Monday, February 29, 2016

When the Zionists of the New York Times speak on behalf of the Palestinian people

"He recently told Defense News that his forces had disrupted at least 200 attacks against Israel since October....but some Palestinians understood it as an effort to save Palestinian lives". Who are those Palestinians who understood? In fact, this interview with this collaborator was universally and uniformly condemned, and not only by Hamas and PFLP as this lousy paper suggests.

Saudi-led airstrikes on Yemeni market

From a reader: ""Saudi-led air strikes on a market near the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, have killed at least 40 people." "The strikes hit the Nehm district, northeast of Sanaa on 27 February. "Several Saudi-led airstrikes directly struck people gathered in a crowded market in Nehm district of Sanaa province and killed about 45 civilians while 50 others were injured at the scene," said one resident. Burned corpses lay strewn across the scene and the rebel-controlled Saba news agency published pictures of children being treated for their injuries. The coalition is yet to comment."

This is not the North Korean dictator speaking: "we are prepared to use nuclear weapons in defense of our country if necessary"

"Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work, who witnessed the launch, said the U.S. tests, conducted at least 15 times since January 2011, send a message to strategic rivals like Russia, China and North Korea that Washington has an effective nuclear arsenal." "And that is a signal ... that we are prepared to use nuclear weapons in defense of our country if necessary." "The nuclear spending boost is an ironic turn for a president who made reducing U.S. dependence on atomic weapons a centerpiece of his agenda during his first years in office." "He received the Nobel Peace Prize in part based on his stance on reducing atomic arms."

New York Times is picking successors to Mahmoud Abbas

From Basim: "Mr. Faraj, who was born in 1962, is highly considered by both the United States and Israel as a discreet and trustworthy partner.

Mr. Fayyad, who never joined Fatah, is also respected by Israel and by the West ..."


PS In regard to Faraj:

He recently told Defense News that his forces had disrupted at least 200 attacks against Israel since October. That led to criticism from Hamas, the Islamist rival to Mr. Abbas’s Fatah Party and organizer of some of the attacks, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, but some Palestinians understood it as an effort to save Palestinian lives, since scores have been killed by Israelis during attacks or attempts."

Blame the Egyptian journalist for your ignorance

"In a longwinded answer to a different question asked of me by an Egyptian reporter concerning the film from Tunisia, Arab/African culture, and my familiarity with Arab films specifically, I said I had seen and loved Theeb, and Timbuktu, but admitted, "I don't know very much about, honestly, the Middle East, ...and yet I've played a lot of different people from a lot of different cultures. And the thing I notice is that we're all -- I mean there is a core of humanity that travels right through every culture, and after all, we're all from Africa originally, you know? We're all Berliners, we're all Africans, really.""

Unsurprisingly, cruelty to animals is no big deal in Israel

Our cats won't step foot in the land before the liberation of Palestine: "Only 77 of 463 police investigations into alleged cruelty to animals (17 percent) resulted in indictments in 2015, according to police statistics.   This, however, constitutes an improvement over recent years. In 2014 only 8 percent of police investigations led to indictments, while in 2013 it was 9 percent."   So basically, Hitler treated his dog better than Israel treats animals.

Germany fines man for 'blasphemous' car bumper stickers

"A retired teacher in Germany has been fined €500 (£400) for defaming Christianity under the country’s rarely enforced blasphemy laws. 
Albert Voss, a former physics teacher and avowed atheist, was convicted of blasphemy after he daubed the rear window of his car with anti-Christian slogans."

knowing Syria and Anne Barnard

"For example, my colleague Dr. Tim Heckenlively one day saw one of Anne Barnard’s (Beirut bureau chief for the NY Times) standard propaganda pieces in “the paper of record” on the Battle of Maaloula and knew it to be false based simply on having physically stood in the town. At first we waited and figured that surely somebody working for a major newsroom who had been to Maaloula, and knew the topography there, would point out Barnard’s glaring errors concerning the source of the shelling and destruction of churches. Surely somebody out there personally knew Mother Pelagia Sayyaf (who had been held at gunpoint by rebels, and forced to make a propaganda video) and understood she was being paraded in front of the camera under duress (Barnard and others would promote the narrative that the FSA/Nusra forces were “liberating” the ancient Christian town).
But a much needed corrective never appeared outside of independent media. Tim knew Maaloula and Mother Pelagia quite well and was easily able to deconstruct Barnard’s false report (which she wrote far from Maaloula in Beirut). While Tim’s article never made it into papers or onto big news sites, it was promoted and appreciated by some true experts who’ve actually been to Maaloula (and ironically, the article was “favorited” by Barnard herself; it should further be noted that, as As’ad AbuKhalil routinely points out, Barnard doesn’t know Arabic). This case of Maaloula is but an old example of something I’ve seen play out many times since then." (thanks Brad)

When a propagandist for Saudi princes talks about Yemen: Jamal Khashoggi

Saudi Arabia is bombing in Yemen to bring peace and stability By - Telegraph

These are the partners of the war criminals in Yemen

"In a new report released today, the Control Arms Coalition names France, Germany, Italy, Montenegro, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, the UK, and the US as having reported licenses and sales to Saudi Arabia worth more than $25bn in 2015 including drones, bombs, torpedoes, rockets and missiles. These are the types of arms currently being used by Saudi Arabia and its allies for gross violations of human rights and possible war crimes during aerial and ground attacks in Yemen."

CIA's assassination plot using bioweapons

"But the most sinister episode came when a team of CIA officers decided that they could use Donovan’s unique access to Castro to assassinate the Cuban leader. The declassified CIA history mentions only in a footnote on page 137 that “at some point during Donovan’s negotiations with Castro“ several officials in the covert operations division “devised a plan to have Donovan be the unwitting purveyor of a diving suit and breathing apparatus, respectively contaminated with Madura foot fungus and tuberculosis bacteria, as a gift for Castro.“ " (thanks Amir)

New York Times explains to its readers that racial concerns are rather small

"The best foreign language film, “Son of Saul,” a Holocaust film from Hungary. The win, widely expected, was another reminder that the movie culture is international, and the woes it examines are larger, even, than racial concerns in the United States."

Sunday, February 28, 2016

"U.S. gives more bombs to ISIS-supplier Turkey"

"Ellwood National Forge Co., Irvine, Pennsylvania (W52P1J-16-D-0041); and General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems, Garland, Texas (W52P1J-16-D-0042), were awarded a $682,900,000 firm-fixed-price, foreign military sales contract (Turkey) for BLU-109 penetrator bomb bodies and components." (thanks Amir)

A training session in Saudi Arabia titled: "Is that woman a human being"?

This is the original Reuters report which falsely claimed that Lebanon did not condemn the attack on the Saudi diplomatic missions in Iran

How Western media lied about Libya to justify the Western-Arab war criminal intervention

"Human Rights Watch would later count about 350 protesters killed before the intervention — not the thousands described in some media accounts. But inside the Obama administration, few doubted that Colonel Qaddafi would do what it took to remain in power."

Met with a shoe: what does to mean to meet with the Israeli occupation ambassador in Cairo?

There is a famous buffoon who has been ridiculed for the last several years by Arabs worldwide and recently he met with the Israeli occupation ambassador in Cairo. Here is the footage of his reception the first time he entered the Egyptian parliament.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

US is a full partner in GCC war crimes in Yemen

"the Saudis and their allies have relied on U.S. tankers to refuel their aircraft in flight. And these missions continue today, Air Forces Central Command officials recently told Air Force Times. "We've flown 709 sorties involving 3,720 receivers," Air Force Maj. Timothy Smith, spokesman for the command, said on Feb. 17. "And we've offloaded 26,591,200 pounds of fuel" to foreign aircraft, he said." "The first few weeks involved dozens of fighter jets from Egypt, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, among other Gulf nations. The air campaign grew with relentless intensity throughout 2015, displacing more than 2 million people and killing thousands;"

British PM backs 'brilliant' arms deals with Saudi Arabia

"David Cameron has praised British arms companies that have done business with Saudi Arabia - hours after the European Parliament voted for an arms trade embargo with the Kingdom." "The non-binding motion called on member states to stop selling weapons to the country, which is currently conducting a widely-criticised military operation in neighbouring Yemen marked by high civilian casualties. The Saudi government has bought £3 billion of UK aircraft, arms and other defence products in 2015." (thanks Amir)

tyrannical allies of US and Israel

"Other techniques described include electric shocks, prying off fingernails, pouring insects on to the inmates, dousing prisoners with cold water in front of a fan, sleep deprivation for up to 20 days, threats of rape and sexual harassment, and, in two cases, sexual abuse." "In 2014, the UAE and Egypt also launched airstrikes in Libya in support of eastern factions, and last year the UAE joined Saudi Arabia with strikes in Yemen."

US Empire in Africa: "the United States [has] come to defend [its] interests, particularly as regards the Chad-Cameroon pipeline.”

"Garoua represents the newest expansion of America’s stealth war against jihad in Africa. Piloted and unmanned aircraft have flown from bases in Djibouti — the center of U.S. drone operations on the continent — as well as Ethiopia and Kenya, in addition to ships off the coast of East Africa." "A top opposition politician had echoed these suspicions, stating that “the United States [has] come to defend [its] interests, particularly as regards the Chad-Cameroon pipeline.” He was referring to a multibillion-dollar World Bank-financed project, completed in 2003, that transports petroleum more than 600 miles from three Chadian oil fields to a floating oil facility in the Gulf of Guinea."

NASA propaganda

I once heard Chomsky say in Berkeley that NASA is one of the biggest propaganda scams of the 20th century. I so agree. Look at this silly list: let me tell you.  In a Hotel in London, they give customers of the hotel those aluminum coats during fire alarms in the middle of the night. And they work like you cover yourself with a feather.  

Sexism and Qatari regime media: Huffington Post Qatari regime

This Qatari regime website (Huffington Post Arabic) had a story about how Saudi women enjoy sexually harassing Saudi men. I kid you not. But the story has been removed.  

Reuters changed its phrasing of this story on Saudi Arabia and Lebanon

The original story said: "Hezbollah indicated there would be no apology to Saudi Arabia over Lebanon's decision not to condemn attacks on Saudi diplomatic missions in Iran ..."  In reality, the statement in question also contained a categorization of Hizbullah as a terrorist organization.  Lebanon, repeatedly condemned Iranian attacks on Saudi buildings in Iran. (thanks Basim)

The last ones who can mock the elections in Iran

Media of Qatari and Saudi regimes are the last ones who are entitled to mock elections in Iran, no matter how bad they are and how restricted.

The price of atheism in Saudi Arabia

"A court in Saudi Arabia has sentenced a man to 10 years in prison and 2,000 lashes for expressing his atheism in hundreds of Twitter posts.
Al-Watan online daily said Saturday that religious police in charge of monitoring social networks found more than 600 tweets denying the existence of God, ridiculing Quranic verses, accusing all prophets of lies and saying their teachings fueled hostilities."

Al-Manar TV and House of Saud

Several guests who appeared on Al-Manar TV (Hizbollah's news station) over the years, told me that the station firmly requests that they abstain from criticizing the Saudi regime during the show.  Some guests were not invited back after criticizing the Saudi King. Now they are making exceptions but this will not last. There will be a deal-under-the-table soon, I predict.  

Walid Jumblat and AUB

It seems that my article on AUB made Walid Jumblat angry.  

Fear among Lebanese in Saudi Arabia

In the last week, I received many requests from Lebanese who had exchanged messages with me over the years on Facebook to erase the conversations.   

Friday, February 26, 2016

Saudi Arabia and Lebanon: The Closing of the Arab World

My weekly article in Al-Akhbar: "Saudi Arabia and Lebanon: The Closing of the Arab World".

The buffoonery of Jordan's King is rarely showcased in the Western media

Here he is officiating over a ceremony for the raising of the flag of the "Great Arab Revolt".  Kid you not.  

I hate it when religion and music mix: the case of Hizbollah

On the bad quality of Hizbollah's anthems.  In my republic, religious people would not be allowed to touch musical instruments--assuming that religion is legal in my republic.

PS This is anthem by Ali Barakat, the chanter of the party, about Qasim Sulaymani.

Remembering the victims of Hebron Massacre

"25 February 2016 marks the 22nd anniversary of the 1994 Ibrahimi Mosque massacre in occupied al-Khalil (Hebron)." "Baruch Goldstein, an Israeli settler walked into the Ibrahimi mosque on 25th February during the Ramadan noon-prayer and opened fire on the worshippers, executing 29 and injuring more than 120 Palestinians."

Vietnam War veteran threatens to kill Muslim family

"Leonardo Debello, 72, who is a decorated Vietnam War veteran, allegedly told a father and his family that they needed to die." "As they were leaving the neighborhood, Debello yelled "you Muslim - All of you should die", according to a police report obtained by News 4. Debello is accused of continuing to say "this state allows you to carry a gun and shoot you." Debello then walked into his home and returned with a gray handgun, according to the police report, and stated "you, your wife and your kids have to die."

PA collaborates with Israel's torture agency

"Palestinian prisoners are being held in painful positions for up to 35 hours, according to a new report." "The report also highlights the collaboration between the Palestinian Authority Preventive Security force and Shin Bet."

When Albert Einstein was stupid

So I was right: Einstein could not have written that article which he stupidly put his name on it.  From Nikolai: "In "Einstein on PoliticsHis Private Thoughts and Public Stands on Nationalism, Zionism, War, Peace, and the Bomb" they reproduce an article "Palestine, Setting of Sacred History of the Jewish Race," which they say was published by the Princeton Herald on April 14, 1944, and was ""jointly conceived" by Kahler and Einstein, and "written by Erich Kahler."" (pg 324)"

Nusrah Front warning

The Nusrah Front (a terrorist group--the Syrian branch of Al-Qa`idah--now deemed "moderate" by some in Western media) warns that a victory of "Shi`ites and `Alawites" would pose a danger to the Arabian peninsula.

"While Liberal-Conservative gangs attack BDS, university campuses support it"

"Within a few hours of each other, Canadian politicians voted 229-51 to condemn BDS and even individuals who promote it; then the Students Society at McGill, a leading university in Montreal, voted to support BDS. An interesting irony here is that the new Canadian PM, Justin Trudeau is an alum of McGill and even personally condemned the efforts to support BDS at McGill when it was first introduced a year ago." (thanks Amir)

Thursday, February 25, 2016

US military aid

"The U.S. Spends $5.9 Billion on Foreign Military Financing. Guess What 2 countries received 75% of the Total.... " (thanks Fouad)

Britain & the U.S. are directly to blame for war crimes in Yemen

"the UK and US are two of the primary causes of the problem in Yemen. Put simply, a coalition of the wealthiest Arab states have joined forces to bomb and starve one of the poorest, with the assistance of two of the world’s richest and most powerful powers." "So the next time you hear British and US diplomats express outrage at the heartless carnage in Syria – as they should – remember what they want you to ignore: that there is another nation, and another people, suffering just as much. Except that when it comes to Yemen’s tragedy, both Britain and the US are partly, but directly, to blame."

Bahrain Repression

"It is not clear if the court screened the video, but Sharif’s remarks, at a memorial for a 16-year-old protester who was shot and killed by the security forces in 2012, will strike anyone from a free society as nothing more than a calm, determined call for the country’s disenfranchised majority to persevere in their struggle for democracy and justice." "After Sharif was re-arrested, less than two weeks later, the State expressed its “concern,” but made no mention of any concrete action against the gulf kingdom where the United States Navy’s Fifth Fleet is based."

'CIA-supplied' rocket launchers in Syria

"Syrian rebel fighters are using Facebook to buy and sell heavy weapons, guns and ammunition - including 'CIA-supplied' rocket launchers."

"The Mind of a War criminal"

"Why did you support the Iraq war?" Gerson asked him. "Because Afghanistan wasn't enough," Kissinger answered. In the conflict with radical Islam, he said, they wanted to humiliate us. "And we need to humiliate them." Woodward, B. 2007. State of Denial: Bush at War, Part III. New York: Simon & Schuster. Page 408. (thanks Amir)

Hizbullah finances are "a tightly guarded secret" but freely discussed with Nicholas Branford, given his closeness to the Hariri family media

"The militant Shiite organization, whose finances are a tightly guarded secret, lately has been feeling a financial squeeze, according to a Hezbollah official and sources close to the group." (thanks Basim)

So where is Saudi regime in Yemen

Two weeks ago, all Gulf regime media were talking about how pro-Saudi forces have reached the outskirts of Sanaa.  Today, this is the headline: Saudi regime forces repel an attack by Huthis on Jazan--in Saudi Arabia.  Kid you not.  

Hizbullah and the Zionist regime of Sisi

Hizbullah has been quite favorable toward the Sisi regime, regardless of the latter vicious campaign against Gaza and the anti-Palestinian rhetoric of the regime media. There is now a Hizbullah delegation visiting Cairo and it it snot the first contact between Hizbullah and the Sisi regime.  

The unraveling of Al-Arabiyya

Al-Arabiyya is now led by Saudi propagandist, Turki Ad-Dakhil, who used to manage the twitter account of Saudi King--kid you not.  Lately, the propaganda intensity has reached an unusual pitch, and little consideration is being paid for general accuracy or credibility--not that it was ever important in such a propaganda outlet for Saudi princes.  Look at this story: the title says that Khamenei called all Syrian people "infidels". You click on the story, and it says: that Khamenei actually said that Iran is fighting infidels in Syria.  It is the Arabic version of Drudge.

Sisi going down?

The wide campaign of mockery against Sisi is now quite close to the campaign against Morsi just before his ouster.  Egyptian youth teach us lessons about the power of mocker of a ruler, and how that brings down his stature and undermines his aura.  

A Saudi liberal expresses admiration to the Bin Ladenite Jihad in Afghanistan

As you know, this famous Saudi propagandists (who worked for a variety of princes before settling for Prince Al-Walid, is often presented as a moderate liberal Saudi voice, and is cited widely in Western media).  Less known in the Western press is that he fought with Bin Laden and knew him well. He was asked in this interview about the Jihad in Afghanistan (a reference to the Ben Laden-led Arab Jihad there). He answers: "I am one of those who refuse the idea of association between the Jihad in Afghanistan from that era and the current extremism.  There is no connection between them as the Jihad there was true and pure Jihad; it had some mistakes, yes but it was moderate.  It did not have takfir and no suicide attacks and no dissent against the ruler or caliph..."

PS Also, read about how when he was fired from the newspaper, Al-Watan, he was asked to write a long apology to the King to be forgiven. A really moving story that made me emotional.

Albert Einstein can be stupid

You should read the essay by Albert Einstein titled "The Arabs and Palestine" and published in the Princeton Herald, April 14, 1944.  I doubt that Einstein actually wrote it; it is most likely that the coauthor of the article wrote it and the name of Einstein was added.  How else would you explain that a scientist would really argue that the Arabs deserve Palestine less than the Jews because their religious claim of the Jews is stronger than the religious claim of Muslim Arabs (Palestinian Christians are forgotten in his debate).   

Lebanese youth are mocking the pilgrimage to the Saudi embassy in Beirut by Lebanese politicians

None of the Western correspondents crowding Beirut bother with this story: of the Lebanese political class performing pilgrimage to the Saudi embassy to pay homage to the Saudi king and to apologize for the criticisms of the Saudi regime which are only voiced in one newspaper in Lebanon.  The story about the pro-Saudi regime, March 14 coalition, does not put the favored team of Western correspondents in good light.  

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

A committee of Lebanese residing in UAE officially thank the UAE rulers for punishing Lebanon--I am not making this up

Iranian regime repression

An Iranian director is sentenced to flogging and prison sentence for a film.  That lousy Iranian regime which I opposed from its very first day: the "wind of the East," as Anwar Abdul-Malak called it at the time, never hit me.  

US plan to partition Syria

"John Kerry, the US secretary of state, has said he will move towards a plan B that could involve a partition of Syria if a planned ceasefire due to start in the next few days does not materialise, or if a genuine shift to a transitional government does not take place in the coming months."

24 percent or more, of people killed in Pakistan by US drones since 2004 were civilians

"Yes, “critics”—that is to say, people who have actually investigated the results of drone strikes, like the Bureau of Investigative Journalism—have found that at least 10 percent, and perhaps 24 percent or more, of people killed in Pakistan by US drones since 2004 were civilians. US drones have killed at least 172 Pakistani children, the BIJ found. By contrast, the “intelligence” finds that drone strikes have killed almost no civilians because intelligence officials take the Orwellian position that “military-age males” in the vicinity of a drone strike are by definition not civilians,"

head scarf is 'soft' terrorism

"A policy paper issued by the Air Force Research Laboratory, titled Countering Violent Extremism: Scientific Methods & Strategies, includes a chapter setting forth controversial and unsubstantiated theories of radicalization, including the idea that support for militant groups is driven by “sexual deprivation” and that headscarves worn by Muslim women represent a form of “passive terrorism.” "

Live report from Awamiyyah, Qatif in Saudi Arabia

I received this report from eyewitnesses in Saudi Arabia: "The Saudi oppressive forces have been raiding the village for the last 8 hours. Based on sources in Awamia, 3 military vehicles drove into ditches due to their own incompentcy and have been unable to get out. In fear that vehicles will be attacked, heavy military support was sent to the area which has been indiscriminately shooting at anything in sight. We have also received reports that one individual was shot by a sniper including a foreign worker mainly Indian was shot dead during his presence in his home. Nevertheless, at least 29 men and women were also shot and injured cruelly by the Saudi security forces. All this happened not in a war battle nor confronting with ISIS, it's committed against civilians present in residential area in Awamia, Qatif."

PS: I am told that this was from yesterday.

Zionist porn

""Israel’s efforts to use “girls in bikinis” and Nazi genocide to sell itself abroad are not working, a secret conference of the country’s hasbara – or propaganda – chiefs has been told."" (thanks Amir)

Ahad Ha`am and early Zionism

When people cite Ahad Ha`am and his early devastating critique of the Zionists in late 19th century Palestine, it has to be remembered that Ha`am didn't deviate from the Zionist belief that force is necessary in dealing with the Arab natives.  His position was that Zionists were using force against the Arabs unjustly but that force has to be used against the Arabs unjustly.  (See on this, for example, Yosef Gorny, Zionism and the Arabs, 1882-1948: A study in Ideology, Oxford, p. 28).

anti-abortion advocacy in Huffington Post Arabic: what is next? Support for Ben Laden in Huffington Post Arabic?

A silly anti-abortion rant in Huffington Post Arabic.  I am dying to know how much the Qatari regime had paid for the franchise.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

A Saudi professor "outs" all Shi`ites who work for Al-Arabiyyah (although they all are supportive of Saudi regime)

Is Al-Arabiyya unraveling before our eyes? A Saudi professor of media studies--no less--identifies all the Shi`ites who work for Al-Arabiyyah (and all of them are supportive of the Saudi regime).  It seems it is not enough to support the regime if you happen to be Shi`ite.

Ta-Nehisi Coates sings of Zionism

"Unfortunately, there is a major flaw in his argument that exposes one of his most glaring political lapses. Coates presents German reparations to Israel as a successful and moral model, ignoring the horrors Israel inflicted and still inflicts on Palestinians and other people of the region using those funds.
To make matters worse, shortly after the publication of his piece, Coates promoted reparations at a live event with his Atlantic colleague Jeffrey Goldberg, the former Israeli prison guard and Obama favorite.
If the objective is to demonstrate the feasibility of reparations, then emphasizing German compensation to Holocaust victims would be completely appropriate.
But Coates focuses on the totally separate issue of German “compensation” to the settler-colonial state of Israel, portraying it as a positive development that contributed to Israel’s civilian infrastructure and economic growth.
“Reparations could not make up for the murder perpetrated by the Nazis. But they did launch Germany’s reckoning with itself, and perhaps provided a roadmap for how a great civilization might make itself worthy of the name,” Coates writes.
There are some gaping holes in this narrative..."


Saudi Arabia is playing with fire in Lebanon.  As if it wants to push the country into civil war.  

Liberal-Conservative collaboration with Israeli warcrimes & occupation

"Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberals have joined forces with the official Opposition to overwhelmingly approve a Conservative motion condemning Canadians who promote the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement against Israel."

Canada & Israel share a long history of colonialism

"That, given Canada and Israel share a long history of friendship as well as economic and diplomatic relations, the House reject the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which promotes the demonization and delegitimization of the State of Israel, and call upon the government to condemn any and all attempts by Canadian organizations, groups or individuals to promote the BDS movement, both here at home and abroad." (thanks Amir)

BDS in Canada

Robert Kennedy Jr's long article on US foreign policy in the Middle East

Regarding this article:
1) the word Palestine and Palestinians appear not once in this long article. Not once.  In fact, Israel is mentioned in the context as being one of the only legitimate reason for US intervention in the Middle East. This omission undermines the entire credibility of the article.
2) the treatment of Bashshar Al-Asad's regime is way too favorable: just because he does not chop off heads like Saudi Arabia, does not make the regime acceptable (to Syrians or to standards).
3) His treatment of US foreign policy is rather way too absolving of his uncle's administration: the CIA was not operating without the full approval and consent of the US government.  

The Holy War of the CIA

"At a White House meeting between the CIA’s director of plans, Frank Wisner, and John Foster Dulles, in September 1957, Eisenhower advised the agency, “We should do everything possible to stress the ‘holy war’ aspect,” according to a memo recorded by his staff secretary, Gen. Andrew J. Goodpaster."

Iranian regime and Salman Rushdie

One of the reactionary and obscurantist aspects of the lousy Iranian regime is its obsession with the Salman Rushdie case (notwithstanding that Rushdie is a very obnoxious reactionary sexist anti-Muslim writer).

Committee to protect journalists

I noticed this in the press release: "The Darayya Media Center, a local media group dedicated to reporting news from the district".  Excuse me but this "media center" is a media arm of the Free Syrian Army (or one of their branches) and celebrates victories of the army on their page.  But who cares: when it comes to Syria, all media standards and journalistic criteria are off.

Rebranding of Al-Qa`idah in Syria as a moderate rebel group

"A Spanish citizen who studied in Birmingham and headed a tech company based in a London suburb is leading efforts to rebrand one of Syria’s most prominent armed Islamist opposition groups.
Labib al-Nahhas is the “foreign affairs minister” for Ahrar al-Sham, agroup that has fought in alliances with al-Qaida’s Syrian franchise, and aims to establish a Sunni theocracy in Syria. One of its original leaders also had personal connections with Osama bin Laden.
His role sends him around western capitals arguing that his group is an ultra-conservative but legitimate part of the opposition, using his own European roots to reach out to diplomats wary of the group’s history and beliefs.
“From the ideological point of view, I am an Islamist of course; if not I wouldn’t be in this movement. But the difference, what enables me to do my work better, is that I understand both worlds and not only from a theoretical point of view,” he said in an interview about his role in the group and its new positioning."

Saudi regime elite's pilots

"Two Saudi Air Force cadets training in Britain have been arrested over an alleged rape: 
The Middle Eastern recruits, both 21, who are currently stationed at an RAF base, were held after a woman complained she was sexually assaulted last week.
The Saudi men, based at RAF Cosford in Shropshire, are alleged to have carried out the attack in nearby Telford.
One of them was arrested on suspicion of rape, while the second was held on suspicion of conspiracy to rape. They have been released on bail until next month."

Western contributions to Middle East peace and democracy

"Imports by Middle Eastern states on the increase
Arms imports by states in the Middle East rose by 61 per cent between 2006–10 and 
2011–15. In 2011–15 Saudi Arabia was the world’s second largest arms importer, with an increase of 275 per cent compared to 2006–10. In the same period, arms imports by the United Arab Emirates rose by 35 per cent and those by Qatar went up by 279 per cent. Egypt’s arms imports increased by 37 per cent between 2006–10 and 2011–15, primarily due to a steep rise in 2015.
‘A coalition of Arab states is putting mainly US- and European-sourced advanced arms into use in Yemen,’ said Pieter Wezeman, Senior Researcher with the SIPRI Arms and Military Expenditure Programme. ‘Despite low oil prices, large deliveries of arms to the Middle East are scheduled to continue as part of contracts signed in the past five years.’"

Robert Fisk on the guilt of residents of two Shi`ite towns terrorized and besieged by "moderate" Syrian rebels

"Many of them had visited the great Iranian shrines in Najaf and Kerbala and several women, including Fatima Younis, had sent their daughters to Tehran University".  (thanks Ali)

This just in from Saudi Arabia

Saudi regime forces are shooting in Awwamiyyah. People are terrified. I got this report from a Saudi citizen there.

Oral history of the Iran-Iraq war

From Laleh (in response to a post): "":I wish that someone would compile a massive English-language oral history of the Iraq-Iran war"

"The Iranians have produced a large library of such oral history (not just of soldiers, but also of nurses and others affected by the violence) and published it in Persian.  Not sure about Iraq."

Why are those Lebanese MPs and financiers standing in line?

The Hariri family organized a public petition in which people sign their loyalty pledge to the Saudi royal family.  I am not making this up.

Muhammad bin Rashid's son give an Arab women award to Queen of Jordan

So Hamadan bin Muhammad bin Rashid gives the Arab women award to the Queen of Jordan, who is married to the brother of the 3rd wife of Hamdan's polygamous father, Muhammad bin Rashid.

Monday, February 22, 2016

GCC forces fighting with Al-Qa`idah in Yemen: On a visit to the frontline near the city of Taiz, a documentary maker filmed jihadists and pro-government militiamen, supported by UAE soldiers

"The BBC has found evidence in Yemen that troops from a Saudi-led coalition force and al-Qaeda militants are both fighting Houthi rebels in a key battle." (thanks Don)

One Egyptian industrialist showing appreciation for Syrian workers.

Compare Cuba with Gulf countries

"The Cuban government continues to crack down on political dissent, and administration officials acknowledge that Havana has not done enough to allow for freedom of expression. Rhodes said Thursday that the president would meet with dissidents during next month’s visit."  This is the differences between Cuba and US allies in the Gulf: In the Gulf there are no dissidents that are allowed to exist outside of jail, and no US president would dare ask to meet with them.  So spare me your silly rhetoric about human rights in Cuba.

Bernie Sanders in Arabic: I think he needs an Arabic editor/translator

Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders)
‏أمريكا يصبح أحسن وطن عندما نحن نقف معاً ونقول لا الى العنصرية والكراهية والتعصب الأعمى ‎‪#AmericaTogether‬‏ ‎‪

Moderate Syrian rebels

Moderate Syrian rebels make an end to bombing of Al-Qa`idah in Syria a condition for a cease-fire.

Nebraska bank makes woman take off head scarf, than refuse her.

"A Muslim woman was denied entry to a bank in Nebraska after refusing to remove her head scarf. Following the woman’s complaint, the bank then decided to adjust its security policy regarding religious headwear."

Iran-Iraq war

"I wish that someone would compile a massive English-language oral history of the Iraq-Iran war."

Bassem Mroue reports on (and implicitly justifies) bombings in Syria

"A series of blasts ripped through the Sayyida Zeinab suburb of Damascus, killing at least 83 people and wounding more than 170, the official SANA news agency said. The neighborhood is home to one of Shiite Islam’s holiest shrines, which his heavily guarded by Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement and other Shiite militiamen from Iraq and elsewhere.

The Observatory said 57 people, including 11 women, were killed by two car bombs set off in a mostly Alawite neighborhood. Syrian President Bashar Assad hails from the Alawite minority, an offshoot of Shiite Islam."

PS I usually see this type of thing when Bassem Mroue is the lead reporter." (thanks Basim)

Huffington Post's brand name in Arabic

I don't know if Qatar paid a lot of money for the Arabic brand name of Huffington Post, but it is getting ridiculous. The amount of Salafi Wahhabi religious advocacy in the website, is getting more intense.  This is one of the bloggers there, and is calling on people be guided by God.

As Americans often chant, USA-USA-USA

""With a 33 per cent share of total arms exports, the USA was the top arms exporter in 

War criminal exposes Israel's divide-and-conquer regional strategy

"The defense minister said that the best outcome in Syria, as far as Israel was concerned, was for the country to be divided into smaller cantons ruled by individual ethnic groups." "As cynical as it might be to say this, Israel’s goal was for rivers of blood to flow in Syria. And that’s exactly what’s happened. The more Syrians killed each other, the less they would kill Israelis. Chaos in Syria was Israel’s friend."

Israeli cyber war on BDS

"Israel is using its world-leading expertise in cyber security to take on the growing threat of the global pro-Palestinian movement to boycott Israel." "I want to create a community of fighters," said Sima Vaknin-Gil, the director general of Israel's Ministry for Strategic Affairs and Public Diplomacy, to Israeli tech developers at a forum last month dedicated to the topic. Initiatives are largely being kept covert." "Omar Barghouti, co-founder of the BDS movement, said "quite a few web pages" that BDS websites linked to have mysteriously disappeared from the Internet. "We assume Israel's cyber sabotage is ongoing, but we are quite pleased that its detrimental impact on the global BDS movement has been dismal so far," he said." (thanks Amir)

Convergence of New Atheists & hate groups

"A convergence of New Atheists and right-wing militarists seems inevitable. Many adherents of both political currents share an agenda focused around antagonizing Muslims, supporting Benjamin Netanyahu's Israel and full throated backing for U.S. military campaigns in the Middle East."

Sunday, February 21, 2016

An Israeli university exam question likens African migrants to rats

"One of our Observers in Israel spotted a strange question on an engineering exam at a university: in a not-so-subtle way, it likens the country’s African migrants to rats. "

Wall Street Journal on Saudi-Lebanese relations

"Lebanon has abstained from voting in favor of anti-Iran statements declared in recent weeks by the Arab League and the Organization for Islamic Cooperation, following violent protests at Saudi Arabia's embassy in Tehran and a consulate in response to its January execution of prominent Shiite cleric Nemer al-Nemer." This is not accurate.  In fact, Lebanon's foreign minister condemned the burning of Saudi embassy, and Lebanon agreed to statements condemning the burning, but the Saudi regime added a section condemning Hizbullah (for some reason) and the Lebanese foreign minister did not join in that one.

Saudi princes in competition: another Saudi documentary on Hasan Nasrallah

The Islamist Jihadi TV network, Al-Wisal TV (owned by Prince `Abdul-`Aziz bin Fahd) responds to the trashy documentary on Hasan Nasrallah on Al-Arabiyya (which did not satisfy the propagandists of the House of Saud because it was seen as not being nasty enough) by promising to air its own documentary on Nasrallah.  

The Wall Street Journal explains the real reason behind the Saudi aid to the Lebanese Army

"The amount paid remains undisclosed. Riyadh intended the aid to bolster the Lebanese army as a counterbalance to the Iran-backed militant group."

The real reason for the crisis in Saudi-Lebanese relations

This is the picture of the Prince of Captagon, as he is referred to in some Lebanese media.  This Saudi princes was caught as he was lauding his private jet with tons of Captagon on its way to Saudi Arabia.  Shockingly, the prince remains in jail and all pressures by the Saudi regime to release him failed.  This is unprecedented as the Lebanese state always releases Saudi princes no matter what they are caught smuggling.

Nasrallah and the Amal Movement

What was mentioned in the "documentary" (22 minutes) by Al-Arabiyya about Hasan Nasrallah that he was a politburo member of the Amal Movement was wrong. There was no politburo for Amal at the time.  

US and Israel treat Mahmoud Abbas with utmost respect

A letter to the Palestinian people

My weekly article in Al-Akhbar: "A (Sad) Letter of `Itab [gentle chiding] to the Palestinian people".

Guess the identity of the interpreter of Prince `Abdul-`Aziz in Los Angeles from two decades ago

The war in Syria serves Israel's interests

"In fact, the war in Syria has largely served Israel’s interests. The ongoing fighting has worn down the Syrian army to a shadow of its former capabilities." "And Hezbollah, Israel’s main adversary in the north, has invested a quarter to a third of its manpower in fighting for the Syrian regime, and is losing dozens of fighters every month in battle. Official spokespeople do not say this publicly – there are things one cannot say when 470,000 people (according to recent accepted figures) are being massacred across the border – but Israel has been quietly wishing success to both sides and would not have been against the bloodletting continuing for a few more years without a clear victor."

Execution of a Palestinian by six Israelis who fired almost 50 bullets

"The video is a shocking display of Israel’s routine and reflexive use of lethal force, which has resulted in the slaying of approximately 170 Palestinians, including dozens of children, since a new phase of violence began in October last year. Al Jazeera media workers who were at the scene to film a field report told the Ma’an News Agency that “six Israeli officers on site surrounded the Palestinian and ‘fired almost 50 bullets’ after he had already been shot twice and fallen to the ground.” " (thanks Amir)

Historic decision by the Saudi Shura Council

After years of discussion and religious hearing, the Shura Council has ruled that applause is religiously permissible.

Hizbullah versus Saudi regime

I tell people all the time: don't assume that Hizbullah is as principled as people think, even in its current hostile stance toward the Saudi regime.  Remember that Hizbullah recently been warming up relations with Ilyas Murr (the man who was made by Syrian intelligence apparatus before becoming a tool of March 14, and who was cited as Minister of Defense in Wikileaks sending advice to the Israeli war machine during the July war and who made the most grotesque comments in those talks).  Hizbollah's head of its parliamentary bloc, Muhammad Ra`d, recently visited Al-Murr accompanied by the Iranian Minister, and a Hizbullah (Sunni) propagandist recently praised Al-Murr (and he writes a column in his paper, Al-Jumhuriyyah).  It is always a mistake to assume that Hizbullah and Iran are as principled as they want their followers to think.  Those have had conflicts with Saudi regime before and made up with it before.  Hizbullah MPs even cut the cake in previous reception at the Saudi embassy in Beirut during the celebration of the "national day".

The grotesque rhetoric of the Syrian Ba`thist regime

If you know the extent to which the Syrian regime resorts to the same chewed and tried rhetoric of past years.   The other day, the Syrian regime issued a statement in which it said that it "reserves the right" to respond to Turkish attacks on Syrian territory.  But has not the Syrian regime been reserving the right to respond to Israeli attacks and occupation since 1973?  

What happened when Al-Arabiyya (the news station of Muhammad bin Salman) aired a documentary on Hasan Nasrallah?

The quality of propaganda in the media of Saudi princes is deteriorating by the hour.  There is pressure among the various media outlets to outbid one another.  Suddenly, this week, Al-Arabiyyah (which is now owned by Muhammad bin Salman, after he pushed the previous owners, King Fahd's brother-in-law and his son, `Abdul-`Aziz) started airing promos for a documentary about Hasan Nasrallah, titled The Story of Hasan.  The intention was clearly an insult job, most likely produced by the Lebanese propagandists of the Saudi regime.  Yet, as soon as it aired, Saudi propagandists across social media took to twitter and Facebook to attack the station and to accuse of serving Hizbollah's propaganda interests.  I am not sure why but I surmise that the snippets of speeches by Nasrallah contrasted with the oratorical skills of Saudi princes and of Saudi regime men in Beirut.  Either way, the station dropped the film and I could not even find it on the website of Al-Arabiyyah.  (I did watch it but not on Al-Arabiyya website).

Saudi foreign minister on wearing shoes

"SPIEGEL: How do you explain the ideological closeness between the Wahhabi faith in Saudi Arabia and Islamic State's ideology? How do you explain that Daesh applies, with slight differences, the same draconian punishments that the Saudi judiciary does?

Al-Jubeir: This is an oversimplification which doesn't make sense. Daesh is attacking us. Their leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, wants to destroy the Saudi state. These people are criminals. They're psychopaths. Daesh members wear shoes. Does this mean everybody who wears shoes is Dash?"   In fact, many ISIS members wear sandals or flip-flops.  We have not had a strategic thinker holding the foreign ministry position since Lord Palmerston.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Loyalty tests for Lebanese living in Saudi Arabia

Saudi regime is furious that a Saudi prince remains in jail after being caught in Beirut airport with tons of Captagon.  So yesterday, Saudi regime announced that it was withdrawing a $4 billion aid to Lebanese Army and security forces, and now this threat:

Again, look how the Washington Post AND the New York Times refer to casualties in the Arab-Israeli conflict in the same manner:

"According to a count by The Washington Post, more than 27 Israelis have been killed in knife, gun and vehicular attacks; more than 160 Palestinians have been shot dead by Israeli forces, 110 while carrying out attacks and 50 during clashes."   So notice that Palestinian deaths are justified because Palestinians were either carrying on attacks or "during clashes".  But the latter one is rather odd: if they died during "clashes" how come none of the Israelis ever die during "clashes"?  Israelis, unlike Palestinians, are simply killed.

Similarity of Zionists to ISIS

"Chehayeb told Salon Etzioni’s argument is “absolutely absurd” and reeks of hypocrisy. “If some writer said the only way to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is just to bomb Israel,” he said, “people would go up in arms about it.” He called it “ludicrous” that a prominent American professor “can just calmly say the solution is to flatten this entire city of 1 million people.” “I’m just speechless. It sounds ISIS-like, just eradicating an entire community of people,” Chehayeb added."

Israeli assassination of poor people's doctor

"Thirty-nine years ago, on 17 February 1977, Shukrallah Karam, 63, the only resident physician in the south Lebanese town of Khiam, where he was raised, was doing what he did best — tending to the sick and wounded at his house-turned-makeshift-clinic. Outside, Israeli tanks and troops were approaching on one of their many incursions into Lebanon." "Later that day, Israeli agents shot him dead. A year later, south Lebanon fell under Israeli occupation. Karam’s town became home to the notorious Khiam prison, where hundreds of Lebanese and Palestinians were locked up and tortured. It bore witness to a brutal occupation that lasted until 2000." (thanks Amir)

GWU refuses to condemn professor's call for genocide of Lebanese people

"George Washington University is refusing to condemn one of its most celebrated professors, who wrote an article this week calling for Israel to “flatten” Beirut with overwhelming use of extreme weapons including fuel air explosives that incinerate everything in their path." "Beirut's greater metropolitan area is home to over one million people." "Israel is the only nuclear weapons state in the Middle East, possessing at least 80 warheads, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, with some putting the number far higher."

Speaking in cliches: Saudi foreign minister

"AJ: And I don't think anyone can predict wars it's like trying to predict the stock market there may be ups and downs ..." (thanks Basim)

On the war in Syria: what Western reporters don't report (The man who beat up Christopher Hitchens in Beirut)

Gulf regimes (and their media coverage of Syria is being mimicked in full by Western media) insist that the war in Syria is sectarian, because they want to present it accordingly to mobilize their audiences along sectarian lines. In that, among other contributions, they have helped in the rise of ISIS and other terrorist groups.  They want you to believe that in Syria it is purely Alawites/Shi`ites versus Sunnis (and Western reporters dutifully emulate this perspective): they don't want to admit that there are Sunnis fighting with the Asad regimes and that there are other ideological factors involved. One of the non-covered aspects of the war in Syria is that the secular Syrian Social National Party (which is a Syrian nationalist party which has become under its current leadership a mere tool of the Syrian regime and is a close ally of Hizbullah) has been fighting in Syria along side Hizbullah forces. The man here is Adonis Nasr, who was killed in Latakia yesterday (and he is Christian Lebanese) by fire from Syrian non-secular rebels.  I knew him some from Hamra in Beirut, and he was famous for being the man who beat up Christopher Hitchens when the latter--presumably under the influence of alcohol--insulted a commemorative plaque for the hero Khalid `Alawan (`Alwan, an SSNP member, was walking on Hamra Street in the summer of 1982 when he saw two Israeli soldiers sitting in a cafe. He was so incensed that he ran home, got his revolver and shot the two occupiers).  When I would run into him in the street, I would ask him kiddingly: with which hand did you beat up Christopher Hitchens?

PS I recently discovered that Adonis unfriended me on Facebook (after having added me);  I assumed he did not like my position on Syria as he is a strong supporter of the regime.