Saturday, January 31, 2015

There is "retaliation" and there is "sharp retaliation" which is a term coined by New York Times to refer to retaliation against Israel only

"Hezbollah antitank missiles killed two Israeli soldiers as they drove in a disputed area along the Lebanese border on Wednesday, a sharp retaliation for Israel’s deadly drone strike last week".

New York Times is lying here

"a strip claimed by Israel, Lebanon and sometimes Syria".  The previous text said "and Syria" but they sneakily added "Sometimes" later. In fact, Syrian officials more than once said that they consider the farms Lebanese.  As if the lands are Syrians, the Israeli terrorist state has the right to occupy it.

US State Department spokesperson on Israel's right to launch wars at will

"MS. PSAKI: Well, we will have a statement on this that may be going out during the briefing, in my name. So if it does, I’m happy to reiterate that, but you should have that in your inboxes soon. We support Israel’s legitimate right to self-defense and continue to urge all parties to respect the blue line between Israel and Lebanon, as prescribed by UNSCR 1701. We also, of course, condemn the act of violence and will be watching the situation closely.

QUESTION: You condemn the act of violence – you’re referring to?

MS. PSAKI: The attacks.

QUESTION: The Hezbollah attacks?


QUESTION: Okay. Just on a technical question: There are some who have made the argument that this area, Shebaa Farms, is Israeli-occupied Lebanon. What’s the U.S. position on the status of this area?

MS. PSAKI: I’d have to check with our legal team on the specific status, Matt. I’m happy to do that.

QUESTION: Do you know if anyone – the Secretary or anyone else – has been in touch with either the Israelis or the Lebanese about this issue?

MS. PSAKI: I don’t have any calls to read out from the Secretary this morning. As you know, he flew back and arrived early this morning. I can certainly check on contacts with our teams on the ground. I would certainly suspect that our teams in Lebanon and Israel have been in touch with relevant authorities.

QUESTION: Jen, do you think that the Lebanese army or the Lebanese Government bear any responsibility in this attack?

MS. PSAKI: I think this is an attack that obviously just happened. We certainly encourage all parties to respect the blue line between Israel and Lebanon. We urge all parties to refrain from any action that could escalate the situation. You’re familiar with our views on Hezbollah. As I mentioned, we strongly condemn Hezbollah’s attack today near the border, but beyond that I’m not going to speculate further.

QUESTION: Can I follow up on that?

MS. PSAKI: Sure.

QUESTION: You began your comments on this by reaffirming your belief that Israel has the right to self-defense, and then – which might be taken as that they have a right to defend against attacks like the one that killed the two soldiers, and now you say, however, that you encourage all sides to refrain from any actions that could escalate the situation. Which is it? I mean, do you feel that the Israelis should not take any actions that would escalate the situation, or do you feel that they have every right to attack in self-defense against such things?

MS. PSAKI: Well, they have the right to, Arshad, but certainly our preference is to reduce the tensions and the violence and the back and forth from here."

Bush's favorite Shi`ite cleric in the US

"A nationally known Muslim leader, Al-Qazwini announced he was stepping down during his Friday afternoon sermon, the most popular gathering time for Muslims. Afterward, when members asked him to stay, Al-Qazwini said he would reconsider if the board dissolves.

"The entire board has to be dissolved, with the exception of the founding fathers" of the mosque, Al-Qazwini said, according to a recording of his afternoon sermon. "The entire system has to be dissolved. The by-laws have to be dissolved.""

The Washington Post is lying here

"The exchange of fire took place in a contested area known as Shebaa Farms. Hezbollah says the area belongs to Lebanon, and the United Nations defines the area as part of Syria. The Israelis claim it is theirs." The Post changed the language and it claimed that Syria claims it was Syrian which is a lie as the Syrian government said more than once that it is Lebanese. The notion that the UN defines the area as "part of Syria" is, in international legal language, bullshit. The UN does NOT define which borders are between countries: this is an ignorant belief common among March 14 politicians in Lebanon and the Post correspondent in Beirut reproduced the propaganda talking point of March 14 without realizing that it is not true.  Countries demarcate borders among them and they simply deposit the agreement with the UN. The UN has no role whatsoever in demarcations.

The president of my school in Beirut (IC)

Let me ask you this: would an Arab who had fought with Hizbullah or Hamas be allowed to serve as head of a private school in the US?  "Bergman served four years in the Navy, including a tour in Vietnam, and later went on to university and obtained a teaching degree in History, Geography and Physical Education. His international teaching assignments have included schools in Australia, Egypt, Indonesia, Japan, the Philippines, and Singapore."

This piece about SA in the Economist

It reads as if it was written by a PR firm hired by the Saudi embassy in London.

Valls explains

"Holocaust denial was outlawed in 1990, and “apology for terrorism” last year. There is a “fundamental difference”, declared the French prime minister, Manuel Valls, in a speech to parliament on January 13th, between the “freedom of impertinence” and “anti-Semitism, racism, apology for terrorism, Holocaust denial”."

class matters

Germany and Israel

"One, by the Konrad Adenauer Foundation, a think-tank named after the chancellor who negotiated with Israel’s David Ben-Gurion, found that 70% of Israelis see Germany positively. That makes Germany their favourite country in Europe, as thousands of Israelis in Berlin would agree. But a poll by the Bertelsmann Foundation, another think-tank, found Germans more sceptical toward Israel, mainly because of its treatment of Palestinians: 36% have a positive opinion, but 48% are critical. Among young adults, it is more than half."

Guantánamo Diary

"It is compelling reading nonetheless, chiefly for its contents but also because of the idiosyncratic command of English that Mr Slahi picked up mainly during his confinement. He vividly describes being deprived of sleep for days on end and chained to the floor of freezing cold rooms. He is force-fed seawater, sexually molested, subjected to a mock execution and repeatedly beaten, kicked and smashed across the face, all spiced with threats that his mother will be brought to Guantánamo and gang-raped. At one point, Mr Slahi admits to his interrogators that he is beginning to hear voices that aren’t there. But the torture, he says, failed—not to make him talk, but to tell the truth. Instead, he writes, he simply admitted to anything he thought his jailers might want to hear.

Their actions are baffling and often contradictory: an interrogator questions him about a suspected terrorist who travelled to Iraq in 2003—even though, as his captors knew full well, Mr Slahi had been in prison since 2001 and could not possibly know the answer. The book is also shot through with thick black “redaction” marks, in which an American censor has deemed certain passages too secret to be published. Yet information that is blacked out on one page is often freely available a few pages later; at other times it is trivially easy to deduce what the missing words must be from the surrounding context.

Fourteen years after his trip to the Mauritanian police station, Mr Slahi remains in Guantánamo Bay. Throughout the book, he protests his innocence, maintaining that he had cut his ties to radical Islamism in the early 1990s. It is impossible for his readers to know whether that is true. But a federal judge reviewed the government’s evidence against him, found it wanting, and in 2010 ordered Mr Slahi’s release. Barack Obama’s government appealed, and the case remains pending. Ten years after penning his diary, and with the world’s most powerful democracy having failed to give him a trial, Mr Slahi remains in jail."

New Saudi King's terrorist ties

"Salman also helped recruit fighters for Abdul Rasul Sayyaf, an Afghan Salafist fighter who served as a mentor to both Osama bin Laden and 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed."

French police question 8-year-old on suspicion of "defending terrorism"

"Just when it seemed that the crackdown on free speech in France could not get worse, French police today questioned a second grader on suspicion of “defending terrorism.” " (thanks David)

Canada tracks millions of downloads daily

"The revelations about the spying initiative, codenamed LEVITATION, are the first from the trove of files provided by National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden to show that the Canadian government has launched its own globe-spanning Internet mass surveillance system. According to the documents, the LEVITATION program can monitor downloads in several countries across Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, and North America. It is led by the Communications Security Establishment, or CSE, Canada’s equivalent of the NSA." (thanks Amir)

The Pakistani press but not the Arabic press publishes criticisms of House of Saud

"Saudi Arabia, among some other Arab states, also funds mosques in Western cities where many clerics, whose salaries are reportedly paid by Riyadh, preach hate against the West and non-Wahabi sects. While the official Wahabi clergy stick to a literalist, joyless interpretation of Islam, they overlook the injunctions against rule by despots. They have thus provided the Saudi royal family with a spurious legitimacy in exchange for the tight control they wield over internal social policy. The royal family and the clergy are in a symbiotic embrace that has made them a barrier to change.

With an army of some 7,000 princes to keep in style, the House of Saud has a strong incentive to maintain a lucrative status quo. This creates their leverage with Washington, London and Paris: with the world’s biggest oil reserves, Saudi Arabia has been ensuring a steady supply of oil to the global markets.

The other factor that keeps leaders like Obama and Cameron onside is the rich market for arms the kingdom has become over the years. These purchases, often accompanied with allegations of vast bribes, generate jobs as well as obscene profits.

Finally, the ‘stability’ repeatedly evoked in the recent eulogies to Abdullah refers to his role in leading the fight to roll back the Arab Spring. From Egypt to Bahrain, it has been Saudi money and political support that has blocked change. Simul­tan­eously, however, Saudi Arabia has also reportedly financed extremist rebel groups in Syria. "

UAE repression

UAE: repression on all fronts.

Germany Owes Greece 11 Billion Euros From Nazi-Enforced "Loan"

"Germany owes the impressive amount of 11 billion euros to Greece, solely due to the forced occupation loan taken by the Nazis during World War II and which remains unpaid until today, a new official Greek report, handed to the Finance Ministry, revealed. Despite the outboasting report, Berlin, on its part, insists not to recognize that debt." (thanks Nikolai)

Does the US really want to declare war on Hizbullah?

Hizbullah clearly has not wanted to declare war or to engage in war with the US during the years of Nasrallah's leadership.  In fact, Hizbullah did not, as far as I can tell, engage in operations against US interests since mid-1980s (the TWA plane was the last attack although Hizbullah says that it never formed as an organization until after 1985, which is a way to distance itself form past attacks).  The publication of the role of the US in the assassination of Mughniyyah in the Washington Post today will lead the party to reconsider its stance toward the US.  It has been clear that Israel has always wanted the US to adopt the same enemies that Israel has.  Hamas has also never engaged in attacks on the US or its interests but Zionists in the US government want the position of the US to mirror that of Israel.  The US role in the assassination should be read in that regard.  That the US decided to adopt Israel's enemies, and to ensure that they become enemies (foolishly or calculatingly) of the US will have consequences that the policy makers who decided to involve the US in the assassination didn't consider.  But, hey, we are talking about the brilliant minds of Bush and Cheney here.  There are several problems with the article in the Post today: 1) why do ignorant US media still insist that Muhammad Husayn Fadlallah was a leader of Hizbullah?  He never was.  2) the chronology of the deeds of Mughniyyah in the chart are not accurate. The kidnapping and killing of Col. Higgens in 1988 was NOT perpetrated by Mughniyyah but by a small off-shoot of Amal Movement called "The Faithful Resistance" led by Mustafa Dirani. 

This blog and its future

Thanks to all those who wrote asking me to keep the blog.  I have not decided to close down the blog but I only discussed the matter with Michele in the wake of the announcement by Andrew Sullivan because it made think about the future of this blog which is now more than 10 years old (12, since I started in 2003).

Saudi royal decrees

To decrees got my attention from the list of Saudi royal decrees.
1) The appointment of Tamim bin `Abdul-`Aziz bin Yusuf As-Salim as "assistant to the private secretary of the Servitor of the two Holy Sites at the rank of Excellent."  So even the appointment of an assistant to the private secretary requires a royal decree?  What an institution-based regime.
2) The appointment of Hazim bin Mustafa `Abdul-Wahid as "chief of the private affairs of the Servitor of the Two Holy Sites at the rank of Minister".  I don't mean to bother you but what are "the private affairs" of the Servitor?

PS Yes, I actually read all the royal decrees.

Muhammad bin Salman is 29-years old

By the way, Muhammad bin Salman is only 29-years old and they suddenly in the recent decrees made him 35. 

The US government and the assassination of `Imad Mughniyyah

As some of you may remember, I had expressed my belief of a US role back in 2014:
"Monday, June 30, 2014
Who Killed `Imad Mughniyyah
Oh, I forgot to add one element to my critique of Kai Bird's The Good Spy.  The author maintains that there is evidence that the US government and not the Mossad was behind the killing of Mughniyyah.  I believe that.  If Israel had the intelligence about Mughniyyah's whereabouts, it is most likely that it would have provided the intelligence to the US knowing how much the US wants to get him.  And if the US had the intelligence about his whereabouts, it is doubtful that it would have provided it to Mossad to do the job when it has been wanting to do it for decades." 
But the dumbest propaganda about the Mughniyyah assassination came from the US Director of Central Intelligence who had maintained in 2008 that the assassination was due to "an internal" matter within Hizbullah or that Syrian government was behind it. 

Friday, January 30, 2015

The real accomplishments of `Abdullah bin `Abdul-`Aziz

My weekly article in Al-Akhbar: "The real accomplishments of `Abdullah bin `Abdul-`Aziz".

The Media of Saudi princes

Si le Hezbollah libérait la Palestine, le titre d’al-Arabiya ressemblerait à «Le Hezbollah refuse de libérer l’Andalousie».
Asad Abukhalil, blogueur libanais aux Etats-Unis - @asadabukhalil - 23200 abonnés.

Nasrallah's speech

The April 1996 understanding is now dead.

Flagrant contradiction in New York Times article: so is this Israel a "vibrant democracy" or not??

From Dan: "Did you notice the flagrant contradiction in the New York Times article about the new documentary on "previously unaired admissions of brutal behavior" by Israeli soldiers in the 1967 war?

In the first half of the article, we read the following:

“Asked to respond to the film, Lt. Col. Peter Lerner of the Israel Defense Forces said it was ‘representative of Israel’s vibrant democracy, where everything can be and is openly discussed,’”

Then, further down in the very same article we read:

“She [the director] was deep into the project before she discovered that the film, too, would be subject to censorship, she said.
Israel forbids the filmmakers to reveal how much they were forced to change, and the military censor’s office refused to discuss it.”"

See how people in Saudi Arabia are expected to pledge allegiance to the King and the Crown prince and the crown price of the crown prince

Look at the new Saudi schtick: they make cut-out pictures of the King and the two crown clowns and then they have somebody stand behind them to extend his hand which is then shaken by the citizens. 

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Saudi developments

A whole change of regime is under way in Saudi Arabia. More later.  

Guantanamo diary

"The torture methods approved for Mr. Slahi, for instance, mimicked those used by America’s Communist adversaries in the Cold War, which were famous for producing false confessions. Predictably, Mr. Slahi describes how, desperate to stop the brutal treatment, he finally decided to tell the interrogators whatever he thought they wanted to hear, fabricating plots and implicating others in nonexistent crimes. Some interrogators, though, doubted his confessions and asked for a polygraph test. He denied plotting terrorism or supporting Al Qaeda, and the test results variously showed “no deception” or “no opinion,” undermining his supposed admissions."

Look how the New York Times refers to confessions of Israeli war criminals

"The wrenching, taped testimony".  You almost want to say: oh, those poor Israeli war criminals. It must have hard committing massacres.


"Because of his Western education, Prince Mohammed is believed to favor liberalization on matters like education and opportunities for women."  Wait. So can we say: because of his Western education he has been more brutal and repressive than his own father?  Can we say that because of his Western education he has been jailing people for calling for reform?  Also, Sayyid Qutb and Muhammad Atta were Western educated.

Notice that Christian militias are not named when they commit war crimes

And why don't they use the term Christianist to describe them?

Look how the New York Times describes the shooting at demonstrators in Egypt

"At least 18 people were killed in political violence on Sunday"

American socialism

"Long ago, some American mayors called themselves socialists, although, writes historian Morton Keller (in “America’s Three Regimes”), “their collectivist impulse did not go much beyond public utilities: ‘gas and water socialism.’ ” "

This is an American liberal columnist

"But if, in the end, action needs to be taken against Iran, Israel will need the support of all Americans."

ils ne sont pas suffisamment nombreux pour avoir un candidat

From a reader:  "Zheng Ruolin, Chinese anchor: Il (=Houellebecq) a décrit une scène que.. en 2022 je crois, il y aura 2 candidats, un candidat musulman et un candidat d'extrême droite. Est-ce que ça peut être un scénario dans le futur de la France?
Richard Artz, French correspondent for Paris-Match in China: Euh... Je ne pense pas. Un candidat d'extrême droite, ça c'est possible. Un candidat musulman, ça m'étonnerait quand même: euh... ils ne sont pas suffisamment nombreux pour avoir un candidat."

Real record of Prince Salman

"Yet Salman has an ongoing track record of patronizing hateful extremists that is now getting downplayed for political convenience."

Tsipras and Peres?

"He recounted that in 2012 he arranged a meeting between Tsipras, then newly the head of the opposition, and then Israeli president Shimon Peres – who is well respected in Israel, and has a bloody history as a war criminal.

Arye Mekel, the former ambassador, claimed that the meeting went "very well" and Tsipras listened to Peres "like a pupil before his teacher, and avoided criticism of Israel"." (thanks Asa)

Sources of the Washington Post

From Bashir: "I don't know if you have seen this but maybe worth quoting, so funny! What an amazing analysis that required utmost anonymity!

A Lebanese political analyst who has close ties with senior Hezbollah officials described the latest attack as “a trap set by Hezbollah.”
“It’s important to note that Hezbollah’s first statement was called Communiqué No. 1, which means that it is signaling that it is ready to fight more,” said the analyst who requested anonymity, because of the tense situation."

Why Scotland did not fly the flag half-mast for King Abdullah

"Speaking with KaleidoScot, Alyn Smith, SNP Member of the European Parliament, explained why Scotland chose to react differently: “I thought the UK position bizarre, craven and cheap. Not least barely days after our PM was in Paris to support free speech he now descends on Riyadh to mark the passing of a man whose regime implacably opposed any such ideas.

“Of course, the reason is even more basic, money. The Saudi regime has over the years purchased countless billions of British bombs, tanks and guns and London is quite content to turn a blind eye to abuses of every value they claim to uphold." (thanks Mohamed)

The UN is Outraged

From a reader: ""Separately, in Gaza, the United Nations said it was "outraged" when Palestinian protesters climbed the perimeter of a U.N. compound and damaged it. U.N. officials took Hamas to task for not preventing the incident."

Was the UN ever "outraged" about the Israeli attacks upon its facilities in Gaza last year?  About attacks that killed people?  If so, I don't recall."

Israel supplied ex-Panama president equipment to spy on foes

From Richard: "My guess is that the US directed him to Israel for the equipment, plausible denial and all th

"Now scores of Panama’s political and social elite are learning that the eavesdropping program that Martinelli’s security team set in place sprawled into the most private aspects of their lives – including their bedrooms. Rather than national security, what appears to have driven the wiretapping was a surfeit of the seven deadly sins, particularly greed, pride, lust and envy."

" . . . .  Alemán said the government believes Martinelli’s security team kept active wiretaps on “between 150 to 175 people,” among them the Roman Catholic archbishop of Panama, opposition political leaders, rival business tycoons, supreme court judges, U.S. Embassy personnel, his own Cabinet members and even the woman identified publicly as his mistress."

" . . . . When Martinelli first approached U.S. diplomats about helping him with wiretapping, he asked them to expand a U.S. program aimed at suspected drug traffickers, known as Matador, according to multiple secret U.S. diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks in late 2010. When U.S. diplomats noted that U.S. and Panamanian law forbade such wiretapping, Martinelli turned to Israel, purchasing a $14 million package from MLM Protection Ltd., which offers “cutting edge, customized security solutions.”

Muslims not allowed

"In the five months since Jan Morgan banned Muslims from her gun range in Hot Springs, Ark., business has boomed and predictions of a lawsuit brought by federal civil rights enforcers have so far proved inaccurate." (thanks Bailey)

Harsh and disproportionate

"Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman called Wednesday for a "harsh and disproportionate response" to a multi-pronged Hezbollah attack that injured several IDF soldiers on Wednesday." (thanks Regan)

ISIS into the kingdom?

"ISIS has an opportunity to flip the Kingdom. Here's how."

My mother had written this poem about me when I was in my teens.

My sister, Mirvat, found this poem that my mother had written about me when I was in my teens. Under the original French is Mirvat's translation into English.  We both didn't know about this poem.

"Mon benjamin chéri est un etre très cynique
Qui se moque de tout meme du bon Dieu
Ses longues discussions sonnt vraiment trs typiques
Il s'excite très for en invoquant les cieux

Sa logique pour lui est très souvent très spéciale
Il veut meme forcer le partage des idées
Idées controvorsées mais jamais impartiales
Et qui ne finissent jamais d'etre discutées

Il est posé et meme très sympathique
Sa face bon enfant est délicieuse à voir
Mais ne lui ddemandew pas d'etre idyllique
Ses deux pieds bien sur terre ne le laisseront pas choir."

Translation into English by Mirvat:
My beloved youngest child is very cynical
He mocks everything, even God
His long discussions are really very typical
He sounds very excited when mentioning heaven

His own logic is very special
He even wants to impose sharing his ideas,
Controversial ideas but never neutral
Their discussion never come to an end.

He is composed and even very funny,
His baby face is delightful  to see
But do not ever ask him to be idyllic
His two feet are down to earth and will not let him fall

This is how a propagandist for a Saudi prince is identified in the New York Times

"said Jamal Khashoggi, a prominent Saudi journalist and commentator".  Prominent? He used to be a Bin Ladenite and then became a Wahhabi liberal and then worked for Prince Khalid Al-Faysal before switching princes and now works for Prince Al-Walid bin Talal.

Michelle Obama unveiled

What is this fake controversy about Michelle Obama being unveiled in Saudi Arabia? There were many Western women who traveled to the kingdom unveiled.  Also, Western media are acting as if the Saudi King and princes are some ascetic highly religious people who just can't accept violating the teaching of their militant sect.  People: these are Saudi princes who build a special entrance for prostitutes in their palaces in Morocco.

Obama presses India on women's rights and then flew to Saudi Arabia where he didn't raise the subject

"Mr. Obama said India needed to combat human trafficking and slavery, elevate the status of girls and women in society".  Is this guy for real? He is worried about democracy in India?

B'Tselem is not sure whether the children slaughtered by Israel were legitimate military targets or not

"In some cases, B’Tselem established the presence of militants in houses that became targets. Yet in the absence of detailed explanations from the military, B’Tselem was unable to establish whether the buildings could be considered legitimate military targets by virtue of the military advantage gained by the attacks, or whether the collateral damage was proportional."

Michael Young a few days ago: “Hizbollah will not hit back at Israel. It can’t”

From Nicholas: "More than this, Michael Young - columnist, occasional self-proclaimed military affairs specialist, cheerleader for the Iraq War and for yet another massive war in Syria - also adds here in his National column from a few days ago:
"...the party will have limited latitude to retaliate from the traditional fronts for last weekend’s attack. To spare Lebanon Israeli retribution, it will hesitate to do so from Lebanese territory. And because it has not acknowledged that its members were plotting against Israel from the Golan, it may also refrain from responding from there...""

This blog and its future

Yesterday, I was wondering to Michele about the future of this blog.  How long will I keep it going? I thought about that after reading the Andrew Sullivan is quitting his.  I have been doing this since 2003 (and for free, doesn't Sullivan charge readers?), and I believe it was the second blog on ME after Juan Cole.  Obviously, the contents have changed: in the beginning I used to post art and translate poetry daily.  I also now kind-of-blog on FB in Arabic on political issues. Too much.

This grotesque insult to the victims of the Holocaust is similar to Holocaust denial

"Iran is the 'new Auschwitz that the Jews as a people are looking at,' says Krauthammer".

New York Times on Shib`a Farms

From Yasmine: "Re your post yesterday on how western correspondents refer to Shebaa Farms, New York Times said Israel annexed it, 'a move not recognized by the United Nations.'

'Not recognized' is passive voice for "it's illegal". Annoying!!"

Celebrating retaliation against the Israeli occupiers

"People celebrating the latest Hezbollah retaliation in the neighborhood of Dahiya, Southern Beirut"

Palestinian girl, 14, in Israel prison for throwing rocks

The fate of a 14-year-old Palestinian girl, tried before an Israeli military court for hurling rocks at passing cars in the West Bank and sentenced to two months in prison, has gripped Palestinians who say her treatment demonstrates Israel's excessive measures against stone-throwing youth.  Malak al-Khatib, arrested last month, is one of only a rare few female Palestinian minors who have ever faced arrest and sentencing by Israeli authorities.  "A 14-year-old girl won't pose any threat to soldiers' lives," said her father, Ali al-Khatib. "They are well equipped and well trained so what kind of threat could she have posed to them?"" (thanks Michele)

More than 370,000 children have been left shell-shocked by Israeli attack on Gaza

"Four boys from the Bakr family died in the missile strike and four were injured. In the immediate aftermath, Sayed was left paralysed with terror, unable to speak, writhing hysterically against a wall. Today, more than six months later, he is one of hundreds of thousands of children in Gaza who need treatment for shell-shock." "There is no shortage in Gaza of stories of severely traumatised children still gripped by the after-effects of the war. The 50-day conflict left 539 Palestinian children dead and close to 3,000 injured,"

ISIS operative confesses to getting funds "through" the U.S.

"Yousaf al Salafi – allegedly the Pakistan commander of Islamic State (IS) or Daish – has confessed during investigations that he has been receiving funds through the United States."

Ignoring the Wahhabi-ISIS connection

"ignoring the uncomfortable fact that most of the worst Islamic extremism and terrorism of the past two decades has tracked back, through funding and religious influence, ultimately, to Saudi Arabia." "Many would agree that the extremist Sunni ideology of Isis is merely a step on from, or the application of, the Wahhabi Islam that is the basis of Saudi Arabia. It is this extremism that is driving the burgeoning sectarian conflict between Sunni and Shia, potentially disastrous on a hitherto undreamed-of scale." (thanks Amir)

Defiance among the people of South Lebanon

This video of South Lebanese people talking defiantly against Israel has been going viral.

Greek Politics

In one week, US and European media will start writing that the leftist Greek government failed in solving the economic problems of Greece.

McCain and Kerry discuss spreading secularism with young Saudi moderates

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

U.S. Special Operations forces (SOF) deployed to 133 countries -- roughly 70% of the nations on the planet

"During the fiscal year that ended on September 30, 2014, U.S. Special Operations forces (SOF) deployed to 133 countries -- roughly 70% of the nations on the planet -- according to Lieutenant Colonel Robert Bockholt, a public affairs officer with U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM).  This capped a three-year span in which the country’s most elite forces were active in more than 150 different countries around the world, conducting missions ranging from kill/capture night raids to training exercises." (thanks Amir)

Israeli occupation forces on fire

Netanyahus sued by former caretaker over 'racist and physical abuse': Zionism is always racism

" Benjamin Netanyahu is being sued by a former caretaker who alleges that he was subjected to racist and physical abuse by the Israeli prime minister’s wife, Sara.  Manny Naftali, 35, a former soldier, claims that he was subjected to humiliating treatment by Mrs Netanyahu, mostly with her husband’s knowledge.  In a suit filed to the Jerusalem district labour court, Mr Naftali, who worked for 20 months at the Balfour Street residence, described one incident when Mrs Netanyahu complained him about a Shabbat meal. “We are sophisticated Europeans,” she said, according to Mr Naftali. “We don’t eat as much food as you Moroccans. You are stuffing us, so that when they photograph us abroad, we look fat.” "

What is in a name?

From Basim: "And rest assured Israeli propagandists will go out of their way to cite the Zionist name for the area in order to give legitimacy to its occupation:

"Initial reports indicate a military vehicle was hit, apparently by an anti-tank missile in the area of Har Dov," the army said on its official Twitter feed, using Israel's term for the Shebaa Farms which is also close to the ceasefire line with Syria."

Wilson Center

I just noticed that media adviser to Rafiq Hariri is now "senior scholar" at the Wilson Center.   Washington, DC think tanks crack me up.

Shib`a Farms

Western correspondents in Beirut will manage to obscure the occupation status of Shib`a farms tomorrow. You will see phrasing as "Israeli-controlled" or "disputed Shib`a farms" or "a little tiny piece of land that no one cares about" or "why can't Arabs let Israeli occupation forces roam the region unmolested?"

And notice

That although the Hizbullah operation targeted Israeli soldiers in occupied parts of South Lebanon, Western correspondents will manage to make the attack a humanitarian calamity and will manage to talk to the families of the dead Israeli occupation soldiers and will make them to be the saddest people on the face of this earth.  Anything to serve Israeli propaganda, anything.

Hizbullah attacks Israeli occupation force in occupied South Lebanon but...

I am sure that Western correspondents in Beirut will forget to refer to the attack as "retaliation" in response to an attack by Israeli occupation force in Golan and they will also forget that the attack targeted occupation soldiers ON LEBANESE territory and not on this weird invention of "Lebanese-Israeli border".  Anything to serve Israeli propaganda. Anything.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Singer Sabah on Palestine

The late singer, Sabah, describes how the events in Palestine make her cry. (thanks Yusuf)


Notice that every story in the Western media refers to Syriza in negative terms as in "the anti-austerity" or the "anti-reform" there is always "anti" preceding any description of the party leaving us with the impression that they don't stand for anything except to reject.

In honor of Obama's visit, the Saudi royal family beheads

"Al-Zahrani repeatedly maintained his innocence throughout his trial and appeals, and pleaded to the late Saudi King Abdullah to intervene in a video, which circulated widely in social media. The video featured al-Zahrani’s allegations that police framed him, eliciting a Twitter hashtag in Arabic “We are all Moussa al-Zahrani.”

However, King Salman, like his predecessor, chose not to intervene in the execution. Saudi Arabia continues to apply the death penalty to cases of rape, murder and other offenses according to the theocratic kingdom’s strict interpretation of Islamic law."

For those who take seriously think tanks in Washington, DC: this is the Wilson Center

  I know that you have never heard of this man: by his own admission he received generous Saudi funding in the last parliamentary election to defeat Hizbullah because he a scion of an old feudal family in the South which succeeded in expelling all vestiges of feudal influences during the years of the civil war.  He managed to receive a whopping 1% of all Shi`ite votes in South Lebanon (see the detailed results of the election in the Electoral Encyclopedia of Lebanon published by Kamal Fghali).

Syrian rebels' indiscriminate bombardment of Damascus and Latakia: How HRW Kenneth Roth responds

As many Syrians on social media predicated, US media had not one word about the indiscriminate bombardment by Saudi-financed Syrian (m0derate, of course) rebels of Damascus and Latakia.  No worse, look how the director of Human Rights Watch reacted on Twitter: "Assad's slaughter of civilians is no excuse for rebels to fire indiscriminately on Damascus."  He always qualifies any mild criticism of the rebels and he sounds always as if he is affectionately chiding his comrade-in-arms.  So even if he wants to point out a war crime by the rebels, the focus is always on the regime.  Kenneth Roth would be a good spokesperson for the US government.  He never deviates from the talking points.


Stasi versus US security agencies

It is often said that the East German's totalitarian hold was unprecedented because Stasi had files about some third of all citizens. Correct me if I am wrong, but don't US security and "justice" agencies hold files over far more than a third of all citizens and visitors in the US?

hundreds of millions of records about motorists

"The Justice Department has been secretly gathering and storing hundreds of millions of records about motorists in an effort to build a national database that tracks the movement of vehicles across the country, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday."

BADASS malware

"According to The Intercept‘s analysis of the document, intelligence agents applied BADASS software filters to streams of intercepted internet traffic, plucking from that traffic unencrypted uploads from smartphones to servers run by advertising and analytics companies." (thanks Amir)

in mourning

Tomorrow I go back to school but I am not ready. What if I tell them that I am still in mourning over the death of the Saudi potentate? Will they believe me?

Obama: bringing up the issue of human rights with the Saudi potentate

Update: What Oabama will be eating in Riyadh

Dessert is misspelled as an alert reader on FB has noticed.

Chomsky on American sniper

"“‘I hated the damn savages I’d been fighting,’” Chomsky said, quoting Kyle. “‘Savage, despicable, evil — that’s what we were fighting in Iraq. That’s why a lot of people, myself included, called the enemy savages. There was really no other way to describe what we encountered there.’”"

The convoy of King Salman (when he was still a prince)

When will women be allowed to drive in...Jiryas Joel, New York?

"I grew up in a small, densely populated village in upstate New York called Kiryas Joel. And in Kiryas Joel, woman don’t drive. It’s a village of ultra-Orthodox Hasidic Jews. In my hometown, women can't be jailed for driving like they can in Saudi Arabia. But driving is still forbidden. A woman who drives would risk being shunned, and her children expelled from the private Hasidic school. She could be excommunicated from the community."

My piece on Saudi political dilemmas

My latest blog post for Al-Akhbar English: "Saudi Political Dilemmas".

Monday, January 26, 2015

Finally: a Saudi prince who is eloquent and articulate

Meet Prince `Abdul-`Aziz Bin Fahd.

Ben-Gurion and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians

"Some readers may find it hard, as I did, to read Shapira’s brief treatment of the moment in 1948 when the commanders Yigal Allon and Yitzhak Rabin came to Ben-Gurion asking whether to carry out “a large-scale population evacuation.” Rabin reported that Ben-Gurion responded with a wave of the hand, saying “Expel them.” Shapira explains here that while he forbade the evacuation of some areas, like Nazareth, “like most of his ministers, he saw the Arabs’ exodus as a great miracle, one of the most important in that year of miracles, since the presence of a hostile population constituting some 40 percent of the new state’s total populace did not augur well for the future.”

Shapira doesn’t subject this incident to any ethical scrutiny or judgment, reporting it almost matter-of-factly. She does, however, note that given the history of the time — which included moving enormous masses of people across Europe and carrying out huge population transfers as part of the partition that divided Pakistan from India — Ben-Gurion’s decision wasn’t beyond the norm. “The decision not to allow the return of the Arab refugees was accepted as self-evident, and gained broad public support.”"

And now a paid word from Tony Blair

"Statement by Tony Blair on the death of King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz"

unsurprisingly, it turns out that Liz Sly is also a propagandist for the House of Saud

This article by Liz Sly and her colleague deserves to be reprinted (and it will be) in full in a Saudi mouthpiece of princes.  She basically argues that the US is not catering enough to the Kingdom of horrors in its foreign policy.  Notice that not one critic of House of Saudi is cited in the article.

Senator MecCain on Islamic history

"“We’ve got thousands of foreigners over there in the largest caliphate in history,”".   There was a time when the caliphate, you ill-informed amateur, stretched from Western China to the Europe--and whatever else was in between.  

These Are The Most Stressed Out Countries

Here, an expert cited in the New York Times explains why the Houthis are not Hizbullah

"“They are domestic, homegrown, and have very deep roots in Yemen".  You see, Hizbullah is not domestic and is not homegrown and does not have deep roots in Lebanon.

The real Kingdom of horrors

"THE Western response to the death of Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz al-Saud, king of Saudi Arabia and custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, followed two paths. Along one, various officials and luminaries offered the gestures — half-mast flags, public obsequies — expected when a great statesman enters the hereafter. John Kerry described the late monarch as “a man of wisdom and vision” and a “revered leader.” Tony Blair called him a “modernizer of his country” and a “staunch advocate of interfaith relations,” who was “loved by his people and will be deeply missed.”  Along the other path, anyone outside Western officialdom was free to tell the fuller truth: that Abdullah presided over one of the world’s most wicked nonpariah states, whose domestic policies are almost cartoonishly repressive and whose international influence has been strikingly malign. His dynasty is founded on gangsterish control over a precious natural resource, sustained by an unholy alliance with a most cruel interpretation of Islam and protected by the United States and its allies out of fear of worse alternatives if it fell."

Saudi students in the US

"But the cultural gap is narrowing. Many members of the next generation of Saudi leaders studied in the United States, where there are currently about 54,000 Saudis studying. Gause said that the new generation “learned at their fathers’ knees that America was their big relationship.”" Anyone who thinks that the Saudi students in the US are automatic believers in the US-Saudi alliance is someone who has not freely listened to Saudi students in the US.  Furthermore, take into consideration that Saudi students are less likely to speak freely to someone if they think he is a supporter of the House of Saud.

The dirty hands of Israel, everywhere

"You approved the transfer of arms from the State of Israel – and not only through arms dealers – to Rwanda, and the Serbia of Slobodan Miloševic and the Serbian forces while the genocide was in progress.   The whole world knew about it in real time, and both of you also definitely knew.  Attorney Itai Mack and I have been working to uncover the facts about the arms deals that were carried out while the genocide was in progress, and when the United Nations had imposed an embargo on such sales. "

British hoping to profit from Saudi dungeons

"The UK Ministry of Justice (MoJ) is hoping to profit from selling its expertise to the prison service in Saudi Arabia, a country notorious for public beheadings, floggings, amputations and courts that regularly violate human rights. A new commercial arm of the justice ministry, staffed by civil servants, has bid for a £5.9m contract in Saudi Arabia."

U.S. poised to violate nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT), again

"Nuclear commerce worth billions of dollars was meant to be the centrepiece of a new strategic relationship between the United States and India, allowing New Delhi access to nuclear technology and fuel without giving up its weapons programme."

the global nuclear threat

"Between 2014 and 2023, the United States expects to spend $355 billion to modernize its nuclear arsenal."

Free speech in France?

"French authorities have arrested dozens of people — including a comedian — for appearing to praise the terrorists or encourage more attacks. That has unleashed accusations of a double standard, in which free speech applies to those who mock Islam while Muslims are penalized for expressing their own provocative views. Many Muslims complain that France aggressively prosecutes anti-Semitic slurs, but that they are not protected from similar racist speech."

Foreign fighters

"Australian jihadis Khaled Sharrouf and Mohamed Elomar have been accused of enslaving and raping women from the Yazidi religious minority in northern Iraq." (thanks Amir)

King Abdullah Was Not A Reformer

A list of alternative reformers in the Gulf.

Muhammad bin Salman: the new Saudi Minister of Defense

Since the media coverage of the House of Saudi is corrupted (both in Arab and Western media) you should know that while Salman is mostly loved in Riyadh, his spoiled brat, Muhammad (who is to Salman what `Abdul-`Aziz was to Fahd) is hated and nicknamed "Muhammad the shit" by people in Riyadh for his corruption and land grabs.

Hizbullah delegation at the Saudi embassy

A Hizbullah delegation visited the Saudi embassy and offered condolences.  It thanked the Saudi King for his sectarian war in the region and for supporting Israeli aggression on Lebanon.

Angry Arab to Riyadh?

I feel that I am the only Lebanese who has not flown to Riyadh to offer condolences and to pledge allegiance to the new king.  Nabih Berri was inconsolable. 

Guess who flew to Saudi Arabia to offer condolences?

Suha Dollar Arafat.

Saudi school children pledging alleagiance to the new king

Watch here.

Dempsey Sponsors Essay Competition to Honor Saudi King

"The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff has established a research and essay competition in honor of Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah Bin Abdul-Aziz hosted by the National Defense University." (thanks Laleh)

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Angelina Jolie

I just wish that Angelina Jolie would stop pontificating on foreign affairs.  Adoption of multiple foreign children does not make one an expert on foreign affairs.

Shayma' As-Sabbagh: a socialist martyr from Egypt

It is clear: Western media can't get to concede that there are Arab socialists, communists, and anarchists.  In most Western media, Shayma' As-Sabbah was identified as a "liberal". Where did you get that? She belonged to an organization that is titled as Popular Socialist Democratic Alliance. 

elections of the teachers' syndicate in Lebanon today: Hizbullah proves yet again, it is a right-wing movement

For those on the left who may still suffer from delusions, Hizbullah proves once again that it is a right-wing reactionary movement when it comes to class struggle and the war on capitalism.  Make no mistake about it.

There is one thing I like about the Jordanian potentate

Unlike other Arab potentate, he seems acutely aware that he is quite dumb.  I like that about him.

Please rest assured: foregin correspondents of the Times are highly trained individuals

"Correction: January 23, 2015 

An earlier version of this article misidentified the president of Syria. He is Bashar al-Assad, not Hafez al-Assad, Bashar’s father and a former president."

Secret Israeli agents and the rule of Gen. Buhari

"It involved Israeli secret agents, giant packing crates and anesthetic drugs."

This Israeli fanatic called for nuking Iran, so New York Times thought that this was cute and profiled her

"like suggesting that Israel drop a nuclear bomb on Tehran."

House member, Richard Hanna

This Arabic paper declares that member of the US House of Representative, Richard Hanna (of Lebanese descent) is "Arabist in politics and culture".  In fact, he is a rabid Zionist

the Huthi takeover of Sanaa

Let us face it: despite my detestation of the Huthis and their ideology, their takeover of Yemen was largely bloodless.  Of course, they are pitted against Al-Qa`idah which is supported by House of Saud.

Maternity leave around the world

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The Bahraini pro-democracy movement, 4 years later

"just yesterday, an activist was apparently shot in the face by security forces while protesting, an incident caught on video. Gathered here are images of Bahrain's continued uprising, taken over the past year."

ISIS indistinguishable from Saudi Arabia

"Most egregious of all was the lack of any acknowledgement that the Saudi royal family promoted the puritanical ideology that created al-Qaeda and its offshoots. The kingdom is the cradle of Wahhabism, the extreme form of Islam that put the Saud family in power and keeps it there. The Saudis are almost as enthusiastic about public beheadings as their mortal enemy Isis, which shocked the world with videos of Western hostages about to suffer this awful fate. Where do people think Isis got the idea? Both al-Qaeda and IS want to restore a mostly imaginary caliphate that  would be, in many respects, indistinguishable from Saudi Arabia."

"“Nice to see a movie where the Arabs are portrayed for who they really are - vermin scum intent on destroying us"

“Great fucking movie and now I really want to kill some fucking ragheads,” read one tweet, in a set of screenshots that quickly went viral after being collated by journalist Rania Khalek for the online publication Electronic Intifada. “American sniper makes me wanna go shoot some fuckin Arabs,” read another. One tweet read: “Nice to see a movie where the Arabs are portrayed for who they really are - vermin scum intent on destroying us.”

Muslim school children across Britain are suffering bullying & abuse

"In one case, a teenage Muslim pupil at a school in Oxfordshire was this week allegedly slapped and called a “terrorist” by classmates after a teacher raised the murders of 12 people at the French magazine in a classroom discussion and suggested Muslims should be “challenged” by the display of cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed. The boy told his parents he did not wish to return to school." (thanks Amir)

The first design of an e-reader: quite practical to carry on a plane

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Terrorism in Egypt

The terrorist threat is real in Egypt: and it is represented by the Egyptian state and its military and intelligence arms.

According to Al-Hayat (mouthpiece of Khalid bin Sultan) "sports misses" the king--kid you not.

"They call themselves journalists"

From Basim: "The Al-Hayat newspaper carried full-page advertisements on Sunday pledging support for Salman and condolences on the death of Abdullah."

Zahran `Allush

This war criminal who takes responsibility for the indiscriminate shelling of Damascus and who warned Muslims to leave the city so he can slaughter the infidels is a graduate of the Islamic University in Madinah in Saudi Arabia.  His training shows in his words and deeds.

Yes, they would never press him Obama on Saudi Arabia which--let us say--is far less democratic than India

"NYTimes: Human Rights Groups Press Obama on India"

A Jewish delegation visits the tomb of Jihad Imad Mughniyyah

Signs of fissures in the ranks of 2nd generation Saudi princes

 Embedded image permalink  This is from the Twitter account of Prince Al-Walid bin Talal: he says that he "took the oath of acclamation" (mubaya`ah) for "my father" Salman and "my father" Muqrin but then added "and I congratulated my brother Prince Muhammad bin Nayif".  He did not use the word for mubaya`ah.  Also, on the second page of Al-Hayat (today's issue), the mouthpiece of Prince Khalid bin Sultan, under the picture it says: "The servitor of the two holy sites, the crown prince and Muhammad bin Nayif".  It did not in the caption use his title. 

Simplicity of burial in Saudi Arabia

Please. Enough of this silly propaganda about the simplicity of burial of the Saudi king. This has nothing to do with modesty or with simplicity: this is part and parcel of the Saudi Wahhabi doctrine which forbids that grave to be above ground and which insists on unmarked graves to prevent the transformation of grave-sites into shrines. 

le roi Abdallah, "un grand défenseur des femmes"

Head of the IMF declares: "Christine Lagarde : le roi Abdallah, "un grand défenseur des femmes" "

What is trending in Saudi media

According to this: "Flash.  An American family declared today its (conversion to) Islam after being touched from the scenes of the burial of King Abdullah bin `Abdul-`Aziz and the simplicity of his burial in a public cemetery."

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Fatin Hamamah's obituary in the Times

Whenever an Arab cultural icon dies, it takes the New York Times days or weeks to publish an obituary.  The reason is that they don't have in-house Middle East experts and they have to wait to read what was written in the British press before they produce some lame obituary. Notice in this one about Fatin Hamamah there is no reference to her staunch support for the Sisi and Mubarak regimes.

Propaganda and obedience in French schools

Is this not ironic given the vulgar self-praise that characterized French media and culture in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo massacre?  "Ms. Vallaud-Belkacem said that such conduct would not be allowed. “Any behavior which will question the values of the republic and the authority” of the teacher, she said, “will be systematically signaled to the school principal” and followed by an “educational dialogue with parents.”"

peaceful ethnic cleansing

From James: "Peaceful ethnic cleansing: “Some readers may find it hard, as I did, to read Shapira’s brief treatment of the moment in 1948 when the commanders Yigal Allon and Yitzhak Rabin came to Ben-Gurion asking whether to carry out ‘a large-scale population evacuation.’ Rabin reported that Ben-Gurion responded with a wave of the hand, saying ‘Expel them.’ . . . Despite this, Ben-Gurion firmly believed peace was more important than territory: What he wanted was not more land but the ability to maintain an overwhelming Jewish majority in the land he had.”"

Five worst human rights abuses in the reign of King Abdullah

"Saudi Arabia has one of the worst human rights records in the world as the country routinely imprisons and executes dozens of people labelled as "enemies of the kingdom"."

U.S. should stop Syria not ISIS: Saudi prince

"U.S. policymakers should concentrate on eliminating the threat posed by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad instead of Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, according to an influential member of the Saudi Arabian royal family."

Obama's reaction to the deaths of Abdullah & Chávez

""One obvious difference between the two leaders was that Chávez was elected and Abdullah was not. Another is that Chávez used the nation’s oil resources to attempt to improve the lives of the nation’s most improverished while Abdullah used his to further enrich Saudi oligarchs and western elites. Another is that the severity of Abdullah’s human rights abuses and militarism makes Chávez look in comparison like Gandhi. But when it comes to western political and media discourse, the only difference that matters is that Chávez was a U.S. adversary while Abdullah was a loyal U.S. ally – which, by itself for purposes of the U.S. and British media, converts the former into an evil villainous monster and the latter into a beloved symbol of peace, reform and progress."" (thanks Amir)

King Abdullah Of Saudi Arabia Receives Touching Tributes

"And How We Should Also Remember Him"

saudi myths

"Many are voicing surprise at the comments of IMF head Christine Lagarde following the death of the Saudi monarch: "He was a great leader. He implemented lots of reforms, at home, and in a very discreet way, he was a great advocate for woman. It was very gradual, appropriately so probably for the country, but I discussed that issue with him several times and he was a strong believer." After a reporter expressed surprise that a woman would say that, Lagarde added: "Very often, Saudi Arabia is portrayed as a place where women do not play quite the same role." The last sentence hasn't been seriously scrutinized, but it should be. "Quite the same role" is a remarkable way to describe a country that has a system of male guardianship.

But I think it's noteworthy that the source of the comments was hardly some random woman. It was the head of the IMF, an international financial institution purported to aid the global development but that is frequently criticized as doing the bidding of the rich and powerful -- such as the major U.S. and European banks. And, like a good managing director, Lagarde is probably on the lookout for more funding for the IMF, it's not straightforward to find out how much the Saudis have already ponied up. But once again, we see here the emptiness -- even on the most limited basis -- of a shallow diversity that seeks to put a woman or African American in a prominent position while maintaining incredibly oppressive power dynamics. " (thanks Sam)

Canada mourns the Saudi tyrant

"Knox Metropolitan Church bells ring for King Abdullah"

Ben Norton on Yarmouk camp

This article seems to reproduce word-for-word the talking points of the Syrian exile opposition.  In the case of the Yarmouk camp, there are two killers: the Syrian regime and the Nusrah front and other Bin Ladenites on the other side. The residents are victims of both sides.  Norton does not mention the role of the rebels in using the camp for their won ends, and in shooting at aid convoys. 

Prince Muqrin, the intellectual

According to the Hariri newspaper, Al-Mustaqbal, Prince Muqrin is an intellectual who is well-versed in astronomy (read astrology) and that he owns a library of 10,000 books.  I think that they meant a library of 10,000 films, and all pornographic.

In Video: how Shayma' was shot

Yes, she died

The caption says: "What is this? She died?"

Shayma' with her son

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The Sisi regime killed her--with US and GCC money and arms

Paul Wolfowotiz

Is this guy for real? He appeared on one American channel and said: look at Muslims from all around the world flocking to Mecca to mourn the Saudi king. 

That should be apparent

"The idea that journalism can ever be completely free from the prejudices of its practitioners is a fiction, and the way to deliver trustworthy reporting is to be honest about what those prejudices are. “Everybody has an agenda in that they have things that they think are true and things that they think are important, and vice versa,” he says. “There’s a sort of pretence that it’s not so, and that’s fine, but one should also make clear in writing where one’s coming from. That should be apparent.”" (thanks Laure)

Inside Al-Aqsa Mosque while the speaker eulogized the Saudi King

Watch here. (thanks Seif)

Israeli media obsession with Holywood

Israeli media are worse than Lebanese media with their obsession with Hollywood.  They are so pained by lack of mainstream support form big Hollywood starts that they brag about support from the likes of Pamela Anderson and Sylvester Stallone.  In the past, all major stars were supporters and fundraisers of Israel (Paul Newsman, Frank Sinatra, Elizabeth Taylor, John Wayne, Bob Hope, etc).  Now, they are happy to get the sympathy from Seth Rogen and Rob Lowe.  Rob Lowe.

Norman Finkelstein responds

I don't wish to respond to pure polemics and cliches (I mean, how original and new this line that extreme left is like extreme right? Like, I have not heard that one before? And what is the relevance? I am trying to reserve my fire at Norman because I still believe that he suffered greatly from outspokenness against Israeli propaganda, and because for years I assumed that he and I were in the same trench.  I still don't doubt his motives but think that he is in error, big time)  But I will say this: yes, international law has not bothered Israel one bit and some international legal experts at the US government were able to come up with interpretations that made torture to be consistent with Geneva conventions (and one of those legal experts teaches at UC, Berkeley law school). That is also international law.  And I never thought that the battle against Zionism is purely legal anyway even if "international law" and its sacred texts nullified Zionism in theory.  The institutions and apparatuses of power of Zionism will be eventually dismantled the way they were set up: by force.  If international law can be useful in some cases, that is fine but the notion that we should modify the just cause of the liberation of all of Palestine because we need to fit the goal into the Zionist interpretation of what international law is, is just silly. 

Male genitalia over the head of Muhammad is funny free speech rendering but...this is not funny at all, damn it

From Emile:  "Yes in France freedom of speech is sacred and you CAN represent the Prophet of Islam with male genitals on his head BUT a porno-humoristic wall painting in the residents dorms at Clermont Hospital depicting sex between superheroes sparked national outrage when someone tagged Wonder Woman as Marisol Touraine,  health Minister."

BDS and International law

Comrade Raed sent me this regarding the debate form yesterday: "What you said is that BDS does not consider that international law rules supreme, which means that BDS accepts to play the debatable game of international law, which could be what joins its many components together, but it does not mean that if international law fails to present the Palestine problem with solutions, that BDS is gonna not look for its own interpretation for the solution and stand still.
Norman is replying to you with quotes of proof of recognition of international law, which is like a repetition of his own claim, but does not constitute an answer to you. Nowhere does Barghouti or the BDS call say that international law is the final arbiter. BDS's call text even begins (1st paragraph) by adding "Universal principles of human rights" to international law, and Barghouti ends his text by adding "Palestinian rights" (last line), which leaves the solution open to many other interpretations. Not just that, the body of the BDS call text invokes UN resolutions "since 1948", which includes the solution to the problem of the refugees, contrary to later resolutions. International law invoked here is not in contradiction with the refusal of the specific "two state solution" promoted by Oslo (and not the 1947 two state resolution)."

Zahran `Allush, from yesterday

In the post about Zahran `Allush from yesterday, his warning to the Muslims from Damascus that he will be shelling the city was intended as a declaration that he plans to kill Christians, and other infidels.  This has been hailed as the moderate rebel type.

Palestinians at Al-Aqsa mosque yell out at the speaker for eulogizing the Saudi King

American sniper versus Iraqi sniper

American sniper was 10,000 miles away from his country occupying another country.
Iraqi sniper was on his own territory no matter what ideology he held.
American sniper was shooting quite often at Iraqi civilians that he wanted to believe were terrorists (how was he able to distinguish, we don't know).
Iraqi sniper was shooting only at American occupation soldiers.
It figures that American viewers would identify with the American occupiers. No surprise there.
PS I could not get myself to watch the movie.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Shifts of Arab Inellectuals

My weekly article in Al-Akhbar: "Shifts of Intellectuals in Lebanon and the Arab world".

Western media on the Saudi King

It is fair to say that Western media's fawning coverage of the Saudi King only reminds me of the pathetic fawning coverage of Israel in the US.  The media all but declared the kingdom a democracy; hell, they actually did that and declared the king a "liberator" of women.  Well, if you think that bombs and rockets are capable of liberating Arab women, why not think that Saudi potentates can as well.  Also, notice that none of the coverage carries the satire and mockery that is dominating a lot of social media about the king. None of the guests hosted are opponents of the regime.  But then again: you also wanted to believe that the Shah of Iran had the support of his people. It makes you feel much better when you tell yourself that your favorite potentates are loved by their people, and by the people of neighboring countries.

This is for the history books

The Syrian National Coalition eulogizes the Saudi tyrant.

The humiliation of the Muslim Brotherhood

The Muslim Brotherhood has no dignity especially vis-a-vis oil and gas regimes. The Saudi government has declared open war as of late against the Muslim Brotherhood and yet the Brotherhood leaders today are competing to shower sympathy and condolences to the House of Saud.

Does the New York Times suffer from an acute case of cognitive dissonance?

"He was described as ascetic, or as ascetic as someone in the habit of renting out entire hotels could be."

Muhammad bin Salman

 Muhammad bin Salman is now one of the most influential men in the Saudi Kingdom. He is Salman's favorite son.

How much does one get paid to write such a story and such a headline?

"Late Saudi King Abdullah Leaves Legacy As Women's Rights Advocate". And they are not being ironic.

So who is the Prophet of Islam?

It is without exaggeration that I say that Western government and media show more respect for the Saudi King--whoever he is--than to the Prophet of Islam. But it is possible that Western media are under the impression that whoever controls Saudi oil is the prophet of Islam.

Zahran `Allush (a Saudi client) threatents "Muslims" in Damscus with a barrage of rockets

Read here.

Norman Finkelstein asks me to shut up

Here, Norman Finkelstein asks me to shut up.  So let me speak: 1) I don't know why Norman thinks that he has stumbled on a brilliant discovery when he maintains that the BDS movements fails in reconciling its non-support for two-state (non) solution with international law. 2) Notice that he--to make his debate easier on himself--treats BDS as if it is a centralized Maoist party headed by a chairman and that whatever the chairman says applies to the whole movement. 3) Why does Norman treat international law as if it is a holy text that has one meaning and one interpretation only. 4) this thesis that international law insists on the existence of Israel is debatable at best; 5) international law is fluid and can reflect changes on the ground: the American occupation of Iraq was at first against international law and then the US forced the UN to legitimize it and then it became presented as consistent with international law.  6) the citations he gave don't make his case: so what if international law is invoked; it does not mean that based on that, and due to Norman's interpretation of international law, all those who support BDS are obligated to accept the existence of Israel.  7)International law can be contested and should be.  8) a strong case can be mad that the very existence of Israel is in fact against international law.

Comrade Joseph on the French controversy

"As for much of the rest of the world — extending from the Antilles to Northern, Western and Central Africa, the Middle East and Southeast Asia — the French are seen as practiced killers and torturers, whose lovely and refined language is used not to describe a sumptuous creamy sauce or a plunging neckline on an evening dress, let alone for courting and flirtation, but rather to inflict pain and suffering on untold millions."

It is all about phrasing in the New York Times; look at this paragraph

"it has taken a far more muscular approach since the Arab Spring, offering generous support to its allies, like Egypt, while working to oppose adversaries like President Bashar al-Assad of Syria and the Muslim Brotherhood."  Now both Egypt and Syria are led by tyrants but notice that support for Gen. Sisi is phrased as "support for Egypt" to downplay the nature of Saudi support for a tyrant, while its opposition to Bashshar is presented as "opposing Bashshar" and not opposing Syria.  Propaganda at work.

Who is New York Times' source on King `Abdullah in his obituary?

"a senior fellow at the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies in Riyadh."  Do you think when Bashshar Al-Asad dies the New York Times will cite the authority of a "senior fellow at the Hafidh Al-Asad Center for Research and Ba`thist studies in Damascus"?

When tyrants are described as "a force of moderation"

"a force of moderation"

The New York Times basically declares Abdullah as a great leader but only faults him for not fulfilling a promise to Barbara Walters

"However, he did not fulfill a promise made to Barbara Walters of ABC News in his first televised interview as king in October 2005: that he would allow women to drive, a hugely contentious issue in Saudi Arabia."  He can lie to his people daily but to Barbara Walters? How dare he?

The education of the illiterate king--according to the New York Times

"Abdullah, who overcame a stutter, was educated in religion, Arab literature and science by Islamic scholars at the royal court."  Are you kidding me? The man was an illiterate and he could not compose or read one sentence. When was he educated in religion, literature, and science? I doubt that he knew that the earth is not flat--and I am being serious.  He basically went to what is called "the school of the princes" where the royal brats roam around the palaces and are expected to attend to special tutoring lessons but most don't as the palaces house large pornographic libraries that occupy most of the attention of the royal princes. 

Are Arabs talking less about politics on social media? What Saudi propaganda wants you to believe

"“Four years after the so-called Arab Spring started there is… political fatigue amongst the region’s social media users who have to a large degree moved on,” said Al-Qassemi, himself an influential figure on social media, with over 318,000 followers on Twitter.

“I have personally been posting more about Arab art, culture and entrepreneurship on my social media feeds due to being jaded by the political setbacks over the past few years.”"  Oh, no, Sultan. You obviously have chosen to not talk about politics for whatever (obvious) reasons but many other Arabs are talking about politics more than ever.  Just look around.

the one real love of King `Abdullah

One of the divorcees of King Abdullah told me that the one real love of the king was the Lebanese singer, Samirah Tawfiq (of Maltese origin). But his brothers would not let him marry her.  She lives in London in a house purchased by Abdullah.

The wives of King Abdullah

"Abdullah kept no more than four wives at once, and was married at least 13 times".

The Daughters of King Abdullah

"Of his 15 known daughters, one is a prominent physician, and another has appeared on television to advocate women’s rights."  It is funny that the New York Times failed to mention that the King has four of his daughters from Al-`Anud Al-Fayiz locked up.

Former US ambassador in Saudi Arabia declares King Salman as "well-educated"

Some of the former US ambassadors to GCC countries are among the most corrupt.  Look at this guy: "“He is considered to be a straight-shooter, not corrupt, well educated,” Mr. Jordan said."  Well-educated? He has not even completed his secondary studies.  By well-educated he means that he can barely read and write

Why can't Muslims understand that France is all about absolute freedom of speech?

"The French authorities have also moved vigorously to use a law passed in November that reins in speech supporting terrorism. Up to 100 people are under investigation for making or posting comments that support or try to justify terrorism, prosecutors say, including a driver who drunkenly hit a car, injuring the other driver, and went on to praise the acts of the killers when the police detained him. He was sentenced to four years in prison."

Tyrants and tyrants

All Arab rulers are tyrants, from Syria to Morocco and in between. But the tyrants of the House of Saud are worse because they spread their tyranny well beyond their borders through doctrine, money, and weapons.

Sa`d Hariri in mourining: he was so upset that they kicked him outside of the royal palace

The best hope for the US government

"STEPHEN HADLEY, FORMER NATL. SECURITY ADVISER TO PRES. BUSH: But one of the things we have seen from the Arab spring, as you suggest, is that these hereditary monarchies have some legitimacy among their people, in way the military supported and authoritarians really did not. " (thanks Basim)

"our best hope right now is to get the Sunnis and Shias fighting each other"

"Scheuer: No ma'am, I think we should back away from the whole thing. The thing was ideal when IS was advancing on Baghdad because Sunnis were killing Shias. That's exactly what we need. We've proven that we're just militarily incompetent or that the military is so shackled by its political leaders, that it can't defeat these people. But our best hope right now is to get the Sunnis and Shias fighting each other and let them bleed each other white."