Wednesday, October 22, 2014

suspected of being Arab in NYC

Hummus and Israel

It occurred to me that Israel only recently started to claim that Hummus is an Israeli dish. In the Israeli media and (stolen) "culture", there were no references about the Hummus craze until relatively recently the 1980s.  Yet, I grew up with Hummus (and "ful", fava beans) stores all over the cities and towns of the Lebanon.  So how is that explained? Is there a divine explanation for this one too?

Saudi media cheer Al-Qa`idah in Yemen

The Saudi government is so humiliated with the advance and success of the (reactionary) movement of the Huthis that its media have been cheering the Al-Qa`idah threats in Yemen against the Huthis. Often times they are referred to as "tribes of Yemen".

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

AJ Meyer advised Saudi planning minister H. Nazer to "keep [foreign workers] in ghettos

 Embedded image permalink

"In 1980, Harvard economist AJ Meyer advised Saudi planning minister H. Nazer to "keep [foreign workers] in ghettos." (thanks Abdallah)

Israel is more obsessed with Hollywood than Lebanon

Israel, having lost the "cool" embrace of Hollywood that it had enjoyed back in the 1950s and 1960s, now is willing to settle for silly claims of popularity of Israeli directors that no one has heard of.

To please the US, the UN is willing to violate internaitonal law

"The United Nations would offer humanitarian assistance for proposed "safe zones" inside Syria even if they were created without a Security Council resolution, the U.N.'s top humanitarian official Valerie Amos said on Monday." "So far Turkey's call has received at best a lukewarm response. The United States has said it is not a priority while Iran and the Syrian government have warned against the move, saying it would break international law."

a "suspicious" car accident near the Turkey-Syria

"Media worker Kadri Bagdu, 46, was shot dead on 14 October while distributing the Kurdish dailies Azadiya Welat and Ozgur Gundem in the south-eastern province of Adana. He was shot five times by two individuals on a motorcycle while distributing the newspapers free of charge on the street in district of Seyhan." "Press TV reported its correspondent in Turkey, Serena Shim, was killed in a "suspicious" car accident near the Turkey-Syria border on 20 October."

PS Ms. Shim holds American citizenship but no word from the US government about her.

U.S. ally steps up beheadings

"A sudden surge in public executions in Saudi Arabia in the last two months has coincided with a U.S.-led bombing campaign against Islamic State. This has led to inevitable comparisons in Western media between Islamic State's beheadings and those practiced in Saudi Arabia." "In the most extreme version of the Saudi death penalty, known by the Arabic word for "crucifixion" and reserved for crimes that outrage Saudi society, the corpse is publicly hanged in a harness from a metal gibbet as a warning to others."

Israeli soldiers terrorize disabled child

"In the video footage, filmed by B'Tselem volunteer Samih Da'na from his window, soldiers are seen holding the boy, handcuffing him, blindfolding him and closing him in the jeep, despite cries by Palestinian residents that the boy is mentally disabled. The footage also shows settlers from Kiryat Arba, watching the incident from behind the settlement's fence. Some are seen calling out encouragement to the soldiers, including several racist remarks." (thanks Amir)

PS Will they make an opera about this case?

Not in US media

"A young Palestinian girl who was struck by an Israeli settler vehicle earlier Sunday has succumbed to her wounds, medics told Ma'an. Einas Khalil, five, died after being hit by a car driven by an Israeli settler near the central West Bank town of Sinjil, medical sources at Palestine Medical Complex in Ramallah said. Residents of Sinjil accused the settler of deliberately hitting the girls." (thanks Basim)

US dropping arms to ISIS? A mistake, no??

Can they synchronize their lies about Syria, please?

A plea to the Syrian exile opposition and the Saudi-Qatari-controlled armed rebels: please synchronize your lies because they are not making sense anymore. Here, this Saudi royal news site (Al-Arabiyyah, of King Fahd's brother-in-law) claims that 60,000 `Alawites have been killed in the war in Syria. But I thought that the Alawite minority regime killed all the victims in Syria. Does that mean that the Alawite minority regime has been largely killing Alawite? But you say daily that it is launching a war of extermination against Sunnis? Which is which?

A man who can't tell the truth

Even in Israel, Peres is known as a liar.  He cant talk about an issue without lying. He makes Nasser sounds like King Khusayn here.  I wish I have the time to enumerate the lies contained in this interview.

UAE arrested and deported @iyad_elbaghdadi possibly for voicing his opinions

"The very next day, he was summoned to an immigration office in the UAE, arrested, and told that he would be immediately deported from the country. “The morning I was arrested,” Baghdadi says, “I woke up still crying over losing him…I didn’t get to mourn him like everyone else.”"

Cluster bomb in the service of Western freedoms

" The Ukrainian Army appears to have fired cluster munitions on several occasions into the heart of Donetsk, unleashing a weapon banned in much of the world into a rebel-held city with a peacetime population of more than one million, according to physical evidence and interviews with witnesses and victims." Now that would not cause an uproar, for sure.

Ms. Gall is in Tunisia

She is a correspondent for the Times in Pakistan and Afghanistan.  But she hopped into a plane and went to Tunisia (and thus became an expert) and is reporting that the people there want a dictatorship.

PS Ms. Gall, as you remember, reported that Hamid Karzai won his last election in an honest election, before reversing herself days later.

The New York Times remembers Ali Mazrui

Oh, he is also declared to be anti-Semitic.  "In editing “The Africans” for American television, Professor Mazrui deleted his description of Karl Marx as “the last of the great Jewish prophets” because producers feared it might be taken as anti-Semitic."

Audacious Gulf policies and military adventures: the case of the UAE

My latest blog post for Al-Akhbar English: "Audacious Gulf policies and military adventures: the case of the UAE".

Monday, October 20, 2014

Israel is so desperate for American celebrities

....that they think that Paul Anka is cool.  If only they can get Barry Manilow the nation would be in celebration.

Sadiq Jalal Al-Azm: when he thinks he is providing intelligent propaganda to the US/Israel

"'Russia-Iran-Hezbollah axis could arise allying itself with ISIL'"  And this from the same man who has been providing apologetic about the takfiri groups for two years straight.

"Mundane racism in Haifa"

From Eyal in 1948 Palestine:
"(No crisis, no massacre or beating or anything dramatic, just a bit of mundane everyday racism.)


As you probably know, the largest segments of Israeli population which are exempted from military service are the Palestinian Arabs (not including the Druze) and the ultra-orthodox Jews (the 'Haredim').

Last week I visited my home town of Haifa for the annual film festival there. I was walking along the main street next to where my screenings were held, and there were two businesses looking for employees. The first was a corner kiosk, and the other was a 'Sandwich bar'. So, they both required that candidates be "post military service". Now, this is not uncommon in Israel, and is basically illegal: An employer cannot ask you about your military service, and the courts have upheld that requiring any sort of military service background is discriminatory.
That has not made the practice go away:

"Help wanted: Post military service; energetic and hard-working; with experience in sales; preference for those with computer and editing software know-how"

While the Israeli military is involved in arms sales, I'm guessing that's not the kind of sales experience the kiosk was after.

Now, one could argue that what they really meant is someone over 21 - since military service is officially mandatory, it's a half-passable excuse (if you're willing to excuse ignoring the ~35% of the population which doesn't get drafted at all). The other place makes things clearer:

"Employees wanted for the Carmel Sandwich Bar; post/pre military service only; for details please leave your contact information."

So, post/pre military service. Here we don't have the age excuse, or any kind of experience which one could claim is related to military service.
That is, almost explicitly, you need to be from the kind of people who get drafted into the military. The only remaining question is whether their racism is more anti-Arab or anti-Haredi, or both.

Sometimes even being a low-pay wage-slave is considered too much of a privilege for you."

"Despite years of diplomacy and a CIA operation"

"Despite years of diplomacy and a CIA operation to vet and train moderate rebels, the U.S. finds itself without a credible partner on the ground in Syria"

US Navy: protecting freedoms around the world

"Bahrain, where the U.S. Navy's Fifth Fleet is based, quelled the 2011 protests" (thanks Amir)

Walid Phares: his true story and role in the Lebanese Forces militia

American right-wing Lebanese, Walid Phares, was a Middle East adviser to Mitt Romney.  At that time, some media pointed out to his past role in the leadership of the Lebanese militia, Lebanese Forces.  He has been maintaining that the person with that name in the Lebanese Forces is not his, and that the name are similar.  Of course, I have said repeatedly that this claim of his is a flat-out lie.  I was looking into my archives yesterday, and stumbled upon this Zionist publication from 1992, in which he tells his life story.  By the way, not the notion that he was kidnapped by the Lebanese Phalanges militia because he called openly for an alliance with Israel is another flat-out lie because the Phalanges were also aligned with Israel. But I guess that in speaking to the Zionist publication he felt the need to appear as a brave Zionist in Lebanon.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

George Cloony after attending too many Lebanese dinner and lunch invitations
Lebanese are circulating this picture of George Clooney ostensibly after attending too many Lebanese feasts.

A protester in Hong Kong was beaten: New York Times outraged

This paper is more outraged about the beating of one protester than about the hundreds of Palestinian children slaughtered by the Israeli terrorist army.

How the Israeli state inflates the number of Jews in its census

"Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics does not record as emigrants anyone who returns to visit within a year." What a bogus measure. 

Teaching of Hebrew at US universities

There can't be any academic or scholarly purpose for the justification of teaching Hebrew at many US universities and colleges. I just don't get the reason for teaching a language that is spoken by less than 7 million around the world, while the languages spoken by hundreds of millions (Urdu, for example, or Punjabi or Dari ) are rarely taught at the same universities. The reason why Hebrew is being taught is purely a silly "counter-balance" to the teaching of Arabic--a language spoken by some 350 million people. College administrators are too afraid in the poisoned climate of the US to offer Arabic without Hebrew anymore.

Frequently and you cite two cases? Is this journalism?

"Death sentences have rarely been carried out in blasphemy cases, but that is in part because such allegations have frequently led to deadly vigilante attacks on the accused or their lawyers."

Is the Saudi regime supporting Al-Qa`idah in Yemen against the Huthis?

I am just noticing that Saudi media are quite clear in their support for Al-Qa`idah against the Huthis in the Saudi royal media coverage of the clashes. They even refer to Al-Qa`idah as "the tribes" as a camouflage.

book piracy in the Arab world

"Creating a digital file from a printed book by scanning each page, by contrast, is a nightmare."  Ha ha. The Economist does not know about the patience and diligence of Arabs who are copying thousands of books daily and making them available for free to Arabs around the world. This is why the UN figures about book reading based on book purchases is just silly.  All the young Arabs I know read digital books (in PDF forms) on the internet. There are applications that make those books available.  Now there are some problems; I was reading one of those books (on Zionism by `Abdul-Wahab Al-Masiri) on the plane recently and once I reached the end I was horrified to discover that whoever scanned the books did not bother to scan the section of endnotes and bibliography. The horror.

PS I posted this in Arabic on Facebook and an Arabic reader sent me this comment (my translation): "For the last two weeks I have been transferring a book to PDF and just finished. Say hi to the Economist". ha ha

What democracy mean to the US

"That's because "democracy" in U.S. discourse means: "serving U.S. interests" and "obeying U.S. dictates," regardless how how the leaders gain and maintain power. Conversely, "tyranny" means "opposing the U.S. agenda" and "refusing U.S. commands," no matter how fair and free the elections are that empower the government. The most tyrannical regimes are celebrated as long as they remain subservient, while the most popular and democratic governments are condemned as despots to the extent that they exercise independence."

That does not offend Samantha Power

"Saudi Arabia, a member of the UN's Human Rights Council and a close ally of America in the war against the Islamist fighters, is itself routinely carrying out the practice of beheading. Since January of this year, 59 people have been beheaded in Saudi Arabia"

US soldiers slaughtered 500 unarmed old men, women and children in the Vietnamese village of My Lai. Yet the Pentagon website refers only to the "My Lai Incident

"Between 2 and 3 million Indochinese - in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia - were killed. War crimes - such as the My Lai massacre - were common. In 1968, US soldiers slaughtered 500 unarmed old men, women and children in the Vietnamese village of My Lai. Yet the Pentagon website refers only to the "My Lai Incident," despite the fact that it is customarily referred to as a massacre." (thanks Amir)

Christians in Pakistan: the Washington Post

I am sure that plight of Christians in Pakistan is not rosy, just as the plight of Muslims and Christians in the Jewish state of Israel. But if Western media truly care about Christians, how come we don't see an article about a community that fare even worse than the Christians of Pakistan, i.e., the Christians of Israel, whose churches were destroyed (or turned into restaurants and nightclubs) and whose lands have been confiscated and whose religious services have been harassed by the Israeli state and who rights trampled upon and whose men and women and children been shot by the state of Israel repeatedly over the years (unlike the isolated cases of shooting mentioned in the silly Post article).  Or better yet, why not an article about the flight of Iraqi Christians caused by the American invasion of the country?

From Karzai to Ghani

I never thought an American puppet would receive the fawning coverage that was bestowed on Hamid Karzai--yes we still remember even if the coverage turned negative in his last two years in office.  Look at this article here about the reform agenda of Ghani.  To me, the presence of the man standing to his right in the picture (Abdul-Rashid Dustum, his first vice-president) suffices.

The New York Times can't get its story straight: anti-Semitism in Germany

I shelved this article planning to write a commentary on it today but was glad to see the folks at Mondoweiss beat me to it.  It is really amazing: "Three weeks ago the New York Times stunned its readers with a frontpage story proclaiming, “Europe’s Anti-Semitism Comes out of the Shadows.” From the immigrant enclaves of the Parisian suburbs to the drizzly bureaucratic city of Brussels to the industrial heartland of Germany, Europe’s old demon returned this summer. The story contained numerous references to German anti-Semitism. “Gas the Jews!” yelled marchers at a pro-Palestinian protest in Germany, the story said. And a long section on “Anxiety in Germany” included this lesson from an attempted firebombing of a synagogue in Wupperthal: “For Jews in Germany, especially for us, this has very, very deep meaning,” said Artour Gourari, a local businessman and synagogue member. “Synagogues are burning again in Germany in the night.” OK, now fasten your neckbolts tight. Because today the New York Times has a story, on an inside page, about Jews leaving Israel for… Germany: “In Exodus From Israel to Germany, a Young Nation’s Fissures Show.” Germany sure seems like a different place than the last article". 

PS Let me give some background: many of the Western correspondents of US papers are lazy and often they do stories that were previously done in the Economist magazine.  This is one of them. I mean, the second story in the Times about Israeli leaving for Germany.

Who will win in Kobane (`Ayn Al-`Arab)?

Ali, the Angry Arab's chief correspondent in Turkey, sent me this commentary:

"Kobane: A win-win for US. Nobody still puts finger on this obvious fact, but really what have IS, Turkey or Syrian Kurds gained from IS surprise attack on Kobane except US, that has been carrying out its political agenda under the motto of what Obama said “degrading and destroying IS”… 
Firstly, IS would get nothing if it completely captures besieged Kurdish town. Kobane has no strategic value, when we compare IS other potential target before it started Kobane campaign on 15th of September: The first potential target was obviously Azaz town, a bordering town to Turkey, located northern Aleppo and has been the crucial supply line for other armed groups that active in the northern Syria. IS was at the gate of Azaz. The second potential target was Deir ez-Zor’s airport that has been used as a crucial base for supplying Syrian army troops in the besieged city. IS has been attacking to capture this airport but with smaller numbers compared to Kobane attack. The third was northern Hasakah, where Kurds controlling oilfields with de facto assistance of Syrian army presence in the city. Contrary these three potential targets, Kobane has no oilfields, has no supply line and IS already has two border crossings in this region. First, Jarablus a few kilometers on the west of Kobane and Tall Abiad on the east. But as reported, IS attacked Kobane with at least 3 thousands of supported with artilleries, tanks, armored vehicles, anti-aircraft guns mounted pick-up trucks. And because of the instant resistance of Kurdish YPG militias and US air strikes, it would pay a very heavy price for non-significant town even if captures completely.

Secondly, what Turkey got, when western media outlets are full of comments that Turkey was behind IS attack on Kobane? Erdoğan is now being portrayed as the ‘monster behind IS’ and a sudden Kurdish uprising hits Turkey and endangers so-called peace process. And now PKK linked PYD in Syria has direct contact with Washington, which should be a nightmare for Ankara.
Thirdly Syrian Kurds, -they are now considering themselves as ‘winner’ since US recognized them- watching Kobane the capital of their Rojava becaming a ruin, while most of the civilians fled to Turkey.
The only winner is US, believe it or not… Since, with the Kobane, it legitimizes its operation against IS on both international and regional levels, found a very strategic ‘partner’ that is Turkey’s Kurds, and know feels free to dictate its position to PYD… Before the attack on Kobane, Reuters revealed that US considered arming Syria’s Kurdish groups but with a precondition “break your alliance with Assad” And those demands are not new of course, as Foreign Policy revealed Washington has been pushing Kurds to adapt this policy for over two years
Now the dreams of US are fulfilled thanks to IS. The outcome of PYD-US talks are still vague, but as US intensifies its air campaign on IS targets in and around Kobane, one thing is obvious, what US brought to table was accepted or at least partly accepted by PYD delegation. Note that right after this direct talk, PYD leader Saleh Muslim went Iraqi Kurdistan and attended a meeting with Barzani and Barzani backed Syrian Kurdish politicians. In this meeting PYD promised ‘a power sharing’ with Barzani backed groups on the administration of Rojava

So in my opinion, it will be just disappointment for those leftist expecting gain for the peoples of Middle East when Kurds beaten IS with the help of US.

PS: Note that the mainstream media limitless hypocrisy. First, Salamiyya town located eastern Hama has been under IS attack but there is not a single report about the situation in the town. UN special envoy says ‘Kobane would be another Srebrenitsa’ but what is waiting us if IS captures this town, that is full of ‘Kuffar’ (The population of the town are composed of Alawites, Shiites, Ismailis and twelvers). Secondly, this is not first IS attack on Kurdish populated areas. IS and its allies then –considered as moderates- attacked Kurdish towns in 2013, but YPG’s women fighters are not posing from the front pages, or nobody was talking about Turkey’s role then. Instead media outlets were talking about ‘hidden alliance between Assad and Syria’s Kurds’. "

What's new. Hizbullah commanders divulge secrets to Nicholas Blanford simply because they know he is an advocate of the Hariri family and thus can be trusted

"Since Hezbollah intervened in Syria in earnest around two years ago to defend the regime of President Bashar Assad, the party is estimated to have lost several hundred fighters, perhaps close to 1,000, including veteran combatants and commanders

“We are in a regional war now, so the casualty rate is still acceptable,” said Abu Khalil, a veteran Hezbollah fighter who has served multiple combat tours in Syria. " (thanks Basim)

Alaa Aswany: a propagandist for Sisi

"In the last two years alone, terrorists in Egypt have killed more than 400 Egyptian police officers and soldiers." Tell us how many Egyptian civilians have the Egyptian police and army terrorists killed in the last two years alone.

An expert on Russia in the New York Times

"“He loves you and me and everybody else looking at him and trying to figure him out,” said Nina L. Khrushcheva, a professor of international affairs at the New School in New York and the great-granddaughter of Nikita S. Khrushchev. “He’s an exhibitionist.” She added, “He pushes the envelope all the time, and he gets away with it.”"  This expert has a degree in literature and is not a professor in international affairs, and she is cited only because she is the great-granddaughter of Nikita Khruschchev.  Somebody needs to tell those Western media that the communist regime fell and their desire to needle communist leaders of the past is silly.  Not to mention: look at the deep insights of Ms. Nina.

Hariri tribunal

I don't recommend that the silly Hariri tribunal (a mere tool in the hands of US and Israel to exert pressures on Lebanon at Lebanese taxpayers expense) be covered in the media but this week we had a revelation: that members of the security detail of Rafiq Hariri all carried special laissez passez from none other than Rustum Ghazalah, the head of Syrian intelligence chief in Lebanon.  This in itself exposes the hollow claims of the Hariri family and its paid advocates in international media about how Hariri was a brave crusader against the Syrian regime--but in secret, while continuing to heap praise on the regime to the last days of his life, in public.  A member of the security detail said it was "natural" to carry a laissez passez from Ghazalah.

document had “probably” come from Israel

"David Albright... said that document had “probably” come from Israel."

Ethnic cleansing

""Over the next few years, Israel plans to forcibly expel and relocate approximately 27,000 Palestinian Bedouins from Area C of the West Bank to make way for Israeli settlements."" (thanks Regan)

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Meet the author

A concise version of the answers I gave to readers' questions for Al-Akhbar English.