Saturday, March 31, 2012

IT is official: the US stands shoulder to shoulder with Arab reformers

I mean, this picture really exemplifies US strong support for democracy in the Middle East.  

Saudi Arabia sponsors

"Saudi Arabia has pressed Jordan to open its border with Syria to allow weapons to reach rebels fighting President Bashar al-Assad's regime, officials from both countries say, a move that could buoy Syria's opposition and harden the conflict in the country and across the region." (thanks Laleh)

Bahrain Royal PR

From Angry Arab's chief Bahrain correspondent (she should not be identified, of course):  "So apparently the Bahraini Embassy in Washington DC arranged several meetings with students at the American University in order to get its twisted version of events out to them.  I guess they are trying to do some damage control since Mariam AlKhawaja has spoken there, as I believe has Nabeel Rajab."

It is cute when clients of the US do it

"The United Arab Emirates has closed the Dubai office of the National Democratic Institute, a U.S.-funded pro-democracy group that was the subject of a crackdown in Egypt, the U.S. State Department said on Friday."

Was I in a Coma when this happened?

"The Obama administration embraced the Arab revolts last year".  When and where?  Did the US embrace Arab revolt in Morocco, or Jordan or Bahrain or Saudi Arabia or Oman or Iraq or Egypt (until Mubarak could not long rule) or Tunisia (until Bin Ali fled the scene) or Algeria or where? It did support revolt in Syria and Libya (rather late in the game).   I like when the US invents in a lie and then believes it.  Me I like that.

Say again?

"*The Arabic-speaking world is a particularly data-poor environment, generally speaking, and the iron law of quantitative analysis (or any analysis, for that matter) is that garbage in = garbage out."   Is it in our genes, Mr. Abu?  (thanks J)

Is Reuters losing its marbles?

So Iran which suffers more sanctions than Syria is helping Syria? " Iran is helping its ally Syria defy Western sanctions by providing a vessel to ship Syrian oil to a state-run company in China, potentially giving the government of President Bashar al-Assad a financial boost worth an estimated $80 million."  Wait, so Iran is helping Syria to sell oil to China, so that China can then sell the oil to North Korea, which then sells it to Cuba, which then sells it back to Syria?  I am confused and dazed, damn it.

Sectarian war: if Saudi Arabia is arming, then a sectarian war is inevitable

Fadwa Suleiman, an actress who became an icon of Syria's revolution, is furious that her country's peaceful protest movement has been drawn into armed conflict with the regime.  She said she is saddened to see that "the revolution is not going in the right direction, that it is becoming armed, that the opposition which wanted to resist peacefully is playing the game of the regime and that the country is heading for sectarian war"." 

PS Anne Barnard of the New York Times still hopes (per her remarks on Hariri TV) that the John Stuart Mill Brigade of the Free Syrian Army will prevail and spread secularism in Syria.

Syrian National Council and their antics

A brave Syrian woman fled the country and was helped by Syrian National Council to testify for the UN on human rights situation in Syria.  After she was done, she was abandoned by the council and now is in a precarious legal situation and has nowhere to go.  I am indirectly in touch with her to find a solution.  

Samir Franjiyyah (a Hariri tool) absolves Israel from any responsibility in Lebanon

""Samir Frangie : Dans la guerre libanaise, c’est-à-dire au cours des quarante dernières années, ce régime syrien a joué un rôle essentiel. S’il faut répartir les responsabilités, il doit en assumer 70%, et les 30% restant aux Libanais, leur manque de maturité, etc.""  I can't wait for the Syrian regime to fall to show off those self-deluded Lebanese their skills in savage civil wars which had started long before the Syrian regime was even formed.

At the feet of the Saudi King

I urge you to watch the footage of Hillary's meeting with the Saudi King in order to get a glimpse of Jeffrey Feltman, sitting like an obedient school boy, in the room.  Jeffrey Feltman is the guru of reform in the Middle East and is very impressed with the speed of beheadings in the Kingdom. 

Flash and exclusive: Anne Barnard for the first time ever expresses skepticism on Syria

This is rather hilarious.  This is a person who believes anything and everything she is told from the contacts that are provided to her by Hariri press office and their Ikhwan (Ikhwan, Anne is Arabic for Muslim Brotherhood because I knew that you were going to ask), expresses skepticism.  Why? Because she is here talking to a real opposition figure, Haytham Al-Manna`, who leads an opposition movement inside Syria.  She just can't seem to accept any view that does not square with her idol, Ali Al-Bayanuni, the Ikhwan sectarian fanatic who she described as moderate this week on Hariri TV:  "“If what we hear is true, this is an irresponsible attitude from the Saudis,” said Mr. Manna, who opposes the use of force by the opposition and is staying away from the Istanbul meeting. He said some rebel groups were led by extremist Salafi groups, and that others had used child soldiers or foreign fighters, accusations that could not be independently verified."  Accusations that could not be verified?  Have you ever added that qualification before to any of the claims that you heard from the Muslim Brotherhood, Anne?   But I really do like Anne's reporting on Syria.  It is too transparent: she is not even trying to be a professional journalist anymore.  Just watch her propaganda shtick appearance on Hariri TV.

I am back.

I felt suffocated, damn it.  I net to vent, damn it.  


I can't seem to log in to blogger. And yet I can write this from my phone.

Friday, March 30, 2012

"Chauvinist and Exclusionary"

Kurdish political representatives accused the Syrian National Council of "Chauvinism and exclusionariness.

But the way: did the New York Times refer to the US soldier who shot 16 civilians as a killer?

Both are killers but I don't recall that the Times referred to the US soldier as a killer.

Yes, New York Times think it is silly that Iranian girls were upset that that they were referred to as assassins

How dare Iranian girls be upset simply because a Western media organization referred to them as assassins.  Should they not get over it?  And litigation is a Western privilege. 

Robert Fisk

Robert Fisk is not a caricature of himself anymore: he is a caricature of Geraldo of US TV.  Look at him here: basing his analysis on Walid Jumblat, his friend.


"We notice with dismay and regret that Shakespeare's Globe Theatre inLondon has invited Israel's National Theatre, Habima, to perform The Merchant of Venice in its Globe to Globe festival this coming May. The general manager of Habima has declared the invitation "an honourable accomplishment for the State of Israel". But Habima has a shameful record of involvement with illegal Israeli settlements in Occupied Palestinian Territory. Last year, two large Israeli settlements established "halls of culture" and asked Israeli theatre groups to perform there. A number of Israeli theatre professionals – actors, stage directors, playwrights – declared they would not take part.  Habima, however, accepted the invitation with alacrity, and promised the Israeli minister of culture that it would "deal with any problems hindering such performances". By inviting Habima, Shakespeare's Globe is undermining the conscientious Israeli actors and playwrights who have refused to break international law."

Saud Al-Faysal reassures Israel

""Who is threatening Israel with atomic bombs? Which Arab countries are arrayed on the border of Israel? Is there a threat to Israel's security?" he asked."

80 % of Egyptians don't want US aid (yet, Thomas Friedman insists that Egyptian uprising has no foreign policy goals)

"Just after the United States decided to keep sending $1.3 billion in annual aid to the Egyptian military, a new poll shows that most Egyptians don't want their country to receive American financial assistance. Pollsters say Egyptians suspect that taking money from foreigners will end up impinging on their nation's sovereignty.  More than eight of 10 Egyptians oppose receiving aid from the United States, according to a Gallup poll that finds opposition has grown over the last year. Egyptians are even more strongly opposed to the U.S. sending aid to Egyptian civil society groups, the February poll found.  Opposition to outside aid has grown stronger over time, the poll of 1,000 respondents showed. Egyptian attitudes about assistance from the U.S. soured at the same time the country began accusing Americans working for non-governmental organizations of trying to stir up unrest, Gallup said."

Bahrain royal commission judge is appointed by Bahrain government to a government job

A source sent me this:  "Do you remember the Bassioni Commission? It turns out that K.A., an Egyptian judge who was one of the investigators on the commission, is set to become the new ombudsman for the Bahraini internal security forces. Obviously, they must have been happy with his work and with the commission’s findings. If you decide to report this, please don’t use my name on this."

Is the Syrian uprising finished?

Comrade Talal sent me this (I cite with his permission):  "The uprising is finished. It would drag on for a while and may go into a chronic phase, but the situation has the feel of a regime that is now secure. Aljazeera overplayed its hand and lost its reputation in the process. Shame on its management and the Qataris, for that (perhaps unintended) experiment of freewheeling TV coverage was important for the Arab world, and they squandered in a few months what they have built for a decade.

I think the question for Syria is this: as the regime consolidates its authority, what sort of retribution would the regime undertake in Lebanon?

The other issue is that the reluctance of the regime to hit back at Israel after destruction of the nascent Syrian nuclear facility and other provocations such as the flyovers over Bashar's house, the assassinations of Mughnieh and the Syrian general in charge of covert activities etc, all have cost the regime dearly in terms of the dissolution of its authority and legitimacy. It may be necessary for Bashar to up the ante vis a vis Israel."

Aljazeera desperate

Aljazeera is now in an odd state: like it knows it has no credibility so it feels it has less professional restraints.  It acts like any vulgar and crude paper of House of Saud. They are so desperate to maintain that the momentum of the Syrian uprising remains the same, day after day.  Today, the headline was a demonstration in Damascus in Mazzah quarter.  I counted like twenty in it.  Kid you not. 

Israeli media are desperate to talk to any Arab: even dead Arabs would do

Here, there is an interview with the son of Rif`at Al-Asad, and yet is not even clear if they talked to him or if somebody else conducted the interview.  They are so desperate for an Arab contact.  Next week, Haaretz will conduct series of in-depth interviews with stray cats in the Arab world.

Heroic assassinations

Notice that all acts of violence by groups that are seen as loyal to US interests are portrayed in heroic cast.  Look at this story about mostly sectarian assassinations by Free Syrian Army.  But what Ms. Barnard did not report--or we should say: her Hariri press office contact did not report--that three teachers from Dayr Az-Zur were killed (and some say chopped off) because they were `Alawites.  Not fit to print?

Mr. Abu Yazid

"Abu Yazid, the rebel interviewed by Skype, identified himself as a leftist engineering student. But his nom de guerre recalls a historic figure reviled by Shiites and sometimes invoked by Sunni Muslim factions who consider Shiites apostates."  Read this sentence and you realize how much Ms. Barnard is all over herself in the Syria story.  So she interviewed this guy who claimed to her that he was a leftist.  It is clear that she saw no contradiction between his claim that he was a leftist and his selection of the name of "Abu Yazid" because otherwise, she should have concluded that he is not a reliable contact because he was lying about something as basic as his political orientation.  I bet you that after she talked to him and after believing that he was a leftist, one of the Arabs in the NYT office pointed to her the significance of the name of Abu Yazid for her to add the reference above.  And if she was skeptical, why did she not ask him about that major and glaring contradiction.  This is as basic as seeing an atheist praying.  

Skype interviews

This method of journalism in covering Syria should be interrogated:  "a fighter calling himself Abu Yazid said in an interview via Skype last week".  Is it not relevant to ask how you stumbled on Mr. Abu Yazid (oh, or Mr. Yazid as you probably would write or as your editor would write)?  Did you just stumble on him as you were navigating the internet, or was the name and address provided to you by the propagandists of the SNC in Lebanon working closely with the Hariri press office? Should we not know? 

Anne Barnard on Hariri TV

I was switching channels yesterday, and I stumbled on a program on Syria on Hariri TV.  There was Anne Barnard of the New York Times (they said Anne of the New York Times so I assumed it is her).  Everything I assumed about her from her writing was confirmed.  She is overwhelmed with the story that is covering; 2) she really is too ill-equipped in training and study and background to cover the story--she had to struggle a great deal to pronounce--sorry, to mispronounce--the name of Riyad Ash-Shaqfah; 3) she is--I assumed all along--under the influence of the Hariri press office in Lebanon which is directing all foreign journalists in Lebanon and guiding them to contact certain numbers in Syria and putting them in touch with the "refugees" in Al-Qa` and other areas in Lebanon; 4) she is a huge supporter of the Syrian National Council.  But she surprised me that she turns out to be a huge fan of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood.  In fact, I call her an apologist of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood.  Based on statement that was released last week in Istanbul, she now believes that the Syrian Muslim brotherhood wants equality and freedom, and nothing less.  Just like that.  This is like believing the statement by the Syrian regime that the ruler wants democracy in Syria.  It was unbelievable.  Ms. Barnard is so ignorant of the story that she is covering that she added: that it was significant that the former leader of the Syrian Ikhwan, `Ali Bayanuni (she also mispronounced his name like she mispronounces or mistranslates every single Arabic names that she encounters), was at the press conference because he comes from a "moderate" background.  I kid you not.  What does Ms. Barnard know about the background of Bayanuni?  I am certain the answer is this: nothing whatsoever.  Of course, Bayanuni has been in the employ of Hariri family for years and is a too if Saudi Arabia (but then again, I bet Ms. Barnard thinks that Saudi government is very moderate and  perhaps feminist as well).  Bayanuni--let me inform you--was the head of the Military Office of Ikhwan in Syria in 1979-1982, when the organization committed various massacres and sectarian atrocities.  Riyad Ash-Shaqfah (or Shaqfaafaqaahfaqahahfah as pronounced by Ms. Barnard) was his assistant.  Oh, lastly, it just occurred to me: would Ms. Barnard agree to appear on a rival TV station to Hariri TV, like Amal TV or Hizbullah TV, to talk about Syria?  I doubt it very much.  Oh, one last thing: one of the funny things she said was that the armed groups in Syria are not necessarily Islamist: and said that there are armed groups that identify as "liberal".  Ms. Barnard: when you stumble on the John Stuart Mill or Jean Jacque Rousseau Brigades please wake me up.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Syrian regime: secret police threats

It is clear.  Syrian regime mukhabarat (secret police) has infiltrated all ranks of the Syrian opposition.  They have aired footage of pictures and videos of the secret covert camera men of Aljazeera in Syria.  It then ominously said: you are all being watched.  This is the most unreported story of the Syrian uprising: the extent to which Syrian regime infiltrated the ranks of their enemies.

Classism of Syrian regime propaganda

Rafiq Lutf is a famous name now in Syrian media affairs.  He is identified as a former US-based journalist although I have never ever heard of him.  But he (or whoever is behind him) has made a coup: he has been releasing outtakes and raw footage from Aljazeera and from opposition videos.  Most damning stuff: talks of executions by members of Free Syrian Army, and showing a Aljazeera camera man directing members of the Free Syrian Army and arguing whether it should be said it was from this city or that, and even talk of money.  So today, he was insulting the Free Syrian Army members and said: they are bunch of peasants who can be bought off. Literally.  To her credit, the anchorwoman, Hana' (what is her last name), she gently interrupted him to say that being a peasant is not an offense and that all Syrians are of peasant background.  But this Rafiq sounds like an intelligence character and even implied that such future camera gatherings of Free Syrian Army would be bombed and that their faces are "all known to us".

Palestine: Land Day

Can the Cicero of Syrian National Council write English?

One alert Syrian reader sent me this.  He wondered:  so we are to believe that this guy wrote this article? Is the English of the two the same?  Or did this guy write this article? 

Flash: George W. Bush Endorses the "Syrian Revolution"

This is what it needed.  George W. Bush supports the "Syrian Revolution".  Are you on the same side with this man?

Lies of Reuters

"Iranian ninjas sue Reuters for defamation of character". (thanks Nasser)

This is hilarious: Elizabeth Flock reports on `Adnan `Ar`ur

It is really hilarious.  When the West finds clients in the region, they throw their support without asking questions, just as they supported the precursors and fellow travelers of Al-Qa`idah.  I reported earlier on `Ar`r and said that I have not seen reports on the guy, but I was proven wrong.  Elizbeth Flock wrote an article about him for the Washington Post but I doubt that she has ever watched his speeches.  She thinks that he is some feminist or sufi guru.  Austin sent me this comment and the link:  "You said in a post today that Al-Ar'ur is never mentioned in Western media. But, oh ho ho, you are mistaken my friend. Check this out:  In this article is an embedded video wherein Al-Ar'ur actually has some compassionate, encouraging words for rape victims in Syria. Of course, one should be aware of the overall balance of his rhetoric and his positions, but I actually saw this on a friend's Facebook wall with comments suggesting that he is some sort of paragon of Islamic magnanimity and compassion. Kid you not. I wonder if the people who wrote this article or their sources thereof know anything else about this man."


"‘Marxism no longer corresponds to reality’ says Man in Giant Hat who speaks to Invisible Cloud People"". (thanks "Ibn Rushd")

I know that you are busy celebrating Libya's NATO victory but

I noticed that no Western media have been reporting on the tribal clashes in southern Libya which have killed tens of people.  Do those count in your foreign policy intrigues? 

The country that feigns human rights concerns daily wants to help Saudi royal family

"Sweden's defense minister was forced to quit on Thursday after weeks of pressure over reports the Nordic state planned to help Saudi Arabia build a weapons plant.  Arms sales to Saudi Arabia have caused criticism in a country which prides itself on standing up for human rights, and the reports about aid for the weapons plant sparked an outcry.  Defense Minister Sten Tolgfors survived initial reports in early March by public radio about plans for a state-run Defense research agency, FOI, to help Saudi Arabia build the plant by saying he had not known of them and that FOI had over-stepped its authority."

Lebanese guests on Syrian regime propaganda outlets

Do you notice this?  You will never ever see a Hizbullah person appearing on Syrian regime TV?  I have not seen on Hizbullah person appearing on Syrian regime TV and defending the regime.  Instead, Syrian regime TV hosts the most insignificant Lebanese political personalities and most have political parties that have no more than five members and some of them I have never heard of before.  It is noteworthy.  Also, Amal Movement leaders don't appear on Syrian regime TV either although the NBN TV of the Amal Movement is the most fanatic in defending the Syrian regime TV.  

Americans are fascinated by stories of crimes against women in faraway lands but not in their own

"Every minute, 24 Americans suffer sexual or intimate-partner violence, according to an eye-opening new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). That adds up to 12 million men and women victimized each year in the United States."

While the people of Gaza starve...

"McGill University and its Institute of Islamic Studies have received a generous $1.25 million gift from the State of Qatar. The gift, announced today during a visit to McGill by His Excellency Salem Al-Shafi, the first Ambassador from Qatar to Canada, coincides with the Institute’s 60th anniversary and will be used to fund a series of conferences to be held over the next year." (thanks Christopher)

Read all about it: the New York Times found two "experts" on Iran who claim that Iran will abandon the Asad regime.

First expert:  "“You can imagine a deal in which the Iranians say, ‘We’re not going to support Assad,’ in exchange for a deal on nukes,” said Bruce W. Jentleson, a professor of public policy and political science at Duke University and a former adviser at the State Department."

Second expert--wait, this guy is familiar.  Is he not the famous Cicero of the Syrian opposition?  "Radwan Ziadeh, a member of the Syrian National Council and the executive director of the Syrian Center for Political and Strategic Studies in Washington, said that it has become “even difficult for Iran to support Assad.”"  Those two know what no one else knows, but the fact that neither of them is an expert on Iran is not really important, is it?

The non-sectarian refugees

"The refugees here seemed ambivalent about describing what they saw as sectarian cleansing. Opposition supporters said they feared playing into the government narrative, and wanted the international community to view them as nonsectarian in their quest for outside military assistance."  Wait, Anne.  Those same refugees said that all `Alawites are killing all Sunnis but they were "amivalent" about describing sectarian cleansing?  

Shame on the New York Times and its bigotry

Shame on this sectarian and bigoted New York Times article which demonizes all `Alawites in Syria.  All of them.  If this article was against all Jews, there would be protests outside of Times offices, as there should be.  None of the Syrian `Alawites I know support the regime, although I reckon that my sample is rather small.  

Anne Barnard just believes whatever opposition sources tell her

"Skeptics say that if whole populations were fleeing there would be many thousands more refugees in neighboring countries. Refugees, however, say that many people are afraid to cross into Lebanon, whose army they see as supporting Syria, and instead have fled to relatives’ homes elsewhere in Syria."  Wait, Anne. Wait.  So you say that skeptics make the valid point that if this is a phenomenon, you would see the number of refugees close to that after Bush's invasion of Iraq and not around 20,000 or so in total.  But then you believe that response to the skeptics: that they are afraid of the Lebanese Army? Well, first, no one is afraid of the Lebanese Army--no one on this earth at least. Secondly, if they are afraid of the Lebanese Army, how did they make it into Lebanon?  Thirdly, there are many areas at the border which are not under the control of the Lebanese Army but under the control of Hariri Salafite goons.  Fourthly, juts yesterday, a major arms smuggling operation was discovered. So if weapons are pouring in from Lebanon into Syria, then surely people can come through.  Fifthly, let me get this straight: those people are fleeing a cleansing campaign by all `Alawites against all Sunnis, but they found it safer to go to other Sunni areas instead of Lebanon? Is there anything that you would not believe, Ms. Barnard?  Anything at all?   

Anne Barnard has a scoop

So Anne Barnard thinks that she has a scoop.  She "reports":  "with civilians affiliated with President Bashar al-Assad’s minority religious sect shooting at their onetime neighbors as the military presses what many Sunnis see as a campaign to force them to flee their homes and villages in some sections of the country."  Well, Anne.  Here is the thing.  There are tons of reporters in Lebanon:  most of them are opposed to the Syrian regime because they work for Saudi or Hariri channels and they talk to those refugees in Arabic daily and none of them report the story that you are reporting.  None of them.  So according to your story, the minority sect in Syria (13% or so of the population) have decided to sectarianly cleanse the 78% of the population who are Sunnis?  That makes sense to you?  And they report "civilians affiliated with...`Alawites".  How were they able to know that those armed goons are `Alawites when the armed goons of the regime have come from all sects?  Defections remain minuscule.  Wait: did they recognize them as `Alawites because of hooked noses and tales that tell `Alawites apart?  Please inform us here.   But she confirmed their accounts:  "Their accounts reinforce reports from activists reached inside Syria by telephone and e-mail of displacement along sectarian lines, and interviews with people in Syria."  So the same Syrian opposition people in Lebanon who work closely with the Hariri family (which basically "manages" those refugees in Lebanon and put them in touch with Western reporters and provide them with its own translators) also put you in touch with people in Syria?  What a smooth and objective operation operation you run, Anne.  If only this method can be taught in journalism schools.  If Palestinians were to made such claims about Israeli occupiers, the New York Times would never ever allow a word to be printed.

I hate to say this but Anne Barnard is lying here

I really believe that the number of mistakes by people who write on the Middle East who had never studied the region and who don't know its languages is bigger than in articles by those who had studied the region.  Look at this sentence in Anne Barnard's article today:  "The government has inflamed sectarian fears by portraying itself as the defender of Syria’s substantial Christian and Alawite populations against what it calls attacks by Sunni Islamists."  Well, Anne.  I follow Syrian regime print and visual media, and I never ever once heard or read any statement to that effect by any Syrian official or by any Syrian media outlet.  Where did you get that? Was that also told to you by those Syrian opposition people (who are "handled" by pro-Saudi Hariri goons and propagandists in Lebanon) who also told you that `Alawites are killing all Sunnis in Syria?  Never ever was such a statement made, Anne.  In fact, I have been following Syrian regime TV for months and the word Alawite does not appear once in the media, or the word Sunni for that matter.  The government has never ever spoken in such sectarian terms.  Say what you wish about the government: that it is criminal and repressive and deceptive and--most importantly--deserves to be overthrown, but it does not resort to such sectarian language ever (although the regime is sectarianly based, but that is another matter altogether).  That is what happens Anne when you don't read the actual statements of Syrian officials and only judge what they say second and third hand by (translated) conversations with opposition supporters.  There has never ever been one statement by the government in which it refers to the opposition or to what it calls "terrorist armed groups" in sectarian terms as you maintan.  Do the foreign editors of the Times never ask for evidence when statements are made about countries that are not on peaceful terms with Israel? These are the criteria?  In fact, the most blatant sectarian terms are coming from the darling of the Western governments, the voices of the opposition.  This is a sectarian exterminationist threat to  all `Alawites by a "liberal" Syrian opposition figure, Ma'mun Al-Humsi, and this one is by `Adnan Al-`Ar`ur.

PS This story will be remembered as one of the many stories that later prove to be untrue during a conflict in which the US has a stake.  What happened to the stories of Kuwaiti babies taken from incubators? What happened to the story that Qadhdhafi killed 100,000 people?  

Shaykh `Adnan Al-`Ar`ur took an oath

This is amusing and has been playing on Syrian regime media.  Saudi-hosted fanatical cleric, Shaykh `Adnan Al-`Ar`ur (who is quite influential in the Syrian opposition and yet he is not mentioned ever in the Western media and has representatives in the Syrian National Council), is known for his nightly sectarian fulminations from a religious channel owned by Prince `Abdul-`Aziz bin Fahd.  He took an oath that he would close down his shop and would close down his program if Bashshar Al-Asad dares to go to Homs and give a talk there.  So the Syrian media are contrasting his oath with the visit by Bashshar to Baba Amr.

Did the Kurdish representatives withdraw from the Istanbul meeting? The lies of the Syrian National Council

In this war of media between the Syrian regime and the Syrian exile opposition where both sides resort to lies and fabrications, the Syrian National Council win by far in this game.  Yesterday, Al-Arabiyya (the news station of King Fahd's brother-in-law) hosted a representative of Syrian National Council about the opposition meeting in Istanbul.  He was asked about the withdrawal of Kurdish representatives.  The dude did not know that his interview would be followed by a Kurdish representative, so he answered by denying that there was such a withdrawal and said that the Kurdish representatives stayed in the meeting.  His interview was then followed by an interview with a Kurdish political representative who said clearly that the SNC guy lied and that all Kurdish political guests but one withdrew from the meeting.  

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Flash: explosive: Bashshar has close relations with his mom. Why Bashshar's Mother was added to the sanctions list

A source in Jordan who does not want to be identified sent me this:  "Have you seen the attached document? You wanted to know why Bashar's mother was on the sanction list? now you know: "Given the close personal relationship and intrinsic financial relationship to the President", isn't it weird that she has such a close relationship with the President, you would wonder why. But what is funny is that they impose sanctions on all the petroleum companies in Syria and then sanction the Minister of Electricity "for using power cuts as a method of repression"!!  If you use please don't not mention me."

Here is the official text: "Mother of President Al-Assad. Given the close personal relationship and intrinsic 
financial relationship to the Syrian President, Bashar Al Assad, she benefits from and is associated with the Syrian regime."   Source (no link): "COUNCIL IMPLEMENTING DECISION 2012/172/CFSP
of 23 March 2012 implementing Decision 2011/782/CFSP concerning restrictive measures against Syria".

End peace with Israel

Sign a petition to end peace with the Zionist entity. (thanks Farah)

Spend all you want, the Zionist entity is going down

"Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is pushing for congressional funding to ship more Iron Dome missile defense systems to Israel.  “The Department of Defense has been in conversations with ... Israel about U.S. support for the acquisition of additional Iron Dome systems and intends to request an appropriate level of funding from Congress to support such acquisitions based on Israeli requirements and production capacity," Pentagon spokesman George Little said in a statement released Tuesday."

JPS responds to Zionist hoodlums

"CAMERA’s accusations (e.g., 3 February 2012) that Pappé “invented” or “fabricated” the quotation, suggesting that the Zionist leader had never supported transfer, led JPS to have the original source—Ben-Gurion’s 5 October 1937 letter to his son—translated into English. The letter vindicates Pappé’s reading of Ben-Gurion’s position on transfer and the essential accuracy of his article. While JPS regrets the lapses of citation, the 2006 article, fully consonant with the historical record, remains in our view an excellent summation of Zionist planning behind the Palestinian expulsions of 1948.
In the links below, readers will find JPS’s official response to CAMERA (published in the winter 2012 issue), the full English translation of Ben-Gurion’s letter (to our knowledge never published before), the original Hebrew (from the Ben-Gurion Archives), and a link to Pappé’s article. Because CAMERA has cited Benny Morris in support of its position (also in an article by a CAMERA official 12 November 2011), we are posting a long 2004 interview with Morris which unequivocally elaborates on Ben-Gurion’s “transferist” aims. Be sure to check back, as we will be publishing other materials related to the controversy in the coming weeks."

Yemeni presidential election: 100% voted yes

Tarek from Yemen sent me this comment (I cite with his permission):  "PS, your comments on Yemen also spot on, but let me add more fuel to your fire, not only was the Presidential election a one man affair but there was also no choice of voting no. There was no "No box" and an X or anything like that was registered as a Yes vote... It was only at the last minute when a EU official decided that a 100% win might be a bit much they decided to count 15,000 or so damaged ballots as No; hence the 99.xx% win... You couldn't make it up if you tried..."

New York Times on Syrian developments: where do I begin

First, the article mentioned the Syrian opposition meeting in Istanbul, but says nothing about the deep conflicts, boycotts, and walk-outs by several elements (the article only mentions Kurdish representatives but implies that they were merely displeased and not that they in fact withdrew).  It says nothing about the withdrawal by Haytham Al-Malih among others and the non-participation by the internal opposition groups (the coordinating committees).  Second, it reported on visit by Asad to Baba Amr and said that it was not broadcast live.  Yeah, it was not broadcast live, so? What is the point?  Are the various videos that are produced and directed by exile Syrian opposition opposition broadcast live?  What it the point, here, I don't get it.  And then this:  "“They bring people on buses to clap for him and say that he killed all the Free Syrian Army,” said a man living across the border in a Lebanese farmer’s house who identified himself as Abu Munzer."  I know that the trend in Western media is to cite any view about Bashshar and his regime--no matter how silly--if the view is negative and critical.  This is why the BBC aired repeatedly an accusation by a Syrian "activist"--of course--who claimed that Bashshar personally rapes children.  So the writers of this article in the New York Times really believe that it is impossible to find tens of people inside Syria who are supportive of the regime? What about the hundreds of thousands of people who have demonstrated in support of the regime over the last few months?  Were they also bused in? And where they injected with a chemical that made them look enthusiastic?  Why can't the media report on the story without an obsession with the propaganda agenda?  Even the columnist in the mouthpiece of Prince Khalid Bin Sultan, Al-Hayat, Jihad Al-Khazin said last week that perhaps one third of Syrians bitterly oppose Bashshar, and another third support him, and another third wait on the fence to see who will prevail.  And then this:  "A dozen Lebanese troops blocked visitors who wanted to see the border area, where the pop of gunfire could still be heard among apple orchards."  Well, not true, Mr. and Ms. New York Times correspondents.  Ghadi Francis of New TV visited the area (among others) and aired a report and found that the claim by Syrian National Council and their pro-Saudi allies in Lebanon are baseless.  And then I ran into this: "said Edip Shisakli..."  Edip?  If you take two days of elementary Arabic, you would know that there is no "p" letter in Arabic.  You would have known that it is Adib Shishakli, named after a well-known Syrian dictator.  But Edip?  Really, come on.   I have better things to do than go through the anthology of errors, mistakes, fallacies, and blunders that is better known as the New York Times.

End of Aljazeera?

Al-Akhbar has a cover story on the "end of the legend".

Amb Robert Ford now admits that he has known about abuses by opposition groups: why did you not blog on that?

"The U.S. ambassador to Syria, Robert Ford, said on Tuesday he had received reports that armed Syrian opposition groups had engaged in human rights abuses as well as Syrian government forces, and had warned both sides against committing such acts."  What a courageous man.  He has known all along and yet waited until human rights organizations produced their reports.


"At least 676 executions were known to have been carried out worldwide in 2011, an increase on the 2010 figure of at least 527 executions worldwide. The increase is largely due to a significant increase in judicial killings in Iran, Iraq and Saudi Arabia".

That occupation favorite, Salam Fayyad

"In the West Bank, where a construction boom has slowed and unemployment is high, discontent has centered on the Palestinian Authority leadership, including the technocrat prime minister, Salam Fayyad, who introduced tax increases and other austerity measures. Analysts say those steps have contributed to plunging approval ratings for Fayyad and President Mahmoud Abbas.  Anger over the measures has combined with long-standing criticism that Fayyad’s strategy of building institutions and improving law and order — widely viewed as successful — have not moved the Palestinians closer to statehood. A bid for recognition at the United Nations is stalled, plans to reconcile the two main Palestinian political factions appear frozen, peace talks with Israel have crumbled, and the Obama administration is not publicly pushing the issue."

Second guessing Nasser?

Based on what we see from the duplicity and hypocrisy of the Muslim Brotherhood, who ever again would second guess Nasser for repressing--albeit gently--the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt? Who?

Bashshar Al-Asad in Baba Amr

I watched the footage of Bashshar's visit to Baba Amr.  It revealed that really repulsive part of his personality: his utter arrogance.  He acts on the premise that he is the smarter person in the vicinity.  He has absolutely no connection with ordinary people.  But then again: he is one of the sons of the rulers.  This is the worst crop we have in the Arab world: those who grew up in the win of their father, the dictator.

A deal for the killers in Egypt

"Western governments have been encouraging Egypt's nascent political powers to consider offering the military generals currently running the country immunity against prosecution, according to the Muslim Brotherhood.  The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (Scaf) has been in control of the country since the toppling of former president Hosni Mubarak in February 2011, with the junta's rule marked by continued violent confrontations between revolutionaries and security forces, including allegations that they have ordered the shooting of unarmed protesters.  Senior members of the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice party – Egypt's largest political movement, which holds almost half the seats in the country's new parliament – have told the Guardian that the international community has been covertly lobbying them to strike a deal with Scaf that would provide a "safe exit" for the ruling generals in exchange for a smooth transition to democracy.  "Foreign embassies have been advocating this as a solution," claimed Gehad el-Haddad, one of the brotherhood's senior advisers. "They're not just asking us to consider it – they're saying it might be the only way."  I hate when they refer to "international community" when we know they mean the US.

Yusuf Al-Qaradawi

My latest blog post for Al-Akhbar English: "Yusuf Al-Qaradawi and Political Opportunism".

Lies and fabrications of the Syrian exile opposition

Of course, both sides in the Syrian conflict are lying to their teeth.  Both sides can't be trusted.  Yet, the Western and Arab (read Saudi and Qatari-funded) media only rely (faithfully) on Qatari-funded Syrian opposition sources.  But Dunya TV (a propaganda Syrian regime channel) has been exposing blatant fabrications, lies, and inventions by Syrian exile opposition.  (Of course, Dunya TV would not expose the lies and fabrication of state media).

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Yemeni president meets with the Yemeni president

Yemeni president (left) meets with Yemeni president (also left).  The man to the right is unidentified.

Aljazeera leaks

These are internal memos from Aljazeera's news director, Ibrahim Hilal.  Read from below so that you can see how his tone has changed over time: he started by trying to bring in some professionalism to coverage but later clearly followed the trend.  Read an analysis in Al-Akhbar.

Syrian death estimates

Today, AFP carried a story that the UN issued a new death estimate for Syria.  But the UN only a month ago said that it will no more make any estimate of casualties because the process is not reliable.  It also added that Syrian (Qatari-funded) opposition estimates are fine and dandy.  So if the UN had said that it will no more make estimate, which UN make that estimate for the AFP?

PS I found the source. The UN official made his estimates to the UN Security Council.  He said that the source is "reliable sources".   I KID YOU NOT.

Dubai police chief is now an official buffoon

" Muslim Brotherhood tweeters who insulted Emiratis defending their nation on the social network should be prosecuted, Lt Gen Dahi Khalfan Tamim, Chief of Dubai Police, said.  Lt Gen Dahi yesterday called on the federal attorney general to take legal action against the group of tweeters from the Muslim Brotherhood who had described Emiratis as barking persons.  "Some Emirati citizens, who were defending the UAE and its rulers against verbal insults and negative criticism, have been called nabbeeha [barking persons]. I call on the country's top member of the judiciary to take legal action against that faction of tweeters, who abused our nation and leaders. Is defending someone's nation or ruler considered barking?" Lt Gen Dahi told an audience of lawyers and members of the judiciary yesterday."

Look at this dumb headline from the Times

"Chávez in Cuba for Treatment, but Hasn’t Sought Visit With Pope".  And why should he seeks visit with the Pope, why?  And they write that headline (and story) as if it is so damaging to Chavez.  When the Times goes after enemies of US and Israel, it sinks very very low, and petty.  I mean, shall I seek a visit with the Pope if I drop by Rome?  There has not been an interesting Pope for two centuries or three, at least.

Putin and the cement factory

This is a very funny news clip about Putin and the about-to-close cement factory.  (thanks Raed)

Voices of hate versus voices of reason

You never hear it when Arabs condemn bigotry and hate.  Just the other day, the former communist party of Tunisia, known as Tajdid, issued a statement condemning the anti-Jewish threats made by the kooky Salafites of Tunisia.  

Bahrain not an issue

Arab summit won't mention Bahrain.

More of the secular opposition in Syria: not cited in the press

"For instance, only last week an al-Qa'ida-inspired group called the Al-Nusra Front to Protect the Levant claimed responsibility for two recent suicide bombings in Damascus that killed more than two dozen people. "We tell the [Syrian] regime to stop the massacres against the Sunnis, otherwise, you will bear the sin of the Alawites," said the Al-Nusra Front statement. "What is coming is more bitter and painful, with God's will.""

French colonial jingoism

"This is how France has become the leader of the ugly wave of anti-immigrant European racism. No, it's not only Le Pen. It's also President Nicolas Sarkozy. The man who served as interior minister, and in 2005 dubbed African antipoverty demonstrators as scum of the earth, was later elected to the presidency with the help of incitement. Of course, not before declaring with pathos in October 2007: "I was changed at Yad Vashem."  For years the colonialist spirit - which in Israel is called, with no little hypocrisy, "republicanism" - has served the French for the purpose of persecuting foreigners, even if they were born in France as its citizens. For quite some time the Jews have been serving as a fig leaf for this racism, because what is better than a Holocaust ritual for turning the "other" into a moral symbol in the war against the real others: Africans. Only here does the colonialist eternal fire meet up with the Israeli propaganda machine, which is fueled by a hatred of Muslims." (thanks Rachid)

While Rome burned?

""One could similarly ask what Mrs Netanyahu was doing while her husband's army attacked defenseless Palestinians in Gaza, or whether the Obamas were serving lavish dinners while US troops strafed civilian homes in Afghanistan. What kind of music were they playing as Afghan children were dying? Should we dissect every song they played to find clues to the nature of Obama's foreign policy, which has destroyed the lives of numerous people, just as some reporters are now doing with the songs that Al-Assad listens to?" (thanks Nir)

PS I am sick and tired telling people that the story that Nero fiddled while Rome burned is a historical myth, just as the story that Marie Antoinette told the people to eat cake.  I don't have time to tell you the whole true story but you can look them up.  Nero may have left his residence to help put down the fire in fact.  

But why Islamic studies, damn it?

"After looking over Pascal’s U.S. passport and customs declaration, Officer Tulip asked two simple questions: Where do you live, and why?  Pascal answered that he lived in Canada. He lived in Canada because that’s where he was pursuing a PhD in Islamic Studies.  Next, she asked him where he had traveled in the previous year, and he answered Jordan and Lebanon. He showed her his French passport (he’s a dual citizen) with the “Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan” stamp, and the Lebanese stamp with the little cedar tree on top.  Where had he gotten “this stuff,” Officer Tulip asked. Pascal explained that his PhD research is on the Shiites of modern Lebanon. This was not, in her books, a good answer.  Finally, the officers told Pascal that he would have to leave the train with them.   “Take me off the train, I’ll walk back to Montreal,” Pascal offered. Given what he would go through in the next few hours, Pascal might well have preferred the walk.   Instead, he was frisked, with particular vigor around his genitals. Then he was handcuffed. Pascal winced.   Then the real interrogation began, an hour and a half of intensive questioning. Where was he born? Where were his parents born? What religion was he raised with? Had he ever been to a rally in the Middle East? Had he heard any anti-American statements in the Middle East? Had he ever seen an American flag burned? Had he ever been to a mosque? But the questions always came back to the same point – why Islamic Studies?" (thanks Basim)

The dumbest analysts of the Middle East

There is a group of people who are dumber in their analysis of the Middle East than the Israeli experts of the Arab world: they are the analysts of Stratfor.  I mean, I have been too embarrassed to cite their documents.  They are so devoid of any wisdom or knowledge.  One document about Syria said: that Syria has the largest concentration of the Middle East after Israel.  Kid you not.  

Syrian National Council meeting in Istanbul

Kurdish representatives just left.  Why not give a new name to the council: "the Sunni Sectarian Ikhwan Council that hides behind Western Syrians-in-exile who wear Western clothes"?

Covering Syria: no difference between one day and another

I have noted to you that coverage of Syria in the Western and Arab (read Saudi and Qatari-funded) press is so propagandistic that the premise of the coverage is that every day is like the day before, or even protests are more more massive. They don't allow--not for one day--the observation that maybe today it was not as intense.  They leave readers with the unrealistic impression that every protest and every strike is a huge success.  This is not true, of course, as no one talks about the open-ended strike that Western and Qatari reporters insisted would end the regime--that was months ago.  Yesterday, the Lebanese MTV proved my theory: It said during the news broadcast that developments on the ground in Syria are exactly the same, day after day.  They actually said that, verbatim.  So why the coverage: just write under the same headline "The regime is falling" this note: please see yesterday's paper to know what happened today in Syria.  It is easier and cheaper.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Ha ha ha: an Israeli chased out of Morocco

In other news, Thomas Friedman assured the Zionists of the world that Arab uprisings have no foreign policy goals:  "David Saranga claims he never felt threatened inside Rabat parliament building as scores rallied outside in support of Palestinian prisoners; says Tunisian rep at conference 'stopped smiling when he learned I was Israeli'.  I was told to get to the airport as soon as possible and leave Morocco," veteran Israeli diplomat David Saranga told Ynet Monday, a day after tens of thousands of people held a mass rally in Rabat to protest his presence there.  I was told to get to the airport as soon as possible and leave Morocco," veteran Israeli diplomat David Saranga told Ynet Monday, a day after tens of thousands of people held a mass rally in Rabat to protest his presence there.""  By the way, do Israelis find all this detestation for them in the Arab world overwhelming?  They should.

Commentaries in Saud media

Really, think about it. When you read commentaries in the media of House of Saud, they all are predicated on the assumption that the Saudi kingdom is an advanced form of democratic rule. Kid you not.

Young Syrian men need a visa to leave the country?

I could not authenticate this document that I received from Syrian opposition sources but it says that Syrian men between the ages of 18 and 42 require a special visa to leave the country.

Zionism is blatant bigotry

"Eitan Haber is a consciously ”representative” Israeli. In his Yedioth Ahronoth columns, he’s cultivated himself as a ”voice of the people” – centrist, patriotic, worried about security, wishing for peace. He was Rabin’s spokesman and speechwriter, the impressario of those spectacularly un-Rabinesque speeches by his boss after the signing of the Oslo Accord and the peace treaty with Jordan. More than anyone except for Rabin’s family, Haber embodies the memory of grief over the assassination; his announcement that Rabin had died in the hospital is to Israel what Walter Cronkite’s announcement of JFK’s death is to America. Between his classic newspaper columnist’s style, his frequent references to people and events of the past, and his indelible association with Rabin, the Oslo period and the assassination, Haber, 72, is himself a nostalgia item, a salt of the earth Israeli and an insider at Camelot.
So what does it say when such an Israeli writes a column today that’s about as insanely Islamophobic as anything one is likely to read this side of Pamela Geller? It says the political mentality in this country is pretty damn dark.
The column is titled “And the president of France will be named Mohammed.” It says the murders in Toulouse were “just the preface to the forward to the introduction of this storm that is the burgeoning of Islam.” It goes on:
Historians will give this new era a name. I call it the ’era of Arabs riding high.’ For the first time, after hundreds of years, 1.3 billion Muslims feel they have the power to run the world and bend it to Islam’s laws and customs. Where are they headed? As yet there are no defined directions, except Islamic rule – and if necessary, by the sword."

The new Senegalese president

"Ibn Rushd" tells me this about the adviser of the new Senegalese president who is profiled below : "He's a shady character and a die-hard Zionist who once accused French TV station LCI of being "a shitty channel that is hostile to Israel" (the channel is actually very mainstream and close to Sarkozy's pro-Israel UMP party.)".

This would not be the first time the US assists car bombers

"And on Sunday an administration official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, confirmed that the United States had already begun to supply some aid, including communications gear, to the rebel Free Syrian Army."

Israel and the Syrian regime

I really have a strong hunch that Zionists in the US and Israel have reached the conclusion that it would be better to keep the Syrian regime in power.  I would say that the press conference by the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood yesterday was directed at Zionists and not Arabs.  They wanted to tell them that they would be keen--like Al-Asad regime--to protect Israel's borders.

You are not supposed to write this in the Western press

"It is a striking scene for a tightly controlled police state. Syria is a nation where citizens have, for decades, risked arrest for publicly criticizing the government. After a year of rebellion across much of the country, Damascus is still an island of relative calm, but things are not like before.  The wall of fear appears to have cracked, at least partially, even as President Bashar Assad retains power and his security forces continue to attack protesters and armed combatants."

Deputy US ambassador in Bahrain visits men in hospitals

Can you imagine? No US diplomat dared to visit any of the injured civilian in Bahrain but they visit the injured killers and oppressors.  Spread the word about this.


How can a secularist agree to serve as a ceremonial president in a government dominated by reactionary Salafists and Islamists?

The PA collaborators have no knowledge of the matter

""Ghassan Khatib, a PA spokesman, said he knew of no Palestinian lobbying to persuade the council to investigate the settlements, although he welcomed the decision."" (thanks Redouane)

present-day Arab slave trade?

Bu'ush from Nairobi sent me this.  Several Kenyan maids were killed in Saudi Arabia in recent months.

AP's pathetic re-write of the story on the Gaza boy

Basim sent me: "The AP frames their re-write of this story in the context of Hamas trying to win PR points by saying the boy died two days ago (when Egypt cut off fuel), instead of three weeks ago . One would therefore conclude, naturally, the baby died when Egypt DID NOT prevent anything from entering the territory, and is soley the result of Israel's savage destruction of the territory, preventing a normal, regular electrical supply from operating. No such deduction is made. The two Arabs who wrote this story should know better. I put the father's overlooked, uncommented on quote at the very end."

Syrian Muslim Brotherhood wants to join the Israeli cause

"and that it was committed to “fighting terrorism and respecting international treaties.”"

Another Obama war

"Eritrean President Isaias Afewerki accused the United States of plotting cross-border raids by Ethiopian troops, saying the two allies were out to divert attention from a festering border spat in the volatile Horn of Africa."

She wore the hijab: how dare she

"'Flowers were piled on the doorstep of the housee on Sunday. A neighbour said the family had moved in only a few weeks ago. Friends said Alawadi wore a hijab.'" (thanks Christina who also wrote:  "Would AP/The Guardian consider it appropriate to inform its readers if any of the victims of the Toulouse shooter wore a yarmulke? Somehow I doubt it."

University of Michigan

For those who have asked me, the folks at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor have, for reasons unbeknownst to me, decided thus far to not post the video tape of the panel on Syria that they have organized.   (It was captured in full on video).

The US and Arab Revolt

My talk at Portland State University in Oregon.

Syrian revolution?

I have not of course used the word revolution on any of the Arab uprisings and wrote (in Arabic at length) against applying the word revolution to recent Arab political developments--at least not yet.  But it is amusing the ease and casualness in which people refer to the "Syrian revolution"--it is as absurd as when the ruling Ba`th Party refers to its seizure of power as revolution.  So when there is a revolution, there are revolutionaries: who are they?  Radwan Ziadeh, Basma Kodmani, and the various Ikhwan leaders? Please enjoy your revolution but far far away from me.

PS Please enjoy this revolutionary speech which has been compared to the speeches of Trotsky and Lenin during the Russian Revolution and to the speeches of Robespierre during the French revolution.

PPS I deserve royalties for the above speech: I have sent thousands of readers to this youtube revolutionary event.

Zionist crisis

"When the Zionist movement became the government of Israel, it emplaced a raft of laws and regulations upholding the Mandate-era principle that the “nation” within its armistice lines was Jewish. Among them was its decision to prevent the return of the some 750,000 Palestinians who it had directly or indirectly driven into exile. The remnants of the “non-Jewish communities” who managed to remain -- known today as the Palestinian citizens of Israel -- are in many ways still treated as “civil and religious” minorities whose rights the state is not supposed to prejudice. They may have rights in the state, as former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon told the Knesset in 2004, but not to it. For the past 64 years Israel has managed to weather Palestinian challenges to this distinction, but a series of recent statutory assaultson the rights of these citizens suggests that the liberal fantasy of a Jewish democracy may finally be starting to collapse under the weight of its own contradictions.  To recall this history is inevitably to unveil the fact that the system in both of Beinart’s “two Israels” has always been predicated on Jewish racial privilege. It may also explain why Western intellectuals sympathetic to Israel have been warning about the “crisis of Zionism” for almost as long as the Zionist idea itself has been around."

clients of Saudi Arabia

Thousands of Salafis demonstrated in Tunisia the other day: they chanted many slogans and then called on youth to prepare to prepare to "combat the Jews".  Those are the clients of Saudi Arabia in Tunisia and for that you don't hear about their antics in the Arabic (read Saudi) or Western press.

Is Obama black?

My latest blog post for Al-Akhbar English: "Is Obama black"?

Sunday, March 25, 2012


Finally, Dick Cheney got himself a heart.


I will appear on Aljazeera's Min Washington program next Tuesday live from SF at 10:00AM Eastern Time (8:00PM Beirut Time).

PS Sorry. It is 5:00PM Beirut Time.

Do you want NATO to support them and protect them too?

"And the world must support and protect them."  And who do you mean by the world? Africa or just the White Man?

Dahi Khalfan and intra-GCC conflicts

Dahi Khalfan, the chief of police of Dubai who is known for his outspoken views against the US and Israel and the Muslim Brotherhood, has been unrelenting in his campaign as of late against the Muslim Brotherhood and their plots in the region.  It started when Yusuf Qaradawi singled out UAE for criticisms for repression and mistreatment of Syrian dissidents.  But I read in this conflict a resumption of Qatari conflict with Saudi Arabia and UAE.  We can all bet that such conflicts are good for our region.

Destroying churches in Arabia

When the chief Muftititi in Saudi Arabia ruled that churches in Arabia should be destroyed, it was ignored in the Western media.  It does not seem to be an issue that would trigger typical Western governmental condemnations.  No foreign ministries's spokespeople were asked about the matter and none of them bothered to comment.  Such is the reality of Western sponsorship and cuddling of Saudi Wahhabi fanaticism. 

Censorship that does not bother the US government

"Two paintings inspired by the Arab Spring at an art fair in the UAE were taken by authorities, to the surprise of curators and collectors.  The paintings belonged to Artspace gallery, a local gallery participating in the sixth edition of the international regional art fair "Art Dubai" and had been heavily exhibiting art work inspired by the wave of revolutions that have swept across the Middle East." (thanks Daniel)

Terrorist party in the US Congress

"It's not every day that groups supporting a State Department-listed foreign terrorist organization hold a party in the U.S. Congress, but that's exactly what happened today when the friends of the Mujahedeen e-Khalq (MEK) threw their Nowruz party in the hearing room of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
"Members of Congress will join Iranian Americans in wishing the Iranian people a Happy Nowrouz and address the humanitarian rights of Iran's main opposition in Camp Ashraf and Camp Liberty, in Iraq," reads the flyer for the party, which was held Thursday at the Rayburn building in room 2172, where the foreign affairs committee holds all of its public events.  The flyer says that the event is sponsored by "Iranian American communities" from around the United States, but the mention of Camp Ashraf and Camp Liberty is a clear reference to the MEK, a group designated by the State Department as a foreign terrorist organization that has about 3,000 members living in the secretive Ashraf compound in Iraq."  (thanks Ahmet)

"Pork Eating Crusader Patch."

Pork Eating Crusader

With tensions at an all time high in Afghanistan following the Koran burnings, the urination video, and the killing of 16 civilians, attention is now falling on a long line of "Infidel" apparel and gear.

Exhausted from how they feel they're being perceived, troops have taken to wearing patches and carrying items that label themselves infidels, and offer translation in local dialect. In the Muslim world an infidel means literally "one without faith" who rejects the central teachings of Islam. tracked down Clayton Montgomery at Mil-Spec Monkey, a large online seller of infidel gear, who says his most popular item by far is the "Pork Eating Crusader Patch."  What is hilarious is that the Arabic of this item shown above has wrong Arabic which reads as if it was translated either by Google or even by Yahoo. (thanks Ali)

What AP does not want you to know

"A Gaza man said Sunday his 5-month-old baby died after the generator powering his respirator ran out of fuel, the first known death linked to the territory's energy crisis...The baby's death highlights the human cost Gaza's 1.6 million residents are paying for 18-hour-a-day blackouts, triggered by a cutoff of Egyptian fuel."  Notice that AP does not want readers to know that the crisis is caused by Israel's bombing of power station and by siege of Gaza. (thanks Basim)

Egypt's military Industrial complex

"Estimates suggest that military-connected enterprises account for 10% to 40% of the Egyptian economy. It is an opaque realm of foreign investments, inside deals and privilege that has grown quietly for decades, employing thousands of workers and operating parallel to the army's defense industries."

US calls on Saudi Arabia to withdraw its troops from Bahrain and to end its intervention in Yemen

"Washington believes Iran is working with Shi'ite Muslim rebels in northern Yemen and secessionists in the country's south to expand its influence at the expense of Yemen's Gulf neighbors, the U.S. envoy to Sanaa was quoted as saying on Sunday.  The pan-Arab daily al-Hayat cited Gerald Feierstein, in an interview in London, as accusing Lebanon's Hezbollah and Hamas of helping their backers in Shi'ite Iran at the expense of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), a bloc in which Sunni-led oil giant Saudi Arabia's influence is dominant.  "The Iranians want to build influence in Yemen... both internally and more broadly in the region by establishing a foothold in the Arabian Peninsula," the paper quoted Feierstein as saying in remarks published in Arabic."

Repression in the UAE

"United Arab Emirates authorities on Sunday briefly detained a political activist who criticized one of the Gulf country’s rulers on his Twitter account, a prominent Emirati blogger said.  Ahmed Mansour told The Associated Press on the phone that security agents detained the activist, Mohammed Abdel-Razzaq al-Siddiq, before dawn Sunday. He was taken from his home in the emirate of Sharjah and released on bail later Sunday, Mansour said." (thanks Sultan)

PS Rupert tells me that he was released this afternoon.