Monday, February 28, 2011

Saudi Fatwa in favor of Qadhdhafi

Saudi Prince, Julwi Bin Sa`ud, calls a Libyan TV show to express support for Qadhdhafi and to issue a fatwawawa against rebelling against him. (thanks Tariq)

Israeli crimes

Now, of course, every Arab has noticed the Western reactions to Qadhdhafi's crimes against Libyans. It is likely that Israeli in the Lebanon war in 2006 or the Gaza assault in 2008 have killed much more than Qadhdhahfi has killed. Yet, Western governments move (along with the subservient UN) to protect the Israeli killers and to cover up their crimes.

This is what the West calls "reform in Saudi Arabia"

"Democracy activists in Saudi Arabia say the government is closely monitoring social media to nip in the bud any protests inspired by uprisings that swept Arab countries, toppling leaders in Egypt and Tunisia.  Activists have set up Facebook pages calling for protests on March 11 and 20, with over 17,000 supporters combined, but police managed to stymie two attempts to stage protests in the Red Sea city of Jeddah last month, highlighting the difficulties of such mobilization in the conservative kingdom."

Honeymoon: Bush and Qadhdhafi

" A cable from the American Embassy in Tripoli briefing Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice before a 2008 visit called Libya “a strong partner in the war against terrorism,” noting “excellent” intelligence cooperation and specifically lauding Colonel Qaddafi’s efforts to block the return of Libyan militants from Afghanistan and Iraq and to “blunt the ideological appeal of radical Islam.”"


Don't rule out Oman from the picture.  The country experienced one of the most sophisticated opposition/revolutionary movements in the Arab world.  I was planning to write my PhD dissertation on the Popular Front for the Liberation of Oman but could not get funding at Georgetown for the project.  I am glad that a dedicated and knowledgeable Arab is studying the movement at Oxford University.  Having talked to him about his work, I can tell that he has done his homework and more.  Some of the most impressive revolutionaries and Marxists that I have met over the years have been from Oman (and some from Sudan and Bahrain too).  It is rather sad how some leaders of the PFLO were coopted by Qaboos.  Another thing against Qaboos, he is one of the most aloof and detached leaders of the region--unless you count the dead King Fahd--as a dead man.

David Held: how could you?

"It has emerged that Professor David Held, co-director of the Centre for the Study of Global Governance which benefited from the donation, and an informal mentor to Mr Gaddafi's son, was appointed a trustee of GICDF in June 2009 – before the LSE formally accepted the £1.5m donation in July 2009.  Last week, the LSE cut its ties with GICDF, refusing to accept any further funds beyond the £300,000 already received.  Speaking to the IoS, Professor Held said he became a trustee after an initial decision was made, in June 2009, to accept the money. He said that an LSE Council meeting several months later (October 2009) raised the issue "that being on the board may involve a conflict of interest with the grant" and he was asked to step down."   This is so sad: I have always enjoyed reading the books and articles by David Held.  His book on Critical Theory is one of my favorites on the subject.  How pathetic. (thanks Michael)

Uri Avnery agrees with Qadhdhafi

""When Aljazeera covers a war or a revolution in the Arab world, it covers it. Not for an hour or two, but for 24 hours around the clock. The pictures are engraved in one’s memory, the testimonies stir one’s emotions. The impact on Arab viewers is almost hypnotic.""  How does this lousy Avnery know that? (thanks Frank)

Obama's freedom agenda

"The administration has submitted a proposed budget for fiscal 2011 that included military assistance increases for Bahrain, Libya, Morocco, Oman and Yemen. Officials said several Middle East countries also received forward funding over the last year as part of the Foreign Military Financing program." (thanks Fahd)

If they knew of the views and votes of Lieberman and McCain they would have greeted them (very offensive in Arab culture--as I read in US media)

"The congressmen were accompanied by US ambassador to Egypt, Margaret Scobey. During the tour, they met with several citizens and military police in the square. Lieberman wrapped himself with an Egyptian flag before handing it to one of the citizens in the square." (thanks Yasmine)

divide and rule in Bahrain

"This ‘divide and rule’ politic was developed by the Al Khalifa and its allies after they settled in Bahrain in the 18th century, appropriated land from the indigenous Shia owners and effectively made them into peasants. Even then, the regime operated with the assistance of a number of Shia families who they employed as ministers or tax collectors. Still today, high ranking government positions are disproportionately awarded to members of the Al Khalifa family, or other Sunni allies, and a few handpicked Shia representatives are given seats of power."

Counter-insurgency in Palestine: collective "management"

"The emphasis on 'trust-building' with Israel has coloured the evolution of the political process since 2003. The general movement towards providing 'law and order', security co-operation and 'institution-building' is well known. But the 'state-building' project as a whole should be understood in the context of counter-insurgency – as tangled up with Israel's unique approach to the collective management of Palestinians – rather than as part of any genuine effort at 'good governance'. Security action against 'insurgents' is only one small element of an American counter-insurgency doctrine which dates back at least to General J. Franklin Bell's campaign of the early 1900s against Filipino 'rebels'. Its principles include building a ruling elite to carry out the occupier's plan; establishing security services accountable only to that elite; concentrating economic control within that elite; and setting up a generous aid policy which sustains a 'trickle-down legitimacy' for that elite. The underlying rationale, from the Philippines to Vietnam, has been to instill acquiescence. In the Palestinian case, the doctrine hopes to facilitate close collaboration with Israel and the dismantling of Palestinian resistance. In return, the Palestinians have been promised a depoliticised 'state' hardly worthy of the name and subservient to Israel. Perhaps, in such a state, a new Palestinian middle class might live more comfortably; perhaps the visible tools of occupation and control over Palestinian life would be more discreetly concealed; but such 'statehood' would amount to little more than a more benign occupation." (thanks Laleh)

From an article that needed more circulation: Olmert on Abbas

"Olmert, in retrospect, agrees, saying that Abbas “had never said no.”"

Al-Arabiyyah TV on Bahrain

B.B. from Bahrain sent me this (I cite with his/her permission):  "Asa’d. I've been following your blog for a long time but this is my first time to e-mail. I will skip all the Arab niceties and share with you this video which i found absolutley revealing of the evil tactics of Alarabiya TV:
The video is showing a number of revealing things: (1) Alarabiya reporter in the the Pearl Roundabout (the base of anti-government protesters) in the morning/noon (when the least number of people gather) and later at the pro-government rally in Al Fateh mosque at night when the crowds reached critical mass (2) Other than his bias and unprofessionalism, what’s disgusting is how the reporter is trying to instigate and provoke the people to attack him. He is saying stuff like "Why are you scared of the Microphone, why are you scared" and "Come and beat me. You’re used to beating". I’m proud to see average Bahraini people restraining their anger and chanting Peaceful Peaceful to prove this reporter wrong and render all his efforts in instigating an inappropriate reaction from the protesters useless!   One more thing and I am not feigning ignorance or being sarcastic here but can you please help me understand why this morally bankrupt Al-Arabiya reporter is crying at the pro-government rally (@ Min 4:40)? Are these emotional tears of happiness for being showered with love  by the pro-government supporters for his biased reporting? Are they tears of guilt? or are they tears of fear triggered by the freaky Islamist MP? I just don't get it."

`Abdul-Halim Qandil

He is one of the most courageous Arab journalist.  He was kidnapped a few years ago by Mubarak goons, and beaten and left naked on the road to Haram outside of Cairo.  In this article, he criticizes the Egyptian military council but one sentence bothers me: he maintains that Sousanne Mubarak was the one who actually led Husni Mubarak to ruin.  That is more than sexist: it is just plain wrong. (thanks Hani)

How to best repress and oppress

"Defense Conseil International (DCI), a French state-owed training company, has three crowd-control specialists acting as advisers to the Bahrain Army, chief executive Jean-Louis Rotrubin said at the IDEX trade show.  The advisers, drawn from the French Gendarmerie Nationale and elite GIGN special forces unit, are part of a program to train Bahrain special Zforces in non-lethal crowd control and the avoidance of the use of deadly force, he said. The program is just beginning." (thanks CB)

For a new PNC elections

That is how Palestinian democracy can be respected. (thanks Reem)

Tahrir Square choir

This is a really nice song with socialist themes (thanks Farrah)

Saudi reforms: the Mufti has spoken

So he rants here on (and against) female political participation and links demands for political roles by women to plots by enemies of Islam, and he identifies Jews and Christians as enemies.  In other news,  Hillary and other Zionists in Washington, DC are praising Saudi reforms.  (thanks Christopher)

These are nice and kind military occupiers, damn it

"Tens of thousands of Iraqis took to the streets yesterday in nationwide protests that left at least 19 dead and dozens wounded, but the US military consciously and conspicuously remained on the sideline."

Why is this not a major story?

"The Iraqi capital Baghdad is now under curfew following nationwide protests which have called for more government accountability."

Expert commentary on the BBC

The quality of BBC coverage of the world has surely deteriorated.  The other day, they had on an expert on Islam (someone I have not heard of) and he went on about how Iran wants to establish the...[Sunni] caliphate.  Kid you not.

Can you imagine if such a law is passed against halakha?

"A proposed Tennessee law would make following the Islamic code known as Shariah law a felony, punishable by 15 years in jail."

Now, the credit for Arab upheavals is...Israeli

It can not get any dumber:  "En tout cas, les premières vraies tentatives démocratiques dans le monde arabe viennent des Palestiniens inspirés sans le moindre doute par la démocratie israélienne qu'ils cotoient, la seule existant jusqu'à aujourd'hui au Moyen-Orient." (thanks Emile)

Queen Rania: in English and Arabic

She is back tweeting.  Posting her drivel in both English and Arabic (and you get the impression that she has written neither the English or the Arabic versions).  " Rania Al Abdullah
Driving back from Jerash. Had a warm and heartfelt meeting with residents. Their energy is uplifting..  
Rania Al Abdullah
على طريق عمان/جرش: أشجار شامخة و أشعة شمس دافئة كأهل جرش.. غمروني بدفئهم و طيبهم و معنوياتهم المرتفعة تؤثر في كل من حولهم" (thanks Andrew)

Hillary Clinton on events in the Arab world

She started to talk and quickly turned to Iran and condemned...Iranian repression.  I don't really blame her.  Almost all Arab oppressors are puppets of the US.  They have to switch to Iran as soon as they approach the microphone.

This is hilarious: a Zionist decides that the new Egypt has already fallen into the Saudi/Israeli/US camp

"Viewed through this prism, the new Egypt, the new Iraq and the new Palestinian Authority are clearly in one camp."  So it is established already?  Egypt has joined the Israeli/Saudi camp already?  And oh, yes. the PA is considered a democracy too, not to mention occupied Iraq.  What kind of math is this? Should not analysts learn the basics of addition and subtraction?  But you do understand the thrust of this article when you reach his praise for Saudi King (a known democratic leader in Zionist circles):  "The good news is that a great many of America's allies have already started down the path of reform. Six years ago, King Abdullah II of Saudi Arabia began a gradual but comprehensive program of reform. Many others across the region have also inaugurated reform programs."

The White Man Steps In: He wants to lead the natives by the hand

"The Egyptian people have shown us all the path, but it will take American leadership to reach the desired destination."

The New Petroleum Minister in Egypt

Egyptian protesters are furious.  It turned out that the newly appointed Egyptian Minister of Petroleum is a board member of the company (headed by a notorious Mubarak crony) that sells Egyptian gas to Israel.   US media does not tell you this, but the issue of selling Egyptian gas to Israel was one of several key factors that brought down Mubarak.  Today, Aljazeera invited one of the leaders of Egyptian protesters to speak, and he was fuming about this appointment.  (thanks Farah)

US Links with Libyan opposition

Hillary Clinton mentioned talks with members of the Libyan opposition.  The response from Libyan opponents of the Qadhdhafi regime inside Libya was instant: they denied such links.  The de facto leader of the Libyan opposition, the former Minister of Justice, denied such contacts to Aljazeera and even scoffed at the implications.  I think that Hillary was talking to Libyan dissidents in exile.  As you know, a broad front of Libyan opposition groups (known then as the Salvation Front) received very generous funding from the US, especially during the Reagan regime.  They used to put out a glossy monthly magazine and had nice publications and brochures.  But the Front later fragmented and US support disappeared.  The exile groups are not likely to play a role in the future of Libya--unless Ahmad Chalabi is now leading Iraq and I did not know.

Colonial Feminism in the New York Times

Look at this disgusting story:  "But much more quietly, a culture of domestic violence — not only by husbands but also by husbands’ families — has followed Afghan immigrants to destinations like New York, where women’s advocates say they are now discovering just how widespread the problem is."  In one week alone in the US, some 23 women are killed by men in the US: I bet that all are NOT by Afghan men.  The number one reason for ER admittance by women in the US is domestic violence--and not by Afghan men.  

Israel obsession in the New York Times

The coverage of the Middle East in the New York Times is based on this premise: Israeli Jews count much more than 350 million Arabs, and little occupying Israel is more important than all the Arab states combined.  It is amazing how they desperately force Israeli into every story about the Middle East.  Just incredible.  Of course, the racism is not far from the criteria of the paper.  Look at this pathetic story:  "Qaddafi YouTube Spoof by Israeli Gets Arab Fans."  First, there are tons of videos mocking Qadhdhafi, and it makes sense that they would do a story--A DAMN STORY--about this guy.  And notice that they even admit that those Arabs who may have liked the video did not know his lousy identity:  "Mr. Alooshe, who at first did not identify himself on the clip as an Israeli, started receiving enthusiastic messages from all around the Arab world. Web surfers soon discovered that he was a Jewish Israeli from his Facebook profile — Mr. Alooshe plays in a band called Hovevey Zion, or the Lovers of Zion — and some of the accolades turned to curses. A few also found the video distasteful."  But most importantly, the entire story does not stand up to standards of elementary journalism: all the claims that Arabs loved this videos (I have received tons of videos mocking the Qadhdhafi speech) are based on this guy's own account.  Oh, and he does not know Arabic but uses Google translation.  This is a new refrain that I expect to see about Zionist experts on the Middle East: "Mr. Alooshe speaks no Arabic, though his grandparents were from Tunisia. He said he used Google Translate every few hours..."  

And at at time of great turmoil and upheavals in the Middle East, the New York Times has two other Israel related stories:  "Nearly nine years after an Israeli assassination of aHamas leader in Gaza killed at least 13 civilians and led to widespread international condemnation, a government-appointed panel of inquiry concluded Sunday that the operation was flawed but that the consequences “did not stem from disregard or indifference to human lives.”"  And another one:  "Rediscovered, Ancient Color Is Reclaiming Israeli Interest".

A Zionist Advice to Egyptians

This Zionist fanatic at WINEP says:  "Egypt Should Take Its Time Building a Democracy".  I bet you want that.  I bet you want them to take their time.  To wait some 3 or 4 decades or even more to reassure the Israeli occupiers.  I bet you want that, but I did not know that you would show your panic so readily.

The new prime minister of Tunisia

The new prime minister of Tunisia is not only a minister from the era of Burqibah and Bin `Ali (and had held the ministries of Defense and Interior) but he is a mere 85 years old.  He is certain to represent the aspirations of the youth of Tunisia. 

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Chilean miners in Israel

There is turmoil throughout the Middle East, history is unfolding before our eyes, and there is not enough pages in the newspapers to cover the developments in the region, and yet the New York Times has a long article about a propaganda visit by a group of Chilean miners to Israel.  Even the Israeli propagandist, Isabel Kershner, admits that the trip is a cheap propaganda ploy:  "The trip, which Israel clearly intended as good public relations..."  Yet, she goes on to cover that (non)story.

...and Israel continues to kill, murder, and massacre

"Israeli warplanes bombed a half-dozen targets in the Gaza Strip on Saturday, wounding a 7-month-old girl and a Palestinian man, medics in the coastal territory said."

Saint Marun statue in the Vatican

Comrade Badr Al-Hajj sent me this (I cite with his permission):  "Michel Suleiman and his family accompanied by few of his Maronite followers were in Rome last week to celebrate the uncovering the statue of Mar Maroun in the Vatican. The Arabist for one night Nasrallah Sfeir the Maronite patriarch was also there.  The funny thing is that when they uncover the statue, it turned out to be it is a gift from Antoine Chuweiri Foundation. Every Lebanese knows the secterian Lebanese forces finiancer Choweiri who died last year. So when tourists are going to see the statue of the "Maronite Saint" they will read the name of another Maronite Saint. What a coincident.  Shakespeare was right: " Some rise by sin and some by virtue fall". have a nice day."

Religious kooks of Al-Azhar

So the leader of Al-Azhar center for bookburning and obscurantism is trying rehabilitate that awful institution.  He called on Libyans to disobey Qadhdhafi.  The man who was put in place by Mubarak, and who was an active member of Mubarak's ruling party, thinks that anyone listens to him.  Enough already.

Qadhdhafi was never EVER a leftist

He hated communists all his life.  How is he ideologically? A kook really.  

Domestic violence--not in the Middle East

"With nerves frayed by months of tremors that peaked in a horrifying earthquake this week, Christchurch residents are lashing out against those they need the most.  Police said domestic violence surged by 50 percent after a major tremor rocked New Zealand's second city last September, the prelude to Tuesday's quake that left at least 123 dead and destroyed parts of the city centre.  Just a day into the latest disaster, police commander Dave Cliff said authorities had seen another surge in family assaults, with many homeless or without power and water, and as some turned to alcohol to cope.""

Alcoholism or culture?

""Young immigrants like Behrang Miri, 26, whose family came from Iran, say Islamophobia is a growing issue. If a Swedish guy hits a woman, it’s alcoholism,” he said. “If someone hits a lady in my neighborhood, it’s due to culture.”" (thanks Nasir)

He is not even a leftist

"To a generation of politically active if not morally consistent campaigners, the Middle East has meant Israel and only Israel." (thanks Ben)

Here you go: the cliches

"But he also referred several times to martyrdom, an especially powerful notion in Shiite Islam."

The name Qadhdhafi or Qadhdhaf Ad-Dam

What are the origins of the name of Qadhdhafi or Qadhdhaf Ad-Dam (his special envoy, Ahmad Qadhdhaf Ad-Dam who resigned from his post two days ago and defected).  Apparently, the legend of the family is that they were pious Sufis who kept invoking God and qur'anic citations until blood came out of their mouths, hence the name: Qadhdhafi (spitter or emitter) or Qadhdhaf Ad-Dam (spitter of blood).  

From Oman

A source who does not want to be identified sent me this:  "Oman is on fire and al-Jazeera is quiet, and so is al-Arabiyya who only reported on points lost in Oman stock market. And of course Omani channels are not saying a word.  Reuters reported this yesterday:  but the number of protesters was higher, around 3000; the police used tear gas and the protesters reacted by attacking the police injuring a high ranking one and sending him to hospital. The road to al-`Ayn in the Emirates was temporarily closed.  And this is what is not being reported:
Yesterday there was a demonstration in Sour and a police center was burned.   Today: more protests in Sohar and the police used live ammunition killing a 15 year old boy. Banks are closed in Sohar now. The Wali of Sohar came out with other tribal leaders to calm people down but they were attacked and ran away. A police station was put on fire. It seems tanks are deployed there now. There are protests in Salala too.  I don’t know if you know this, but Omani police and mukhabarat get much of their training in Jordan.   How did I get this info?... is sending me updates. info is reliable (my ... People are spreading he news there be telephoning each other).   If you report this, please don’t mention my name and try not to provide all the details:" 

And now Oman

"A police station and a government building were on fire on Sunday in the Omani town of Sohar after police clashed with more than 2,000 protesters demanding reforms in the Gulf Arab state, a Reuters witness said." (thanks Matthew)

Qadhdhafi's palace library

It seems that Qadhdhafi's library is a collection of anti-Semitic books, sorcery, witchcraft, quackery.

Ajami in the New York Times

When I was in Michigan, I saw a colleague of mine who expressed her astonishment at the latest pronouncements of Fouad Ajami.  She said that he does not sound his real self.  She asked me if I have been seeing him on CNN, and I explained that I don't watch US TV news at all.  She said that he was so enthusiastic and not like his usual self.  I said: we should not be fooled and that his Likudnik Zionism could explain anything he says.  I asked if he has said one negative word on Israel, and she said: no.  I said that Elliott Abrahms--one of his ilk--has also been enthusiastic about the changes in the Arab world.  And thus Ajami can only be explained in Zionist terms.  Sure enough, he came a few days later with his interview with Haaretz in which he declared once again his love for Israel.  Today, he has a long, tedious piece in the NYT.  I detested Ajami in the 1980s but I really enjoyed reading him (as I enjoy reading Bernard Lewis--until he started recycling himself in old age).  Now, I have to struggle to finish an article of his.  He keeps repeating himself and he uses the same old cliches, and his flowery phrases have not been updated since "The Arab Predicament" (a book that Hanna Batatu always described as a book with not many insights).  His piece today, draws upon notions of shame from Raphael Patai's The Arab Mind (look at this sentence:  "Shame — a great, disciplining force in Arab life of old — quit Arab lands.").  I once met a Kuwaiti student in Washington, DC back in 1993.  He told me that Ajami is not as bad as I think. I asked him to explain: he said, Ajami must have a secret plot to rise up in the US political establishment and then he would deliver.  I said sarcastically: deliver what? The liberation of Palestine?  Oh, and notice that Ajami in his long tedious piece says not one word about pro-US monarchies.  He mentions Syria many times but not one word about Gulf countries.

The fifth fleet, ya Mariam

"Mariam Omran, an X-ray technician who marched in the protest Saturday, criticized the United States’ longstanding support for Bahrain’s government and royal family, which controls nearly all of the levers of power here.  “People in America have the right to democracy and we don’t?” she asked."

The New York Times explains Bahrain

"Unlike those in Tunisia and Egypt, the protests in Bahrain are largely built around the competition for power between the Sunni minority and the Shiite majority".

Qadhdhafi's palace: one of them

The tyrant who claims to not hold any official title, and who claims that the "masses" run Libya, has collected a number of palaces in Libya.  Aljazeera entered the palace of the tyrant in Al-Bayda' city and it shows a typical tyrant obsessed with his security and safety.  I particularly liked the lap pool and would like to try it.  The place has been looted and nothing is left.  The facilities and security measures (including air purifiers to protect from gas attacks) had the fingerprints of Swiss and US companies.  It is funny that the tyrant who claims that he holds no power has just announced that he won't step down.  Step down from what, u tyrant?

My advice to Gregory Johnsen: stop studying the Yemeni tribes

"“Saleh has had a real problem creating alliances with the sons of tribal leaders in the same way he created alliances with their fathers,” said Gregory Johnsen, a Ph.D. candidate at Princeton University who has been studying Yemen’s tribes for eight years."   My advice to Gregory: stop studying the damn tribes and write that damn dissertation already.  

The New York Times echoes the propaganda of Qadhdhafi

"The greatest fear — and one on which experts differ — is that Al Qaeda or Libya’s own Islamist groups, which withstood fierce repression and may have the best organizational skills among the opposition, could gain power."  Who in his/her right mind would think that Al-Qa`idah would stand a chance to gain power in any part of the Arab world?  Who has been even paying attention to the redundant pronouncement of Bin Laden and his fellow kooks?  My theory: if Bin Laden did not exist--and he does exist--he would have to be invented by Arab tyrants.   

A simple formula for Zionists to bear in mind

We don't know how the foreign policies of new Arab democracies will shape up. But here is a simply formula:
FPAD (Foreign Policy of Arab Democracies) will at least be: at least the current foreign policy of Turkey PLUS the Arab factor.  That can only result in...panic of Israel and Zionists.

House of Saud

All signs indicate that House of Saud is very nervous.  People forget: the Arab regional state system is one that has been led since death of Nasser by Saudi government.  The system has been solidified since 1991 with the demise of Saddam.  The entire system has been shattered and Saudi Arabia does not know how the system will shape up, and that also make US/Israel very nervous.  This is a new era: I don't know how it will shape up, and no one knows.  Nasser is not coming back, and George Habash is long dead, but the changes are inevitable and they are not in the interest of US/Israel/Saudi Arabia.  Also, Saudi Arabia and Gulf countries are often a decade or more behind Arab countries in political development (or a few decades).  But eventually, their turn will come and when that happens: Saudi royal family can't shelter the...Saudi royal family.

My talk in Dearborn

""They are in a panic because their tyrants are falling and not getting up, they could not save their beloved tyrants...the Israelis have shed more tears over the fall of Mubarak than possibly his own family," he said. "This is without a doubt a new Middle East...make no mistake about it, there is a connection between what's happening and the struggle against Israel which are one in the same."
Abu-Khalil illustrated his point by reminding the crowd of more than 100 people of attacks carried out against scores of Arab countries by Israel."

Let Tunisia lead the way

The resignation of Tunisian Bin `Ali's prime minister, Muhammad Al-Ghannushi, has been announced.  It was thrilling.  It confirms my view: the Tunisian revolt--not the Egyptian revolt--should lead the way for all Arab revolts because it has more radical maturity than other Arab revolts, and the voices of the middle and upper class segments, like that Wa'il Ghunaym in Egypt, are marginalized.  The Tunisian people would not relent: they knew that changing the government requires more than bring down the tyrant.  They have pressed this week for the ouster of this prime minister who was designated by Bin `Ali.  Also, the Tunisian people reservedly praised their armed forces but did not go as far as some of the Egyptian revolt leaders who unwittingly gave a license to the Military council to do what it wishes.  I admire very much the depth and momentum of the Egyptian uprising, but they should take their clue from Tunisia.  The downfall of Ahmad Shafiq is an imperative and they should make the country inhospitable for Husni Mubarak.  It is unthinkable that an uprising would bring down a tyrant, and he would be permitted to stay on and retire in a house built for him by one of the most corrupt businessmen who sold gas to Israel.  The task of Arab revolts after the ouster of the tyrant is more difficult than the previous phase.  I doff my hat to the people of Tunisia.  They speak for me, especially as they express solidarity daily with their Arab brothers and sisters and they chant daily for Palestine.  I am sick and tired of those parasites in the Egyptian uprising--mostly opportunists who switched sides at the last moment--who never cease to sing praises of the ancient Egyptian civilization.  I have had enough of that. 

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Observations from Yemen

Rasha sent me this from Yemen (I cite with her permission):  "I went today to both demonstration camps in Sana'a: Pro and anti-regime. Here are a few observations that you may post. This is what I saw and observed.
1. Pro-regime protesters went out straight after Friday prayer (around 13:00). By the time I was on Tahrir square where they are camped and where they gather every Friday (at 14:00), they were dispersed to get Qat (heard it from their shouts to each other) or lunch leaving a few hundred behind. 
On the other hand, I got to the anti-regime camp near Sana'a University at around 14:30 and I would estimate about 5,000 people there or so. Still there and, more or less, in one zone.
2. Anti-regime camp is organized (obviously learning from the Egyptian Tahrir camp) with a medical committee and supplies in a tent, a communications committee, a fundraising committee and a security committee checking people and purses. Pro-regime camp, although has obviously larger and posher rented tents (paid for clearly) does not have a medical team of volunteers and no other "committees" are obvious.
3. You fine NO women in pro-regime camp; on the other hand, anti-regime camp has a couple of tents for women only and I've spotted some women leaving their tents.
4. As mentioned above, it is obvious that the pro-regime tents and supplies are coming from shops that organize wedding events and hence supply big tents, who's rent I was told by Yemenis, can be as expensive as renting an actual wedding hall ($200 - $1000). Anti-regime tents were simpler, smaller ($10-$12) ones that can be found in supermarkets and are also sold off the streets. I've personally bought one last year off Tahrir street (!)
I thought these were significant differences, especially with regards to female participation and presence. However, momentum is yet to get to Sana'a at least from the mighty city of Taiz, which is obviously on one side and not the other."

From Archives: John McCain on Qadhdhafi

Sam sent me this:  ".@SenJohnMcCain 'Late evening w Col. Qadhafi at his "ranch" in Libya - interesting meeting w an interesting man.' #feb17"

Arab unity in Tunisia

This image is from Tunisia yesterday. (thanks Khelil)

Chavez on Qadhdhafi

I never ever liked Chavez, as popular as he is among Arabs and leftists.  I have always thought of him as an autocratic clown.   His defense of Qadhdhafi is fitting: from one clown to another.

In-fighting in Saudi media

Something is going on Saudi media.  Various propagandists are attacking one another.  There is fragmentation and (increased) disintegration in the ranks of House Saud.  Look at this piece in sleazy Elaph attacking Hariri propagandist, Rudwan As-Sayyid. It is also noteworthy that there are attacks (as in this article) on Sa`d Hariri in Saudi media an indication of disenchantment with him from some courts of Saudi princes and the King.  (thanks Jaafar)

head examined

"Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates bluntly told an audience of West Point cadets on Friday that it would be unwise for the United States to ever fight another war like Iraq or Afghanistan, and that the chances of carrying out a change of government in that fashion again were slim.   "In my opinion, any future defense secretary who advises the president to again send a big American land army into Asia or into the Middle East or Africa should ‘have his head examined,’ as General MacArthur so delicately put it,” Mr. Gates told an assembly of Army cadets here."  

Where do Western media find those people? I am sure that they spend hours to get their hands on them fools

""We don't want to bring anyone down, we voted for these people, we have democracy" he said. "But they have to change.""

Proud of the Kuwait royal family

Adm. Mike Mullen Honored to participate in Kuwait's celebration; a true testimony of their resilience and perseverance" (thanks Ali)

Western media lament the demise of brothels in Tunisia

"In other cities, brothels were targeted, too; and there have been demonstrations throughout the country — whose economy is heavily dependent on the vibrant tourism industry — against the sale of alcohol." (thanks Daniel)

at least like this

""And it became pretty clear to me that this is how Israeli rule in the West Bank is going to end – through Palestinian people power. Masses of Palestinians, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, marching to IDF checkpoints and outposts, marching to Israeli-only roads, to settlements, to the security fence – to the nearest Israeli presence and screaming, “Out! Out!”(...)  "Justice is coming our way, and I sincerely hope it doesn’t turn out to be too rough." (thanks "Ibn Rushd")

Amr Musa

Goes to Kuwait to celebrate with the royal family there.  (thanks Ahmet)


"Serotta's account of a small community that lived in harmony with other religious and ethnic groups for 450 years is a prime example of the tolerance and pluralism characteristic of Sephardic Jewry, said Rabbi Daniel Bouskila, director of special projects for the L.A.-based Sephardic Education Center." So it is not also a prime example of the tolerance and pluralism of the people with whom they lived?

Foreign policy slogans in Egypt

Zionists really like to reassuring themselves.  They oscillate between sheer panic and pathetic and unrealistic self-reassurance.  Some who can't read Arabic, like Thomas Friedman, insist that there are no foreign policy goals or chants for protests in the Arab world.  Yesterday, I was watching coverage of the protests in Tahriri Square from yesterday, and there was a huge banner and it said:  "Down with Ahmad Abu Al-Ghayt, friend of Israel and US."  It is not news unless it is translated into Arabic--and unless it fits Zionist agenda.

France and Tunisia's Bin Ali

"A 2007 U.S. Embassy cable obtained by WikiLeaks and later published by Le Monde quoted France's ambassador to Tunis at the time, Serge Degallaix, as having said, "Tunisia is not a dictatorship," and paraphrased him as saying, "Its leaders genuinely listen to the country's people." The cable also cited Degallaix as telling his American counterpart that "major changes in French policy toward Tunisia" are "unlikely" under Sarkozy." (thanks Alaa)

Pornographers-for-Israeli occupation

"Wealthy gay porn producer Michael Lucas has successfully pressured New York City’s LGBT Center to renege on its agreement to host a “Party to End Apartheid” on Israeli Apartheid Week. Lucas threatened to boycott the center and pressure its donors to pull their money out. He called the event an “anti-Semitic” affair held by a “hate group.” It seems that money talks, because I doubt that a progressive institution like the LGBT Center would have otherwise responded to an open bigot like Lucas who has used ethnically cleansed Palestinian villages as sets for sex scenes."

How US media cover occupied Iraq: some observations

First, notice that US media, especially the New York Times and Washington Post, cover Iraq with barely a mention that the country is occupied and has been occupied since 2003.  Secondly, notice that every article about repression and protests in Iraq has to mention that the country is a "democracy" as if to express amazement at the willingness of Iraqis to protest against it (this is today's NYT: "Unlike protests elsewhere in the region, the crowds in this young, war-torn democracy did not call for an entirely new form of government...").  Secondly, notice that the murder and repression by Iraqi puppet forces are always justified:  (in the NYT today it said that people died from "clashes":  "Iraq’s “day of rage” on Friday ended with nearly 20 protesters killed in clashes with security forces.").  Thirdly, notice that any protests against the occupation and its puppet forces are instantly conflated with Al-Qa`idah terrorism (this is from today's NYT: "But on Friday, he celebrated the fact that there had been no suicide bombings. Their absence was perhaps a fluke, but it suggested that heavy security restrictions..."  I mean, why should they link the protests to suicide bombings? Unless they are implying--like the sectarian puppet, Al-Maliki,  that Bin Laden was behind the protests--just like Qadhdhafi has claimed in Libya).  Fourthly, there is no opportunity missed to heap praise on puppet Iraqi repression forces.  (Upon learning that some 20 protesters were killed, this is what a US commander has said:  "Col. Barry A. Johnson, a spokesman for the United States military, said Iraq’s security forces appeared to respond well to the volatile, sometimes violent, crowds. “The Iraqi forces’ response appeared professional and restrained,” he said in an e-mail.").   Fifthly, It is hard for US media to accept this, but Iraqis and Arabs in general in particular never treat Iraq as a democracy. It is never treated like a model to emulate.  If anything, there is wide contempt for a republic jointly run by an obscurantist Ayatullah in cooperation with US and Iran.  Nuri Al-Maliki is seen, rightly, like any other tyrant, no matter if he has sectarian support by virtue of the corrupt sectarian system that the US has set up there.  In his speech the other day warning against protests, Al-Maliki sounded like Saddam warning ominously against "suspicious" forces.  In fact, his rhetoric is a replica of that of Qadhdhafi.   Sixthly, the absurd myth that Iraqi Kurdistan is a heaven and haven, is shattered by the daily protests and repression there is still being promoted and for that the coverage of protests there is scant.  Seventhly, the nature of non-sectarian protests is ignored because Bush taught them that you can only speak of sects in Iraq.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Departure of Husni Mubarak

My weekly article in Al-Akhbar: "The Departure of Husni Mubarak:  The Israelil Dilemma"

A Likudnik advises Israel: Ajami talks to Israel

"I've been very friendly to Israel and [to] the prospects of reconciliation between Israel and the Arab world, so take this as advice from a friend."

Flash. Please wake up the children and release pings from the barn. Jeffrey Feltman explains the Middle East to us

This is the most succinct and sharp analysis of the Middle East that I have read in any language (I need volunteers to make this analysis available in at least 10 languages.)  Here is what Jeffrey Feltman said:  ""I don't have any answers for you right now, what the right approach is.""   He was asked whether he was speaking from Doha, Qatar, he said: No, I may be in Qatar, but the country feels like uniquely Yemeni.   (thanks David)

Western experts on Libya

I see that some of my colleagues who are experts on Libya in the US are now speaking out in strong terms against Qadhdhafi.  The question is: why have you not spoken before?  Are you like the UN AND the US which have just decided that Qadhdhafi is a brutal dictator and should be denied a seat on the Human Rights Council at the UN?

Socialist news from Saudi Arabia

"Saudi Arabia is now being rocked by strikes as the mood of resistance spreads across the region. A socialist in Saudi Arabia reports on how struggles in the Middle East are even spreading to the most vicious dictatorship, which is sponsored by the US." (thanks Richard)

Why Arab revolutionary are lucky with US officials

I mean, Arab revolutionaries are really lucky to have the likes of Daniel Shapiro and Jeffrey Feltman as top officials for US Middle East policies.  Think about it.  If the US had the kind of shrewd and calculating Middle East experts of the 1950s and 1960s, they would have been able to produce so much mischiefs.  Those are just plain ignorant, their sinister Zionist impulses not withstanding.

EU's military exports to Libya

"The EU exports around €340 million of military equipment to Libya each year. Here are the details -- what country, what kind of equipment." (thanks Jenny)

Comrade Sinan

Comrade Sinan wrote this on Facebook:  "Al-Jazeera's split screens (5) not big enough for all the revolutions and protesters throughout the arab world."

Saudi intellectuals ask for thorough reforms

This is a strong letter calling for reforms in Saudi Arabia and signed by Saudi intellectuals.  In other news, Saudi King was able to speak three words without dosing off.

Revolt of the Youth?

Comrade Joseph Massad sent me this (I cite with his permission):  "All these references to “Thawrat al-Shabab” or “the revolution of the youth” by Tunisians and Egyptians, and now Libyans, are making me sick. Are we to conclude that the Iranian Revolution and the Russian and French Revolutions were led by the middle-aged and the elderly? What madness is this? The “Young” include people aged 15 to 60  and older, who were part of the protests in Egypt, Tunisia,  Yemen and Libya, and Jordan and Bahrain. Enough idiocy about the revolution of the “youth”!"


"Dozens of Religious Zionism leaders urge former president convicted of rape to 'be strong'. People of Zion waiting for injustice to be removed and truth to come out, they say." (thanks Farah)

demonstrations in Saudi Arabia

They remain unreported. (thanks Fawzi)

Crown Prince of Libya

I am told that Al-Arabiyyah TV (the news station of King Fahd's brother-in-law which now is run by Fahd's son, `Azzuz) hosted Muhammad As-Sanusi from London and introduced him as: Crown Prince of Libya.  

US troops in Afghanistan are innocent

Look at this outrageous claim by Petraeus:  "That dispute escalated sharply this week when Afghan officials accused U.S. Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, commander of Western forces in Afghanistan, of suggesting in a closed-door meeting that the injuries of some hospitalized children might have been caused by parents disciplining them by burning their hands and feet. A Petraeus spokesman contested that account but acknowledged that the general had alluded to past reports concerning the practice of scalding children as punishment."

US troops in Afghanistan are innocent

Look at this outrageous claim by Petraeus:  "That dispute escalated sharply this week when Afghan officials accused U.S. Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, commander of Western forces in Afghanistan, of suggesting in a closed-door meeting that the injuries of some hospitalized children might have been caused by parents disciplining them by burning their hands and feet. A Petraeus spokesman contested that account but acknowledged that the general had alluded to past reports concerning the practice of scalding children as punishment."

Somebody needs to inform the NYT

The protests in Bahrain are not all Shi`ite-based.  Read this.

exploitation of women

"A study by Saudi Arabian social researcher at the University of Umm al-Qura, Dr. Mahmoud Kisnawi, claims that 60 percent of Saudi Arabian husbands financially exploit their wives."

Look at the spin in NYT on US-occupied Iraq

"In Mosul, a restive, ethnically mixed city in the north, two people were killed when local security forces fired on demonstrators who tried to storm two government buildings.
In Baghdad, hundreds of people walked through the sprawling city to Tahrir Square, which has been a gathering point for demonstrations over the last few weeks, shouting and waving flags in a tumultuous call for government reform."  Reform? People did not chant for reform? They chanted for the overthrow of regime even in Iraq.  The most oft repeated chant (borrowed from Tunisia) all over the Arab world is: "People want the downfall of the regime."

Israeli propagandists on tour

""Group of young Israelis, chosen by Ministry of Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs to go on a speaking tour of the US."

Qadhdhafi cornered

Aljazeera is citing a report from a Libyan journalist that Al-Qadhdhafi now only controls the area around his compound in Bab Al-`Aiziziyyah.  That makes sense: because Libyan regime TV showed a pro-Qadhdhafi "demonstration" and it was so small and nervous that the camera zoomed too closely that we could see the nostrils of the demonstrators.

scenes from Iraq

For those of us foes of the brutal American occupation of Iraq, it was fitting that Aljazeera's images of protests in Iraq and the responses of the repressive Iraqi puppet security forces looked no different from images from other Arab dictatorships.

Bipartisanship on the Middle East

It is an indication of the solid bipartisanship of US foreign policy in the Middle East that Fouad Ajami was invited to the White House to speak on the Middle East to Obama although the former had written scathingly against him for more than two years.  Zionist standards rule supreme when it comes to the US government and the Middle East.


Ajami explains why he likes the Egyptian uprising, he says that Egyptians "didn't chant 'death to the Jewish state.'."

Fouad Ajami

""In this revolution I sense that people my age, who were born and raised in post-World War II years, the baby boomers - we are done, we are finished..." OK.  You may stop talking then.  

Who speaks for Arab public opinion?

The New York Times today decided that it is time to represent Arab public opinion.  So they decided to publish a piece by Prince Al-Walid Bin Talal.  This after weeks of deciding that Elliott Abrams is the best spokesperson for Arab public opinion.  Edward Said in Orientalism was right: they cant speak for themselves and they can't represent themselves.  They have to be represented--by Zionists.

stand by your monarchs

"“That approach to Jordan or Bahrain is the right approach; these are countries that have moved in the right direction, but not enough,” said Elliott Abrams, a Middle East adviser in the Bush administration who has been a frequent critic of the Obama administration. “Constitutional monarchy is a form of democracy.”"

Stand by your tyrant

" the United States has sent out senior diplomats in recent days to offer the monarchs reassurance and advice — even those who lead the most stifling governments."

Intellectual tyrant

Worse than a tyrant is a tyrant who views himself as an intellectual.  Qadhdhafi is a worst example, as was Saddam.  

Egyptian Military Command Council

So three members of the ruling Supreme Military Council appeared on Munah Shazli's program on Dream TV the other night.  What a show.  Shazli and Wa'il Ibrashi were so tough in interviewing them.  I must confess that I saw the three (politics aside) much more professional and capable than, say, high ranking military officers in Lebanon or other Arab countries.  They handled the tough interrogations well and assured viewers that Mubarak and Sulayman wield no influence what so ever. They affirmed that Ahmad Shafiq cabinet is only temporary and that it would be replaced.

Jamahiriyyah TV

I am now watching Jamahiriyyah (Qadhdhafi regime) TV.  What a show.  It has the feel of channel 68 of public access TV in the US.  Cheap studio and jittery camera movement.  The discussion is purely Islamic justification of preserving the ruler and warnings against Fitnah.  There is talk of the security that leader provided.  It has a flash that Libyan government denies the rumors spread by those satellite stations "who conspire against Libya".  It talks about demonstrations in support of the "brother leader of the revolution"--Qadhdhafi.  But there is more: the guests on the show seems as comfortable as when I had my wisdom teeth extracted.  They also seem to look shiftily toward the side: as if they are waiting and looking for the nearest exist.  

The New York Times thesis

The New York Times today published this article: conveying the view of US officials that Arab presidents are in peril and that monarchies are safe.  What do I think? Too early to tell and no one knows.  The revolutionary momentum has its own dynamic and pace and calculations.  There are things that are rather interesting.  Why does Bashshar seem to be safe at this point, for example?  Was he right in his interview with the WSJ that his foreign policies set him apart from other Arab leaders/presidents?  He may be right.  If that is the case, then foreign policy is the unhighlighted impulse of the Arab protests.  It is not that Arab monarchies are safe, it is that possibly the pace of protests may vary from one section of the Arab world to another.  Plus, the people know the odds.  The US would deploy troops and would use its armed forces to repel any threat to the Saudi royal family.  People in the Arab world know that, and saw first hand how the US stood solidly behind Bahrain royal repression.  

Rejuvenation of Arab nationalism and/or identity

I have argued in public speeches (although I have not published it yet) about "the rejuvenation of Arab nationalism" in the wake of the war on Iraq back in 1991.  I still stand by my thesis and now find ample evidence of it.  This is an unreported story of the developments in the Arab world: how the events in Tunisia have affected every Arab country in one way or another, and only Arab countries.  How the slogans are being changed from maghrib to mashriq without an organizational orchestration.  Tunisia is leading the way: it is setting the tone and pace of the uprisings.  I am watching live footage of demonstrations in Tunisia today: and the slogans could not be clearer: a voice of Arab nationalist solidarity.   There are flags of most Arab countries in the protests in Tunisia today, and as soon as Bin Ali fled, Tunisians were chanting about the "liberation of Palestine."  Egyptian protesters have been more cautious in their collective action because: 1) Egyptian nationalism is strong and have been nurtured for decades by Sadat and Mubarak AND Camp David; 2) Egyptian protesters are keen on not antagonizing the military at this point for many reasons, and the Arab nationalist manifestation would translate into undermining that precious--by US/Israeli standards--treaty.  But these are revolutionary time: Alexander Kerensky is barely remembered in the Russian Revolution.  Ahmad Shafiq will be a footnote to the story.  The Tunisian protesters will also lead the way in how they keep pushing: after they achieve victories, they push even more. Now they want to bring down the cabinet and to create a constitutional convention.  Finally: what is Aljazeera if not an Arab nationalist phenomenon?  Also, note that Islamist from Tunisia to Morocco and to Egypt are now increasingly speaking about the "Arab ummah".

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Mubarak: shopping in Paris

""Deux fois par semaine, un appareil privé égyptien atterrissait à Paris en provenance du Caire pour approvisionner Hosni Moubarak et ses proches en produits alimentaires et esthétiques, vêtements divers et appareils électroménagers, mais aussi en pneus pour voitures de luxe ou pièces de Zodiac, dernier cri. "  "Un « bureau de liaison » au sein de l’ambassade égyptienne à Paris s’occupait de répondre aux demandes les plus diverses du raïs déchu."  " « François Mitterrand adorait Moubarak parce qu’il le faisait rire quand il imitait Kadhafi »…."" (thanks Jerome)

Thomas Friedman and the Green Book

"Monitor approached Friedman who said that he was interested in travelling to Libya at some point in the future."

Qadhdhafi the loony "thinker"

""During the course of the project a second important goal was introduced by the client. This goal is to introduce Muammar Qadhafi as a thinker and intellectual, independent of his more widely-known and very public persona as the Leader of the Revolution in Libya.""

Bernard Lewis and Qadhdhafi

"A 2007 Monitor memo named among the prominent figures it had recruited to travel to Libya and meet with Qadhafi “as part of the Project to Enhance the Profile of Libya and Muammar Qadhafi” Perle, historian Francis Fukuyama, Princeton Middle East scholar Bernard Lewis, famous Nixon interviewer David Frost, and MIT media lab founder Nicholas Negroponte, the brother of former deputy secretary of state and director of national intelligence John Negroponte."" (thanks "Ibn Rushd")

Amin Gemayyel and Qadhdhafi

Remember that Amin Gemayyel (who was one of the last foreign visitors to see Mubarak) is very close to Qadhdhafi and the latter funded Gemayyel's now defunct think tank, Bayt Al-Mustaqbal, back in the early 1980s.

AUC hosts Sayf Al-Islam Al-Qadhdhafi

"Saif Al-Islam Alqadhafi, president of Alqadhafi International Foundation for Charity and Development, talked about the ways in which Libyan society is undergoing reform to become a more free and democratic society, including its unique blend of governance that is attempting to reduce what he sees as the shortcomings of democracy as it is practiced in parts of Europe and the United States."

Jeffrey Feltman rallies Arab democrats

"Jeffrey D. Feltman, the assistant secretary responsible for the Middle East, began a trip that will take him to Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman and the United Arab Emirates."

Marwan Hamadi to Saudi King

Read this to understand my revulsion at those Lebanese who prostrate before oil kings and princes (and their aides.  He is congratulating Saudi king upon his return to the kingdom of horror.

France and Qadhdhafi

""Depuis des dizaines d'années, le colonel Muammar Kadhafi est un excellent client des industries françaises d'armement. Après son arrivée au pouvoir, le 1er septembre 1969, à la suite du putsch qu'il avait dirigé contre le roi Idris Ier, Kadhafi n'attend que quelques mois pour acheter à Dassault 82 Mirage 5, en réalité un Mirage III modifié pour pouvoir conduire des attaques au sol. En juin 1973, les choses se détériorent un peu, puisque Kadhafi envahit la bande d'Aouzou, en territoire tchadien. Mais il ne faut pas six mois pour que la France et la Libye trouvent un terrain de réconciliation, sous la forme d'une vente de 32 intercepteurs Mirage F1-C."" (thanks Lama)

Zionists get a Zionist to cheer Zionists

"Ziad Asali, president of the American Task Force on Palestine, welcomed Shapiro serving as US ambassador to Israel, though he stressed that no official announcement had been made and his comments were based only on the possibility that he would be named.  “Dan will make an excellent ambassador. He has a grasp of the complexity of the game and knowledge of all the main players, and is committed to a peaceful resolution to the conflict,” Asali said. “Dan will make an excellent ambassador.”"

who are the "long line of Egyptian figures"? He made this up

"Parallel to this pronouncement, a long line of Egyptian figures proclaimed their belief that the Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty, even if not to their original liking, is here to stay." (thanks Norman)

Pizza from Egypt to Wsconsin

"The blackboard behind the counter now has a running list of places where donations have come from, and it includes China and Egypt." (thanks Farah)

The IMF hearts Arab tyrants

"Less than two weeks ago, the International Monetary Fund’s executive board, its highest authority, assessed a North African country’s economy and commended its government for its “ambitious reform agenda.” The I.M.F. also welcomed its “strong macroeconomic performance and the progress on enhancing the role of the private sector,” and “encouraged” the authorities to continue on that promising path.  By unfortunate timing, that country was Libya. The fund’s mission to Tripoli had somehow omitted to check whether the “ambitious” reform agenda was based on any kind of popular support.  Libya is not an isolated case. And the I.M.F. doesn’t look good after it gave glowing reviews to many of the countries shaken by popular revolts in recent weeks. Tunisia was hailed last September for its “wide-ranging structural reforms” and “prudent macroeconomic management.”  Bahrain was credited in December with a “favorable near-term outlook” after the economy “managed the global crisis well.” Algeria’s “prudent macroeconomic policies” helped it to “build a sound financial position with a very low level of debt.” And in Cairo, the I.M.F. directors last April praised the authorities’ response to the crisis as well as their “sound macroeconomic management.”"  (thanks A.)

Libyan Slogan

Salma sent me this: "As'ad. you like slogans. I just read one in Benghazi,  "[Ariel] sharon. pharon, moammar mal3on" (damned moammar)."

Al-Arabiyyah TV fires a courageous professional journalist

"The Saudi-owned Alarabiya satellite news TV channel has sacked a well-know broadcaster for trying to criticise the Gulf kingdom’s policy, a Saudinewspaper reported on Sunday.  Hafez Al Mirazi, who had worked in the rival Aljazeera TV news channel, threatened to resign unless Alarabiya allows him to speak about Saudi Arabia during his coverage of Egypt’s protests, the online Arabic language daily 'Alnas' said."   In his last appearance on the station of King Fahd's brother-in-law (run by King Fahd's son, `Azzuz), Mirazi mocked the headline of Ash-Sharq Al-Awsat and exclaimed: can Saudi newspaper mock the King of Saudi Arabia?  (thanks Bart)

Qatar hosts an Israeli tennis player

"Moreover, seventh seed Agnieszka Radwanska (Poland) will meet Lucie Safarova (Czech Republic) and Shahar Peer (Israel) will clash against Svetlana Kuznetsova (Russia)."

Livni hectors Egyptians on democracy

"Current events in the Middle East highlight the urgency of adopting at the global level what true democracies apply at the national level - a universal code for participation in democratic elections. This would include requiring every party running for office to embrace, in word and deed, a set of core democratic principles: the renunciation of violence and the acceptance of state monopoly over the use of force, the pursuit of aims by peaceful means, commitment to the rule of law and to equality before the law, and adherence to international agreements to which their country is bound."  She wrote the entire article to slip in the last sentence.

Wishful thinking of a Likudnik

"Dore Gold, a former Israeli ambassador to the United Nations and former aide to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said that Arab democracy could make Israel more secure.
“For years, Arab leaders who thought they had legitimacy problems because they were not elected played several chords to the populace — Arab unity, Islamic solidarity, and most important, the struggle against Israel,” he said. “So if you have regimes legitimized by democratic elections and accountable governance, then they will depend less on the conflict for their own internal standing.”"" One more time: it is not that Arab leaders who instigated their people against Israel.  Far from it.  It is the Arab people who tried under tyrannical governments to instigate their leaders against Israel, to no avail.

This Israeli said that he is not crying because of threats to Israel, but he is worried about Arab women

This is a new line.  That Zionists are not worried about their aggressor Israel, but are worried about Arab women.  You see, Zionists are under the impression that Husni Mubarak and King of Bahrain and Qadhdhafi are hard core feminists:  "It’s not just the Israelis who are worried, noted Mr. Heller in Tel Aviv, pointing to the protest of Tunisian women over the weekend, concerned that their existing freedoms may be at risk in a new democracy from Islamists."

Steven Erlanger reassures Israel (in an article on Israeli worries)

This is an odd article.  The headline is about Israeli worries in the wake of Arab uprisings, but then the article is devotes to reassuring Israel.  Who reassures Israel? He stumbles across a Moroccan professor who is a pro-King propagandist (somebody that no one has heard of) to reassure Israel:  "“There is no regime that is going to be against or hostile toward Israel in the near term,” said Mohamed Darif, a political scientist at Morocco’s King Hassan II University. “There has been an evolution in the Arab world, among political elites and in civil society. Israel is a fact.”"  And then, he OF COURSE cites Marwan Mu`ashshir: a hardline adviser to the tyrant of Jordan who now poses as democracy expert.  For some reason, Washington, DC-reporters decided that Mu`ashshir is now the best spokesperson (not for the Jordanian royal family--which he is) but for the Arab people.  Dream on, o Zionists. Dream on.  

Sudden generosity of House of Saud

"King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia announced financial support measures, worth an estimated SR135bn ($36bn), in a bid to avert the kind of popular unrest that has toppled leaders across the region and is now closing in on Libya’s Muammer Gaddafi.   The measures include a 15 per cent salary rise for public employees to offset inflation, reprieves for imprisoned debtors, and financial aid for students and the unemployed.   Saudi Arabia’s ruling family has thus far been spared the type of popular discontent that has toppled presidents in Tunisia and Egypt and brought Libya to the brink of civil war.  The announcement of the Saudi relief measures coincided with King Abdullah’s return to the country after three months. He had been abroad for medical treatment. Among those on hand to greet him was King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa of neighbouring Bahrain, which is struggling to contain a surging opposition movement."  (thanks Khalid)

PS The New York Times wrongly identifies a much lower figure in today's issue.

Revolt against new-liberalism

""To describe blatant exploitation of the political system for personal gain as corruption misses the forest for the trees. Such exploitation is surely an outrage against Egyptian citizens, but calling it corruption suggests that the problem amounts to aberrant behavior from a system that would otherwise function smoothly. If this were the case then the crimes of the Mubarak regime could be attributed simply to bad character: change the people and the problems go away. But the real problem with the regime was not necessarily that high-ranking members of the government were thieves in an ordinary sense. They did not necessarily steal directly from the treasury. Rather they were enriched through a conflation of politics and business under the guise of privatization. This was less a violation of the system than business as usual. Mubarak’s Egypt, in a nutshell, was a quintessential neoliberal state."" (thanks Emily)

So did Chicago (not only Gene Sharp) influence the Arabs?

"Asad AbuKhalil, a Lebanese-born professor at Cal State Stanislaus, said that trying to look for Western influences in dramatically indigenous revolts misses the point.  "I understand it's very difficult for the white man to look at the natives acting in a way that is inspiring and causing so much attention without hoping to take credit," said AbuKhalil, who writes the Angry Arab blog.  "When the Muslims or Arabs protest in ways that are violent, in ways that the West doesn't like, they are blamed, I would say wrongly, on Islam or some peculiar, weird aspect of Arab culture," he said. "But when Arabs protest in a way that is inspiring, in a way that is causing even people in Wisconsin to see them as a model, then the West believes that they couldn't have done it themselves, there must have been some Westerner who must have inspired them.""

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

what is funny and what is not

"As'ad AbuKhalil, 50, an academic who blogs as the Angry Arab, noted that one of the few times that red line has ever been crossed was in the wake of the 1967 defeat by Israel, when cynicism in Egypt ran at an all-time high. Then-President Gamal Abdel Nasser was so concerned by the public mockery of his troops that he gave a speech warning of the damage that can be done to the community by jokes. " (thanks Anna)

Reassuring friendly tryants

"Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, arrived in Saudi Arabia on Sunday for the first stage of a Gulf tour to boost US relations with its allies in the region.  "Part of what I want to accomplish is to reassure our friends and also just listen to what's on their mind," Mullen told journalists." (thanks AK)

French ambassador in Tunisia

Forget about the controversy: watch the video on page 2.  Notice the Arabic skills of the diplomat. Why can't American diplomats speak Arabic skills?  I am told that Jeffrey Feltman puts on his resume that he speaks Arabic, but he does not tell you that he can only say "Shukran" but even with one word he manages to corrupt the pronunciation.

Censorship in Syria

My sources in Syria tell me that after the lift on the ban on Facebook, government censorship of the internet has become more effective.  

The biggest uprising may yield the least change

This may be the paradox of the Arab world--largely due to the role of US/Saudi Arabia/Israel.  The biggest uprising in the Arab world, that of Egypt, may wind up yielding the least change.  Also, the machinery of oppression in Egypt has remained intact, and is running the country, the changes of some faces notwithstanding.


"No one is rooting harder for the democracy movements in the Arab world to succeed than I am."  Yes, Mr. Friedman.  No one is rooting harder for the democracy movements in the Arab world to succeed than you are.  And I mean, no one.  OK.

Saudi King Advises Obama on Egypt

"Egypt’s military, calculating that it was no longer worth defending an 82-year-old, out-of-touch pharaoh with no palatable successor and no convincing plan for Egypt’s future, ultimately sided with the protesters on the street, at least for Act 1.  In so doing, they ignored the advice of the Saudis, who, in calls to Washington, said that President Hosni Mubarak should open fire if that’s what it took, and that Americans should just stop talking about “universal rights” and back him."