Wednesday, May 31, 2017

I never understood this: why does the teaching of Hebrew in US takes precedence over the teaching of, say, Urdu?

MiddleEastInstitute (@MiddleEastInst)
Next term starts Monday! | Arabic, Persian, Turkish, and Hebrew Language Instruction at the Middle East Institute

Senator Warren is worried about Israeli security

From Eyal: "We all remember the "most progressive US senator"'s recent signature of a letter decrying the UN for not accommodating Israel more perfectly; his call for more Saudi intervention in Syria; his support for the weekly assassination lists and so on.

Well, what about the "Second most progressive senator", then? Polling suggests Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts holds that title. Warren was just given a fawning interview on the Young Turks' interview channel:

While she is not an assault-crazed zealot - beginning her replies with a desire to focus on finding political solutions through negotiations with Russia - she certainly does not criticize, let alone denounce, US activities in the region.

She is then asked "If at the end of the day Assad survives" (note the assumptions of heads-of-state the US doesn't like typically not surviving) "and is still the leader of Syria, can you live with that?"
Assad remaining as the leader of Syria, Senator Warren says that

"it depends on what the alternatives are, because the key for me is:

1. There cannot be a place that ISIS can retreat to 2. There cannot be a force that threatens to destabilize our allies 3. We cannot have this humanitarian crisis that just continue to unfold,
and he has proven that he is a monster, that he is willing to gas his own people

Those have to be our goals, and we have to be hard-nosed about keeping our eye on what the goals are."

Of course, the dead giveaway is number 2. The allies of Warren's United States in the region are Saudi Arabia, Israel, Turkey (most days anyway), Egypt, Jordan - which we, as opposed to the US, should want to destabilize, or rather foment revolutions in and against.

Now, number 3 is a combination of the questionable allegation regarding the chemical attack (*), and the sanctimonious cognitive dissonance regarding how the US' own role in killing civilians, aggravating humanitarian disasters and of course being armed to the teeth with nuclear and biological weapons (not to mention depleted uranium, white phosphore, napalm etc.) Also, the US had done almost nothing to alleviate the humantiarian catastrophe - both in terms of aid and in terms of letting refugees in. And I don't know that Warren has spoken out on this matter. So number 3 seems to me like mostly vacuous.

As for number 1 - ISIS has not had anywhere to retreat since, well, since it's gone on the retreat. And Mosul has almost fallen, and Raqqa seems to be coming along slowly but surely - with the Syrian regime having very limited participation in this effort (ok, to be fair, theyhave been holding long borders with ISIS which should not be discounted, and there's the Palmyra campaigns and now East Halab). So that 'key' is practically orthogonal to the question of the political goals of the US
in Syria in the mid-term and it'll become totally irrelevant in, what, a year? Year and a half tops.

But number 1 is also important in what Warren is _not_ including Al-Qaeda/JFS/HTS and friends in the group of those who must find no refuge and place for retreat. I guess those guys should always have the option to retreat to Langley, Virgina or some palace in Riyadh.

So the bottom line - as I read it - for the second most progressive senator is maintaing the order of oppressive Middle-Eastern states, and turning a blind eye to the Wahabiist militias related to and funded to some of them.

(*) The regime has killed massive amounts of people using regular munitions; more than ISIS and the Al-Nusra/FTS/HTS-affiliated factions combined if I'm not mistaken, so don't get me wrong on this. And precisely for this reason focusing on the chemical attack suggests a more self-interested concern about the Ba'ath regime's attack on Syrian civilians."

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Secretary Tillerson finally relented: he will host an Iftar dinner at the State Department after all

But he said that only pork will be served.  

Subtlety of Saudi regime media

This article is headlined: "The Visit which Mesmerized the leader of the Super Power".

Nothing confirms my atheism more than the sight of Arab despots feining piety

The Free Syrian Army is no more: it is official now

I often felt that the only people who believed in the existence and role of the Free Syrian Army are the Western correspondents in Beirut who have been desperately trying to prove that there are indeed effective and influential moderate and secular and feminist Syrian rebels but that they are not as famous.  Here, the comrade of Western correspondents in Beirut, the loyal Saudi royal advocate, `Abdul-Rahman Al-Rahid, officially announces the death of the Free Syrian Army and calls for the formation of a yet another new Syrian opposition army. He says: "Indeed, there is no more an opposition Free Syrian Army, as we knew it.  It has disintegrated, and has become small groups because it was targeted by Iranians and Russians and ISIS and "Nusrah" organizations and others".  Good night.

"بالفعل لم يعد هناك جيش سوري حر معارض، كما كنا نعرفه. فقد تفكك، وصار جماعات صغيرة بسبب استهدافه من قبل الإيرانيين والروس وتنظيمات «داعش» و«جبهة النصرة» وغيرها."

Do people know that the racist discriminatory state of Israel have explicit laws distinguishing between Jews and non-Jews?

Look at the visa policies, how they specifically mention the favorable visa policies for people who are Jewish (and yes, notice that UAE is included in the list).

Is there denying that this man will be remembered as one of the greatest generals in history?

Do you know who wrote the Constitution of the UAE?

Shaykh Zayid insisted that an Ikhwan thinker (Hasan Turabi) write the constitution of the UAE.  He in fact wrote the constitution of several of the Gulf states (God himself wrote the constitution of Saudi Arabia).

Monday, May 29, 2017

Hollywood anti-Semitism

Believe it or not. Karl Marx and Vladimir Lenin were both Jewish. I was shocked to find, most of the original Soviet Communists were Jewish

Washington Post didn’t disclose that writer who penned positive piece about Trump’s Saudi trip is paid by Saudi government

"The Washington Post allowed contributor Ed Rogers to praise Donald Trump’s trip to Saudi Arabia without disclosing that he’s a lobbyist for the Saudi Royal Court. The Post has repeatedly allowed Rogers to promote his lobbying clients’ interests without disclosure."

When Syrian rebel supporters report the murder of Syrian civilians at the hands of US bombs it isn't to a big story

It is not a big story

Can you imagine the international uproar (and the tears of Western correspondents) if this was a threat by an Arab against Israeli civilians?

"With Lebanon No Longer Hiding Hezbollah's Role, Next War Must Hit Civilians Where It Hurts, Israeli Minister Says"

Saudi-Israeli alliance

"Kara tweeted that he was “surprised by the warm attitude of representatives from the Gulf states,” crediting Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia and Israel as a game changer."

It is hilarious that DC think tanks are rushing to rescue the Saudi regime in its feud with Qatar

While Brookings is in the camp of the Qatari regime, the rest of the DC think tank scene is fully in the camp of Saudi and UAE regime money.  They all at a moment's notice discovered the evil of Qatar.  

If you are a free thinker and find yourself in agreement with the Washington, DC consensus on foreign policy:

ask yourself: where am I wrong?

Does Israel have a motivation to invade Lebanon? Did Nazi Germany have a "motivation" to invade Poland and the rest?

"On the other hand, if you factor in the increasing tensions between Hezbollah and Israel, then it could also prove to be the motivation for an invasion."  Did Israel have a Hizbullah motivation in the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, even before there was Hizbullah to invade and attack Lebanon? Do aggressor and occupying entities need motivations to attack and occupy?  So should resistance to occupation be dissolved lest the existence give the occupation force motivation?  Should the French resistance have dissolved itself lest the Nazis used their existence as a motivation to attack and kill more?

Mahmoud Abbas affirmed that he is following the matter of Palestinian prisoners minute-by-minute

UAE/Saudi alliance versus Qatar: Some remarks

1) this did not start out of nothing. There were signs before. There were more signs before in Qatari regime media than in the Saudi/UAE media. Qatari regime media have been for months swiping but mildly against things in Saudi Arabia and UAE.
2) This last round was clearly launched by the Saudi/UAE alliance, and it is clear that it was prepared.  Avalanche of articles and interviews were tossed into the ring immediately in the wake of Trump's visit.
3) Ironically, the Saudi regime media attack Qatar for being too close to US and Israel and to Iran.  In other words, the Saudi regime still maintains it holds a pure position against Israel.
4) the Qatari regime media are still playing defensive: they refrain from attacking UAE and Saudi Arabia head on.  The only thing that was launched yesterday was the video released "anonymously" on Youtube against the sons of Zayid in UAE. There are hints that this was produced by the Qatari regime.
5) Some Saudis are still publicly urging caution and restraints: these are the Saudi intellectuals and writers who are Ikhwanist and are fiercely opposed to what is (falsely) called in Saudi Arabia "the liberals", who are the staunch supporters of Muhammad bin Salman.
6) There is an overkill in the Saudi regime media: the likes of which we have not seen since the 1960s and Saudi regime campaign against Nasser.  Saudi regime media never plays matter to that degree: but then again, this Muhammad bin Salman plays to a different tune in a new style.
7) Qatari regime media expresses hope of reconciliation and still insists that the matter is merely a misunderstanding.  They are increasing the tone against Iranian and Syrian regime perhaps to show their credentials.
8) as someone who followed the Qatari-Saudi feud for years (and contributed to it on Aljazeera in the past) I sense something different this time. As if there is a Saudi scheme (not the first time) for a coup in Doha.  The Qatari regime media and diplomatic response to the crisis in the first day exhibited signs of divisions and awkwardness.
9) Qatar attends to this feud with far more disadvantages than in the past: Aljazeera is no more the strong weapon it was.  

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Most uncovered stories (by Western media) about the Middle East this week

Protests in Morocco.
Protests in Tunisia.
Protests in countries led by pro-US/pro-Saudi Arabia don't engender sympathy in the West.


If Bono would use the time he spends meeting with politicians and war criminals, he could have learned to play a musical instrument by now.  

Who says Saudi Shura Council is insignificant?

The Shura Council met for days this week and reached a consensus: that a new Order named after King Salman shall be introduced.  Long live democracy--Saudi style.

Qatari-Saudi/UAE rift intensfies

Aljazeera posted this cartoon.  A huge Saudi regime campaign followed on social media against it.  Aljazeera later apologized and removed it.  The cartoonist, Ikhwanist Ahmad Rahman, closed his Facebook page.  

What do you call war criminal militias armed and financed by Western governments?

"Both are in the custody of a counterterrorism militia aligned with the Western-backed government." Even though this militia has been found to have committed war crimes.  

Saudi Arabia and Jihadi terrorism

"Trump’s speech on Islam was nuanced and showed empathy for the Muslim victims of jihadist terrorism (who make up as much as 95 percent of the total, by one estimate). He seemed to zero in on the problem when he said, “No discussion of stamping out this threat would be complete without mentioning the government that gives terrorists . . . safe harbor, financial backing and the social standing needed for recruitment.” But Trump was talking not of his host, Saudi Arabia, but rather of Iran. Now, to be clear, Iran is a destabilizing force in the Middle East and supports some very bad actors. But it is wildly inaccurate to describe it as the source of jihadist terror. According to an analysis of the Global Terrorism Database by Leif Wenar of King’s College London, more than 94 percent of deaths caused by Islamic terrorism since 2001 were perpetrated by the Islamic State, al-Qaeda and other Sunni jihadists. Iran is fighting those groups, not fueling them. Almost every terrorist attack in the West has had some connection to Saudi Arabia. Virtually none has been linked to Iran."

Disclaimer: I don't know if Fareed Zakaria plagiarized this article. But I noticed that Washington Post editors inserted this disclaimer: "(Jamie Tarabay makes the same point.)

Hizbullah and druge money: the case of Joseph Asmar

This is a story spreading in US media, and in Gulf regimes media.  What is the story? There is a Lebanese crook named Joseph Asmar.  DEA agents entrapped him by posing as drug dealers who needed to launder money.  In taped conversations, he bragged about his ties to all sorts of people in the Middle East, including Hizbullah.  There was no evidence found of any links between him and HIzbullah, so the story become: "U.S. says Hezbollah associate pleads guilty to money laundering conspiracy"

PS Notice how US media obediently carry US government stories without requiring evidence. 

Sons of Zayid media: The National

"Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque has once again been ranked by travellers as the world’s second favourite landmark, according to TripAdvisor." (thanks Fred)  Now who in the world does not want to see the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque? Who?

Qatar, hoping to appease the Saudi regime expels a Saudi activist

Qatari regime media are still avoiding attacking the Saudi regime despite full assault on the Qatari regime and the Emir in Saudi regime media.  Today, hoping to appease the Saudi regime, Qatari regime returns a Saudi activist to Qatar.

Child marriages in the US

"In fact, more than 167,000 young people age 17 and under married in 38 states between 2000 and 2010, according to a search of available marriage license data by a group called Unchained at Last, which aims to ban child marriage. The search turned up cases of 12-year-old girls married in Alaska, Louisiana and South Carolina, while other states simply had categories of “14 and younger.” Unchained at Last was not able to get data for the other states. But it extrapolated that in the entire country, there were almost 250,000 child marriages between 2000 and 2010. Some backing for that estimate comes from the U.S. Census Bureau, which says that at least 57,800 Americans age 15 to 17 reported being in marriages in 2014."

Saturday, May 27, 2017

The Great Bargain?

My weekly article for Al-Akhbar: "Trump of Arabis: The Great Bargain or the Great Disappointments"?

Not to defend Erdogan but...

Regarding the clash between Erdogan's thugs and protesters in Washington, DC: I looked at the footage and I was stuck at how close protesters were allowed to get to Erdogan by Secret Service.  Can you imagine porters being allowed that close to Netanyahu?  Netanyahu's armed thugs would have shot at them without even a warning, and US media and Congress would have applauded.  

Friday, May 26, 2017

What are those Saudis doing?

Saudi regime sold this spectacle to Trump as part of the Center for combating extremism in the Kingdom.  In reality, this is part of the Ministry of Interior's program of surveillance to spot and punish anyone who disagrees with the regime.

PS Some observed that most the employees are watching porn on their screens.  

Saudi-Israeli alliance: Al-Arabiyya refers to Israeli occupation as "capture"--the same term favored by American Zionists

Moroccan Minister called being a Christian or a Shi`ite a "virus"

The Awqaf Minister in Morocco called being Christian or Shi`ite a "virus".  Notice that Arab regime bigoted rhetoric against Christians, Shi`ites, and Alawites don't get cover in Western media and don't result in Congressional hearings.  

US Travel Ban and Muslim despots

This is the opinion of a largely conservative court: "U.S. Chief Circuit Judge Roger Gregory wrote that the text of Trump’s executive order, which was challenged in courts across the country for targeting members of a particular faith, “speaks with vague words of national security, but in context drips with religious intolerance, animus, and discrimination.”"  Yet, just last week, in the wake of Trump's visit, the secretary-general of the Muslim League said that all statements and decisions by Trump were not directed against Islam or Muslims but against extremists.  

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Things have reached a point where reconciliation becomes difficult

Saudi propagandists have been circulating this letter alleging a split in the Qatari royal family.

Saudi youth have been circulating this video about Saudi financial giving to US

What is interesting is that some Saudis have been voicing sympathy with Qatar on social media

Many of the intellectuals who have been sympathetic to Turkey, Qatar, and or Ikhwan, have been voicing criticisms of Saudi media's attacks on Qatar.  This fellow is the head of the Saudi association of political science. He says below: "It really distresses us that today's Saudi newspapers are not like yesterday's newspapers.  And the TV channels attributed to Saudi Arabia have no restraints and lacks objectivity, credibility, and professional ethics."

د. سرحان العتيبي (@sirhanalotaibi)
‏يؤسفنا جدا أن الصحف السعودية اليوم ليست صحف الأمس، والقنوات المنسوبة للسعودية ليس لها ضابط وتفتقد إلى الموضوعية والمصداقية والأخلاق المهنية.

Would you not agree that Elliott Abrams can be quite philosophical?

He says: "Dictators don’t last forever".  As opposed to democratic leaders, who do last forever?

Please don't attack Trump: the director of the official Saudi lobby in DC gets very offended

Salman Al-Ansari (@Salansar1)
Are these polls the same as the ones that said his chances of winning the elections is 1 to 10 !?…

Nostalgia for the Soviet Union among Russians

"According to a 2014 poll by the Levada Center, 57% of Russians regretted the collapse of the Soviet Union."

Slaughtering Yemeni civilians will create jobs, jobs, jobs

" “Trump Says Arms Deal He Signed With Saudi Arabia Will Create Jobs,” was the NPR headline (5/20/17). “Trump Says Saudi Arabia Deal Will Create ‘Jobs, Jobs, Jobs,’” CBS Miami (5/20/17) reported. Neither of these reports used the words “Yemen” or “bombing” or “famine.” "

Not that Obama was different from Trump here

"There can be absolutely no coincidence at all that this latest repressive action follows the trip of the US president to the Gulf. The public show of support to Saudi Arabia extends to its neighbour Bahrain, whose ruling elite is nothing more than an extension of Riyadh. To witness such violence immediately following the visit of the president sends one very clear message: Trump backs the repression of democracy in the Gulf."

The real aim of Israeli-Saudi alliance

"The warming ties between Israel and US-aligned Arab regimes has come at the expense of solidarity with Palestinians." "According to The New York Times, Netanyahu’s flirtation with the Saudis and other regional governments is aimed at “subordinating the Palestinian dispute as a secondary issue.” " (thanks Amir)

Justin Trudeau

This man is all gimmicks and photo ops and no substance.  Enough of liberal fascination with him.

Is this a new Western message to Muslim veiled women?

Is the message here that Muslim veiled women would be tolerated in the West if they are willing to kiss a Jewish man in public?

Qatari-Saudi/UAE feud

Thus far, this is clear: Qatar does not want to escalate and it weirdly focusing ints attacks (rather mildly) on the media of UAE and Saudi regime as if those media are independent and acting on their own.  They also are using the American theme of "false news" and rumors.  But the behavior of the Qatari regime media on that night reveals something else: as if there are divisions on top, and lack of a coordinated message.  The Saudi and and UAE media have been preparing for this: it was clear that things have been simmering.  Qatari regime media have been mocking and needling Saudi Arabia and UAE for a while now.  The funny part is this: Saudi regime media focus their attack on Qatari regime on the charge that it is too close to Israel and Iran, and that it hosts US military base.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Saudi regime and Qatari regime journalists engaging in bitter verbal feuds

The director of official Saudi lobby in DC threatens to finish off Qatar

It says "Whoever quibbles with Al-Riyadh, the capital of the Arab and Islamic world, and the capital of combating terrorism at the global level, and capital of the economic changes in the region, will collide with a wall which will finish off his existence".  I see a diplomatic offensive underway.

كل من يناكف(الرياض)عاصمة العالم العربي والإسلامي؛وعاصمة مكافحة الإرهاب عالميا؛وعاصمة التحولات الإقتصادية في المنطقة،سيصطدم بجدار ينهي وجوده.

Qatari news agency was not hacked

Al-Arabiyya makes a strong case that Qatari news agency site was not hacked.

A Saudi prince visits the battle front

Prince Jalwi bin `Abdul-`Aziz visited an "advanced" post on the border with Yemen.  They spread Persian rugs for him.

My podcast interview for Intercept on Trump's adventures in Arabia

Jeremy Scahill interviewed me for this podcast on The Intercept: Trump's adventures in Arabia.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Stupid Western media theories about the origins of the Saudi-Qatari rift

Of course, it will start now: that Iran will be blamed for hacking the Qatari News Agency website and starting the rift between Saudi Arabia and Qatar.  Only those who don't know a word of Arabic and who has not read or watched the media of the two regimes in the last 12 hours will believe this.  It was clear that Saudi regime was prepared for this in advance: the column already appeared in the morning papers against Qatar, and the guests were already lined up to voice criticisms of the Qatari regime and its Emir.  It makes more sense that the Saudi regime was behind the hacking if there was any hacking. The statements of the Emir sounded true to me, and they are in line with the previous stances of Qatar.  So either there was an inside sabotage within the Qatari regime or the Saudis were behind the hacking with the assistance of their friends the Israelis.  And if Iran was behind the hacking, why were the statements about Iran not far more favorable?  

This is what you see if you try to access Aljazeera from UAE

Is there a power struggle in Qatar?

I wonder. 

What is happening in Qatar?

Qatari foreign minister now says that his statements were misinterpreted and that he did not call for recall of Qatari ambassadors in GCC countries (except Oman) and Egypt.  

Trump of Arabia

All kidding aside, who can deny that Trump managed to unite the pro-US Arab regimes? Haha

Al-Arabiyya talks about "currents" in Qatar

Nothing bothers those regimes than to talk about "currents" inside the regime.  The Al-Arabiyya broadcaster just asked his guest: tell us about currents in Qatar, or words to that effect. 

Saudi regime bans

Saudi regime today banned (the official website of the `Awni movement in Lebanon) to punish them because Jubran Basil said that he was not consulted before the release of the Riyadh statement. Donald: what have you done?

I only wish for more feuds and conflicts between Arab regimes

I hate them united.  I want them divided and in conflict.  

Qatari Emir addressing the nation in two hours

According to the Qatar News Agency.  

What the f??

Al-Arabiyya is now airing tape of a phone conversation between the former Emir of Qatar and Qadhdhafi in which the overthrow of Saudi regime was discussed.  

Fruits of Trump trip

Well, the fruits of Trump's trip to Riyadh are quickly visible.  It split the GCC countries after one day of his visit.  

Qatar withdraws ambassadors from GCC countries

Qatar withdraws ambassadors from Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain, Egypt, and Kuwait.

Aljazeera is ignoring the Saudi-UAE campaign

For some reason, Aljazeera in its (lousy) news broadcast is ignoring the Saudi-UAE campaign against the Qatari regime.

This is hilarious: Aljazeera TV

I have not been watching Aljazeera at all in recent years. It is not watchable really.  Such crude and vulgar propaganda.  They are airing a report on the Iranian lobby in the US: and they invoiced Vali Nasr in that categorization.  The hilarious part: they invited an expert from WINEP to speak about the dangers of the Iranian lobby.  

Aljazeera TV

Aljazeera TV is broadcasting a "documentary" on the "Iranian lobby in the US".  I think that they want to prove to UAE-Saudi Arabia that they are still anti-Iranian.  

UAE joined the Saudi war on Qatar

UAE media now have joined Saudi regime in attacking Qatar.  UAE has just banned all application and sites of Al-Jazeera.  

Al-Arabiyya TV says that Qatari Emir has mental problems

Al-Arabiyya TV (see below) is hosting Egyptian Saudi propagandists to attack the Emir of Qatar. I am told that Qatari regime Al-Jazeera is responding in kind but I am watching Al-Arabiyya.  One guest said that the Emir is mentally ill.

Al-Arabiyya's attack on Qatari regime

Al-Arabiyya's attacks on Qatari regime (see below) center on two elements: 1) that Qatari regime is too reliant on the US; 2) that it is too close to Israel.  

Gulf enmity toward Israel

It is funny that Gulf regimes when they attack one another they still accuse the other of being close to Israel.  Of all the "false"? statements attributed to Emir of Qatar, the Al-Arabiyya TV attacks on Qatari regime (see post below) are headlined: Emir of Qatar says that we have good relations with Israel". 

ISIS claim of responsibility for the Manchester terrorist attack

I noticed that the speaker couldn't even pronounce the words Allahu Akbar in the statement.  Those criminals in Western capitals who are drawn to the kooky ideology and terrorism of ISIS don't even bother to learn two Arabic words?  

Qatari-Saudi feud out in the open

So what happened today: the Qatari News Agency was hacked and it posted statements by the Qatari Emir in which he criticized US policies and declared that Hamas and Hizbullah are resistance movement and had warm words about Iran.  Al-Arabiyya TV (owned by the deputy Crown Prince) went berserk:  it unleashed on the Qatari regime and hosted various guests to attack the Qatari regime even AFTER the Qatari regime issued a statement denying that the Emir made those statements.

PS Wow.  Al-Arabiyya can't stop.  They are still unleashing against the Qatari regime.  More fun in inter-Arab relations is ahead of us.

Gay parade in Lebanon

By the way, despite what you may read by advocates of Saudi and Qatari regime in English or Arabic, the cancelation was due to pressures from pro-Saudi Sunni clerics in Lebanon.

Podcast Interview

Jeremy Scahill conducted a podcast interview with me for the Intercept (regarding Trump's adventure in the Middle East).  It should become available tomorrow.  

Is there someone more crude and more obnoxious and more unrefined than Trump?

Yes, Mr. and Mrs. Netanyahu.

King Abdullah's speech in Riyadh

Did you notice? He began his speech with his halting Arabic, and then continued in English, and then finished it in Hebrew.

Shadi Hamid explains to the Post the entire basis of Muslim grievances vis-a-vis the West

He explains that all what they want is a nice tone, that is all: "Shadi Hamid, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and an expert on U.S. relations with the Muslim world, said the speech could help reset the Trump administration’s relationship with Muslims — if he sticks to the same tone."

What strikes you about the phrasing of this sentence in the Notre Dame speech of Mike Pence?

"the murder of innocent Muslims, the oppression of women, the persecution of Jews and the slaughter of Christians.""

The bottom line in Trump's relations with GCC regimes

"“One of the things that we will discuss is the purchase of lots of beautiful military equipment, because nobody makes it like the United States,” Trump told reporters ahead of his talks with the Qatari leader. “And for us that means jobs, and it also means, frankly, great security back here, which we want.”"

This is how Western media critically covers Gulf tyrannies

How they are so easily impressed with oil luxuries: "Trump gave his remarks in an opulent hall of the King Abdul Aziz International Conference Center, where crystal chandeliers hung from the gilded ceiling and attendees sat in plush armchairs. "  That is what I call investigative journalism.  

When you sing the tunes of GCC regimes

The same people who bashed Trump daily during his campaign and after his election, suddenly changed their tunes once criticisms of Trump were banned by GCC rulers: "“Very candid, very articulate,” said Abdulla, who was especially heartened that Trump had singled out Iran for criticism. He worried, though, that Trump’s mercurial personality might mean a sudden change in course. And Trump’s refusal to mention the lack of freedom in the Arab world was a “valid criticism,” he said."

How Saudis responded to Netanyahu's wish to visit Saudi Arabia

Haha.  Netanyahu asked for it.  Saudi citizens responded to Netanyahu and said that a visit to Saudi Arabia is only possible AFTER the liberation of Palestine.

The Saudi-Qatari feud is now represented in the DC think tank scene

If you read a criticism of Qatari regime in DC think tank, the person is often an advocate of the Saudi regime. And if you read criticisms of the Saudi regime--as rare as it is--the writer is often an advocate of the Qatari regime.

Saudi regime wants to keep the presence of a Saudi branch of ISIS a secret

And the US complied with the cover-up.

By the way, Bush also danced with the sword in Riyadh

When it comes to depth and originality, look for Fadlo Khuri

There are the aphorisms of Adorno, Nietzsche and, of course, Fadlo Khuri.  When will someone collect the sayings of this man? When?

Dr. Fadlo Khuri (@DrFadloKhuri)
Hanna M. "Jean" Khoury: April 24, 1967-May 22, 2017. A great man's life is defined by its impact and not its

Israeli occupation officers

Israeli occupation officers make it clear: they prefer ISIS.

Bahrain got the message from Trump

As Trump assured Bahrain tyrant that relations wouldn't be strained anymore, Bahrain regime forces attack village.

Comrade Joseph Massad on Israeli apartheid week

Comrade Joseph Massad's talk during Israeli Apartheid week at Harvard.

An Israeli Museum

What would a museum for a state founded (as an occupation project) only in 1948? Like a table from 1954, or a chair from 1960 or a glass container from 1968?  

Monday, May 22, 2017

The prince to the left

By the way, I don't know what you may have heard, but the Saudi prince to the left, is extremely funny and is known as a great conversationalist in the tradition of Isiah Berlin.  Just don't tickle him. It is his weakness.

So Trump assembled the idols of the Arab youth

What did the Trump family say about Arabs privately in Saudi Arabia? Eavesdropping of an Arab butler

As the Trump family was having dinner privately in their residence in Saudi Arabia, an Arab butler decided to eavesdrop on their private conversation.  He relayed to his friend this (my translation from Arabic): "At night as they were all in the Trump family sitting around and eating from the "mountain" of rice in front of them, he heard their conversation clearly.  They were badmouthing us (Arabs) and saying that we are dumb and has no personality or brain".

"... في الليل وبينما كانت كل عايلة ترامب جالسة مع بعضها تلقمش من جبل الرز الموضوع أمامها، وضع أذنه على باب غرفة الجلوس وسمع حديثهم بوضوح. كانوا "يركبون مقلاتنا" ويقولون أننا هبل ومساطيل وبلا شخصية وبلا مخ..."

Trump on Islam

So basically, Trump and his clique believe that Islam is an evil and dangerous religion, but that Wahhabiyyah is a peaceful religion.  Trump wants all Muslims to follow Wahhabiyyah in order to stem out fanaticism and extremism in the region. That should work.  

Who can spread moderation, democracy, and human rights more than those there clowns?

Sunday, May 21, 2017

And then they all gathered and worshipped the lamp.

Investigative reporting from Bloomberg News

Bloomberg News White House correspondent provides investigative reporting:
Jennifer Jacobs‏Verified account @JenniferJJacobs 9h9 hours ago
"Room where Trump will give his big speech on terrorism to 54 Arab & Islamic nations is stunning--theater chairs, crystal chandeliers, snacks"

What US media calls "Pan-Arab media" is nothing but Saudi regime media

Wikileaks: How Saudi regime controls Arab media.

Analysis of Saudi-US relations

"What emerged as a veritable love fest between the two governments"

Another propaganda piece about Saudi regime: this time in the Boston Globe

"Reforms that seem obvious to Westerners, such as allowing women to drive, come slowly in this absolute monarchy. As one woman, a textile artist, put it when asked about the prospect for reforms: “It’s like a glass of water with a layer of mud at the bottom. Each time you add another level of fresh water, the glass becomes clearer.”"  Official Saudi regime propagandists were circulating this piece.

Ben Hubbard is going to wind up running a Saudi Information Office somewhere in the world, I predict

Another apologetic puff piece by Ben Hubbard about Saudi regime.  He never manages to find one Saudi person who is critical of the regime, and if he is to interview an expert, it is always someone apologetic about the regime.  

Saudi regime media praises Melania Trump

First Lady of Saudi Arabia

The joke being told on Arab social media: that First Lady of the US entered the royal palace in Saudi Arabia and saw 155 women. She asked them who they were?  They answered: we are the First Lady of Saudi Arabia.

Those too were awarded the Order of Abdul-`Aziz

Yeah. Yeah. Obama raised hell about human rights violations in Gulf countries

Ben Rhodes (@brhodes)
Really undercuts US credibility when it looks like we only raise human rights issues for geopolitical purposes…

Is this Saudi lobby director making threats to the US about JASTA?

Watch this carefully.  He basically says that if JASTA is passed Muslims will get angry and join terrorist organizations and strike at the US.  It is a direct threat, it seems to me.

Look who is now pretending to be for human rights?

Samantha Power (@SamanthaJPower)
For a country whose attacks on civilians in Yemen -- and inability to learn from mistakes -- have been devastating to human…

There is nothing quiet about GCC repression: Western media makes it quiet by not covering it

"As Trump visits, Gulf states seen quietly curbing opposition".
Reuters is notorious in succumbing to Saudi pressures, and in switching correspondents at the orders of Saudi government.  

They hate Islam but they love Wahhabiyyah

Bannon seated next to the descendants of Muhammad ibn Al-Wahab.

Moments before Trump arrived, Saudi King asked that his shoes be replaced

It has to be said: Lebanese journalists are far more extreme in their subservience and obedience to oil royals than Saudi journalists

Rima Maktabi (@rimamaktabi)
Oil, women n Yemen at a press conference by Princess Reema Bint Bandar and Dr. Basma Al Omair. A precedence that #Saudi women give

Afaf Kanafani died. She was 99.

To all my students who met her and loved her, I am sad to report that Lebanese-Palestinian-American writer, Fay Afaf Kanafani died the other day. I first met Afaf maybe around late 1990s, when I still lived in Berkeley. She called me one day, and asked me to speak about Palestine to a group of Arab and Jewish women who met in San Francisco and discussed foreign policy. We chatted on the phone and she sounded very young. She then asked me to pick her up at her place in Oakland, and then we would go together to San Francisco. I was astonished when she answered the door, as she looked so much older than what she sounded on the phone: and I realized that her group was a group of retired older women. As soon as I met her in person, she asked me if I knew of a Professor Kanafani at UC, Berkeley, who taught in the engineering department. I said that I did not know him but that I have heard negative things about him: that he would refuse to speak Arabic with Arab students and would tell them: we are in America, and we have to speak English. She said: oh, that is my son. Tactless me, as usual. I addressed her group and we talked about her experience living in Lebanon and working in the administration of Lebanese University (Lebanon is so small, that I later discovered that she worked with my cousin Shadya Alayli). Afaf called me often and invited me to eat Lebanese food, but I never went. But she did show me the pictures of her late husband, Fu'ad (her second husband, the love of her life). She then invited me to her book party at UC, Berkeley when her book, Nadia: Captive of Hope was released. She also established a scholarship fund for women working on Middle East women topics. I went and saw her being very happy, and she introduced me to two of her three sons. Her granddaughter was present and she read excerpts of the book. I never saw Afaf more happy. I read the book and contents and the ending (especially the part about the horrific experience that she and her (second) husband were subjected to in Lebanon during the war) distressed me a great deal. I called her in tears that night, and she comforted me, telling me that she was OK, now and that she never let what she went through to influence her or to derail her life plans. The book was rather original but very painful (to read and to write--I am sure): it was the first book by an Arab who talked candidly about being sexually molested by her father, and the sexual assaults that maids at the home were subjected to by her father and brother. She also spoke about physical and sexual abuse at the hand of her first husband, when she lived in Palestine. Her family married her off in the 1930s, and she moved to Palestine with her new (terrible) husband. Her experience in Palestine and witnessing An-Nakbah made her a lifelong activist for Palestine. The book was very moving and I added it to the list of books of 1st person narratives in my Gender and Sexuality in the Middle East class. And then--I forgot who: a student suggested that we invite her to class to a potluck and discuss her book with her. A student volunteered to pick her up from Oakland and there began a tradition in my Gender class: that Afaf would be invited to a potluck in my class to discuss her book (Valerie Marleau was one of her volunteer drivers one year, and she promised me to provide her with bathroom breaks during the long trip to Oakland). It happened every semester, or every year when the Gender class was being offered annually and not every semester. She was so lively and had such charm, and she always dressed (very Lebanese) very elegantly to those events. Students always observed that I was always protective of her during those meetings, and that I tried to shield her from tough questions. I was always happy to see her, and students often stayed for hours with her to talk about her life. She was so positive about life and about the future. She told us that her sons (especially two of the three) were furious with her about the book, and that none were happy about it. But two stopped talking to her. But she was not in any way feeling guilty about that: she knew that she did not do anything wrong and that it was their problem, not hers. Her visits to my class ended only five years ago: she told me bluntly: I am too old now to make that trip. She also would tell me about her computer art work which she got into. She was 99: I wished that lived to be 100 and more. Over the years, I became more critical of the book, from a gender and class perspective. She once saw me at a conference (where she met dear friend Lama Dajani who was thrilled to meet her, and I did not know that Lama had read her book and was deeply moved by it). Afaf pressed me if there was anything I did not like about the book, and I only gave her one example, and we discussed that. Many students of mine here on Facebook have met her and got to like her.
PS Jenn-Jarred Neal took this picture us back in 2004, in one of those potlucks).

Saturday, May 20, 2017

About Ivanka

This Saudi journalist has a point.  He says: "I think that the interaction regarding Trump's daughter is not sexual frenzy, as some are portraying it.  In reality, there is nothing in this political and economic event on which we have an honest opinion except this".

عبدالرحمن الشهري‏ @Abdurhmanshehri 1h1 hour ago
"أعتقد أن التفاعل مع بنت ترمب ليس سعاراً جنسيا كما يصوره البعض، الحقيقة أنه لاشيء في هذا الحدث السياسي والاقتصادي نملك رأيا صادقاً فيه سواها"

Royal Saudi Sleaze: ogling

Notice that Lebanese journalists in Saudi media sound different on Twitter than in Saudi regime media

Read here

When anti-Semitism is in the US camp

Trump will give a speech on in Saudi Arabia، and the fanatic Jewish (who wrote the muslims controversial bans) will write it.

PS This person was a media officer of Free Syrian Army and is a Syrian rebel "journalist" (one of those "activist-journalist")

As if American presidents never praised despots before Trump

Kenneth Roth (@KenRoth)
Tillerson says he won't promote human rights, but does Trump really need to undermine rights by praising autocrats?

US ambassador summons Jordanian royal Zeid bin Ra'ad and told him to ignore Israeli violations

He said: as you order.  Not that he has been vocal at all against Israeli violations.

In this video, King Fahd says that the right-wing president of "nationalist" China told him that Islam is most effective to combat communism

Watch here

Iranian election

I detest all Iranian presidential candidates equally, but Rouhani bothers me in particular.  

The caption says: "If someone tells you 'Let me show you the bathroom' don't go".

Where is Anthony Weiner?

The only one missing from the meeting between Saudi royals and Trump is Anthony Weiner.  

They all bow down to Saudi kings

Classy American journalism

Yeah.  Anderson Cooper and CNN are in a position to lecture about professional journalism.

The irony is that those who made hatred of Islam, as a religion, their career found peace in, and with, Wahhabiyyah

When Saudi royals meet with Trump

When Saudi royal males meet with Trump is there a doubt that the they only discuss feminism?

Saudi Twitter Robots Welcome Trump

"Saudi Twitter Robots Welcome Trump: Trump's welcome to Saudi reaches 'Inauguration-level' on Twitter".