Monday, April 30, 2012

Cicero waxes eloquent on Aljazeera

Mommed sent me this a few days ago:  "Again, whats there to say about an organization who puts this guy in charge of PR in the US?  His interview starts at 2 min. He gets some hard questions about foreign funding of the rebels at about 5 min.   (I also love his repeated use of the phrase "Whose can believe in that" at 3 min 50 seconds)
This is from today". 

PS Note at minute two he says "ageee" when he means to say ago, but they want us to believe that he now writings long articles for the New Republic.  If Cicero writes his own articles for the New Republic, then I wrote speeches for George W. Bush.

Egypt versus Saudi Arabia

My latest blog post for Al-Akhbar English:  "Egypt versus Saudi Arabia".

Bahraini royal media

Bahraini royal newspaper attacks Egyptian youth.

Syrian opposition versus Syrian opposition

Syrian opposition veteran, Haytham Al-Malih, attacks Nawfal Dawalibi (close to Saudi intelligence) and other exile opposition figures who he accuses of collaboration with Israeli intelligence, among others. (thanks Kamal)

"Asad must go"

Because of the Western mispronunciation of my name in English, whenever I hear Western leaders say "Asad must go" I think that they are talking about me.  Where do you want me to go, damn it? Where?

"Western hypocrisy toward Africa"

Bu'ush from Nairobi sent me this:  "THE West continues to present to Africa the wrong side of a rough stick. So accustomed to the brusque treatment, Africa now makes only mild protestations then meekly endures the bias as if chained to it. In ways big and small, Africa is put down and betrayed. Instead of holding out for justice, we have gotten to the point where we beam ecstatic for a small cloth towel to be tossed across our backs to slightly cushion the load thrust upon us by our own failings and the unjust designs of others. Our sense of proportion and ability to discern the intricate patterns of the global political economy have frayed. We are stirred to high emotion by contretemps that are but minor plays in the grander scheme of things. Yet we treat the sweeping issues of our existence like squalls in a saucer. We confuse salience and visibility for profundity. We often miss the big picture because we are too busy staring at the flashy one.For weeks, media rode the story of Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala’s candidacy for the World Bank. This respected Nigerian economist was eminently qualified for the position but her candidacy was ill-fated upon its very launching. The American was always to win. Had the United States sent forth a three-legged, blind and deaf pack mule for the position, that wretched animal would now be the occupant of the highest office in the building that houses the World Bank. This was never a contest in the true sense of the word. The drama around the illusory competition for the position was contrived. The Western press that endorsed the Nigerian knew this one was over before they went to press. The writing was on the wall before they wrote in their newspapers and journals. They knew their writings would not turn around those who had already made the decision yet would make them look enlightened and less bigoted in the eyes of the developed world. Theirs was an empty gesture akin to presenting a housewarming gift to someone whose mortgage has been foreclosed." 

Bahrain Update

From Bahrain chief correspondent: "I know my government well. This retrial is a sneaky way for them to place pressure on alkhawaja to stop his hunger strike and to buy time:  I mean even the doctors have still not been found innocent and its been what, months?  And as blogger @chanadbh pointed out on twitter: media reports should also mention that the head of Bahrain's judiciary is the cousin of the King and PM

This is a big joke. Whats the difference. Its a way for them to get international praise. I'm sure the US will now say how great this is. Nothing will change - I mean like I just said, look at the doctors - they are still on trial and the hearings keep getting delayed. I don't even bother to update myself with what's going on with them anymore since its the same crap over and over again:

Its either a constant struggle between members of the royal family who like winning international praise by pretending to do something when in reality its all a lie, and those who don't give a damn and want to kill like its no tomorrow. Or its the same people trying to do both at the same time and the world seems to love it. For example, they hire rifraf (sp?) from the US and England to "reform" the police. Western governments shower praise on them because what can be better than Timoney -"worst cop in america" and Yates who is involved in the phone hacking scandal? And what measures are these two implementing? Lets see - a more effective way to use excessive force by teargassing residential areas."

A new Arab guru for Islamist extremism/fanaticism

`Abdul-`Aziz bin Fahd is the new name if the world of Arab Islamist extremism/fanaticism.  He is the son of King Fahd who was known spending millions in an attempt to woo the actress Yasmin Bleeth, who he fell in love with while watching his favorite program, Baywatch.  (As is known, Sa`d Hariri was the prince's adviser for pleasure affairs, for years and he used to carry his briefcase as several eyewitnesses told me).  Anyway, `Abdul-`Aziz (the spoiled brat of King Fahd who inherited most of his billions) has recently discovered religion and fanaticism.  He is the owner of Al-Wisal TV which carries the most sectarian and fanatical messages of religion.  Enjoy.  

Shi`ite Salafis

Qasim Qasir is a knowledgeable writer on Lebanese Shi`ite affairs.  He is close to the line that was represented by Muhammad Husayn Fadlallah.  Here, he has an original article on the phenomenon of sectarian Shi`ite Salafiyyah.  I recommend its translation.

Canada and the Libyan NATO war

"During a trip to eastern Libya last June, at a time when rebel forces were locked in a stalemate with troops loyal to dictator Moammar Gadhafi and many countries were calling for a ceasefire, Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird actively encouraged the rebels to keep fighting.  The revelation opens a new window onto the role Canada played in the civil war - while raising questions about whether this country violated the spirit of the United Nations Security Council resolution that authorized international involvement in the conflict." (thanks Reagan)

See the wisdom in Saudi media

In one article yesterday, Thomas Friedman sought the wisdom in comments by writers in Saudi/Hariri media.  "the Arab commentator Hazem Saghieh told me. “All these years, the only thing that was allowed to come to the surface was that there is a consensus on the beloved leader and animosity to Israel and imperialism. There was no room for politics and differentiation. Behind this facade, Arab society became rotten".  Wait. But GCC countries never opposed Israel and imperliasm, is that why Gulf societies prospered and advanced and became symbols of enlightenment and progress?  Also, why didn't Mr. Friedman tell readers that Mr. Saghieh is a columnist in the mouthpiece of Prince Khalid bin Sultan bin Bribe, Al-Hayat? Why Mr. Friedman? To make him more representative of opinion outside the royal courts?

PS A colleague sent me this:  "Also, you should say that Saghiyyah is the equivalent of Freedman in the Arab world minus the popularity, as unlike Americans, the Zionist Arab right wingers are an infinitesimal minority."

When Zionists find words that fit their views

This is classic.  When Zionists read words by Arabs which tend to go along with their views and Zionist impulses, they do this:  1) they exaggerate the significance of the writer (who in almost most cases no one in the Arab world has ever heard of--like in this case; 2) they highlight the words and they spread them; 3) they make the person a representative of a deep trend in Arab society.  Look at this:  "Hanin Ghaddar, a rising young Lebanese Shiite journalist, last week wrote an open letter to Nasrallah published by the popular, saying..."  First of all, I will donate a blender if you can stop 1000 Lebanese in the street in Lebanon if you find one person who knows who this "rising young journalist is".    Secondly, Friedman does not tell the readers that NowLebanon (I call it NowHariri) is a Hariri-created, funded group (who know is run by the Hariri-Lebanese Forces-affiliated, Elie Khuri, of Quantum.  I mean, it should be surprising to Mr. Friedman that Saudi-supported media are opposing Nasrallah?  3) In the last parliamentary election in Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Hariri supported Ahmad Al-As`ad as an alternative to Nasrallah among the Shi`ites of Lebanon.  He received a whopping 1% of Shi`ite vote.  Enjoy.

Suicide attacks in Syria

New York Times carried unsubstantiated accusation by Syrian exile groups that the Syrian regime is bombing itself through suicide operations (by Ba`thist members?), but it did not bother to carry the official claim of responsibility by Jabhat An-Nusrah (the Al-Qa`idah-affiliated group which took responsibility for the last suicide bombing in Damascus and it even identified the person who detonated the belt).

This racist has died

Not a word that this man was a blatant and unapologetic racist.

The lousy Lebanese Army

The lousy and defeated Lebanese Army watches as the Israeli enemy builds a wall along the Lebanese border.  ""This construction, which began on Monday, is being carried out in coordination with UNIFIL (the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon) and the Lebanese army. The wall is intended to avoid frictions on the border," she said." (thanks Basim)

Repression in UAE

"Children promising to Join Hunger Strikers in Dubai's Jail - 28 Apr 2012". (thanks Redouane)

Money, money, money

According to the website of the Lebanese Forces (the right-wing militia party that has been funded by the office of head of Saudi foreign intelligence, Prince Muqrin), Egyptians have been demonstrating in Cairo for the return of the Saudi ambassador. (thanks Mohammad)

Blackmail by House of Saud

Saudi media start what they do best against other Arabs: they are threatening that Saudi Arabia may expel all Egyptian workers in the kingdom.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Using Somali refugees?

"Reports were released of Iran and Saudi Arabia both accusing each other of recruiting and training Somali refugees in Yemen as fighters, Radio Garowe reports.   An Iranian news agency FNA said last week that 1,300 Somali refugees were transferred to a military base in Saudi Arabia to be trained to fight Houthis a Shia insurgent group operating in Yemen. The Yemeni government alongside US, and Saudi support has waged a war against the insurgent group.  The report by FNA a Tehran based news agency said that Saudi Arabia train Somalia refugees who are caught illegally in the country. They are taken to Saudi military bases to be trained after being caught and then put on the battlefield to fight Houthi rebels at the border Yemen and Saudi Arabia share."   (thanks Bu'ush)

House of Saud propaganda

Here is a funny one:  "Egyptians have a perceived notion that they once had a vital role in the political say of the Arab and Middle East’s affairs" .  Perceived?  The entire era of Nasser was a figment of our imagination, and in reality it was the polygamous royal princes who were leading the Arab masses during that era?   So what is NOT perceived? That prince Bandar and Prince Khalid bin Sultan inspire the Arab youth?

Brought to you by the Fifth Fleet

"Bahrain’s police are beating and torturing detainees, including minors, despite public commitments to end torture and police impunity, Human Rights Watch said today following a five day visit to the country.  While in Bahrain, from April 15 to 19, 2012, Human Rights Watch interviewed 14 young males, including 7 children, who said police had beaten them severely while arresting them for participating in public protests and while taking them to a police station. The beatings took place after the release of the report of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) in November 2011 and subsequent pledges by government officials, including King Hamad, to end ill-treatment and torture. Five of the incidents occurred in April." (thanks Brian)

Egyptian-Israeli gas deal

Of course, Zionist propagandists want you to believe that the cancellation of the Egyptian-Israeli gas deal was due to commercial reasons.  This was the line that was peddled in the Israeli press (and its echo chambers in the US media).  But Al-Arabiyyah TV (the news station of King Fahd's brother-in-law) held a discussion panel on the subject and the guests (including the liberal MP, `Amr Hamzawi) all stated that the cancellation was political and that the newly elected parliament was furious about the deal and urged its cancellation. 

Blackmailing the Arab people

Whenever Saudi rule comes under attack from Arabs, Saudi royal family threatens to expel the Arab citizens of this country or that country.  Saudi Arabia has now stopped issuing visas to Egyptians.


""A document signed by a senior figure in Libya in 2006 and recently obtained by Mediapart states that the regime approved a payment of 50 million euros to back Sarkozy's campaign, following a meeting with one of his most trusted politica allies. The explosive revelation is certain to fuel calls for a full-scale enquiry into the funding of the president's last election campaign.""  Musa Kusa is now sheltered by the Qatari government.  (thanks Redouane) 

Egypt under Nasser

No one can argue with me that arts and literature in Egypt were at their best and were most rich during the years of Nasser.  It is a fact.  Nasser's era gave us the best of Egyptian literature and film, while Mubarak era gave us Muhammad Hunaydi.

Arab oil and gas money

"While Sheikh Mansour’s spending may be the biggest and boldest move into UK football by a Gulf investor, it is far from the only one. Barcelona’s long history of eschewing shirt sponsorship came to an end in 2011, when Qatar Foundation made an offer the team couldn’t refuse: £125m to claim the prize spot on the team’s strip from 2011-16."" (thanks Laleh)

Barenboim: take your piano and...

Qatari government disinvited Daniel Barenboim and his normalization choir from Qatar.  The cancellation (see the file about the issue and against Barenboim in Al-Akhbar) came due: 1) the efforts of Qatari youth opposed to normalization with Israel; 2) because the Qatari government wants to sell us the cancellation so that we can buy its leadership of the Arab counter-revolution.  (thanks Sultan)

Israeli lies

Notice that as far as the Western press is concerned, only Israelis are permitted to accuse the Israeli government of lying:  ""They are misleading the public on the Iran issue. They tell the public that if Israel acts, Iran won't have a nuclear bomb. This is misleading. Actually, many experts say that an Israeli attack would accelerate the Iranian nuclear race," said the former security chief.  In March, former Mossad chief Meir Dagan also spoke out publicly against a military option on Iran, telling CBS' 60 Minutes that an Israeli attack would have "devastating" consequences for Israel, and would in any case be unlikely to put an end to the Iranian nuclear program."

"The Road to Jerusalem through Tahrir Square: Anti-Zionism and Palestine in the 2011 Egyptian Revolution"

Comrade Reem writes:  "The popular commitment to Palestine and against Israel in Egypt is powerful, because it is based not only on a sense of justice and humanitarianism but also on an emotive sense of shared identity and fraternity in the struggle against a common threat. Indeed Egypt’s 2011 revolution built on the foundations of four decades of spontaneous popular protest and activism, in which anti-Zionism and Palestine were consistently present, crossing class and religious divides. This rich tradition will further democratize the political scene between the authorities and contenders for power in Egypt, despite the retrenchment of the military and security forces’ positions in the latter months of 2011. Indeed, as the year came to a close, protesters were firmly focused on challenging the military council, yet the Sinai gas pipeline was blown up for the tenth time, and the new Israeli ambassador in Cairo reported for duty without an embassy, as all efforts to find a new landlord had so far failed."

Developments in Syria

Today, New York Times correspondents skyped with with two Syrians whose names was supplied by the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood, through secular members of the Syrian National Council, through Hariri press office in Lebanon.

Syrian National Council

Sources inside the Syrian National Council reveal to me that secular members inside the leadership (all the council is ostensibly "leadership") are increasingly angry with "the dominance of the Muslim Brotherhood, their funding, and their relations".  My source tells me that this anger or resentment no more extend to Ghalyun and Qodmani, whose position in the council is "guaranteed" by the French government.   

This just in: Thomas Friedman confirms that Egyptian uprising has "no foreign policy goals"

"Outside the Cairo embassy earlier this week, protesters chanted, "Down, down with Al-Saud!" referring to the Saudi royal family and "Screw you, your majesty!" in reference to the aging Saudi monarch.  The demonstrators called for the expulsion of the Saudi ambassador in Cairo, and some raised their shoes alongside a picture of Abdullah, a sign of deep contempt in the Arab world." (thanks Basim)

Conflicting reports?

"There were conflicting accounts about the reason for his arrest. The human rights group said he had previously been sentenced in absentia to a year in prison and a public flogging on charges of insulting the Saudi king.
Saudi officials said he was arrested for smuggling prescription drugs into the country, Reuters reported."  Conflicting reports? Come on. It is clear to anyone that the Saudi government is lying about the charge of smuggling and only came up with it days after his arrest and in response to protests in Egypt.  I mean, a guy who has been campaigning against human rights abuses in Saudi Arabia decides--while on a religious visit to the country--to smuggle in prescription drugs?  There are no conflicting reports about the the arrest.  None whatsoever.  

CBS News

I can't believe that some Arabs and non-Arabs in the pro-Palestinian community are circulating petitions to support CBS News.  This is a network with a long history of services to Zionism and even Bob Simon himself is responsible for really lousy reports on the Arab-Israeli conflict.  But sometimes Arab standards are so low: some are excited if the White Man refrain from calling them sand niggers and consider that to be a great sign of progress.  I am more likely to sign a petition against CBS News which considers Fouad Ajami the voice of the Arab people.

Randa Takieddine

Randa Takieddine is your typical Lebanese journalist in Saudi media.  She has no talents whatsoever and her command of Arabic after years of working as a journalist remains extremely weak.  Ms. Takieddine is a propagandist for the Hariri crowd while working as a Paris correspondent for the mouthpiece of Prince Khalid Bin Sultan, Al-Hayat.  Yet, Ms. Takieddine reveals a talent that we did not know about.  She is capable of spotting a `Alawite form a distance.  This is a tweet by her:  "Seen at the georges 5 paris hotel lobby Friday afternoon Rifaat Assad uncle of syrian president with two alawite bodyguards".   When inquired about her special skills, she admitted that she can also spot from a distance Presbyterians and Zaydis.  Who said that House of Saud don't search for talent to hire in their media? (thanks "Ibn Rushd")

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Bahrain Update

From Angry Arab chief Bahrain correspondent:  "Situation in Bahrain is like how it was last year in March and April when emergency law was instituted. Media is back to identifying protesters and using hate speech. There are house raids, mass arrests, excessive use of force, and checkpoints everywhere. This all existed throughout the year but it seems like we are almost back to the level it was last year. Round two? Zainab AlKhawaja is still in prison. No news about her father."

Decades to come

Krim sent me this: ""The Afghan government and the U.S. signed a deal Sunday governing night raids by American troops, resolving an issue that had threatened to derail a larger pact governing a U.S. presence in the country for decades to come."  The same article also appeared on yahoo, here, but later on yahoo sneakily changed the above to:
"The U.S. and Afghanistan signed a deal Sunday giving Afghans authority over raids of Afghan homes, resolving one of the most contentious issues between the two wartime allies."


Democracy Now

I can't believe that Democracy Now would talk to her as if she speaks for the Egyptian people. She is as much a spokesperson for the Egyptian people as Jihad Sadat is.  What is happening to Democracy Now? It is going mainstream?  Producers of Democracy Now should read what Egyptian revolutionaries have written about her on Twitter.  (thanks David)


"For the first time, a member of Afghanistan's elite special forces has carried out a deadly attack against an American military mentor, a senior Afghan army official said Friday, an ominous escalation in the "green-on-blue" shootings that have threatened Western troops' partnership with the Afghan police and army."


Western media are so accustomed to unreliable news on Syria that they don't even bother to correct their mistakes.  Two weeks ago, Syrian opposition groups in exile "reported" that a group of "high ranking generals" defected from Syria.  The news led in major Saudi-funded and Qatari-funded media.  Some Western reports even spoke of a major developments.  The story said that the generals would announce themselves in a press conference in Turkey.  Of course, nothing happened and the story died.  This is when the Syrian National Council months ago announced an "open-ended strike" in Syria.  Various Western reporters and experts talked about how the regime will now fall, and that this will really bring an end to the regime.  No one in the press bothered to admit that the "open-ended strike" was a failure.  

Why does the New York Times bother covering Syria?

I mean, there is no need to cover Syria in the Times. There is a self-declared opposition Army in Syria, and you have three governments (Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Libya) who have pledged to arm and finance the rebel gangs and groups, and yet the New York Times want to convince readers that the account by Ikhwan exile groups that the Syrian regime kills Syrian people (which it does), and also kills its own members.  So basically, the New York Times should just state that every bullet and every bomb in Syria is fired by members of the Syrian regime and that the men of the Free Syrian Army only use roses in their battles.  Look at this absurd account:  "Some civilians blamed the government. One resident said worshipers, who had been planning to join antigovernment protests, were targeted, while some opposition activists said the Syrian government had itself attacked security forces to make the uprising, which began as a broad-based protest movement, look as if it were devolving into violent extremism."  But yesterday, a man with an explosive belt detonated himself.  Now he can't be a Syrian Ba`thist, and he can't be a secular liberals (who are according to Western media the bulk of Syrian opposition), so to which group does he belong one wonders?  Let me guess.  Could he be a Tamil Tiger?  It is possible.  Just rely on the theories of the New York Times.

The article from The Economist

This is the section of the article in the Economist that I was referring to: "At least the slight pause has prompted protesters to brave a continued, heavy presence of armed itchy-fingered regime forces and take to the streets again. Some activists, worried that militarisation has turned Syrians against the uprising, are now calling for a reversion to solely peaceful protest."  This is the only reference I have seen in the Western press to the alienation of Syrian people by the violent methods and thuggery by Free Syrian Army gangs who now compete with Syrian regime gangs and thugs.  (thanks Khelil)

Please add those correspondents of the Guardian to the list of clueless Western reporters and their aides

First of all, look at this:  "Eltahawy draws on anecdotal and empirical evidence for her tirade: 90% of women who have ever been married in Egypt "have had their genitals cut in the name of modesty"; not one Arab country is in the top 100 nations as ranked by gender equality; Saudi women have been prosecuted for daring to drive a car. Eltahawy nails the paradox that it is women who must cover up – because of the sexual impulses of Arab men."  When did Eltahawy ever conduct research on women, notwithstanding the numbers culled from Google searches.  Also, the figure of 90% is inaccurate: it is only around that in rural areas.  But who cares about evidence when a "semi-native" is parroting the propaganda that White Man wants to hear?  And notice at the last part "the sexual impulses of Arab men".  What does that mean? There is something odd and peculiar about the genetic makeup of Arab men?  If this was said about Jewish men or black men, the bigotry and hatred would have been widely condemned.  But my favorite part is this, to ascertain the views of Eltahawy (which were and are widely condemned or disregarded by Arab feminists and academics), the Guardian goes to a Lebanese right-wing (and self-described foe of feminism):  "But plenty of women across the Arab world have taken objection to Eltahawy's blanket condemnation of men.  "I agree with most of what she said but I think that the one thing that she might be reluctant to admit is that it's not about men hating women, it's about monotheistic religions hating women," says Joumana Haddad, a Lebanese author and journalist."  This is like reacting to an anti-Semitic article by interviewing another anti-Semitic author to respond.   Joumana Haddad is to Arab feminism what Sarah Palin is to American feminism.  (thanks Ahmet who sent me the link and wrote:  "Asad, the fact that she is the go-to "supposed feminist" in Lebanon is really disturbing, cue the vapidness and superficiality."

Media of Saudi Princes

Saudi media habitually fabricate news and headlines.  The mouthpiece of Prince Salman, Ash-Sharq Al-Awsat, is the most notorious in this regard. A few days ago, it led with a headline that claims that French Foreign Minister spoke of a "Decisive Military Action" on May 5th against the Syrian regime.

FLASH: Saudi Arabia recalls its ambassador from Egypt

Western press is busy: it is very busy skyping with people whose names is supplied by Syrian Ikhwan in Western capitals, and in Beirut and Cairo. They have missed an important story: the rising anti-Saudi sentiments in Egypt.  Egyptian Youth have become very vocal against the House of Saud.   I just got word that Saudi Arabia is closing its embassy and consulates in Egypt and that the ambassador is being recalled for consultation.  This is very significant.  Yesterday, I heard that a Saudi diplomat was chased in Suez but no news media confirmed the story.  

Druzes spiritual leaders

This Druze spiritual leader in Lebanon, Abu Muhammad Jawad Waliyya Ad-Din, died.  He is one of the most senior spiritual Druze leaders.  They are distinguished by the round turban.  Like Shi`ite Maraji`, those leaders can't be appointed or selected.  They simply rise with popular and clerical consensus.  He left no heirs because the high spiritual Druze leaders get married but in what is known as "marriage of the eye" or facade marriage, in which the man and the woman don't have sex.  This is seen as an indication of higher devotion.  There is no one in his stature to replace him.  In 1983, during the War of the Mountain against Lebanese Forces militias, he is said to have led Druze forces in battle.  He is nicknamed the Lion of Shuf.

US Embassy in Lebanon

When Samir Ja`ja` (Ga`ga` in Egyptian accent) claimed that he was saved by a rose from a sniper's fire, US officials rushed to condemn the "assassination attempt".  Yet, when people from the other side of the spectrum face real assassination attempt, US officials are silent. Yesterday, the head of the Tawhid Party (a small pro-Syrian regime Druze group) survived what was possibly an assassination attempt when a massive bomb exploded in the party's new headquarter.

NATO Islamic order

Libyan women are already demanding their rights in the face of the conservative NATO Islamists.

Burning the flag

Burning the Israeli flag in Morocco.

Ship of arms

This is major.  Lebanese Navy (I am sorry that i laugh when I say "Lebanese Navy" or "Lebanese Air Force" but go along with me) stopped a ship off the Lebanese coast which was heading to North Lebanon to bring arms from Libya to the Syrian rebels.  Israeli navy patrols the sea off Lebanon and the UNIFIL has ships all across the area but only to stop shipments of arms to anti-Israeli forces.  Miraculously, the terrorist Israeli government and the UNIFIL which works for them basically (Merkel was very clear about the purpose of UNIFIL when she dispatched German troops to Lebanon), did not notice this ship of arms.  If it was heading for Hizbullah, the Security Council would have met and US officials would have made statements of outrage.  As Syrian blood is being spilled you blame the Syrian regime and you blame Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Libya, and the US and its allies for pouring fuel on the Syrian fire.

Covering up for Saudi Arabia

Western media are accomplices in Saudi oppression.  They covered up  and/or not covered: 1) the case of the Saudi student who tweeted about Muhammad and then fled the country only to be brought back by Interpol.  He now languishes in jail in Saudi Arabia and no one brings up his case. It this happened in Iran , New York liberals would be holding vigils and they would be doing public readings of his tweets.  Western governments would be "expressing concern; 2) they have barely covered the shooting at demonstrators in Qatif.  3) They have not been covering the cases of political prisoners and hunger strikes in the Kingdom.  4) they have not covered to my knowledge the statement of the highest religious authority in the Kingdom (the chief Mufti) in which he called for the destruction of all churches in Arabia.  Not one Saudi official dared speak against that, and Saudi (so-called) liberals were silent as well--how could they not when they work at the pleasure of this or that Saudi prince.  5) They disregard the statements of sectarian hate that are being vomited daily by Saudi media: western media and governments don't care as long as hate is not being expressed to Israel or Zionists.

"God's will has arrived so don't rush it"

This was the Friday slogan from yesterday in Syria.  This slogan captures the essence of the Ikhwan-dominated Syrian opposition in exile.   Just like Libya, Islamists put secular intellectuals without any popular base and use them for their own ends.  A revolution that speaks of "God's will" on earth is no revolution and should in fact be opposed by all means because it will rule also with "God's will" and repress everybody else in the name of God's will, and will execute dissidents in the name of God's will.  I am eager to see one supporter of the Syrian National Council here in the US make an argument to my face that this is a secular opposition.  Certainly not the Ikhwan-run shops in exile.  Certainly.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Israeli agent

My weekly article in Al-Akhbar:  "Israeli Agent carried Over the Shoulders

Zionists retract

"During Part I of this hearing in December 2011, a representative of the Obama administration characterized Assad as a “dead man walking.” I agreed with that assessment at the time, and I think much of it still holds true: international pressure and sanctions placed upon the Assad regime are having an unprecedented effect on its ability to fund its operations, and evidence shows that hard currency reserves are being rapidly depleted. Unfortunately, however, repeated vetoes by Russia and China of United Nations Security Council action, the overall lack of “defections” from the core of the Assad regime, and the findings of a recent visit I made to southern Turkey and Lebanon have all helped me understand that Assad still has many more political and military resources that he can call upon to continue what is literally a “death march” for months if not years to come. To force Assad to “step aside,” the United States will need to accelerate efforts from the ground up by supporting the opposition “within Syria” in concert with allies forming the “core” of the Friends of the Syrian People group of countries.”" (thanks Nicholas)

Forgotten Bahrain

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

Women under the African National Congress

"Under the rule of Mr Zuma’s African National Congress, women have indeed done rather well in the public arena. In the World Economic Forum’s latest World Gender Gap report, South Africa is ranked a remarkable 14th out of 135 countries, with only Lesotho among African countries reckoned more women-friendly. Women account for 42% of MPs and hold 14 of the 34 posts in South Africa’s cabinet, including foreign affairs, defence and home affairs, which is held by a former wife of the president, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. The main opposition party is led by a woman. In business, women have 28% of jobs in senior management, compared with 24% in Europe and 18% in North America. More than half of university undergraduates and almost the same proportion of academic staff are female.  South Africa is one of 28 African states to have ratified the African Union’s protocol on women’s rights in 2003, calling among other things for the “elimination of harmful practices”, polygamy among them. Though still permissible under South African law, it is nowadays frowned on. In a 2005 survey on marriage, 87% of South Africans favoured lifelong monogamy, whereas 25% of black men and 15% of white ones preferred polygamy. Women of all colours were a lot less keen. By 2003 fewer than 4% were in polygamous relationships, a number that is likely to slip further, whatever the president’s example." (thanks Mohammed)

Gunther Grass

Daniel sent me this:  "haaretz sneakily removed gidh3on lëwi's piece defending gunther grass:
the hebrew version is still up:
the english version is still up here: "

BDS in Lebanon

Comrade As`ad--not me sent me this:  "this is our letter
this FB group asking them to cancel
and this is the online petition"

China in Africa

"In the recent past, ambassadors from countries in the European Union especially Germany and France have been complaining over their lack of access to President Kibaki, and also the growing influence of China in Kenya and Africa at large. Also unhappy is the US envoy.  Some of these countries colonised Africa and largely benefited immensely from the continent’s natural and human resources during the pre-colonial and post-independence periods.  They are, therefore, not comfortable with the growing independence of many modern African governments.  Worse, they are facing great economic challenges. Some are even broke and thus unhappy with the gravitation of African governments towards the Far East, especially China.  Today, the influence of the Chinese Government can be felt in almost all parts of Kenya through robust infrastructure construction, and both direct and indirect trade with China.  According to the Chinese Ministry of Commerce, Sino-African trade reached $126.9 billion in 2010, while the trade volume between China and Africa rose by 30 per cent year-on-year during the first three-quarter of 2011.
China’s top five trading partners in Africa are Angola, South Africa, Sudan, Nigeria and Egypt.  In contrast, the trade volume between Africa and EU countries has significantly dropped, which is one of the reasons why diplomats are unhappy with the Kibaki administration."  (thanks Buush)

Censors of the US government

When Zionists in Washington, DC push for legislation to censor channels that they deem to be harmful to Israeli interests (like Al-Manar and others) do they not know that all channels are now available on the internet? Or are the Zionist hoodlums at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy not aware about something called "internet"?

Decline of Political Islam

"While Egyptian political polls are subject to broad skepticism, one conducted late last month indicates how far Islamist politicians' public star has fallen: The Al Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies, a government-owned think tank, found that 45% of people who voted for the Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party in the parliamentary elections said they wouldn't do so again. The FJP holds nearly 50% of the seats in Parliament." (thanks Nabeel)

Nawfal Dawalibi

This guy is a nutcase with plenty of Saudi money.  He announced yesterday a Syrian government-in-exile but said that most of the members are secret and would not be known.  While he is not taken seriously outside of Saudi Arabia where the royal family appreciates the services of his reactionary and fanatic father, Ma`ruf Dawalibi, who fled Syria and joined the Saudi royal during the Arab Cold War, the press conference was attended by many in the Western press. What do they know.

Repression in Saudi Arabia: reform according to Hillary and Obama

"Saudi Arabia should abolish the Specialized Criminal Court, set up in 2008 to try terrorism cases, but increasingly used to try peaceful dissidents and rights activists on politicized charges and in proceedings that violate the right to a fair trial, Human Rights Watch said today. In April, it sentenced two people to prison for their peaceful activism, and the trials of at least four others are ongoing, in violation of their rights to freedom of expression.  “Trying Saudi political activists as terrorists merely because they question abuses of government power demonstrates the lengths the Saudi government will go to suppress dissent,” said Christoph Wilcke, senior Middle East researcher at Human Rights Watch. “The trial of peaceful reformers in a terrorism court underlines the political nature of this court.”  The charges against the rights activist and the dissident do not allege that they used or propagated violence." (thanks Mohammad)

By the way: from the Economist

A few weeks ago, I read a sentence in passing in the Economist on Syria. It said something that I have been hearing from Syrians inside the country: that some people were originally opposed to the regime but that as of late they have turned against the opposition due to the bloody acts of the Free Syrian Army and other affiliated gangs.  I tried to find the article to no avail: could that sentence have been deleted from the article? I don't think so.  I don't think that Economist would stoop to the sneaky levels of the Times.

Unreliable Western reporters

At least twice, Neil MacFarquhar and another correspondent, said in the Times that Syrian regime media is not reporting the bloodshed in Syria and that the media portrays quiet and peace in Syria.  I said that this is an outright lie.  I woke up today and I switched between the main lousy regime's TV and Dunya TV, and both are showing live coverage (and taped) of the bombing in Damascus.  

Armed settlers

"A group of Israeli settlers raised Israeli flags on top of the fourth holiest site in Islam, the Ibrahimi Mosque in the southern West Bank city of Hebron. This is the first time ever since Hebron fell under Israeli occupation in 1967." (thanks Basim)

Kuwaiti repression

A Kuwaiti TV station was fined $1.8 million for offending the Kuwaiti royal family.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

European savagery

"Africans say they have little hope that Europe will ever become civilized, after a week in which Spain’s King Carlos went on an elephant-killing spree and the Swedish Culture Minister was entertained by a racially offensive cake. “You can take the European out of the jungle, but you can’t take the jungle out of the European,” sighed one resident of Kinshasa. August Mwanasa, of Libreville in Gabon, said the latest atrocities didn’t surprise him as Europeans were still “savages”." (thanks Joseph)

Servants of Zionism

"Egyptian forces prevented a group in the Sinai from painting the colors of the Egyptian flag over an IDF monument in the northern end of the peninsula on Wednesday, according to Egyptian media reports quoted by Ynet." (thanks John)

Smearing Bahraini protesters in French press

Khelil sent me this:  "Look at how France24, funded by the French state, smears the Bahrain protests through the sinister headliner and allowing for only two regime propagandists to attack the movement as sectarian."

Black people in New York Times' obituaries

I notice that black people don't receive prominent and long obituaries in the New York Times.  That honor is reserved for the wealthy and powerful and the Zionist.  Yesterday, I noticed that there was an unusually long obituary for an African-American.  I suspected that there must be an Israeli angle. I had to read the whole article to stumble on this:  "He advised or coached Olympic teams from Ethiopia, Kenya, Israel"...

The Kingdom of Double Oppression

News that Saudi Arabia and Bahrain will unite soon.  The new Kingdom will be named: The Kingdom of Double Oppression.

"Mona: Why Do You Hate Us?"

"This post is not supposed to convince you how courageous women are in the Middle East, or how they are fighting for freedom, minimum wage, social equality, or good education, because that is shown everyday through the heroic stories that the western press fails to cover, but Egyptians encounter them on a daily basis. You can view some stories of brave ordinary women here. This post is rather a response to the disgraceful, one-dimensional, article “Why Do They Hate Us?” by Mona El Tahawy.  Titles like “Why do they hate us?” can only describe Geroge-Bush dichotomies of “them” versus “us” paradigms, where the making of the “other” into a monster can only add to “our” vulnerability and righteousness. I never thought that this dichotomy could be used as an argument for feminism, but the astonishing Mona El Tahawy have found a way. In her article, she based her whole vague-over-generalized-orientalist argument of why women are oppressed in the Middle East to a simple reason of “because they hate us.” To give Mona the benefit of the doubt, as I skimmed through the title before reading the first paragraph about a woman so unmoved by sex with her husband, I imagined an article written on why dictatorships hate women or why exploitative systems hate women and turn them into objects, even if it is not about love or hate in my opinion, but I was imagining this to at least make the article readable for me after the disturbing title, the horribly chosen picture to accompany the topic, and the overt opening. Naive I was to think that Mona El Tahawy could write something I might slightly agree with given her history in writing about “women issues in the Middle East.”  Her sole argument on why women are oppressed in the Middle East, since this is a special place in the world where only backward thinking can be found, is because men and/or Arab society hate women. What is very troubling is her belief that she is the “voice” for so many unheard women, who are oppressed and beaten by their husbands or shunned by the patriarchal Arab societies. She is the beacon of hope for Arab Muslim women living the male-dominated Middle East forced to wear the niqab and do slave work at home. Not only does she believe that she is speaking for these women, but she believes that she is one of the few (if not the only) who is brave, eloquent, and educated enough to vocalize these suppressed voices to the Western media like FP, BBC, CNN, who are of course incapable to reach these suppressed creatures, Middle Eastern women."

What is happening in Ra's Al-Khayman, UAE

UAE is becoming more and more repressive but there is barely a word about that in the Western press. Yesterday, the son of one the ruling families of Ra's Al-Khayman, Shaykh Sultan Al-Qasimi (not to be confused with his relative Sultan Qasimi the globe trotting tweep), was arrested by police.  This is unprecedented.  Of course, since he belongs to one of the families he is held in a palace.  If you want to follow the case, read the tweets by his son.

Scared of BDS

"On a recent Tuesday, a group of 30 leading music executives, talent agents and entertainment lawyers gathered for lunch in the downstairs conference room at the law offices of Ziffren Brittenham in Century City. Together, the group represents the likes of Lady Gaga, Celine Dion, Aerosmith, Jennifer Lopez and Justin Timberlake — to name a few.
Organized by the nascent group Creative Community for Peace (CCFP), a nonprofit seeking to counter artist boycotts of Israel, the meeting would include an educational PowerPoint presentation and an informal discussion with Los Angeles’ Consul General of Israel, David Siegel.  Cueing up the first slide, adorned with photos of famous musicians — Carlos Santana, Roger Waters, Elvis Costello and the alternative rock band The Pixies —  David Renzer, the former Chairman and CEO of Universal Music Publishing Group, asked, “What do these artists have in common?”  The room remained quiet. Renzer clicked to the next slide, displaying photos of jazz singer Cassandra Wilson, alt rocker Cat Power and UK-based electronic artist Joker.  Then, in his most equanimous voice, Renzer offered the big reveal: “They’ve all boycotted Israel,” he said. He repeated, for added effect: “They’ve all canceled their tours to Israel.”" (thanks As`ad--not me)

King Play Stations deputizes his 17-year old

This is hilarious.  The Amman correspondent of Al-Arabiyyah (the news station of King Fadh's brother-in-law), Sa`d Silawi (who is a crude propagandist for the royal court) reports on the success of the son of the king in "managing" the country. (thanks Ali)

Please meet a Saudi liberal (another term for a mouthpiece of a Saudi prince)

"Today the human rights activists — a false term they do not deserve — in Saudi Arabia have been exposed again by another scandal, that of the arrest of the accused Egyptian Ahmed Al-Gizawi. It was rumored that he had been arrested immediately upon his arrival to Saudi Arabia solely for raising a lawsuit against the Saudi king. Those claiming to be human rights activists rushed to his defense, demanding his release, but they were soon exposed by another scandal, this time by the Egyptian ambassador to Riyadh, who confirmed the Saudi story and revealed that the man was being held on charges of smuggling narcotic pills into Saudi Arabia, and not because he filed a lawsuit against the Saudi king! Is there anything more scandalous than this for those who claim they are Saudi human rights activists? Of course they are very far from that in reality!  The truth is that no one can claim to be a human rights activist and then launch a frenzied campaign against me because of an article I wrote last week. True, the title of my article was worthy of debate, but these activists had no idea how to do this and opted to insult me instead of putting forward an opinion worthy of standing behind, or a vision that shows a degree of awareness."  With liberals like this, what is a conservative in the Arabic Saudi-funded media? (thanks Sultan)

King PlayStation and reform

Basim sent me this:  "Jordan's King Abdullah II blamed his resigning prime minister Thursday for failing to push hard enough for reforms, reflecting frustration on all sides over demands for power-sharing and fair representation in parliament.  In a letter to Awn al-Khasawneh, Abdullah complained that "achievements so far are far less than what is required and way below what we expected."

Yeah, the prime minister is in charge of pushing reforms. The King is a mere bystander and it's just a ceremonial position anyway." 

"power corrupts the best": hand kissing in Tunisia

Ahmet from Tunisia sent me this:  "Asad, wasn't it Bakunin who said "power corrupts the best"? not that Marzouki falls necessarily under that category, but this is one of the instances when power starts chipping away, inadvertently. Outrageous : "Une vidéo est en train de faire le tour de la toile montrant le président de la République par intérim au marché de gros.  Le plus choquant dans l’histoire est que le président Moncef Marzouki était content que les marchants lui fasse un baise-main.  Les Tunisiens se sont toujours distingués en étant des gens fiers, le baise-main n’a jamais fait partie de nous et encore moins après la Révolution.

Scud missiles on Hama?

""Some said the blast may have been caused by government forces shelling the area, or perhaps even a Scud missile attack.""  No claim is subject to verification when it comes to Syria. No claim whatsoever. (thanks Raed)

Dalai Lama

Dalai Lama, as I have argued for years, has never ever vomited an insight in his life. Now he comments on the "Arab spring": look for the insights please. (thanks Daniel)

propaganda about Iran

"the remarkable hypocrisy of the Iranian regime is often studiously avoided."  Yes, for sure.  You see, Mr. Sadjadpour, the Iranian regime is widely supported in the Western press.  It only receives fawning coverage and praise in the English language press.  You alone, Mr. Sadjadpour, have the courage to criticize Iran.  The rest of American columnists, Mr. Sadjadpour, are only writing praise for the Iranian regime.  If it was not for you, brave Mr. Sadjadpour, the Iranian regime would have unanimous propaganda in its favor.

PS I like how the brave Mr. Sadjadpour stated that there should be attention to sex politics in Iran because it has "nuclear ambitions."  Sex with nuclear ambitions is a deadly combination, Mr. Sadjadpour.   (thanks Rasha)

Dalai Lama

"“I love President Bush,” the Dalai Lama said.
“Which one?” Morgan asked.
“The younger one.”" (thanks Toby)

Desperate Zionist hoodlums

"n a sign of growing desperation among anti-Palestinian groups, a New York Times ad published today likens the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement to the Holocaust.  The Holocaust began with boycotts of Jewish stores and ended with death camps,” begins the ad, placed by notorious anti-African American and Islamophobic agitator David Horowitz.  Citing the murder of three Jewish children and a rabbi in Toulouse, France earlier this year, the ad says, “it is time for supporters of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS) to ask themselves what they did to contribute to the atmosphere of hate that spawned these and other murders of Jews.”" (thanks Linda)

Armed Israeli occupiers

"Following last week's eviction of the Palestinian Natcheh family from their Beit Hanina home, Israeli Knesset members Michael Ben-Ari and Aryeh Eldad visited the house now inhabited by some eight settlers. To mark the occasion they posted a picture of themselves lounging on the Natcheh's sofa on Facebook." (thanks Khaled)

Islamists at work in parliament

"Egyptian husbands will soon be legally allowed to have sex with their dead wives - for up to six hours after their death.  The controversial new law is part of a raft of measures being introduced by the Islamist-dominated parliament.  It will also see the minimum age of marriage lowered to 14 and the ridding of women's rights of getting education and employment."

PS H from Egypt sent me this: "As you probably already know by now, the Daily Mail story about the Egyptian parliament discussing a sex-after-death draft law is an unsubstantiated, likely fabricated one. Here is a comment from well-respected activist Sarah Carr re the story:
And an interesting blog post from a former Egyptian journalist on the fabrication of stories in Egyptian media: 

Salam Fayyad Versus Abu Mazen

You have heard of the conflict raging between Salam Fayyad and Abu Mazen: it should not be treated as intra-Palestinian conflict.  It is a conflict by Israeli puppets reflect the conflict between Likud and Yisrael Beiteinu.  

PS By the way, the American Task Force for Dahlan is closer to Salam Fayyad.

Israel, the lies, and the "hidden powers"

No one lies as casually as Shimon Peres, not even Bill Clinton.  "President Shimon Peres, in an interview with the newspaper Maariv, summed up the sense of wonder that has driven Israel’s belief in itself, describing the poor odds of the Zionist militia against the Arab world in 1948.   “Israel, mathematically or tangibly, should not have been established,” he said. “Prior to the War of Independence, there was no chance. We were 650,000, they were 40 million. They had seven armies, we had barely 5,000 soldiers.” He added: “So tangibly we were on the brink of collapse, but we won anyway, thanks to hidden powers. Ever since, for all of my life, I have tried to understand those immeasurable powers.”  Israel played the same shtick later in 1967 to the point that Lyndon Johnson had to ask his advisers (prior to the war) whether Israel is really in danger, and he was reassured that Israel could easily win against all Arab armies.  In 1948, there was no miracle at all.  Notice that the lie has to put the entire Arab population against the Israeli population as if the Arab population was under arms and as if Arab regimes allowed any serious help to the Palestinians.  And look at the numbers cited.  In fact, the Jews in Palestine were allowed by the British to form their own army in WWII, and the numbers at the height of confrontation were decisively in favor of Israel: some 60,000 Israelis against no more than a rag-tag army of 20,000 who were so disorganized that they were shooting at one another as they entered Palestine without an coordinated plan.  Of course, the over-all commander of all Arab forces was a man on the payroll of Zionists: King `Abdullah of Jordan.  

Israel and media

The New York Times yesterday printed:  "Syria has barred most independent media, making verification of claims difficult."  1) But the New York Times has people inside Syria; 2) did the New York Times print this disclaimer when Israel barred the media back in 2008 during the assault on Gaza?

turmoil in Jordan

You would have not noticed that there has been turmoil in Jordan if you only have been following Western media.  Al-Quds Al-`Arabi has been putting news of Jordan on the front pages: the corruption stories and the cover-ups by the royal palace have been leading the news, as has been the typical diversionary tactics of the King, who resorts to anti-Palestinian antics.

Explosion in Tyre

For the fourth time, a bomb was planted at a restaurant that sells liquors in Tyre, Lebanon.  There is a pattern.  The advocates of religious virtue are trying to intimidate a city long known for religious tolerance and co-existence.  Those who will try to impose a puritanical order on Tyre (as Amal and Hizbullah tried to do in the 1980s) will fail miserably.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


"In Damascus, an intelligence officer was shot dead in Barzeh, a northern suburb, according to a statement from the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, based in Britain. The man was suspected of identifying local protesters for arrest."  Suspected? Who suspected him, Mr. MacFarquhar? Who?  Your friends on Skype?  Will this be the way in which the murder of all `Alawites be reported in the paper?

Neil MacFarquhar

"Three members of the Syrian security services used to suppress antigovernment dissent were killed in and around Damascus on Tuesday, according to the official media and activists".  Wait: let me get this straight. You are saying that Syrian official media said that three members of the security services "who used to suppress anti-government dissent" were killed? Is that how Syrian official media described them? 

Thomas Friedman found a cleric he likes

"Last Sunday, Egypt’s new Islamist-dominated Parliament demanded that the country’s senior Muslim cleric — the state-appointed grand mufti, Ali Gomaa — resign because he had visited East Jerusalem to pray in the Al Aqsa mosque, the third holiest site in Islam. Gomaa said it was a personal visit, arranged by Jordan. Nevertheless, Reuters reported that the Egyptian parliamentary committee responsible for religious affairs called on Gomaa to step down, issuing a statement that the “brutal enemy” — Israel — controls Jerusalem’s “entries, exits, mosques and churches. Going in enforces occupation and bestows upon it legitimacy. It also represents a sign of normalization with the Zionist entity that is popularly rejected.”"

If those were Arab students it would be on the front pages of ALL US newspapers

"Several dozens of high school students watching a play portraying the gruelling hardships of life in Vilna's Jewish Ghetto during World War II applauded and cheered the Nazis, during Holocaust Remembrance Day last week.  During the play "Ghetto," which was performed on Wednesday at Tel Aviv's Cameri Theater before audiences from four high schools, some students disrupted the solemn tale by shouting catcalls at the actors, and cheered a Nazi who shot dead a Jew. Others called out "hit him harder" and "way to go" during a scene where a kapo beat a Jew, Army Radio reported Monday.
At the play's conclusion, actor Oded Leopold called from the stage for the audience to halt their applause, and sharply chastised the students' behavior.  "You embarrassed the Jewish people and the Holocaust," Leopold said, adding "I hope what goes on in your heart is different from what came out of your mouths."" (thanks Badis)

No wonder you fit within the Freedom House

"“When the U.S. decides to just give away the military aid to Egypt without considering the consequences on us,” Okail told me, “it sends a message that the West and the U.S. don’t care about democracy and human rights. They just care about strategic stability."  Ms. Okail: you may be the only one in Egypt who has thought that the US cares about democracy and human rights.  Other Arabs are much wiser and less naive (or less sinister).

Thomas Friedman reverses himself, AGAIN

"It also tells us that anyone who thinks that the Arab Spring proves that Arabs don’t care about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict anymore is fooling themselves."  Wait. You were the one who wrote for months that the Egyptian uprising has no foreign policy goals. YOU.

The World Bank

Bu'ush in Nairobi sent me this.  From the Daily Nation.

Thomas Friedman and the Egyptian justice system

Egypt is not yet a democracy and I am no democracy cultist by any means.  But Thomas Friedman writes an article on the injustice system in Egypt but I never ever remember him writing about judicial injustice in Egypt during the long years of Mubarak.  Not once.  

Paul Krugman explains his political coward

"Something I’ve been meaning to do — and still don’t have the time to do properly — is say something about Peter Beinart’s brave book The Crisis of Zionism.  The truth is that like many liberal American Jews — and most American Jews are still liberal — I basically avoid thinking about where Israel is going. It seems obvious from here that the narrow-minded policies of the current government are basically a gradual, long-run form of national suicide — and that’s bad for Jews everywhere, not to mention the world. But I have other battles to fight, and to say anything to that effect is to bring yourself under intense attack from organized groups that try to make any criticism of Israeli policies tantamount to anti-Semitism.  But it’s only right to say something on behalf of Beinart, who has predictably run into that buzzsaw. As I said, a brave man, and he deserves better." (thanks Toby)

PS I remember that the late Edward Said in the 1990s told me the same thing about Ralph Nader: that Nader used to refuse to sign his name to any statement or petition on Palestine giving a similar answer that Krugman gave above.

Bahrain Update

From Angry Arab chief Bahrain correspondent:  "I don't think these three guys know how hilarious they sound. Here one of them says the following: “The crown prince and the prime minister are idols for us." Yet then after, the other accuses the protestors of blindly following their ayatollahs (a stereotype that I am sick and tired of hearing). So let me get this straight, the people who call the crown prince and prime minister idols accuse the protestors of blindly following someone? To say that this is contradictory is an understatement. Another thing - who is "THE ayatollah?" Seems like they are assuming that there is one only? Aren't there so many? I mean I can think of several off the top of my head. And which ayatollah said that he openly wants a theological system like Iran that everyone supposedly blindly follows? I'd like to know. All they do is repeat stereotypes and lies (without knowing even the basics of shia theology and what it even means to "follow" an ayatollah or religious scholar on religious matters) while at the same time worshiping the dynasties of the Gulf. Somehow its acceptable. And why are they assuming that everyone who is a protestor or supports them is a practicing shia? Oh and shia blindly follow their ayatollahs and practicing sunnis just don't give a damn what qaradawi or amre khaled or whoever say apparently. 
Also I'm sick of this idea that democracy should happen in stages when the population becomes more palatable to those in power. I've never heard of one instance in history where democracy is handed to people on a silver platter by their rulers. They have to go out and demand it - sometimes they get less than they demand so they demand more. People who think that democracy should happen in stages are the ones not ready for democracy. Yacoub by the way supposedly supported the protests at the beginning. But once they started calling for the downfall of the monarchy they became too radical for his upper middle class sentiments. 
One more thing - I find it hilarious that the new york times reporter seems surprised that there is a shia government supporter. I thought western reporters were experts at detecting the sect of a Bahraini from afar. How would you otherwise explain all these articles that keep identifying the sect of Bahrainis?"

Fabrications by Syrian Activists

I have seen this fabrication video and the tire on fire many weeks ago, but no one bothered to report on it in the Western press because only one side in Syria is being covered.  Austin sent me this: "Here's something you'll be interested in (and I'm pretty sure you haven't posted it before; if so, I will throw a tantrum). It's a preview of a documentary of a French journalist who goes by the name "Mani," who was "embedded" with rebels in Baba Amr (you have have seen an earlier video of his amazing, terrifying, and heartbreaking footage here). I certainly don't think that the opposition, especially the inside opposition, has the capacity to fabricate with the scale or audacity of the regime, but this goes to show that not everything is as it appears.
Here's a relevant passage:
"The report also spotlights how activists, in one instance, stage a video. In one scene, Mani catches Tellawi complaining to his colleagues that the section of Homs they’re reporting from is too far from the action. “We’ll need to set a tire on fire,” Tellawi says, in order to mimic smoke from battle. Then, Tellawi remembers that he’s being filmed and turns to Mani’s camera with a sheepish grin. Later in the day, Tellawi stands on a rooftop to record a video dispatch as smoke billows behind him. It’s a visually harrowing scene. Mani pans past Tellawi and traces the smoke to an alley below, where a tire is engulfed in flames."

"Syrian activists": they embellish, after all

Let us face it: Dunya TV has been documenting the embellishment and fabrications of those folks for months but no Western media bothered to cover because Neil MacFarquhah and others in the Western media (who don't know Arabic) insist that Syrian regime TV is not even reporting on what is happening in Syria.  "A new report, airing tonight on Britain’s Channel 4 News, shows the video activists in a new and intimate light. In it, Tellawi and his colleagues scramble to confirm death tolls, brave bomb blasts, and duck sniper fire.  They also, it turns out, embellish.  Channel 4 News gave The Daily Beast an exclusive look at the upcoming documentary, shot by an up-and-coming photojournalist named Mani, who goes by only one name, in order to avoid compromising future trips to Syria." (thanks Jaafar)

Ahmad Al-Jizawi

The Egyptian lawyer who was arrested in Saudi Arabia was not only an advocate for Egyptians who languish in jail in Saudi Arabia but was also an advocate against Israel and its occupation of Palestine.  Yesterday, the Saudi government changed its tune and said that he was arrested because he was carrying Xanax and not because he insulted the Saudi King.  "Hundreds of Egyptians protested outside the Saudi Embassy on Tuesday demanding the release of an Egyptian human-rights lawyer detained in Saudi Arabia for allegedly insulting the kingdom's monarch.
The incident surrounding Ahmed el-Gezawi has revived long-standing resentment over the treatment of Egyptians working in the oil-rich kingdom, which is a destination for more than a million Egyptians searching for better jobs.  It also raises questions about whether the Egyptian government does enough to protect its citizens or, as many activists claim, curbs its criticism so as not to alienate the wealthy kingdom or endanger Egyptian jobs there." (thanks Ihsan)

Lebanese Communist Party on Syria

I was utterly displeased with the weak and mild statement that was put out by the Lebanese Communist Party in reaction to the arrest of Salamah Kilah.  The statement said that Kilah was no "terrorist" as if the rest of the political prisoners in Syria are terrorists.  And some people have written to me that the new Yasariyyah TV Channel (named the Left One in Arabic) has some Syrian involvement particularly from Qadri Jamil (a loyal Syrian opposition figure who appears on Syrian regime TV regularly), along with the participation and partnership with Lebanese Communist Party.

How outrageous: how can Syrian regime engages what the US and its friends engage in

How dare they? How dare they.  I mean, yes Al-Arabiyyah published what it said were private emails from members of the Syrian ruling elite, but Al-Arabiyyah is the news site of King Fahd's brother-in-law, and King Fahd as is well known was a champion of freedom and equality.  "The Qatari prime minister.s daughter is arrested in London. Qatar.s army chief stages a coup against the emir. Hamad bin Jassim, the prime minister, is sacked. None of these stories is true, but for a while Syria.s embattled regime tried to make them credible partly thanks to a group of loyal hackers.  Late on Monday, the so-called Syrian Electronic Army, the cyber activists who spam Facebook and Twitter with pro-government messages, hacked into the Twitter account of Saudi Arabia.s al-Arabiya news channel and planted the report of Mr bin Jassim.s removal. As al-Arabiya rushed to report that its social networks were infiltrated, the hackers posted news about an explosion at a Qatari natural gasfield." (thanks Laleh)

I now feel safe: no Hizbullah training camps in Detroit (or in Baltimore)

"Speaking at a security conference today in West Bloomfield held by the Jewish community, the head of counter-terrorism in Michigan for the FBI said that while there are "Hizballah...sympathizers here within in the United States," the Lebanese militant group doesn't have any training camps in metro Detroit. Cautioning against support for Hizballah, he said the FBI would open cases against those who back the terrorist organization."  Are you sure that there are no Hizbullah training camps in Detroit? But what about in North and South Dakota?  What about in Arkansas?  Should we feel concerned?  The US public can now breathe a sigh of relief.  (thanks Ali)

PA's police (non)state

"The Palestinian Authority began blocking access to websites which expressed criticism toward it, the Palestinian news agency Ma'an reported Wednesday. According to the report, the PA instructed its internet providers to block access to news websites that are critical of President Mahmoud Abbas.  According to the report, the PA blocked eight news website operating in the West Bank, including Amad, Fatah Voice, Firas Press, In Light Press, Karama Press, Kofia Press, Milad News and Palestine Beituna. The move is a rare one, as the PA had limited internet access only once before in 2008. Most Palestinians have full internet access. It was also reported that Palestinian communications company Paltel, partially owned by the PA, agreed to the move." (thanks "Ibn Rushd")