Monday, June 30, 2014

Katie Couric on Islamic history

There are many funny aspects to Katie Couric report on the conflict between Sunnis and Shi`ites, but the best part is at the very beginning when she implies that the two groups existed before the death of the prophet but that they had a falling out only after the prophet's death.  So why can't Sunnis and Shi`ites get along the way they did before Muhammad was born?

American government transparancy

"They also said the report left out important data, such as the number of U.S. persons whose phone calls or e-mails were collected accidentally or because they were in contact with foreign targets.

“The intelligence community is hiding the extent to which this surveillance conducted without a warrant is impacting people in the United States, who have constitutional rights,” said Gregory Nojeim, senior counsel for the Center for Democracy and Technology."

Martin Indyk

In all those tributes to Indyk, none of them mention that he started his career (like Wolf Blitzer) working for the Israeli lobby.

After three years of war, the New York Times finally tells us the obvious

"none of the bodies involved in the dispute are currently playing a significant role in the civil war. The coalition is widely seen as ineffective, its interim government is little more than a list of names, and the military council has been overshadowed on the ground by rebel formations and extremist groups that have been more active."

hostility to Israel is tantamount to hostility to Jews, according to New York Times: does that mean that hostitlity to Saudi regime is tantamount to hostility to Muslims?

"was hostile to Israel and therefore hostile also to Jews. "

American Zionist Censorship Board did not like a publication so it was simply removed

"After months of outrage over a publication that critics say denigrates Israel, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) announced Friday that it was no longer selling the study guide “Zionism Unsettled” on the church’s website.  The study guide was prepared by a Presbyterian advocacy group, the Israel/Palestine Mission Network, as a resource for discussions in churches, and it contains essays that cast the theology and history of Zionism as inherently racist and unjust. Many American Jewish organizations, and Presbyterians as well, denounced the study guide soon after it was issued in January. "

Rod Nordland and payments to Iraqi journalists

Rod Nordland has been really enjoying insulting all Iraqi journalists.  What he reports about (handing cash payments to journalists) is not uncommon in the Arab world.  But what he does not report is that US military has made bribery to journalists in the region an art form.  He also does not report about how Saudi Arabia buys journalists outside its borders.  But there is also another matter: how Iran's Shah and current GCC regimes and the Hariri family have been buying WESTERN journalists for decades.  (Read James Bill's The Eagle and the Lion about "gifts" from the Shah's ambassador to key Western journalists).  So please decrease the level of sanctimoniousness a notch.

There are several Arab Allahs, apparently

""Once again, it is important to understand that both before and after Muhammad, the Allah of the Arabs was not the Allah of the Arab Christians."" (thanks Peter)

Western media complicity

"Israeli General Ben-Reuven conceded that Syrian rebels were probably behind the attack, but said Israel held President Bashar al-Assad responsible" "It is impossible to imagine any other nation in the Middle East bombing a neighbor's military installations without the act becoming the lead story of the day, let alone the week."

Another Israeli (Saudi) fabrication about Hizbullah

"On June 17, Nasrallah pledged, "We are ready to sacrifice martyrs in Iraq five times more than what we sacrificed in Syria in order to protect shrines," noting that Iraqi holy sites "are much more important" than Shiite shrines in Syria." This is a fabrication of Hariri media that gets automatically circulated by Western media. The meeting in question was closed but several media in Lebanon, including Al-Akhbar and As-Safir, (which has high sources in Hizbullah) reported on Nasrallah's remarks and they did not include the above.  Someone in the Hariri media invented them and now they are news.

Who Killed `Imad Mughniyyah

Oh, I forgot to add one element to my critique of Kai Bird's The Good Spy.  The author maintains that there is evidence that the US government and not the Mossad was behind the killing of Mughniyyah.  I believe that.  If Israel had the intelligence about Mughniyyah's whereabouts, it is most likely that it would have provided the intelligence to the US knowing how much the US wants to get him.  And if the US had the intelligence about his whereabouts, it is doubtful that it would have provided it to Mossad to do the job when it has been wanting to do it for decades. 

PS Also, the Mossad would have most likely got another innocent man by the name of `Imad Mughniyyah.  

A New Caliph

One of the most annoying aspect of Western writings about the Middle East is that Westerners often assume that 1) Muslims have no sense of humor; 2) that Muslims take all matters of the faith too seriously.  3) that Muslims comply with all commands by anyone speaking on behalf of Muslims.  If you look at social media today, there is wide joking and mockery regarding the new Caliph in their midst. 

water and bread

This guy is explaining Ramadan to non-Muslims:  "During Ramadan Muslims will fast during the daylight hours, consuming only water and bread from sunrise to sunset".  He is not kidding: it is said in the Qur'an: and during night time, consume focaccia and mineral water only. 

American spies and the contemporary Middle East: Bob Ames and Abu Hassan Salameh

My latest blog post for Al-Akhbar English:  "American spies and the contemporary Middle East: Bob Ames and Abu Hassan Salameh".

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Proclamation of the ISIS caliphate

The method of Thomas Friedman

The man travels the globe to find someone who can provide simplistic and dumb cliches like the ones he vomits three times a week:  "Nader Mousavizadeh, a former senior United Nations official and the co-founder of Macro Advisory Partners, a geopolitical advisory firm, and he offered another framework: “The real struggle in the region,” he said, “is between arsonists and firefighters.”"  This is as saying that the conflict is between good guys and bad guys or between "cowboys and Indians".  How sophisticated is the mind of Thomas Friedman?

The US will not produce any more land mines--it will confine itself to the 9 million that it has

"The United States has not used land mines since 1991, although it is estimated to maintain a stockpile of more than 9 million of the weapons."

paper dome is in place

"A rocket fired from the Gaza Strip struck a factory in southern Israel on Saturday, setting it on fire, but Israeli officials said there were no serious injuries."

Western feminists are silent about this

"More than half of Islamophobic attacks in Britain are committed against women,"

the armed opposition in Syria is controlled by jihadis

""The crucial point here, one that Kerry and Washington should try to grasp, is that the opposition in Syria is controlled by jihadis, and within the jihadi constellation it is Isis that dominates more than ever. Yet it is at this moment that President Obama is asking Congress for $500m (£300m) to equip and train "appropriately vetted" opposition fighters who are supposedly going to fight both Bashar al-Assad and Isis, Jabhat al-Nusra and the other jihadis. And, of course, these fighters will be seen by all sides as mercenary pawns of the Americans, Saudis and Qataris."" (thanks Amir)

When Jihadis (who receive Western support in Syria) come to the village

""The next day, the villagers went back for the bodies. There were 21 in all, scattered through the streets and in the looted, burning embers of their houses. The bodies of his brother, nephew and two other men in the building site had not just been shot but stabbed in the head and body, on both sides, having been turned over and over as the rampage proceeded. His brother's finger had been cut off, to remove his ring.""

How Wilayat of Aleppo is ruled by ISIS


"Shimon Peres Says ISIS Should Unite Arabs And Israel"

Nothing shall unite Arabs and Israel and ISIS is more likely to unite with Israel than Arabs. (thanks Michele)

Sami Al-Arian charges dismissed

"all charges have been dropped against Sami Al-Arian". (thanks Peter)

Sisi and Israel

Sisi buys gas from Israel to the tune of $30 billion. (thanks Yusuf)

The new caliph (for Arabic readers only)

بني العروبة هبّوا طال نومكم, إن الخليفة أبو بكر البغدادي
ضاعت خلافتكم يا قوم فالتمسوا, خليفة الله بين الجنّ وآل سعودِ
(بالإذن من بشّار بن برد)
O sons of Arabism, wake your sleep has gone on for too long, the caliph is Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi
Your calphate has been lost, o people, so seek the caliph of God between the Jinns and House of Saud (it rhymes in Arabic)

PS It is built on the lines by Bashshar Bin Burd:
بني أمية هبوا طال نومكم"
إن الخليفة يعقوب بن داود
ضاعت خلافتكم يا قوم فالتمسوا
خليفة الله بين الزق والعود"

Rod Nordland is another class act from the New York Times: he mocks an Iraqi woman's English on Twitter

From Sean:  "This douche, who is NYT bureau chief in Kabul and used to be deputy bureau chief in Baghdad, gets on Twitter and makes fun of an Iraqi woman's English after she was trying to thank him for his coverage.
Rod Nordland (@rodnordland) tweeted at 6:55 AM on Sun, Jun 29, 2014:
@MoonNor27 You should probably stick to Arabic."

The ISIS Caliphate

ISIS announced its caliphate and Hannibal Lecter is its caliph.  Congratulations.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Israeli methods

"First, in November 1987, Israel became the first state in the world to "legalize" torture, albeit euphemized as "moderate physical pressure," "Second, in November 2000, Israel became the first state in the world to assert the legality of targeted killing as a tactic of war".

Elliott Abrams and Middle East history

"Eliot Abrams left the middle east “largely at peace” in 2009".

Analyzing Bashshar

"• Low self-confidence, distrust and in-group bias".  If anything, he suffers from too much self-confidence.

If it is not intervention then it can only be called potato

"John Kerry: US troop deployment to Iraq is not intervention "

Saudi Arabia and ISIS

From Vladimir: "Steve Clemons on his Atlantic Magazine blog (link here) quotes a Qatari official as saying:

Qatar’s military and economic largesse has made its way to Jabhat al-Nusra, to the point that a senior Qatari official told me he can identify al-Nusra commanders by the blocks they control in various Syrian cities. But ISIS is another matter. As one senior Qatari official stated, “ISIS has been a Saudi project.”

ISIS, in fact, may have been a major part of Bandar’s covert-ops strategy in Syria. The Saudi government, for its part, has denied allegations, including claims made by Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, that it has directly supported ISIS. But there are also signs that the kingdom recently shifted its assistance—whether direct or indirect—away from extremist factions in Syria and toward more moderate opposition groups.

That the Assad regime would prefer to fight those who openly associate with AQ is obvious but as you noted the Americans released "Baghdadi" - really I don' think they hoped that make is way to Iraq. You'll also recall there was a time when many pointed out that Hamas was tolerated by Israel in hopes that it would harm the main enemy; the PLO. "

From Kerry's meeting with the illiterate Saudi king

Why do they place Western candy and not Arabic sweets? Fear of offending the White Man?  And what is Muqrin holding in his hand?

PS And why is Saud Al-Faysal ahead of Muqrin in protocol in this picture??

The US assembles its "moderate Arab allies" for an emergeny democracy promotion meeting

Prince Bandar driving King PlayStation (with Muhammad bin Zayid in the back seat)

Articles about Israel in the US press border on the romantic or erotic sometimes

"At a farewell dinner for Israeli President Shimon Peres in Washington on Wednesday night, several of the American guests appeared to approach him with tears in their eyes. This emotional display was a sign of Peres’s personal impact on the U.S.-Israel relationship and the way his departure marks the passing of an era. "

Regarding the IRI poll of Jordanian people

Several things about it: that the headline and the questions are intended to not offend the Jordanian monarchy.  There are so many questions asked but none about foreign policy and the very legitimacy of the monarchy.  3) Read the full results: when asked about who deserves credit for country going in "right direction", a whopping 4% gave credit to monarchy.

Bashshar and the `Alawite state

I know that Western (and Saudi) media love this story, that Bashshar want to rule an `Alawite enclave, but what evidence does Landis has that this was ever a dream for Bashshar or his father?  I think that both want to rule over all of Syria and not one sectarian enclave.  But this fits into the framework of Western-Saudi sectarian propaganda.  "But his government views that territory as far too vulnerable because it is cut off from Syria’s main water sources and because it would lack the major cities that are at the core of the economy, said Joshua Landis, a Syria expert at the University of Oklahoma.For such a state to become sustainable it would need a real economy, and for that, it would require a major city — Aleppo is the only option — and probably a port on the Mediterranean, Mr. Landis said."

From 1992

"Dan Rather, Fouad Ajami and Henry Kissinger in Arab-Bashing Israeli Fundraiser"

toothpaste terrorism

""Though it remains the deadliest act of air terrorism in the Western Hemisphere, Cubana Flight 455 is rarely brought up as a precedent for threats against air travelers. Perhaps that's because corporate media like to maintain the fiction that terrorism is always something done by 'them' against 'us.'" (thanks Regan)

When Syrian rebels defect to ISIS

Do you notice that infighting in the ranks of the Syrian exile opposition does not get reported in the Western press, and that recent defections from Free Syrian Army ranks toward ISIS also does not get reported?

Sponsors of Free Syrian Army

"The Free Syrian Army has long been a major disappointment to its overseas sponsors."

rape in the US--not in India, sorry

"After nearly two years of work, he estimates conservatively that between 796,213 and 1,145,309 sexual assault cases never made it into national FBI counts during the studied period. That's more than 1 million rapes." (thanks Amir)

Abu Hasan Salamah and Black September

All accounts of Abu Hasan Salamah's role in Black September (including the new "The Good Spy" by Kai Bird) suffer from: 1) that Abu Hasan was a braggart and often took credit for deeds and acts that he had nothing to do with.  2) all those Western accounts did not use the definitive account by Abu Dawud in his book which the Zionists refused to allow to be translated into English.  Abu Dawud answers that question in details.  3) Because Abu Hasan was competing with the apparatus of Abu Iyad, he had to present to his constituency his role in larger terms.

dismissal in Saudi Kingdom

No one is dismissed from his post in Saudi Kingdom without it being maintained that he (there are no shes of course) was dismissed per his request.  May I ask for the dismissal of the entire family of House of Saud per my request?

On the Kabab AIDS cure of Sisi science

"Colonel Dr. Tayseer Abdel Aal, member of the medical team that invented the device which allegedly treats hepatitis C, said the armed forces hospitals would not receive patients on 30 June, but rather a limited number of patients to complete the research.

Abdel Aal added in a press conference Saturday that the medical committee supervising the research has recommended postponing the step for six months as the device is still in the testing phase."

Referencing an electronic book

How do you reference in a review or a citation an electronic book when the page numbers don't match the hard copy? Is there a standard answer there?

ISIS welcome center at the University of Tuebingen

"The Good Spy"

In the book "The Good Spy" by Kai Bird it is said that Bashir Gemayyel attended the funeral of Abu Hasan Salamah in Beirut.  Not true. 

On how hate, intolerance, fanaticism and bigotry is spread in the Arab world by the Wahhabi rulers: Watch this interview with Hasan `Ulayq of Al-Akhbar

Daily Star changes the "Hizbullah restaurant" in the headline to "Beirut restaurant"

"Saudi bombers planned attack on Beirut restaurant". (thanks Basim)

Friday, June 27, 2014

Fouad Ajami: the art of self-contempt

My weekly article in Al-Akhbar:  "The Legacy of Fouad Ajami: the Art of Self-Contempt".

Long live darkness in Egypt

The headline reads: The President (of Egypt) decides to ration electricity.  (thanks Hossam)

Algeria win and Palestine

From an irate reader: "How can you not say a single word about Algeria's historic qualification to the knockout round? Its not just football game. Here is a tweet from the leading Algerian dedicating the victory to Palestine. There is a story to tell about Palestine and Algerian football. It's not the odd Palestinian flag that you find among Algerian fans - its everywhere. The players, the fans, and the Algerian people never miss an opportunity to raise the Palestinian flag in these events. Its a way of expressing solidarity and saying - this is your national team too. If you post pls do NOT quote me. Here is the link to the tweet."

The article never really told us why Mr. Najim was flown with his family into the US

"before an American general flew up to Tal Afar from Baghdad and told Najim it was time to take his family and flee the country."

Sectarian alliances in the Middle East

One of the many fallacies in Western media and academic analysis of the Middle East is the tendency to overstate the sectarian factors especially in alliances.  Thus, it is always assumed (wrongly) that the alliance between Hizbullah and the Syrian regime is sectarian and that the current alliance between the Syrian regime and Maliki is also sectarian. But: 1) Hizbullah and Syrian regime were enemies from 1982 till early 1990s (if not later even).  2) Maliki accused the Syrian regime of terrorism only a few years ago.  And the Syrian regime facilitated the smuggling of Jihadi fighters into Iraq against the Shi`ite sectarian government.

Israel protecting its clients

"and Israel, with which it has discreetly cosy relations, guards its borders with drones."

Saudi princes and clerics just want peace

""Saudis are, or are supposed to be, U.S. friends and allies. They want nothing more than a peaceful and prosperous Sunni nation as a neighbor — a truly hospitable homeland for Sunnis in the heart of Mesopotamia. That would hardly include a Taliban-like ISIS."" (thanks Peter)

The spokesman of the North Korean foreign ministry is an interesting man, I argue

"The North Koreans have reacted with their usual bluster, calling the movie an “act of war” and flinging threats at the Obama administration, which it implied had masterminded the film to undermine their nation.

“If the United States administration tacitly approves or supports the release of this film, we will take a decisive and merciless countermeasure,” a spokesman for its Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement carried by the state-run Korean Central News Agency."

Civilian deaths from drones are not that big of a deal after all

"it said there was strong evidence that civilian deaths from armed drone strikes are far fewer than from traditional combat aircraft."

How to tell a Sunni from a Shi`ite: the New York Times guides the perplexed

"Generally, Iraqi Shiites and Sunnis are often indistinguishable in appearance."  No way. I thought that Shi`ites have bigger noses, no?

Egyptian foreign policy constants

Thomas Friedman relies on an Israeli expert to offer him this pearl of wisdom

"ISIS and Sisi, argues Perlov, a researcher on Middle East social networks at Tel Aviv University’s Institute for National Security Studies, are just flip sides of the same coin: one elevates “god” as the arbiter of all political life and the other “the national state.”" How deep is this?

American troops will be exempt from Iraqi law

"The Obama administration said on Monday that it has accepted from the Iraqi government the same sort of immunity agreement for newly dispatched Special Operations troops that it refused to accept in 2011, when it opted to withdraw all American troops from Iraq rather than keep a residual force behind.

Iraq’s government provided assurances in a diplomatic note that American troops being sent to help combat a growing Islamist insurgency will be exempt from Iraqi law, officials said Monday."

You can read about hate crimes against Muslim in the US press: but always in passing

"Hate crimes against Muslims have been rising. Last week, a Saudi researcher and language student was stabbed to death in a park in Colchester, north of London, with the police saying she may have been attacked because she wore traditional Islamic garb."

Name a moderate Syrian rebel group

Read the sequence. (thanks Sam)

Israel and the corrupt traditional Kurdish tribal elders

"Israeli experts predicted the Jewish state would be quick to recognise a Kurdish state, should it emerge. Israel has maintained discreet military, intelligence and business ties with the Kurds since the 1960s," "Israel last Friday took its first delivery of the disputed crude from Iraqi Kurdistan's new pipeline."

take pride in crimes and overthrow of governements, he says

"it would help greatly if the United States no longer felt the need to keep implicitly apologizing for its role in Mosaddeq's ouster."

935 in two years

"President George W. Bush and seven of his administration's top officials, including Vice President Dick Cheney, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, made at least 935 false statements in the two years following September 11, 2001, about the national security threat posed by Saddam Hussein's Iraq." (thanks Amir)

Are you a moderate Syrian rebel? Yes or no, damn it?

How can you tell a moderate from an extremist among the Syrian rebels.

Media of Saudi princes

Read this ugly and ignorant sectarian article in the Saudi mouthpiece, Aljazeera, about suicide bombings.  He says it is all a Shi`ite invention.

Rania Abouzeid responds

Regarding my post from yesterday, I received this message from Rania (and I post with her permission):  "I saw your note about my latest piece and with respect, you have misunderstood some things.

I never said there was direct evidence of regime assistance to ISIS. In fact, later on I say that there is no direct evidence linking the two despite the claims of the Syrian opposition, although the regime hasn't bombed some obvious ISIS positions. The regime tactically released Islamists from Sednaya. That is a fact. I cite the legislation that made it happen.

I know the Middle East isn't static. I live in it and cover it. Your comment about the MB doesn't make sense. I know the key word is historically, that's why I used it. 

Historically, the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood and its more violently sectarian offshoot, the Fighting Vanguard, were the country’s most prominent Islamist organizations. In the mid-1970s, they were at the forefront of a radical Sunni insurgency against the secular government of Bashar’s father, Hafez al-Assad. But by 1982 they had been effectively extinguished in Syria

I am providing the historical context of Syria's experience with militant Islam. I didn't say there was AQ in Syria back in 82.

Criticism is always welcome, but it has to be fair, and substantiated. "

Hizbullah restauarant?

Daily Star (jointly owned by Sa`d Hariri and Qatari Hamad bin Jasim) had this headline: "Saudi bombers planned attack on Hezbollah restaurant".  The restaurant in question, As-Sahah, is in fact owned and run by the charitable foundation of Muhammad Husayn Fadlallah and has nothing to do with Hizbullah.  (The food is very good there but the design (based on old ruins) is bad. (thanks Basim)

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Syrian regime and ISIS in Washington Post

I don't get it.  When the Syrian regime does not fight ISIS, the Washington Post correspondents in Beirut allege that the regime is cooperating with ISIS. And when the regime bomb from the air ISIS positions, the regime is accused of bombing Sunnis.  What would the Washington Post like, and would it like fries with that?

Spreading Jeeeeeeeeeehaad in class??

"A former professor at the University of Calgary says he left his tenured position after colleagues refused to respond to his concerns about students spreading radical Muslim views.

Aaron Hughes, a prolific author on religion who holds a PhD on Islamic studies, said he once found a message scrawled in Arabic across his classroom’s chalkboard endorsing Islamic Jihad and Hamas, widely considered a terrorist group by Western countries.

Mr. Hughes, who is Jewish, said he interpreted the message as anti-Semitic, but he said the university declined to remove the offending student from his class."

peace with one's killers and occupiers is a requirement for self-respect, according to New Zionist Republic

"for Fouad, peace with Israel was a requirement for Arab self-respect".

He would not have liked to be referred to as an Arab

Farwell to the complex and extraordinary Fouad, the American, the Shia, the Lebanese, and though he wouldn’t have liked it, the Arab as well.”

various levels of Israeli crimes

"The report documents five major areas in detail: Obstruction of Movements of Palestinian Players, Coaches, and Officials; hindering delivery of football equipment; construction restrictions of sports facilities; Israeli dissuasion of visiting teams; and violence against Palestinian players."

One of the unforgivable crimes of the Sisi dictatorship

"The Egyptian Army destroyed two tunnels on the Egyptian-Gazan border, bringing the total number of tunnels ruined to 1,736."

How to spy "aggressively"

"Iraq is emblematic, they say, of how a security-conscious CIA is finding it difficult to spy aggressively in dangerous environments without military protection." Does aggressive spying mean that you spy on a person before you kill him/her?  (thanks Amir)

It is official: US troops in Iraq have the necessary immunity to commit war crimes

"The question of immunity for U.S. troops from Iraqi prosecution is a sensitive one. Iraqi refusal to grant immunity protection to American forces was the reason the United States withdrew all of its forces from Iraq at the end of 2011, instead of leaving a planned residual force of thousands of troops.

The immunity question was reopened when Obama announced last week that he would send up to 300 more U.S. “advisers” to assist the Iraqi military. U.S. officials worked throughout the weekend on a deal, which was finalized with Iraq on Monday morning.

It provides immunity for an unspecified number of military personnel, under the authority of the U.S. Central Command, “who are going to be temporarily present in Iraq in connection with the current crisis.”"

high level analysis from WINEP

"Beginning in 2003, Iran's Qods Force requested Hezbollah's services to help increase Tehran's influence in Iraq."

Qasim Suleimani was at Burger King

When it comes to news about North Korea or Iran (or about any enemies of the US) US media never care about substantiation or documentation.  Google the story that Qasim Suleimani was in Iraq last week and you will find tons of stories and yet not one of them has an actual source to the story.  You can say anything. You can say that you saw Suleimani at Burger King and be believed.

I think that Mel Gibson is indeed anti-Semitic but is he really another Hitler? When will this hyperbolic language stop?

"But what Gibson said, was the slogan that Adolf Hitler used to murder six million Jews," said Rabbi Marvin Hier, dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles. ""

Sisi republic addresses major challenges facing Egypt

The Sisi Republic formulates a plan to combat...atheism.  Kid you not.

The art of fat cats

Rania Abouzeid on ISIS

Let us take this passage:  "It began, in mid-2011, with the Syrian regime’s suspicious release of hundreds of jihadis from prison—a move that served Assad’s strategy of presenting the uprising at once as a plot by Islamist extremists, agents of Israel and the West and a small number of disillusioned citizens with legitimate gripes who had fallen prey to “foreign conspirators.” It also played, unwittingly or not, into Golani’s hands...The truth was that al Qaeda had never really been an established presence in Syria. Historically, the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood and its more violently sectarian offshoot, the Fighting Vanguard, were the country’s most prominent Islamist organizations."  First regarding: "with the Syrian regime’s suspicious release of hundreds of jihadis from prison".  The regime is not above playing those dirty intelligence games and has done so in the past but there is no direct evidence of assistance to ISIS from regime. And for every hundred of Jihadis that the regime releases it kills a thousand.  So other than unsubstantiated accusations in Hariri and Saudi and Qatari media there is nothing solid there.   Then this: "Historically, the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood and its more violently sectarian offshoot, the Fighting Vanguard, were the country’s most prominent Islamist organizations".  Yes, Rania: the key word is "historically".   Things change, you know and the Ikhwan were decimated and there are many new more radical offshoots. And there was no Al-Qa`idah back in 1982.  So the political land of the Middle East is not static. 

Explaining shifts in US and Saudi policies

The US toppled the man to the right, and now is hoping to strike an alliance with the man to the left in order to defeat ISIS among Sunnis.  Saudi Arabia is also keen on the man to the left.

Did Mahmoud Abbas obtain another PhD in anti-Semitic studies?

(thanks Marc)

Research methods of a writer at Carnegie Endowment for International War

"Hezbollah’s Secretary General, Hassan Nasrallah, recently boasted during a leadership meeting, “We are ready to sacrifice martyrs in Iraq five times more than what we sacrificed in Syria…” Given Hezbollah’s deepening involvement in Syria and the heightened state of security within Lebanon, the group’s ability to send any large contingent to protect Iraq’s Shia holy sites seems unrealistic. It now seems that Hezbollah will be dealing with its Iraq problems more so at home and in Syria than in Iraq."  By the way, this "boast" was a fabrication of Hariri media.  Saudi media then copied the fabrication, which in turn led the Western media (WSJ) to carry the fabrication and then it became evidence in this report.  That is what I call serious research methods that you can't even learn in graduate school.

PS Even though the author is with the NATO council, Carnegie assures reader that NATO is an objective organization which carries no animus toward Hizbullah.  No strings attached (which does not rhyme with: keep hope alive).

Saudi Arabia will expel anyone who publicly eats or drinks during Ramadan: if this was decreed in Iran, it would have been on the front pages

All those who defy the decree will be expelled.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Saudi ambassador in Lebanon

Saudi Ambassador to Lebanon Ali Awad Asiri sought to reassure Saudi tourists that they should be fine in Lebanon despite a security flare-up tied to the violence in Iraq.

“The condition of Saudi tourists in Lebanon is fine and reassuring,” Asisi said in remarks published Wednesday by the Saudi daily Okaz." (thanks Nidal)

From Mahmoud Abbas to Bashshar Al-Asad with love: the former congratulates the latter on his "election"

From the July issue of the Washingtonian: a Syrian opposition freedom fighter who holds a slave (no internet version)

Ajami in Foreign Policy magazine in 1974: for those who think that Ajami was a leftist or Arab nationalist in the past

When it comes to covarege of Syria, you can always rely on the Washington Post for balanced and fair coverage

(thanks FLC)


Imagine if an Iranian were to detonate a bomb in a Hotel room in Beirut: can you imagine the reaction of Arab (oil and gas) and Western media?

Samir Amin and Sisi

What is with Samir Amin? What is the reason for his Sisi delusions?

All for Israel

"The U.S. House of Representatives increased funding for Israel's missile defense systems."

US policies in Iraq and Afghanistan

So the US is now working to bring Taliban back to power in Afghanistan and the Iraqi Ba`th back to power in Iraq.  Kid you not. 

AIPAC is now supporting Iraq Ba`th

""... Regardless of al-Douri’s fate, this month's uprising puts JRTN in a considerably stronger position. It may be that the Baath can achieve a partial, qualified return to power—perhaps with a deal between the federal government and JRTN-led Sunni Arab military councils over the formation of one or more federal regions in Sunni Arab Iraq, each with its own constitution and parliament, akin to the Kurdistan Regional Government..."" (thanks Fadi)

Let the Iraq TV show begin

"The turmoil in Iraq has led TV chat shows to trot out an array of hawks, many of whom had been cheerleaders for the 2003 invasion that set up the current crisis." (thanks Amir)

ISIS t-shirts

"A newly-opened Islamic shop in Istanbul's working-class suburb of Bagcilar has started selling garments displaying the logo of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isis),"

Joke of the day

" It is interesting to note that Professor Ajami’s books remain greatly admired and read in the Arab world."  Hilarious. Aside from an obituary or two in mouthpieces of Saudi princes--like this one--there were no eulogies for Ajami in Arabic media.

Flash: bomb in Beirut

A Saudi member of one of Al-Qa`idah variants detonates a bomb that he was preparing.  Ambulances are rushing to the scene (near the Saudi embassy, ironically).

The Early Fouad Ajami: the myth of the former Leftist or Arab nationalist

I woke up today and decided to read the earliest writings of Fouad Ajami.  I never believed the notion that he was some Arab leftist or Arab nationalist in his youth (they remind me of stories that Obama was a rabid Palestinian advocate in his early political career).  There is no trace whatsoever of that.  Read his "Israel and Sub-Saharan Africa: A Study of Interaction" (African Studies Review, Vol. 13, No. 3 (Dec. 1970).  Ajami was still a graduate student in Seattle when he published that study (or freshly finished with the PhD).  He did not once speak about Israel the way Arabs then--especially then--spoke about it.  Also read "On Nasser and His Legacy" in Journal of Peace Research, vol. 11, no. 1 (1974) when he observes that "An interesting feature of Arab radicalism is its shallowness and confinement to slogans" (p. 49).  Or read his piece about the Arab-Israeli war of 1973 in Middle East Ghosts, Foreign Policy, No. 14 (Spring 1974).  In all those early writings there are traces of the later Ajami, especially in his tone about Israel.  But what confused people is that he was friends (or friendly) with Edward Said.  On that bear in mind two things: 1) Edward Said was politically different in the 1970s than he was in his later years and advocated a political settlement with Israel early on (and Anwar Sadat recommended him--as some of you may remember--to head a Palestinian government-in-exile) so the friendship between the two in the 1970s does not imply that Ajami was a radical then.   By the 1990s, Said moved against the two-state (non) solution.  2) Said had friends who were politically different from him (he was friends with Samir Khalaf, for example).  But of course the later Edward Said who became* quite vehemently opposed to Oslo and its consequences spoke fiercely against Ajami and the role of some Arab-Americans in the service of Zionism.

*I should have written "wa" because he was opposed to Oslo from the very beginning.  I meant from saying "becoming" that he was increasingly opposed to Oslo and its consequences.

This is a first: Arab considered "pro-Arab"

"Irrespective of his views of Iraq, and as an American who was pro-Arab without being anti-Israel".  Dr Joseph A Kechichian is Senior Fellow at the King Faisal Center for Research & Islamic Studies in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

studying Islam at Hoover Institution

Wouldn't you see that this is a really qualified and sensitive bunch to study Islam?

Mocking the Arabic-speaking Israeli military terrorist propagandist

 I have told you before there is an Arab youth industry that mocks the Arabic-speaking Israeli military propagandist.  They come come up daily with new forms of insults and satire.  They fill his page on FB with the most inventive curses and insults.  This is a video produced by young Arabs to mock his recent campaign about the arrested Israeli military settlers.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

In Sisi republic:

Courts considers banning the slogan "Down with Military Rule".

learning how to kill from the masters

""Instead, the memo turns out to be a slapdash pastiche of legal theories — some based on obscure interpretations of British and Israeli law — that was clearly tailored to the desired result.”" (thanks Michael)

Alaa Aswani: banned in Sisi republic

The man who hailed the fascist coup of Sisi is now its victim.

For Al-Arabiyya (the news station of King Fahd's brother-in-law) ISIS is very cute

"To ISIS, with love: Supporters get creative on Twitter".

sterilizing the undesirables in California

"The California state auditor today blasted federal and state oversight of sterilization surgeries for female prison inmates, finding numerous illegal surgeries and violations of the state's informed-consent law." (thanks Amir)

Krauthammer on Ajami: "a Shiite, fluent in Arabic"

"Ajami is no fool, no naif, no reckless idealist, as Scowcroft likes to caricature the neoconservatives he reviles. A renowned scholar on the Middle East, Ajami is a Shiite, fluent in Arabic, who has unsentimentally educated the world about the Arab predicament and Arab dream palaces. " (thanks Basim)

Did I not warn you yesterday about how the Western media would refer to the car bomb in Beirut?

CNN:  ""car bomb explodes in Hezbollah neighborhood in Beirut"".

Sen. McCain ON Fouad Ajami

"Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) today released the following statement on the passing of Middle East scholar and essayist Fouad Ajami:

“I am profoundly saddened by the passing of Fouad Ajami. I benefited enormously from his astute insight, extensive experience, and wise counsel through the years, and I was honored to call him a friend. Fouad’s intellect and compassion, and the unique beauty with which he expressed those virtues, will be sorely missed. It is with true sorrow that I reflect on all the world has lost with the passing of such a fine and decent man. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends.”"

Ajami in the Israeli press

"Fouad Ajami: A courageous scholar who was friendly to Israel".

Ajami in the Arabic press

Just as I wrote in Al-Akhbar English, and despite stories to the contrary in the Western media, Ajami was largely unknown in the Arab world.  I went through the Arabic press and there was one favorable obituary in the mouthpiece of Prince Salman, Ash-Sharq Al-Awsat, and another in the sleazy, soft-porn Saudi site, Elaph, and one brief one in An-Nahar (the right-wing, sectarian Christian, racist Lebanese daily which is trying to compensate for decline in its readership with pornographic news stories on its website).   But this is typical in the US: they always assume that their chosen Arabs are popular Arabs, with US armies invading.  You know that Paul Wolfowitz predicted that Kenaan Makiyya would become president of Iraq--I kid you not.  And Makiyya, so flattered, that he started to delude himself and started to write in the New Republic (the voice of the Arab people) that Iraqis really know who he is and really like him.  If Ahmad Chalabi had to ride on the coattails of Muqtada As-Sadr to win a seat in parliament, the rest is too predictable.  Yet, the Bush administration was lobbied by Zionists to appoint Ajami as its assistant secretary of state for public diplomacy to improve relations with the Arab world.  I am not making this up.

Who will inherit the land of Palestine? Guess from this picture

Even the Lebanese national anthem is stolen: this is the Moroccan Rif Republic anthem from 1921: you compare

Butrus Al-Bustani and the first Arabic Encyclopedia

It is not true that the 19th century (incomplete) Da`irat Al-Ma`rif is the first Arabic encyclopedia (and the entries are not all original: only the Arabic entries on Arabic topis are original while the rest were copied from English encyclopedias of the time).  Many works of the Arab-Islamic heritage are also encyclopedic like Lisan Al-`Arab or Asfahani's Al-Aghani or Al-Jahiz's Kitab Al-Haywan or Subh Al-A`sha by Qashqalandi or Al-`Iqd Al-Farid by Ibn `Abd Rabbuh among others. 

Joseph Massad on Fouad Ajami: from an earlier book review

"Still, Ajami is not secure in his staunchly American identity. After co-authoring a report that recommended the use of English instead of Arabic in "some courses" at the University of Kuwait, Ajami recounts how he and the report became the object of "controversy." The "real issue was my invitation to the university, the very fact that I had been permitted entry into Kuwait." Ajami is appalled that a "writer by the name of Baghdadi" attacked him. "For him, I was a servant of American imperial interests...I was a friend of Israel and the Israelis, and, most damning of all, I was a Shu'ubi." Ajami deflects attention from the first two criticisms by engaging only the third. Whereas Ajami is correct in attacking Baghdadi for labeling him a "Shu'ubi," he understands perfectly well that when he is attacked by Arab intellectuals, this is based on his pro-imperialist and pro-Israeli views which always accompany his virulent hostility to the Arabs. His orientalist views of Arab and Muslim countries are everywhere in evidence. The Arab and Muslim worlds, we are told are "stagnant" and do not change. After quoting Adonis, Ajami proceeds to assert that Arab political "language ó and the banners ó could change... the dilemmas of the society ó its backwardness, its inability to see and define its malady ó would persist ...The culture would have made another detour. It would have headed right back to its stagnant past." His orientalist generalisations are passed off as pearls of wisdom: Iran is "a society known for both its long periods of submission to despotism and its recurrent rebellions... Temperamentally, Iran has been a land susceptible to the power of ideas, to political and philosophical abstraction, to the pamphleteer...The culture of the Arabian peninsula and the Gulf states has in contrast always been thoroughly empirical and raw." These grandiose conclusions are not given to the reader after a thorough examination of Iran's and the Arab Gulf states' histories, societies and politics, rather as logical assertions and truth claims. In much of the book, Ajami sets himself the task of chastising the US for its well-intentioned interest in the Arab World. The US, according to Ajami, is a sort of Jesus Christ, "a foreign saviour" of the wayward Arabs. The US is said by Ajami to endanger itself and its soldiers and citizens to provide valuable services for the Arabs only to receive in return resentment and contempt from these ingrates. The actions of the US and its citizen-lieutenants representing it in the Arab World, he insists, are cases of "innocence" and philanthropic altruism. Of the American withdrawal from Lebanon after their 1982-1984 intervention, Ajami speaks with much sadness. He tells us that the "young men of Ayatollah Khomeini's crusade and a new breed of wholesalers of terror...proceeded to demolish the American presence in Beirut." America, Ajami proceeds, had come to Beirut after a "hasty" decision in September 1982. "This was an open-ended, ambiguous errand to a place America did not fully know or understand. America had indulged great hopes that an American era had begun in Lebanon, but the Americans would not stay the course in Lebanon: there was no taste in America for tribal wars in places with tangled histories." American commitment to save Lebanon was so great, Ajami tells us, that despite the murder of American citizens and later the bombing of the American marine barracks, "American officials talked bravely of not walking away from Lebanon." When the Americans had to leave, "Beirut was lost to the new reign of cruelty." The well-intentioned US intervention in Beirut had ended in "heartbreak" and "carnage." Ajami tells us of the 240 (the real number is actually 241) American marines who died in the suicide attack on their headquarters in Beirut in October 1983. Nowhere in his story of the pristine and loving Americans, does Ajami tell us of the US Sixth-fleet's marines' savage bombing of the Lebanese mountain town Suq al-Gharb near Beirut with more than 600 shells a day. Those who attacked the US marines are not portrayed by Ajami as responding to this US imperialist aggression, rather as "bloodletting" psychopaths intent on killing Americans because they are simply Americans. Despite such ingratitude, America, the saviour of some Arabs from what Ajami calls "local predators" came again to the succour of Kuwait in 1990. This was not the first such visit that the Americans had paid to the Gulf. Americans, Ajami tells us in a romantic rendition, "came to Arabia in the 1930's and 1940's, but they arrived after the age of empire had passed. And they came to Dhahran, on the Persian Gulf, to soften the life of the desert and take it beyond its history of desolation and scarcity... They were careful not to offend the cultural sensibilities of their hosts and to conform to the decorum and style of the place." The monumental American pillage of the Arabian peninsula's wealth since the 1930's constitutes for Ajami a "softening" of the life of the Gulf's Arab inhabitants. For daring to give a different account of the American presence in the Gulf, Abdel-Rahman Munif is accused by Ajami of being nothing short of an orientalist whose fiction is "drawn from the Arabian Nights."
by Joseph Massad
November 6, 1998

How the New York Times unwittingly insulted Fouad Ajami

"Born an Arab in an Arab country and writing authoritatively about the Arab world, he was often identified—including, in a quotation in his obituary in the New York Times—as an Arab. That was not, however, his deepest and most cherished identity. He was, first and foremost, an American, and all the more so for having chosen to become one."  This colleague of Ajami said it best: being an Arab was an insult to the man, and for that he would preface every sentence he would utter by saying: "we Americans".  But this is the irony of the plight of somebody like Ajami in a land that holds deep-seated prejudice against Arabs and Muslims: that no matter how far you go in ingratiating yourself with the establishment and with Zionist media and academia, you will always be--to them--an Arab, first and foremost, albeit a useful...Arab.  This operates very much like anti-Semitism.  When a Jewish person is invited to an anti-Semitic table, he may be used and abused but he remains in the eyes of his haters a Jewish person.  Ajami worked very hard to erase the Arab label and yet it followed him in his obituary. 

Michel Sulayman and the extension of his term

"To his credit, Suleiman refused an extension to his term and instead called for the election of a new president, which is what the Lebanese constitution prescribes."  Oh, no, Maya. He deserves no credit whatsoever.  By all accounts, Saudi Arabia pushed on his behalf for the extension of his term but Hizbullah made it clear that they won't even discuss the matter.  The man, to his credit, lobbied hard for an extension but failed miserably.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Car bomb in Beirut: to Western journalists

I know that you follow the terminology of Hariri and Saudi media but please don't believe them that the quarter where the explosion occurred today is yet another "Hizbullah stronghold" because it isn't. 

In my book, no one is more qualified to judge intellectual matters than Anderson Cooper

"CNN anchor Anderson Cooper tweeted out his condolences Sunday saying he greatly admired Ajami.  "He was a great intellect and was full of grace and compassion. It's been an honor to know him," Cooper said."

Israeli terrorists did not find the arrested armed settlers so they simply kidnap Palestinians at random

Israeli soldiers arrest Palestinian protest against Jewish settlement

How could anyone take seriously an analyst who attributed the underlying causes for Arab political attitudes to the failure of the siege of Vienna?

"Mr. Ajami strove to put Arab history into a larger perspective. He often referred to Muslim rage over losing power to the West in 1683, when a Turkish siege of Vienna failed." (thanks Talal)

PS I sincerely doubt that most Arabs even know about the siege of Vienna.

Israeli terrorists kidnap school girls as well

A boutique in Bahrain

Embedded image permalink

suicide bombers question

Lebanese poet, Inya Jaber, raised a legitimate question in a post on Facebook. She asked (in Arabic): "how could they detonate themselves in this hot weather"?

Al-Qa`idah flags in Tripoli, Lebanon, in a stronghold of "Pro-Western March 14", as Western correspondents in Beirut would call it

(thanks Fadi)

Correct me if I am wroing but this picture shows Kerry pressing Sisi hard on human rights and democracy

Embedded image permalink

Those who were humiliated in South Lebanon in 2006 can only exhibit their heroism toward children

A march in support of ISIS in Ma`an in Jordan and the Jordanian autocracy does not mind

Israel terrorist soldiers capture a key Palestinian resistance commander

tribute to Ajami:

I read someone's tribute to Fouad Ajami.  He sounded in tears in his words.  If only I don't remember what he used to tell me about him.  Don't you hate those who say one thing in private and another in public? In Arabic we have a word called Muru'ah (المروءة) which does not translate into other languages: it means that someone's ultimate test is to say and do in private what he is not embarrassed from doing or saying in public. 

Incredible Candid Photos of Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir in Cuba

sartre and beauvoir in cuba featured (thanks Mirvat). Here.

Wolfowitz on Ajami

"Yet he retained a belief that the “decent political culture” of his adopted country is what the people of the Middle East need and that, despite the challenges, this “foreigner’s gift”—as he titled one of his books—would one day make the Middle East a better place, both for its own people and for the rest of the world."  If only those foreigners would stop showering us with their devastating "gifts".

My review of "The Vanished Imam"

This was the first book review I ever published: it was of Fouad Ajami's The Vanished Imam.  I was still a graduate student at Georgetown University when Joe Stork (now with Human Rights Watch) asked me to write it. 

Fouad Ajami and his legacy

My latest blog post for Al-Akhbar English:  "Fouad Ajami and his Legacy".

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Latest from Sisi republic: policemen disguised as trees

Israeli settlers open fire at mourners in Ramallah, 1 hurt

"Israeli settlers on Sunday opened fire at Palestinians in al-Bireh near Ramallah as they gathered for the funeral of a man killed by Israeli forces earlier that day, a Ma'an reporter said."

Fouad Ajami and Nuri Al-Maliki

In his last article, Fouad Ajami blamed Iraq's problems on Nuri Al-Maliki (and on Barak Obama).  Here is a picture of Ajami meeting with Al-Maliki.

Turkish pathologist: Palestinian detainee died of torture in Israeli jail

"A Palestinian who expired in Israeli detention last year died of torture, a Turkish pathologist has claimed in an expert opinion submitted to an Israeli court. "  Let me guess: the entire field of Turkish pathology will be declared to be anti-Semitic.

Israeli terrorist soldiers attack a nine-year old Palestinian

The video

corruption of Polish politics

I follow the corruption of Polish politics only because it is widely hailed in the US media as the success example of transformation from communism.  In reality, it is one of the most corrupt and flawed political system but its right-wing foreign policy is what appeals to DC.

A Palestinian woman in her home after a raid on Sunday by Israeli troops in Salim village near Nablus. - AP

Embedded image permalink

Life of the Palestinians under Israeli rule

"A neighbor, Iman Abdel Alal, said Israeli troops damaged her home as they searched it in the early hours. “The soldiers kept me and four children and my husband in one room and told me, ‘You are Hamas!’ ” Ms. Alal said. “This has made me very angry. I will not have any sympathy with the soldiers. They killed many of us, but because of the kidnapping of three boys, they turn the whole world against us.”

Mohammed was the second Palestinian casualty in Israel’s operation, after Monday’s death of a 20-year-old in the Jalazoun refugee camp near Ramallah. Palestinian news organizations reported that there were also clashes Friday in the Qalandiya refugee camp outside Ramallah, seriously wounding three young men, and in Bethlehem’s Dheisheh camp, where five were hurt.

Continue reading the main story

One of the three hurt in Qalandiya, Mustafa Alsan, 20, was fighting for his life in an Israeli hospital Friday afternoon after being shot in the head.

“It’s to be expected that there will be some more friction on the ground,” Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, an Israeli military spokesman, said."

Have you ever heard that US media describe a crackdown as "quiet"? Only about Israel

"The early days of Israel’s crackdown generally proceeded quietly..."  Why not say: it proceeded quietly and smoothly and peacefully and that the murder of Palestinians proceeded beautifully?

To get the attention and affection of US media, the Israeli government now casually accueses Palestinians of throwing IEDs on them: how obvious is the propaganda lie?

"Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, a senior spokesman for the Israel Defense Forces, said that “both incidents occurred during riots in which IEDs were directly hurled at Israeli soldiers who felt their lives were threatened and returned live fire.”"  How come we never heard of IEDs hurled at Israeli terrorist soldiers before?

What you expect to read in the Saudi press

“Your royal highness, I loved you before I met you. My parents instilled in me love for the royal family. I am proud to be a Saudi. May God keep you, son of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques,”  (thanks Basim)

liberal hawks

"The final source of neoconservative persistence is the continued support they get from their close cousins: the liberal interventionists. Neoconservatives may have cooked up the whole idea of invading Iraq, but they got a lot of support from a diverse array of liberal hawks. As I've noted before, the only major issue on which these two groups disagree is the role of international institutions, which liberals view as a useful tool and neoconservatives see as a dangerous constraint on U.S. freedom of action. Neoconservatives, in short, are liberal imperialists on steroids, and liberal hawks are really just kinder, gentler neocons." 

When Muslims are the victims, it is never prominent news: burning and attacking Muslim businesses and homes

"On June 15th Sinhala Buddhist mobs rampaged through three towns on the southern coast, burning and attacking Muslim businesses and homes. Families cowered in marshes and took refuge in mosques as crowds banged on doors, baying for Muslims to come out. Some carried clubs, others flung petrol bombs. The violence sputtered for nearly two days. Four people, three of them Muslims, were killed, and about 80 were injured." (thanks Amir)

India's nuke enrichment plant with U.S. help

"India is expanding a covert uranium enrichment plant that could potentially support the development of thermonuclear weapons, a defense research group said on Friday, raising the stakes in a regional arms race with China and Pakistan." "A civil nuclear cooperation deal with the United States, sealed in 2008, gave India access to know-how and fuel in return for a pledge - so far unfulfilled - to bring in U.S. firms to expand India's nuclear power generation capacity."

"There's a Huge Crackdown Happening in the West Bank – and No One Is Talking About It"

"Seven days have now passed since the disappearance, and in that time Palestinian life has been plunged into fear and disarray. In what is now clearly much more than a bid to return missing teenagers, Israeli forces have unleashed a military crackdown on the West Bank — a crackdown that, for all its punitive brutality, is yet to attract real scrutiny from the global media.

In Israeli media it was presumed that the young settlers had been abducted, and officials pinned the blame on Hamas. The militant organization denied any involvement, but the incident was soon being reported globally as a Hamas terror attack, with international condemnation and coverage of the kidnapping featuring on U.S. news. By the end of the weekend, the flurry of attention on the abduction was reaching its peak."

Screenshot shows Israeli occupation forces outside Palestinian Authority police station as PA personnel observe from windows.

For the best coverage of developments in Palestine, please follow Electronic Intifada.

Mohammad Dudeen is the sixth Palestinian child to be killed by Israeli forces this year

Embedded image permalink

Angered by collaboration with Israel, Palestinians stone PA police - video

Fouad Ajami has died

Fouad Ajami died.

A star of the Syrian exile opposition (and client of Saudi regime) refers to Obama as "slave of slaves"

Another racist attack on Obama by Syrian exile opposition media star, Muhyi Ad-Din Al-Ladkani, who refers to Obama as "slave of slaves".  (Notice that the racism and anti-Semitism of clients of Saudi regime are not covered in Zionist media.  The Israeli-Saudi alliance is too precious). (thanks Mahmoud).

PS The man was a tool of Rif`at Al-Asad for decades before they fought over non-political matters.

This is a reporter at Aljazeera calling on ISIS to bomb Shi`ites.

Embedded image permalink

the most widely read story on An-Nahar website

On the website of An-Nahar (the dying right-wing, sectarian Christian racist Lebanese daily which used to be the leading paper in Lebanon 20 years ago), this is the most widely read story: "A porn actress had sex for 16 hours after the victory of Chile against Spain." Kid you not.

Roseanne and BDS and me

It is one thing to be attacked by enemies of the Palestinian people in the US, and it is another to be attacked by a comedian, Roseanne, who has not been funny in more than 3 decades.  She and her ilk who are circulating on twitter a poster with my sayings should know that I know that they made it up, and that I don't really care as long as my real intentions on BDS are clear. (thanks "Ibn Rushd")

PS And for the umpteenth time, I never said that the real aim of BDS is to tend the existence of Israel, I said that it should be that.  I wish it is the case but it is not.   BDS has not officially endorsed that aim of ending Zionism in Palestine. 

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Western human rights organizations and Sisi dictatorship

I won't mention Western media as we know that they follow the foreign policy orientations of their government but the relative silence of Western human rights organizations toward the scale of repression in Egypt has been sickening.  If the victims are not largely (but by no means exclusively) Islamists, they would have raised an international hue and cry.  I guarantee you that if Sisi were to turn against Israel (he won't), all Western media and Western human rights organizations would suddenly discover that he is a dictator after all.

Israel stealing Iraqi oil

"A tanker delivered a cargo of disputed crude oil from Iraqi Kurdistan's new pipeline for the first time on Friday in Israel, despite threats by Baghdad to take legal action against any buyer." "But the new export route to the Turkish port of Ceyhan, designed to bypass Baghdad's federal pipeline system, has created a bitter dispute over oil sale rights between the central government and the Kurds."

It is the economy, stupid

"The unraveling of Iraq is of little consequence to the United States in economic terms."

Western protection

"In other words, when the US and Britain offer "support" for Nigeria against Boko Haram, or for Iraq against ISIL, they are offering protection against a threat which they themselves are responsible for. The flooding of North Africa and the Middle East with armed militias – the overt and predictable consequence of NATO's actions in Libya and Syria - aims to make Africa and the Arab world dependent on the West for its security needs."

Sectarianism in Iraq

"The most serious sectarian and ethnic tensions in Iraq's modern history followed the 2003 US-led occupation, which faced massive popular opposition and resistance. The US had its own divide-and-rule policy, promoting Iraqi organisations founded on religion, ethnicity, nationality or sect rather than politics. Many senior officers in the newly formed Iraqi army came from these organisations and Saddam's army. This was exacerbated three years ago, when sectarian groups in Syria were backed by the US, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar." (thanks Amir)

US condemns Iranian intervention in Iraq

I never thought that I would cite Liz Sly (she is now covering Iraq AND Syria from Beirut) but I will here:

"Liz Sly (@LizSly)

6/20/14, 10:48 PM
The US says Iran sent "some operatives" to Iraq, calls it "interference." Isn't that what the US also plans to do?…"

Hasbara: how the New York Times refuses to use the word "propaganda" when it comes to Israel

"“hasbara,” a Hebrew term for public diplomacy".
"One of the lecturers in the Haifa University program, Neil Lazarus, a communications expert who has advised the Israeli prime minister’s office and the ministry of foreign affairs on public diplomacy".  You get the feeling that the Times is more protective of the propaganda of Israel than of the propaganda of the US.

The name of ISIS: how to translate

This entire discussion is unnecessary because "Syria" is good enough of a translation because it can mean Syria (the modern entity) and the historic greater Syria. So why the fuss? Also, no, Syria did not have sectarian Christian connotation.  The word Shami had no sectarian connotation as was mentioned.  When my father was studying at Cairo University's law school in the 1949s, Shwam referred to all those in Egypt who came from Syria (greater Syria). 

Syrian rebel car bombs

Notice all those Syrian rebel car bombs this week that did not cause consternation or coverage by Western media.

Anne Barnard on Lebanon

Notice in this article by Barnard about Lebanese developments yesterday: 1) when she mentions Hizbullah she gives you a list of its activities and intervention in Syria. But when she mentions its rival, Future Movement, she says not one word about its intervention and role in Syria, which preceded Hizbullah's intervention in Syria by more than a year. 2) She still finds a way to justify car bombs by Syrian rebels in Syria and Lebanon:  "Sunni militant groups detonated a number of car bombs in Hezbollah-dominated areas".   What does she mean by "car bombs in Hizbullah-dominated ares" when the car bombs kill civilians and some neighborhoods are in fact "Amal-dominated"???

Subverting Sisi Rule

This has not been talked about in Western media. Some secret organization in Egypt has been disseminating tens of thousands of flyers and images carrying one message: "Have you prayed in honor of the Prophet today"?  The image has spread all over Egypt and the Sisi rule face a difficult dilemma: how to crack down without coming across as hostile to the honoring of the prophet?    No one knows who is behind it but speculation abounds.

Iran and the World Cup

There is much about Arab culture that is not covered in the Western media, especially in the era (since 2003) when Western media copy the standards of coverage from the media of Saudi princes.  If you see on Arab social media the level of excitement for Iran in the World Cup you would not believe much of the premises in Western and Arab (oil and gas) media.

The Offensive of ISIS

My weekly article in Al-Akhbar:  "The Offensive of ISIS or the `Asabiyyah of "Gulf Cooperation" "

PS Damn me.  I can't believe that I broke my own rule against using the word `Asabiyyah in Middle East analysis.  Note to self: make sure that you mock yourself mercilessly for that.

Jad Mouawad on Dubai:

Do you notice that Arabs who specialize in Gulf affairs in Western media always wound up working for Gulf regimes and their media? There are many examples.  Jad Mouawad seems to be applying for a future job in a Gulf dynasty.  All his dispatches about oil in the Times are laudatory of Gulf regimes. Look at this article about Dubai airport: nothing about the mistreatment of workers, and nothing about the segregation of planes arriving from Pakistan or India.  I know about that because I once landed in Dubai from Pakistan and saw how they treat planes coming from Pakistan.  Notice that Mr. Mouawad is also very impressed with shopping malls and fancy hotels.

From the Twitter account named Gaza Writes Back

Embedded image permalink "Israel is looking for missing settlers inside OLIVE JARs,,, "

In Western media, this is referred to as Isareli soldiers "searching for Israeli boys"

Maher Al-Asad

 ماهر الأسد برفقة جورج وسوف
I don't mean to bother you but do you remember how most Western media (as usual copying the propaganda claims of Syrian rebels) published stories that Maher Al-Asad was either killed or had his leg amputated?  Well, I remember.  This week, Syrian singer posted his picture with him.   Does anyone keep tabs on Western media?  Is anyone collecting the lies, fabrications, and deception that have characterized Western media coverage of Syria for three long years?

Friday, June 20, 2014

Did the Syrian government threaten to "attack" humanitarian convoys in Syria? Let us ask Anne Barnard.

I was reading on Twitter and read this: "Anne Barnard  Syria govt warns UN that cross-border aid delivery w/o consent = an attack, ie it would have right to attack convoys.".  She provided a link to the Reuters story in which this is stated: "Syria's government warned the U.N. Security Council that delivering humanitarian aid across its borders into rebel-held areas without its consent would amount to an attack, suggesting it would have the right to retaliate against convoys."  So this "suggestion" is purely an invention of Reuters and Ms. Barnard was more than pleased to post it and to add her own interpretation "i.e." which reinforces the fabrication by Reuters.  You can read my brief exchange with her on the matter.  What does this prove? It proves that if the US is at odds or war with any government, American journalists are licensed to fabricate whatever makes the enemy government look worse even if at the expense of truth, facts, and evidence.

John McCain and wars

"He has made noises about U.S. military involvement in Nigeria, Ukraine, Syria, Mali, North Korea, Iran, Libya, Afghanistan, Kosovo, Bosnia, Sudan and Iraq (multiple times)."

Somebody should tell Hillary that the Syrian dissident was kidnapped by the same Syrian rebels that she wants to arm

"Clinton took the stage during the event hosted by Vital Voices, a nonprofit organization that grew from a government initiative she founded when she was first lady, to present an award in absentia to Razan Zaitouneh, an activist in Syria who was kidnapped.

“Let us speak as one and demand the safe and immediate release of Razan Zaitouneh and all the political prisoners in Syria".

Israel and colonialism

"Just when it appeared that the United Nations could not be more ineffective in protecting Palestinian rights and holding Israel accountable for violating them, here comes the news that Israel has been elected as vice-chair of the UN Special Commitee on Decolonization – which deals among other things with matters related to Palestinian refugees.

According to UN minutes, the representative of Israel, the world’s last settler-colonial power, received 74 votes for the post, despite strong opposition from the Arab Group of UN member states.

Qatar, speaking on behalf of the Arab states, described Israel as a “State that violated the United Nations Charter and international law. Because its track record was rife with murder and its occupation had lasted more than 66 years, Israel was not qualified to preside over questions pertaining to Palestinian refugees, peacekeeping and the investigation of its own illegal practices.”

The Arab states had demanded a recorded vote, an unusual step, prompting objections from the ambassador of the United Kingdom which is a member of the Group of Western European and Other States that nominated Israel.

Canada took the opportunity to express its “unflinching support for Israel” and the United States said it “unequivocally supported Israel’s election.”

Saudi Arabia – whose own membership of the UN Human Rights Council has drawn much criticism – said that Israel’s election was “the moral equivalent of placing the apartheid regime of South Africa in charge of a committee to end racism.”" (thanks Mohammad)