Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Thank you, Qatar? Fat chance

Comrade Jawad writes about Qatar's decisions. (Can somebody translate ASAP please?)

A Lebanese boxer raises the Hizbullah flag in the US

It is probably the only time a Hizbullah flag has been raised in the US. (thanks Farah)

PS I am told it is in Australia, not US.

Outside intervention in Syria

Comrade Bassam on outside intervention in Syria.

Ba`thist versus Islamist

Watch this live TV discussion.  The physical fight begins towards the end.

The method of Thomas Friedman

He has a sneaky method. He takes a stand and whenever events unfold in a way that is contrary to his assessment or prediction, he writes as if the readers don't remember him take him a contrary stand earlier.  He did that in Iraq in 2003: he vocally supported the war, and when US predictions all collapsed, he became a critic of the war and acted like he had not supported the war.  The same now with Arab uprisings: he first assured Israel that it had nothing to worry about, that Arab uprisings are not about foreign policy.  Now this: "Israel is facing the biggest erosion of its strategic environment since its founding."

The role of Salam Fayyad--according to his fan, Thomas Friedman

"[Salam Fayyad] focus has been on building institutions — including what Israelis admit is a security force that has helped to keep Israel peaceful — so Palestinians will be ready for a two-state solution. Instead of rewarding him, Israel has been withholding $100 million in Palestinian tax revenues that Fayyad needs — in punishment for the Palestinians pressing for a state at the U.N. — to pay the security forces that help to protect Israel. That is crazy."

Poor (terrorist) Israel

Isabel Kershner summarizes the July 2006 war for NYT readers: "Hezbollah, a Shiite militant organization in Lebanon that is backed by Iran and Syria, fired thousands of rockets at Israel during a 34-day war in 2006 that left more than 1,000 Lebanese and several dozen Israelis dead."  Oh, poor Israel. So Israel just received those rockets and did not fire one rocket "back"? How awful.  And can you give us a more accurate estimate of the dead, including the percentage of Lebanese civilians killed? (The overall figure is more like 1300 on the Lebanese side, overwhelmingly civilian).

Israeli chicken coop

The chicken coop in Israel that was hit by one lone fire cracker received more attention than the people in Gaza who are hit regularly by Israel.

It is not your country, damn it

" The visit is Mr. Biden’s seventh as vice president and 16th over all; he said General Austin had told him that by now he was eligible for Iraqi citizenship."  It is not for General Austin to decide who deserves and who does not deserve Iraqi citizenship.  It shows you the mentality at play.

Garden the Piece

The leader of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood, Riyadh Ash-Shaqfah (his name translates as Gardens the Piece) talks about foreign intervention: "“This regime is stubborn and it knows that any step toward reform will mean its end,” Shaqfah said. “We want protection for the civilians, though we prefer it from the Arabs. If that’s not possible, then from the international community.”" (thanks Basil)

Free Syrian Army

Notice the religious names of the units of the Free Syrian Army.

Angry Arab's correspondent in Homs

So I asked Angry Arab's correspondent (protester) in Homs to comment on relations with `Alawites and about women, he answered (he asked me to remove some personal references to protect his safety):  "I don’t know what Shadid said. But do you mean are there checkpoints at which people are butchered according to their ID? Yes, from the shabihas side, but not from the thuwar. X was severely beaten up several times by the army just for being from Baba Amr. And his sister in law’s husband was kidnapped, and severely tortured to death. He was a taxi driver. Also, Y owns a store in a suburb of Homs. The guy he was renting it to was kidnapped and murdered, and SANA claimed that he was the leading funder of the “terrorists”. Y hadn’t received rent on the place for three months, the guy was so poor.
Y is a university student, and him and a hundred Homsi students were arrested, just for being from Homs. Thankfully they only spent a day in jail, but most of them needed medical aid when they came out.
So you see As’ad, this is just what happens to people I know. Multiply that by what happens in Homs, Latakia, Hama, Deir al Zour, Damascus country side, and a thousand other places that don’t make it to the news, and ask yourself what people’s feelings towards Alawites should be? They should have murder in their eyes when they hear the name Alawite, right? Well, amazingly, they don’t. Inevitably some extremists might take matters into their own hands, but so far I have been astonished by the Syrian people’s forbearance in the face of this unprecedented brutality. The regime wants to turn this into a sectarian war, and people in general have refused to oblige them...By the way, the latest Homsi joke is about the mazot shortage. You heard the phrase “Souria, Allah Hamiha”. Well, now its “Souria, Allah Emdafiha”...There are women in the demonstrations, but they always go out veiled to hide their identity. I know girls who usually don’t wear the veil but do so at demonstrations. There are quick women only demonstrations at the main commercial areas.
With regards to the chants, they haven’t changed much. Songs adapted to political slogans. Believe me, I have not once heard anything against Alawites or Christians, and it was only a couple of months ago that people started chanting “Khayen khayen khayen, el jaish el Souri khayen”.
As for organization, all I can tell you is what goes on in my own neighborhood. How do I know that the Ikhwan aren’t organizing the demos? Because they would be better organized if they were. Once at a Friday demo we tried to simulate the Syrian flag with colored pieces of cardboard. It took us half an hour just to get the red, white and black in the proper places. We didn’t even try to put the stars. Often I’ve seen disagreements on which chant to shout, and even on who the chant leader should be at any given moment. Half the time the video shots of the demos in my area aren’t very good.
I don’t know the people who organize the demos. I moved to my area at the start of the year, and I’ve deliberately kept a low profile so no one in my immediate area knows me too well. I’ve given numerous interviews to the BBC, and the last thing I need is some shabih recognizing my English accent. The only people who could possibly turn me in are close relatives, and if it’s come to that, then I give up on this whole freedom idea.
I am however, amazed at how quickly professional looking banners are printed for the occasion. It is only on Wednesday when the slogan for a particular Friday is decided. By Friday morning banners are printed and disturbed all over the city.
You mentioned on your website dodgy anti-regime videos. It’s the regime’s fault really, they don’t allow impartial press coverage, so there is no way to guarantee anything. Please remember that a video camera isn’t always around for most of the atrocities that happen in Homs." 

Disgrace unto the nations

"How Israel stigmatizes and mistreats AIDS sufferers".

Political economy of Abdul-NATO

"Abduljalil’s commitment to this doctrine is corroborated by a Wikileaks cable dated January 27, 2010: “Libya's Justice Minister-equivalent, Mustafa Mohammad Abduljalil, told the Ambassador on January 25 that as Libya opens its economy to other countries, it needs international assistance in developing its private sector and strengthening the commercial legal environment”.1 Open economies are instrumental to neoliberal doctrine because they allow multinational corporations to conduct business in the private sector worldwide. Abduljalil undeniably recognizes this fact and clearly stated his approval of developing the private sector to the US Ambassador in Libya long before there were any stirrings of revolution in the region. The revolution in Libya started with a small localized grievance but as it proliferated across the country and metamorphosed into a generalized disdain for Gaddafi and his regime, it is important to examine NATO’s investment in the NTC’s victory. This victory had to be safeguarded at all costs, which led NATO to co-opt the revolutionary fervor for their own ends under the most spurious auspices imaginable. However, in order to properly unearth NATO’s motivations for intervention, it is first necessary to understand the trajectory of Gaddafi’s relations with the West." (thanks Alexander)

BHL and his motives

Bernard-Henri Levi explains his Zionist motives. (thanks John)

How to Start a Revolution

I expressed outrage over the theme of this movie (about Gene Sharp) which was screened at the Center for Zionist Middle East Studies at Brandeis University.  I heard from the director: he kindly sent me a password to watch on-line.  I will report later.  But first: Gene Sharp starts by talking about his influence: and he marvels that his book has been translated into more than 30 languages.  I did not know that the man, who is irrelevant, is also dishonest: why did he not mention that his book was not translated into Arabic and other languages because people were interested in its contents but that it was translated at the behest of his own foundation which hired and paid the translators.  How dishonest of the irrelevant man.  Oh, but his book on revolution has original insights: he suggests that protesters should wave flags. I kid you not.  Before Gene Sharp made this observation, protesters in the Arab world were accustomed to waving their socks and underwear. Thank you Gene Sharp.  What would Arabs do without you.

Correction II

I wrote yesterday about an article that I find to be anti-Semitic on Al-Manar TV's website.  I heard from the writer.  He says that he is half-Lebanese and he thinks that this background makes him immune to the charge of anti-Semitism.  If I hear one more Arab argue with me that Arabs can't be anti-Semitic because they themselves are Semites, I will yell and scream.

Correction I

From yesterday: the guy who runs the Royal Film Commission in Amman is in fact a Palestinian from Bethlehem.  That makes him doubly guilty.  

Comrade Fawwaz on Yemen

Comrade Fawwaz Trabulso writes a most important evaluation of the situation in Yemen and the role of GCC countries.  Someone needs to translate it ASAP.

PS Picture of comrade Fawwaz (left) with Yemeni socialist leader, `Abdul-Fattah Isma`il.

Meet the new prime minister of Morocco

From 2001 upon meeting the youth of his party:  "Lors d’un meeting de la jeunesse de son parti en juin 2011, il déclarait toute sa hargne contre la liberté de croyance et la liberté sexuelle.
«Les laïques veulent répandre le vice parmi ceux qui ont la foi. Ils veulent que dorénavant, les citoyens puissent proclamer le pêché ! Ils veulent que la déviation sexuelle (l’homosexualité dans le vocabulaire islamiste) devienne répandue !», avant de menacer avec une verve digne de Ben Laden: «Que celui qui porte de tels immondices se cache, car s’il nous montre sa face, nous lui appliquerons les châtiments de Dieu!». (thanks Redouane) 

Bin Kiran

Apparently, we have a new Islamist demagogue on our hands.  I am talking about Abd Al-Ilah bin Kiran of Morocco, who won 1/4th of seats in the new royal election.  This election is being hailed although voter turnout was elevated by the government from 35% to over 40% suddenly.  This Bin Kiran was in his youth a leftist (don't you hate those former leftists?) and was active in the Socialist Youth (the arm of the National Union of Popular Forces).  The King received Bin Kiran for a few minutes only, after which Bin Kiran said: "I was in front of a great man: a kind and gentle man.  And fully aware of what the homeland needs."

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Flash: Syrian regime goons storm into the home of Khalid Bikdash's daughter

Daughter of Syrian communist leader, Khaild Bakdash, has just informed me that:
"اليوم في اليل 10 عناصر مخابرات داهموا بيتي بحثا عن مجرم هكذا قالوا فتشوا كل شيء
لدي الان شعور انني لست انسان بل عبد
يا ارض قفي لا اريد ان اتابع
سلام بلا كرامة مواطن"
(Tonight, 10 members of the Intelligence stormed into my house searching for a murderer--that is what they said.  They searched everything.  I now feel that I am not a human being but a slave.  O earth freeze, I don't want to continue. 
Salam.  Without the dignity of the citizen."

Ban Ki-moon

This guy issued an official statement to protest the firing of a rocket on Israel from South Lebanon. All the bombings by Israel don't warrant special statements from him, with the exception of those typical (US government-generated) statements about the need for restraint by all sides--even when one side, Israel, is bombing.  

A report from a protester in Homs

I asked a protester in Homs with whom I communicate to describe life in Homs:  "A year ago Homs used to be a city with a large town charm. Today everyone tries to get home by 5 o’clock. During the day things go on as normal, except that it’s no longer unusual to come out of one’s home in the morning and see or hear of a body dumped in the streets sometime during the early morning. In just one week I saw two dead shabihs on the street. When the security forces came to collect the second one, they arrived in no less than three APCs, and had their rifles aimed at balconies as if expecting to get shot at. They were in and out in a matter of minutes.
At night, we have gotten used to the sound of explosions and gunfire. There are lots of checkpoints in the city. The army’s APCs have been painted blue, apparently someone in the regime believed that international observers would be making their way to Homs.
The heating fuel shortage is crippling. It’s eased off a bit this past week, but a lot of the city has no gas and no mazot. It’s not a situation unique to Homs, it’s the same all over the country. Not even well connected Baath officials can get a drop of mazot, and the army had confiscated all the small trucks used to transport it.
The army invaded Baba Amr a dozen times, but don’t stay for long. Their checkpoints get hit at night and the rate of defections is very high. Demonstrations in Baba Amr pop up just minutes after the last troop carrier leaves the neighborhood. The black market rate for the dollar is 58 liras. That’s obscene, it used to be 47.5 a few months ago. In most parts of the city there isn’t any food shortage, most bakeries still operate, and donations and assistance pours into the worst hit areas.
Everyday I see young men in electric wheel chairs, slowly moving down the streets, young guys who were crippled from bullet wounds or beatings. There have been numerous cases of women being kidnapped, flyers put up on walls warn people in which areas the kidnappings occurred. It’s a terrible state of affairs when you see a flyer on a wall announcing a death, and are then relived when it turns out the deceased died of natural causes, and wasn’t shot or beaten to death, like so many flyers announce.
Defections; yes, they are numerous. Bags of clothing get collected every week for the defectors to wear. Most demonstrations you see on TV are protected offscreen. Otherwise the army would have hauled every single one of us into the streets and broken our bones. Now, they can’t arrest anyone in the most restive neighborhoods unless they go in with a dozen APCs and troop carriers.
As for the ditch the army is digging around parts of Homs, I’ve seen it. It’s five meters wide and two meters deep, but already in some parts people have managed to fill it up. It’s a ridiculous idea, but when it comes to Homs, the regime has run out of ideas. The only thing that will subdue this city is chemical tipped Scud missiles.
Hope this helps."

Is the American invasion of Iraq in 2003 not a factor in anymore?

"Elections in Iraq in 2005 helped ignite a civil war there..." Really?  And the American invasion and occupation is irrelevant?  


Of all my contacts in Bahrain, I don't know the sectarian affiliation of any of them.  Not one.  

Royal Twitter

Prince `Abdul-`Aziz bin Fahd on Twitter. (thanks "Ibn Rushd")

Lies of the Ikhwan opposition in Syria

I have posted below about fake footage on the side of the regime.  Here is the other side.  Raed sent me this:  "I don't know whether you have spoken about this. There seem to be some crude video fabrications of atrocities by the syrian regime, set up by anti government forces in the country. For example, there is something clearly suspect about these two videos: (the ambulance guy smashes the window with his own arm, rather than any bullet doing it, plus when they take him out he doesn't look too injured) (a bunch of guys supposedly killed by security forces, but they don't look dead or injured at all to me, all seem to be moving!)

There is also the recent case of Sari Saoud of Homs, which aljazeera reported on-- they claimed he was killed by the army. But later on when journalists spoke to the mother, it seems he was in fact killed by armed thugs (which, it is claimed, are anti-government) when the army wasn't deployed in homs. This is shown in and

I am aware of propaganda efforts on both sides, but i didnt realise this stretched to creating fake videos!"

I am not a racist, damn it

"This weekend, however, it seems ever more likely that a court will have to adjudicate between the historian Niall Ferguson and writer Pankaj Mishra over Ferguson's claim that he had been accused of being a "racist".
Indeed, not since VS Naipaul and Paul Theroux fell out has there been a spat like this in the letters pages of a literary journal. A new exchange of correspondence in the current London Review of Books, triggered by Mishra's review of the Harvard professor's latest book Civilization, which Ferguson claims was "defamatory", is evidence that the row is becoming more intense.
In his letter Ferguson charges Mishra of being "in full and ignominious retreat", condemning both Mishra and the LRB for refusing to apologise.
At the heart of the controversy is Mishra's interpretation of not only Ferguson's latest book but also his body of work in general, which has sought to challenge the view that western empires were entirely negative in their impact, and argues that colonialism could have positive effects as well.
Ferguson is best known for his popular television histories, including Empire: How Britain Made the Modern World and The Ascent of Money.
"As my last letter explained, [Mishra] made a vile allegation of racism against me," says Ferguson in his latest letter to LRB. "In his response he nowhere denies that this was his allegation; nor does he deny that he intended to make it." (thanks Dana)

The anti-`Alawite bigotry of An-Nahar

A Syrian dissident website responds to a secret `Alawite plot scenario. (thanks Hossan)

Zionists at AUB

An American who spoke at AUB recently sent me this (I cite with his permission but I removed specific references):  "Last week, I gave a lecture at AUB. I talked the usual shit about the idiocy of various Zionist discourses. During the Q & A, two audience members registered their protest. Zionists. One of them had a distinct Israeli accent. Needless to say, I was shocked. One of the Zionists had been taking profuse notes throughout the talk. They were shouted down by saner members of the audience, one of whom told them that Israel was merely a small blip on the history of the Arab World that will not exist for much longer. I had nothing to add, as I agreed completely.
After the event, one of the Zionists wanted to take a photo of me for some "magazine." My wife intervened and told him to go away.
I understand that there are Zionists at a neocolonial institution like AUB, but to find an Israeli there was disconcerting. Is this sort of thing normal? I'm used to them turning up everywhere in the US, but wasn't expecting them in an Arab country. Nor was I expecting them to be so vocal and brazen....
Thanks for your time"

Don't insult officials in Qatar

"DOHA: Law-enforcement agencies have referred a person to the public prosecution for legal action after he was alleged to have insulted a senior diplomat of the rank of ambassador of a country here on the Facebook." (thanks Mysa)

Opposition in Bahrain

A source sent me this: "I completely agree with your correspondent's comments and criticism about the political societies in Bahrain. However, s/he is wrong in calling the February 14 youth movement secular. It is true that they don't call for a religious state, but this is not an indication of secularism. They do not specify what they would like to replace the Al Khalifa regime with at all. What we do know is that they are aligned with Abdulhadi Al Mudarrissi, an Iraqi anti-communist Shi'ite fundamentalist. For some time, their Twitter account called him Murshid Ath-thawra, or the revolution's guide. The group later put out a statement (see second to the last para) urging people to stop using this term (when they had been using it themselves) because he told them in a phone conversation that he doesn't like it. This should disturb any secular oppositionist."

Syrian regime propaganda

I was waiting to verify this before I post.  It is now proven: some of the propaganda footage presented in the press conference by Walid Mu`allim yesterday is from Lebanon and not from Syria.  New TV has just aired a report to that effect.  

Reform in Bahrain: finally

From Angry Arab's chief Bahrain correspondent:  "Reforms in Bahrain have began. The torturer chief of Bahrain's National Security Agency (from the royal family) was removed from his position and promoted to the King's national security advisor with the rank of a minister. He was replaced by another member of the royal family."

Arab revolts: then and now

Comrade Joseph on Arab uprisings.

Islamists flirt with the US

The head of the Moroccan royal Islamists maintains that there is a "philosophical" dimension to the relationship with the US and Europe.

It is news when Israel does it to white people

"Israel’s Defense Ministry apologized Monday for the treatment of a pregnant American news photographer who said she was strip searched and humiliated by Israeli soldiers during a security check.
Lynsey Addario, who was on assignment for the New York Times, had requested that she not be forced to go through an X-ray machine as she entered Israel from the Gaza Strip because of concerns for her unborn baby...Instead, she wrote in a letter to the ministry, she was forced through the machine three times as soldiers “watched and laughed from above.” She said she was then taken into a room where she was ordered by a female worker to strip down to her underwear." (thanks Laleh)

Netyanyahu wants to be intimate

"Netanyahu: Israel won't have the same 'intimacy' it had with past Egypt regimes"

Injustice in the Zionist entity

"Virtually all - 99.74 percent, to be exact - of cases heard by the military courts in the territories end in a conviction, according to data in the military courts' annual report, which has been obtained by Haaretz."

"Egypt imports 21 tons of tear gas from the US, port staff refuses to sign for it"

"The arrival of 7 and half tons of tear gas to Egypt’s Suez port created conflict after the responsible officials at the port refused to sign and accept it for fear it would be used to crackdown on Egyptian protesters.
Local news sites published documents regarding the shipment shows that the cargo that arrived in 479 barrels from the United States was scheduled to be delivered to the ministry of interior.
The reports also mentioned in the documents that a second shipment of 14 tons of tear gas was expected, making the total 21 tons, in one week.
The importing of tear gas comes after thousands of tear gas canisters were fired at Egyptian protesters last week as clashes raged in downtown Cairo, just off from the iconic Tahrir Square, where thousands of protesters had gathered." (thanks Farah)

Wael Ghoneim

I read his long article in the New York Times today. Let me summarize it for you: nothing.  Not one insight in the long article.  Just listing of old cliches about the country that you read in People magazine or Newsweek, how the people are young and that they use the internet.  It is such a waste of time.  Oh, and of course he made sure to not offend the White Man.  

Bahrain royals

"Bahraini medical staff accused of trying to overthrow the government of the Gulf state earlier this year, and who had hoped charges against them might now be dropped, faced new accusations in a court hearing.
Twenty staff from the Salmaniya Medical Complex in Manama had thought their ordeal might be ending on Monday after the release of last week's report detailing human rights abuses by Bahrain's security forces during the Pearl revolution in February.
The report by the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) found allegations that the medics "assisted the demonstrators by supplying them with weapons" to be unfounded.
But prosecutors produced guns, swords, knives and chains and claimed this was proof against the doctors, nurses, and paramedics. These weapons had not been presented previously – and led to an incredulous response in court. "It was really hilarious," one of them, Dr Nada Dhaif, told BBC Radio 5. "The government has missed the chance that anyone will take this seriously."
The 20 were initially convicted in the military-run national safety court in September on a raft of charges, including incitement to overthrow the regime. The government said they were involved with "hardline protesters" and they were sentenced to five to 15 years."

Qatar on Bahrain:

"Qatar FM belittles Baharain's deaths: 'Barely 3 or 4 deaths' he says!"

Israel movie in Jordan?

Hana' sent me this:  "Hello Asaad,

This is picture taken at Swefeyyeh (the Hamra version of Amman) this morning. The word is out that a pro-Israeli anti-Palestinian movie is being shot there. Eye witnesses, since it's trending now, narrate Hebrew speaking actors pushing a child in a stroller and heading towards a restaurant, that a Palestinian "terrorist" would blew up later.

Upon letters of protest asking for clarifications on the content of the movie, the Royal Film Commission, long being accused of marketing normalization with US and Israel, replied with this:

"Dear RFC friends,
This is a scene from a Canadian film set in the West Bank, currently shooting in Jordan. the producers are the same Canadian producers who also shot the Oscar winning film "Incendies" in Jordan in 2009. This is a fully funded Canadian film that is working with a few local crew members, and using local facilities.

All the best,
George David
General Manager
The Royal Film Commission- Jordan (RFC)."

Notice that the White Man is in charge of a Jordanian royal commission.  

Ghassan Salamah

I love reading him and listening to him.  He truly has a great mind: he also has an excellent education and knowledge.  He wrote at the Lebanese University a dissertation on Lebanese theater.  He knows a lot about various topics and has excellent command of Arabic literature and heritage.  Politically, it is a different matter.  I last saw him when I visited him in his office when he was Minister of Culture.  I was trying to argue against the Lebanese obsession with Francophone matters and congress.  He made it clear that he did not care about such matters himself.  I then bluntly asked him whether he is "for Lahhud or for Hariri".  He told me that he does not belong to either of them.  Of course, I did not believe that because no minister is brought in as the representative of his/her person.  I felt naive when I later learned that he had been a close adviser to the Hariri family and that he has been close to one of the dirtiest figures in Lebanese potlics, Johny `Abdu.  I watched him on MTV yesterday: he was interesting and I agree with his refutation of the notion of Israeli/US control of the Arab uprisings. But I noticed that he never ever said one critical word about GCC countries and that he was careful to not utter a word about Hariri camp in Lebanon (he is March 14, but pretends falsely that he is independent).   I was not surprised: I noticed on twitter that he flits with the foreign ministers of Bahrain and of UAE.  So I guess we can state it officially: Ghassan Salamah wants democracy in Syria but finds the regimes of GCC to be fine and dandy.  OK.  

Baby popes

Popes were not always old when elected. Pope John XII of the tenth century was elected at the age of 18, or even 16 (accounts vary).

Hizbullah without Syria

Those who are expecting the downfall of Hizbullah if the Syrian regime falls should remember that Hizbullah in its most scary phase was an enemy of the Syrian regime (in the 1980s).

House of Saud

If Princes of House of Saud were to boycott travel to Syria and Lebanon, the brothels, bars, and casinos will really miss them.

Unusually critical of Israel: in the New York Times

"For several years, extremist West Bank settlers have conducted a campaign of low-level violence against their Palestinian neighbors — destroying property, vandalizing mosques and occasionally injuring people. Such “price tag” attacks, intended to intimidate Palestinians and make Israeli leaders pay a price for enforcing the law against settlers, have become part of the routine of conflict in occupied territory.
Now that conflict is coming home. The words "price tag" spray-painted in Hebrew on the wall of a burned mosque inside Israel’s pre-1967 borders transformed Israel’s Arab citizens into targets and tore at the all-too-delicate fabric of a shared democracy.
Indeed, the mosque burning represented the violent, visible edge of a larger change: the ethnic conflict in the West Bank is metastasizing into Israel, threatening its democracy and unraveling its society.
The agents of this change include veterans of West Bank settlements seeking to establish a presence in shared Jewish-Arab cities in Israel and politicians backing a wave of legislation intended to reduce the rights of Arab citizens....The group’s rabbi, Nachshon Cohen, was an alumnus of a yeshiva in the Palestinian city of Hebron. The reason to start the religious project in Acre was “the demographic problem,” Rabbi Cohen explained to me. The mixed city had about 45,000 residents. But Jews were leaving because “people didn’t want to live next to Arabs.” The energy of the new core group, Rabbi Cohen hoped, would keep the town Jewish.
A key part of the settlement project in Acre was the establishment of a hesder yeshiva — a seminary mixing religious study and army service. It, too, would help draw Jews who were both “ideological” and “on a high socio-economic level” into the town, the yeshiva’s director, Boaz Amir, told me. While moving back into Israel and speaking of helping poor Israelis, the settlers were reimporting the message of Jewish-Arab struggle. It was gentrification with a hard ethnonationalist edge.
Acre is just one of the mixed Jewish-Arab cities that religious nationalists have set out to “save.” The Acre core group has grown to 110 families, roughly one percent of the town’s population. Drawing this number of potential settlers to live inside Israel has an insignificant effect on settlement growth in the West Bank.
Yet it broadcasts a message that Israel’s Arab citizens are strangers and opponents rather than members of a shared polity. Rabbi Yossi Stern, the yeshiva’s dean, described the transformation of Acre’s Wolfson neighborhood — a set of Soviet-style apartment blocks built in the 1960s — from a Jewish to a majority-Arab area as “a national sin.” He argued forcefully that Jews should move back into such shifting areas. For Arabs and Jews “to be in the same neighborhood, in the same building ... that’s not good,” Rabbi Stern said. Coexistence was clearly not his goal.
Segregation, though, is intrinsically a denial of rights. The countryside throughout the Galilee region of northern Israel is dotted with a form of segregated exurb, the “community settlement.” In each of these exclusive communities, a membership committee vets prospective residents before they can buy homes.
The concept, born in the mid-1970s, originally allowed West Bank settlers to ensure that their neighbors shared their “ideological-social background,” including the same shade of religious commitment. The Likud government that came to power in 1977 applied the model to create Jewish-only bedroom communities in the Galilee and in the Negev.
In 1995, Adel and Iman Ka’adan, an Israeli Arab couple, tried to buy a lot in the community settlement of Katzir. As educated professionals eager to live in a place with good schools for their daughters, they fit the community’s profile. But as Arabs they were ineligible...Katzir’s membership committee proceeded to turn the Ka’adans down again on the grounds that they would not fit in socially. It took five more years in court before they were they allowed to buy land there. But last April, the legislature overrode the judiciary, when the Knesset passed a law authorizing community settlements in the Galilee and Negev to reject candidates who did not fit their “social-cultural fabric.”"

Marwan Al-Moasher

Does Carnegie Endowment has the answer?  Nobody has told me, really.  Who decided that this product of the tyrannical Jordanian regime (in its worst phases) is an expert on Arab democracy?  Who decided that this preacher of normalization with Israel is qualified to speak on behalf of the Arab youth?

Supporters of Syrian regime

One of the most offensive argument about Arab uprisings have been produced in recent months by supporters of the Syrian regime in Syria and Lebanon.  They basically now say that the Arab uprisings are the work of a US/Israeli plan to divide the region.  They even say that uprisings are bad and that democracy is not suitable because the Arabs are not ready for it.  They say that current regimes are preferable to any change.  They resort to racist Orientalist cliches about Arabs to justify their stances in support of the Syrian regime.  Anything to stay in power.  

Anti-Semitic Trash in Al-Manar

I don't know who this American writer in the website of Hizbullah's TV, Al-Manar, is but this is classic anti-Semitic trash.  (thanks Jaafar)

Libyan Prime Minister

I am not making this up.  Libyan prime minister denied today that he was assassinated.  But he failed to provide evidence.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Democracy versus the Treaty

Every Arab knows the answer to this question: between the Egyptian-Israeli treaty under a tyrant in Cairo and a democracy with no treaty, which side will the US choose?

9th time

The Israeli gas pipe line to Israel has been bombed nine times since the Egyptian uprising. What does that say about the Egyptian attitudes to Israel? What does it say about Mubarak's role? And what does it say about the doomed Zionist entity?  The answers are...too obvious.

No flights to Syria

I don't understand the Arab League decision to launch a no-flights-to-Syria policy.  That will clearly punish the Syrian people--not that I for one minute believe that those rotten dictators of the Arab League give a fish about the Syrian people.  My friend comrade Electronic Ali said it best: that according to the Arab League, flights to Syria are not OK while flights to Tel Aviv are.  That is the Arab League.

Subhi Hadidi

I have liked and admired Syrian dissident writer, Subhi Hadidi..until I read what he wrote about dear comrade, Joseph Massad.   I mean, he can disagree with him and criticize him, but this level of vulgar and sophomoric attacks?  What is the deal with some of those Syrian opposition intellectuals?  Why such intolerance? They think they impose discipline?  They think by resorting to such Ba`thist methods, they win favor?  

Bahrain update II

From Angry Arab's chief correspondent on Bahrain:  "Regime isn't even implementing Bassiounis weak recommendations. They are already trying to sideline alwefaq:
Didn't even bother with waad and the rest of the opposition. Of course feb 14 is not even acknowledged (wouldn't make sense for them to enter any dialogue but its hilarious that the regime is acting like they don't even exist).  It'll take them another few months to realize that forming committees won't stop the protests. They will fail just like they failed with the crackdown, they failed with the national dialogue (heard food was good though) and they failed with the elections in October.  By the way, I didn't send u the arabic version because it is no longer available. Weird right?"

Bahrain update

Angry Arab's chief Bahrain correspondent responds to my post on Bahrain at Al-Akhbar English:  "I read your blogpost on alakhbar. I disagree. The secular opposition is even a bigger failure than alwefaq. Alminbar aldimoqrati flip flops and changes their position everyday. One day they are more progovernment other days they are more anti. It just depends on who is stronger. Their positions are so weak and confusing that some people wonder if they shold even be considered as part of the opposition. It pains me to say this about them because I really like them. The only explanation anyone I know can come up with is that they are really scared. But if your scared why be an opposition society in the first place? They are so weak in fact that a lot of their younger members now openly support what alwefaq says.

Waad is much better but after ebrahim sharifs imprisonment they refuse to take a leadership role. Instead they just follow what alwefaq does. You get the sense that alwefaq comes up with the policies and waad just signs off. Their worst performance was when they apologized to the government for their disloyalty. Of course I don't blame them. They were under a lot of pressure and that's why I forgive them for flipfloping during a certain period of time. I really like waad still because I am closest to them in my thinking than any other group but I am angry at them for not leading. Fadhel abbas from tamajou3 is good in some respects but they are a tiny opposition society.

Also if you think alwefaq is being too deferential to the americans you should see what waad and alminbar say.

If you are talking about feb14 then I wouldn't consider them leftist. They are secular in that they r not calling for a religious state but they are definitely not leftists. Neither are the people of Bahrain Freedom Movement which are based in London. The only other group there is the Bahrain Center for Human Rights which is not an opposition group but has kind of become like one."  

PS I told her that I was talking about a new secular movement and not about the existing groups.  

panic in Israel

"The attitude to Israel does not necessarily depend on a religious perception, but rather the understanding that Israel has caused injustice to the people it has occupied.
Thus, for now, it would be deceptive to say the Muslim Brotherhood or Islam in general were responsible for the change in attitude toward Israel. Israel must recognize that the region's political and social reality is changing. It would do well to consider how to adjust its policy to the change instead of lamenting the change itself."          

Aljazeera on Egypt

In covering elections in Egypt, Aljazeera keeps referring to "advanced or civilized (raqiyah) neighborhood" in reference to affluent neighborhoods. 

civilized tradition

MTV (the Lebanese right-wing, racist, and sectarian station) described the Beirut Marathon as "a civilized tradition." Kid you not.

Lebanon at the Arab League

"Lebanon, still dominated politically by its larger eastern neighbour, voted against." Oh, no.  Lebanon did not vote against.  It voted: "distanced itself".  Kid you not.  (thanks Sarah)

New York Times and US bombing of Pakistani soldiers

"Even if circumstances on the ground justified the American actions..."

According to US: there are good terrorists and bad terrorists

"Ali Safavi, who runs a pro-M.E.K. group in Washington called Near East Policy Research, says the money comes from wealthy Iranian expatriates in the United States and Europe. Because “material support” to a designated terrorist group is a crime, advocates insist that the money goes only to sympathizers and not to the M.E.K. itself."  If an Arab group were to form (and fund raise for) a support group for an Arab group that is listed as a terrorist organization (like Hamas or Hizbullah), do you think that the group would survive a day outside of jail?  Also, the article said:  "While the M.E.K. carried out a campaign of attacks from the 1970s to the 1990s, mostly targeting Iranian officials."  I think that you forgot car bombs by the group.  

Distanced itself and not dissociated

"Iraq abstained from the vote and Lebanon “disassociated” itself from the resolution."  The word "dissociated" here is a translation of a word that has been used by lousy Lebanese diplomacy this year: نأى, ينأى
It comes from a word that connote distance or exile.  It should be translated as Lebanon distanced itself from the resolution.  But leave it to Lebanon to act cowardly in regional and international affairs. You are either for it or against it, you Lebanese diplomacy.  Why is Lebanon most dumb when it thinks it is most smart?

Muna `Ashmawi

You have to watch this: courageous New TV correspondent in Cairo, Muna `Ashmawi, responds to the press conference of Prince Hamad Bin Jasim, to his face.  (thanks A.S.)

Syrian regime propagandists

The Syrian regime propagandists, Muhammad Darrar Jammu, is one of the most crude and vulgar propagandists I have seen.  He appears on TV and threatens opponents of the regime with murder and brags that "we" know what you eat and when you sleep, etc.  

Rami Makhluf

The reason why the Syrian regime could not--could not--dispense of Rami Makhluf is because corruption is not an aberration in the system: it is at its core.  

Free Syrian Army

Do you notice that the folks of the "Free Syrian Army" only use Islamic names for their military units?  But we are told they want a "civil state"--whatever that means.  Civil state must be a bad thing if the Muslim Brotherhood now wants it.

Bin Ladenites Inc

The Bin Ladenites of Libya want to help the Bin Ladenites of Syria. (thanks Ahmad)

the thrust of US policy toward Egypt: finally, it is being admitted

"a critical American concern in the Middle East: the 1979 Camp David peace treaty between Egypt and Israel...For more than 30 years, the United States has viewed the Egyptian military as the safeguard of the Camp David peace accord that was signed by Menachim Begin and Anwar Sadat in 1979.  When President Obama broke with Mr. Mubarak this year, administration officials at the same time sought assurances that the Egyptian military would guide the transition to democracy and continue to uphold the treaty.  But Egypt is different. “In terms of the weight of any single country, Egypt outweighs them all,” said Rob Malley, program director for the Middle East and North Africa with the International Crisis Group. “The reason why is because of its size, its population, the historical role its played in influencing Arab public opinion, and, of course, from the U.S. point of view, because of its peace agreement with Israel.

This sure blows to pieces the notion of sectarian conflict in Syria

"While Rosen focuses on growing “sectarian hate,” we are inspired by the incredible courage of prominent Alawite figures such as writer Samar Yazbek and actress Fadwa Suleiman who stand clearly with the opposition and against the regime."  This is quite hilarious.  With this, we can now put the notion of sectarian conflict in Syria to rest.  And it is quite sectarian by this writer to corner two secular individuals in a sectarian category.  The writer in fact made Nir's point for him.  

Forgotten Bahrain

My latest blog spot for Al-Akhbar English on Bahrain.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Snipers for the House of Saud

These are snipers for the House of Saud. (thanks Fadel)

Bashshar Al-Asad

In addition to tyranny, this man has proven to be one of the most arrogant leaders of the region. He not once thought it would be appropriate to address the Syrian people in a direct speech.  He is busy believing that the Syrian people truly love him with the exception of criminal gangs.

Racist Lebanese radio

Ramzi sent me this:  "I was listening to a radio called "Jaras Scoop FM". They were talking about the girl who was raped and killed recently. It was a call for sectarian war. The terrible racist frenzy was too much to listen to. I am not talking about the people calling the program only. I am talking about the manager of the station and the host!!! Only "some" of what i heard from the people calling and the host is the following:
Syrians should not be allowed on the streets after sunset.
The host was calling on people to hold arms in their homes, even without government permits.
He was saying: our "sunni" brothers in ketermaya were able to take their right with their own hands. No one should think that this "christian community" is to be undermined anymore!
The "christian" neighborhoods should protect their areas with weapons.... 
and all sorts of racist talk against syrians and egyptians... foreigners in general... shocking stuff".

David Ignatius on his friend Paul Wolfowitz

""I asked Wolfowitz if he ever worried that he was too idealistic --that his passion for the noble goals of the Iraq war might overwhelm the prudence and pragmatism that normally guide war planners. He didn't answer directly, except to say that it was a good question."""  (This is like when Larry King--the worst interviewer ever--asked Frank Sinatra this tough question: why do we love you, Frank?) (thanks David)

Correction: the tank in Qatif

Khuloud sent me this correction:  "The link to your post with the above title is one to Bahraini police trying to run over bahraini mourners after the funeral procession. Below is the link to the Saudi tank trying to run over protesters in Qatif."

Bahrain update

From chief Angry Arab Bahrain correspondent:  "Also did you hear that the foreign minister said that there will be a dialogue with the opposition soon with all options on the table? He said this really defensively on an AlJazeera interview saying that they are a legitimate regime.  I think Alaa AlShehabi is right in her tweets.  The report doesn't demand the release of the prisoners so that they can be used as a bargaining chip.  The problem is that if the opposition gives up on any one of their demands they will have lost because what they are demanding is the minimum that anyone will accept at that point.  The next few months will be really interesting.  We are back to square one.  Its as if the clock has been rewinded to february. "

How dare you not vote in Morocco

""The real challenge for these polls, in which an opposition Islamist party and a pro-palace coalition are expected to do well, will be getting people to vote in the face of a strident boycott campaign by democracy campaigners.  U.S.-based Human Rights Watch said that since Oct. 20 the government has taken more than 100 activists in for questioning for advocating a boycott."" (thanks AK)

Zionist anti-Semitism

"The Big Tent” program itself is also concerning. One of the workshops is titled: “Every Jew is an Ambassador for Israel, why don’t we use them?” According to a definition on the website of the Community Security Trust, “Holding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the state of Israel” is an example of anti-Semitism.  One of the speakers at this workshop is Lorna Fitzsimons, former Labour MP and chief executive of the Britain Israel Communications and Research Centre (BICOM). A company owned by BICOM’s chairman and main donor Poju Zabludowicz was another of the donors to Werritty’s Pargav. On the phone, I put it to Ms Marks that this workshop’s title is anti-Semitic. She refused to comment on the contents of the program, which she said she was not involved in writing: Qube “don’t have any details on the actual program,” she claimed. I asked her if she personally thought the title was anti-Semitic but she declined to comment." (thanks Asa)

Western governments are not losing sleep over butchery in Yemen

" Yemeni troops appear to have unlawfully killed as many as 35 civilians in the city of Taizz since a United Nations Security Council resolution demanded on October 21, 2011 that Yemen stop attacks on civilians, Human Rights Watch said today. Most of these civilians were killed in artillery shelling by the Yemeni army that indiscriminately struck homes, a hospital, and a public square filled with protesters, witnesses told Human Rights Watch."

Again: can you imagine the Western reactions if Arabs were to have made such a terrorist threat?

"Israel warned on Saturday that it would cut the supply of water and electricity to the Gaza Strip if rival Palestinian movements Fatahand Hamas form a unity government." (thanks Steve)

Gas pipeline to Israel

Since Mubarak fell, the Egyptian gas pipeline to Israel has been bombed at least 8 times. What does that tell you about the attitudes of the Egyptian people toward the Zionist entity.

Sons of Zayid: repression in UAE

"A United Arab Emirates court sentenced five activists accused of publicly insulting the country's rulers and of disrupting public order to jail terms of up to three years, bringing to a close a five-months-long trial that has polarized opinions in the oil-rich Gulf state on political participation and freedom of speech." (thanks Tony)

Omar Shihabi

I want to keep to make it clear that I like, respect, and trust Bahraini writer/academic, Omar Shihabi.  We disagree amicably on a few matters.  

Saturday, November 26, 2011

A tank tries to run over protesters in Saudi Arabia

"Amateur footage shows a tank deliberately trying to hit protesters in the eastern Saudi Arabian city of Qatif on Wednesday. Our Observer told us that this kind of violence is unprecedented in Saudi Arabia. Similar incidents have, however, recently taken place in Bahrain and Egypt.  The demonstrators had gathered in the city centre for the funerals of two people killed during rallies last week. Security forces cracked down on protesters once again; two people were killed and nine injured. In a statement, the Interior Ministry said “these losses took place during an exchange of gunfire with unidentified criminals who infiltrated the population and opened fire from residential areas.” According to the Interior Ministry, two of the injured were policemen."

Where is Mubarak when you need him?

"Israel's prime minister on Wednesday blasted anyone who supports the Arab Spring and said the Arab world was "moving not forward, but backward," media reports said. "

Israeli Arabic propagandists are hurt because Arabs only send them insults

Arabic propagandists for Israel admit that Arabs send them insults.

80 year old Palestinian woman stoned by settlers

"A group of Jewish settlers Monday stoned an elderly Palestinian lady as she was picking olives in Mukhmas, a village southeast of Ramallah in the West Bank, according to local sources. The 80-year-old woman was reported to be injured in the head and transferred to hospital for treatment."

Cause of Suicide Bombings

"Robert Pape, a University of Chicago political science professor and former Air Force lecturer, will present findings on Capitol Hill on Tuesday that argue that the majority of suicide terrorism around the world since 1980 has had a common cause: military occupation. 

Pape and his team of researchers draw on data produced by a six-year study of suicide terrorist attacks around the world that was partially funded by the Defense Department's Defense Threat Reduction Agency. They have compiled the terrorism statistics in a publicly available database comprising some 10,000 records on some 2,200 suicide terrorism attacks, dating back to the first suicide terrorism attack of modern times — the 1983 truck bombing of the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut, Lebanon, which killed 241 U.S. Marines.

"We have lots of evidence now that when you put the foreign military presence in, it triggers suicide terrorism campaigns, ... and that when the foreign forces leave, it takes away almost 100 percent of the terrorist campaign," Pape said in an interview last week on his findings.

Pape said there has been a dramatic spike in suicide bombings in Afghanistan since U.S. forces began to expand their presence to the south and east of the country in 2006. While there were a total of 12 suicide attacks from 2001 to 2005 in Afghanistan when the U.S. had a relatively limited troop presence of a few thousand troops mostly in Kabul, since 2006 there have been more than 450 suicide attacks in Afghanistan — and they are growing more lethal, Pape said.
Deaths due to suicide attacks in Afghanistan have gone up by a third in the year since President Barack Obama added 30,000 more U.S. troops. "It is not making it any better," Pape said.

Pape believes his findings have important implications even for countries where the U.S. does not have a significant direct military presence but is perceived by the population to be indirectly occupying. "

In Defense of Omar Shihabi

In response to my post on Omar Shihabi yesterday, a friend of his (who does not wish to be identified) sent me this:  "1- It should be pointed out to readers that (at considerable personal cost and after much deliberation) accepted to work on the report; for which he and his colleagues did produce a detailed and honest timeline of events. I for one am thankful that intelligent and committed individuals such as Omar ended up gathering information about the events which occurred during Bahrain's uprising, the Saudi backed crackdown and horrific repression in the time that followed - instead of individuals such as Faisal Fulad, who have made a career out of creating a front of human rights work in place of the very real work that Omar and some of his colleagues carried out. 

2- You accuse Omar of making the conflict in Bahrain a sectarian dispute, saying that he advocates a resolution that, 'people need to hug and kiss and let bygone be bygone'. In fact, the article rightly labels the sectarian lens through which Bahrain is often unfairly viewed as you see in the lines, "the simplistic dichotomy of an eternal struggle between a Shia opposition that constitutes the majority of the population and a ruling Sunni minority – a cliche frequently presented in western media." 

An increase in state-agitated and mobilised sectarianism is a fact within Bahraini society today - and to recognise this is simply not the same as reframing the conflict between people and rulers as a conflict between one sect pitted against the other. 

Also, saying, as Omar's article does, that - "Bahrainis who currently have little say in their destiny, from all segments of society, need to somehow reach out to each other on a basis of reconciliation, justice and self-determination." is simply not the same as saying kiss hug and make up. If anything, it's a call for a regrouping of people on a national basis, against the rising of a sectarian divide - for a link up to the other Arab revolutions, as we see in the lines; 
"Their first call for outside support should be to the popular movements now springing up across the Gulf Co-operation Council states and the wider Arab world, as they represent the best chance for genuine deep change."

The report is definitely flawed and lacking in many ways, which have been rightly outlined on your site. I don't know if your readers have mentioned that it, typical of the UN, offers recommendations which involve even more committee, investigations and reports. It's a definite get-out-of-jail card for the unholy trinity ruling the roost here, exonerating them and giving them a chance to re-represent themselves as if they would right the disgusting violations and repression of the last 8 months - rather than being the ones responsible for them. This is why the government and their Western allies who are eager to go back to business-as-usual with Bahrain bothered with the whole affair of allowing a real investigation. 

To say, as Omar's article does, that the report does not entail a solution to the political crisis in Bahrain is not to say that the report has no value as a document in itself. As an activist I appreciate that the information it has recorded could (wildly hopefully) be useful in bridging the ever deeper entrenched sectarian positions of people among Bahraini society - by getting those who do not consider themselves of the opposition to recognise the horrific repression which is the modus operandi of the government here. Today a well-respected Sunni imam has said that he plans to speak in his khutbas about the report's findings. This is something tiny but it is significant, because without giving into the sectarian bullshit labels carried by media and supporters of the regime, on the ground the movement has been slipping into sectarian cracks. If it is going to gain a groundswell as it did before the crackdown and effective dismantling of national impetus, more people are going to have to be drawn in again. 

It goes without saying that the report is not a subsitute for a revolution and for political change. But that doesn't mean that it has no value whatsoever, nor that the individuals who worked on it or attended its release are no longer worthy of regard, and deserving of a public lampooning. Ya3ni I would hope that there is room in the ranks for disagreeing on practical matters without questioning a comrade's principles or position. 

I really hope you run this response, and accept my sincere regards inspite of my complete disagreement with your opinion on this matter."

Thus spoke Huda Nonoo: evidence of Iranian conspiracy in Bahrain

Again: from my chief Bahrain correspondent (she has been busy lately):  "Also notice the discrepancy between the Arabic and English version [of the Bassioni report] concerning the ridiculous 12 point flag rumor.  My theory is that the report was delayed because of conflicts between bassiouni and the other two.  Report was a whitewash and needed to be edited to make it more acceptable to human rights organizations.  Maybe someone forgot to edit a few lines in the arabic version.  I don't trust Bassiouni.  His media interviews prior to the report conflict a lot of whats in the report now.  Also notice the slight difference in what he says in interviews and what this other commissioner is saying,  Apparently Rodney said they didn't investigate higher level officials because they ran out of time.
Did you see this gem of a quote by Huda Nonoo?
In an interview Wednesday, Bahraini Ambassador to the United States Houda Nonoo defended the government’s claims of Iranian involvement. She pointed to Iranian state media provocations and official statements calling Bahrain Iran’s 14th province.
But asked for evidence of direct material support, she hedged. “We don’t have that evidence, but it’s there,” Ms. Nonoo said. “It’s not evidence you can touch or see physically, but we know it’s there.

Bahrain Update

Angry Arab chief Bahrain correspondent:  "Bahrain after the release of the report: 
Government is going to prosecute 20 security officers.  I hear all of them are of yemeni, pakistani, and syrian descent.  Of course they are dispensable to them - these paid mercenaries will be the first to go (and probably the only ones - to be replaced by new paid mercenaries).  
And of course the precious committee has already been formed.  Its made up of government officials heading by the deputy Prime Minister lol:  "

AngryArabia jailed

The Bahrain royal government has jailed the blogger, Angryrabia.  (She has my permission to use that name).

PS She was released.

Rape victims jailed--in LIBERATED AFGHANISTAN

A rape victim is jailed in liberated Afghanistan.  I guess we should thank the US for this. (thanks Mohammad)

attacking Muslim and Christian clerics

The earliest and most effective attacks on Muslim and Christian clerics appear in Ahmad Faris Ash-Shidyaq's As-Saq `Ala As-Saq and in Taha Husayn's Al-Ayyam.  Really good.  Was re-reading Husayn's account of Azhar's clerics, and they are worse now.

Pathetic and Desperate Israeli press

Look at the silly headline of this silly and dumb article:  "Arab revolutionaries look to Israel for inspiration".  And then you read the text:  ""We want a democracy like in Israel." I heard this sentence twice in January, once in a shopping center in Tunis and a second time on a street near Tahrir Square in Cairo. When I tell people that neither of the men who said this to me were aware of my being a reporter for an Israeli newspaper, I am usually greeted with disbelief."  What kind of evidence is this to generalize about 350 million Arabs?  You who are professors: Do you allow your undergraduate students to cite an anecdotal evidence based on a conversation with two--two damn, it--strangers as basis for generalizations about a whole people? What kind of journalistic standards are those?  I follow Arab political literature: press and books rather extremely close, and I am yet to encounter anyone suggesting that they were inspired by Israeli "democracy" and its war crimes?  If anything, when people speak about minority rights, they use Israel as the example of what should not be emulated.  And then the writer of this silly piece adds:  "I would give you their names, but they are in two different notebooks buried somewhere in a stack back home. So you can choose whether you want to take my word for it."  Kuwaiti newspapers (and they are the most yellow of the yellow press) would not resort to such irresponsible and pathetic evidence and language.  Let me guess: one of the two Arabs who gave you the opinion that the paper took to generalize about all Arabs is this man? Am I right? (thanks Farah)

MTV Station

I learned that MTV station is negotiating with Abraaj (mostly Saudi and UAE money) to sell major shares of the station.  Those right-wing sectarian Christian Lebanese (who would not let Muslims to build a mosque in Brummana) hate Arabs but love their money.  

David Ignatius

The man is an interesting writer (I really enjoyed his novel, Agents of Innocence and I recommended it because the events described are true) but has such a weakness for Arab royal potentates.  Imagine that he finds wisdom in Prince Saud Al-Faysal and even asks him to analyze the "Arab spring."  This is like asking Bush about Philosophy or asking Prince Nayif about feminism.  How absurd is this? If Saudi Arabia has only dates and not oil, do you think that Ignatius would find wisdom among Saudi princes?  And notice that he is impressed that Saud went to Princeton.  The Kuwaiti foreign minister has a PhD from Harvard: go listen to him on Youtube and see if he impresses you.  Fancy degrees mean nothing.  (thanks "Ibn Rushd")

Bin Laden in Qatar

I have received information that the Bin Laden Group in Saudi Arabia has signed major deals in Doha, Qatar. More later.  

Friday, November 25, 2011

MTV: reactionary thought

My weekly article in Al-Akhbar: "MTV Station (and its ilk): Reactionary Right-wing Thought"