Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Arab war on terrorism

Anne Barnard, tirelessly

Unfailingly, for the entire time that Barnard covered the Syrian war, she has been writing consistently that the fortunes of the regime are sagging and that he is in trouble and that the rebels are making progress.  The funny part is that even when the regime makes progress (from his standpoint) on the ground, she never concedes that but may refer to it in the past tense as in :the regime is really in trouble unlike two months ago when it was progressing on the ground: and you want to scream here: but two months ago, you also said that the regime was in trouble.  Her pitch on Syria is purely propagandistic and like other Western correspondents in Beirut, she presents the talking points of Fee Syrian Army without any qualifications or equivocation.  Look at her opening paragraph:  "The fortunes of President Bashar al-Assad have suffered over the past two months, with battlefield setbacks and new signs of doubt emerging within his political base, as the civil war in Syria drags on with no end in sight."  How has the regime fortunes suffered when it has consolidated its military advances in the area that it has focused on and routed the rebels from Qalamun?  And the reference to "signs of doubt in his political base" is quite hilarious: but here is her evidence: "recently staged a rare demonstration in Damascus demanding stronger action to release hostages held by extremists."  This is quite disingenuous because Ms. Barnard did not mention that those "protesters" cheered Bashshar. What she refers to as "signs of doubt in his political base" is in fact a faction within the regime which wants Bashshar to be even more brutal in the military campaign. That is hardly a sign of decline in the political fortune of the regime.  Those people who were critical on social media were never critical of Bashshar--she does not tell you that--but were in fact critical of particular military units or commanders and want Bashshar to sack them.  This is an entirely different picture. Here citations of the comments of Amin Hutayt, I guarantee you, are so taken out of context and I can easily call him to verify that.   And notice that nowhere in the article does she mention that no one is doing worse in Syrian conflict than her allies in the Free Syrian Army. Talk about sagging political fortunes.

refused to say

"The Israeli military said the building was “a command and control center” where “multiple floors” were “used regularly by Hamas for operational activities” throughout the seven-week battle. Military officials refused to say what types of activities, why the entire tower was targeted or what type of bombs were used."

amid the ruins

Leaning in Gaza

Seeking Counsel

One should not of course make judgement on appearance, but without knowing anything about the man to the left, would you trust him on any matter? Does he convey trust and wisdom to you?

what exactly went on during the Nixon-Meir one-on-one meeting of 26 September 1969

"A draft Kissinger memorandum, declassified in 2007 and included in today's publication, sheds some light on why Nixon may have concluded that keeping the Israeli nuclear program a secret was the optimum solution. Certainly the outcome of the Nixon-Meir secret understanding-which left the Israeli program in place and secret-was significantly different from the recommendations of his key officials (not withstanding National Security Advisor, Henry Kissinger), but to this day we have almost no paper trail on the most important element in the policy puzzle: what exactly went on during the Nixon-Meir one-on-one meeting of 26 September 1969. Indeed, it appears that no record exists in the national archives of either country that reveals what was agreed to at the meeting."

Cuba sends more doctors to fight Ebola in Africa than rich countries

"Speaking in Geneva, Margaret Chan, the Director General of the World Health Organisation, praised Cuba's contribution in fighting the Ebola epidemic in West Africa on Friday, calling it the "largest offer of doctors, nurses and other specialists" so far provided by a nation state." (thanks Amir)

It is clear that Senator Warren has no clue what she is talking about on the Arab-Israeli conflict: she just reads the talking points

"“Eva Moseley, I’m not a student, I’m not an alumnae, but was in faculty life. I was also a Holocaust refugee and I’m extremely concerned that Jews don’t do to another people what was done to them,” said the activist.

“I think that’s fair,” Senator Warren responded.

“You recently said that you believe that Israel has the right to self-defense," the activist continued. "Do you also believe that the Palestinians have a right to self-defense?”

“Of course. So, and the answer is yes". (thanks Michele)

Qur'an books as evidence

“I think it’d be naive to say that (ISIS is) not here…We have found Muslim clothing, they have found Quran books that are lying on the side of the trail, so we know that there are Muslims that have come across and are being smuggled into the United States,” Painter told Fox News." (thanks Basim)

Who do you love, Americans: from the poll of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs

The Council poll also found a more general convergence in foreign-policy views between members of the two parties

"...support for military engagement was considerably less strong (around 45 percent) for other specific cases, such as defending Israel or South Korea against attack or even the Baltic states – despite their NATO membership — against a Russian invasion.
In other findings, the Council’s survey, which has long been considered among the most authoritative on U.S. foreign policy attitudes, found...
...anti-Russian sentiment has returned to Cold-War levels, according to Daalder, who noted the poll was conducted when Russian actions against Crimea dominated the headlines.
...The Council poll also found a more general convergence in foreign-policy views between members of the two parties, particularly with respect to their approaches to China, Iran, and Syria, although Republicans tended to be more hawkish on the use of force, while Democrats were more likely to favour more U.S. support for the U.N. and peacekeeping activities.
The sharpest partisan differences, on the other hand, were on immigration and U.S. policy in the Middle East, with Republicans consistently showing more support for Israel." (thanks Regan)

A bunch of Zionist terrorists think that they can defeat those people?

Great shot

Western friends of Muslims

Why is it that every war on an Arab or Muslim country is declared in the name of friendships (friends of Syria or friends of Iraq, etc).  And those assembled Western governments want you to believe that those countries that ban the veil and ban minarets and that restrict the movement and activities of Muslims and which blatantly discriminate against Muslims is in the best position to convince Muslims that the West has their interests at heart.  OK.

Yakov Smirnoff

Yakov Smirnoff may be one of the unfunniest men who ever lived on earth.  When I came to the US, he was huge and he only got bigger under the Republican administrations.  Here was a Russian-born obnoxious clown who would stand up before American audiences and not only mock the Soviet political system (which is fine if that is what he wanted to do) but he would also mock Russian culture and Russian women, and Americans loved him for it.  This is exactly the role that American dominant culture wants from Arabs in Washington, DC and many of them (especially those Lebanese who work in the media of Saudi princes) play that role to the hilt.  The more they clown and the more they make the White Man feel comfortable in his ignorance and bigotry, the more appreciated they become.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Names of Palestinians killed by Israel

"The following 1606 names have been confirmed - the actual death toll, according to the Ministry of Health, is at least at 2137. The number includes 578 children, 264 women, and 103 elderly, while more than 11100, including 3374 children, 2088 women and 410 elderly, have been injured."

Hisbollah and the Syrian Opposition....the telegraph today

From Michael: "Hezbollah-backed Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said an explosion had destroyed a bridge in Deir al-Zor city that is of vital importance to Isil as the only way for it to move into parts of the city it controls. "  They changed it, I am sure.

What Obama is not telling the American people

Is that Al-Qa`idah in Syria (Nusrah front) is part of his international coalition against ISIS.

'Moderate' Syrian Revolutionaries Front continues to support al Qaeda

"The only problem with this example of a possible US ally in the fight in Syria is that Maarouf has already stated that he has no problem with al Qaeda's Syrian branch, the Al Nusrah Front, and has admitted to sharing weapons with it. And this example of cooperation between "moderate" and radical Islamist groups is not an isolated one;" (thanks Amir)

This cartoon is making the round in Arab social media

The Huthis and their anti-Jewishness

I have not been able to understand the anti-Jewish component of the Huthi ideology.  It comes out of nowhere.  What the movement did to the Jews of Sa`dah (who never bothered the Huthis) was quite cruel and totally unjustified.  I just read the book by Ahmad Muhammad Ad-Daghshi on the Huthis (الحوثيّون: دراسة منهجيّة شاملة) and I still don't get it.  Husayn Huthi blames all problems on Jews, reminiscent of European anti-Semitism.  In fact, the ideology of the movement complain about the Sunni educational systems because Jews are not treated like pagans.  

Quiz: try to locate the foreign minister of Lebanon in this picture.

Which Islam?

My latest blog post for Al-Akhbar English: "Which Islam?"

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Syrian rebel leader: a moderate

The "moderate" Syrian leader of the Free Syrian Army (or one of them anyway), Riyadh Al-As`ad (who was once hailed as the very hope of Syria and the man who made the days of Bashshar numbered) said yesterday that he won't join in the American war on ISIS.  Let me translate his principled stance: where is my cash, damn it.

Israel has done the following since the ceasefire

"On 26 August a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas was agreed, bringing a fragile end to a war that killed 2150 Palestinians (mostly civilians) and 73 Israelis (mostly soldiers). Since then Hamas has not fired a single rocket, attacked an Israeli target, or done anything to break the terms of the ceasefire. Israel has done the following:

1. Annexed another 1500 acres of West Bank land
 2. Seized $56 million of PA tax revenue
 3. Not lifted the illegal blockade (as required by the ceasefire)
 4. Broken the ceasefire by firing at fishermen on four separate occasions
 5. Detained six fishermen
 6. Killed a 22-year-old, Issa al Qatari, a week before his wedding
 7. Killed 16-year-old Mohammed Sinokrot with a rubber bullet to the head
 8. Tortured a prisoner to the point of hospitalisation
 9. Refused 13 members of the European Parliament entry into Gaza
 10. Detained at least 127 people across the West Bank, including a seven-year-old boy in Hebron and two children, aged seven and eight, taken from the courtyard of their house in Silwad – and tear-gassed their mother
 11. Continued to hold 33 members of the Palestinian Legislative Council in prison
 12. Continued to hold 500 prisoners in administrative detention without charge or trial
 13. Destroyed Bedouin homes in Khan al Ahmar, near Jerusalem, leaving 14 people homeless, and unveiled a plan to forcibly move thousands of Bedouin away from Jerusalem into two purpose-built townships
 14. Destroyed a dairy factory in Hebron whose profits supported an orphanage
 15. Destroyed a family home in Silwan, making five children homeless
 16. Destroyed a house in Jerusalem where aid supplies en route to Gaza were being stored
 17. Destroyed a well near Hebron
 18. Set fire to an olive grove near Hebron
 19. Raided a health centre and a nursery school in Nablus, causing extensive damage
 20. Destroyed a swathe of farmland in Rafah by driving tanks over it
 21. Ordered the dismantling of a small monument in Jerusalem to Mohamed Abu Khdeir, murdered in July by an Israeli lynch mob
 22. Continued building a vast tunnel network under Jerusalem
 23. Stormed the al Aqsa mosque compound with a group of far right settlers
 24. Assisted hundreds of settlers in storming Joseph’s Tomb in Nablus
 25. Prevented students from entering al Quds University, firing stun grenades and rubber bullets at those who tried to go in
 26. Earned unknown millions on reconstruction materials for Gaza, where 100,000 people need their destroyed homes rebuilt. The total bill is estimated at $7.8 billion"

EU and refugees

"There is virtually no legal path to Europe for refugees -- not for most Syrians, of which only very few are brought to Germany as so-called contingent refugees, not for Iraqis and not for people from troubled West African countries." "A consortium of European journalists found that more than 23,000 people have lost their lives while attempting to reach Europe in the last 14 years." (thanks Amir)

schools in Gaza

""According to a rapid assessment report by the UN Office for the Coordination for Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), 26 schools were completely destroyed in Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip, while 122 schools were variously damaged, including 75 UNRWA schools.

The head of the Islamic University, Kamaleen Sha'th, estimates losses caused by damage to building facilities there at US$3 million. At least 11 higher education organizations were hit during the war.

“We were already in a crisis and these attacks will add to our burdens, especially after these hard and long years of the blockade,” said Sha’th."" (thanks Regan)

This just in: An American official maintains that Saudi Arabia has an extensive border with Syria--kid you NOT

"SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: I guess I would just add one thing on the coalition question -- and I think this is important to really focus on, which is to say, in discussions with governments in the region, notably the Saudis and the Jordanians, what is clear is that we have a very common view of this threat. And this is really quite unusual.
ISIL has been I think a galvanizing threat around the Sunni partners in the region. They view it as an existential threat to them. Saudi Arabia has an extensive border with Syria. " (thanks David)

Vegan Witches

ISIS has a severe PR problems among Muslims

ISIS is becoming aware that beheading is quite distasteful among Muslims (although Arab media can't reflect that because most are run by Saudi money).  SO ISIS put out a list of lame defenses of its beheadings.

The ideology of ISIS: what Western governmnet can't admit

In defending its practices and crimes, ISIS consistently resort to citing the authority of the founder of the Wahhabiyyah doctrine, Muhammad Ibn Al-Wahab.

vigilantism in Lebanon against the Syrian people

Human Rights Watch in Beirut is busy disseminating the propaganda of the Free Syrian Army so it has not noticed. But there are acts of vigilantism against the Syrian people in Lebanon with the full consent of the government sometimes. This head of municipality of Dikwanah east of Beirut admits that they are storming into the homes of Syrians whenever they wish.

Lousy Hamas movement

I have argued her for years that the future of Hamas can be read from the history of the Fath Movement (another lousy organization).  One Hamas leader says that the movement will negotiate directly with Israel.  Another leader says: that Hamas will never recognize Israel.  This was like the Fath Movement back in the 1970s.  We can predict the future now.

ISIS and lies about ISIS

Not in their defense but a lot of the stories about ISIS in the Arab and Western media are in fact fabricated.  ISIS put out a list of more than 100 lies about ISIS being circulated. But notice that when it comes to killing Shi`ites and `Alawites, ISIS is not defensive at all.  Many of the disinformation about ISIS are being spread by the intelligence service of a Kingdom that shares the same ideology with ISIS (Saudi Arabia, of course). 

UN Secretary-General pays tribute to Kuwaiti Amir for humanitarian leadership

This is the UN.  HE should have added that the UN is particularly proud of the recent policy by the Emir to strip any dissident or critic of the government of citizenship.

flogging a website launcher in Saudi Kingdom of Horrors

He is being flogged for founding a website that disturbed "public order."  Kid you not.  In other news, John Kerry announces that nothing can defeat the fanaticism of ISIS except the Saudi Wahhabi doctrine. 

An-Nahar's newspaper: the last refuge of a failed newspaper

It is now becoming widely noticed. The Lebanese right-wing sectarian Christian and racist newspaper, An-Nahar (who best days are decades behind it) is now resorting to sex and sleaze to attract readers. 

Another honorary doctorate

Saudi King receives yet another honorary doctorate from the Imam Muhammad Bin Saud University in the field of international relations but the university does not have that field to start with. Congratulations to him and his sponsors in Western democracy-loving countries.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

These are your moderate Syrian rebels

"As the United States begins to deepen ties with moderate Syrian rebels to combat the extremist group ISIS, also known as the Islamic State, a key component of its coalition appears to have struck a non-aggression pact with the group.

According to Agence France-Presse, ISIS and a number of moderate and hard-line rebel groups have agreed not to fight each other so that they can focus on taking down the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad. Other sources say the signatories include a major U.S. ally linked to the Free Syrian Army. Moreover, the leader of the Free Syrian Army said Saturday that the group would not take part in U.S. plans for destroying the Islamic State until it got assurances on toppling Assad." (thanks Shawn)

Why Abbas blocked ICC application

"Abbas and Netanyahu met again in secret in Amman days before the ceasefire was announced, although both sides have denied this. The sole subject of conversation was how to stop Hamas claiming victory."

Bombing Iraq

"At this point, bombing Iraq is practically a American presidential tradition." (thanks Amir)

Khamenei in the hospital

Regarding the hospital stay of Iranian supreme guides, many Arabs have noticed: 1) the simplicity and modesty of the room and the bed.  If this were a Saudi prince, the equipment and bed would be made of solid gold. 2) Sistani went to London for hospitalization while Khamenei went to a state hospital. 

The menace of beheadings: Why don't you speak out against beheadings in Saudi Arabia?

"The beheading of Pakistani national Izzat Gul for drug trafficking was Saudi Arabia's 46th such execution for 2014, according to Human Rights Watch (HRW). In August alone, Saudi Arabia decapitated 19 people, eight of them for nonviolent offenses, including sorcery, the rights group added." (thanks Michele)

Should the Israeli government be inclusive?

From Alfred: "I have been hearing American political leaders for years DEMANDING that the Iraqi government be "Truly Inclusive" and put Iraqi Sunni Arab leaders in power who represent the Sunni Arabs and not just any token Sunni Arab leaders. The Sunni Arab population in Iraq are between 15% and 18% of the total population. The Arab population in Israel are more than 20%. How come no American political leader "Demand" the Israeli government to be INCLUSIVE?"

Qaradawi is not on the American side

Qaradawi said that while he disagrees with ISIS on doctrine and methods, he is also opposed to the US war.