Sunday, July 31, 2011

Professionalism of Israeli media

This propaganda newspaper of Israel relies on a website that relied on rumors.  Here is the description of the website by the same newspaper:  "The marginal website..." (thanks Laleh)

Not in the US press: the Likud connection

"Islamophobic parties in Europe have established a tight network, stretching from Italy to Finland. But recently, they have extended their feelers to Israeli conservatives, enjoying a warm reception from members of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's coalition. Some in Israel believe that the populists are Europe's future." (thanks Nabeel)


""You mean Sayed Qassem Suleimani," he said, giving Suleimani an Arabic honorific reserved for the most esteemed of men. He refused to elaborate."  Sayed can mean simply "Mr."  (thanks Adam)

Nicholas Blanford explains why Hizbullah leaders and members all confide in him

Warning.  This is a bit emotional.  Wipe away your tears before you start reading:  "They have learned to trust me sufficiently over the years to meet and talk (many of them have become friends) and protecting their identity is my paramount concern. That said, these are not "moles" slipping secret information to a foreign reporter. They are dedicated and proud members of Hizbullah and the Islamic Resistance and (frustratingly) guarded in their comments. Hizbullah cadres are not automatons; they are human beings and feel the tug of human emotion like anyone else. It is not extraordinary that they might be willing to meet and chat with a foreigner whom they like and have grown over the years to trust, the "veil of secrecy" notwithstanding." (thanks N.)

Cherif Bassiouni's cv

Ahmet sent me this:  "Asad..OFF TOPIC.. but apparently the guy has a large ego too, and he is so enamored with citing every petty detail of his lousy career that that he has a CV of 71 pages. I mean, not even Noam Chomsky could produce something of the sort..To wit, I suggest you send him your famous Angry Arab blender prize; he might cite it too in his resume.."

King PlayStation has plenty of time for business

""In November 2003, Sargeant jumped on the opportunity to profit from the war in Iraq, flying his private jet to Baghdad in search of deals. Then, on a stopover in Amman, Jordan, he met with King Abdullah II, laying the groundwork for a new business venture that would make Sargeant, with Exxon and BP, one of the main dealers of oil to the Pentagon.""

It seems that the lousy regime that US set up in Iraq is supporting the lousy regime that the US opposes in Syria

Lousy Iraqi regime lends a helping hand to the lousy Syrian regime.

The US wants to stay in Iraq to prolong its record of success

""Iraq remains an extraordinarily dangerous place to work," Stuart Bowen, chief of the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction, said in a report. "It is less safe, in my judgment, than 12 months ago."  The report notes that 44 Iraqi government and security officials have been assassinated since April. It also draws attention to the rocket attacks on the American Embassy in Baghdad's Green Zone enclave and a deadly bomb blast July 7 that killed two U.S. troops near an entrance to Camp Victory, the U.S. military headquarters in Iraq."

For the cause of repression in Bahrain

"In March, as a government crackdown on pro-democracy protestors intensified in Bahrain, curious advertisements started appearing in Pakistani media.  "Urgent requirement - manpower for Bahrain National Guard," said one.  In the following two months, on the back of visits to Islamabad by senior Saudi and Bahraini officials, sources say at least 2,500 former servicemen were recruited by Bahrainis and brought to Manama, increasing the size of their national guard and riot police by as much as 50 per cent."  The categories included: former army drill instructors, anti-riot instructors, retired military police, and former army cooks.  "For service in Bahrain National Guard, the following categories of people with previous army and police experience are urgently needed," said another, with "previous experience" and "urgent need" underscored." (thanks Ali)

Give it up, already: it is over (for gas from Egypt and for the survival of the entity)

"After gunmen attacked the Egyptian gas pipeline in the northern Sinai on Saturday – the fifth such attack in the past six months – an Israeli energy expert said he believes that Israeli officials and the country’s major gas consumers have all but “given up” on that source of natural gas."

Bashshar: In the footsteps of his murderous father

No argument can or shall be made in favor of the lousy Syrian regime.  By any measure or any criteria, this is a failed and lousy regime that does not deserve any support whatsoever.  The Syrian regime has given reason for the Syrian people to revolt in any way possible to overthrow it.  The only progressive argument that I can see being made is for its overthrow.  Bashshar Al-Asad is just another ugly face of an ugly regime that is rotten to the core and that deserve only overthrow.  All its slogans are empty and bogus: its record against Israel is lousy: its army and intelligence services only show courage against unarmed civilians.  It is a regime that accepts humiliation by Israel at every corner.  It is a regime that betrayed its own slogans on social justice, freedom, or Arab unity.  It is a regime that lies as a matter of official policy.  Any support for the Syrian regime translates as support for its war crimes.  It is a time for paying tribute to the innocent civilians who are being massacred by the criminal arms of the regime.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Mubarak in Tantawi jail

"Their most bitter complaint is that, whereas some 10,000 civilians have been served harsh jail terms by military courts since the revolution, most officials of the former regime have so far escaped justice for decades of corruption and abuse of power, including the widespread use of torture and the killing of more than 800 people during the revolution. The toppled president, Hosni Mubarak, has languished in a fancy hospital in the resort city of Sharm el-Sheikh, hidden from view pending his trial on the feeble charge of having paid too little for a beach house." (thanks Khelil)

Cage for Mubarak

"Hosni Mubarak will see trial from inside metal cage".  The monkey cage in the Cairo zoo would be very suitable.  I used to throw peanuts as a child to those monkeys and we can throw peanuts to Jamal Mubarak too. 
PS I dont trust the Tantawi military junta.  Saudi Arabia and Israel will both pressure the council to obstruct a humiliating trial for Mubarak. 

Hariri tribunal

"Hezbollah has also vowed to hit hard at anyone trying to arrest the men, who have disappeared, possibly to Iran, according to analysts."  Excuse me, but who are those "analysts"??  I also noticed that Alexandra said that the names were mentioned before in the Lebanese press but she failed to mention that they were first mentioned long before that in the Zionist German and Israeli press.

Charges against Muhammad Dahlan

I almost want to shed tears for one of the worst Palestinians (he faces stiff competition for the title with Salam Fayyad and Abu Mazen and Yasir `Abd-Rabbu).  Look at this:  "The Central Committee of the Palestinian National Liberation Movement (Fatah) confirmed that the decision to expel Muhammad Dahlan from the movement was taken because of the excesses which he committed. These violations are said to affect the Palestinian national security; including collusion with foreign entities, committing murders over many years, as well as unethical practices and the use thugs and death squads."  Wait.  Are excesses and collusion with enemy entities and committing murders and unethical practices and the use of thugs and death squads a matter of actual policies by the Fath movement, for which one gets promoted?  I can't believe I am saying this but I say this Fath master thug is being treated unfairly by his fellow thuggish colleagues.  

Israeli propaganda apparatus

Of course, Israeli media are part of the propaganda apparatus of the military-intelligence power structure in Israel.  They are allowed to disagree on minute party issues and on whether Lebanon should be bombed with 30,000 bombs or 35,000 bombs (liberals in Israel stick to the 30,000 figure out of the kindness of their hearts).  I saw in Haaretz they finally managed to speak to a knowledgeable Arab leader about the Arab uprisings.  His name is Newg Gingrich.   

Israeli war on Lebanon

"But what was it like to live in Lebanon and South Lebanon under such a fierce Israeli assault? My company, Just World Books, is proud to be publishing a unique account of those days written by the Lebanese social activist Rami Zurayk. Zurayk's short work War Diary: Lebanon 2006 will be available as an ebook and a paperback within the coming days-- certainly long before the fifth anniversary of the ceasefire." (thanks Helena)

To the liking of Israel

"A majority of Dutch believe that Geert Wilders, the anti-immigration politician much admired by Norway's mass murderer, does not need to tone down his inflammatory anti-Islamic comments, a poll on Friday showed."

Criminalizing violence against women in Lebanon

"Lebanon's parliament should adopt a draft law that would specifically criminalize violence against women, Human Rights Watch said today. The bill, which would criminalize physical, mental, and sexual abuse, marital rape, and so-called honor crimes, was approved by the former Council of Ministers on April 6, 2010, and referred to a special parliamentary committee. It has remained there since May 2010, in part because the country was without a government for months.  In late June 2011, both Dar al-Fatwa, the country's highest Sunni Muslim authority, and the Higher Shi'a Islamic Council, said that they oppose the draft bill on the grounds that Islamic Sharia law protects the role and status of women and includes provisions governing legal issues related to the Muslim family. With a new government about to start acting on legislation, the debate over the draft bill has continued. A coalition of groups supporting the measure rejected their argument.   "All Lebanese women, like women everywhere in the world, have a right to be protected from abuse and violence, regardless of their religious affiliation," said Nadya Khalife, Middle East women's rights researcher at Human Rights Watch. "The clerics should be using their moral authority to condemn gender-based violence.""

PS Of course, I agree with all that and  call for the elimination of all religious laws but it would be nice to hear them HRW speak out in such forceful language against Israeli crimes. 

Boosting Obama's image in Israel: let him bomb some more Arab or Muslim countries. That always impresses Israelis

"A State Department report said the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv has been facing rising Israeli distrust in the Obama administration. The department's Office of the Inspector-General reported that the embassy was given nearly $7 million a year to influence public opinion in the Jewish state.   "A fragile Israeli coalition government leans toward the views of its members from the nationalist and religious right, creating a challenge for diplomats seeking to build support for U.S. policies," the inspector-general said." (thanks John)

A Bahrain royal appintee

We have not forgotten that this Bassioni guy was a supporter of Sadat and his humiliating peace with Israel.  Don't try to fool any one about his credentials.   This is a guy who never ever spoke against US or Israeli violations of human rights, to my knowledge.  Or not in many many years.   "He recounted one story of a Bahraini opposition figure who was detained.   "He said, 'They kept repeatedly hitting me, one officer, with the palm of his hand to the back of the head and the back of my neck.' And I said, 'Did it leave any marks?' 'No.' 'Did it cause you any headaches?' 'No,'" he says. "You know, I fully recognize that this is demeaning, it's improper, it's physical abuse. But this is not like somebody who is engaging in the type of torture that causes severe physical pain." (thanks R.)

Can you imagine the outrage and uproar if this was written about Jewish worshippers at the Wailing Wall??

Just imagine the world reaction and the official statements of condemnations by Western governments if this was written about Jewish prayers:  "I go to the ticket office, pay the entrance fee for foreigners and collect a hooded grey cloak to cover myself. The cloaks come in three sizes. A woman sitting there directs me towards the smallest size. The cloak stinks and I wonder when it was last washed and how many women have had to wear it in the sweltering summer heat. I put the cloak on over my clothes, pulling up the pointed hood to ensure my hair is covered. I enter the Umayyad mosque -- built on the site of a shrine dedicated to John the Baptist -- looking like a member of the Ku Klux Klan except dressed in grey, and carrying my shoes in my hand. I wander into the covered area where hundreds of people are praying, men in one area, women in another."   Would you want Muslims to write about churches that smell like urine?   And the invocation of the KKK was most absurd given the Christian background.  (thanks Nicholas)

The ugly face of the Muslim Brotherhood

It is now abundantly clear that Egyptian Military Council (supported by Saudi Arabia and Qatar, and increasingly by the US) will be using the Muslim Brotherhood as the tool of the Arab counter-revolution in more than one country.  They reared their ugly heads yesterday in their demonstration in Tahrir which was intended to bolster the standing of the military junta.  Look at this banner yesterday: it condemns liberalism, communism, leftism, secularism and nationalism all in one fanatical stroke.

PS I call for a clear and categorical separation between, nay conflict with, Arab leftism and Arab liberalism.  Arab liberals were the allies of Mubarak and are allies of Saudi Arabia. Never forget that.  An Arab liberal is a shy Wahhabi.  

The foreign policy of the new Egypt: gas pipe line to Israel attacked for the 5th time

"Egyptian security officials say a militant Islamist group has blown up a terminal along the Egyptian natural gas pipeline to Israel in the northern Sinai Peninsula.  Officials say Saturday's attack on the terminal in al-Shulaq destroyed the last terminal before the line enters the sea on its way to Israel.  It is the third attack on the pipeline this month and the fifth since the 18-day uprising toppled President Hosni Mubarak in February.  While no one claimed responsibility, officials accused a militant Bedouin group for the attack.  Clashes between the group and security forces killed 5 people Friday."

Friday, July 29, 2011

Arab counter-revolution

My weekly article in Al-Akhbar:  "Two Courses in the Arab Counter-Arab Revolution." 

US TV news

As much as I criticize AlJazeera, yesterday as I watched NBC and ABC News at my brother's house, I realized how superior the network is to US TV news.  Don't get me wrong: Aljazeera has become a lousy propaganda tool but its reports are still better than the silly sensational theatrics of US TV news.

Syrian regime announcements

Why does not the Syrian regime issue daily announcements in which it makes clear its murderous intentions for the next day? Like: the regime would like to announce that tomorrow it plans to kill 20 innocent civilians.  In this way, we can know what to expect. 

I am not making this up: this guy is known as the dumbest member of the Lebanese parliament

"As the conversation turned to presidencies, both Lebanese and American, MP Ali Osseiran said that he supported President Bush and his vision for the Middle East, but that the U.S. needs to do more if we want to realize the "freedom agenda."" I am not kidding when I say that no one in Lebanon has ever heard his voice. He never speaks to the press and never gives speeches. It is thought that his family wants to keep his dumbness private.

Israeli dance

""But why not dream of a new strategic triangle comprising Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey, just as Israelis once dreamed of a non-Arab triangle between Israel, Turkey, and the Shah’s Iran?"(...) Triumphant capitalism, idolatry of the land, and the comforts of the status quo produce a heady cocktail. But, high on the benefits of globalization, and waiting with a mixture of excitement and apprehension for the coming of a new post-Western world order, Israelis are dancing on the rim of a volcano."

The orator of the 21st century now produces documents

"That Ziadeh was my source has been common knowledge in Washington, D.C. for months." 

PS Ziadeh of course is noted for his speech here, which some consider one of the best speeches in human history.  His use of the English language has been compared to Shakespeare and Yasser Arafat.

This is a first: A Hashemite rulers refuses to meet with an Israeli out of fear of his own people

"According to reports by a Kuwaiti daily made on Wednesday, July 27, King Abdullah II of Jordan recently declined a secret meeting with Israeli Prime Minister, Binyamin Netanyahu.  Well informed' anonymous sources told Al-Jareeda newspaper that Netanyahu had sent a special emissary to Amman to request a secret meeting with Abdullah in Aqaba. However, the King refused saying that his schedule was overloaded."  His schedule is overloaded with fear of his own people.  You bet. 

How the US helped in the nationalization of Iranian oil

A person who wishes to remain anonymous sent me this:  "Another book that came into my hands today, Iran, Israel, and the United States: Regime Security vs. Political Legitimacy by one Jalil Roshandel and published by Praeger, a frequent publisher of US and Israeli military themed books, contained this chestnut: "The contentious relationship [between the US and Iran] began before the shah [sic.] took the throne when the United States and the British organized and assisted in nationalizing Iran's oil industry." " (p. 8)

Speaking in cliches

"From today’s Daily Star:
Mikati has a card described by political observers as the strongest among cards held by the parties participating in the government: The threat to resign, something which the March 8 parties cannot afford to live with.
Hmmm, where have I seen this before? Oh yes, from last August:
[P.M Saad] Hariri has a significant card to play. That card, quite simply, is his resignation.[…] he can make his resignation very painful. Either way, the prime minister’s departure could leave behind a mess that both Hizbullah and Syria would not relish having to clean up.
I wonder how that worked out for him.." (thanks "Ibn Rushd")

When Jeffrey Goldberg doctors his own writings

Michael sent me this:  "Goldberg posted a truly nasty blog post last Friday stating that jihadists were to blame in Norway. Then he doctored the post to make himself look less clownish, without acknowledging he made the changes. Then when he learned on Monday that I had the goods on him, he went back and added a self-justification that is so ridiculous and incomprehensible that it has to be seen to be believed.  Meanwhile his fellow writers at Atlantic are pretending to see nothing wrong – even though they just climbed all over a WaPo blogger (Rubin) for a similar but less egregious post of hers.   Wrote two posts about this at Flapola and crossposted them at   It’s become a minor cause célèbre on twitter today, with Jay Rosen and Glenn Greenwald going after Goldberg. Rosen has also mocked Goldberg on tumblr."

Wahhabi horrors

"A senior Saudi cleric issued a religious ruling to allow fathers to arrange marriages for their daughters "even if they are in the cradle"... (thanks Junaid)  

Bashshar and reform (not to mention the massacres of 1600 Syrians by the regime)

"But paradoxically — and contrary to the “awakening” narrative — most Syrians also believe that President Bashar al-Assad shares their conviction for reform. The populations of Damascus, Aleppo, the middle class, the merchant class, and non-Sunni minorities (who amount to one quarter of the population), among others, including the leadership of the Sunni Muslim Brotherhood, fall into this category. They also believe there is no credible ‘other’ that could bring reform."  Where do I start with this passage?  The notion that even the leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood believe that Bashshar "shares their conviction for reform" is just absurd. (thanks Ben)  

Flash: Jeffrey Feltman hails behadings in Saudi Arabia and consider them essential to true reform

"WITH 33 people known to have lost their heads so far this year to the executioner’s righteous sword, it cannot be said that Saudi Arabia is a sissy about justice. But just to make sure, the kingdom’s rulers are making its laws even tougher....A draft law before the kingdom’s all-appointed proto-parliament, the Shura Council, threatens a blistering array of punishments for anyone remotely suspected of financing or engaging in “terrorism”. They may be held incommunicado and without charge for 120 days before being put before a special court that could impose further months of detention. Anyone convicted of causing death would be executed. Yet the definition of terrorism extends to such vague things as “endangering national unity” and “harming the interests of the state”." (thanks Khelil)

Tell Jeffrey Feltman that there are developments in Jordan

""It is a consistent peaceful protest that is very stubborn," 29-year old Khaled Kamhawi, a member of the activist group March 24 Youth Movement, told Babylon and Beyond. "There is no compromise. Jordan is a small country suffering from big problems -- all due to political, administrative and financial fraud. The status quo is unsustainable.""

FBI reading list

Among the books the FBI recommend to learn about Islam is none other than Raphael Patai's The Arab Mind.  You have to admit this: the US really works hard to maintain and expand its ignorance.  

The FBI teaches Islam

"As recently as January 2009, the FBI thought its agents ought to know
the following crucial information about Muslims:
* They engage in a “circumcision ritual”
* More than 9,000 of them are in the U.S. military
* Their religion “transforms [a] country’s culture into 7th-century
Arabian ways.”"

PS This reminds me that FBI used to teach communism.  Many US colleges used to use this text to teach about communism:  Master of Deceit by J Edgar Hoover.   (thanks David)

The rhetoric of Arab potentates

"Egypt's military ruler accused "foreign" groups on Wednesday of pushing some Egyptians into "inappropriate actions," as tensions mount between the military and activists who demand reforms.   Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi said in an address to officers that the unspecified "foreign parties feed and create specific projects executed by some people domestically," the official MENA news agency reported." (thanks Basim)

Repression in Bahrain and Jeffery Feltman

When Jeffrey Feltman speaks the Arab world yawns (or vomits).  It is hilarious when he thinks he is making a smart point against enemies of Israel.  For so many months, somebody has told him that he will sound smart and witty if he brings up the issue of Iranian hypocritical double standards on Arab revolts: how the Iranian regime supported the revolts in Egypt and Tunisia but supported the regime in Syria.  Of course, the Iranian regime is hypocritical and repressive and has no credibility in that area.  But so is the US: here is a government that does not support any revolt except in Syria and Iran while it stood and stands by the various repressive regimes of the region.  Feltman is asked to speak on Arab revolts, and he always brings up Iran: but if someone admits that all that he knows about the Arab world, he learned from AIPAC and its affiliates and from the book by Lee Smith, then it is not surprising that he thinks that Iran is an Arab country.  If his learning of Middle East history copies his learning of Arabic, I would not be surprised if he thinks the Abbasid caliphate was based in Silver Spring, Maryland.  Yesterday, he said that the US will hold Syria and Iran accountable for their human rights violation.  No word of the other repressive criminal regimes in the region.  Bahrain royal family killed some 32 innocent civilians: that is out of a population of 600,000.  You do the math.  What is galling about Feltman is that he thinks he (or his administration) has any credibility whatsoever on the Middle East and its developments.  Go check the latest poll by Zogby: some 95% of Egyptians hold an unfavorable view of the US.  Feltman and other Zionists (including the Zionist-in-chief, Obama) worked hard to get to that figure.  

Repression in Oman

"Human rights defender and journalist Mr Yousif Al-Haj is the subject of a criminal investigation and has been banned from writing or publishing articles by the Minister of Information since 8 July 2011.   Further Information
The ban on writing stems from the publication of an article in which Yousif Al-Haj exposes the Minister of Justice and his Undersecretary for refusing to increase the salary and grade of a civil servant who has worked for the Omani State for a number of years. Yousif Al-Haj is a journalist with the Al-Zaman newspaper, and writes extensively on politics and social issues in Oman." (thanks Ali)

`Abdul-Fattah Yunis: the non-Revolution eats its criminals

The assassination of Yunis is significant: it came on the heels of a summon for him to appear before the `Abdul-NATO council to explain the military situation.  Many of the top military leaders of the rebels were not even on speaking terms.  Those are starting to kill one another before they even ascended to power: imagine what they will do if power was in their hands.  The brave Libyan people deserve neither Qadhafi, nor Abdul-NATO.  

When NATO intervenes, revolution goes out of the window

"If the Gaddafi regime is now more in control of Libya than before, then this completely undermines the simplistic view put about by the supporters of war – and unfortunately by some elements of the resistance – that the situation was simply one of a hated tyrant hanging on through mercenary violence. Of course, he uses whatever resources he has at his disposal, but a) it would seem that the involvement of imperialism has driven some Libyans back into the Gaddafi camp, as it's unlikely he would maintain control without some degree of support, and b) we know that rebellious sectors started to go back to Gaddafi within mere weeks of the revolt taking off, meaning in part that his resources of legitimising his regime were not exhausted even before the US-led intervention. Despite the defections, he has consolidated his regime in a way that would have seemed improbable in the early weeks of revolt." (thanks Ahmet)

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Muhammad Amru Musa

Since Sadat, leaders of Egypt add Muhammad into their names.  Anwar Sadat never used Muhammad in English but insisted on it in Arabic. Same for his lousy successor.  Tantawi's name is Husayn but now he goes by Muhammad Husayn Tantawi.  If Musa becomes president, expect him to be named Muhammad Amr Musa.

PS My grandfather was named Muhammad As`ad AbuKhalil.

Comrade Joseph on Egypt

This is a really informative piece by comrade Joseph on Egypt.  Those who don't read Arabic will learn about things that are not covered in the Western press. 

The Fath Movement

In the conflict between Abu Mazen and Muhammad Dahlan, I support Kamal `Udwan. 

Future of media

The previous issue of the Economist had a special supplement on the future of the news media.  I read it on the plane yesterday.  It was outstanding: I learned so much from it.  And unlike US media, when Economist writes about media, they talk about India and Japan and China, etc.  I recommend it highly.  

Lousy Hizbullah media

I was reading the speech by Ayman Adh-Dhawahiri about Syria: and I thought that supporters of the lousy Syrian regime would now use his praise for protesters to condemn all Syrian protesters as fanatical supporters of Al-Qa`idah.  I knew that this would be reported on Al-Manar website (the website of Hizbullah's TV).  Sure enough, there is a headline in the news of the Arab world section that Dhawahiri "praised Syrian protesters".  That is really sinister.  So this lousy speech by a man who also had praised protesters in Tunisia and Egypt (although his speeches are ignored by Arabs), now should be used to condemn all Syrian protesters?  Does Al-Manar believe that Syrian protesters are revolting against the regime because they want a bring Dhawahiri as their leader?  It is disturbing also because Al-Manar website which has chosen to not report on Syria has selected this as the only item on Syrian developments.  

James Zogby and Saudi propaganda

James Zogby has been peddling (and trading in) UAE propaganda for years now.  I was reading his latest survey and the questions were all phrased in a way that serves Saudi propaganda in the region.  Notice that he did not dwell on the the fact that 95% of Egyptians viewed the US unfavorably: he was busy reporting the good news about perceptions of Iran to his Saudi/UAE masters.  Also, I noticed that he reported the obvious: Arabs indeed (and rightly so) view Iran's role in Iraq very unfavorably.  As it should be.  Yet, Zogby did not seem to ask Arabs about Iran's role toward the Palestinian question: was he afraid that the responses would embarrass his UAE oil shayks?  

Bahrain and Al-Wifaq

Of course, the royal family is the biggest instigator of sectarianism in Bahrain.  But the fact that the main opposition group in Bahrain, is a lousy sectarian grouping that wavers in its opposition, has hurt the cause of liberation in Bahrain.  

Western puppets

The Western-sponsored Arab potentates always look dignified.  This is the Jordanian king.

General Sulayman

The Lebanese who was arrested yesterday for making a song that mocked Lebanese president has been released.  A teen age fighter in South Lebanon who defended Lebanon against Israeli aggression and occupation deserves the rank of general more than "General Sulayman".  

Behind the scenes

"Contrary to popular belief, discussions and negotiations taking place behind-the-scenes in the UN Security Council are often sympathetic to Israeli positions on critical issues relating to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, according to Amir Weissbrod, a senior Israeli diplomat and top adviser to the Israeli delegation in the UN.   According to Weissbrod, backdoor meetings between ambassadors and foreign diplomats are generally understanding of Israeli justifications of its policies vis-à-vis the Palestinian Authority."  Look at the phrasing: "discussions and negotiations taking place behind the scenes".  I am sure he is talking about US-led efforts and that is accurate.   I am also sure that the US intimidates other members into accommodation of Israeli war crimes.  

PS US intervention on behalf of Israeli war crimes is not new at all.  Read the section on the US role in the 1947 partition plan at the UN in Walid Khalidi's From Haven to Conquest.   I consider the book (still in print by the IPS in DC) to be one of the top five books on the Arab-Israeli question.    

Bahrain royal PR

My chief correspondent on Bahrain:  "This is really funny:  
As you probably realized Bahrain is obsessed with image and PR. They already have a token female Jewish Bahraini that dresses well and speaks great english as the Bahraini Ambassador to the US. And now, they decided to appoint a token female Christian Bahraini as the Bahraini ambassador to the UK.  They think that by appointing these tokens they will prove to the world that they are a progressive monarchy. What they don't realize is that the west is propping them up for their own interests and not because they think they are progressive."

Hired goons of Tantawi

Field Marshall Tantawi (the rank of Field Marshall is only obtained after proving real and concrete record of military defeats against Israel by the Egyptian Army) describes the hired goons of the Egyptian military regime as "the people".  

Thus spoke the puppet of occupation

Mahmoud Abbas - AP

Don't I always tell you that US and Israeli puppets always look dignified in their pictures?  Now this puppet of Israeli occupation dares to invoke the Arab spring:  ""I insist on popular resistance, and I insist that it be unarmed popular resistance so that nobody misunderstands us. We are now inspired by the protests of the Arab Spring, all of which cry out 'peaceful', 'peaceful'," he said."  If the Arab spring hits Palestine, it will be directed against Israel and against puppets of occupation like him.  

We shall never forgive, we shall never forget: No to peace with Israel. No to recognition with Israel. No to negotiations with Israel.

"EVERY Friday and often after school on other days, Israeli soldiers fire tear-gas and sonic bombs at the Palestinian children as they approach a spring. It sits in a valley that separates Nabi Saleh, an Arab village of 500 people half an hour’s drive north of Jerusalem, from Halamish, a religious Jewish settlement. On most nights jeeps roll through the village; over the past 18 months the Israeli army has detained 32 of its children, some as young as eleven. Many have been taken from their beds, kept in pre-trial detention for months, and brought to court in shackles, there to be convicted of stone-throwing.  For some of Halamish’s settlers, irritated by the tear-gas that wafts into their living rooms from across the hill, this is not harsh enough."

Who will cry for Dahlan?

Well, the answer to the above question is Saudi media.  Did you note the tone of sympathy in the coverage of the Dahlan affair in the Saudi media?  You almost want to say: oh, poor Dahlan.  And don't you like it when PA's criminal and collaborationist security forces try to act firm and forceful?  Where is their firmness when Israeli occupation forces come and snatch children from their beds?  Spare me.  

Anti-Islam bigotry in Norway

"'Whereas previous verbal assaults on Muslims were often nakedly racist and antiquated, referencing the old “Muhammadan” threat to conquer Europe, a more sophisticated bigotry against Muslims has emerged over the last several years. The anti-Muslim rhetoric does not make reference to race or color but instead turns to Muslim scripture to find passages to show that Islam is an evil religion. Critics of Islam also cite former Muslims who have left the community and now call it dangerous. Those who accept these claims without questioning them or attempting to find out more become scared that Muslims are aiming to overtake Norway'".  (thanks Nabeel)

The guy who mocked Arabs for their (logical) propensity to favor conspiracy theories, comes up with the dumbest conspiracy theory

"Beyond massacring innocent Norwegians, Behring Breivik damaged conservatism, the counterjihad, and (in particular) those authors he cited in his writings, including myself. A close reading of his manifesto suggests this may have been purposeful." (thanks David)

US mediating between Lebanon and Israel

Yes.  People in Lebanon and beyond have faith that US will be an honest broker and fair arbiter between Lebanon and Israel.  I mean, the last time Arabs believed that was in 1966.  "Meanwhile, the U.S. is also involved in the dispute and reportedly backs the Lebanese proposal (though Israel's foreign minister dismissed this). Entrusted with this headache is American diplomat Frederic Hof, who has good knowledge of the issue as well as of mapping affairs. Israeli media reported that Hof will head for Beirut soon for discussions.   The U.S. wants to avoid a sea version of the Shebaa Farms dispute, a low-level border conflict in southern Lebanon, and reportedly wants a cooperative Israel. But Washington also is likely seeking to ensure the interests of American companies already committed to business in Israel's northern gas fields."  

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Colorado to Colorado.  

Lebanese potato republic

Lawyer of Zayd Hamdan explains how his client was arrested for making a song mocking Lebanese president. (thanks Raed)  

Radical counter-development

I rarely accept to write blurbs for books, but I did write one for this book by comrade Rami.   

Israel's logical sympathy for Norwegian terrorist

""There are even hints that some Israelis sympathize with Breivik. Wrote J.J. Goldberg in The Forward on Monday, “Judging by the comments sections on the main Hebrew websites, the main questions under debate seem to be whether Norwegians deserve any sympathy from Israelis given the country’s pro-Palestinian policies, whether the killer deserves any sympathy given his self-declared intention of fighting Islamic extremism and, perhaps ironically, whether calling attention to this debate is in itself an anti-Israel or anti-Semitic act.”" (thanks "Ibn Rushd")

On Saudi Arabia in Pakistan

Comrade Junaid responds to the anonymous comrade:  "The comrade from Pakistan is spot on. The only point I'd add is that there needs to be some proper accounting for the Populist-Left government of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto that was in power for most of the 1970s. While I agree with the Indian Marxist Aijaz Ahmad that the father Bhutto still remains "in a class of his own" (among the pathetic class of politicians Pakistan has been cursed with ), the fact remains that he created the conditions for a completely defeated left in the country. He brutally suppressed the ethnic nationalist movements, repressed any working class activity, silenced dissent in the PPP's own ranks, and generally became a megalomaniac. This in addition to his unforgivable role in the Pakistani military's vicious war on its Eastern wing (which became Bangladesh) and his calculated political use of religion at various moments. Good old lefty Bhutto was the one making the most noise about "Islamic unity" with his brotherly regimes in the Gulf, and prided himself on hosting the OIC summit in 1974. Bhutto created the conditions where the rightwing military dictator Zia ul-Haq could have a field day in ruling the country with a degree of repression (of a broken and disoriented left and civil society in general) raised to the next level.
While it is incredibly important to point out the history of powerful states' backing of reactionary religious forces to counter progressive alternatives, it is equally important for the left to recognize its own lousy record at times. Like other places in the Muslim world, Pakistan also had a supposed progressive regime (in the 1970s) that did a pretty good job in destroying in a lot of people's minds the promise of genuine social change and liberation."

Civil war reenactment

Jason sent me this:  "(1) Americans love the military
(2) sneaky, hidden-racist pro-Southern pride in the Civil War; it's just another excuse to put up Southern flags and so on
(3) the fact that the Civil War happened so long ago that, for most Americans at least, it's water under the bridge
And of course (4) hipster cynicism! One of my friends was confused that I would willingly wear a Vietnamese shirt (a gift from a friend who went to Vietnam) depicting a massive Vietnamese fist smashing an American B-52 bomber. She was all like "Why would you wear a shirt celebrating a military defeat suffered by your country?" But I think all but the most right-wing Americans would concede the loss of the Vietnam War and say "Sorry, Vietnamese people, that we invaded and occupied your country." I wouldn't wear the shirt in an area with a large Vietnamese expatriate community, though.
I don't personally like Civil War reenactments though, due to dislike of reasons (1) and (2). I'm more of a Renaissance Faire person.="

Suing the Tantawi council

"Two of Egypt’s most prominent political movements have announced they will sue the ruling Supreme Council of Armed Forces for “libel and false accusations" over comments made by a senior army official suggesting the organizations were receiving foreign funding and were involved in treason.  The announcement by the April 6th Youth Movement and Kefaya came two days after a statement issued by the Supreme Council of Armed Forces accused a number of political movements, specifically April 6th, of having hidden agendas and working against the country’s interests. The military blamed April 6th for "igniting strife between the army and the people."The military added: “SCAF calls on all sects of the people to remain cautious and not to be led by such a suspicious plot, which aims to undermine Egypt’s stability.”   April 6th's financial coordinator, Rami Sweify, told the independent channel Tahrir TV on Monday evening that his organization will file reports to General Prosecutor Abdel Maguid Mahmoud against “those who’ve doubted the group’s sources of funding.”"

Muhammad `Abdul-Wahab

Elie sent me this:  "Actually Here is the info "In 1988, at the age of 81, he made a surprise return to the studio, singing a new composition, and despite lyrics that seemed unacceptably iconoclastic to some radicals, the disk sold two million copies.""

Enactment of the American civil war

Robert from Sweden sent me this about American reenactment of the civil war:  "Even more weird is that here in Sweden there are swedish civil war enthusiasts who reenact american civil war battles."

This is funny: when James Zogby parrots Wahhabi propaganda

Basil sent me this:  "I came across this article which summarizes the results of Iran's popularity in the Arab world conducted by IBOPE Zogby International on behalf of the Arab American Institute, with the conclusion being that Iran's popularity has plummeted. What do you make of this given James Zogby's association with Arab oil money, not to mention the timing of the poll as well?   Notice the quotes attributed to James Zogby as well, as if they are coming straight out of the Saudi Foreign Ministry:
"Zogby attributes Iran’s ratings slide to its “manifestly sectarian and aggressive” policies, he says."  "“This is clearly an indication of the fact that when Saudi Arabia and the UAE speak about Iran, they’ve got the people with them,” he says.""

This is Zionism

"The state filed a law suit on Tuesday against the residents of the Bedouin village Al-Arakib, claiming that razing the illegal outpost multiple times has cost it NIS 1,790,000 ($527,050).  The law suit comes exactly one year after a major demolition operation destroyed the town. The residents have been marking the anniversary with protests and renewed construction."  (thanks Farah)    

Foreign maids in Lebanon

"In Lebanon, a new maid-training academy claims to provide a much-needed education for domestic workers who have little experience with etiquette and cannot speak the language of their employers. The House Keeper Training Academy caters to foreigners who come from as far off as South Asian and Africa to work as maids and housekeepers. A four-day training session costs $180.
Critics say the school misattributes maid-employer problems in Lebanon and across the Middle East. In reality, they contend, maids are too often the victims of unreported abuse that has nothing to do with language barriers or work experience. The mistreatment is more commonly the result of employers and agencies taking advantage of undocumented workers.
Often Lebanon’s domestic workers arrive illegally and unaware of their rights, leaving them fully dependant on their employers. While many of the country’s 200,000 foreign domestic workers may be vulnerable to abuse and exploitation due to the nature of their work, those who are working without documentation are especially susceptible to physical and sexual abuse, underpayment, overwork, and other forms of mistreatment." (thanks Ali)

Meet Saudi Media

A major Saudi newspaper calls on the government to adopt a plan to place secret cameras in internet cafes.  (thanks Dirar)

These are the fruits of NATO bombing

"The regime controls around 20 per cent more territory than it did in the immediate aftermath of the uprising on 17 February." (thanks Laleh)

Harry Potter in Akransas

"The parents of a 4th-grader in Cedarville, Arkansas, filed a federal lawsuit July 3 challenging the city school board’s placement of the Harry Potter series on a restricted borrowing list, which requires students to present written permission from a parent to borrow one of the four J. K. Rowling titles. The plaintiffs are Billy Ray Counts and Mary Nell Counts, the parents of a Cedarville student; Billy Ray Counts served on the materials review committee that recommended to the board in May that the district maintain unfettered access to the books." (thanks Sultan)

Cyprus is the only democracy in the Middle East

"The Knesset on Wednesday voted down an attempt to open the option of civil marriages and divorces to Jews in Israel.  “Israel is the only democracy in the world where Jews don't have freedom of religion,” said MK Nitzan Horowitz (Meretz), who led the list of legislators behind the initiative. “There are currently hundreds of thousands of Israelis who are considered without religion, and cannot marry in Israel,” he said prior to the vote." (thanks Sarah)

The real face of Israel's founding

"For 54 years the fate of a young Bedouin girl who disappeared in the Negev desert was relegated to rumour and a single entry in the diary of David Ben-Gurion, the prime minister of the fledgling Israeli state.
"It was decided and carried out: they washed her, cut her hair, raped her and killed her," he wrote.
After that the case became one of the state's earliest secrets, and no more than hearsay passed between soldiers.
Now the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz has used previously classified army documents to reveal the full story of what Mr Ben-Gurion called a "horrific atrocity".
In August 1949, an army unit stationed at Nirim in the Negev shot an Arab man and captured a Bedouin girl with him. Her name and age remain unknown, but she was probably in her mid-teens.
In the following hours she was taken from the hut and forced to shower naked in full view of the soldiers. Three of the men then raped her.
After the Sabbath meal the platoon commander, identified by Ha'aretz as a man called Moshe who had served in the British army during the second world war, proposed a vote on what should be done with her.
One option was to put her to work in the outpost's kitchen.
Most of the 20 or so soldiers present voted for the alternative by chanting: "We want to fuck". The commander organised a rota for groups of his men to gang rape the girl over the next three days. Moshe and one of his sergeants went first, leaving the girl unconscious. Next morning, she complicated matters by protesting about her treatment. Moshe told one of his sergeants to kill her.
She was forced into a patrol vehicle with several soldiers, two carrying shovels, and they drove off into the dunes. When the girl realised what was about to happen she tried to run, but only made it a few paces before she was shot by a Sergeant Michael.
Her body was buried in a grave less than a foot deep.
A few days later the battalion commander, Yehuda Drexler, asked Moshe if he had carried out an order to return the girl to her village.
"They killed her," replied Moshe. "It was a shame to waste the petrol." He was ordered to write a report. Ha'aretz has obtained a copy.
It said: "In my patrol on 12.8.49 I encountered Arabs in the territory under my command, one of them armed. I killed the armed Arab on the spot and took his weapon. I took the Arab female captive. On the first night the soldiers abused her and the next day I saw fit to remove her from the world."" (thanks Elham)  

Lousy Hamas government

Lousy Hamas bans a movie because the hair of a woman is shown uncovered.  (thanks Ahmet)

I wonder why the Feminist Majority (the loudest cheerleader for war on Afghanistan) is not calling for war on Israel?

"Are we about to witness a new phenomenon in Israel in the coming years – one man married to several women? Tens of thousands of leaflets were distributed in synagogues across the country recently, promoting the ancient custom and presenting it as a solution for the single daughters of Israel."

Israel and US political campaigns

"Assemblyman David I. Weprin, the Democratic candidate to replace former Representative Anthony D. Weiner in a special election on Sept. 13, is a Modern Orthodox Jew who keeps kosher, observes the Sabbath and has been to Israel at least eight times. So it comes as a surprise that, at this early stage of the short campaign, New York’s Ninth Congressional District finds itself talking about an unlikely subject — whether Mr. Weprin, who is unabashedly pro-Israel, is the best pro-Israel advocate.    “It will be a one-upsmanship on who is more pro-Israel,” said Chris Malone, an associate professor of political science at Pace University."  Just as a May special election in a conservative district of western New York turned into an unexpected referendum on the Republican Party’s proposals about Medicare, the coming special election in a heavily Jewish district of Brooklyn and Queens is, at least for that district, emerging as a potential referendum on President Obama’s proposals about the Middle East."

Rotten deal in Libya

Why Libyans have been dying by Qadhdhafi's bombs and by the bombs of NATO (to the cheers of the army of Mustafa `Abd-Al-NATO), the Libyan Transitional Council has been secretly negotiating with the Libyan dictator, it turned out.  The details are in Al-Quds Al-`Arabi.

Sectarianism in Lebanon

Hasan Dawud, the culture editor of the Hariri family rag, Al-Mustaqbal, rarely (fortunately) writes on political matters.  Here, he does:  "In response to a question about the West’s role in promoting sectarianism in Lebanon, Daoud unequivocally said that the West or Orientalism “did not make us sectarian—we ARE sectarian. Our history is a history of conflict and you can feel that, touch that every day in your daily life.” He mentioned once going to a book fair in the Shiite-dominated town of Nabatieh in the south of Lebanon. He was startled to find that as many as two-thirds of the books on show were about the Mahdi, and there was next to no modern literature represented in the entire fair."  Mr. Dawud has not read Ussama Makdisi's book, The Culture of Sectarianism, and has not heard of foreign embassies and their relations to sect from the 19th centuries.  He has no knowledge whatsoever how France took it upon itself to "protect" Maronites, and how Britain took the Druzes, and how Russia took the Greek Orthodox, etc.  Mr. Dawud does not know how France founded the sectarian system of the Lebanese entity.  But say what you want: the "culture" section of Al-Mustaqbal rage has published plenty of tears for Rafiq Hariri.  That counts.

Palestinian statehood as UN theater

What do I think about Palestinian statehood through the UN?  Let me say this.  How can I support a PA diplomatic strategy that is designed and executed by the chief PA buffoon, Sa'ib `Urayqat.  I was reading the text of his speech before PLO ambassadors: his buffoonish skills are very impressive.

Poems for Syrian uprising

Syrian dissident writer, Subhi Hadidi, has a nice article on poems for the Syrian uprising.  He presents this as an alternative to those Syrian artists, like George Wassuf and Durayd Lahham among others, who have advocated for the tyrannical regime there.   

Saudi foreign aid

There is an arithmetic formula now: Saudi foreign aid in the Arab world is inversely proportional to the security of the tyrannical regime in question.  This explains the new aid package to Jordanian potentate.

Ethan Bronner's propaganda: always make Israelis look good

This story should be about the strangulation of West Bank.  It should be about how unjust and cruel Israeli occupation is.  Yet, Bronner found an angle: how a handful of Israeli women are taking a few Palestinian women to the beach.  This, for propaganda purposes, warrants a whole long article while Israeli killings of Palestinians civilians in the last few weeks warrants not one article.

Response to a previous post

I posted a comment by Daniel a few days ago.  Sondra Ghosn, mentioned in the article, wrote to me a response, and I post: ""Dear Mr. Daniel and Mr. Asaad Abu Khalil,
I suppose you got your truncated information from the brazilian magazine Folha de S.Paulo who interviewed me as well as three arab fellows from other countries. You can find the page where the information is taken on my blog here
this is the text next to my drawing in Portugese :
" Sandra Ghosn, 28, publica na revista coletiva de vanguarda “Samandal”. Na ilustração para a Folha, ela representou o comportamento de sua geração, “mais liberal que a anterior”. A proporção de libanesas entre 20 e 24 anos casadas aos 18 está entre as menores nos países árabes – cerca de 10%. No Iêmen, são mais de 35%"
If you translate it CORRECTLY, it reads :
" Sandra Ghosn, 28, published in the cutting-edge magazine "Samandal."In this illustration, she represented the behavior of her generation,"more liberal than the one before." The proportion of Lebanese between 20 and 24 years married at 18 is among the lowest in the Arab countries - about 10%. In Yemen, more than 35%"
As you can read, I was only quoted on the fact i find my own generation to be more liberal than the one before, not that "My generation is liberated!" as i think this concept does not exist worldwide. The rest of the info published in this text is not my own and I cannot be held responsible for it.
Other facts:
I don't claim to represent in my drawing the whole social stance of women in Lebanon.
I sometimes use photography in my work but i'm not a photographer.
I did not say "This is how my generation behaves today".
Now regarding Samandal, I don't know why anyone shouldn't "categorize Samandal as a lebanese magazine", not only it is "published here" but it's the product of lebanese artists and graphic designers who had the idea of publishing any person who likes to draw comics with just the format and the greyscale mode as editorial constraints.
It's not only a non lucrative magazine (5000l.l. merely to cover the printing costs) but also quite democratic since anyone can send a comics proposal and get published in it which makes it possible for frustrated illustrators like myself who don't have the means to publish their personnal work to get some exposure. I think it's a pretty nice initiative, maybe inspired by the west but isn't everything inspired by something somewhere?
Please get your facts right before posting. You, like all published journalists, have a big responsability."
Thank you,
Sandra Ghosn"

Lebanese prisoner of conscience

This has been smuggled from a Lebanese jail:  "Message from Hamdan Zeid in prison: Dear friends, I am now in the prison of the police station of the palace of justice in Beirut because of my song "General Soleiman". They are prosecuting me for defammation of President Soleiman. I dont know, until when I am staying in prison. Please mobilize! " (thanks Carol)       

Communists in Hula versus Hizbullah's puritanical standards

This issue has been bothering me because it is a matter of principle.  Hizbullah needs to understand that it can't impose its rigid social order on people in Lebanon--not even in predominantly Shi`ite areas.  There are alcoholics in all Shi`ite villages in the South, damn it.  The confrontation beween Hizbullah supporters and communists who sell beer has taken places in Kfar Rumman and Hula, among other villages in the South.  Yet, there is a place that sell liquors in the southern suburbs and Hizbullah gave its consent for that one.  Yesterday, New TV aired a report on the matter, and three communists drank beer on camera from the village of Hula.  To them I say: cheers, comrade.  

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Harry Potter in Saudi Arabia

Aboud sent me this:  "hope you are well. Someone should tell the Jerusalem Post that Saudi Arabia does not ban Harry Potter books or movies. I read all the books and watched all the DVDs while I was in Saudi Arabia from 2002 to 2008. The very morning of a new book’s release, the lines at the cash registers at the Jarir Book Stores would be crowded with Saudi girls or their relatives, with a hardcover of the latest Harry Potter book in hand.  These are the kind of subtle lies we have gotten used to seeing from publications like the Jerusalem Post."

If not you, who??????

You would realize why I mock Saudi media if you read Arabic.  Look at this main headline from the the mouthpiece of Prince Salman and his sons, Ash-Sharq Al-Awsat:  "Servant of the Two Holy Sites to Muslim `Ulama':  If you don't defend the Islamic doctrine, who will?"  

Saudi Arabia fights...sorcery

""Saudi Arabia takes witchcraft so seriously that it has banned the Harry Potter series by British writer J.K. Rowling, rife with tales of sorcery and magic. It set up the Anti-Witchcraft Unit in May 2009 and placed it under the Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice (CPV), Saudi Arabia's religious police. "In accordance with our Islamic tradition we believe that magic really exists," Abdullah Jaber, a political cartoonist at the Saudi daily Al-Jazirah, told The Media Line. "The fact that an official body, subordinate to the Saudi Ministry of Interior, has a unit to combat sorcery proves that the government recognizes this, like Muslims worldwide.""

Lebanese president solves the mystery of terrorism

I wish I am making this up:  ""President Michel Sleiman said the (Oslo) attack was due to the weakening of family values and ties, which countries in the East, and Lebanon in particular, still hold in high regard."" (thanks "Ibn Rushd")

Muhammad `Abdul-Wahab

I had written that Muhammad `Abdul-Wahab stopped singing at age 40.  I heard singer Walid Tawfiq say that.  But comrade Kamal sets me straight here:  "غير دقيق عزيزي

معظم ابداعاته كانت بعد 1940: الكرنك والجندول وكليوبترا وجبل التوباد وهمسة حائرة وفلسطين وقالت والصبر والايمان وووو
:ثم في الخمسينات
كل دة كان ليه وحياتي انت والنهر الخالد وبفكر في اللي ناسيني ودعاء الشرق وعربية والروابي الخضر ولأمش انا اللابكي وانا والعذاب وهواك وووو
واّخر ماغناه كان هان الود عام 63 .... هذا اذا استثنينا أغاني وطنية عدة غناها ما بين 63-69 مثل : الشهيد".    

On Saudi role in Pakistan and its coverage

Comrade Junaid responds to Jawad:  "If Jawad can demonstrate where in my posts I defended the “polygamous head-chopping zombies of the Saudi regime,” then I will give him the Angry Arab’s favourite prize, a blender. Otherwise, he should not lie.  
Otherwise, Jawad’s comment is illustrative of how strongly some of the pseudo-left react when you challenge their new sacred cow, the fashionable and cool blame-a-Wahhabi for anything and everything that happens to the country narrative. The country’s population could be (and is) facing hell (malnourishment, disease, natural disasters, etc.), but the neoliberal elite will just find a Wahhabi under every bed, tree, rock, whatever, to blame. 
But Jawad put "neoliberal" in quotation marks, so maybe he doesn't think such an elite exists in Pakistan. I guess Pakistan was spared neoliberalism. Again, just reactionary Wahhabis running around. 
Like I said, and I take note that Jawad does not necessarily do this, but this narrative dare not blame the country that, as the other comrade from Pakistan aptly demonstrated, is principally responsible since the 1950s for strengthening the biggest impediment to progressive social change in Pakistan, its military national security establishment. Readers can read Tariq Ali’s “The Duel: Pakistan on the Flight Path of American Power” to understand that that other country isn’t Saudi."

Israeli grocery store keeps Arab baggers and Jewish cashiers apart

"In an effort to prevent fraternizing between the Palestinian packers and the female Jewish cashiers, baggers are no longer working at the checkout counters most of the week. An exception was made for the Wednesday and Thursday night shifts, when the checkout counters are so busy that there is little opportunity for conversation." (thanks Fran)

criticisms of Saudi Arabia in Pakistan

Anther person in Pakistan who wishes to remain anonymous wrote me this:  "Dear As'ad
If there is enough criticism of KSA in the press here, im the sexiest man alive despite my large bald spot and ever increasing girth.......Just a thought."

Gen. Tantawi is the first Google ambassador

"As part of Google’s commitment to empower the Middle East and North Africa’s academic community, Google has launched the Google Student Ambassador Program in MENA. The program invites
student enrolled in universities across MENA to represent Google on campus and serve a tenure of one academic year. The program is aimed at providing knowledge, infrastructure and tools to help develop MENA’s future leaders. For the first-ever MENA Google Student Ambassador Program, more than 866 students applied, from which Google has selected 73 ambassador from 33 universities across the region." (thanks Daniel)

Turkish government

Turkish government is clear: Israel can kill innocent civilians, including Turkish citizens, provided it provides an apology later to the Turkish government.  I am vindicated by my refusal last year to join the pro-Turkish festivities in Lebanon and elsewhere in the Arab world.  

very slowly

I love this headline:  "Envoy Says U.S. Will Start Afghan Pullout, Slowly".  How slowly?  How about one soldier per year?