Americans know of (and admire) Israeli killers, butchers, and war criminals. How many know of this man???

The Amal Movement now accuses me of feudalism.

"داود داود
ردّاً على ما ورد في جريدتكم للكاتب أسعد أبو خليل تحت عنوان «كشف اللثام الحريري»(«الأخبار»، 25/10/2010): نأسف أن يتعرض أحد قادة المقاومة الأخ داود داود لمثل هذا التهجّم، ولكن العجب يزول عندما يتجلبب الكاتب بجلباب مخلّفات الإقطاع.
حركة أمل
المكتب الإعلامي المركزي"

Sunday, September 26, 2010


"For what is occurring in Texas is not limited to Texas. The manufactured controversy about textbooks is part of a sad movement evident across this country: from numerous acts of anti-Muslim vandalism in California, Tennessee and Arizona to the sudden demonstrations against the so-called Ground Zero "mosque" in New York City, to the threats of a hitherto unknown Floridian to burn Qurans, to the polling data that reveals that one in five Americans believe that President Barack Obama is Muslim and that an outright majority could not identify him as a Christian (regardless of how many times he has publicly affirmed his Christian belief). Ironically, President Obama and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates may have inadvertently reinforced this astonishing data. They appealed to the publicity-seeking Floridian not to burn the Quran because, they insisted, such an act may jeopardize our troops overseas. They flattered his vanity. They should have just said that it is morally reprehensible and unacceptable to burn books, just as Obama should have stuck to his initially strong position on the validity and legality of the construction of the Islamic center in New York. Instead, he backtracked and said that he did not necessarily agree with the construction of the Islamic community center. Obama missed an opportunity to take a firm stand against the forces in America that want to retreat into spiritual isolation and false patriotism — and who would take us all with them." (thanks Ussama)

American Zionists and hatred of Muslims

"Such hostility toward Muslims is unfortunately not marginal in the pro-Israel community — unless one is prepared to define the huge annual policy conference of one of Washington’s foremost lobbies as “marginal.” At an AIPAC conference in March 2009, to take just one example, terrorism expert Steve Emerson spent 40 minutes stoking the worst fears of the mostly elderly attendees with a talk called “Tentacles of Terror: The Global Reach of Islamic Radicalism.” It could just as easily have been called “Scaring the Living Crap Out of Bubbe and Zayde.” As long as Jews are encouraged to believe that scary Muslims are hiding under every American bed, the idea is perpetuated that support for the Jewish state is a zero-sum contest between favoring Israel and favoring Arabs and Muslims. For too many American Jews, smearing Islam is seen as a legitimate expression of Zionism.   Groups like The Israel Project, the Middle East Media Research Institute and Middle East Forum seem to exist for no other reason than to spotlight the very worst aspects of Muslim societies. Magazines like Commentary and the Weekly Standard regularly traffic in the crudest stereotypes of Arabs and Muslims, and promote the harshest measures for dealing with them. Musing over the appropriateness of targeting Palestinian civilians during the Gaza conflict, Standard contributing editor Michael Goldfarb wrote approvingly, “To wipe out a man’s entire family, it’s hard to imagine that doesn’t give his colleagues at least a moment’s pause.”  Martin Kramer, a fellow at the Washington Institute of Near East Policy, president of the Shalem Center in Jerusalem and frequent AIPAC panelist, took things even further, suggesting that Israel’s siege on Gaza, could, by depressing population growth, “crack the culture of martyrdom, which demands a constant supply of superfluous young men.”  In 2007, in what could be seen as a precursor to the current uproar over the Park 51 Islamic cultural center, Middle East Forum Director Daniel Pipes played a key role in flaming controversy over the Khalil Gibran International Academy, a planned New York City public school emphasizing the study of Arabic language and culture. Pipes asserted that such a school represented a potential threat simply by virtue of teaching Arabic.  It would be wrong, however, to pretend that these sorts of smears have been the work solely of conservatives. Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz, a liberal who promotes himself as Israel’s leading public defender, regularly rehearses the most clownish calumnies against Israel’s adversaries, real and perceived. Citing the Grand Mufti Amin al-Husseini’s collaboration with the Nazis, Dershowitz wrote, “the Palestinian leadership, supported by the Palestinian masses, played a significant role in Hitler’s Holocaust.” The obviously ahistorical stupidity of that claim aside, it hardly needs pointing out that a similar attempt to lay collective blame upon Jews would be immediately — and rightly — condemned, by Dershowitz and others." (thanks "Ibn Rushd")

AlAhram newspaper publishes a picture of the first man on the moon

(thanks Khaled)

Abu Mazen lies

"The Palestinian community in the US has denied that de facto Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas had met with its members, affirming that he only met with a limited number of PA employees other than meeting the Jewish community.  The Palestinian community said in a statement on Saturday that the alleged meeting with Abbas never happened.  "We challenge the PA in Ramallah to declare the name of one Palestinian institution or society that participated in this alleged meeting," it said."

Marty Peretz

Watch protesters follow Marty Peretz as he leaves Harvard through a back door.  As I watched the small number of Harvard protesters, i thought to myself: how big would the crowd be if his words were directed against African-Americans and Jews and not Muslims?

Neil MacFarquhar: New York Times' correction

I wrote yesterday about the lousy propaganda piece by Neir MacFarquhar about the speech by the Iranian president.  The New York Times printed this the next day:  "A headline on Friday with an article about an incendiary speech in the United Nations General Assembly by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran summarized his remarks about the Sept. 11 terror attacks incorrectly. In his speech, Mr. Ahmadinejad asserted various theories about the origin of the attacks, including the possibility that they had been planned by the United States. He did not say that the United States had planned the attacks." (thanks Joe)

Shi`ite politics in the Gulf

"Those gains look fragile amid a mood of rising sectarian tension across the region. In Bahrain, months of agitation by Shias campaigning for greater rights have led to growing government fears of worse to come in the event of trouble with Iran. Pressure from Saudi-aligned Sunni radicals has led to a full-scale crackdown on Shia politicking. Widespread arrests, the closure of mainstream Shia websites and newspapers, and the banning of some Shia preachers from mosque pulpits have combined to tilt much of Shia opinion into sullen hostility to the state." (thanks Olivia)

Now Western media would refer to this as signs of royal reforms

""Just down the road in Saudi Arabia, men aren't allowed to talk to women in public, but the phone at Khadija Mohammed's Bahrain sex shop hardly stops ringing. One favorite item: fruit-flavored edible underwear."" (thanks Redouane)

The real Ed Miliband

"The reality is that Ed Miliband is not so much the 'change' candidate, but a politician who will deliver more of the same neo-liberal policies that both Conservative and Labour governments have followed over the past 30 years.  Genuinely left-wing politicians talk about dismantling capitalism or radically reforming it. Miliband calls instead for a 'capitalism which works for people'.  Genuine socialists believe in public ownership of the commanding heights of the economy. Ed Miliband doesn't even advocate re-nationalisation of the railways - a move supported by a majority of Tory voters, never mind Labour party members.  If Miliband were a committed leftist, he would surely have been proud to have been labeled a Bennite. Instead, when the Guardian's Decca Aitkenhead mentioned 'the whisper' that he was really a disciple of Tony Benn, he went off 'like a shotgun' - as if Bennism was some appalling disease.  And it's hard to imagine a genuine socialist accepting a donation from a hedge fund, headed by a multimillionaire trader who has profited greatly from currency speculation and the credit crunch.  With his pro-capitalist, pro-globalisation views, Miliband is, in fact, further to the right than many European Christian Democrats, who believe that big shops should stay closed on Sundays and that the state should run the railways. He's certainly further to the right than old school One Nation Tories like Harold Macmillan, Rab Butler and Sir Ian Gilmour, all of whom supported a mixed economy." (thanks Nu`man)

A degree in Mothering. Why not fathering?

"The University College for Mothering and Family Science, according to its founders, is the first university in the world to offer a bachelor’s degree in the “mothering profession”." (thanks Hani)

Saudi role in violence in Iraq

Finally, an Iraqi puppet official points a finger at Saudi Arabia in the smuggling of weapons.   He even accused Saudi Arabia of assisting the "terrorists."  (thanks Hassan)

Do you now understand why Arabs and Muslims (I am not talking about their lousy regimes) won't rest until they develop nuclear weapons?

"The United Nations nuclear watchdog narrowly rejected an Arab-sponsored resolution Friday calling on Israel to join the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. The vote by the International Atomic Energy Agency was a victory for the United States after a tough diplomatic battle. Washington had urged countries to vote down the symbolically important but non-binding resolution, saying it could derail broader efforts to ban nuclear warheads in the Middle East and threaten the current Israeli-Palestinian peace talks."

Carlos, the Jackal

The entry on Carlos in Wikipedia is hilariously false.  It has him attending meetings of the leadership of the PFLP.  It also does not know that Wadi` Haddad slapped him and kicked him out after the fiasco of Vienna.

For sophisticated and intelligent critiques of foreign policy, read the media of the House of Saud

This is the editor-in-chief of the mouthpiece of Prince Salman and his sons, Ash-Sharq Al-Awsat.  He writes this:  "Iran is weaker than a worm."  You can now deduce the criteria according to which people get hired in the media of the House of Saud.

Muhammad Arkoun

There are so many tributes written in the Arabic press about Muhammad Arkoun.  Of course, the US press does not notice matters relating to Arabic culture and thought.  If the driver of the assistant of Anwar Sadat's nephew died, the New York Times would have assigned a reporter to write a long obituary about him or her.  But a Lebanese scholar, Dalal Al-Bizri (with whom I disagree on all political issues) wrote an interesting little piece about him: he headed her dissertation committee at the Sorbonne and she wondered how many of those who are writing about him in the Arabic press have actually bothered to read him.   Arkoun is praised because people have taken him to be a symbol of progress and enlightenment without knowing what he stood for actually.  Professor Bob Lee of Colorado College is an the US expert of Arkoun and he has tried to introduce him to American readers.   Arkoun is not easy to read and he wrote mostly for his French colleagues in the academe.  So he did not write for the general reader.  He himself associates his name with a "project" in Islam but what is that project really, aside from the general titles of rationality and modernity?  Nasr Hamid Abu Zayd certainly can claim to have been working hard to launch a project within Islam.   The loyal translator of Arkoun into Arabic (Hashim Salih) spent so much time and space in the books to try to decipher Arkoun, but he was close to him so that interpretation was helpful (I can't stand Hashim Salih, i met him once in London and he shocked me with some of his views that there are enlightened Arab dictators (like Saudi King and Husni Mubarak) and bad Arab dictators like Bashshar Al-Asad, etc).  One person I read in As-Safir made a good point: that there are two phases in the writings of Arkoun: the early phase and the later phase.  In the later phase, he sounded like an unsophisticated neocon in what he had to say about Islam (like his role in that commission about religious symbols in public schools--although i at the time supported the recommendations).   Take his notion of "Applied Islamics" for example: to subject any Islamic phenomenon to the critical examination of the mind as tool.  Taha Husayn suggested that back in the 1920s.   His solutions are often moderate and not radical: like reconciling some community standards in Morocco with tolerant version of Islam.  Many of the writings about him mentioned the number of books he wrote in Arabic: of course, he did not write in Arabic at all.  Those were translations of his French work.  He was masterful in writing in French but that translates badly in English and Arabic.  Arkoun can't be compared to Ibn Rushd.  Ibn Rushd had impact on the elite adn the masses while the impact of Arkoun was mostly felt among a segment of the French academic elite.  Not really anywhere outside of that.   Now, i should write a tribute to Nasr Hamid Abu Zayd once I have time.  The latter tried to influence the religious elite, the political elite, and the masses.  And he was quite effective if he was not fought by the Mubarak clerics at Al-Azhar.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

sexism in the Zionist entity

"The Eda Haredit's consideration to bar women from the main street in the haredi Jerusalem neighborhood Mea Shearim during the Sukkot holiday has sparked a secular-religious clash that is likely to peak over the holiday.

A group of Jerusalem women announced that it will hold a demonstration in the epicenter of the extremist haredi stronghold in the city in protest against the increasing radicalization and damage to haredi women's status within the community." (thanks Farah)

You better

"When Angry Arab speaks, you should listen."

The propaganda of the New York Times: Neil MacFarquhar

I have criticized MacFurquhar's coverage of the Middle East before (and he once responded by sending me insults).  But this article covering the speech by Ahmadinajad is a classic case of the propaganda of the New York Times.  In other words, the New York Times does not even try to feign objectivity on the Middle East anymore, and its reporters are now licensed to engage in blatant propaganda about Israeli interests.  Look at this most irresponsible propaganda piece.  I have mocked and criticized the kooky pronouncements of Ahmadinajad (mostly in Arabic but also in English, here).  But this is outrageous journalism--if it is journalism.  First, the headline.  In the printed hard copy of the paper, the headline was "Iran Leader Says US Planned 9/11 Attacks." When I read that yesterday, i could not believe it and immediately planned to blog about it.  I went to the internet version and saw that the paper (typically) sneakily changed the headline.  Why?  Because the headline was quite inaccurate.  I dislike Ahmadinajad and I dislike kooky conspiracy theories about Sep. 11, but certainly the speech (which I watched live) did not say what the headline alleged.  I don't know what Ahmadinajad thinks in his mind, but he offered three "theories" about Sep. 11 and called for an investigation.  So in terms of reckless journalism, the headline certainly was a classic example.   And then MacFarquhar, began the piece with this about his speech:  "made a series of incendiary remarks."  Look at those words.  Israeli leaders consistently threaten Lebanon and the Palestinian with destruction and bombings, do you think a New York Times reporter would ever dare to describe Israeli hateful statements as "incendiary"?  But you know what?  I like this.  I like that the New York Times does not even pretend to be a professional media organization anymore.  It is all a joke.  

Friday, September 24, 2010

Uncovering the Hariri veil:

My weekly article in Al-Akhbar:  "Uncovering the Hariri veil:  The State of Sectarian Sedition."

This is Zionism

"Associates of Dr. Ariella Azoulay, who teaches visual culture and contemporary philosophy in Bar-Ilan's Hermeneutics and Cultural Studies Program, and who has published books against the occupation, said: "The university has no germane reason to disqualify Ariella other than her positions. This is a political decision disguised as a professional one.""

King PlayStation

You have to be really dumb to seek answers about Middle East questions and dilemmas from KingPlay Station. Don't get me wrong, it is very smart to ask him questions about video games.

A license to blog

"According to The Media Note, Saudi Information and Culture Ministry spokesman Abdul Rahman Al-Hazza announced last night Saudi time that all Saudi Arabian web publishers and online media, including blogs and forums, will need to be officially registered with the government." (thanks Ali)

Youth Against Normalization: for the boycott of Israel

"The repression against BDS activists in France is reaching a new scale with the prosecution of a French MP, Alima Boumediene-Thiery (member of the French Senate) who has participated in a BDS action in the Paris region one year ago and who is a supporter of the BDS campaign. Her trial is due to take place in Pontoise (North of Paris) on Thursday October 14. She is accused (like all the other French BDS activists prosecuted) of “incitation to racial hatred” and “discrimination against the Israeli nation”."

Prince Sultan Bin Fahd

This Saudi Prince does not like to fly, so he ordered a special bus for his travel (thanks Hassan):

Advocating secularism in the Arab world

Kudos to the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine for publishing a booklet advocating secularism.  High time that Arab leftists take a strong stand in pushing for secularism.  The booklet is very thin and contains nothing new or original, and rehashes the jargon about democracy but it is still needed.

From a Dahlan to Fahlanists

So Mahmud Abbas (a Dahlanist) reassures Dahlanist Americans.

The second English translation of the Second Sex

"Whenever I try to read Borde and Malovany-Chevallier’s translation like an ordinary reader, without constantly checking against the French, I feel as if I were reading underwater. Beauvoir’s French is lucid, powerful and elegantly phrased. Even in Parshley’s translation young women would devour The Second Sex, reading it night and day. It’s hard to imagine anyone doing that with this version." (thanks Anindya)

What is new? Zionist racism

Do those racists know that Persian cuisine is one of the most delicious and sophisticated cuisine of the whole world?  "The New York Post reported that hotels guests complained of a foul odor in the hotel caused by the food cooked especially for Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.  The leader of the Islamic Republic does not eat the food prepared by the hotel chefs for guests, but instead brought his own personal chef from Iran to cook his meals for him.  Guests told the New York Post that his meals "stunk up the hotel," prompting them to leave the hotel and seek lodging elsewhere." (thanks Farah)

How cruel

"More than 7,300 appeals to stop the execution – the first of a woman in Virginia since 1912 – had been made to the governor in a state second only to Texas in the number of people it executes."

Americans are socialists but they don't know it

"The respondents were presented with unlabeled pie charts representing the wealth distributions of the U.S., where the richest 20 percent controlled about 84 percent of wealth, and Sweden, where the top 20 percent only controlled 36 percent of wealth. Without knowing which country they were picking, 92 percent of respondents said they'd rather live in a country with Sweden's wealth distribution.   As the new Forbes billionaires list, released Wednesday, testifies, the richest Americans are getting richer, even as the country as a whole gets poorer. After 2005 income inequality continued to balloon."

Yasser Arafat and Barometre

"Barometre, a small bar near the gate of the American University of Beirut, is known for its delicious mezze, and was also a favorite of Yasser Arafat."  1) I can't stand Yasser Arafat but throughout his years in Beirut, he never ever went to a bar or a restaurant or a cafe.  Never.  2)  Barometre opened after Arafat had left Beirut in 1982.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Saudi-Israeli conspiracy? What Saudi-Israeli conspiracy?

The mouthpiece of Prince Salman and his sons, Ash-Sharq Al-Awsat, had this headline yesterday (quoting deputy prime minister of Israel):  "Netanyahu is very serious, so try him."

Sri Lankan maid

A Sri Lankan maid died in Lebanon.  She was electrocuted.

Wadi` Haddad

An accurate portrait of Wadi` Haddad by Saqr Abu Fakhr. (thanks Muhammad)

bigotry in the land of freedoms

"Last month, the commission sued JBS Swift, a meatpacking company, on behalf of 160 Somali immigrants, saying supervisors and workers had cursed them for being Muslim; thrown blood, meat and bones at them; and interrupted their prayer breaks.  On Sept. 1, the commission filed a case against Abercrombie & Fitch, the fashionable clothing retailer, accusing it of discrimination for refusing to hire an 18-year-old Muslim because she was wearing a head scarf.  And in June, the agency sued a Four Points by Sheraton hotel in Phoenix, asserting that its management had illegally permitted a hostile work environment in which workers called an Iraqi immigrant a “camel jockey,” mocked him with Arab ululations and taunted him over news items about captured terrorists. (The hotel’s manager said many of the claims were untrue.)  “There’s a level of hatred and animosity that is shocking,” said Mary Jo O’Neill, regional attorney of the E.E.O.C.’s Phoenix office. “I’ve been doing this for 31 years, and I’ve never seen such antipathy toward Muslim workers.”  Although Muslims make up less than 2 percent of the United States population, they accounted for about one-quarter of the 3,386 religious discrimination claims filed with the E.E.O.C. last year. Complaints filed by Jews rose slightly in fiscal 2009, while complaints filed by Catholics, Protestants, Sikhs and Seventh-day Adventists declined. Claims of race, sex and age discrimination also fell."

Anti-Islam bigots: do they know how strikingly similar they are to Nazi campaigns against Jews in 1930s Germany?

"Some conservative members of the Texas Board of Education assert that the history books used in this state have a pro-Islamic bias, and they are upset about it."  Yes, let Irshad Manji writes all the Islam sections of those books.  That should correct the bias.  End of story.  

De Beauvoir's Second Sex (the new translation)

"It is one thing to ignore the many positive features of “The Second Sex” (for example, the way Beauvoir deconstructs the writings of D. H. Lawrence and other male authors) and quite another to dismiss as “preposterous” Beauvoir’s claim that one is not born, but becomes, a woman. Gray bases her argument on the sight of male toddlers grabbing cars and guns while girls cherish their dolls. The complex interaction between nature and nurturance cannot be dismissed so easily, as the extensive scholarly literature on this subject makes abundantly clear. Let me simply add my personal experience to Gray’s: as the mother of three sons and one daughter, I observed a much greater fluidity in their choice of toys, marked less by gender than by individual temperament.  Just as Gray reacts negatively to the content of “The Second Sex,” so, too, she finds fault with the new translation. It does not “flow as nicely” as the earlier one. Constance Borde and Sheila Malovany-Chevallier produced a highly literal, complete translation, down to Beauvoir’s original punctuation. This sometimes makes for difficult reading, and well it should, since “The Second Sex” is — among other things — a philosophical text. Would anyone think of translating Heidegger so that he flows nicely, when he rarely does?"

One of the most important books of the 20th century: de Beauvoir

"There may indeed be much that is dated about Simone de Beauvoir’s “Second Sex,” but contrary to Francine du Plessix Gray’s claim (May 30), there is nothing “preposterous” in the assertion that “one is not born, but rather becomes, a woman.”  This line has inspired some of the most interesting and influential thinking in feminist theory over the past five decades. It has brought students to understand the differences and relations between sex (as in the body one is born with) and gender (as in the way one is brought to interpret and live that body), and about the historical and cultural determinants that produce notions of femininity.  Gray diminishes the importance of this assertion by suggesting that it was meant to bolster Beauvoir’s idea that marriage and motherhood were merely “institutions imposed by men to curb women’s freedom.” Understood within Beauvoir’s existential framework, this sentence claims, rather, that women can be women without having to be mothers; that there is no “natural” image of femininity that women must subscribe to (or else accept that they are “unnatural”); and that each woman has, within certain biological and economic limitations, a share in defining her own idea of what it means to live her sex and her sexuality. For anyone who has been accused of not acting “ladylike,” there is nothing dated about Beauvoir’s assertion."  This is a reaction to a review of the second translation of the book.  When the book first appeared in an English translation, it was also reviewed in the Times and the reviewer basically said: well, sexism may apply to France but not here in the US (I read that in Betty Friedan's Feminine Mystique.)

You can't say that the Lebanese Ministry of Defense is not defending Lebanon vis-a-vis daily Israeli threats

"A Lebanese flag over 300 meters long entered the Guinness Book of World Records in Kuwait on Wednesday. The flag, which has a surface of 65,650 square meters, a length of 325 meters and a height of 202 meters, is the world's largest. The project was sponsored by the Lebanese Defense Ministry and financed by Lebanese businessman Wadih Absi."

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


The Western press is busy covering the hair of Hillary Clinton.  No matter what a woman does, she will always be judged on her appearance.

This is humor of the day: on the station of King Fahd's brother-in-law

"Notable is Al Arabiya, a world-class TV network that strives for accuracy and balance. For its fairness and objectivity, it was duly rewarded with the first media interview given by President Barack Obama just days after his inauguration. Al-Hurra, "the free one," also is commendable in getting the facts to the Arab street."   Of course, this person who is offering his views of Arab media WITHOUT KNOWING ARABIC.  But he must have heard good things from Zionists.   (thanks Emily)

Mood of the puppet

"The book also reports that the United States has intelligence showing that manic-depression has been diagnosed in President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan and that he was on medication, but adds no details. Mr. Karzai’s mood swings have been a challenge for the Obama administration."

Hizbullah and Saudi Arabia

A delegation from Hizbullah has just met with the Saudi ambassador in Lebanon.  No good can come out of such a meeting.

Would Harvard had let him speak if he was an anti-Semite?

"Harvard academics and students are demanding that the university rescind a plan to honour the editor-in-chief of a leading Washington political magazine this week after he wrote that Muslims are unfit for the protections of the US constitution and said that "Muslim life is cheap"." (thanks Elie)

Fed up with puppets

"US officials are fed up with Palestinian attacks on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and demanded that PA leaders restrain their statements, Ynet learned Tuesday."


Those Arabs who pinned hope on the Turkish position vis-a-vis Israel were too naive.  Were is the Turkish promise to link relationship with Israel to lifting the siege of Gaza?

Israel's dirty hands

"Netcare's hospital in Durban allegedly conducted more than 100 operations in 2001-03 in which poor Brazilians and Romanians were paid to donate kidneys to wealthy Israelis." (thanks Farah)

Angry Arab on Twitter

Farah created a Twitter account for Angry Arab.

Destroying--for you Jamal Mubarak

"Egyptian security forces on Tuesday destroyed 15 tunnels used to smuggle cars, petrol and other goods into the Gaza Strip, a security source said."

Haykal controversy

Muhammad Hasanayn Haykal caused a big stir in his last appearance on Aljazeera.   He implied that Anwar Sadat insisted on making coffee for Nasser in his last days and that he may have poisoned him.  Sadat's daughter  is now suing Haykal.  (Suing? In Egypt? Like there is rule of law in that family farm?).   I believe the possibility personally but Haykal cant get off easily: if you had doubts, why did you not express them earlier?  If you had doubts, why did you collaborate with Sadat and help him against this Nasserist enemies (known as "centers of power")?

This is the kind of debate that would have taken place about Judaism in Nazi Germany

"Is the rise of terrorism and violence justifiably traced to the teachings of Islam, or is this call to war a twisted interpretation of the true Muslim faith?"  Of course, like the Nazi Germany, only one side is represented.  They bring people who can speak on the side of "Islam-is-terrorism", and they bring lousy speakers on the other side.  (thanks Nir)

Saudi arms deal

"The Obama administration is about to propose the sale of more than $60 billion worth of advanced weapons to Saudi Arabia. Apart from providing an obvious boost to the U.S. defense industry, the clear purpose here is to send a message to Iran. As an unnamed U.S. official stated a few days ago, "We want Iran to understand that its nuclear program is not getting them leverage over their neighbors, that they are not getting an advantage. . .  We want the Iranians to know that every time they think they will gain, they will actually lose." In short, the sale is "mainly intended as a building block for Middle East regional defenses to box in Iran."  I get all that, although it seems like an awful lot of weaponry to "contain" a country whose entire defense budget, according to the International Institute for Strategic Studies, is only $10 billion.  But my real question is this: if our primary goal is to discourage Iran from developing nuclear weapons, then might this new initiative be counter-productive? Doesn't it just give Iran an even bigger incentive to get a nuclear deterrent of its own? Think about it: if you had a bad relationship with the world's most powerful country, if you knew (or just suspected) that it was still backing anti-government forces in your country, if its president kept telling people that "all options were still on the table," and if that same powerful country were now about to sell billions of dollars of weapons to your neighbors, wouldn't you think seriously about obtaining some way to enhance your own security? And that's hard to do with purely conventional means, because your economy is a lot smaller and is already constrained by economic sanctions. what are your other options?" 

Hillary feels sorry for Gaza: it is about economy and not occupation

"I feel terrible for the oppression and the treatment that they are receiving. I want them to feel – I was in Gaza about 12 years ago – and I would like Gaza to have the same economic opportunities as we now see in the West Bank..." (thanks M.)

Colonial tactics

US and NATO forces are killing civilians in Afghanistan on regular bases, and the New York Times is busy with this story:  "There are no statistics about how many Afghan girls masquerade as boys. But when asked, Afghans of several generations can often tell a story of a female relative, friend, neighbor or co-worker who grew up disguised as a boy."  The White Man always looks for bizarre stories in colonized countries to justify the colonization itself. (thanks Abdallah)

Censorship in Kuwait

"The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information said today that the decision of the administration of Kuwait Book Fair to bar thirty five titles from displaying in Kuwait Book Fair, the 35th version starting mid October, is a continued restriction on freedom of expression. Lately , Kuwait started a crackdown on journalists , trying them for their opinion pieces asserting that the relative openness in Kuwait compared to its Gulf neighbours was a sweet memory.  The book fair administration decided to bar thirty five titles for distinguished Egyptian and Arab writers claiming the books were contrary to the fair and state policies, despite the fact that the barred books are not barred in any Arab country and they do not address the Kuwaiti government or society in any way.  The barred titles include ,” What Life taught me ?” by Mohamed Hasanein Heikal,”Arab Intellectuals and Israel” by Galal Amin, The Maligned Bunch by Fahmy Howaidi, Tyrants and The Unjust by Gamal Badawi , Poppies by Khairy Shalabi ,Stories of the Institute by Gamal alGhitany and Upper Egypt Train by Youssef al- Kaeed.  In addition , all books of Alaa al-Aswani were barred as well as other titles for Egyptian and Arab writers published by al-Shorouk and al- Ein print houses." (thanks "Ibn Rushd")


Comrades/friends Bassam, Sinan, Noura, and Nadya and others are behind this new and wonderful site.  It deals with the Middle East and in a number of languages.  I am hoping to be a part of it too.

Repression by the Ayatullah regime

"She was convicted of gathering and plotting to commit crime (against the state), propaganda against the establishment and "moharebe" or waging war against God, a crime that can be punished by death under the Islamic Republic's Sharia law.  In addition to the jail term she has to pay a $400 fine as an alternative punishment to 74 lashes, her lawyer Mohammad Sharif said.  He vowed to appeal the verdict, saying there was "no legal basis for this charge," according to the semi-official ILNA news agency.  Opposition website Kaleme said Nazar Ahari, who was released last Sunday on $500,000 bail, had spent more than 100 days in solitary confinement.
She was also arrested shortly after the disputed June 2009 presidential vote and released only after spending three months in Tehran's notorious Evin prison, where dozens of moderate activists and journalists are still being held.""

The puppet needs to continue to bow down

"A bipartisan group of senators are circulating a new letter urging President Obama to speak out publicly to pressure the Palestinian leadership not to abandon the Middle East peace talks."

Mistakes happen, every single day

"NATO Special Forces killed a civilian and wounded two others during a nighttime operation in southeastern Khost province, officials said on Monday."

PA is (sort of) against Israeli killing of Palestinians because it is bad for their image

Look at this former leftist-turned a tool of the collaboration regime in Ramallah:  "Ghassan Khatib, the spokesman for the Palestinian government in the West Bank, said actions such as the killing of Abu Shilbaya, which he called an assassination, damaged the Palestinian Authority's standing among its own people, giving it the image of a "sort of a subcontractor of the Israeli occupation."  "We make no secret of our cooperation with Israel, but such Israeli activities give the impression that this is collaboration, not cooperation," Khatib said."

Methods of Israeli terrorism

"Muhammad Abu Shilbaya, a brother of the slain militant, said that soldiers forced their way into his house before 3 a.m. and ordered him to lead them to his brother's home nearby. There the front door was broken open and soldiers entered the darkened home while Muhammad was ordered to turn and face a wall outside.   An army statement said that the militant, who turned out to be unarmed, had run toward the soldiers "in a suspicious way" with his hands behind his back, and when he ignored orders to halt, the troops, who felt threatened, opened fire. A medical report from a hospital in Tulkarm said that Abu Shilbaya had been shot twice in the chest and once at the base of the neck."

Zionism is racism, always

"Gideon Avrahami, Malha's director, said 1,000 to 1,200 Palestinians come to the mall on any given day - about 3 percent of all visitors. But on Muslim holidays and Sundays, the figure rises to 25 percent.  Shtern said that 35 percent of the Jewish shoppers he interviewed at Malha expressed negative opinions about Arabs there. "If I would go to them, they'd butcher me," one woman said. One man said the mall had "gone down hill" with the Arabs there. Some said the Arab presence didn't bother them. Only one interviewee, a midwife from the Ramat Sharett neighborhood, said something positive: "It's excellent. They don't have a mall so they enjoy themselves here."" (thanks Olivia)

Sexism in Israel: never a story in the Western press

"But that is not a good enough reason for a group of non-Haredi women to cancel a planned march through the neighborhood Friday morning to protest discrimination against women. On the contrary: They are threatening to petition the High Court of Justice against the police for having given them a permit to demonstrate only outside the neighborhood rather than in Shabbat Square, as they had wanted."

Uncovered news story

One of the biggest uncovered news stories about the Middle East is the success of the Lebanese state and its security services in uncovering two dozens Israeli terrorist and espionage networks.   More than 140 accused Israeli agents have been arrested.  This is probably the biggest success story against the Mossad since the founding the Israel.  Yet, barely a story in the Western press.  Of course, the Israeli press is a tool of the state in matters dealing with intelligence.  

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The situation

Comrade Samah provides a critical review of the Lebanese dilemmas.

Moral wars in Lebanon

Comrade Khalid writes on the "moral" wars of Lebanon.

War crimes are not news for CNN

"War correspondent Michael Ware worked for CNN from 2006 until April of this year, during which time he became known for covering the hellscape of our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan with brutal honesty and a keen analytical sense that often cut against the standard talking points.He's since been struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder and today the Brisbane Times is reporting on an event that might have contributed to that -- an alleged 2007 war crime that CNN refused to air.
Kate Dennehy, who reports that Ware is "set to reveal" the details, describes the incident:
Mr Ware tells of the alleged incident he says he witnessed and filmed in 2007 when working for US news giant CNN, but claims the network decided the footage was too graphic to go to air."


ADC reacts to the hate against Islam and Muslims in the US.  It plans to hold a special conference in response to deal with that by...honoring Prince Al-Walid Bin Talal.

Monday, September 20, 2010



Leading the bunch

You can't say that the Egyptian people don't have a sense of humor.  An Egyptian added his picture here. (thanks Farah)

Israeli propaganda

This article is Israeli propaganda.  There is no question about it.

Interview with Angry Arab

"Professor AbuKhalil: "The shift from a unipolar US world to a multipolar world is overstated"" (thanks Bart)

Humor of the day from the Wall Street Journal: a sure sign that Fouad Ajami has lost it, completely

This is hilarious.  This is really hilarious but it shows you the low level of Western media coverage of the Middle East.  This is said about Elaph: the sleazy Saudi site (which specializes in promoting and featuring pictures of scantily clad women):  "A survey by Elaph, the most respected electronic daily in the Arab world..."  Most respected? Maybe only among sleazy Saudi princes.   Wait: no.  This shows you how out of touch Fouad Ajami is.  Ajami has become so clueless about the Middle East that he refers to a sleazy site as "most respected"--only because the site features cooperation between the House of Saud and House of Israel.   This is like me describing an American porn site as "the most respected daily in the US.  Those who rely on Ajami to learn about the Middle East should know what to expect.   (thanks "Ibn Rushd")

Photoshopping Qureen Youtube of Jordan

This Jordanian site points out that I had indeed pointed out an earlier photoshop picture of Queen Youtube of Jordan in which her arms were covered.  (thanks Koumay)

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Comrade Sinan

Comrade Sinan's new novel reviewed in Al-Hayat.

"The oil weapon for another war" (two translations)

Khalid kindly translated per my suggestion the article by comrade Fawwaz about the Saudi arms deal:

"Saudi Arabia has announced the “Deal of the century” to buy American “F-15s”, and around 150 Military Choppers at the time when the negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians had taken place. The timing between the two events could have been a coincidence, but it’s a coincidence that does not abandon the significant evidence of the new forming relationship between Arab Oil, Israel, and the Palestinian cause.

The United States is the biggest Arms dealer in the world, its arms Industry is the umbilical cord that feeds its economy. And the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is the biggest client for the American Weaponry. Its military expenditure has reached $11.2bn in the years of 2005 and 2008. Its not confidential that the purchases of Oil producing countries of American arms, as well as operating trillions of dollars in the purchase of American Treasury Bonds like the private sector, has played an important role in reducing the commercial imbalance between Saudi and the US. Beside that, it should be added that the role of this Aero-Deal (And another Navy-Deal which could follow) would compensate a good percentage of the Trillionic’ Military Expenditure which the US has spent on the Iraq and Afghanistan & “International Terrorism”

There is no need to go in depth on whether the $60bn deal will affect the military balance between Saudi Arabia and Israel. The Military Israeli analysts they don’t see any impact to that. And also supplying KSA with new F-15 fighters has came after an American announcement to supply Israel with “F-35” which is more developed and enhanced.

There is no need for Israel to mention the reasons for the deal to be commenced, the military analyst told “Haaretz” that the new element that deal has added to the military situation in the region “not all the arms in the region are poised on Israel

Its not strange not to mention Israel in what the political analysts (Lebanese) for this unjustified gigantic spending. But what’s really peculiar that this negligence does not draw their attention and makes them wonder! The kingdom appears under their pens threatened from the south from Somalia, “Al Qaida” Organization, and the Hotheen Military Movement on the borders with Yemen. To the North, its facing a domestic religious-sectarian war in Iraq, and the biggest peril is Iran which is pursuing the Nuclear Weapons.

Its hard to imagine any role that the Air force can play to defend against “Al Qaida” or to repel religious-sectarian wars, on the assumption that Iraq will carry it out no doubt, on the same level, the Hoothey threat can be serious, the experiences indicated that Sa’ada Wars is approached by the Yemeni Ruler who is the “War Contractor” once to attract Saudi Money and Saudi Military support, and once to blackmail or attract the Qatari money and the Qatari conduit.

But, what role the Air-Force will play against the Iranian nuclear “Peril”? The only answer is to launch operational assaults against the Iranian Nuclear Facilities, lets assume that this is the only excuse to spend $60bn, it is a little late, its more likely that Iran will pull off in producing a nuclear weapon. If the latter succeeded in doing so before the end of the 10 years required to deliver the Jetfighters to Saudi Arabia, train their pilots on them, and absorbing the new tech, so the scenario will be like “Hit and Run” as they say. In this case the KSA in case of a new war in the region, will be forced to cry for help to bring the  American Forces and their allies for their protection as they did in 1991, so the planes will be like complementary gifts for Saudi to accept the reality of the Iranian Nukes rather than being means to prevent it.

On the other hand, Its not really clear the role of the deal in building competitive military ability & Saudi Prevention to face the Iranian capabilities. The gap is very large between the two countries, Iran (Military wise) supersedes Saudi Arabia in all kinds of arms, they ultimately surpass them in artillery, military rockets, and Navy. The arbitrator here is the big military variety in the number of military forces between the two countries. The difference goes for Iran in a ratio of 5:1. beside this, the difference should be added to the marginal maneuvers between the two countries, where KSA spends 10% of their GDP on arms and they are consumers, where Iran spends 3% and they are producers.

And the worse of it all, that “Boeing” the producer of “F-15” and the one who taking the big cut from the $60bn, will ensure the job continuation for 77 thousands of their employees in 44 American states. This is not the first time  where an arms military company presents a billion dollar deal as a mean to save the American labor from unemployment. so Its looks like those $60bn the main purpose for them is to ensure job opportunities for American Labor and an aggregated profit for “Boeing” and the ones alike who produces arms. That’s not to mention the commissions for Saudi, Arab and foreign brokers and conduits.

There is no meaning here to use that money in the “Continued Arabian Development” or the Arabs reaching the pinnacle “Knowledgeable Society” as the reports invites to “Arabian Humanitarian Development” or what Muhammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum society promises us or to finance the sold “Arabian Development Project”. But there is a meaning in saying that Arabian Saudi has all the benefit in residing towards arms and in search for better ways to employ their capital for the benefit of their citizens.

 Its much better that the $60bn contributed in hiring 77 thousand employees and labors in Saudi Arabia especially when the Saudis represent only 38% of the working force and to contribute in reducing unemployment, especially the unemployment of graduates that reaches to 20%. In the Worlds richest oil country, which its debt has crossed the barrier of $200bn due to its continual finance to the American Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and extravagance spending, the 120 thousand millionaires who have among themselves $500bn with 20-30% of the population living under the line of poverty and child labor in the shadow of social hierarchy. If we scrutinize the view in perspective of  War on Terror (Without Double Standards) its better to listen to the warning which was called by Dr. Turkey Al Hamad when he warned against the elimination of Medium Hierarchy of Saudi Arabia. He indicated that whenever poverty rises, fundamentalist rises. And the Saudi is a major source of fundamentalist and Terrorism.

On the other hand, as long as there is an Arabian Leader who can by pen stroke grant American Arms monopoly such deal, and force his countries, citizens to spend $60bn without the need for anyone to question his decision except himself, or without representative control or authority elected or designated we can be sure that the United States of America will be the exalted advocate to policy, military, security of the inherited and individual autocratic regimes in the region, and the hypocrisy will continue around the human fields, and the only thing we have is to believe more that the “American Project” that aims to apply its democracy on our countries as indicated by liberals or feared by Islamists, and those who connive like them from indigenous and leftists, is no more than pipe dreams.

KSA (the sponsor of “Moderate” countries) did not come to the inauguration of the new rounds of peace negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians like Egypt and Jordan, they have offered something more valuable than the Petro colic contribution, they offered the announcement of change in their fighting beliefs! "

Mintra and Samya provided this translation:

"Oil Weapon … War on a Different Front

The Saudi "deal of the century"  to acquire American F15 fighter jets and around 150 military helicopters was announced on the eve of the start of Palestinian-Israeli negotiations. The timing might be a coincidence, but  that does not undermine the deep significance of the new developments in the relation between Arab oil, Israel and the Palestinian Cause.

The United States is the worlds leading seller of weapons, its military industry is the engine that drives the economy. Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) surpasses the Arab countries as the largest buyer of the these arms to the tune of $11.2 billion spent between 2005-2008. It is not a secret that these acquisitions of US arms, along with the trillions of dollars invested in US treasury bonds and private sector plays a major role in reducing the current trade deficit between it and the US. Other uses for this deal, and a possible subsequent naval arms deal valued at $30 billion, is partial compensation to the US, for the trillions of dollars in military spending on the US wars on Iraq, Afghanistan and "Global Terrorism".

There is no need to seriously consider whether $60 billion worth of arms deals are going to affect the relative military capabilities or the defense balance between Israel and KSA. Israeli military analysts don't see any evidence to support such impact. Furthermore, supplying KSA with new F15 fighter jets, was preceded by another US arms deal supplying Israel with superior and more advanced F35 jets.

There is barely any mention of Israel in the justifications put forward to support this deal. The military commentator for the Haaretz Newspaper revealed the real new factor this deal plays in the region's military situation by saying: "Not all weapons in the Middle East are pointed at Israel".

So it is no surprise that Lebanese political analysts left out any mention of Israel in their attempts to spin and justify this astronomical waste of money. But what is odd, really odd, is their failure to notice this omission on their part. To them, the Kingdom appears to be existentially threatened from the south by Somalia, Al Qaeda and the Hothy armed uprising along the common border with Yemen, simultaneously while facing the prospect of a sectarian civil war in Iraq and the most pressing threat, Iran's pursuit of the nuclear bomb.

It is hard to imagine any effective role for the air force in defending the Kingdom against Al Qaeda or in preventing sectarian civil wars, that is assuming Iraq is inevitably headed that way. To the same degree, it is hard to take seriously the Hothy threat, as experiences continue to prove that the wars in Saada (Hothy area in Yemen) are sometimes peddled by the governing Yemeni war subcontracter to support his attempts seeking Saudi money and military support, or in other instances it is used to extract money and mediation efforts from Qatar.

But what role could an air force play against the Iranian nuclear "threat"? The obvious answer is in attacking the Iranian nuclear facilities. If we buy this justification for spending $60 billion, it comes at somewhat late stage. If at all successful, it is likely that Iran could finish building a nuclear weapon before the 10 years stipulated in the US-Saudi arms deal for the complete delivery of the jets, training pilots to operate them and use their new advanced features.  "A little too late is much too late", as the saying goes. Should a new regional war erupt, the Kingdom will again resort to calling in the armies of US and its Allies just like it did in back 1991. Under those circumstances, the jets are no longer useful in preventing a nuclear armed Iran, but rendered a mere consolation prize for Saudi Arabia to accept and live with it.

On the other hand, there is no clear role for this arms deal in building Saudi deterrence or military capabilities against the Iranian arsenal. The gap is immense, since Iran has the advantage in all types of weapons, particularly a superiority in artillery, ballistic missiles and naval forces. The decisive factor is huge mismatch in numbers of armed personnel to Iran's advantage, a ratio of 5 to 1. Add to this, the potential to increase defense spending, as Saudi Arabia spends 10% of GDP on defense, merely as a consumer, while Iran produces some of its arms while only spending 3% of its GDP.

More blatant is the announcement by Boeing, the manufacturer of F15 jets, and receiver of lion's share in the $60 billion, that the deal would guarantee the continued employment of 77,000 workers in 44 US states. Nor was this the first time a manufacturer has spinned billions dollar arms deal as a savior for US workers from unemployment. As such, the major goal behind this $60 billion deal appears to be providing US workers with jobs while the profits of Boeing and comparable military industry giants soar, and generating sales commissions for Saudi, Arab and Western middlemen.

There is no meaning here to a call for the use of this money in "Sustainable Arabic Development"  or in getting Arabs to the Enlightened Stage, as demanded for by the studies on "Arab Population Development" or promised by the Sheikh Mohamad bin Rashed Al Maktoum Foundation (UAE), or in financing the much anticipated Arab Renaissance Project. It is enough to say that Saudi Arabia would be advancing its own interests by veering towards armaments and looking for ways to use its funds in serving its people. What is more justifiable is using those $60 billion in creating 77,000 jobs for workers in Saudi Arabia proper, where Saudis represent a mere 38% of the workforce, and using it in helping to reduce unemployment especially among fresh graduates which is around 20%. So in the world's richest oil country, whose debts exceed $200 billion due to the financing of US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, along with wasteful spending, the 120,000 millionaires, amassing $500 billion, co-exist with 20-30% of the population deemed under the poverty line, add to that child labour, and vast class and regional inequalities. If we consider the 
"War on Terror" point of view, it would be imperative to heed the warning issued by Dr. Turki Al-Hamad when he warned about the shrinking Saudi middle class. He also pointed out that as poverty engulfs more, fundamentalism is entrenched further. Saudi Arabia being a major exporter of fundamentalism and terrorism.

On the other hand, as long as there is an Arab ruler who can with the strike of a pen grant US weapons monopolies such a deal, and force his country and people to spend $60 billion without any consultations, or approval from any elected, or appointed, representative or oversight body, we can rest assured that the USA will remain the main political, military and intelligence supporter of hereditary and despotic regimes in the region. And the hypocrisy about human right will continue. We can be even more certain that the "American Project" which aims to impose democracy on our countries as evangelized by liberals and suspected by Islamists and their cronies among leftists and nationalists, is nothing more than fairy dream!
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the sponsor of "moderate" Arab countries, did not attend the opening of the new round of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, unlike its colleagues Egypt and Jordan. But it did contribute something much more important than ceremonial participation. It offered an announcement of shift in its combat ideology."