Sunday, October 31, 2010

Clovis Maqsud: this a true story

Recently, Clovis Maqsud wrote an article for An-Nahar setting the conditions for normalization with Israel.  Days later in As-Safir, Clovis wrote calling for the categorical rejection of Israel.  What gives, o Clovis?

Iran and Arab countries

Regarding the post below about the Iranian political system, an alert reader pointed out to me that many Iranians have indeed been executed for opposing Khomeini and that declaration of opposition to Khamenei would not be tolerated.  But still: if you declare your opposition to a minister, or deputy to an assistant minister in most Arab countries, you would get in trouble.  It is a fact.

My driver in Damascus

My cab driver in Damascus went to pray at a local mosque.  He emerged to discover that his shoes were stolen.  I thought: another reason why not to pray.

Iran versus Arab countries

I saw an Iranian professor from the University of Tehran speak on RT news.  He prefaced his remarks by saying: I am not particularly a fan of Ahmadinajad.  I thought to myself: with all the noise that hypocritical Western governments make about the lack of democracy in Iran (and Iran is not a democracy for sure and its regime is repressive indeed): if a professor at any Arab university outside of Lebanon made that remark about the leader of that country, he would lose his job instantly and would be punished for sure.  This is what people in the West don't understand: people in the Middle East don't measure the Iranian political system by the standards of Swedish democracy but by the standards of governments in the Middle East.

Politically speaking

Some people are now wondering whether Bashshar Al-Asad--politically speaking only--is even more shrewd and more intelligent than his own father.  Which reminds me: i saw a sign over a Syrian military post outside of Damascus.  It reads: Hafidh Al-Asad: our Leader forever.  I remarked: Woe to the Syrian army if its leader is a dead man.

Ghazi Kan`an

I am told that former Minister of Interior (and Hariri tool and stooge), Ghazi Kan`an, died from 17 shots to the head.  That he shot himself once in the head but did not die.  The director of his office saw that and shot him again and again, to prove his loyalty to the regime.

Robert Fisk: lost forever, dazed and confused

He has become an embarrassment to himself.  I saw him on RT news channel.  And he as so bad.  I realized that he is a bad speaker and his anecdotal stories sound too fake and irrelevant.  A guest from Iran on the same program pointed out the inaccuracies of what he was saying.  Look at this silly piece by him: the first part (apart from the talk between Hariri and Ahmadinajad which was reported widely in the Lebanese press many days ago), really struck me as made up in its entirety.  I mean that. He may have lost it.  He is reporting about private conversations between heads of state.  And Fisk is now trying to sneakily distance himself from accusations that Syria was behind the assassination of Hariri when he himself also believed in it until recently.  Fisk--I dare say--flatly lies about Lebanon but not with malice. He mechanically reports all sorts of lies that he receives from his friends in March 14.  It is no true that Ahmadinajad said that Lebanon is Iran's "front line." He really invented that.  It is not true that Syria complained about absence of pictures of Bashshar.  And only an idiot or somebody who has not watched Sa`d Hariri for ten minutes would believe that idiot Sa`d Hariri would know the significance of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony.  I mean, Fisk: sometimes I dont even think you talk to your own driver, `Abed who can enlighten you.  Just because Fisk is brave against Israel and Western Zionists should not stop us from pointing out his utter incompetence and lack of credibility, especially on things Lebanese.

The sense from Lebanon

I just returned from Lebanon last night.  There is much nervousness about what is happening and what will happen.  It is all about the Hariri tribunal and its much anticipated--not by me--decision.  The US Middle East Zionist policy making apparatus is up in arms: because the March 14 movement is in such disarray.  Jeffrey Feltman foolishly assumed that his visit to Lebanon (in the wake of his visit to Saudi Arabia) will be sufficient to revive a corpse.  Feltman even thought he was being witty when he called on the Iranian president to learn from Lebanon's "pluralism".  I wonder if he dared to ask the Saudi Wahhabi king to learn from the pluralism of Lebanon too.  Feltman is furious at the transformation of Walid Jumblat: one of the most skillful--and most unprincipled--politicians in Lebanon.  His value is not so much in the size of his constituency which is very small, but in his abilities in political rhetoric and sloganeering.  The best gift that Hizbullah has ever attained--outside of Iranian support--is the stupidity of Sa`d Hariri.  This is the talk of the town.  You hear Sunnnis and Shi`ites, pro-March 8 and pro-March 14 all talk about the stupidity of this lucky or unlucky man--depending on the outcome.  It is not that he has not shown any signs of progress or learning or even accumulated experience but he has squandered one political opportunity after another.  He is mocked widely for spending so much time outside of Lebanon.  He leaves for Al-Riyadh to receive orders form the Saudi King or his lieutenants at the drop of a hat.  He has even squandered his fortune in stupid business moves: he bought the share of his brother Baha' only to lose much of it later.  But make no mistake about it: I learned that much of the Hariri expenditure in Lebanon is in fact Saudi money--and mostly from the budget of Prince Muqrin who may be replaced soon, probably by a son of Prince Salman.  There is so much going on in Lebanon: just like Lebanon in the 1950s, so many foreign and domestic intelligence services are in conflict in Lebanon.  This is a place infested with spies--not only Israelis.  I am told one of the spies for Israel (who has not been arrested for lack of evidence) is a high ranking Lebanese Army officers who was slated to succeed Jean Qahwaji as commander-in-chief (Qahwaji is bitterly anti-Israel and fiercely anti-Lebanese Forces.  He has sent a private message to Lebanese Forces that any attempt to "descend on the ground" will be met by force by the Army).  That Lebanese officer has not been expelled: he has been removes from all his powers and allowed to sit home and watch the sunset.  There is much alertness vis-a-vis Israeli spies.  I would dare say that the Lebanese Army intelligence in cooperation with Hizbullah and even the Intelligence Apparatus (a Hariri arm inside the Lebanese Internal Security Forces) have dealt the most sever blow to Israeli intelligence work since the creation of the Zionist entity.  I can't think of any bigger blow to Israel's intelligence by any Arab government or the PLO since 1948.  If the Western media are not part of the conspiracy to protect Israel and its interests and if the Western journalists are not by and large cowards in terms of their unwillingness to defy the Israeli military censor, they would be in the front of this story.  Image if the tables are in reverse: if these are Israeli successes against say Hizbullah or Syria's intelligence.  Don't forget that a high ranking Israeli military officer in Israeli military intelligence with responsibilities that cover Lebanon had killed himself at his desk last year.  Where is the Western media.  Not all Israeli spies are handled by Lebanese state: some are handled quietly and privately by Hizbullah.  And some spies are turned over by Hizbullah to Lebanese Army intelligence.  I am told that even the lousy Syrian regime has been able to capture Israeli spies although none of the cases have been announced for fear the regime let it known that it makes mistakes.  Egyptian intelligence is very active in Lebanon: they are now controlling the Salafite groups and criminal gangs in and around Tripoli.  To be sure, former general Jamil Sayyid (who is obsessed with his unfair imprisonment by Hariri tribunal for four years while forgetting about injustices under his rule during the era of Syrian control) named the Egyptian diplomat handling Lebanon on behalf of `Umar Sulayman (chief of Egyptian Intelligence.  Bizarrely, chief of Arab Relations in Hizbullah, Hasan `Izziddin, met with the guy a day afterwards but I am told that he improvised.  Hizbullah is now handling Lebanon with far more effectiveness but the stories of corruption of high officials (the political wing) are spreading.  I feel that since 2006, Hizbullah suffered from the absence of Hasan Nasrallah who used to manage and micro-manage affairs of the party.  But some political figures of Hizbullah are now disliked and mocked by constituents.  This does not affect the "resistance branch" of the party which is kept apart and separate from the political wing.  I have not met with Hasan Nasrallah in the last three recent visits to Lebanon.  I did not even ask for an interview this last time  Some said that "they" are displeased with me because I have been critical of the party in my weekly articles in Al-Akhbar and in this blog, especially my long articles detailing "the manifestations of Hizbullah's sectarianism" which had appeared in Al-Akhbar but have not been translated into English.  Some have even complained to me that I refer to Hasan Nasrallah as Hasan Nasrallah in my articles in Al-Akhbar while I was told that even his rivals in Lebanon refer to hims as Sayyid Hasan Nasrallah.  I explained, not that I have to explain, that I abhor and avoid titles of any kind in my Al-Akhbar articles.  I am told that the skill in which Hizbullah has politically handled Lebanon in recent times is due to the re-entry of Syria as the key decision maker on behalf of March 8, and the realization that Hizbullah and its allies have really screwed up since the assassination of lousy Rafiq Hariri--one of the worst men in Lebanese history and probably second only to Bashir Gemayyel--the worst Lebanese EVER.  I have heard stories about the corruption of Michel Sulayman: so add that to corruption of Nabih Birri (speaker of parliament) and the wide corruption of Harri Inc and you understand the place better.  Sulayman--who has no political power to speak of--tries to appear sympathetic to every person he meets, and  even from rival camps.  After all, he was first anointed by Husni Mubarak.  People are very afraid and nervous in Lebanon: strangers and politicians ask me what will happen next.   I don't do fortune telling but I dont see a civil war.  The place will continue to be on the verge of civil war but a wide escalation into a civil war is very unlikely because the balance of power is so heavily tipped in favor of Hizbullah.  Hizbullah has no plans to take over Lebanon all at once.  They know that their sectarian identity and structure limit its ambition.  That is a major handicap politically speaking in the wake of successful Saudi sectarian warfare in Lebanon. I see that Israel will resort soon to covert operations/terrorism to strike at Hizbullah.  I am told that the Hizbullah official who was killed in Burj Abi Haydar during the clash there was in fact the work of a lone sniper--probably on behalf of Israel. I learned that reportedly goons of Salim Diyab (militia leader for Hariri family) was behind the burning of the mosque in Burj Abi Haydar during that few hours of clash between Hizb men and men loyal to Ahbash (a pro-Syrian militia).  One scenario has it that the clash was instigated by Syrian intelligence.  People ask me if they should store food: and I invariably ask them to store Hummus.  I don't like Beirut: it is too noisy and too dirty and too pretentious and too sleazy and too ugly and too lost and too dazed and too polluted and too stressful and too corrupt and too fake.  I find I am more comfortable in places outside of Beirut.  I really liked Tripoli last summer but if only I can strip it of religious and conservative and sectarian influences.  I bet I would ve liked that city in the 1960s and 1970s.  I can't live or retire in Lebanon.  It stresses me too much.  Of course, there are good and great people there: people who fight against racism and sexism and for boycott of Israel and against any normalization with that entity.  I often generalize but I know that my generalizations are more about the political and popular cultures of Lebanon.  I have more to say but I feel I should stop.  I need to plant a potato.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Prince Al-Walid bin Fox News

""Those people behind the mosque have to respect, have to appreciate and have to defer to the people of New York,""  Somebody needs to remind him that the "people of New York" includes Muslims. (thanks "Ibn Rushd")

PS This while I am opposed to the mosque plan.


Damascus is developing very capitalistically, and you see many tourists in the streets.  There is more preservation of the old and of antiquities than in Lebanon but a Syrian told me that corruption in government led to removal of some antiquities too.

Syrian workers in Lebanon

Attacks on Syrian workers continue in Lebanon.

Lebanese racism

Comrade Khaled writes against Lebanese (skin color) racism.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The encounter in the clinic in the southern suburbs of Beirut

Talal, a comrade and friend who heads a division at a major medical center at well-known US university, sent me this regarding the "visit" by a Hariri tribunal team to the clinic of a Lebanese physician:  "Is it not interesting that the International Tribunal sanctions practices in Lebanon that would be banned in the native countries of its investigators and jurists? For example, they went into a clinic in the Southern district of Beirut asking to check on the names and files of a large number of women who attend the clinic. That would not fly in the USA. One cannot just come in, even with legal sanction, and check wholesale on the FILES (containing sensitive personal information) of ALL those that come through (they claimed to start with 17 names but it was made obvious that it was to be an open ended investigation with a free hand to investigate any file in the clinic). Such a act would constitute a serious violation of Medical Privacy laws, unnecessarily exposing not only their names of a large number of individuals but also the details of their medical conditions as well as other private information. This is ILLEGAL under any of a number of medical privacy laws. One is usually  presented with a court order to obtain information on a SPECIFIC person, and no other subjects so as to safe guard people's privacy. I am amazed the Physician in question even let them in. She should have been the first to kick them out of the clinic, court order notwithstanding. Shame on the Lebanese government and the Lebanese Order of Physicians for providing cover for such a travesty to take place."

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


One of the best places for (real) traditional, old-fashioned Middle Eastern food is Naranj in Damascus, Syria.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Angry Arab in the cockpit

I was in the MEA plane on the way to Beirut.  I was going out from the restroom to return to my seat.  At that point, the co-pilot was emerging from the cockpit.  He greeted me warmly and said that he was a big fan.  I thanked him.  Thereupon, he insisted that I join him in the cockpit.  I explained that I have a terrible, multi-dimensional fear of planes and that I would be too nervous and that I may puke on the flight control buttons.  I returned to my seat.  A flight attendant then came to my seat, and said that the two pilots are insisting that I join them in the cockpit.  I proceeded to enter the cockpit, and sat on the third seat behind them.  The chair was not comfortable and it does not recline.  I expressed displeasure and threatened--yet again--to puke on their devices.  The view from the cockpit was so wide but I was too nervous to enjoy.  The pilot was then explaining to me how things work and how they know something was wrong.  I asked him to not explain how things go wrong, as hard as they both tried to reassure me.  As we began our descent on Beirut, i basically closed my eyes completely.  The pilot would sometimes turn back toward me to talk, and I would nudge him to look straight ahead and focus on the plane.  That is my story.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Ahmadinajd's visit

My weekly article in Al-Akhbar:  "Ahmadinajad's Visit:  Divorcing Lebanese Shi`ites"

"clearly Muslim"

"He said he was let go for "telling the truth" about his feelings of nervousness when he sees people he thinks are clearly Muslim on airplanes."  I have a feeling of nervousness towards people who clearly had a reputation for sleaze and sexism in the newsroom of the Washington Post.

This is the Israeli "left" mind you

"Member of the Israeli Knesset, Nitzan Horowitz, spoke of his opposition to the proposed boycott of Israeli citizens and institutions and slammed the idea of single binational state as a “recipe for failure and civil war” in London this week:" (thanks Daniel)

This is not in the East

"High School Cheerleader Kicked Off Squad for Refusal to Cheer for Her Rapist"

Disgrace unto the nations: Israel

"Another neighbor called an ambulance. Kristien Garrett was taken to Barzilai with cramps, and hospitalized overnight. She has now been discharged on bed rest.  The lawyer for the family, Nicole Maor of the Israel Religious Action Center, said that they had been subjected to racial abuse by the police officers, who reportedly yelled at them: “Afro-Americans, darkies, we don’t need you here.” (thanks Sarah)

bigots on the loose

"Campbell Soup Co., the Camden, N.J., food giant, has been fighting a grass-roots boycott of its products after its Canadian subsidiary rolled out a line of soups certified as halal, meaning they're prepared according to Islamic dietary laws." (thanks Fahd)

Only Maronites can apply to this job

This is an actual ad for a driver--a Maronite driver only.

Don't think that Arab writers and academics are free of the trash "Arab mind" approach

"The Arab mind suffers from three "prisons" that have prevented the Arab world from reaching its full potential, Egyptian liberal thinker Tarek Heggy told a rapt Maghreb audience on Saturday (October 16th).  Speaking at the Faculty of Arts in Tunis, Heggy identified three things which keep the Arab mind constrained: "conservative religious thought, backward educational curricula and hysterical fear of the other"."   Later Heggy I am sure said that Jamal Mubarak is the best form of an Arab mind.  (thanks "Ibn Rushd")

When James Zogby tries to analyze the Arab world

I always tell the story when in 1992, Zogby took to the Washington Post to support the appointment of Martin Indyk for a senior Middle East policy position in the Clinton administration.  "I called him up and said to him: I don't mind that you make a fool of yourself in the US, just don't do it on behalf of Arab-Americans."  He now wants to analyze the Arab world for you:  "Myth three: The Angry Arab. There certainly are some angry Arabs, but most people say they are mostly concerned about their families and jobs. They like watching movies and TV shows. You know, they're people."  Like people with concerns about families and jobs can't be angry--POLITICALLY.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Iran and Saudi Arabia

I have learned that Saudi Arabia has spent close to $1 billion in the last Lebanese parliamentary election, while Iran spent around $100 million.  Syria set aside $50 million to spend but was snookered by the Saudi government which urged Syria to agree to a pledge that neither Syria nor Saudi Arabia would spend any money in the Lebanese election.

Saudi reforms

"Yet the changes remain, in many ways, cosmetic. King Abdullah has championed international dialogue between religions, for instance. But when Saudi schools reopened in September, parents were surprised to find that in the new, “reformed” religion curriculum, supposedly purged of bigotry as part of a post-September 11th initiative to promote a more tolerant Islam, students are still taught that it is wrong to say hello to non-Muslims."

"Moderate Arab regimes": King PlayStation

"Here too, electoral rules tilt the playing field, in this case in favour of loyalists to the ruling Hashemite family. In particular, the rules for electoral districting give greater representation to thinly populated rural constituencies than to dense urban ones, where Jordanians of Palestinian origin dominate. King Abdullah, unlike Mr Mubarak, has twice exercised his prerogative to dissolve parliament."

Religious laws in the US

"In the United States both secular and religious arbitration are firmly established, operating under a Federal Arbitration Act that gives robust standing to the procedure but also allows the parties to counter-appeal to ordinary courts on certain grounds (though America’s church-state separation stops courts hearing arguments about doctrine). Christian and Jewish arbitration is well-organised. The Muslim variety is lower-key and less formal, but so far not (barring outbursts from tea-partistas like Ms Angle) especially controversial."

Actuality--to use the language of Hegel--of the Zionist Idea

"Liberal Israelis fear that these measures may import the Arab-Israeli conflict, which had been largely confined to the territories occupied by Israel beyond the 1948 partition line, into Israel proper. Adding to the psychological barriers, the Lod authorities have erected physical ones. This year they have finished building a wall three metres high to separate Lod’s Jewish districts from its Arab ones. And where the Arab suburbs are cordoned off to prevent their spread, Israel’s prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, encourages building for Jews to proceed with abandon.  His foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, on the coalition’s far right, champions building quarters for soldiers’ families in the town. The equally chauvinistic interior minister, Eli Yishai, who heads an ultra-Orthodox party, Shas, grants building permits for religious Jews. A series of gated estates are sprouting across the city reserved for religious Zionists. “These blocks will ensure Lod stays Jewish,” says Haim Haddad, the town’s chief rabbi, one of the first to move into a new estate.  By contrast, old Arab houses are under threat of demolition. Now and again, bulldozers demolish a couple, stressing Arab vulnerability. A study by a liberal Israeli group called Shatil (“Seedling”) estimates that 70% of Arab homes in Lod lack legal status. Many municipal services, such as street lighting and rubbish collection, stop at the boundaries of Arab suburbs. Sixteen kilometres (ten miles) from Tel Aviv, Israel’s richest city, sewage flows through some of Lod’s Arab streets.
Once mixed districts are separating. Ramat Eshkol, a housing estate built for Jewish immigrants in the ruins of Lod’s old Arab city, bulldozed after the 1948 war, is today a squalid slum, housing mostly Arabs. Piles of rubbish make it grimier than refugee camps in Gaza, the blockaded Palestinian territory 35km to the south. Gangs cruise the streets. The local community centre has been shut for the best part of a decade, says its last employee: the Jewish Agency, a welfare organisation, does not want it “overrun with Arabs”.  Crime is rife. Police have uncovered caches of semi-automatics and grenades. At present Lod’s Arabs aim them largely at each other, waging clan turf wars and carrying out honour crimes. But Jews fear they could yet turn on them. After Lod’s eighth murder this year, Mr Netanyahu said he would stop the city descending into Israel’s “wild west”. He briefly sent in the border guard, Israel’s gendarmerie, reviving Arab fears of dispossession anew. Lod’s 120-strong police is Muslim-free.  Tension and fear increasingly mirror the West Bank. Arab locals refer to the Jewish newcomers as mustawtineen, meaning settlers. They also suspect the municipality of denying them services, to prise them out by stealth. Jews say that “the Arabs” pose a security threat because they could fire mortars at planes landing at Ben Gurion airport nearby. Some suggest raising bands of vigilantes. “I feel safer in Kedumim [a national-religious West Bank settlement],” says an Orthodox Israeli woman who has just moved her family of six into a new national-religious housing block.  Voting patterns reflect the divide. Arabs who once voted for Jewish-led parties now vote for Arab ones, if at all. A growing number veer towards Islamist groups that fill the vacuum left by the municipality with their own services. The most extreme consider co-operation with state institutions to be kufr, or unbelief. Jews, too, are attracted in growing numbers to hard-right parties. In the 2006 election Mr Lieberman’s “Israel is Our Home” took 22% of the vote, twice its national average."

California dreaming...

...high in the skies

Agents of Innocence

I have mentioned this book before: it should be read by all interested in Middle East studies.  It is written by Washington Post columnist, David Ignatius.  The book is supposedly a work of fiction but I can tell you it is a true story of the political career of Bob Ames, and his relationship with the PLO.

They really heart the state of Israel

"Andrew J. Shapiro, assistant secretary for political military affairs at the State Department, said the administration had looked at the regional balance of power in the Middle East and "concluded it would not negatively impact Israel's security interests or Israel's qualitative military edge." Israel recently signed a deal to buy 20 U.S. F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jets."

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Yusuf Sayigh: a correction

Dear Rosemary Sayigh sent me this correction about my reference to the memoirs of Yusuf:  "Just a point of correction: Yusif didn't actually fight in the war but stayed in Jerusalem and was taken prisoner."

Angry off

I am on the road and then going overseas.  Back in days or a bit more.

Syrian workers in Lebanon

A Syrian worker was killed in Lebanon.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Can you imagine if this was run by an Arab/Muslim country?

"Friends of the Israel Defense Forces offers Americans who share an affinity for Israeli military and have some time on their hands a chance to undergo a quickie IDF boot camp for a $10,000 donation" (thanks Ben)

He dared to be run over by an Israeli occupier

"Israeli police detained a 12-year-old boy on Sunday who was seen on video being struck down by an Israeli settler organization leader in the flashpoint East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan on 8 October."

Gen. Busharrraf

"Former Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf is stated to have shared a lunch with a couple of members of Knesset, the Israeli Parliament, at a Chinese restaurant in Kensington area of central London a few days ago."


"British director Mike Leigh, who was scheduled to visit Israel from November 20-27 to teach a master class in Jerusalem as part of the Sam Spiegel Film & Television School’s “Great Masters” program, canceled due to political reasons.  In a letter announcing his decision, Leigh, the director of such films as Secrets & Lies, Vera Drake and the upcoming Another Year, cited several of Israel’s policies, including the proposed loyalty oath, as the reason for his change of heart." (thanks Sousan)

Can you imagine the outcry if this was said by a Muslim cleric with an influential political party??

"The sole purpose of non-Jews is to serve Jews, according to Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, the head of Shas’s Council of Torah Sages and a senior Sephardi adjudicator." (thanks Olivia)

Innocent US aid to developing countries

""Sadat decided that the benefits to Egypt of remaining in the Arab League were less than what he could gain from United States’ foreign assistance. Consequently, USAID moved into Cairo, with over one thousand employees and consultants to bring development assistance to Egypt. "" (thanks Redouane)

camels in the Middle East

"To add some colour to their articles, many reporters made a point of mentioning an incident where two camels and 10 sheep were apparently slaughtered during the welcoming ceremony. A Sydney Morning Herald article opened: "Camels were sacrificed in his honour, their blood flowed through the streets and the air filled with a roar of welcome". Some even tried to explain the significance of animal slaughter in Islam.  I'm not even going to reach for a book on my shelf or search Wikipedia to find Islam's connection to animal killing. Instead I'll resort to common sense: human beings kill animals. In English we call them butchers. Not one article bothered to mention that the "sacrificed" camels, with "their long, graceful necks slit open" would actually be eaten afterwards. When it involves Arabs or Muslims, the implication is that they're savages killing merely for the sake of killing." (thanks Sarah)

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The arrest of Farah Qubaysi

The story of the arrest of Farah Qubaysi at the entence of the Nahr Al-Barid refugee camp in North Lebanon. (thanks Farah)

PS Here, Farah tells the story of her arrest on her blog.

Jimmy Carter's Diary

Between reading Jimmy Carter's White House diary and reading the phone book, i would pick the phone book--with enthusiasm.

Mario Vargas Llosa hearts Walid Jumblat

Mr. Llosa has as much knowledge about Lebanon as I have about baseball (what is a homerun? a touchdown?)

The tribal sectarian thugs in Iraq are now joining Al-Qa`idah

"Members of United States-allied Awakening Councils have quit or been dismissed from their positions in significant numbers in recent months, prey to an intensive recruitment campaign by the Sunni insurgency, according to government officials, current and former members of the Awakening and insurgents."


Do you know the various "missions" in Europe that Jalal Talbani undertook on behalf of none other than Wadi` Haddad in the 1970s??  He does not want to talk about that, but I should.

Iraqi public opinion: عراقيون في ملعب الشعب يهتفون: "أنعل أبو أمريكا لأبو إسرائيل

You have to watch this.  Iraqi spectators at an Iraqi sports game, go into a hugely enthusiastic chant against the US and Israel.  That only reminded me of that lousy piece that lousy Kanan Makiyyah (is he still using that name, because he changes his name once every few years or so?) when he thanked Bush on behalf of the Iraqi people for invading the country.  (thanks Hassan)

Brigitte Gabriel: her anthology of lies

I have written about this woman before when I read her book--an anthology of lies.  I was forwarded an email in which a speech she gave in DC and Duke University was cited.   Here is an excerpt:  "I was ten years old when my home exploded around me, burying me under the rubble and leaving me to drink my blood to survive, as the perpetrators shouted, 'Allah Akbar!'  My only crime was that I was a Christian living in a Christian town.  At 10 years old, I learned the meaning of the word 'infidel.'  I had a crash course in survival. Not in the Girl Scouts, but in a bomb shelter where I lived for seven years in pitch darkness, freezing cold, drinking stale water and eating grass to live."  Is there no journalist in the US to uncover her lies yet??  I mean, those of us who grew up around the same time in Lebanon can easily identify her lies.  No one anywhere in the Lebanese civil war stayed in a shelter for that long?  Usually, you stay for days, if that and then gunfire stops and then you emerge and go to your house, and then brace yourselves for another round, and on and on.  But forget about all her other lies, which are abundant, it suffices to stick and refute this one lie.  Not a single human being Lebanon stayed in a shelter for seven years and survived on grass and blood.  Even during the Israeli siege of Beirut, bribing the corrupt Lebanese Forces militiathugs manning the checkpoint, was enough to bring us fresh produce.  I had my best shawirma these days (i ate meat then).  But lies are acceptable in the US provided they benefit the Israeli political narrative.  (thanks Jon)

Lies of Bronner: for you, o Israel

"I checked with the Japanese Embassy, which proceeded to check with the Japanese government. It got back to me a few minutes later [on Friday afternoon]: Of course it's a lie: the Japanese government considers the settlements illegal. Poor Bronner, sitting in his Jerusalem office, calling up every consulate in the phone book starting with the A's trying to find just one other country that considers the settlements as legal. He gets to the J's, calls Japan, and you know how polite the Japanese are. So, Bronner probably pleads, "Don't you agree with the United States that the settlements are legal, although OF COURSE they are an obstacle to peace?" And the Japanese are just too considerate to hurt Bronner's feelings, so they say, "Well, yes, they are an obstacle to peace." Bronner, thrilled that he's finally found ONE other country that agrees (sort of) with the U.S. (even if the U.S. judge on the ICJ [International Court of Justice], Thomas Buergenthal, agreed with the other 14 judges on the court that the settlements are illegal) rushes into print that the U.S. AND JAPAN say the settlements are legal. But it ain't so Ethan. You'll just have to go back to the phone book and start ringing up more embassies. Here's a hint: you might have better luck with the N's, as in...Nauru. " (thanks Khelil)

Lebanese Saint Sharbil is leaking (oil, not urine)

And his oil is curing the sick.  (thanks Rana)

Obama's "change"

"Brzezinski contended that it was "pathetic" to see the United States making big concessions to Israel this month -- ones that should be reserved for a final "grand bargain" -- simply to add another 60 days to a temporary freeze on Israeli settlements. If the peace process should collapse, Scowcroft argued that it still would make sense for Obama to specify the terms of a U.S. peace plan."

Why Jerusalem has not fallen---YET

"Fortunately for Israel, Washington does not only consist of the White House, the Pentagon and the State Department, but also Congress. Thanks to Israel's power in Congress, it has fared better than other, smaller allies, like South Vietnam. In the absence of congressional support, they did not win the administration's affection; this is why Saigon fell and Jerusalem hasn't." (thanks Olivia)

Qadhdhafi's slaves

"The Libyan leader continued: "In the past, rich Arabs ill-treated their African brothers; they bought children and brought them to North Africa, the Arabian Peninsula and the Arab areas between the two regions. They enslaved them and sold them and bought them, and practiced slavery in a shameful way.""  But Qadhdhafi did not say if he will release his own slaves. (thanks Redouane)

Even a Zionist racist finds the new Israeli law too racist for him

"ONE, THE proposal is oxymoronic, not to mention duplicitous. Equality is fundamental to democracy, yet this declaration, purportedly intended to uphold that very value, tramples on it instead. Only non-Jews would be required to pledge their allegiance to Israel as a Jewish state, thereby instantly turning it into a nondemocratic one. Doublespeak at its finest. Words, in the words of George Orwell, “deliberately constructed for political purposes.”  Two, it’s not sensible. Don’t get me wrong. I firmly believe in Israel as a Jewish and democratic state.  I was one of the authors of the Jerusalem Program adopted by the World Zionist Organization in 2004 that calls for “strengthening Israel as a Jewish, Zionist and democratic state.”"" (thanks Lidia)

Explaining the American legal system

"Bacon attack on an American mosque: prank or hate crime?"  Oh, that is an easy one, let the Angry Arab answer it.  OK, here it goes: if a synagogue is hit with bacon, it is a hate crime, but if a mosque is hit with bacon, it is a funny prank, right?  How did I do??? (thanks Nabeel)

Indian domestic servant

"A war of words has broken out since the death of Ms Lumada a week ago. While India has pointed the finger of blame at the Omani airport authorities and the airline which refused to allow the woman to board the flight to India, police in Muscat have said Indian officials did nothing to help the woman replace her lost documents." (thanks Marcia)

Sexist journalism

Would this be used in an article about a male former secretary of state?  "Dressed in a smart, two-tone gray blazer and matching slacks, she asked the students to ponder Europe's passivity when confronted with the monopolistic behavior of Gazprom..."


"In your new biography of Cleopatra, you take issue with historians who have attributed her achievements to her looks and implied that she slept her way to the top.   For reasons I am sure you can explain to me, it has always been preferable to attribute a woman’s success to her beauty rather than brains. We seem convinced that men strategize while women scheme. Men are authoritative while women are shrill.
But even Florence Nightingale dismissed her as “that disgusting Cleopatra,” as you point out.   By the time Florence Nightingale got her neurotic hands on Cleopatra, she had been mangled beyond recognition by both history and literature. For their own political reasons, the Romans needed her to be a femme fatale who seduced Mark Antony and lusted after Rome. Shakespeare took it from there."

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Legal ploy

"A Saudi prince accused of murdering his servant in Britain could face the death penalty in his homeland over charges of homosexuality, a London court heard Friday."  Such a lie.  Since when a Saudi prince has been punished for any behavior of any kind, no matter what, and no matter whether it conforms to Wahhabi dorctine or not.  (thanks Olivia)

They want to touch your lives: go to the nearest shelter

""Chaired by former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, PNB is a nonpartisan, nonprofit collaboration among the U.S. Department of State, the Coca-Cola Company, the Aspen Institute, and 13 other leading American businesses and nongovernmental organizations. The partnership aims to strengthen opportunities in Muslim countries, touching as many as 500,000 lives over the next five years, Albright said in an interview with Politico."  "This is a fabulous initiative. Secretary Albright called it ‘the arms and legs of the president’s Cairo speech,’ and I’m just really proud to be a part of it,” said Eboo Patel, founder and president of the Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC), and a member of PNB’s steering committee.""   (thanks Redouane)

Lebanese Army Intelligence arrests Farah Qubaysi

As Lebanese progressive activsit, Farah Qubaysi, was entering the Nahr Al-Barid refugee camp, the Lebanese Army intelligence arrested her.  She is now being held at the Lebanese Army Intelligence branch in Qubbah in Tripoli.  Spread the word.

Chinese Workers in Saudi Arabia

""Les autorités saoudiennes ont expulsé seize Chinois qui travaillaient sur le chantier du métro dans la ville sainte de La Mecque, parce qu'il avaient observé une grève. Les seize hommes ont été arrêtés après avoir protesté contre leurs conditions de travail et des salaires trop bas, parfois non versés."" (thanks "Ibn Rushd")

"Pan-Arab press"

Key: when you read a reference to the "Pan-Arab press" in the the Western press, they are referring to the publications owned by the various Saudi princes and their sons.

Hatred of Arabs

"Underneath everything is hatred – hatred and contempt for Arabs. The ideology of the right has been dead for some time, nothing of its former glory remains; primeval emotions are now its true driving force. This is what is behind the right wing’s nationalist laws and its so-called “peace.” Lurking beneath all the unpretty words are not just political considerations, but a lack of any systematic ideas – only dark and dangerous instincts.  Hate crimes “occur when a perpetrator targets a victim because of his or her perceived membership in a certain social group, usually defined by racial group, religion, sexual orientation, disability, class, ethnicity, nationality, age, gender, gender identity or political affiliation” (according to Wikipedia, quoting Rebecca Stotzer ). Most hate crimes are aimed at members of minority groups, and it’s the same with Israel’s latest proposed legislation.  Don’t be led astray by pseudo ideas. True, they do not lack loathing, racism and nationalism, but at bottom lies hatred for Arabs. From Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to MK Danny Danon, from Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman to MK Anastassia Michaeli, from MK Michael Ben Ari to MK Yaakov Katz – all of them are Arab haters, whether openly or not. Most of them have never even met an Arab, but they know everything about them. Not one of them has even begun to think of Arabs as being equal to Jews."  As if this hatred does not extent to the Center and Left in Israel.

Obama's wars

"Imagine if, an hour from now, a robot-plane swooped over your house and blasted it to pieces. The plane has no pilot. It is controlled with a joystick from 7,000 miles away, sent by the Pakistani military to kill you. It blows up all the houses in your street, and so barbecues your family and your neighbours until there is nothing left to bury but a few charred slops. Why? They refuse to comment. They don't even admit the robot-planes belong to them. But they tell the Pakistani newspapers back home it is because one of you was planning to attack Pakistan. How do they know? Somebody told them. Who? You don't know, and there are no appeals against the robot." (thanks Dale)

Friday, October 15, 2010

Jubran Khalil Jubran

My weekly article in Al-Akhbar:  "Jubran Khalil Jubran: The Myths of Lebanese Superiority."

highly deflated

""Despite the recession, last year “The Israel Project” received $7 million dollars in donations, expanded its staff to 44 employees and recently added projects in Latin America and outreach to the Arab media in addition to its activities in the U.S., Europe and Israel."" (thanks Fadi)

Israel wants to improve its image in Arab media

"Despite the recession, last year “The Israel Project” received $7 million dollars in donations, expanded its staff to 44 employees and recently added projects in Latin America and outreach to the Arab media in addition to its activities in the U.S., Europe and Israel."   They think if they get good press in the mouthpiece of Prince Salman or in Saudi sleaze website, Elaph, it means that they can win hearts and minds of average Arabs.  I spent this last summer in Beirut, and met young Arabs from around the Arab world and I was most impressed with the uniform detestation of Israel throughout the region.  This is why: Israel's years are numbered.  Dream on, Zionists.  It is only a dream.      (thanks Bob)

Judith Miller finds WMDs in the Biqa` Valley (having discovered WMDs in Iraq)

"No one in Lebanon seems to know who invited Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to Beirut for a two-day "official visit"".  Oh, they all know and if you know Arabic you would have read that it was Michel Sulayman during his visit to Iran, you genius expert on the Middle East, who was the first to find the WMDs in Iraq.  "In the Christian Science Monitor, Nicholas Blanford, the author of "Killing Mr. Lebanon," about the Hariri assassination, notes that while this is the Iranian president's first official visit to Lebanon, Ahmadinejad has visited southern Lebanon before. More than two decades ago, he came to the Bekaa Valley as an officer in the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps to help train the Lebanese Shiites who became the nascent Hezbollah."  Yes, and Blanford learned about this visit to Lebanon 20 years ago from the same sources who fed him the story about Syria behind the Hariri assassination.  You think I would have bothered to read this trash if someone did not forward it to me?  (thanks Niki)

You want peace with Israel?

"Thirty-six percent of Israeli Jews are in favor of revoking the voting rights of non-Jews, Yedioth Ahronoth reported, citing findings by the Dahaf polling agency, headed by Dr. Mina Tzemach."  (thanks Olivia)

"Islam as a religion of peace" Debate

It shows you how they invite idiots to speak on behalf of Islam in the US.  Look at this:

Pre-Debate Poll Results
41%For | 25% Against (i.e. Islam isn't a religion of peace) | 34%
Post Debate Poll Results
36% For | 55% Against | 9% (thanks Khelil)

"The Elders" in the Middle East

I received an announcement that a group who call themselves "Elders" are going on a fact finding mission to the Middle East.  The group includes the lousy Jimmy Carter (whose proudest achievement (Camp David) is one of the worst US foreign policy legacies in our region), and the most lousy AlAkhdar Al-Ibrahimi.  The lousy work of Ibrahimi (who spent his last working years as a mere tool of the Bush administration) can still be felt in Iraq and Afghanistan.  If you read about Iraq under US occupation, you realize how much Ibrahimi assisted the American occupation of the country.

attack on Angry Arab

Pro-Syrian politician, Wi'am Wahhab, attacks Angry Arab (after minute 14:00).  He said that I live away and brandish my sword and attack people right and left, and that I dont spare anyone. (thanks Joe)

Lebanese "liberal journalist"

So MEMRI sent out one of its silly bulletins.  It was promoting an opinion by some "Lebanese liberal."  So I assumed that since I am known to follow Lebanese affairs closely that I would know who that person is.  Not a clue. It is one Joseph Bisharah who writes for the Saudi sleaze website, Elaph.

foreign maids in Lebanon

An Ethiopian maid killed herself in Lebanon.  Lebanese police will not investigate.  It never does.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Not in the US or Arabic press

Moroccan forces kidnap communist students and tortured them.  (thanks Yara)

Syrian workers in Lebanon

A Syrian worker was stabbed in Lebanon.

If an Arabic newspaper printed this about an Arab leader, they would be mocked for decades

Look at this idiocy:  "Did Netanyahu predict Chile mine collapse 23 years before it happened?" (thanks Aldo)


Apparently there is no need to find the killers of Hariri.  Robert Fisk know who they are.  He today in a radio interview identified "Syrian Ba`thists" as killers of Hariri.  Fisk plans to now work hard to identify the killers of Jimmy Hoffa.

Hizbullah's singing machine

The Hizbulalh's singing machine is so fast: it already produced a few songs celebrating the visit by Ahmadinajad to Lebanon.

"Children of the Arab World"

A news item in a UAE newspaper claims that children of the Arab world insist that the lousy book by the lousy Sheikh Mo of Dubai be incorporated in Arab curricula. (thanks Tony)

King PlayStation's yacht

A reliable source who does not want to be identified sent me this:  "You know Rania and Abdullah did not like to keep King Hussein’s Yacht, so they bought a new one and sold Hussein’s to the Palestinian-Jordanian Nuqul Family, who owns one of the largest factories of tissue paper “Fine” in Jordan and the Middle East.  The King Hussein/Nuqul Yacht can be seen at the Tala Bay summer resort town near Aqaba in Jordan often parked in the marina."

American liberal feminists don't notice sexism and misogyny in Israel

"The volunteer coordinator for a movement campaigning against Jerusalem bus lines instituting separation between men and women has received dozens of harassing phone calls over the past few days, Ynet reported Thursday."

PA Junk

"A public opinion poll conducted by the independent Palestinian news agency Sama showed that 45% of Palestinians believe that President Mahmoud Abbas should dissolve the Palestinian National Authority (PA) in response to Israel's decision to continue settlement building in the occupied West Bank."

Ahmadinajad in Lebanon

So Robert Worth said:  "President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran arrived here on Wednesday morning and was given an ecstatic welcome by supporters of Hezbollah, the militant Shiite movement his country backs."  What is inaccurate is the suggestion that only supporters of Hizbullah welcomed him to Lebanon.  In fact, the Amal Movement has also been enthusiastically welcoming him to Lebanon too: I am now watching him live on TV give a speech in Qana.  And the affair in Qana has been officiated by the Amal Movement.  (By the way, people don't know that Iran also financially supports the Amal Movement).   But the popular support and enthusiasm for Ahmadinajad among Shi`ites is genuine and sincere and it has--to a degree--surprised me a bit particularly because the man has no charisma or oratorical skills.   Of course, every article on the visit has to mention the slaughter of the sheep.  If they were slaughtered in honor of a Zionist leader, they would have not been mentioned, or would have mentioned with admiration and glee.  Spare me Orientalist cliches and focuses. 

Obama Doctrine

This is from a talk I gave last spring at George Mason University on the Obama Doctrine. (thanks Khelil)

Slate and Orientalist trash

Slate, like many other liberal-minded publications and websites in the US,  suspend its liberalism when it comes to Muslims and Arabs.  Look at this trash (the person she sites is a well-known pro-Hariri right-winger, by the way, who supported the candidate who received a whopping 1% of the Shi`ite vote in the last election):  ""In Arabic poetry and in the Quran, camels are one of the greatest gifts, because they are a means of survival," Lokman Slim told me. "So it is an honor to sacrifice them for a guest." Or, he added, you could cynically interpret their slaughter as representing the bodies of Rafik and Saad Hariri—one assassinated physically, the latter politically.  As I got into a taxi, I saw the camels' bright red blood running into the gutter and heard the click of a camera shutter as people took photos to commemorate the moment."  Of course, the reporter knows neither Arabic or Persian but she talks to right-wingers and taxi driver.  Long live Western journalism.  (thanks Adam)

Jean Dayah

Did I recommend to you the new book by Jean Dayah on Kahlil Gibran (we know him as Jubran Khalil Jubran in Arabic)?  It is the most original that I have seen and he exposes the Lebanese nationalist attempt to Lebanonize Jubran and shows how his words were deliberately distorted (the word Syria is replaced with Lebanon for example) to turn him falsely into a Lebanese nationalist.

Robert Fisk

You really need to ignore whatever Fisk says about Lebanon.  He has no clue.  I received a report about his appearance this morning on KPFA: the man does not know anything about Hizbullah and how it works and functions.  Interviewing his driver, Abed, is more useful on Lebanese affairs although Abed is a follower of Jumblat from what I heard.

The ignorance of MEMRI: the saga continues

SNEAKY MEMRI earlier identified the Lebanese website, Ya Libnan (which is a militant pro-March 14 site) as "an Iranian website."  Suddenly, and without much fanfare, the removed that identification of the site. (thanks "Ibn Rushd").

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

My book in London

David sent me this:  "Just to let you know, I was in London and visited Al Saqi Bookshop two days ago.  They have your book (Al-Bawh Al-Ghadib) for sale there for £18.  Maybe you'd like to let your UK-Europe based followers know."

Police Racism in Lebanon

Watch police racism in Lebanon. (thanks Farah)

Boycott news

"Unilever Israel Foods is planning move its Beigel & Beigel company plant from the Barkan industrial zone, located in the occupied West Bank, to a location inside Israel, reports the Hebrew-language daily Maariv."

The Phalanges Party is now a Centrist party

So the Fascist Lebanese Phalanges is now a Centrist party.  (thanks "Ibn Rushd")

One-visit correspondents

"Traub visited once. Even at that visit to the Shiite wedding he should have known – Hariri was deeply disliked by many Lebanese – popular with some, disliked by some…. Was he only staring at women during the wedding or did he make an effort to talk to the natives?" (thanks Nicholas)

This is just amazing

This is bigotry when it does not even comes across as religious bigotry.  Here, Amanpour raises the question: should Americans fear Islam?  Can you imagine if a TV show devotes a show to ask whether Americans should fear Judaism?  Would the presenter be able to keep her/him job?   "There were the obligatory clips of terrorist training camps, the planes flying into the twin towers, the victims of so-called 'honor killings.' The Muslim experts - looking officially 'Islamic' in their long beards and hats - included one declaring that one day the flag of Islam would fly over the White House. The non-Muslim experts - Robert Spencer (leading anti-Muslim advocate in the Park51 Project controversy), Ayaan Hirsi Ali (prolific anti-Muslim writer), and Franklin Graham (said Islam "is a very evil and wicked religion") - are well known, even famous, for spewing anti-Muslim hate. Of course, these characters emphatically agreed with the caricatures with long beards and white hats, repeating the propaganda that Islam requires its adherents to dominate people. Among the 'normal' Muslims interviewed were a woman in niqab (fewer than 1% of Muslim women in America wear the full face veil and accompanying robes), and Muslims in the Muslim 'hood', cities, like Dearborn, MI, and Patterson, NJ." (thanks Redouane)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

There is no one who relishes making a fool of himself more than Michael Totten

""If I understand the Druze correctly?and I?m pretty sure that I do?the Druze of the Golan would become completely loyal to Israel if Syria were to relinquish its claim and the rest of the world recognized the
Golan Heights as Israeli."" (thanks Kevin)

What the Palestinians want, according to Sari Nusaybah

"Les Palestiniens n'ont jamais eu de projet : ce que nous voulions, c'est vivre des vies décentes et dignes, comme individus, comme personnes humaines, c'est tout."

Naharnet uses google translation

"Lebanese newspapers love to stuff their titles and its natural to expect the same writing style at Naharnet. However, that is not what motivated me to write this post. Towards the end of the article, I read this:
Meanwhile, President Michel Suleiman has reportedly launched a series of internal consultations in order to bridge the gap of as much as possible because of the emerging “Report of the carpenter
Carpenter’s report? Oh, they mean Justice Minister Ibrahim Najjar’s report on false witnesses (Najjar is Arabic for carpenter). With all that copy-paste action of Arabic news websites, Naharnet may need to employ a few quality control professionals. Now that’s what I call lost in translation." (thanks "Ibn Rushd")

Hariri tribunal

Comrade Khaled writes about justice in Lebanon.

Syrian worker

The body of a Syrian worker was found in Lebanon.  Human Rights Watch does not seem to be too worried about this file.

Teaching Zionism in PA schools

"The Palestinian Authority's Education Ministry approved the use of a history textbook that offers the central narratives of both Palestinians and the Zionist movement, marking the first time that the accepted Israeli position is being presented to schoolchildren in the West Bank."

War on terrorism?

"Governments and law-enforcement agencies around the world are using the war against terrorism as a pretext to clamp down on legitimate protest and free themselves from constraints on their activities, an international conference on human rights heard this weekend in Montreal.  Didier Bigo, professor of international relations at Sciences Po University in Paris, said those claiming to know who terrorists are and what their next move will be are often given additional “freedom to manoeuvre” within the system, with little clear justification.  “Anti-terrorist legislation is used to block normal problems,” he said at the conference hosted by McGill University." (thanks Olivia)

French Orientalism

The return of French orientalism to Iraq. (thanks Hassan)

Union busting in Iraq

"The United States may have withdrawn its combat brigades, but it is not leaving Iraq. And while Washington may have scaled back its dreams of nation-building, it has not given up on a key aspect of the economic agenda behind that project: encouraging corporate investment by sacrificing the rights of Iraqi workers." (thanks Sameer)

This is a non-issue for the US media

"At least 10 Palestinian children have been shot and wounded by Israeli troops in the past three months while collecting rubble in or near the "buffer zone" created by Israel along the Gaza border, in a low-intensity offensive on the fringes of the blockaded Palestinian territory." (thanks Arun)

Israeli Likud propaganda at the mouthpiece of Prince Salman

Look at this.  Until few hours ago, the main headline of the mouthpiece of Prince Salman and his sons, Ash-Sharq Al-Awsat, was the statement by Lieberman.  It was suddenly changed.  (thanks Hala)

PS Obai sent me the original headline as it appeared before it was altered.

Salam Fayyad's economic miracle

"The IMF says Gaza’s economy grew by 16% in the first half of this year, almost twice as fast as its West Bank rival, on which Western donors have lavished billions of dollars."

World Bank, the US tool

"His account of his tenure at the World Bank hints at how America, while pressing developing countries to follow rule-based governance, blithely bent the rules so as to force the World Bank to do things that helped secure America’s interests. This was most visible during the Russian debt crisis in 1998."

Mo Ibrahim Index

I never bought the Mo Ibrahim index: look at the rating of Tunisia.

Women in South Africa

"According to recent research by the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation, a Johannesburg-based group, most black women believe a man has a right to have sex with his wife or partner whenever he wants. Another study showed that most black teenagers felt it is fine to force sex on a girl if you know her or if she accepts a drink from you."

An Arabic proverb???

""I recall an Arab saying: 'women for duty: boys for pleasure.' And there is, of course, a boy lurking in every American man," Moynihan wrote."   I mean, I know that Moynihan was a liar but this?  (thanks Nasir)

Their heaven

"If most Americans don’t personally know any Muslims, they’ve seen some on TV — Osama bin Laden, for starters. That may help explain why, though 54 percent of evangelicals say non-Christians can go to heaven, only 35 percent say Muslims can."

When Blair describes Chechnya

"Over the last two decades, the Russian Army has killed 100,000 Chechen civilians, 10 percent of the population, and transformed more than a quarter of the republic into a wasteland. So yes, today there is Islamic extremism in Chechnya, but to describe the situation as Blair does misses something crucial."

OECD and Israel

"Despite OECD efforts to the contrary, photographs of touristic sites in occupied territory have been incorporated in a website that Israel has constructed under OECD auspices."

Prince Nayif

"We welcome any positive security cooperation with any state in the world."  No kidding.

Monday, October 11, 2010

The glory of a silly country

Having breezed through several world records in the culinary field Lebanon has now gone for the big one -- the world's largest national flag, and so huge it needed an airfield."  Do you know that the Lebanese chief-of-staff of the Lebanese Army attended the silly ceremony?  (thanks Farah)

Another Lebanese genius

This Lebanese genius says that he authored 350 books. (thanks "Ibn Rushd")

Sunday, October 10, 2010

celebration of bigots in the New York Times

This is a very long and largely celebratory piece about a self-described anti-Islam bigot. But what attracted my attention is the suggestion in the piece that the website Little Green Footballs (a known hateful site) is a rather moderate site that abhors bigotry when it broke with this woman for personal reasons.

Human Rights Watch-Lebanon

Of all the killings that is going on in the Middle East, and with daily news of Israeli killing of Palestinians, Human Rights Watch-Lebanon issued a most outrageous statement about the death penalty in Lebanon.  If the statement spoke against the death penalty in principle, I would have understood and not offered a comment.  But the outrageous statement actually specifically calls on the Lebanese government to not apply the death penalty against Israeli spies/terrorists.   What else does Human Rights Watch want? That the Lebanese government offers medals to convicted Israeli spies/terrorists??  Oh, also: was this statement good for your fund raising in the US? I bet it was. I bet it was.

PS And how does Human Rights Watch feel if Lebanon were to resort to Israeli style, death penalty without trial--also known as "targeted killing"?

Orwellian Zionist headline

"IDF Gaza Division boosts its commitment to nature" (thanks Max)

Saudi reforms

"NAJRAN: A marriage official (mazoun) in the southern city of Najran has told a local Arabic daily that he had married a minor girl who is barely 12 years old and consummated their marriage after only two and a half months.  The mazoun, who has not been identified, told Al-Watan on Friday that his father in-law advised him not to touch her for a year, but his mother insisted otherwise." (thanks Ali)

the 1948 War

Yusuf Sayigh, who fought in the 1948 war, said this in his book (mentioned below):  "The more inclined a city or town was toward modernity and the West, the less was its contribution to resistance." (P. 251)

Obama wars and American human rights groups

"Since the beginning of September alone, President Obama has authorised at least 25 targeted killings. The total since he came to office is more than 100. These have certainly killed some of the senior operatives of al-Qaeda and the Taliban. They have also killed dozens of people, including a large number of women and children, who were not involved in terrorism.  And yet there has been very little protest, certainly compared to the storm of international criticism that greeted the decision to hold suspected terrorists at Guantanamo – a policy that didn’t kill anyone, let alone any innocent women and children. The silence from human rights groups over the drone attacks is deafening. What has persuaded them that it is acceptable to kill people, including people who are not terrorists, but that it is inhumane to deprive them of a good night’s sleep?"

Practice of ethnic expulsion (known as transfer)

"IBA Radio is reporting that Israel’s security forces ended Thursday a large national drill, in which the civil defense forces, police, military police, fire department and Israel’s prisons unit trained for large scale riots in the Israeli-Arab public, following a signing of a peace agreement that would include “population exchange” (transfer of Arab population to the Palestinian state).   According to Kol Israel’s report, in such an event, a large detention camp for Palestinian citizens will be constructed in Golani Junction, at Israel’s north, and all illegal aliens will be released from prisons to make room for Palestinians." (thanks Yaman)

Saudi Arabia: state and society

This is a massive book: Saudi Arabia: Account of State and Society" (in Arabic) by `Abd-`Aziz Al-Khudur.  It is more like an encyclopedia, than anything else.  The author studies the debates in Saudi Arabia about culture, religion, media, opposition, and women.  His perspective is quite sympathetic to the government but he has done his homework.   He traces developments in the Saudi media and identifies various trends.  One reviewer in the book on the Saudi sleaze website, Elaph, criticize the author only because he cites one line by me about Saudi control of the Arab media.  (but the line attributed to me is not sourced and I don't recall saying it).

Yusuf Sayigh

Rosemary Sayigh did series of interviews with her late husband, Yusuf Sayigh, and published them as memoirs.  This is a very interesting story and Yusuf fought in the 1948 war and witnessed all the key posts of the Arab-Israeli conflict.  His account of Antun Sa`adah is most revealing (critical but fair, unlike either fawning accounts or hostile accounts), and his account of `Arafat's deception and autocratic style is probably the best I have read. He is the first to put in print the story that Arafat may have been behind the "accident" that killed Khalid Al-Yashruti for personal reasons.

American Task Force for Dahlan

"A board member of the Washington, DC-based American Task Force on Palestine (ATFP) is a major investor in an aerospace company that does millions of dollars of business with an Israeli military defense contractor that has close ties to the Israel Defense Forces and whose headquarters occupy the land of a Palestinian village ethnically-cleansed in 1948." (thanks electronic Ali)

Lebanese Jews

It is nice that the Western press can sympathize with Lebanese Jews who (as even Abdus-Samad admits) left Lebanon entirely voluntarily, while they can't sympathize with the Palestinians who were kicked out of their own country by force.

Foreign Policy

Foreign Policy magazine specializes in analysis of world affairs. (thanks Karim)

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Poisoned coffee

OK.  If Haykal believes this, why did he not tell it before.  And if he believed it, why did he not only work for Sadat but helped him in the conspiracy against the Nasserist clique?? Come on.

Belgium police versus protesters


Maids in the Arab world

A discussion about maids in the Arab world. (thanks Layali)

Abbas: PA irrelevant without state

And you Abbas: is irrelevant with or without a state. Rest assured.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Crude, vulgar and sleazy Orientalism

"The one time I was there, in 2008, I got pulled into a Shiite wedding in Beirut. The women were spilling out of their tight dresses. I thought: This is Shiism in Lebanon? What a great country!" (thanks James)


Boycotting Starbucks. (thanks Farah)

No peace with Israel; no recognition of Israel; and no negotiation with Israel

For this, the Arab-Israeli conflict will continue.  The Israeli terrorist occupiers operate on the premise of humiliation of the Palestinian population.  This will, dialectically speaking, be the fuel that will bring about the demise of Israel.  I can't wait.  Then we will create a secular democratic state for Palestinians and Jews, but Zionism will be uprooted from the land.  There is no room for racist, settler colonialism in the 21st century.

Nicholas Blanford's book on Hariri

There is a new edition of Blanford's book on Hariri which--based on accounts of Hariri entourage--accuses Syria of murdering Rafiq Hariri.  I heard that the new edition will be be exactly like the old edition but the new edition will carry this instruction to readers: read the book as is but replace every reference to Syria with a reference to Hizbullah.

attacks on Syrian workers in Lebanon

Two attackers tried to rob a Syrian worker in Lebanon, and when he refused to surrender his money to them, they cut off his thumb.  This is the real Cedar Revolution.

Israel's Lovers in Lebanon

My weekly article in Al-Akhbar: "The Beirut Initiative: Israel's Lovers in Lebanon?"

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Terror threats

I really believe that Obama is following Bush in exaggerating publicly terrorist threats to extract political gain prior to an election.

Adonis wants Nobel

Another year and Adonis has not won the Nobel Prize in literature. We can all go to sleep now.

Aspects of liberation

"Capt. Nichola Goddard, who in 2006 became the first female Canadian combat death, wrote to her husband that women working at bases in Afghanistan were often victims of sexual harassment or assault, and that in one week there had been six rapes at her camp."

Israeli terrorism

"An important new paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences uses statistical data on violent attacks during the Second Intifadah to show that violence breeds violence in Israel and Palestine. It reminds me of Ari Fleischer's boast to a Cincinnati synagogue, during the 2004 campaign, that he had never used the words "cycle of violence" while he was Bush's mouthpiece. No, all the Israeli violence was good violence. Reuters covers the paper here.
Excerpts from the authors' statement-- scroll down to Nancy Kanwisher's interpretation of the data"..

Immigration and religion in the UAE (Mossad agents are allowed, of course)

A source whose identity I wish to protect sent me this (I cite with permission):  "thought you might be interested in this, probably you know about it now, a close family member of mine applied for a job in UAE. He did  the interview and he got the job but they told him that he has to wait for his paperwork/visa to finish. He waited for 2 months and every week they'll tell him next week you'll leave.  He then got a job in different contry and emailed them to scold them he got this response " We are so sorry, but there are new regulations in UAE concerning people from certain religion" .  P.S. the family member is Shi'ite and he friend was also fired for same reason."

PS I obtained the original email from the employer it said:  "i am very sorry to tell you that. this is the new restriction in the immigration because of some section in religion..."

Abuse of domestic workers in Kuwait

"Domestic workers in Kuwait who try to escape abusive employers face criminal charges for "absconding" and are unable to change jobs without their employer's permission, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. Migrant domestic workers have minimal protection against employers who withhold salaries, force employees to work long hours with no days off, deprive them of adequate food, or abuse them physically or sexually." (thanks Olivia)

Pledge of Allegiance

"A Mississippi judge ordered an attorney to spend several hours in jail Wednesday after the attorney chose not to recite the Pledge of Allegiance in court.  The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal reported that Chancery Judge Talmadge Littlejohn told a court audience to rise and say the pledge. People in the courtroom said Danny Lampley of Oxford stood but did not say the words. Records show Lampley was booked into the Lee County jail at 9:40 a.m. and released about 2:30 p.m. on the judge's orders."  I once was invited to give a talk at a Rotary Club branch in Turlock, California.  Before my talk,  they had a Pledge of Allegiance ceremony.  I, of course, refused to stand and participate in this pagan ritual.  People in the audience were furious, and some left in protest.

Even "anarchists" in the Zionist entity are racists

"James Horrox’s book on anarchism in the kibbutz movement marginalises the Palestinian people in a similar way – they do not really exist in his narrative of how the Israeli collective settlements were established and then functioned. He is writing about Palestine, a country whose population was around 90% Arab (Christian and Muslim) when the first kibbutz was established in 1910, as if its primary importance was as a plaything for European experiments in group living [2].  The book is a strange attempt to blend Zionist mythology with anarchism. In the forward, Israeli anarchist Uri Gordon questions "the validity of applying anti-colonial hindsight to people that any progressive would otherwise consider economic migrants or refugees" (p. iv)." (thanks Asa)

Zionism is racism, always: Negev school kicks out two Bedouin students, citing new enrollment policy

"On September 1, hours after she had returned from her first day of school in Omer, the school called Wajdan Abu Alian's parents to ask them not to bring her to school anymore".  The poverty of American liberalism is best exemplified through their support of the racist/terrorist state of Israel.

Poor young men in the inner cities get beaten regularly by police but when rich white kids get bothered by police, it is a major news story in the New York Times

The New York Times is very protective of rich white kids at Yale University.

As if you need to prove that Israel is a racist state

"The Israeli Arab sector responded furiously Wednesday when it learned that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu intends to bring to cabinet vote an amendment to the Citizenship Law requiring anyone applying for citizenship to declare loyalty to Israel as a "Jewish and democratic" state."

On King Husayn (Khusayn, according to Peres)'s services to Israel

"The documents show the close ties between King Hussein of Jordan and Israel's leadership on the eve of the war." (thanks Mick)

New York Times on Hizbullah: more errors and mistakes

Cambanis has done good reporting in the past, but there are major errors in today's piece on Hizbullah.  "According to Hassan Nasrallah, the group’s leader, Hezbollah has increased its missile stocks to 40,000..."  I mean, this is a major mistake because Nasrallah is known to repeatedly make the point in many speeches, that he would never ever confirm or deny a certain figure regarding the missile capability of Hizbullah.  So Nasrallah certainly never gave any figures and I wonder how can one make such an allegation when the record is straight here.  And then this:  "Its operatives roam strategic towns..."  I like the word "operatives."  Who are those operatives?  Those operatives are in fact residents of the those villages themselves.  Western media use the same language about Hizbullah in South Lebanon that they had used before about the PLO forgetting that Hizbullah members and fighters are part of the population landscape and not some "alien" force (of course, i never regard it PLO in Lebanon as an alien force and gave them the right to roam and operate as they wished notwithstanding my fierce opposition to the thuggery and criminality that characterized the behavior of some PLO organizations, namely As-Sa`iqah, Fath, Arab Liberation Front, etc).  To be fair the point is made by someone later in the article.  And then this:  "Several independent Lebanese military analysts, who do not support Hezbollah, say they have seen evidence that Hezbollah has armed, trained and expanded..."  Anyone who says that they have seen "evidence" are lying; Hizbullah is way too secretive to show the "evidence."   And this one is pure invention or fabrication:  "Now, however, Hezbollah leaders have declared that they will find it difficult to stand aside if Israel or the United States bombs Iran’s nuclear facilities."   This is outright false and some party leaders have in fat said that they would not be party to such a conflict.